Look Better in the Buff
I’ve never been one to parade around the house – or anywhere else – in the buff.
But arriving home from work eight months pregnant in triple-digit July heat, I would strip down to nothing, waddle back to our only air conditioned room, and collapse on the couch in all my bare, brazen, bellied glory. Eve, schmeve. I was finally comfortable.
This, according to my friend and editor-in-chief at Women’s Health Magazine, Michele Promaulayko, is an excellent start. A few years back she released a book, Look Better Naked. Michele and I shared a NYC apartment for a time, and I assure you I don’t remember a young working girl who “paraded” around the place naked; nonetheless, sneak a peek at her great tips – good for guys too!
1. SPEND MORE TIME NAKED
Time that has nothing to do with sex. Michele suggests having a meal or two, reading a book, listening to music, or spending time after your shower getting things done – without a stitch of clothing. If you spend more time being naked without an audience, you’ll become more comfortable those times when you do have one. Still, let’s face it – you’re going to worry about how you look naked when you have an audience! The rest of the book provides all kinds of diet, exercise and beauty tips that will boost your confidence and actually work.
2. EXERCISE IS KEY
According to a University of Florida study published in the Journal of Health Psychology, people who exercised moderately – for health rather than fitness – had better body image; in fact, they felt just as good about their bodies as those who saw more dramatic results and/or were simply more “athletic.” Two great get-buff buffers: yoga and Pilates. Both engage the mind and enhance body awareness. Both work on perfecting posture (Mom was right, stand up straight and you look better instantly, with or without clothes on). And rather than focus on separate body parts, both provide all-over strength training and toning. Done fast enough, with enough difficulty, you’ll get cardio burn.
3. EAT RIGHT
Ingest a diet that makes your hair, skin and eyes glow. Think citrus, nuts/seeds, spices/herbs, garlic and onions, and anything with lycopene. Avoid foods that make you bloat and cause gassiness, including carbonated drinks, sugar-free foods, beans, cruciferous veggies and greasy grub. Avoid sodium and chewing gum. Instead, try foods that fight bloating: peppermint and green teas, ginger, yogurt with probiotics, pineapple and watermelon.
4. PRIMP ALL OVER
Not just the parts others see on a day-to-day basis. If body hair bothers you, see a waxing professional. Tanned skin usually looks smoother and “thinner”; try an all-over self-tanner (contour your body the same way pros use makeup to contour your face, using darker and lighter shades to emphasize areas and de-emphasize others). Exfoliate dead skin, treat yourself to a full-body massage and get a pedicure!
5. HAVE FUN!
Wear high heels (they work on a naked body the same way they flatter a body in a LBD, making legs longer, stomach flatter, and the rear high and visible). Skinny-dip. Let your significant other snap a few sexy nudes (though not on their iPhone!). Lastly, the next time you feel compelled to compare yourself with the (near) naked pictures of (Photoshopped) Victoria’s Secret or Calvin Klein models, keep this in mind: they are photos. You are the real thing, and he’s/she’s very much aware of this. Put another way, in a study that posed the question, “What are you thinking when you see a naked woman?” – men think, “Hot damn, there’s a naked woman in my house!”