Readers reveal what they love and hate about the most body-baring time of the year: bikini season.
Suit Up for Summer!
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It's official, summer is almost upon us! Here at SHAPE, we can't wait to take our workouts outside, fire up the grill, sip on cool cocktails, and get to the beach. But we know that not everyone's so excited—the start of Memorial Weekend means that bikini season is officially here, and if you're like most women, you might have a few reservations about donning that bikini and hitting the boardwalk.
We partnered with FitSugar to create a survey and see how you, our lovely readers, really feel about bikini season—and how we can help.
One finding: We were surprised to learn that only 1 in 5 women wear a one-piece swimsuit at the beach. Read on for more results and to get tips, tricks, and advice on how to look and feel your best this summer.
You Feel Pressured to Lose Weight
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It turns out 82 percent of women feel pressured to shape up and slim down for bikini season. Still, we're glad to see that 76 percent of you don't let that get in the way of strutting your stuff in a bikini or string bikini.
Wondering how to gain that killer confidence? It helps to have the right suit. Science has recently determined that swimsuit shopping sucks (um, we could have told you that), but there are ways to make it easier. Follow these tips to alleviate the process and you'll feel better about swimsuit season from the get-go.
We All Have a Few Body Hang-Ups
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We were (happily) surprised to find that half of women are most at ease in a swimsuit around their friends or significant others, with 18 percent most comfortable around their friends, and 10 percent most comfortable around complete strangers!
If you find yourself hesitant to step out uncovered on the beach, you're not alone—we don't think there's a woman alive who doesn't feel insecure at least once in her life (and if there is, we want to know who she is!). Even our weight-loss coach Cynthia Sass has copped to a few bad days. But she's developed a strategy to help overcome that; read her tips for improving your self-image here.
And Most of Us Hate Our Abs
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When asked which body part they feel most self-conscious about, more than half of readers replied that they hate their abs, while 29 percent said they're self-conscious about their thighs.
Don't let that ruin your time at the beach this summer! The right swimsuit can flatter any figure— use this handy guide to determine which one is right for you.
But It's Not All Bad News
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Our readers work hard in the gym all year long, so we're happy to see that 48 percent of them are proud of their strong arms, legs, and butts. And despite the aforementioned insecurity about abs, 21 percent of readers said their abs are actually the body parts they're most proud of. Hey, if you've got it, flaunt it!
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When it comes to working out, almost half of women are abs-centric: 47 percent of readers say they work on their abs more than any other muscle group. If you feel like you're working hard and not seeing results, try these expert-approved abs exercises to fast-track your results. Tag team your efforts by combining them with healthy foods that banish bloat.
Eat Your Way to a Better Body
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This news isn't surprising—60 percent of readers admitted to dieting in anticipation of bikini season. 53 percent say they cut calories, 22 percent cut carbs, and 15 percent try other strategies.
Get Results—For Good!
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If you're trying to shed those last stubborn pounds before it's time to hit the beach, you're in good company! 79 percent of respondents to our survey want to lose at least five pounds this summer. The good news is that you guys are going about it in smart ways—only 1 percent of readers said they use juice fasts to try and lose weight, and only 3 percent rely on detox diets to meet their weight-loss goals.
Thinking of trying a quick-fix weight-loss trend? Get results that last with these R.D.-approved tweaks to popular diet strategies!
You Don't 'Like' Bikini Pics
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When it comes to bikini pics on Facebook, only 10 percent of readers said that they would 'like' a photo of themselves tagged in a bikini. Even fewer, 3 percent, would make the photo their profile picture. 44 percent would remove the tag or ask their friend to take down the photo.
No Sex? No Problem!
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A whopping 68 percent of readers said they'd forgo sex for at least a month if it meant they got their ideal beach body in exchange. We admire the dedication! But don't forget, an active sex life can be healthy for you! Not only can it boost your immune system, reduce your risk of heart disease, or relieve stress, but it counts as a workout—we promise!
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It's official: Women worry about stray hairs on the bikini line more than they do their hair, makeup, or tan. Beach volleyball pro and two-time Olympic medalist Kerri Walsh sat down with FitSugar to talk about how she handles her beauty hang-ups—after all, her daily uniform consists of a bikini, sunscreen, and not much else! Get her tips for dealing with those pesky stray and ingrown hairs!
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38 percent of readers say they don't like to run around in their swimsuit, but for those that do, they enjoy tossing a Frisbee or playing a little football. There's nothing wrong with lounging (if you can't lounge around at a beach, where can you?), but for those looking to mix it up a little and get active, try walking or running in the sand, stand-up paddleboarding, or creating your own outdoor fitness scavenger hunt.