Last week I was amused and amazed by the gi-normous task facing Fashion's Most Wanted and Keeping up with Mrs Jones as they undertook a life laundry on Mrs Jones's house. Also Fashion Pearls of Wisdom had a week long special on shoes. Oh what a good idea I thought, a subject matter for a week and lets do it large and deep in a life laundry sort of way.
If you have no idea what the Make Do stands for then...here goes. In my world making do is about making do with what you've got and also being glad of that fact. It is about not wanting something to fill an emotional hole. If you've got no money then go without. And learn about budgeting and saving. If you are tired and fed up, give in and go to bed or take a rest - you won't miss out on anything. If you've got nothing to wear rearrange your wardrobe and get inspired. I'm sure you get the point. We in the West have got so used to aspiration, achievement and materialism. I'm pretty sure it is true the world over but in the developed countries it reached a peak. Basically, comparing yourself to anyone/anything is a waste of energy.
The Female Body
Let's face it models are always going to be thin and Dawn French is always going to be fat. If you get realistic and practical about the female body then the rest is easy. Your bodily functions, eating, sleeping and excreting are an everyday occurrence. There are only two major milestones in a female's life time when it comes to the body. The first is puberty and the onset of the menstruation. At this point you bodily changes can be really challenging/upsetting - this period really depends on what information you receive both verbal and non verbal. Some have easier passages than others. Some suffer more hormonally than others. The next biggest event to challenge the female body is pregnancy. Being pregnant elicits change to the female body. Our DNA and genetic imprint determine our skeletal structure which in turns impacts on our body shape.
We are all different. There are no two people alike unless you are truly an identical twin. What we have is what we have.
The issue of liking one's body
I often wonder when did people consciously think about themselves in terms of liking or not liking their body. And I mean people as a collective. Which decade or century did it happen? Have we always had this perspective of bodily image?
The trouble with comparing and contrasting is it causes just that trouble with a capital T. Ideals, images of beauty all add to the pressure of modern society. If we look at female images logically firstly the 'ideal' is always changing in the same way the way which we adorn ourselves changes. Fashion is fickle but also challenging, it keeps us fresh and moving forward. Sometimes it makes us still or reflective. Whatever goes on around us, you have to stay grounded in you. You needs to be the pivotal point. You cannot affect or change the prevailing fashion. But you can control how you respond and feel.
Why care about models?
I've never given a stuff about models or more preciously the model weight debate. Of course I care about a model as a human beings. Models are slim or not, they are of varying shapes and sizes. Mainly tall though. Perhaps because over the years I've worked with many many models I am completely ambivalent. Occasionally I do get awe struck when an individual is truly beautiful. I like beautiful things but my idea of beauty will no doubt be very different to yours. None of us share exactly the same views or taste.
What strikes me is that model's have to worry about their weight and their looks as much as most women. I really haven't got the time to talk endlessly about how we end up with our views of ourselves, our bodily images etc. It is a massive subject with much thought upon the subject to fill a library. However if you want my top tip, admire models or dislike them, but don't think about them or about being like them. It is a waste of energy. And lends to body dysmorphia.
I look fat or I hate that on me
When you put clothes on the body some days it looks great and some days it goes a bit pear shape. Sometimes when you are shopping you put a garment on and it looks great, another time it looks awful.
To the first I say hormones. To the second I say there are loads of clothes out there.
Bodily weigh does impact on what you wear. I will talk about weight in the next section but how clothes fit is simple. The trouble with ready to wear or off the peg garments it is a lottery. You are wearing an approximation, not an exact fit. With clothes you have to go with what you like, what suits you and what fits you. Again there is plenty of choice and sizes. All you have to do is to choose not to take it personally. Try things on, be open to new ideas and most importantly think you look good whatever you wear.
Plus men don't care about the specifics of your figure or what you wear. If they do have an issue with their body then it is because of something lacking in them and they are being horrid - walk away. They have to fix themselves. Or their upbringing lends them to a certain preference - but when it about taste of clothes not nit picking over your bum then just shrug your shoulders. Early on in my relationship with Mr MDS I asked him would he date a Page 3 girl, to which he replied yes! I wanted to be all indignant but I laughed - it is just about him feeling good if he went out with a Page 3 girl. It was his ego, the peacock element. Men are bound to look, men are bound to fantasise - don't you?
Diets don't work
When it comes to the body don't try to follow a calorie cutting or food specific diet. If you really want to lose weight based on the fact you are factually overweight, then there is only exercise and fuelling correctly that will get it off. Note the factual bit!
I only base things on how clothes fit and how much of a tyre I get round my middle. I've had children so I'm going to be a bit lumpy and bumpy. I do exercise and I've just started to use a personal trainer but that is mainly because I want to be pushed. Left to my own devises I wouldn't be able to shift my tyre. It is pure vanity that is driving me to tackle it. My weight doesn't go up but I've not lost the excess I put on a while back so I want to tackle it.
What I do know given I eat a lot and don't diet is exercise regulates your body better than any diet. If you do exercise like walking, swimming, cycling and running in the fresh air you'll be amazed at how you don't want to each as much. It is the combination of endorphins and being outside that fulfil something, probably emotional needs which are often causes of eating.
The worst diet ever has to be the Atkins diet. I still roll my eyes at that one. Imagine a diet that tells you to eat saturated fat when we know it is the biggest cause of heart disease. And then the Atkins chap went and died of a heart attack! It amazes me that people still buy into it.
There are only 3 books I could ever recommend on diet given they are about food choices not dieting. They are the only 3 books I have because they are useful for me in respect of my personal styling work. I don't have a nutrition book because I know what foods are proper healthy foods - we all do. I'm mainly vegan but very occasionally I do eat fish, meat or dairy. I actually ate a sausage, a German bratwurst, for the first time in ages on Saturday at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. It was perfect with mulled wine and German potato dish. And I had a tiny piece of chicken when I cooked roast dinner on Sunday. I love goats and feta cheese so I'm not going to deprive myself but it is only occasionally.
The 3 books are
I can make you thin by Paul McKenna - purely habit changing and focused on acheiving not deprivation. Really good if you like suggestion to respond to.
Can we live 150 years? by Mikhail Tombak - this is not for the faint hearted as it is pretty hard core. He does love the old no food combining thing but what is truly useful about this book is the idea of giving your body a service. When I get a weekend to myself I'll do the liver detox!
The China Study by T.Colin Campbell - this is the holy grail of dietary advice. It is the sort of book that will change your life or have you reaching for a hamburger. I love it. It is a wonderful read and it's impact on me was greater than just diet. However, not everyone will be swayed by his evidence and arguments.
So what next
Thank you if you've got this far, as it is a long read for a blog post! The purpose of this post is to get you to take stock of you now and lose any habits that are holding you back in respect of body image.
If your bikini line needs a wax you get it done or not. We all need to adopt the same pragmatic approach to ourselves, how we feel about ourselves. It is a sad fact but you are the only person in your body. Even if someone cares and loves you - your mind, your perspective, your sight is yours alone. Only you can guide and steer yourself. Be pragmatic if you want to life laundry your body or body matters.