June 15, 2021 by Megan Dahlman
Swimsuit Season! Essential Mindset Tips
With summer comes a lot of anticipation and excitement. We’re amped for the good weather and to go on vacations and do fun stuff with the family.
But there’s also a small sense of dread. We’re dreading wearing the smaller, more revealing clothes - like shorts, and tank tops, and heaven forbid, a swimsuit. Yikes! And sometimes this dread of putting on clothes makes us want to crawl back to winter and hide in our sweatpants and sweatshirts.
For the next two episodes, I want to help you tackle the dread of the swimsuit season, have a right perspective about it all, and even give you some practical tips on how you can actually feel your best this summer.
Summer Clothes Stories
We all have swimsuit and summer clothes stories. I remember one time I got a Nike swimsuit and I loved it cause it was a sporty two-piece and I felt pretty good in it. And we went to Hawaii, where, of course, a lot of pictures were taken, and in every single picture I saw of me in that blue two-piece swimsuit, I hated it! I felt great in the moment while I was wearing it, but when I saw the pictures I was disgusted. How did I wear that? It cut me at all the wrong spots, my love handles were accentuated, and I felt like I looked like a big box.
Today I want to help you with some really important mindset tips as you go into “small clothes” season. I don’t want you to deal with that dread of putting on those clothes or even the swimsuit, and I definitely don’t want you to miss out on the fun this summer because you’re embarrassed to wear the clothes and would rather hide.
- Typical attitude and behaviors heading into summer - the things everyone else around us are probably doing
- Some quick reality checks about your body
- How to change your attitude and mindset about your body
- A quick chat about your wardrobe
Typical attitude and behaviors heading into summer
We see the shorts, tank tops, and swimsuits coming and we frantically try to tidy and tighten our bodies up
- Crash dieting - “cut out a lot of calories”
- Extra exercise - “burn a lot of calories”
- Maybe even spot training - “target all those squishy spots”
- These behaviors are encouraged by everyone around us.
- Magazine covers
- Workout program ads
- Diet ads
- It’s all aimed at helping you shed fat fast so you can confidently flaunt your body in a bikini
- We even have entire programs called beach body or bikini body guide
- We feel like we should be doing all-the-things to trim our body down so that we can be worthy of putting on summer clothes
- And if we don’t do those things, or muster up the energy and time and commitment to make that happen, we hide instead.
- We don’t feel lovely enough to wear the same clothes or to put on the swimsuit and wear it like someone else can
- So you either wear it and feel self-conscious or embarrassed the entire time, or you don’t wear it at all
- I remember years ago going on a boat trip for the day with friends, and of course, we were all in swimsuits all day long. I think I was majorly pregnant at the time, so no clothes feel remotely comfortable anyway.
- My friend wore a black two-piece that day. It was cute, it fit her well. But I vividly remember observing her all day long looking down at her stomach, adjusting things to try and minimize any rolls, and noticeably sucking her stomach in. It made me sad. (What really made me sad was that years later I watched her teenage daughter do this same thing.)
- She spent the entire day so self-conscious. We were all best friends, and none of us cared whether her stomach was flat and toned in the suit. But you could tell she cared so much.
- I just wanted to say, “own it!”
- I think some of our harsh self-criticism stems from the fact that we judge others in their summer clothes, too. Don’t deny it, we all do this!
- We size up one another and make judgment calls.
- You’re at the beach and see someone else that’s either super trim and toned, or overweight and a little bulgy. And we compare.
Quick reality check
- Everyone has body fat
- Everyone has cellulite
- Every body is designed differently, with a different genetic body type
- If you’re an Endomorph at the pool and you see an Ectomorph, and wish that you could look like her… stop yourself! She has a completely different body type and it’s no better than yours.
- And we all are human beings that struggle with feeling shame and embarrassment in our bodies. If you struggle with it, chances are that the person you’re judging or admiring is struggling with it, too.
Switching your attitude from “looking good” to “feeling good”.
How do you do this?
- Your body is already valuable, exactly how it is, right now.
- Contrary to what culture says, no amount of progress or weight loss or toning will make you more valuable or lovable.
- Don’t just dwell on the things that you want to see improve.
- Stop and make a list of things about your body that you already admire, exactly as they are right now. Sometimes we focus so much on what we don’t like that we completely overlook the marvelous and beautiful things about us. Your nose? Your hair? Your hands? Your thighs?
- Just like we talked about last week on the podcast, learn to be content in who you are and your unique body type.
- Set your thoughts about looks aside, and start noticing how your body feels.
- Are you strong? Specifically, what body part are you confident about its strength right now?
- Do you have energy?
- Do you have stamina and cardiovascular fitness?
- Is there anything that doesn’t feel good?
- Injury, weakness, deconditioned, lack of energy,
- Turn your attention on what you can do today to help your body feel a little bit better.
- Your body is already valuable, exactly how it is, right now.
- Think through everything you’d like your body to do this summer.
- Next week we’re going camping at Glacier National Park.
- I want to be able to hike, white water raft, go on long bike rides, and do it all over again.
- Is there anything that you’d like to do this summer that you’re feeling hesitant about?
- Turn your attention on what you can do today to help your body be able to do those things with confidence.
- Be adventurous with your body.
- Try a new physical activity this summer - kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding
- Don’t let the way you feel in your clothes prevent you from experiencing the real joy in these adventurous moments
Finally, assess your summer wardrobe:
- How do your clothes make you feel? If they’re tight and constrictive or loose and bunchy, you’re just not going to feel comfortable.
- Don’t look at the number on the tag - just wear clothes that feel good on your body.
- Do your summer clothes allow you to do the things you want to do this summer?
- Is your swimsuit going to allow you to play freely in the water with your kids?
- Are you shorts and shirts going to allow you to hike and run and bike ride?
- Ultimately, if your summer clothes feel good and allow you to do the things you want to do, then that’s enough!
- And you need to tell yourself that when you see a picture and your knee-jerk reaction is to criticize how you look.
Examples/Case Studies (You can do this, too!):
- My friend and member in the coaching program Jen - she started kayaking for the first time this last year. I watched her overcome her self-consciousness about her body and the way it looks, and turn her attention on how it feels and what it can do instead. She put her foot down and declared that she’s just going to be a fit and active woman that does adventurous, scary new things.
- I remember her first kayaking outing - she was so nervous beforehand about getting in and out of the kayak, and being able to paddle for a while.
- But then she reported back that she completely surprised herself and did amazing! Her joy about what her body just did was infectious. And, I have to say, it was bigger and better than any joy she could have experienced looking toned and trim in a bikini.
The big idea here is that…
- You need to stop trying to tidy and tighten your body up heading into summer
- Continue to remind yourself that every body is designed differently, with a different genetic body type. So let go of your expectations of what you should look like.
- Turn your attention on how your body feels and what your body can do.
- And then rejoice in that!!
Your action steps now are to:
- Go book that white water rafting trip 🙂
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