The way your clothes fit can make all the difference in how you view your body. Learn to approach it from a lens of ‘what works best for me’, and challenge the ideals around what your body ‘should’ fit into.
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Being bombarded by these types of messages can make the idea of accepting our bodies appear unachievable. Respecting our bodies in a world where we are told that they are not good enough on a daily basis can be tough.
However, tough doesn’t mean impossible.
We can choose to show our bodies kindness one little step at a time, and one of the ways in which we can treat our bodies with respect is by choosing clothes that fit comfortable. It’s about learning to understand that we don’t need our bodies to fit the clothes, but rather, we need to find clothes that fit our bodies.
With that being said, this is much easier said than done, and getting in that fitting room can be very difficult for many. With practice, you can turn that fitting room experience into a more pleasant one, or at least a more neutral one. Here are 6 ways to get started.
1. FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT, RATHER THAN WHAT YOU SHOULD WANT
So many ‘should’s’ pop up when you’re in the fitting room.
- You should be x size.
- You should buy clothes that look like this.
- You should buy this style for your body type.
- You should say away from this pattern and this color.
Listening to the ‘should’s’ makes it really hard to listen to what you want. This not only makes the fitting room a chore, but it can also leave you confused and overwhelmed when trying to make choices. Instead, think about the ‘wants’. Ask yourself some simple questions when shopping for clothes.
- What do I want out of my clothes?
- What do I want to make close decisions based off of?
- What makes me feel good and comfortable?
- What makes me feel like me?
- Do these clothes truly fit me?
2. SET YOURSELF UP FOR BETTER SITUATIONS
When we try something on that doesn’t fit us and start down a path of making negative comments about why that item doesn’t fit, we are subconsciously making a choice to lead down a negative path.
Start by shopping at the stores you know you like, that have your size, and offers your style. If you know that a certain store doesn’t carry your size or has clothes that you don’t feel fit right, don’t go to that store. Setting yourself up to be disappointed will only create more negative thoughts.When you try on clothes, consider facing away from the mirror initially. Try on the clothes first, and see how they feel and sit on your body. If it doesn’t feel comfortable or does not fit to your liking, don’t look in the mirror. Just take that clothing item off right away, and try on a different size or clothing item.
3. MAKE THE SHOPPING TRIP A FUN EVENT RATHER THAN A RESPONSIBILITY
Dreading the fitting room is very common, but it’s possible to make the whole experience a less dreadful one. Let’s think about the following two scenarios:
Scenario A: I absolutely hate clothes shopping. I have been dreading it all day. I have waited until the last minute so now I am not going to be able to find anything in the small amount of time I have. I am going to run in and get any pair of jeans I can find just to get out of there.
Scenario B: I really hate clothes shopping. To make it a bit more fun, I am going to ask a friend or family member to go with me. Maybe they can help distract me from negative thoughts that tend to pop up when I go alone. Maybe at the mall, the two of us can make an event of it and stop at our favorite restaurant or check out that new book store I have been meaning to go to. That would be fun!
In these two scenarios, the same event is still taking place but the situation can play out a lot differently because we set ourselves up for success.
4. CHALLENGE THE NARRATIVE YOU TELL YOURSELF
We have a narrative for our bodies, a story we tell ourselves over and over again. We have a narrative for all types of situations that our bodies encounter, fitting room experiences included. This narrative is formed because of our culture, experiences, biology, story, and so much more.
One of the biggest influencers creating this narrative are the thoughts we have and how we let them affect us. These thoughts can eventually become automatic beliefs that influence your behavior. That’s why it’s important to recognize, challenge, and replace those automatic thoughts.
First, become aware of any unwanted thoughts and self-talk. Choose to challenge them by asking yourself:
- Do I want this thought?
- Is the thought true?
- What am I feeling right now?
- Is this fear or truth?
The final step is to replace the thought with a more helpful one. Each time you replace a thought, you will be helping to create a new thought that helps you slowly change your body narrative.
Remember that thoughts are just thoughts, and feelings are just feelings. You don’t need to let them define you. You do not need to live according to them. You get to choose.
5. REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE WITH YOUR BODY IMAGE STRUGGLES
Don’t isolate yourself in bad body image situations. Feel your feelings and share them with others, pr at the very least, remember you are NOT alone. We are all in a world where shopping for clothes is hard. We are all in a world where we are told we should be in a constant state of fixing or controlling our bodies. You are not alone in this struggle, so don’t tell yourself you are alone. Remind yourself that what you are feeling is a common feeling.
6. FIND A MANTRA OR AFFIRMATION THAT ALIGNS WITH YOUR VALUES
Pick a go-to mantra or affirmation for the tough moments as you’re trying on your clothes. Be sure to pick those that are worth repeating them to yourself on a daily basis to make your day better. Take a moment and think about an affirmation that has left an impression on you. Can’t think of one? Try one of these!
- I am strong now.
- My body will take care of me.
- This is temporary.
- I’m doing the best I can.
- I can sit through discomfort.
- I can handle difficult and uncomfortable emotions/thoughts/feelings.
- I am stronger than this experience.
- If I make room for what’s uncomfortable, I will discover new parts of me.
- My thoughts and feelings do not define me.
- This too shall pass.
- Trust the process.
- Why be your biggest enemy when you can be your biggest fan?
- You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.
Remember, your body is forever changing as we age and based on how we feel in different situations. And how you feel in your body is forever changing according to your surroundings and environment, including how your clothes fit.
Set yourself up for success in the fitting room, and feel good doing it.
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: PARKER BURCHFIELD
Jamie Magdic, RDN is a Registered Dietitian who works both locally in Colorado and virtually all over the US, specializing in eating disorders, disordered eating, body image healing, and exercise addiction. Jamie has a passion to help everyone find full recovery. and is working with others on a very exciting project for those who are on the path to recovery. To make sure you don’t miss new announcements, make sure to subscribe to Jamie‘s page at https://www.yourhappyhealthy.