What is 'swimsuit shyness' and how to overcome it - Fox 2 News Headlines

What is 'swimsuit shyness' and how to overcome it

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(WJBK) - The sun is shinning and swimsuit season is here! But, because of body issues, for many Americans there is no such thing as swimsuit season.

It's called swimsuit shyness and for many people it goes beyond the beach.

Many dread going to the pool knowing you have to succumb to wearing a swimsuit.

But a recent Harris Poll found more than 30 percent of Americans have not worn a swimsuit in public in more than five years.
Dr. Leslie Heinberg is a psychologist a Cleveland Clinic's Bariatric Institute and an expert on body image. She says "swimsuit shyness" isn't just about swimming.
"Not feeling like you can go to the pool or the beach because you have to be put in a bathing suit. Or, even if it's 95 degrees out, avoiding wearing shorts, avoiding a lot of things that are part of normal life because you're so self-conscious about your body," she explains.
The Harris Poll found 20 percent of people haven't worn a swimsuit in more than 10 years, while another 5 percent say they've never put on a suit.

Dr. Heinberg says "swimsuit shyness" is not limited to weight.

She says it's often caused by "body image disturbance," or any part of your body you may not like that may make you self-conscious or cause anxiety.

Dr. Heinberg says it becomes an unhealthy behavior when it starts to affect someone's quality of life.

"When you are waiting to have that perfect body before you go on that vacation, before you take your kids swimming, you're really waiting to live and if you were going to be gone tomorrow you'd probably wish you'd had done some of those things and enjoyed your life," Heinberg says.

One solution is to take a look around and understand you are not alone.

"Taking a look around and making sure that you're not just comparing yourself to that one person out of the 100 at the pool, who has a great figure, but really looking and seeing there are people of all shapes, all sizes, all ages, and you probably look pretty normal in comparison," she says.

Dr. Heinberg says to channel your focus to the real reason you're going to the beach or getting out, like your kids or your grandkids, and the fun they're having.

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