Mirrors haven’t been my friend lately – especially fitting room mirrors. But if I’m being honest, they never have been.  As someone with body dysmorphia (body image issues) who is in recovery from an eating disorder, there probably hasn’t ever been a more difficult time to look at my reflection. And with the changing seasons comes yet another reason to have to do so – the need for new clothes for my “new” body.  

I’m not a pro at body acceptance yet – far from it. And now, with the winter holidays coming up, there seems to be more pressure than ever to look perfect and wear the right things. Everyone wants to squeeze in for those seasonal photos, so we all just “have to” look our best. We see people we haven’t seen for the entire year, and unwelcome comments about body types, calories in holiday desserts, and how we’re going to make up for the “cheat meals” we’re having are hard to ignore. 

But when body image is at its worst and the pressure to change to fit others’ expectations and body requirements is at its peak, that’s when we need to stand firm in our convictions. That’s when we have to fight the diet culture that tells us we need to hate ourselves now in order to love ourselves later. That’s when we have to look in the mirror and tell ourselves, sometimes out loud, that we are worthy of love (self-love, too!) at our current weight, with our current body. That the holidays are meant to be enjoyed, not made up for with excessive exercise or dieting.  

It’s hard to listen to people’s diet talk – hard to enjoy the eggnog when your aunt from Utah who you see once a year is loudly hyping up her juice cleanse. It’s hard to love our bodies when the world tells us they’re not good enough. But they are. Your holiday body, your summer body, your spring body – it’s just a body. They’re shells for our amazing, creative spirits. And each one is perfect – just the way it is.

Find Elaina Clarke on Instagram at @elle_g_76, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/elaina.clarke.9

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