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How to Feel Good in Your Summer Clothes
By Diane Petrella, MSW
It's t-shirt and bathing suit season but, if you're uncomfortable with your body, a day at the beach is no picnic. Body insecurity, due to being overweight or having a distorted self-image, increases along with the rise in temperature. Don't sweat it. Develop the self-assurance you need to stay cool and confident.
Meet Amy and Susan
Amy has lost eighteen pounds toward her goal of releasing ninety. Obese since childhood, this twenty-seven year old woman embraces summer, and life, with joy. "I wear a bathing suit with shorts to the beach," she says. "It's not that I'm embarrassed about my body, it's just that I feel more comfortable covered up a bit more. I mostly love to wear cute sundresses. I don't care what anyone thinks about how I look. I love myself and that's all that matters."
Susan is thirty-four and wants to release twenty pounds. She's been yo-yo dieting for years and emotionally punishes herself relentlessly. "I hate my legs. I won't wear a bathing suit, but if I do, it's only at my condo pool when no one's there. I make sure I have a towel around me and leave it by the edge of the pool. That way I can cover up fast after swimming. I mostly wear pants because I can't stand it if anyone looks at my fat thighs."
Rude remarks and contemptuous glances from prejudiced people can be demoralizing. But the ignorance of others doesn't have to ruin your beautiful sunshine filled day. Do what Amy does and connect with your inner power by saying to yourself, "What you may think of me has nothing to do with me." Then go on your way.
Becoming resistant to the judgments of others also means acknowledging our own. Be honest with yourself. Who have you recently judged harshly? For example, have you ever reassured yourself, as Susan does, by saying, "Well, at least I don't look like that"? If so, apologize in your mind and send that person a non-verbal message of love.
Sometimes the abuse by others is nothing compared to the abuse we give to ourselves. For Susan, even a neutral glance from a stranger feels like criticism because that's the lens through which she views herself. Developing self-love will buffer her from the negativity of others.
Here are three quick and easy confidence boosters:
Try this simple experiment: Slouch down, droop your shoulders and lower your head slightly. What does that feel like? Now stand tall, pull your shoulders back and hold your head high. Do you feel the difference? Even a minor posture adjustment will uplift your mood as you enjoy that relaxing walk along the beach.
Be generous with praise. If you like someone's dress, tell them. The fastest way to feel confident and joyful is to give love and kindness to others.
Honor Your Choices
Do you want to wear that bathing suit? Or do you prefer shorts at the beach? Do you prefer a sleeveless top or covering your arms all the way? Resist being controlled by what you think you "should" do, or by what you think others think of you. Do what feels most comfortable. Like Amy, the respect you have for yourself, and your body, is all that matters.
What helps you feel confident?
Diane Petrella, MSW is a psychotherapist and life coach. She offers her clients a spiritual approach to weight loss and helps them develop a loving, respectful relationship with their bodies. Receive a free copy of Diane’s Seven Easy & Effortless Weight Loss Secrets by signing up for her monthly e-newsletter, Living Lightly, for spiritual insights and tips to release weight with confidence and love. To contact Diane directly visit her website at www.dianepetrella.com.