Here's What Jenna Bush Hager Wished Her Younger Self Knew About Appreciating Her Body

The Today host has a pep talk for her younger self.

Jenna Bush-Hager
Photo: Getty Images

As summer comes to a close, it's high time to soak up all of the August sun you can before temperatures dip back down. Whether you prefer to spend your outdoor time in the pool or on a long walk, the hot weather probably means you're shedding your layers—which can sometimes trigger unkind thoughts about your body.

We at EatingWell are firm believers that a "beach body" is just a body at a beach, but it can still be hard to internalize that message during swimsuit season. Jenna Bush Hager got real about that very subject on an episode of Today, and her take on summertime body neutrality is resonating with plenty of viewers.

Bush Hager and her Today co-host Hoda Kotb were chatting about Bush Hager's daughter's return from summer camp when the subject of summer self-love came up.

"A friend from camp texted me a picture of myself at camp at the same year as Mila [her daughter]," Bush Hager shared on Today. She showed the photo—a snapshot of two girls in floral swimsuits smiling at each other—to the cameras. In the image, an elementary school-aged Hager rocks a two-piece swimsuit, which she says surprised her.

"This is the thing about being a girl—and maybe being me—but I remember thinking I never wore a bikini, thinking that I was the chubby one," Bush Hager said. "And then I look at this little person, and I'm like, 'You weren't chubby. You were in a bikini and you were owning it, and you loved it.' So why do we spend our days worried about anything like that?"

Kotb was quick to agree with the sentiment, and we'd have to agree as well. Folks should feel empowered to wear whatever makes you feel cool and comfortable this summer, no matter the cut or color.

Commenters chimed in on the Today post with their own anecdotes and words of wisdom—plus plenty of support for Bush Hager. "Jenna, I think the very same thing—why did we think we were a pimple on the butt of the earth when we were so adorable???" one commenter wrote. "Oh, the wasted time worrying 🙀 I just had someone say the same thing to me last week. If only we could have appreciated it then. Stop comparing ourselves to others! We rock!!"

Others shared similar stories of feeling less-than based on their body type even as children. "It is so sad how we felt as kids that we weren't enough," one comment reads. "Wear what makes you happy girls! We are all enough!"

While there's no way to go back in time and hype up your younger self, there are supportive, body-positive ways to foster self-love in the kids in your life. And there's no time like the present to bring more positive self-talk into your own routine—these simple tips are a great place to start. No matter what you wear this summer, remembering to treat yourself with love and kindness is sure to make the warm weather even more enjoyable.

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