Just as Northerners dread seeing Punxsatawney Phil's shadow in February, indicating six more weeks of winter, many women dread seeing themselves in a bathing suit at the onset of summer. Are you one of those women? If so, you can either, dig a hole in the sand and wait it out like the legendary groundhog who retreats to his hole, or you can deal with it.
Like the changing of the seasons, during perimenopause and menopause, our bodies change too (and not always for the better). It's how we deal with those changes that determines how we are perceived by others.
All is not lost (especially those pesky extra pounds). Seriously, you can either wallow in self-loathing or do something about it. Here are a few ways you can make the best of -- and take control of -- the situation:
- Find a swimsuit that's right for you. One size does not fit all. However, it doesn't mean you're relegated to a style of bathing suit your mother might wear. (That goes for the bathing cap and nose plugs, too.) You can find a swimsuit that's flattering and fashionable. I love Spanx swimsuits. They are brilliant! You also can camouflage a lot with a stylish cover-up.
- Walk like a model. I don't mean strutting down a runway. Mom was right: Hold your head high, tummy in, shoulders back and tatas out to project an image of self-assurance. (It makes you look taller and slimmer, too.) Instead of flats, wear sandals with a bit of a heel to give you a longer, leaner look.
- Exercise. Weight-bearing exercises are not only important to stave off osteoporosis, they tone your muscles. Whether you've got a slender physique or a little more meat on your bones, you will feel more confident if you tone up.
- Hydrate. During the summer months, it's especially important to drink lots of water. If you're spending time outdoors, don't wait until you're thirsty. Take a filled water bottle with you wherever you go. Sipping throughout the day is easier than chugging your daily intake all at once. Keeping hydrated will result in healthier skin and hair... and a more beautiful you. Ice-cold water will also cool you from the inside out when you're experiencing a hot flash. Stay away from carbonated beverages, as they can cause bloating.
- Pamper yourself with a pedicure. Your feet are one part of your body you might actually want to show off. Throughout the summer, use lotion to keep your feet from looking scaly and your legs from looking dry and pasty. While you're at it, treat yourself to a bikini wax, too. Unwanted body hair is more unsightly than a few jiggles here and there.
- Accessorize. Wear a big, floppy hat. After all, you should be protecting your skin from the sun, right? Pair the hat with oversized sunglasses and -- voilà! -- you look fabulous! If you really want that bronzed look, go with a self-tanning lotion. Then slather on the sunscreen when you're outside.
- Get real. Unfortunately, while many of us have outgrown our teeny-weeny-bikinis of yesteryear, we haven't outgrown our negative self-image. Chances are you really don't look like a beached whale -- you just think you do. Positive thoughts are the first step to projecting a positive image.
- Smile! If you're having fun, no one is going to give your swimsuit-clad body a second thought. If, on the other hand, you appear insecure or uncomfortable, those around you might wonder what's up (or what's down, as in sagging body parts). Don't wait for someone to snap a photo of you to smile; get in the habit of smiling, and it will soon be the exception when you're not.
Take your water, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen with you, but leave the mental baggage at home. If you find yourself covering up with a beach towel, you may be covering up more than just your body. Instead, open up to new experiences, new friendships, and new relationships. Chances are, you'll have the time of your life... with no time to worry about how you look in the mirror.
As women in the prime of perimenopause and menopause, we've got the smarts and the savvy. Don't let a silly swimsuit dictate your summer. You call the shots. Start with a little self-love, and you'll be in for a fun-filled summer.
See ya poolside!
Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!
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Ellen Dolgen is an outspoken women's health and wellness advocate, menopause awareness expert, author, and speaker.
After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through-before, during, and after menopause-with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a "sister" and confidant to all women fueled Ellen's first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers' requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen's weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.
Menopause MondaysTM is a platform from which Ellen reaches the true needs of her readers through varied and substantive discussions of menopause, women's health, and the modern woman's life today as a menopausal woman. Her weekly newsletter provides readers the most current menopause news and research. With her updates, women gain access and the knowledge needed to take charge of their health and happiness. Her motto is: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!
In addition to Ellen's ever-growing social media presence, EllenDolgen.com has fast become "the place" on the web for informative and entertaining women's menopause and wellness engagement. Ellen is #1 on Dr. Oz Sharecare.com Top 10 Social HealthMakers on Menopause. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, EllenDolgen.com / Menopause Mondays was named first on the list of the "Best Menopause Blogs" by Healthline. Ellen is also a regular contributor to over a dozen leading women's health blogs.