Your Body: Love It or Loathe It?

With the right attitude, you can wear a swimsuit!

By Carol Sorgen
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD

Summertime. Long, sunny days. Warmer temperatures. That's the good news. The bad news? If you have any intention of cooling off in the pool or at the beach, you're going to have to slip into that dreaded bathing suit. Unless you're 8 years old, that thought is enough to bring anyone to their knees.

"Those fluorescent lights have just got to go!" says Deborah Klinger, MA, LMFT, staff psychotherapist and certified eating disorder specialist at Structure House, a residential weight loss facility in Durham, N.C.

That would certainly help -- as anyone who's ever cringed in front of a dressing room's full-length mirror can attest. But what if your fear of swimsuit shopping goes beyond the glaring lights that magnify every bump and bulge? What if you can't even bear the thought of appearing in public because you're ashamed of your body?

Why Our Bodies Bother Us

Well, you're certainly not alone. Take a quick survey among your friends, family, and co-workers, and chances are you'll find that there's nary a person among the group who's actually happy with their body.

How has it come to pass that so many of us spend so much time obsessing over our body? It starts at home, says Alexander Sackeyfio, MD, coordinator of the Eating Disorder Program at Beaumont Hospital in suburban Detroit. "How well we think we fit in depends on how our family sees us," Sackeyfio says. "It's the family that serves as the buffer between us and the world out there, and if we've been teased or criticized at home, we're left with all sorts of questions about our body image."