My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

For as long as I can remember, there has been at least one part of my body which I have found completely unacceptable. This hated body part hasn’t always been the same, but I can’t remember a time when I was not obsessing about some aspect of my body. It is extremely difficult for me to inhabit my body and not be roiling against some part of it. I do not feel fully comfortable in my own skin and this leads me to feel hopeless and despondent at times.

I can remember hating my hips, calves, tummy, butt, nose, and hair at different times over the years. While I am still not thrilled with any of those parts, I no longer obsess over them. At the present time (and for a number of years now), my most hated body part is my thighs. I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t find myself cursing the size of my legs, wishing they could miraculously be smaller, and trying to find a way to camouflage what I consider to be their tremendous girth.

Does your weight affect your mood? Mine definitely does… As I’ve mentioned before, I rarely step on the scale and there is a good reason for this. Nothing has the power to deflate my spirit and ruin my day as much as seeing a number on the scale that I view as unacceptable. I wish this wasn’t true, but the sad reality is that I allow a three-digit number to dictate my moods.

Unfortunately, however, my not weighing myself doesn’t mean that I escape what I term as “weight mood shift.” There are other measures of my weight besides the empirical data provided by the scale. There is the way I feel… Do I feel light and energetic, or do I feel heavy, bloated, and tired?

The way my clothes fit also provides me with fairly reliable data on how I am doing weight-wise. If I slip on a pair of pants and find myself unable to effortlessly zip or button them, or if they feel uncomfortably snug in the hips and thigh area, that’s a clue that I have put on some unwanted pounds. While it’s true that the weight might just be water retention instead of actual fat, the end result is the same – I feel unhappy.

Three months ago, I started “Body Image Rehab” with the objective of healing my body image over the course of one year while also helping others to do the same. So far, I’ve made twelve posts on a variety of topics, from scale phobia to plus-size models to body confidence.

Today, I’d like to take a step back to discuss the concept of body image in general and how it may be measured. Included are links to helpful online resources, including some body image assessments.

Once we have a baseline measurement of our current body image, it will be easier to check back later in the year to see how we’re progressing. Future posts will focus on concepts and exercises for improving the way we view and experience our bodies.

Those of us who grapple with body image issues tend to spend a lot of time and energy focusing on our physical imperfections and lamenting all the things we feel are wrong or missing. We are often so keenly attuned to the perceived negatives of our physical being that we completely lose sight of the many positive aspects inherent in having a body.

Today, I completed exercise #3 from “200 Ways to Love the Body You Have.” This exercise, simply titled “Gratitude,” challenges us to list all of the ways our bodies serve us, those things we wouldn’t be able to experience if we didn’t have a body. Surprisingly, I had no trouble at all creating my list and within a short fifteen minutes, I had listed 25 blessings for which I feel gratitude toward my body.

My list mostly encompasses the many joys of experiencing life through the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.

This post represents my first exercise from the book, “200 Ways to Love the Body You Have.” Taking the author’s suggestion, I opened the book to a random page and let my intuition guide me in selecting the perfect exercise for me at this point in time.

I couldn’t have selected a more perfect exercise to start on my journey to finally love and accept my body!

First Exercise – Body Love Goals

The exercise I selected was #146, “Body Love Goals.” This exercise involves writing about my vision of what it means to love my body and to live in peace and harmony with it. In following the instructions, I completed the following sentence in as many ways as came to mind: “I’ll know that I love and accept my body when…”