mindset techniques and coping tools for bathing suit shopping

3 Tips for Bathing Suit Shopping

Bathing suit shopping can be a dreaded experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Today I’m dropping 3 of my best tips for how to shop for your next bikini, tankini or one-piece without spiraling into self-hate or triggering a crash diet. Get in loser, we’re going shopping.


Before I dive deep into these 3 tips I want to make it clear this is not a blog about quick fix weight loss or how to detox your way to a beach body in 10 days. It’s not even one that’s going to talk about which styles are most flattering for your body type. All 3 tips are going to be about coping tools and psychologically preparing your mindset for bathing suit shopping.

Because honestly? You have a body. And therefore are ready to wear whatever bathing suit you damn well please. I’m just trying to make the process a bit smoother and more encouraging for you. So here we go!

Tip #1. Pick a comfortable experience to try on suits.

Before you even start shopping for a bathing suit it’s important to consider which experience will be most comfortable for you. For instance, will you be more comfortable ordering a bunch online and trying them on in front of your bedroom mirror with the bomb lighting? Or will you prefer to be at a big store that will have multiple sizes and styles for you to try on? Are you cool with the yellow dim light and dirty floor in the dressing room of TJ Maxx? Or do you think supporting a small business with staff that specializes in fitting their customers in luxury bathing suits will be a better experience?

It may sound silly, but your environment is important! You don’t need to overthink it. But be aware of which type of bathing suit shopping experience is going to have a vibe that will reduce your stress from the start.

Tip #2. Give yourself a pep talk.

The main reason we spiral while trying on bathing suits, is because we feel so vulnerable. What causes our body image issues is rarely about our actual body though. But rather, feeling exposed to other hurts and not feeling good enough in other areas of our lives. This is why it’s so crucial to work on your mindset before you even begin to shop. A few of my favorite ways to do this include:

  • Meditating to find gratitude for my body’s 5 senses
  • Praying to thank God for His provisions and blessings
  • Listening to upbeat girlpower songs about confidence and loving yourself
  • Journaling about the things in my life I actually have control over & listing where there’s abundance

Notice a pattern? All of these activities require appreciation for what you already have. Appreciation is the ultimate anecdote that will help Care Bear Stare away all the negative thoughts you have about yourself.


Tip #3. Learn to interrupt & shift negative thoughts.

Let’s say you figured out exactly where you want to go bathing suit shopping. It’s at a lovely boutique in a vibrant section of your local downtown. You know they carry a wide variety of styles. And most of the tops have the same sizing and support as full-coverage bras. The shop itself is inviting, plays really chill music, has gorgeous private dressing rooms, and the staff is well-versed in all the brands they carry.

As you step into the dressing room and hang 10 bathing suits on the hook, you start to feel nervous. You undress and pull the first suit up over your hips. You look in the mirror and your thoughts immediately trail to “you’re so pale. Oh God, look how big your thighs…NOPE!…the pattern is gorgeous and my boobs look awesome. But I don’t like how high cut the bottoms are because I’ll constantly be picking out wedgies. Next!” You learned my awareness-interrupt-shift method beforehand, so you whipped out that coping tool the second you realized you were starting to talk smack on yourself.

Step 1: Awareness:

Be on the lookout for negative inner dialogue. In the example above, “you’re so pale” was borderline, but as soon as “how big your thighs” began, the NOPE Monster came out to play.

Step 2: Interrupt:

The Nope Monster (or any other halting word you prefer like “STOP!” “Enough!”) is your best friend who won’t let anyone talk down on you. It interrupts and thwarts any and every attempt for negativity or judgement. The Nope Monster ushers in kindness, compassion and truth.

Step 3: Shift:

Negative chatter doesn’t last long with the Nope Monster around. Instead we shift into positive, grounding truths. In the example above, “the pattern is gorgeous and my boobs look awesome” shifted the focus to what we DID like. It also allows rationality to come back so that we can make decisions based on tangible reality like “the high cut bottoms will cause this bathing suit to rise up and give me wedgies.” Now we’re deciding we don’t want this particular bathing suit because it’s uncomfortable. Not because we’re harshly criticizing our body.

Bathing suit shopping can be a tolerable—if not, positive—experience if you’re in the right headspace.

Body image work happens in your brain; not your waistline. You will see progression in body appreciation once you start working on your mindset. We think diets will solve our problems by shrinking the parts of our body we don’t like. But it doesn’t work that way. Because healing our relationship with our bodies is an inside job. If you need help in this area, I can help. Schedule a free 20-minute phone call with me to learn more.

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Woman in bathing suit standing on the steps of a swimming suit. 3 Tips for Bathing Suit Shopping (so you don't spiral into self-hate). Loveyourselftowardshealthy.com with anti-diet nutritionist Meridith Oram.

Meridith Oram is an anti-diet nutritionist at Love Yourself Towards Healthy where she helps chronic dieters heal their relationship with food, fitness and body image by ditching diet culture and finding freedom in their God-given intuition. Focusing on behavioral change and Intuitive Eating, Meridith helps her clients unlearn diet culture, stop negative self-talk and set wellness goals---not appearance goals. Follow Meridith at @loveyourself2healthy on all social channels.

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