Body Image

When the Dressing Room Triggers all the Feelings

We love finding like-minded business owners and collaborating to bring goodness to all of our clients! This month we teamed up with Amber (aka THE CLOSETEER), a personal stying coach, who sees the bigger story at work in the closets and dressing rooms of her clients. You can download “Shopping: So Much More Than Shirts and Skirts” here to better understand what may be at work for you in regards to clothing.

SHOPPING: So Much More Than Shirts and Skirts

by Beckie Stauffer, MA, RD, LPCC

Shopping, in all of its glory, is a profoundly personal thing. And while all forms of shopping can be meaningful, there is no shopping experience quite like shopping for your body.

The way you shop for toothpaste or school supplies or produce is likely quite different than how you shop for your wardrobe. Sure, on some level clothes perform a functional purpose much like a kitchen hand towel or a bedroom wall hanging, but there is more there. A lot more. More story, more self, more personhood wrapped up in the process, which is what makes clothes both wildly fun and strikingly vulnerable.

Before diving into your shopping experience, we would like to invite you to pause and take a few moments to set yourself up for a fun, kind, and enriching shopping experience. The questions are intended to help you engage with your story, your self, and your personhood in a way that feels healthy and helpful. Please allow yourself the space and attention to answer these questions honestly. This will be helpful- we guarantee it!

This is brave and daring and beautiful work. Your willingness to slow down and make contact with your body and with your story demonstrates courage. Our hope and our confidence is this: slowing down and acknowledging your story around clothing will help to put language and understanding to your next shopping experience. You don’t need to feel surprised or overwhelmed by the tapes in your head when you de-robe, because you know why they are there and how they got there in the first place. When they begin to play, be aware and attuned to what your story is telling you. Be kind to your body and aware of your limits.

The deeper question is this, are you ready for some new tapes?

Ready to ask yourself some more questions?

How Your Story May Be At Work This Holiday Season

By Beckie Stauffer, MA, RD, LPCC

In westernized American culture, you can hardly make mention of the holidays without talking about food. There’s Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas cookies, and New Year’s champagne. Food is culture. It’s how we celebrate, commemorate, and elevate seasons, events, and life. Food brings sparkle, oomph, and pop.

And yet, food is not just culture. It’s health and weight and image. It’s one way that we measure vitality and discipline and worth. So, needless to say, the holidays are a very conflicting time of the year for our minds and our bodies. We experience both a sincere longing to engage in the festive fun, and a wildly shameful aftermath for “giving in.”

Most people land in this double bind at least once between October and January and from my work with clients, many people believe that their routine encounter with disappointment is reserved to just them and their experience. This, this moment, is where your story comes in, gets activated.

If you have never considered how food and your body and your story are interwoven, the invitation is to pause and do so now.

Anne Lamott writes, “If you have a body, you are entitled to the full range of feelings. It comes with the package.”

Here are a handful of scenarios that demonstrate how your deeper story may be at play this holiday season:

  1. You feel both elation and self-loathing when you have a second helping at Christmas dinner.

  2. You make vows like “no more carbs” or “more time on the treadmill” when your holiday party dress is snug.

  3. Your reason for eating another Christmas cookie is because, “I already had two”.  

  4. You can’t look at yourself in the mirror without having hurtful thoughts.

  5. You don’t like looking in the mirror, period.

  6. You feel highly anxious when you see the dinner buffet.

  7. You numb out and just keep eating.

  8. Or, your numb out and do not eat at all.

At Restoration Counseling, we believe that every part of your story matters and every piece of your narrative has the capacity to empower or imprison you.  We are aware that food is substance, culture, and nourishment- and it can also be the trigger to a trap.

Do you remember the first time you had that thought?

Can you recall how your childhood was shaped by food? 

Is there a moment in adolescence you felt shame around your body? Your femininity or masculinity?

As you circle around the potluck, the Christmas tree, or the gym track this Christmas, we invite you to pause, breath, and sink into your body. Let yourself feel what it is like to occupy your flesh, to connect with your matter, and to acknowledge the thoughts that come to your mind.

And then we invite you to be kind to yourself. To forgive yourself. To love yourself. And to begin to restory those narratives.

Happy Holidays!