Like most people this time of year, you probably dug out your summer clothes and tried on a pair of shorts. Perhaps, some of them didn’t fit. Maybe most of them didn’t fit (mine didn’t). What emotions flooded your body and brain? Surprise? Shame? Anger? Disappointment? Perhaps you told yourself that you let yourself go. That you’re lazy. That you should exercise more. That you need to go on a diet so you can fit back into your shorts.
What if in that moment you remembered that bodies change? That our size and shape shifts over time because it’s supposed to. That bodies don’t stay the same, because nothing stays the same. Most of us know this on an intellectual level, but to feel it and accept it, is an entirely different thing. We know bodies change and yet we grieve the loss of the body we had in high school, in our 20s, or before we started that medication with weight gain side effects, before the injury and surgery that limited physical movement, before depression got bad, before kids. You get the picture. We don’t have the body we had in high school because our lives are nothing like they were in high school. Most likely your activity level is different than it was then. You’re probably in charge of feeding yourself now, which means you decide what you like and what you don’t, and you eat accordingly. You probably have more responsibilities and demands outside of yourself. Maybe you have some health issues that have changed your lifestyle. Perhaps you need to take medication with some less than desirable side effects.
My own life, and naturally my body, is nothing like it was in high school. It shouldn’t be. Taking into account life changes just in the last year (injuries, surgery, longer than expected recovery time, an increase in schedule demand, and less time to cook) it’s no wonder that most of my shorts don’t fit this summer. Why would they? So I feel my feelings, take a deep breath, remind myself that bodies are supposed to change, and bag up the shorts and get them out of the house.
Tips for When Clothes Don’t Fit:
Take a deep breath and feel your feelings.
Remind yourself that bodies are supposed to change.
Get rid of clothes that don’t fit, or box them up so you don’t see them.
Buy a few items of clothes that fit comfortably. You don’t have to replace your entire wardrobe all at once.
If you can’t feel positively about your body, work on respecting your body by making sure you have some clothes that fit, and feel good on your body.
Remember that your body is valuable regardless of how it looks, and whether or not you like it.
By Emily Talbott, LISW-S
Clinical Social Worker