Are you tired of the magazines promising the latest fad diet that doesn’t work? Losing two dress sizes in two weeks may sound appealing but what are you having to endure to achieve it? Is it even possible or just more media lies? And will you even be happy at the end of the diet or just really hungry and bad tempered? This article aims to help you get beach body ready without any dieting or excessive exercising. For many of us, getting ready for the beach is a self-confidence issue rather than a weight issue. Therefore, we are going to look at the anxieties and challenges we face when getting into our swim suits and introduce CBT coping strategies to help us feel more body confident.
Challenge 1 – Dieting doesn’t necessarily make us confident in our swim suit
Body confidence doesn’t automatically come just because we diet. It doesn’t matter what weight we are or become, or what dress size we wear, if we don’t have body confidence then we are not going to feel beach ready. We could lose pounds and pounds and still feel unconfident in our swim suit. We may be an American size zero, or an U.K size 30 or anything in between. It doesn’t matter what size we are or become, it is how we feel about our size and how we feel in our swim suit.
Solution alternative to dieting
Stop focussing on fad diets and your weight and start focusing on making your body feel good. If you are a healthy weight then stop giving yourself a hard time and start appreciating your body. Fuel your body with good foods, enjoy eating and allow food to make your body feel energetic and well. Your body needs food and water to survive. Food is not the enemy.
If you are caught up in a cycle of overeating or eating foods that don’t make you feel good, then feeling low and hating yourself for this, you might want to consider getting some help. You don’t need to continue feeling this way. Often our issues with food can be a way of letting us know that our needs aren’t being met in another area of our life.
Challenge 2 – Concentrating on our body hangups and our criticisms
For many of us, the part(s) of our body that we hate sabotage our body-confidence. We can very easily focus on the negatives about our bodies and not see what is attractive about our bodies.
It is not our bodies that gives us confidence, it is our thinking and our beliefs that gives us body-confidence. Stop focussing on the negatives of your body and start focussing on the positives. Body confidence comes from within.
CBT Solution for addressing self-criticism
Look in the mirror and identify what you like about your body. What is you best asset?
Your best asset needs to be the focus of your attention especially when you are choosing your swim suit. Try on lots of swim suits and make sure that you pick one that shows off your best asset.
If you look in the mirror and you keep focussing on the negatives, you need to spend some time challenging or maybe accepting these thoughts. You may be over exaggerating how horrible your body part is. Try asking yourself the following questions: if this body part was on someone else would I be so negative about it? Would I even pay much attention to someone else’s body? Do others pay that much attention to this body part? Would others even notice this body part on me?What evidence is there to prove my thinking is accurate? Can I accept that this is my shape? Can I accept this is part of me despite not looking the way I would like? Can I accept this to be an important part of my body and may have a function which is more crucial to my wellbeing than the look of it?
Challenge 3 – Worrying about other people judging us and thinking negative thoughts about the way we look in our swim suit
When we take off our clothes and reveal our swimsuits on the beach or at the pool, we might have a rush of anxiety. We might have thoughts such as “everyone is looking at me” “everyone is judging me” “they are thinking negative thoughts about the way I look”. These thoughts are so common and of course they are going to make us feel anxious. We might even avoid taking our clothes off because of our anxiety or avoid standing up or going in the water.
Solution to get beach body confident
Challenge your anxious thinking. Firstly identify if you are anxious about what other people are thinking about you. Are you trying to mind read other people’s thoughts? Are you judging other people in their swimsuits in this way? Is there any proof that people are thinking what you are worried they are thinking about you?
If people are looking at you, what could be other reasons for them looking at you? Could they be admiring your swimsuit? Could they be thinking positive thoughts about the way you look? Could they be thinking that you look familiar? Could they be looking in your direction but not actually at you? Could they have bad eye sight and not have their glasses on? Could it be that many people who you are worried are looking at you, may not actually have noticed you at all? Do you notice everyone at all times?
We are not able to mind read, even if you think you know what people are thinking, it is not possible. Our thoughts are our own, stop worrying about what others are thinking because you will never know what they are thinking anyway.
Instead, allow your focus to be where you are. Look around you, enjoy yourself, connect with nature, breathe and become present in the moment.
Challenge 4 – Putting too much importance on receiving compliments, only lowers our body confidence
We may enjoy the compliments from others about our bodies especially when we lose weight/tone up but eventually these will lessen. People will get used to us being our smaller or more toned selves and we will no longer get as many compliments. If we base our body confidence on the appraisal of others, then we will start feeling insecure when the compliments dry up. Plus we can never really know what others are thinking because we can’t mind read.
Solution to body confidence
We have to believe we look good. Enjoy compliments but put your own opinion first. If you receive a compliment and agree with it, then accept it and own it. Believe that it is true because you think it to be true. Ensure that you continue to compliment yourself everyday. Remind yourself that although it is nice to receive compliments, it matters more that you compliment yourself. It is our thinking and beliefs which build our self-confidence or knock it down.
In summary, to get yourself beach body ready:
- Stop focussing on fad dieting and your weight and start concentrating on feeling good about your body. Allow your body to feel well and energised by eating good foods.
- Build your body confidence by concentrating on your best assets, choose a swimsuit that shows off your best features and challenge or accept your negative thinking about how your body looks.
- Challenge your worries about what other people will think about you in your swimsuit. We can’t mind read so we can’t know what other people are thinking even if we think it to be true. Focus on having a good time and being present.
- Compliment yourself everyday and believe that you look good. Try not to rely solely on receiving compliments from others to build your body-confidence.
I hope you have found this article helpful and more importantly I hope you enjoy holidaying with your beach ready bodies. If anything in this article has resonated with you and you want any further help, please contact me. I am a qualified Applied Psychologist and Life Coach and offer psychological coaching for self-esteem and body issues both in person in Edinburgh or remotely via video sessions to wherever you are.
Thank you to Channey for this week’s feature image from unsplash.