On Body Image, Shopping, and Style

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.

negative body image

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), 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…).

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Two Months to 50: Gray Hair Transition & Balance Goal Update

Two months from today, I will turn fifty.  As I lead up to that milestone birthday, I’m periodically writing about some issues in my life and things I’d like to change.  In today’s post, I’ll update you on the hair issues I wrote about last month. I’ll also bring you up to date on how I’m doing with my balance goal for 2016 and highlight some ongoing issues I’m experiencing in that regard.

I’m bound and determined to be in a better place in my life by the time I blow out those fifty candles (well, maybe just a “5” and a “0” on my cake will be a better idea).   Although I have some trepidation about turning the big 5-0, I feel that it has also been a blessing for me, as it has lit a virtual fire under me and is pushing me to make some important and long overdue changes.  It’s like a crash course in personal growth and for that I am very grateful.

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Still a Shopaholic?

I have been writing this blog for almost 3.5 years now (here’s my very first post, from January 2, 2013).  When I started, I thought it was perhaps a one-year endeavor or maybe two years at the most.  I believed that through setting goals and rules and writing about my motivations and behavior, I would overcome my compulsive shopping problem in relatively short order.  I never expected to attract as many readers as I have or continue the blog for as long as I have.  But the readers came (for which I’m very thankful) and it hasn’t been as easy for me to recover as I thought it would be.

shopaholic behavior

This was a typical scene for me before I started this blog…

Earlier this year, I published two posts on the topic of recovery, both my own and in general:

I also shared insights from my private Facebook group on the causes of members’ shopaholic behavior.  These are all great posts that I’m quite proud of, but I’d like to further the discussion today and get more personal about the state of my recovery.

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Going Gray & Getting Out of “Hair Prison” Follow-Up

Thank you to all those who responded to my last post, both in the comments section and via email. I was very touched by the tremendous amount of support, encouragement, and advice that I received.  I loved reading your stories and perspectives on the issues of going gray, aging, dealing with hair woes, and more.   Because I know that many subscribers don’t read the comments, I’ve decided to share some of the input I received in a follow-up post today.  This post can also serve as a resource on this issue for those who need it, as it’s a lot easier to find and navigate than perusing the comments.

Going gray advice

For those who aren’t particularly interested in this subject, don’t worry. I will return to writing about shopping, wardrobe, and style-related topics shortly (I invite you to check out my archives of over 350 articles if you’d like to read about one of those topics today).  But I know that for me and many others, there are a lot of emotions attached to hair.  I’ve known for many years that I’ve resided in a sort of “hair prison,” but it was more comfortable for me to stick with the status quo than try to change.  It’s only the rapid approach of the big 5-0 that has led me to think more deeply about what I want for the rest of my life, and I’ve decided that I want to release myself from my self-imposed bondage.

I’ll be sharing more thoughts on turning 50 as the milestone approaches, as I have been quite introspective in recent months.  But for today, I hope you enjoy these words of wisdom from readers.
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On the Precipice of 50: Gray Hair, Vanity, and Breaking Free

In less than three months, I will turn 50.  As is often the case with milestone birthdays, I am experiencing some anxiety around moving into a new decade and have been giving a lot of thought to the transition and what it means to me.   Although it could be said that it’s just a number and age doesn’t really mean anything, that’s not how I’ve been feeling.   I decided to do a few “stream of consciousness” posts leading up to the big day (August 8) to share my thoughts and insights. This first post will focus on issues related to my appearance, specifically around my hair.

50th birthday cake

But You Don’t Look 50…

I’m often told that I don’t look 50 and I take that as a compliment.  It’s nice to look younger, especially since I have not yet availed myself of Botox, fillers, or plastic surgery (save the rhinoplasty I had following a bicycle accident at age 20).   But there is one thing I do to stay looking younger, I color my hair.  I started to go gray in my mid-thirties, so I’ve been having my hair professionally colored since that time.  This really wasn’t a problem for many years, but the interval at which it was necessary kept getting shorter and shorter.

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Shopaholic Recovery: Past, Present, and Future

I was recently interviewed for a television segment that will air next week (see the end of this post for more information) and I was asked about how far along I am in my recovery from compulsive shopping.  After pondering for a moment, I said that I am approximately 75% recovered at this point and will always have to be vigilant of my shopping behavior and the underlying feelings. In today’s post, I reflect upon the growth I’ve achieved thus far, where I am today in my recovery, and how I see the future unfolding.

Past Present And Future

The Starting Point

I started this blog in January 2013.  At that time, I had a closet stuffed full of clothes that I rarely or never wore, a wardrobe that lacked cohesion, little comprehension of my personal style aesthetic, virtually no control over my shopping behavior, and a completely unbalanced life.  Shopping was my main hobby and I shopped as a way of dealing with all types of feelings and life situations, both positive and negative.

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Off to a Good Start with My 2016 Balance Theme

As the year began, I felt extremely unbalanced. I wasn’t sleeping much, I felt “behind the 8-ball” with my tasks and goals, I was spending far too much time on Facebook, and I was drowning in information overload.   It was very clear to me that something needed to change; thus, I selected “balance” as my theme for 2016.   In one of my early January posts, I wrote about what balance means to me and highlighted the specific changes I need to make in my life during 2016 to further this objective.

life balance update

In my regular accountability updates, I will let you know how I’m doing in terms of creating better life balance. However, when I have more than a paragraph or two to say on the topic, I’ll also periodically dedicate a standalone post to updating you on my theme for the year.   This is one of those times… In today’s post, I’ll share the balance wins and challenges I have experienced thus far and what I plan to do to address my ongoing difficulties.

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