The pools are open! Which means it’s swimsuit season. And don’t worry — we’re not about to do some silly post on how to get your body “bikini-ready.” (It already is; put on a bikini!) BUT, what we do want to share is a super fabulous guest post on swimsuit confidence from Erin Risius, the program director at Green Mountain at Fox Run, a retreat for women who are ready to end their struggles with eating and weight without dieting. Erin understands the ebb and flow that inevitably permeates the process of change and is passionate about creating and implementing wellness programs that elicit results in a positive, supportive environment. That pretty much means that Erin is anti-diet like us! And her approach to getting “bikini-ready?” Well, it’s all about having swimsuit confidence — not having the perfect abs or thighs or whatever thing you’ve been told needs fixing.
5 Tips to Gain Swimsuit Confidence From Erin Risius
Swimsuit season is right around the corner and the key to feeling confident in a swimsuit and unlocking your inner goddess is to take a closer look at how you feel and how you think about your body. I’m talking about body image.
How you feel about your body and self will affect how you walk in the world — whether it’s in a bikini or a paper bag. So, take a moment and do a “health check” of your own body image. If you determine it could use a boost, start with one (or all) of these five ways to boost your overall confidence.
1. Say shhhhhhhhhhh! to your critical voice. Body image can take a nosedive from negative self-talk, so if yours is more deprecating than accepting, it’s time to change your mind — literally. Research shows that you can rewire your brain. Just like a muscle, you can strengthen neural pathways with attention or weaken them with inattention. This is powerful information because it means you can consciously stop negative self-talk by quieting the original negative thought and reframing it to a more positive one. So, if you often say to yourself “My thighs are too fat” — first interrupt the thought and then re-word it to: “My thighs are strong and enable me to swim” or to “My thighs are beautiful and strong.” Choose a thought that feels authentic, and in time, the original negative thought pattern will become background noise. Try it — it works!
2. Learn to take a compliment. Accepting and embracing compliments from others is just as important as monitoring and reframing your own self-talk. Downplaying what makes you special, amazing and unique isn’t a show of humility — it’s disempowering and fuels negative body image. Instead, own your strengths and positive qualities, and the uniqueness of YOU. Stop blowing off compliments and welcome them with grace. Commit to taking the positive in – you deserve it!
3. Move to improve self image and confidence. One of the best boosts for self-confidence is to move! I’m not talking about the type of exercise that is aimed at shaping your body — but about daily movement that feels good and leaves you feeling energized, not drained. I’m sure you’ve experienced the difference. Think bootcamp versus dancing or hiking. Don’t the latter two choices sound much more pleasurable? Joyful movement boosts self-esteem, elevates mood, improves sleep patterns, sharpens memory and decreases anxiety, to name a few benefits. A happy, less stressed self tends to be a more confident self.
4. Honor your strengths. In a culture that obsessively values body size and air-brushed images, it’s easy to believe in what the media defines as beautiful. These external voices often become internalized and body image pays the price. One way to combat this phenomenon is to rise above the superficiality of what is deemed worthy by society. Remove yourself from weight-loss talk and try something different. Start honoring your strengths and focus on the physical or intrinsic qualities that you like about yourself. Try that on for size and you can find that a sense of inner confidence begins to overshadow insecurities.
5. Let go and let be. According to a Gallup poll across 150 countries, a sense of well-being has everything to do with the quality of our experiences in life, not material or superficial gain. Thus, focusing on being in the moment and on what is truly important in life may help prevent the negative body image trap. Next time you are at the pool or ocean enjoy the company you are with, the conversations you are having and the feel of the sun on your body. Let go, let be … and savor the moment!
Weren’t those swimsuit confidence tips refreshing and awesome?! Thanks, Erin! Tell us: how confident do you feel in a swimsuit? How are you going to make this summer your most confident swimsuit season yet? —Jenn