Suffering From Swimsuit-aphobia? Healthy Eating And Exercise May Be Just The Cure

They say babies are born with only two intrinsic fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud objects.

Especially around this time of year, many women swear there may be one more source of anxiety that scientists simply haven’t recognized yet: the fear of trying on, and wearing, a bathing suit.

From the pasty skin-enhancing mirrors to the equally unflattering lighting, dressing rooms can liquefy any woman’s self-esteem faster than a Popsicle on a hot summer day. But there is hope. Losing post-winter weight through a combination of nutritious eating and physical activity can make putting on a bathing suit manageable-if not downright enjoyable.

“As we replace bulkier sweaters and pants with less concealing blouses and shorts, it’s natural to feel self-conscious about the extra pounds that may have crept on during the colder months,” says Lisa Talamini, RD-Chief Nutritionist and Program Director for Jenny Craig, Inc. “The important thing is to not let this get you down, but to use it as a springboard for making lifestyle changes that can positively impact your health.”

Just ask Jennifer K., a 33-year-old San Diego woman who lost 42 pounds* on the Jenny Craig program to enjoy more time at the pool and beach with her 2-year-old son, Cooper.

“I really wanted to take a swim class but was too embarrassed to put on a bathing suit,” says Jennifer. “Since losing weight, I not only look better in a bikini than I did 15 years ago, I have more energy to splash in the water with Cooper and chase him in the sand.”

Here are a few easy ways to get swimsuit-ready:

• Enjoy fresh-picked asparagus, green beans, summer squashes and bright-colored peppers in salads and stir-fry dishes.

• Savor the unique sights, sounds and smells of nature while you walk, to feel energized and rejuvenated.

• Trade regular soda for diet soda, and mayonnaise for mustard. Small substitutions reap big rewards.

• Start out your meal with a salad, bowl of fruit, broth-based soup or whole grain bread to feel satisfied sooner.

• If strapped for time, break up your half-hour fitness routine into three 10-minute sessions.

• Take a family walk or bike ride around the neighborhood after dinner to burn calories and spend quality time together.