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A GUIDE TO FEELING CONFIDENT IN THE SUMMER

It's officially summertime! The long-awaited season is finally here. That means warm weather, sunny days, lake weekends, family vacations, time off of work, and an overall relaxing time of the year. Everyone loves summer, right? Unfortunately, summer brings negative feelings for some people. Specifically, those that struggle with body image.

Body image is the way you feel about your appearance. It has a huge say in your mental/emotional well-being for some people. What does summer have to do with body image? A lot, actually. Summer can intensify negative thoughts about ones body image. Summer is a time for swimsuits, shorts, tank tops, and more skin showing. This can be upsetting and bring anxiety to those that don't love their body. There's so much talk about "bikini bodies" and "summer bodies" in the spring months. I am here to tell you that every body is a summer body! I know that it can be hard to believe this and feel confident in your own skin, so here are a few tips.

WEAR WHAT YOU FEEL GOOD IN

Bikinis, cutoff jean shorts, tank tops, and sundresses are what everyone wears in the summer. So it's what you have to wear, right? Wrong! Even though you deserve to feel good in anything, you should wear what you feel comfortable in. If that means an oversized tee and biker shorts or jeans and a t-shirt, go for it. You don't have to wear clothing you don't feel confident in just because everyone else is. You also don't have to look a certain way to wear summer clothes. Prioritize feeling good over fitting in.

SAY GOODBYE TO CLOTHES THAT DON'T FIT

Are you still holding on to that pair of size 8 jean shorts even though you wear a size 10 now because you want to fit them again? Donate them! We are not supposed to fit into our clothes, our clothes are supposed to fit us! Your jean size should not determine your happiness or confidence. Don't try to squeeze into the shorts you wore in college. Your body is always changing and growing. Let your wardrobe change with it.

DITCH THE DIETS

Stop trying out the "get slim fast" or "lose ten pounds in a week" diets. Truth is, these diets do more harm than good to your body and are just unrealistic. Try mindful eating instead! Eat clean and what your body wants! Stop eating when you're full, drink water with meals, and try to achieve a balanced diet. Don't restrict yourself from the foods you love. If losing weight would help you achieve a positive body image, try healthy and sustainable diets like a caloric deficit or reach out to a nutrition professional.

APPRECIATE YOUR BODY

Your body deserves an apology! It can be easy to pick out and focus on what we perceive as flaws. However, the truth is, you should be thankful for the body you have. Your body is good to you. It works around the clock, keeping you breathing, healthy, and strong. Food is fuel. Fuel your body. Foster a healthy body, you can do this by exercising regularly, staying active, drinking lots of water, and most importantly, loving your body. The first step in loving your body is taking care of your body.

So this summer, remember that you are more than a body. Try not to let your body image control you. Wear that bikini, go to the beach, eat the ice cream cone, donate the clothes you don't fit and replace them with clothes you feel confident in, and practice loving your body!

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