Project 333 & Body Image

It’s been about a month since I started the Project 333 Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge. This is a challenge in which you select 33 total pieces of clothing (including accessories like shoes/belts/scarves/jewelry) to wear for the next 3 months.

Since beginning the challenge, the weather here has heated up significantly (which, frankly, scares me a little as I ponder the possibilities for summer temperatures) so I have made a couple switches to make my wardrobe more appropriate.

I’ve traded out my light jacket and a couple other tops in favor of lighter, cooler tops. I also BOUGHT something! And, perhaps counter-intuitively, I have simplicity to thank for that.

I used to work in an office, so at least half of my clothing and shoes were office-appropriate. Since 90% of the work I do is from home now, I no longer have much of a need for those items and I’ve been transitioning to a more casual wardrobe.

In the midst of doing things I love to do (such as prancing around the Atlanta Botanical Gardens) and living with 33 items, I realized I did not have any light, casual, comfortable shoes for walking long-ish distances. So I bought a cute pair of Keds to add to my spring and summer wardrobe. KEDS! They still exist. And I’m kind of wondering how I have survived thus-far without light, bouncy, comfy slip on shoes.

In any case, so far, I’ve had easy days and harder days as I’ve been dressing with less. But what I’ve realized is my hard days are not about the clothes themselves, (and certainly not about a lack of clothes) but are mostly about how I’m feeling about myself and my body. Honestly, this is the hardest part of getting dressed for me: feeling as though I don’t look good in anything, even though I LIKE my clothing.

I’m sure many women can relate and I must say, it’s a sad, sad state of affairs, ladies! So many women have bought into the lie that they need to look a certain way, and I am no exception. It’s difficult to be someone that struggles with weight-whether you’re struggling to lose OR gain.

As someone who has always struggled to lose weight, I used to believe that just about anyone who was smaller than me couldn’t possibly dislike her body. Not only is that belief incredibly self-centered, it’s also not at all true. I’ve come to learn that pretty much every woman, no matter WHAT size she is, still falls prey to the comparison trap and wishes she had a different body from time to time.

We all need to let go of this form of self-criticism and comparison. I am desperate to. Because ultimately,

stop fighting your body
Photo taken: Atlanta Botanical Gardens

there is not a certain size or weight that I need to be. My only goal is to be a healthy, active person that eats well, indulges occasionally and doesn’t obsess about any of it. Much easier said than done, I know.

But I believe Project 333 is helping me move forward. I’ve selected items I love for my little wardrobe, and the items hanging in the closet fit me. This is encouraging me to be thankful. I am thankful that I even HAVE 33 items of clothing in the first place. I am thankful these clothes fit my body just as it is TODAY. I am thankful my body enables me to be the active person I already am. I am thankful for my supportive husband that tells me every day how beautiful he thinks I am.

It’s great to strive for healthy changes in your body and set goals. But I am learning that goals centered around the number on the scale and pant size encourage me to be obsessive and controlling rather than simple and free. When my goals are to become stronger, do push-ups with flawless form and to eat things that make me feel good, I don’t need to weigh myself or track how many calories I’m eating.

Women, let’s stop fighting against our bodies. Let’s optimally fuel our bodies and use them to engage in activities that make our hearts beat faster. Let’s stop over-analyzing ourselves in the mirror, comparing ourselves with others and wishing were something other than we are today. Let’s believe people when they compliment us.

To quote Rachel Macy Stafford in her book “Hand’s Free Life”:

“Today, I am enough.”



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