Beat the Summer Body Image Blues

With warmer months here, there are so many things to enjoy: days at the beach, summer barbecues with family and friends, and relaxing by the pool. For some, these fun times are tinged with a difficulty surrounding our bodies and the way we feel in less clothing. Tank tops, shorts, and bathing suits show more of our bodies, and that can feel uncomfortable for some. Maybe it is related to how you feel or a fear of how others will perceive your body. This is a complex issue and certainly one that can take time and ongoing practice to work through, but here are some thoughts that might help you enjoy your summer more in your current body.

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  1. Positive body language. Body language is not just what we verbalize, but it’s also we say in our head. Each time a thought comes to mind, ask yourself: Is this true? Is it kind? Would I say this about my best friend? If not, why am I using these words toward my own body? Speaking and thinking positively about our bodies reframes our thoughts in a positive way.
  2. Stop the joy thief. Have you heard the saying “Comparison is the thief of joy”? This can definitely be true when it comes to comparing our bodies to others. Stop thoughts of comparison, and redirect your mind towards the activity or environment you are in (like enjoying the beauty of the ocean at the beach or playing with kids at the pool). Consider unfollowing social media accounts that lead you to negative comparisons
  3. Appreciate what your body can do. Can you swim in the pool? Can you enjoy the food at the barbecue? Can you play with your kids in the ocean? Being thankful for bodies that move and are healthy can be a great way to be more kind in our thoughts
  4. Buy clothes that are comfortable and you feel confident wearing. If last year's bathing suit or shorts no longer fit comfortably, buy new ones that you feel good about wearing. You don't need to wait to be a different size to feel and look great in your summer wardrobe!
  5. Talk to someone. Getting support from friends, family or a professional (dietitian, therapist, counselor) can help you work through the challenges of body image in a positive way.
  6. Enjoy doing your favorite things during the summer as these are moments you won’t be able to get back. Go to the pool party and enjoy swimming with friends, plunge into the ocean with your kids. Most importantly, enjoy the beauty of summer, and embrace all this season has to offer. 

Post by Stephanie Long, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator

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