With spring break well underway, the number of girls complaining that they feel fat or that they need to “just not eat” for the next few days has skyrocketed. I’d be lying if I said every time I looked in the mirror I thought to myself, “damn what a fine piece of ass we have here” but I as someone who has struggled with body image for years, I can honestly say that my view of myself has changed for the better recently. I am almost 6 feet tall, have linebacker-broad shoulders, and haven’t had a thigh gap well…ever. Even though I am far from what your average human would describe as having the “perfect bikini body” I have recently found the confidence to get in a bikini and lick popsicles seductively poolside right next to the girls who should probably drop out of school to be Victoria’s Secret models. That being said, here are a few tips of my own that I hope any girl who struggles with body image can use to find the confidence to rock a bikini.
1. Customize Bikini Shopping
Let’s be honest, sometimes bikini shopping fucking sucks. The lighting in the dressing room is shit, you feel period-bloated, and the quesadilla wrapped Chipotle burrito you ate for lunch feels like it already made its way to your ass. It’s easy to get into a negative mindset when comparing yourself to the swimsuit models in the ads surrounding the racks. I’ve found that picking a few of the bikinis that catch my eye and trying them on at home helps a ton when trying to feel confident in a bikini decision. You can always return the swimsuits that ultimately don’t work out but sometimes bringing yourself to buy a bikini in the first place can be the most intimidating part. Take them home, try them on when you are feeling “morning skinny” or just feeling hot in general. Having bathing suits actively on hand is the first step to getting your toes in the sand.
2. Love Your Bikini
It can be super easy to get sucked into impulse buying bathing suits that are on clearance because it’s not “bikini season.” Sometimes you get lucky and find the perfect suit for fifty percent off but more often than not, the sale racks are littered with reject bikinis that are poorly shaped, ill-fitting, or are strange colors that didn’t appeal to anyone. Bikinis are a wardrobe item that it’s okay to splurge on to find the perfect fit. It’s better to have one or two bathing suits that you feel totally bangin’ in than ten from the target clearance rack that don’t fit perfectly and you consequently never want to wear.
3. Stay Hydrated
There’s this weird myth that drinking water will make you bloated but this is actually the complete opposite of the truth. Dehydrating yourself will actually make you more bloated because your body hoards water in places which ultimately increase the appearance of a bikini bulge. #Science.
4. Avoid Bubbly Beverages Poolside
Although diet sodas may be calorie-free and chilled champagne can be seemingly refreshing, any carbonated drink traps gas in your tummy that can make you feel bloated. Trade the bubbly booze mixers for juices to keep your stomach feeling flat.
5. Get A Spray Tan
Building the confidence to lay out and tan by the pool can take time but if being tan will help give you enough confidence to get poolside take advantage of that! I personally feel more confident in a bikini when I can pair a two piece with a golden glow (read: when I am basically carrot orange) therefore I shamelessly hit the tanning bed the days before pool parties to avoid feeling pasty next to the regular pool-goers. While you should avoid using tanning beds regularly (because, cancer) spray tans or moderate bed usage can be helpful until you can get a real tan of your own. (Note: if you were blessed with porcelain doll skin and can’t physically tan then don’t fuck with it. Trust.)
6. Use Sunscreen
Although anyone who actually enjoys rubbing a creamy white substance around on their body is probably every horny teenage guy’s dream girl, this kind of girl is not by any means the majority. Putting on sunscreen can be a pain in the ass and easy to blow off but if there’s anything that’s going to make you even more self-conscious half-naked it’s going to be being lobster red. Save yourself the extra worry (and possible pain) and lather up.
7. Draw Attention To Something You ARE Confident In
I personally get super self-conscious about my belly when I’m in a bikini. Instead of drawing negative attention to an area of myself that I’m not super confident about, I’ve found it helpful to direct my attention to my hair — a quality that I am more confident about. Instead of thinking about my stomach (and consequently touching, placing hands over, etc.) I frequently tousle my hair. The more you touch something, the more attention you will draw to it. By avoiding placing my hands near my midsection it helps me not only not think about it as much but also turns watching eyes upwards towards my head.
8. Give Yourself Positive Affirmation
If you tell yourself something enough times you will eventually believe it. Looking in the mirror and thinking negative thoughts isn’t going to do anything for you in the long or short run. Next time you look at your reflection, mentally give yourself a compliment. Get in the habit of thinking something positive every time you see yourself whether you are clothed or naked. It sounds dorky, but it will make a huge difference when you’re basically naked around a whole bunch of college kids.
Oh, and did I mention that a little bit of tequila is always a great tool to use when trying to let loose? A few shots of that and you’ll forget what self-conscious even means..
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