Combating Bathing Suit Anxiety

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The warm weather is slowly approaching. For many, this season is plagued by anxiety and self-doubt due to the pressure of getting ‘beach body ready’ and going dreaded bathing suit shopping. Are you experiencing massive anxiety and panic? Do you often think:

  • “Oh no, I can’t wear a bathing suit, I gained so much weight!”
  • “I don’t look good enough to wear a bathing suit, people will stare and judge me!”
  • “I need to stop eating, so I can wear a bathing suit this summer…”

These and other thoughts flood our minds around this time of year. The emotional link of feeling insecure in connection to our bodies is widespread. Research conducted by Dove concluded that as many as 96% of women feel anxious about the way they look, and this problem is not exclusive to women. Over the past six years, the National Health Service stated the number of men admitted for inpatient hospitalization with an eating disorder had risen by 70%.

At Red Mountain, we encourage positive body image. Now is the time to toss out the magazine mentality and get real about how people look in a bathing suit! Here are some strategies on how to become comfortable enough in your body to wear a bathing suit this season.

Choose The Right Bathing Suit for Your Body Type

Finding the right swimsuit can make all the difference. Do you feel more comfortable in a one piece or a high-waist bottom with a bandeau top? Do you like cut-outs or want something super full coverage? Trying on different bathing suit to find what looks best on you can work wonders for making you feel confident and excited at the pool or on the beach.

  • High-waist and high-cut bikini bottoms will cover your low tummy and accentuate the length of your legs.
  • Try a one-piece with cutouts or an open back to stay covered, but still show a little skin.
  • Find wide set strapped bikini tops for support if you have a bigger bust.
  • Try on suits with ruffles up top if you have a bigger bottom, as this will help distract attention below.
  • For apple shapes, plunging necklines and high-leg bathing suits help flatter your body shape as well.
  • Don’t be afraid to try on new styles and don’t get discouraged! It can take a few tries to find the right suit.

Surround Yourself with Positive People

People who support and love you are always the best people to surround yourself with, especially when you feel insecure and uncomfortable. Head to the pool with friends or family members who make you feel confident. This will help you to focus on the fun you’re having rather than the way you look.

It is important to avoid spending time with toxic people who often compare their bodies, complain about physical imperfections, or body-shame. It’s hard enough to deal with your own inner critic, the last thing you need is someone else’s critic!

Change Your Self-Talk

Speaking of inner critics, instead of criticizing your every flaw, pay attention to what your body does for you. Begin to recite: “My body does so much for me.” When you are critical of yourself and your body image, it can be difficult to appreciate how much your body does for you. Our bodies shelter us, take us to interesting places around the world, and carry us throughout life. Before putting on your bathing suit, take few minutes to write down everything your body does for you – take the time to express gratitude for yourself and your body. This will cultivate a more loving attitude towards your body, rather than focusing on the flaws.

Know You Are Not Alone

More people have bathing suit anxiety than you know! Fitness magazine reports the following survey results:

  • 18% would rather go to the dentist or walk on hot coals than wear a bathing suit.  
  • 60% admit to being their worst critic when asked to pick problem areas on their body.
  • 45% plan to wear a cover up at the beach on account of bathing suit anxiety.
  • 50% would turn down an invitation that requires wearing a bathing suit altogether.

Not everyone is ‘comfortable’ or ‘confident’ in a bathing suit – most people aren’t, no matter their body type, even though many act as if they are.

Know That the Media Portrays Unrealistic Body Standards

Surprisingly, even though almost 70% of U.S. women are above a size 14 in clothes, a.k.a. “plus-size”, only 2% of women in the media are “plus-size”. So instead of following “aspirational” accounts that feed into unrealistic portrayals of bikini bodies, try supporting and following influencers and role models who inspire you to be a better friend to yourself.

Adopt A Carefree Attitude

There’s something admirable about kids’ attitudes at the beach. Their carefree attitudes are something to embody and aspire towards. Instead of being self-conscious about what they’re wearing, they’re busying themselves with splashing in the water and finding treasures. Adopting a similar attitude is key to having fun this summer!

Be Honest with Where You’re At

If you’re still not comfortable enough to wear a bathing suit, or if you want to wear a cover-up – there’s nothing wrong with that! Focus on how far you have come instead of how far you have to go. As you move forward with your RM weight loss journey, you will undoubtedly gain confidence. Remember the tips above, and be patient. Take it one step at a time.

For additional support, call 800-239-7830 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kim Feinstein, Red Mountain’s Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Behavioral Weight Loss Specialist.


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