By Emily Edling, Montclair State University Graduate Student, Aterra Intern, and Future RD
"Honestly, I’m uncomfortable in my bathing suit."
Many of us are excited for the summer season to be here. And many of us dread being at the pool or beach in our bathing suits.
If those uncomfortable feelings are creeping up, take notice of them (our thoughts and feelings are useful and we don’t need to ignore them) but quiet them with something true that resonates with you in that moment:
“I’m grateful for this body;"
"I’m looking forward to enjoying the sun;"
"I’m going to relax on the boat today;"
"I can’t wait to catch up with a friend at the beach today.”
We can push back on diet culture by noticing the thoughts that come to mind, but rephrasing with truth. Our appearance is the least interesting thing about us and we are not defined by the size or shape of our bodies. Others at the pool are likely not focused on you - in fact, they may (unfortunately) also be focused on their own feelings of self-consciousness.
One practical note: wear a suit that fits your body! Being physically uncomfortable in a piece of clothing naturally draws our attention back to our body. You might enjoy your time more if you’re physically comfortable in what you’re wearing, and FEEL GOOD wearing it!
When negative body comments come up in our own mind or a friend mentions body talk poolside, we have the chance to gently push back on that with some truth. It’s wonderful that our bodies come in all shapes and sizes. We will all encounter ‘imperfections’, health issues and possibly disabilities in our lifetime. We are more than our bodies. There might be days we feel uncomfortable in our skin - that’s an experience most of us share at some point.
Participating in conversations where the focus is on our bodies (even positive compliments about bodies) reinforces this "significance" of our outward appearance. When you have the chance, redirect the conversation to things that really matter. Instead of a compliment about your friend looking great, mention something you appreciate about her, or simply that you’ve been looking forward to this time together.
It’s a journey to learn to reframe our thoughts that can feel stuck in the diet culture mentality. Be patient with yourself as you remember that you’re much more than your body.
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Blog Disclaimer: Everyone's Intuitive Eating journey will be different. While I am a registered dietitian, I may not be your dietitian, personally. All blog posts are for informational and educational purposes only and may not be the best fit for your personal situation. Information shall not be construed as medical nutrition therapy or advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. It is not intended to replace individual nutrition care or nutrition counseling with a registered dietitian. Always check with your own registered dietitian and physician or medical treatment team before trying or implementing any information read here.
If you choose, Aterra Nutrition would be happy to help you in your own, individual nutrition and intuitive eating journey.