Every year around this time, department store dressing rooms echo with the disgruntled sighs of women trying on swimwear. Armed with at least a half dozen spandex garments of various shapes, sizes and colors, nothing can morph a mature woman into an awkward adolescent like a full length, three-sided mirror. Spandex-induced anxiety tops the charts in the summertime, leaving many women hating their own bodies and refusing to enjoy water activities. But there are ways to reasonably tackle swimwear terror without starvation or 24-hour exercise.
Women in particular demand weight loss counseling in the summer months, wanting to look fabulous in the latest swimwear style. Magazine images of gorgeous, pin thin models sporting ribbons of fabric that pass for swimsuits can spur self-image distress and drastic dieting. Starvation and fad diets may purge a few pounds, but dieting for a piece of clothing is rarely successful..and skinniness doesn’t guarantee happiness or body satisfaction.
Inner body bullies torture even the most athletic and shapely women. As the former nutritionist for a large entertainment group I recall the first day the performers donned their flesh-colored, spandex uni-tards. Tears, screams and cries of bulging bellies reverberated backstage. These trained athletes, with panic in their eyes as they evaluated their reflections in the mirror, swore off food and declared to exercise even more. So why does a stretchy fabric designed for comfort and fun have such a nasty effect? The answer lies in the fabric of our minds. Body image and beauty are in the eye of the beholder.