You know that moment of terror before you take off your cover-up at the beach? Yeah, that split second where it's slipping over your head and you feel both the ocean breeze and the eyes of everyone in a 15-foot radius on all that bare flesh. You're bound to feel at least a little self-conscious at this point, no matter how hard your body is rockin' or how hard you've worked to lose those pounds. And guess what? You're not alone.
Really—almost half (46 percent!) of Americans feel uncomfortable in a bathing suit, according to a new survey by Planet Fitness, home of the "Judgement Free Zone." (Planet Fitness isn't the only gym that focuses on feeling good over looking good; Blink Fitness recently introduced Monday Without Mirrors.)
Since Planet Fitness is part of the reason "gymtimidation" (that "I'm not strong or cool or ripped enough to be here" feeling you get at some gyms) is in our vocab, you can bet they're watching the "beachtimidation" phenomena too. A lot of us suffer from it, big time. Enough to make the beach feel less like a ~relaxing~ vacay and more like, well, the dentist or something.
In fact, the Planet Fitness survey also found that one-third of Americans would rather go to the dentist than wear a bathing suit this summer. And we're super in our own heads about it too: More than three-quarters of people admit they are more critical of their own appearance in a bathing suit than they are of other people's.
While body confidence in a bathing suit is a lot easier said than done, the key to feeling better starts inside all of us.
When you hit the beach this summer, instead of giving in to the urge to focus on flaws (yours or someone else's), turn your attention to the things you're proud of. But don't focus on what your body looks like, but keep in mind all the amazing things it can do, whether that's running a mile or 10, deadlifting 100 pounds, or giving birth to new life. (Need some more body-pos inspiration? Just check out Shape's #LoveMyShape campaign.)