I didn’t even need to pull out my summer clothing bin. I knew my summer clothes from last year weren’t going to fit. Because much like many people this past year, I’ve gained weight (and it’s ok). But rather than jump on the diet train and try and shrink my body (and feel shitty when it doesn’t work or only works short term), I replaced them. Because my body deserves to be comfortable this summer. It’s a matter of body respect.
What is Body Respect (and how does up-sizing clothes have anything to do with it)?
Body respect means that I believe my body is deserving of dignity, kindness and compassion without conditions, caveats or quick fixes. This translates to everything from how I approach nutrition and exercise to how I choose to dress my body.
Respecting my body means I honour it with clothing that fits and feels good to me. Those last two words are really important. Because what feels good to me is going to be unique to me.
How to show your body respect:
- Quit body bashing (yours and others). You know the bandwagon talk where one person berates their body then everyone appeases them by talking about how their body “sucks” too?! Yeah. That. Would you speak about a loved one like that? Nope. Don’t do it to your body either.
- Quit chronic body monitoring. I spoke about this very human tendency in this blog, but ultimately it’s the constant checking and critiquing of your body from a 3rd party viewer. And it’s eating up your mental real estate. Notice when you’re doing it and what it’s correlated with (people, places, things). Then work to reduce your exposure to those things.
- Clean up your feed. Yup. I’m looking at you Facebook, Insta, and TikTok. Innately these technologies put us in comparison mode. So if your feed is full of “fitspo” images and before and after pictures, guess what? You’re in chronic comparison mode and there’s just no way for your body to measure up.
- Find gratitude for your body. Find simple ways to reflect on how awesome your body is and all it does for you! Your body is rad, when’s the last time you said thanks?
- Accept your genetic blueprint. You were born this way (thanks Gaga). It’s true. And it’s AWESOME. Wouldn’t it be a boring world if we all looked the same?! Ugh. Blech. You’re a gift. Your body is a gift. The fact that our culture idealizes a body that only 5% of the population will ever actually have? That’s not on you…that’s on our culture!
- Wear clothes that fit and feel comfortable (to you). This includes undergarments, bathing suits, and technical gear!
Need to go shopping? Here are my top tips:
- Go on a good or neutral body image day. Your body image fluctuates (ladies, it can be with your cycle, watch for that!). We all have days that are more disruptive than others. So go when you’re having a better day.
- Nourish first. Hangry is not going to make you feel better. Nor is being over-stuffed. Go when you’re well-nourished (body and mind).
- Patron stores that offer inclusive sizing. This can be challenging in some smaller towns. If needed, buy online and then return what doesn’t work.
- When you try on clothes look last. Yup. Turn AWAY from the mirror and ask yourself these questions first: How do I feel? Does this fit? Feel comfy? Try sitting (if possible), still comfy? Could this work for my life/ lifestyle? If it’s all good, then look with a neutral lens.
- Ask for help! Take pics, go with a friend or ask a sales clerk or stranger! You always get the final say, but sometimes someone other than us can see things we can’t!
- Leave the tags on. This tip came to me from Style Coach Amanda Hanson (she’s brill BTW). Leave the tags on and wear the garment for an hour or two at home (be sure to keep it in like-new condition!). Try it on with a bunch of your clothes. Does it work in a variety of ways? Do you still love it? Awesome. Keep it!
Your body is deserving of dignity and kindness. Wearing clothes that fit is just one way we can show our bodies this respect. Lean in. And know that you don’t have to go it alone! If you’re looking for support consider connecting with me for one-to-one coaching or join us for the next round of Mindset.