'I got naked in a room full of people. All I could think about was my cellulite.'

Yep, you read the title correctly. 

I took my clothes off in a room full of naked Germans. Hundreds of naked people! In fact, I did it many times. And I would do it again.

Here’s what happened… 

Years ago my husband Les called me to say he needed to move to Berlin for work and of course wanted me to join him. And not very long after that call, there we were, living in Germany.

Naked sauna anyone?

A couple of months into our new German life, Les suggested we go to a sauna. Great idea! I love saunas and was sooo excited.

My excitement turned to disbelief when I found out that in Germany you have to be completely naked to go into a sauna. No clothes — not even a thong (g-string).

Watch: It's 2024, and we've had enough. Body shapes are not trends. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

What’s more… in Germany, spas and saunas are also unisex.

That’s right. In European saunas, you take off ALL your clothes with people of all ages and all genders.


I was shocked. This was new to me!

"But won’t everyone look at me?" I asked my new German friends.

"Actually, it's very normal here. For my 18th birthday party, all my friends came over, boys and girls, and we had a sauna," explained one of my friends. (Meanwhile, my face: *pure shock*).

Another German friend explained that she often ‘does saunas’ with her parents, siblings, aunts and uncles.

I was now sufficiently shocked and curious.

Yet deep down, the biggest concern I had about going to a sauna was my body.

  • Was my body good enough to be seen naked? 
  • What if people stared at me, my cellulite or soft stomach? And thought they were gross… 
  • Would I feel uncomfortable being surrounded by hundreds of naked people? 

Thankfully, my curiosity and bravery were ultimately stronger than my insecurities. I went into that German naked sauna. I took off all my clothes and walked into the room filled with other naked men and women. 

Here’s what I learned from taking my clothes off in a room full of naked Germans:

My naked sauna experience. 

The big one: You don’t need to be ashamed of your body. 

As I observed the naked bodies around me, I realised that no one gave a c**p. They didn’t care what I looked like and didn’t care what I thought of them either. 

I'd never seen people being so comfortable in their skin (literally)! 

Looking at the bodies, it was clear that no one was perfect. There was cellulite, soft bits, and saggy moments. And it was all just fine. 


Instagram and the media trick you into thinking everyone has these perfect bodies. But this is a reminder that it’s all photoshop and face tune and lighting and fake. 

All bodies are weird. And that’s OK. 

Here are some things I learnt.

1. You were not born hating your body. 

If you were stranded on a deserted island, you wouldn't hate your body. 

You’ve been taught by your culture that your body is never good enough, no matter how much you work at it. We're always striving for something more.

That's why when you lose weight, the goalposts keep moving — it's only one of many reasons why diets suck and DON’T work. Breaking the cycle of dieting can feel near-impossible… I get it! So here are some FREE, proven tips from my YouTube channel to help you get started. 

In Western Countries like Australia, UK, USA, South Africa and Canada we are taught that we need to cover up and fix ourselves. Whereas, Europeans have a stronger culture of generally being proud or accepting of their bodies. 

From a young age, they go to places like a sauna with their family (yes, there were kids at the sauna) and see other naked people. 

To them, the naked body is neutral. Not good or bad — it just is. 

2. Your body is not the problem. Our culture is the problem.

When you live in a world that tells you that there is something intrinsically embarrassing or shameful or wrong about your natural body — then you will grow to hate it. 


When the culture you live in accepts you, you can more easily accept yourself. 

I've never been more confident than when I lived in the insanely open-minded city that is Berlin. It's a refreshingly accepting place. 

Simply being naked is not sexual. 

I was brought up thinking I needed to be attractive to other people to be acceptable… that’s really messed up when you think about it. 

I love this quote from Bryan Karazsia, an associate professor of psychology and an expert on body image issues: "Historically, women have been sexually objectified… When someone says, 'I'd like to tap that' — that’s objectification. That reduces a woman from a dynamic, complicated human to a mere object."

3. Hating your body is incredibly unhealthy.

Who has time to do ALL the great things when all you can think about is your weight? 

Here’s the truth-bomb: You always take better care of things you love. Hating your body is crap for your mental and physical health. 

Hating your body means you do incredibly unhealthy things like putting yourself on restrictive diets, drinking a laxative tea or abusing drugs to lose weight and 'look' healthier (uhhh-hmm skinnier). 

Body shame stops you from going on dates or wearing a swimsuit in front of people or taking photos with your friends. 

Body hate prevents you from going to the doctor for a pap smear or prostate exam or just a general check-up because you're afraid of being shamed.


Accepting your body makes you healthier. You look after your body because you care about it, not because you think it’s broken. 

5. Getting naked with hundreds of people was liberating for me.

While you might not be able to go to a naked sauna right now, you can work on improving your body image wherever you are in the world… clothed or not. 

The thing is: You don’t even need to love your body! 

Just start with no longer hating it. 

Start with no longer talking badly about it. And while you're at it, try to stop talking badly about other people’s bodies, too. (This realllllyyy helps. Pinky promise). 

I want to live in a world (not just a country) where we are taught that our bodies are just fine. And where we know that it's not worth giving up 95 per cent of your life to weigh five per cent less. 

Lyndi Cohen is one of Australia’s leading dietitians, known as the Nude Nutritionist. She is a best-selling author and mentor for those with binge and emotional eating. Lyndi challenges diet culture, our warped beauty standards and provides practical strategies to help people overcome their disordered eating. Her free five day course is an introduction to her renowned Binge Free Academy and the on-going support she offers.

Feature image: Supplied/Lyndi Cohen.