Health & Wellness Articles

Boost Your Bathing Suit Confidence

How to Feel Your Best When You're Baring It All

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While training one of my clients, we had a conversation that left me thinking for days. Elaine has been exercising with me for over 10 years, is in her seventies, and truly one of my role models. Her high energy, devotion to staying fit and healthy, and positive attitude towards life—along with her trim and toned body—were things that I admired.

I mentioned how happy I was that I had bought some new bathing suits before a winter vacation, and thus could avoid the dreaded bathing suit shopping that we all embark on come spring. (Yes, I too, put bathing suit shopping on the top of my list of things I prefer to avoid.)

Elaine replied, "I haven't worn a bathing suit in over 20 years." I was shocked and confused. This is a woman who travels to Florida a few times each winter, has a beautiful pool in her backyard that her grandchildren play in all summer, and has a body most 70-year-olds would envy. Why in the world would she deny herself the joys of swimming and playing in the pool or lounging on the Florida beaches?

Her answer: "I can't stand to have my body that bare for the world to look at. It's wrinkled, flabby and old!" Her response was upsetting. If someone like Elaine, a self-assured, confident and smart woman, has body image issues, is there hope for any of us? And, will these feelings follow us through life, into our 70s, 80s and beyond? How in the world did it get like this?

At this time of year, the warm weather can dramatically affect our body images. We shed our bulky sweaters and jackets, no longer able to hide our bodies from the outside world. Shorts replace pants, spaghetti straps replace long sleeves, and of course, a visit to the beach bares even more!

Media headlines all share a common theme, promoting quick weight loss, summer shape-ups, and choosing the right bathing suit to hide your flaws. Their message is loud and clear: You can't possibly be thin enough, toned enough or strong enough. Even the most confident might begin to doubt their body is ready to be exposed to the world. And if you have been working on weight loss or improving fitness, whatever progress that's been made is quickly forgotten when the focus is on how far from "summer ready" you are. Many end up dreading the season that should be filled with fun!
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About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen Goldman has bachelor's and master's degrees in health and physical education. An AFAA-certified personal trainer and certified wellness coach, she is also the founder EnerG Coaching, LLC. Through one-on-one and group sessions, Ellen helps individuals make positive lifestyle changes, lose weight, manage stress and attain work-life balance. Visit her at www.EnerGcoaching.com.

Member Comments

  • Sorry, I meant haven't been in a pool for at least that many years! Typo! - 5/22/2015 3:19:45 PM
  • Ya know, I have always loved swimming but haven't been in a swimsuit in at least 20 years maybe more and have been in a swimming pool for probably the same. I usually will not even wear shorts! Typing this makes me want to cry because I miss the pool! - 5/22/2015 3:17:54 PM
  • Hate the poll options - it implies that modesty = low self esteem, and that, my friends, is utter bollocks.
    I do boy shorts and a tank because it's inappropriate to run around in public with all your bits hanging out, fat or thin. - 5/20/2015 9:50:02 AM
  • Men go through the same process as Women, but no-one addresses the issue. I've seen women off all sizes and shapes in swimsuits, and they all look good to me, but the thing is it's the self-image. - 3/29/2015 3:40:57 AM
  • ETHELMERZ
    I'm glad I hate to go into any water, so worrying about a bathing Suit was one guilt trip I never had to go on, and even being slim, I don't care at all now about it! - 3/28/2015 8:09:45 AM
  • "How in the world did it get like this?" It's always been like this. As far back as I can remember (and my 57th birthday is this year), bathing-suit season is fraught with self-consciousnes
    s. As we age our bodies change and a bathing suit is the most revealing outfit we wear in public. I could care less what anyone thinks except for how I feel when I am wearing the suit and there's nothing wrong with realistically assessing our bodies when choosing one. The more it flatters, the better. Now go and enjoy sun, surf and sand! - 3/27/2015 1:09:26 PM
  • TTOMPSON
    I want to get my confidence back when I'm wearing a bathing suit. I have been wearing boys trunks and a tankini top for too long. It's not even that flattering. I just need to buy the right kind of bathing suit. http://www.brigit
    ewear.com - 9/29/2014 3:24:05 PM
  • I thought you guys would appreciate this also! My husband actually helped me pick out the men's swim trunks I ended up buying. - 7/18/2014 9:49:52 PM
  • I recently decided to buy a pair of men's swim suit shorts. They are cute and flattering and at my age I just don't think it is appropriate for someone my age to act like a teen in a skippy swimsuit. I feel more comfortable moving around the pool and other activities. I have always had large thighs even when I was young and only 105lbs. I just think our wardrobe choices are limited--skippy. I have noticed more swim shorts of late but even shorts are too short for me so I buy longer ones. I actually buy mens shorts champion and they are longer for walking. women's shorts seem to want to pull up when I walk. I truly don't dislike my body but have come to terms with age and sagging too. Also as I have gotten older I don't feel like I have to flaunt my body like I did when I was a younger girl. I think that is also a whole image issue with women that we are made to feel that we need to wear the trend or smaller clothes. We need to wear what we are comfortable wearing. Hell with if a man likes it or not. - 7/18/2014 9:44:15 PM
  • Thanks so much for this well written article!! It's oh so real and nice to hear the lower numbers of life (as I refer to the 30-50 age groups) address the aging issues! we upper age group folks learn to "dance" with : )
    As for your friend and client I say she's right. "It ain't pretty" but we need to work our way through it using the same drive and wisdom that gives our aging bodies the look everyone admires and comments on.
    It's fun making up your own "swimming threads" as I call them. I think they look pretty good and thats all I'm aiming for at this point of my life.
    And Elaine there's no prettier sight than someone enjoying their lives,loved ones,etc. Thanks for sharing your "root" feelings with your co-sparkers who,like yourself,enjoy physical fitness and feeling as good as you look!! SparkPeople.com is such a great place for that!! Have a healthy day!! - 7/18/2014 10:37:14 AM
  • I do not like this article...I do not swim, so I don`t buy swimsuist,....but If I did swim, I`d not be buying one to show off my body, (or any part of it) I`d buy one to be able to swim in it!! - 4/22/2014 2:19:21 PM
  • For large-thied ladies, those cute add-on skirts are great additions to a bathing suit. I agree that we ALL have good and bad areas and a good suit will show off the right things while toning down the wrong ones. All stylists to the stars (think Oscars) know this.

    One of my mantras is "I'm not where I want to be, but I'm not where I was." For bathing suit weather, I'm keeping my old suit that looks better now that I've gone down some, even though it isn't the bikini I want to buy when I get to that proverbial "there" place. I'm happy even if I have to stay where I am, and I'm okay with this suit. I look better in it than I used to and I'm accepting myself for how I look in it now, sexy or not. Chances are I'd be more self-conscious in a bikini anyway!
    - 4/22/2014 12:09:46 PM
  • "Beliefs are just opinions we develop loyalty to." Love it! - 7/24/2013 9:13:49 AM

  • For those looking try www.swimsuitsfora
    ll.com
    They have a huge selection and reasonable prices especially when on sale.
    Every suit I own (and that's a lot) is from this site. Read the reviews because some do run small and reviewers will tell it like it is. - 6/17/2013 9:08:33 PM
  • I like wearing black. It's sexy and cool. I don't look at clothes thinking "oh yeah, this will make me look thin". - 6/16/2013 4:08:56 PM

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