I love to swim, so recently I went shopping for a bathing suit. I knew it could bring up some negative thoughts. I decided the good feeling I get from swimming was more important than any negative feeling about trying on a bathing suit. I survived and got a suit that will fit my needs.
Soon after that shopping experience, I read an article about a study of women’s perception about themselves in bathing suits. The researcher, Marika Tiggemann (a psychologist at Flinders University in Australia) found that women feel more negative about their bodies when they are in the store trying on bathing suits as compared when they are wearing their bathing suit in public. She concluded that the negative thoughts were triggered by the bright lights, the intense look at the body and the large mirrors.
Here are some ideas to survive the trip to the store to try on bathing suits:
- Don’t spend too much time at the mirror.
- Counteract the negative voices that might be telling yourself that your body is not OK.
- Remember the fun you will have swimming.
- Don’t focus on the size of the suit (it is really just a number).
Many women feel self-conscious about their bodies, and being in a bathing suit can really magnify those negative thoughts.
I guess the option is to not go swimming, which I am sad to say many choose to avoid being seen in a bathing suit. My desire to swim is much greater than any self-conscious feelings I have. Maybe you are like me, considering myself a work in progress and trying to improve feelings about my body, knowing that swimming is great outdoor activity that leads to increased health and self-esteem.
Hey come on and join me at the pool, the water is great!
Kim McLaughlin LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (mfc 27667) with a counseling office in Roseville, CA. Kim McLaughlin specializes in counseling people with binge eating, compulsive eating and eating disorders. This blog is not meant to be a substitute for counseling and if you are in need of counseling services go to www.counselingcalifornia.com or contact Kim McLaughlin LMFT here.