I love shopping. There’s nothing like having endless time and a little extra spending money stashed away for an impromptu shopping spree on a Saturday afternoon. But what about those days when you just can’t find something that fits? You try on skirt after skirt, top after top, and nothing feels right.
The mirror shows back a reflection of rolls, bumps and curves that society tell you must absolutely be hidden at all times. Rather than embrace your natural body, you choose to hide. You tuck yourself back into the clothes you originally wore and defeatedly place the items you were so excited about back on the rack.
This used to be the pattern for my every shopping trip. Shopping was not an activity to be enjoyed but a necessity that I dreaded because I just knew that it would inevitably be an endless battle between me and the mirror.
In the end, the solution to this never-ending battle was not to change my body but instead to change the way I thought about my body.
The issue was never my body, it was my body image.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) defines body image as “how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind.” Body Image includes three things:
It’s no secret that our body image is heavily informed by what society tells us is acceptable and what’s not. So how do we change this? How do we stop the voices in the media, on our phones, and in our heads that tell us if we just lose that last stubborn 10 pounds, then we’ll finally be happy?
For me, there were three things that helped to shape my thoughts around my body:
Dieting doesn’t work. Cutting out foods and punishing ourselves through exercise doesn’t work; if anything, it backfires. Eating Disorder Hope shares that 95% of dieters regain the weight they’ve lost and more within one to five years. Clothing is made in different shapes and sizes because our bodies come in different shapes and sizes, and we have to accept this in order to develop a healthy body image. Not every body is meant to lose that “last 10 lbs.”.
Believe it or not, our bodies know how to communicate our needs to us. You trust your body to tell you when you have to use the restroom, drink water, or go to sleep. Why should trusting your body around food be different? When your body tells you to eat the carbs, eat the carbs! When you want a little ice cream after dinner (or maybe before?), eat the ice cream. When you nourish your body with the food it desires instead of limiting yourself to just a few “healthy” or “clean” food groups, your body will naturally maintain a weight that is healthy for YOU!
This was one of the hardest things for me to do and yet so important for a healthy body image. Wear what you want! You do not have to be a size two to rock a bikini. If you love that pencil skirt that shows a few tummy rolls, then embrace those curves. Let’s stop trying to put ourselves into a “one size, one look” box and break out of the mold. Many clothing companies today have embraced body diversity and have created clothing to honor a wide array of sizes and styles. You’ll feel so good in something that was designed just for your body type, and that confidence is radiant!
It’s important to remember that bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Your body was perfectly crafted and created to be different from every other body. Take time to celebrate your unique body and style.