In my last post, I wrote about body image and how it affects both shopping and style. I shared my thoughts on that topic, as well as some insights from members of my private Facebook group. I’ve already received some very wise and thought-provoking comments from readers – and you’re welcome to share more, but today I’d like to move on to a related topic.
Sometimes our body image challenges arise as a result of actual weight gain, which leads us to feel less than fab about the way we look. In other instances, we may fluctuate in weight due to health issues, changing metabolism, seasonal shifts, or other reasons. When our weight goes up and down by a few pounds or more, or if we experience bloating from digestive distress, crazy hormones, or whatever, figuring out what to wear can become difficult. This has been the case for me as of late for many of the reasons I mentioned above. Again, I turned to the collective wisdom of the Facebook group for answers. In today’s post, I share what group members had to say about how to best dress for weight fluctuations.
Bloating & weight shifts can make it challenging to get dressed.
Today’s post kicks off a series of at least two installments on the topics of weight, body image, shopping, and personal style. These subjects have been at the top of my mind lately, as I’ve experienced some weight fluctuations resulting from health challenges and hormonal changes. This has been going on for months now, but sometimes things feel too emotionally raw for me to post about. However, since I realize that I’m not alone in these struggles, I’ve broached the subject in my private Facebook group and will do so here as well.
How does your body image affect your shopping and style?
As someone with a long history of eating disorders (which I wrote about here) and negative body image (I even used to have a blog about that topic – you can now find those posts HERE), it’s very challenging for me to deal with what I’ve been going through lately. What makes it even more problematic is that I don’t really understand the reasons for my body shifts or what to do about them (I’m not overeating and I continue to exercise regularly). It’s often difficult for me to get dressed and I sometimes don’t feel good about how I look at all. I experienced similar issues in the early days of the blog, which I wrote about in this April 2013 post. Interestingly, I could basically write the same words again today, except I also have the specter of turning 50 hanging over my head (just over a month now…).
As I mentioned previously, I am working through the exercises in “To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop” by April Lane Benson, Ph.D. Periodically, I will share some of these exercises on the blog. I won’t share them all, but I will post key exercises I feel will have the greatest impact for my readers.
Today’s post is the first in a series that will stretch at least through the end of 2013, and perhaps longer. I will continue to write about other topics here as well, as I like to keep things varied and interesting for both my readers and myself. Yet I feel the exercises in Dr. Benson’s book will be highly beneficial toward my personal recovery from compulsive shopping – and yours as well.
Do you understand why you shop too much?
In previous posts, I explored “The Reasons We Shop Too Much” and “Why Continue to Shop?” Those articles covered a lot of the reasons why compulsive shoppers continue to buy more and more, even when we don’t really need anything and may be in debt as a result of over-shopping. Today’s post looks at another reason for shopping too much and one that I’ve determined is a primary driver of my shopaholic behavior.
“Normal” Shoppers vs. Shopaholics
When we visit the mall, a local boutique, or our favorite online store, we usually think we’re shopping for a new dress, pair of shoes, or fun accessory to add sparkle to our outfits. For people who don’t have a compulsive shopping problem, the surface “need” is probably all that’s there. They determine a gap in their wardrobes and shop to fill that gap. Even if they happen to pick up an unplanned item on a shopping jaunt, there probably aren’t any underlying psychological reasons for the extra purchase.
What if what you really need can’t be bought in any store?
In preparation for beginning Project 333 on April 1st, I tried on most of my clothes. I did this so I could select the best 33 garments to wear over the next three months. That process resulted in both good news and bad news…
The Good News – Letting Go
The good news was that I eliminated a number of items in my closet which no longer work for me. Trying things on really helped me to make decisions about the fate of many wardrobe pieces. If you think a garment in your closet is fine but haven’t worn it recently, I highly encourage you to try it on!
Our perceptions of our clothing are often way off! Pieces we may have loved in the past might be all wrong for our current lifestyle, body shape, and sense of style. Trying things on allows us to break through any illusions we may hold about what to keep and what to release.
The Bad News – Weight Gain
Now for the bad news… As I tried on my warm weather clothing, it became abundantly clear that I’d packed on at least a few extra pounds during the cooler months. I almost never weigh myself, as I find the number very “triggering” and bad mood inducing. I allow a simple three-digit figure to mean far too much about me and my worth as a human being. Although I’ve overcome the majority of my eating disorder issues (see “History of a Shopaholic”), the last vestige of my two-decade struggle is negative body image.