Thursday, June 10, 2010

Question # 22: Dealing with Summer

I was asked a question by a reader via email and I thought it so appropriate right now, so I wanted to be sure to address it as soon as possible.

---"How can I face the summer? It is the hardest season to me. T-shirts, skirts, shorts, tops... a lot of body shown. And I don't like my body. People look at the body in Summer, you can't cover it under pullovers. I have to see it. And it makes me feel bad. It gives me the need to fall again in restricting behaviours with food. Anorexia comes again, every Summer. So, what can I do to not focus on my body and to not restrict eating?"---

For a lot of women with eating disorders, summer is like the Christmas holidays. It can strike fear in their hearts, make them wildly uncomfortable, give them that awful feeling of dread. It doesn't have to be that way. We're sort of conditioned by society to think that the only thing beautiful in the summer is a thin, tan woman showing off lots of skin. It's not so.

Summer isn't about looks. And it shouldn't be about putting MORE effort into your appearance - it should be about going with the flow, being yourself, and being natural.

If you look at the summer as this scary thing waiting to make you miserable, it will. But summer can be wonderful.

Okay - so it's hot and you need to wear less clothing to keep cool. I understand that. And you're uncomfortable with it. I understand that too. But here's a small trick to keep you feeling a little better when you're wearing your shorts or your bathing suit, or your tank top: Wear one thing that makes you feel really good.

When you get dressed and you're already practically itching with angst and disgust, put on one thing that makes you feel a) brave b) cheerful 3)confident, or preferably, all of the above. Examples? A favorite summer scarf - it can feel like a light shield, keeping you just a little bit more covered so you're just a little bit more comfortable. Or a really unique necklace someone gave you that makes you feel special. Something with meaning. Something to take away from the negative way your outfit makes you feel.

You may have to put some thought into this. In fact, if you're completely at a loss, you may have to make a plan and take a shopping trip to buy some interesting mood savers... like, go on the lookout for a special belt. Something you absolutely LOVE that you can wear with all those pairs of shorts that make you want to hide away at home. Get creative. Think about what can improve your sense of self and your opinion of your attire.

Sometimes it's really just the little things that make a difference.

As for keeping yourself from turning to anorexia/bulimia/binge eating disorder/EDNOS/etc etc etc. - THAT, my friends, is up to you.

Do you really want to let a season of beauty and warmth and possibilities flatten you down, send you spinning down that spiral into depression and disorder, keep you from enjoying life?

You'll have to accept your body at some point in order to move forward... so just help yourself to accept your body. Do little things to keep yourself committed to recovery. Don't let a season have power over you.

These old videos of mine might help too:
A Smaller Size Is Not A Prize: Dealing with clothing
Learning to Accept Your Body
Getting Past Hating Your Body
Perfection & Imperfection


Kushika said...

That's a fantastic post -- I did not really think that I should put some more thought into wearing something I feel truly comfortable in.

Come to think of it, on of my fave things to wear is a black top that I have. It's long sleeves, but made of a very thin material so lets the breeze straight thought. It looks perfectly fine on a colourful vest. It keeps me cool and although it is semi-transparent I still feel it is covering my up. Summer does not necessarily mean less!

Thanks for the post.

Sia Jane said...

You are so amazing Arielle xxxx

Sia Jane said...

You are amazing xxxxxx

Anonymous said...

You know, I had actually become a little more accepting of my body - until I went to the pool today. I did NOT realize, for the life of me, how transparent and pale I had gotten from the few years I stayed tucked away at home during the summer months.

I like the idea of adding a scarf or necklace. I bought a dramatic oversized hat that I fell in love with. I think it very well may become my accomodating piece with most of my outfits.

Yet another great blog post by Arielle! :)

Kia said...

Thanks for this: your advices are always very important and helpful to me.
Wish I have your same strenght... or only a little amount of it, it could be enough...

Anonymous said...

Thank you.


battleinmind said...

Thank you for this, I've been so scared about Summer for months...I've been 100% dreading it...properly scared. Thank you for this post, it's nice to know I'm not alone, and your tips are brilliant :)

Caroline said...

i love this approach to making yourself feel comfortable in summer clothing. just like so many, it's a struggle for me, and i've had many a freakout attack while catching a glimpse of myself out in public wearing something that started out okay but then suddenly turned me into something so horrifying and hideous i have to run home and throw on 10 sweaters and ball up on the couch.

having said that, i did have a really positive experience trying on swimsuits today, which is still boggling my mind...