Say Yes to the New You

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I need to start this blog by admitting a fairly new addiction. I love the various incarnations of the show, Say Yes to the Dress. After being without cable for a few years, I got it back during the summer. And that is when I discovered this seemingly simple show about girls picking out their wedding dresses. At first I was puzzled about how there could be an entire show around this activity. I mean, I love pretty dresses as much as the next woman, but seriously? But then I realized, as they sometimes say on SYTTD, it isn't really about the dress.

There is drama, omg so much drama involved, especially in the Atlanta spin-off (plus Lori and Monty are such a hoot). There are families and friends that treat the bride terribly, spoiled brides, grieving brides, insecure brides, controlling grooms, over-protective fathers and mothers of every stripe and color (the Mama Drama always makes for a good show). I just love the psychology and family dynamics (hey, they're not MY family dynamics LOL). I have laughed and cried watching this show about girls trying on fancy dresses.

But this blog isn't really about Say Yes to the Dress, as much as I love it. It is about a recurring theme that I see on the show. Body Image and how messed up it can be. The brides in the shows often have problems with their bodies. Some plus sized brides struggle to feel beautiful. But so do some very thin brides, especially those who have lost a significant amount of weight. It reminds me how some of us here on SP struggle with our body image and how hard it can sometimes be to see the best aspects of our appearance because we are so focused on what we see as our faults, even if those faults are in the past.

I just watched an episode of SYTTD, Atlanta in which a bride had lost 65 lbs and was very, very slender but all she saw were "problem areas" when she looked in the mirror. She came with a wonderfully supportive bunch of family and friends and it was heartbreaking to see her struggle to truly see herself and just as poignant to see the sadness and concern on the faces of the people who loved her.

It took the sales consultant, the fashion director AND the store owner to help the bride see "the new girl" she was now instead of the heavier one she had been. They all talked about how she was stuck in the past and the fashion director commented, "She needs to get back to the future." This episode ended happily with the bride choosing the form fitting dress of her dreams and talking about finally being able to celebrate all that she had accomplished through careful eating and exercise. Sadly, I have seen other episodes where the bride could not reach that point of seeing how she truly looked, instead leaving the salon miserable and her self-confidence tattered.

I know I struggle with how much my body has changed in the past year and a half. My recent blog, "I sometimes don't know who this person is" addressed how I am at times surprised both by how I used to look and how I look now. In the restroom at work, I must be seeing myself in the mirror from a certain angle and it looks like I am slinking by, the woman with no hips. That woman looks a bit startled at times. She even pauses to stare on occasion.

Not that I don't have faults by the dozen to catalog, if I let myself do so, even though I am now at the lowest weight I've been in three decades. And I see people on SP commenting on how they hate their bodies still. I am really trying hard not to get sucked up in that need for perfection, that need to look like we think we are supposed to look, or seeing our short-comings compared to that celebrity or that SP member who is 6 inches taller but wearing the same size pants. Ok, I came across that last example the other day, but I decided I am from good peasant stock and we are not built for speed, but endurance. I still look fine in my size 6. emoticon

We need to do more than take good care of our bodies with the right food, care and exercise. We also need to love and appreciate our bodies. We should speak of them kindly and not cast aspersions on them. Many of the things I could find most fault with in my body have been caused by the choices I've made over the years. The least I can do now is treat it with respect and gentleness in both my actions AND my words.

I understand when others struggle with their body image, because I struggle too. But it hurts to see them struggle, to hear the horrible things they say to themselves about themselves. As I grow older, the more I shudder a bit inside when I read or hear someone say "I hate..." about herself or her body. Since we only get this one body, how about we figure a way to make peace with it, to take good care of it so it takes good care of us, to speak well of it the way we speak well of those we love?

So let's appreciate our bodies for all they have been through, often at our own hands and for all they can do. Let's say yes to being comfortable with who we are, how we look and what we can accomplish with the bodies we have been blessed with.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • PEG0711
    So true! Thank you for this wonderful post.

