Sunshine, warmth finally arrives, we are free to shed our winter coats and woolen leggings, trade them in for shorts, skirts and tank tops….HURRAH!!! Right? Well maybe…for my clients with eating disorders or disordered eating, this can be a very difficult time of year. Body image distortion or body dysmorphia can make the warmth of summer a living hell.
Here are 7 suggestions that may help those with body image distortion ease into summer.
- STORED CLOTHING. Time to pull out the boxes of summer clothes. Maybe your size is the same, maybe you’ve grown taller, or possibly you’ve actually gained some weight and are working on acceptance. Talk to someone… Ask yourself “is it realistic to wear these clothes, or am I just hoping to lose weight again?”. If you feel some items may still fit, grab a friend or family member and go through boxes together. Get rid of what doesn’t fit you now.
- BUY NEW CLOTHES. It may be easier to get rid of old clothes if you can buy new. Some suggestions include; online shopping, shopping with a friend or family member, buying items with a more “relaxed” fit, so you can be comfortable and stylish.
- SCALES ARE FOR FISH. If you still have one of these monsters hiding in your bathroom, get rid of it. Scales only do one thing well…ruin your day. Rigorous honesty may include getting rid of some clothing that you use to gauge your weight…DONATE NOW.
- MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL. Full length mirrors may antagonize us to focus on an area of our body that we criticize and reinforce negative thoughts. Some clients opt to cover mirrors with positive messages or decorative pictures, removing from bedroom or bathroom if able. You may also work with your therapist on positive mirror exercises that promote body acceptance.
- MINIMIZE EXPOSURE. Leave the magazines on the rack. Avoid this innocent past time at the check out line. EVERY photo has been altered, most topics are triggering. Honor yourself and save your $$.
- TOSS OLD PHOTOS. Putting away or tossing old photos, especially if they only represent times when you were very ill with the eating disorder. When you getting honest, these are not likely good memories.
- STOP NEGATIVE BODY TALK. Fundamental in body acceptance is changing the negative dialogue we have about our appearance or others appearance. This can be thoughts or comments made out loud. Don’t joke/tease a person about their appearance, a person with body dysmorphia may laugh along to only realize the affect it has later, just don’t do it. Check out www.changethemessage.com. For useful tools to challenge negative body talk.
- SUMMER FUN. Maybe this isn’t a pool or beach summer. If recovery is your priority, this may be a small sacrifice. Discover new hobbies,summer crafts, or visit the cool mountains. If your well enough, try some hiking or biking, if not, make it a picnic. You can do this, remember, we eat to live!!!