Swimsuit Season | A Trigger for Women and Eating Disorders?
Yes, it's the time of the year that most women detest--swimsuit season.
For many of us, summer doesn't conjure up images of beaches and barbecues. Instead, we think of pool parties, luau-themed cookouts and beach vacations where we have to wear a bathing suit in front of our friends, family and strangers (a fate worse than 22 hours of labor) and try to feel good about ourselves. Maybe this means nothing more than strategic placement of sarongs or buying cute cover-ups. However, for other women, this triggers something much more serious.
According the National Eating Disorders Association, 10 million females suffer from a variety of eating disorders. In today's society, women find it harder and harder to live up to the "perfect" female image shown on magazine covers and during swimsuit commercials. With Botox, liposuction and plastic surgery becoming the norm, women who don't have the means for these sometimes expensive procedures may be turning to binging and purging as a way to achieve what they perceive as a "quick fix" to their swimsuit body issues.
So what can you do with your swimsuit blues to prevent it from becoming something more serious?
1. Focus on health instead of dieting. Yo-yo dieting--including binging and purging--not only affects self esteem, but can lead to bigger issues such as depression and heart problems. Focus on a healthy diet of lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables and not just counting calories. Don't forget to drink that water!
2. Have fun with your wardrobe. An invitation to a pool party doesn't necessarily mean you have to swim. If you're not up for a dip, wear a cute flowing skirt and a tank. You can still get the sun and stay cool without revealing more than you want.
3. Talk to a friend. If you're having even fleeting thoughts about binging and purging to get into shape, tell a close trusted friend who will keep an eye on you. When you share your fears, you may just find the support you need.
4. Call a professional. Thoughts of binging or purging to get into your bathing suit may be an indication of a more serious issue that will follow you right out of bathing suit season and into the holidays. You can talk to a professional 24 hours from Eating Disorder Hope at 1-800-273-TALK to help you or someone you know.
Ladies, how do you avoid negative body image issues during swimsuit season?