    My yoga teacher ends each class during the relaxation portion saying "Let's take this time to thank our bodies, for all the wonderful things it does for us each and everyday."
    1982 days ago
  • DNRAE1
    Great blog! Never watched the show, due to not having cable, but it sounds like it would be fascinating to watch the interplay! I'm not anywhere near my goal weight yet, but I get closer almost every week, so that is ok! My body won't be perfect by any means, but Spanx is good for anyone!!!! emoticon and I'll feel good!!!!
    2025 days ago
    Great blog! (And those shows truly are addicting lol!)
    2025 days ago
    This is an excellent post -- I think it's really very sad that our society has come to revere such an unrealistic ideal for women's bodies. It would really be so much better if we were so focused on strong, healthy bodies... and making the most of what we have naturally, not by resorting to various "enhancing" surgeries and such. But then, I come from an entirely different generation and have apparently reached an age when it is easy for me to say that! Thanks for being a continuing source of inspiration!
    2026 days ago
    Yep, you definitely have a strong point with this blog. Since I reached the SP goal, then the lower goal that I set for myself I keep thinking if I just lost 7 more pounds it would be good. No more junk in the trunk, legs & arms are good but that darned little pouch is still there on the belly. My mind screams - it just has to GO! Reaching goal is still very new to me and if it takes a year to really adjust to losing 25#, then this is going to take a while to sink in. Think I need to give myself time for adjustment, step back and assess the whole situation....while I emoticon emoticon keep on Sparkin' every day. Staying on SP is going to be the key to keeping it off. All of the tools are here. We do have to learn to accept & love ourselves & our bodies. Maybe it's just part of the journey???
    2027 days ago
  • KANOE10
    Great positive blog. You are so right. We need to accept the new you..That show sounds interesting! Sad that body images can be so negative.
    2028 days ago
    2029 days ago
    I agree with you 100%.
    I have occasionally watched this show also. The self-image part of this is interesting.
    This also comes up on "What Not to Wear".
    Our culture holds up such unrealistic ideals. Basically no one can meet them.
    Even those that appear to have reached that ideal achieve it through artificial means.......
    airbrushed photos, spanx type garments, implants, push-up bras, other cosmetic surgery, spray tans, hair extension and hair dye.......etc. etc.

    2030 days ago
    I'm like you, I shudder when somenone calls themselves stupid, ugly, pathetic... Wrote about that recently, about Kevin Kline in 'A Fish called Wanda', who yelled 'DON'T CALL ME STUPID!!!'. I want to yell at some people 'DON'T CALL YOURSELF STUPID!!!' Or ugly, or fat...
    2030 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/28/2012 5:33:51 AM
    I decided when I started to lose the weight this time that I would hit a certain weight and that when I did, I would say to myself I look good no matter what I thought. This came about when I realized looking at past pictures of myself that I never thought I looked good or thin enough (and at about 30 lbs heavier I looked very good to myself in those pics!). I even told my husband that he better tell me often I looked good when I lost the weight because he didn't before. Well I hit that goal weight and I do say I look good - no matter what my mind is saying. I read today it takes a year for every 25 lbs lost to see yourself in the mirror how you really look. I am noticing I am seeing more differences as time goes on. On purpose I will look away from the "flaws" and make myself see the whole picture and say I look good. And my husband remembered - he tells me often how good I look to him (to be fair I know he has always liked how I look - I just let him know it is important for me to hear it now so I feel like I don't need to keep losing). Your blog is a great reminder - especially to be thankful for this body that has been so kind and forgiving to me!
    2030 days ago
    Really true blog. Thank you! And you look awesome!
    2030 days ago
    I watch that show too. My first reaction was being grateful that I'm not looking for a wedding dress today. Are all the styles strapless? How would I ever hold it up? LOL. This isn't a body image complaint. I made my peace with that part of my anatomy a long time ago, even blogged about it. Also, the prices! Yikes! I'm glad I married off my daughters 20 years ago and now 5 of the 6 grandkids are boys.

    An excellent blog with points that have to be made and remembered.
    2030 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

More Blogs by WILLOWBROOK5