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