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 founded EllenG Coaching, LLC to help individuals struggling with health issues that can be impacted by positive lifestyle change, such as weight loss, stress management, exercise, and life/work balance. As a certified professional wellness coach and certified personal trainer, Ellen holds a BS and Masters in Physical Education and is certified by ACSM, AFAA, and Wellcoaches Corporation. Visit her at Get her complimentary report, 52 Tips, Tools & Tricks to Permanent Weight Loss Without Going on a Diet, at

Member Comments

  • I notice that regardless of size, if a person feels good in what they're wearing...they look great in it! I've found that the secret to looking good in anything is to rock it! I have stretch marks, cellulite, and flabby parts...and I wear whatever swimsuit I feel like (from a one piece to tankinis and even bikinis). Over time, I've noticed how gorgeous women look when they own their bodies & what they're wearing. I know for me, I'm usually too busy having fun to even notice or care if anyone's looking at me. I'm not out there to put on a show for anyone...I'm out there to play! :)

    The bottom line is, even if you're wearing the most ridiculous outfit in the world, you can still look amazing in it if you wear it with pride. - 3/23/2016 9:18:05 AM
  • I keep thinking I want to get a new swimsuit but it's not really a body image/self esteem type of issue. My body is not that well proportioned anymore, but that's not my real issue. It's just that I am very, very conservative/mode
    st and usually I can find either the top or bottom of 1 piece or 2 piece swimsuits that looks right but not both. Also, the cost of swimsuits that I have liked is usually pretty high for my budget. - 1/30/2016 2:40:19 PM
  • I'm a talented seamstress so I skip the stores altogether and make my own swimsuits. I like the versatility of 2 piece suits, and I adore retro styles and halter necks. My #1 suit is a blue tankini that ties around the neck and has a palm tree print. My #2 is a retro style hot pink hibiscus print halter-neck swimdress. It skims rather than clings and looks hella cute. :) The pros of making my own is that I can fit as I go, and tweak it to my body. The cons are it's hard to find cute 4-way stretch fabrics, nylon fuzzy thread, and metal bikini clips around here. Hello internet shopping. :D One of my treats to myself when I hit my halfway goal is to splurge on some cherry-print 4-way stretch for a new suit.

    As an aside... am I the only one around who detests the term "bathing" suit? Bathing makes me think of soap and shampoo, of scrubbing and getting clean. Bathing sounds old-fashioned and totally weird. "Whaddaya mean bathing suit? That's my skin, man!" I'm all for "swim" suit, thanks. ^_^ - 7/19/2015 12:21:34 PM
  • swim dressses, found some pretty ones at amazon and swimsuits for all, and wow, i feel like i'm ready for a cocktail party followed by adult swim. very pretty, handles my 'front porch' and hides the worst of my upper thighs. delicious rich colors and i feel appropriately dressed for my age (57) and my weight (190). skip the walmart experience. - 6/25/2015 12:54:28 PM
  • Being obese is bad enough but I also have very prominent varicose veins. There are a lot of exercise options I can participate in that don't involve wearing something that decreases my self image. Sorry, no swimsuits for me! - 6/24/2015 2:18:36 PM
  • 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
    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
    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 - 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!! is such a great place for that!! Have a healthy day!! - 7/18/2014 10:37:14 AM

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