Bikini Bodies and Body Confidence

Updated: Aug 4

The only ''how to get a bikini body guide'' you'll need this summer.

Summer marks that time of year where bikinis hit the shops and magazine covers, filled with “how to get a bikini body” titles! The pressure is on to change our bodies quickly, for the summer that has already arrived. This pressure can bring sudden panic about what our bodies will look like on the beach and can leave many people feeling less confident.

This can lead individuals to turn to fairly extreme diets in the quest for beach beauty. Fad diets that promote the rapid shedding of pounds with the promise of boosting confidence and self-esteem are very popular this time of year. As a nation we can become so focussed on getting a “bikini body” that we may stop nourishing ourselves properly, which has a detrimental effect on both our mental and physical health.

First, let’s talk about calories. As we are aware that to lose weight, we need to burn more calories than we eat, this cannot be so simple. If we reduce the calorie intake rapidly, the body will attempt to save energy and hold on to its fat reserves to protect itself from starvation. To do this, it will reduce the metabolism considerably.

The metabolism is the rate at which calories are being burned off. It is easy for the metabolism to reduce its activity and to get stuck when constantly reducing the amount of calories consumed per day in order to aim for losing weight as fast as possible.


As a matter of fact, when the metabolism slows down as a consequence of ‘crash dieting’, it is observed that when turning back to normal eating behaviours, all the weight that was lost is being re-gained!


Solution!

In order to avoid this happening, try reducing your calorific intake gradually whilst increasing your physical activity levels; in this way, the metabolism will remain active. Also, by maintaining a healthy and balanced eating pattern you shall notice that that the weight loss will occur gradually; and this is a healthier approach to slimming and a sustainable way to maintain your result!


In addition, another fact to think of is that by reducing dramatically the calorie intake in a short-period of time, it can result to affecting the long-term health as it becomes difficult for the body to meet its demands for nutrients; this is a fact for any fad diet that is imposing the idea of skipping meals or cutting out whole food groups (i.e Carbohydrates). Each nutrient is important and has specific functions within the body. If we do not provide the body with the ‘fuel’ that it requires over a period of time, our health can be in risk. As for example we may start experiencing fatigue, developing digestive problems and it may affect our fertility, our appearance – such as losing hair and even our mental health.


Types of fuel our bodies require:

Proteins

We need protein so our bodies can function correctly for growth, healing and repair. Also, with the consumption of protein we can move our own fat into the muscle cells to be broken down. By consuming protein from a variety of sources (beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish and lean whole cuts of meat) we can nourish our bodies on a cellular level and our bodies can create the proteins required to form hormones, build enzymes and repair our tissues.


Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide the body and brain with the energy it needs to function properly; and as we need energy to be able to move, to breathe and to think, we require to consume the best types of Carbohydrates. These are the carbs also known as complex, meaning the whole grains and vegetables.


TIP!

Try to cut out unhealthy/ processed foods, high in fast-releasing sugars.


Fats

Fats are important for the normal functioning of the central nervous system, the formation of hormones that affect how we think and feel and the transportation of nutrients around the body (which is happening with the aid of fat soluble vitamins). The best fats are found in foods such as: olives, avocados, eggs, oily fish, nuts and seeds. However, unhealthy fats are commonly seen in processed foods, such as trans fats which are chemical man-made fats to preserve food.

Vitamins & Minerals

All vitamins and minerals have an important function in the body. For example, we need Vitamin A to be able to see; Calcium & Vitamin D to keep our bones strong and to support our glands. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the richest sources of these, and they also contain antioxidants and fibre. These will not only help you to slim, but also to ensure your skin glows too.


TIP!

Check out the Eatwell guide for more information about the different food groups and in what quantities we should be consuming them in.


No “bikini body” is not worth damaging our health for. It is more effective to work towards improving our appearance in a way that optimises mental and physical wellbeing.


Brain training for body confidence

It is hard when we are bombarded by the media and social pressures to look in a certain way; but the truth is that we can’t be anyone else other than who we are. Life is too short to be unhappy in yourself. Here are some top tips on how you can boost your body confidence and feel happier in the skin you are in so that you can enjoy the summer.


Be mindful of your self-talk

We can be so self-critical and say things to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to a human being. I have seen clients look at themselves in the mirror and exclaim “I am SO unattractive!”. Imagine walking straight up to a stranger and saying that. You wouldn’t, right? So why to do this to yourself? Treat yourself with the same kindness and respect that you would treat others.


Don’t compare

It is fine to appreciate and admire others. It’s not ok to compare yourself unfavourably though. Beauty really can come in all shapes and sizes, train your brain to appreciate what you’ve got. You can train your brain by finding things to appreciate about yourself; try it as a mindfulness activity.