summerSummer is in full swing! It’s an amazing time of year that many of us impatiently wait for. Warm weather, BBQs, vacation time, beach trips – what more could you ask for?! Unfortunately, summer also brings anxiety for many. Instead of enjoying the sun, making memories and participating in events, some of us will be suffocated with body image anxiety. Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies! Over 30% of women and 20% of men agreed they would consider cosmetic surgery in the future (the statistics remain relatively constant across gender, age, marital status, and race). This is a huge deal – body image is closely linked to self-esteem. Low self-esteem can lead to eating disorders, substance use, and suicidal thoughts – not to mention that it will hold you back from achieving your full potential. Building a healthier body image is crucial to your health and quality of life. The need for less and lighter clothing during the summer can amplify body image issues. Many people, women in particular, will find the thought of wearing shorts stressful. Once you throw swimsuits into the mix, summer can seem more like something to dread than anticipate. A recent 2012 study finds that even just imagining trying on swimsuits can put women in a bad mood! It’s unfortunate that we are bombarded with images of “ideal” bodies and unrealistic standards from the media and our general culture. But almost everyone has body image hangups and none of us are perfect. Everyone has insecurities. In most cases, we cannot control what advertisements or messages are thrown at us. We cannot control what others think or say about us. We can, however, control our own experience and whether or not we will internalize these external factors.

So we say…SUIT URSELF! Take the swimsuit challenge!

Suit urselfThis summer, we’re calling on you to choose your attitude. Decide what kind of summer YOU want to have. Every week until the end of summer, we will be posting body image-building info that will help move you along the journey of accepting your body. You will learn to embrace your appearance and let go of the fear that is holding you back. At the heart of SUIT URSELF is a swimsuit photo submission project which is open to all genders, sizes, ages, races and abilities. The SUIT URSELF album will feature real, unedited bodies and inspiring quotes from people who have made the choice and commitment to themselves to enjoy the summer.

Get involved!

Don’t take bad body image lying down! Submit a photo and a few sentences about how you’re going to spend the summer embracing instead of hiding your body! Submissions can be sent to submissions@beutifulmagazine.com. Don’t forget to check out the other marvelous submissions in our SUIT URSELF album! Sources of statistics: Do Something, Huffington Post