I'm admittedly guilty of checking myself whenever I happen to pass by a mirror. 90% of this knee-jerk reaction is due to the fact that my teeth are perfectly set to catch any and all food, but the rest is out of pure concern for my appearance. Is my hair getting too flat? Is my eyeliner smudging? Why is my nose constantly peeling throughout the summer?
How would my preoccupation with monitoring my image fare if I challenged myself to avoid mirrors for maybe a day or two? How about one year? That's what bloggers Autumn Whitefield-Madrano and Kjerstin Gruys did and the change was remarkable. Click through to learn more about their experience and how the media is taking it.
Whenever I saw my reflection I'd open my eyes a little wider, suck in my cheeks a little and tip my chin down in an effort to make myself look more like I wanted to. It made me feel really vain.
After this discovery, she set out to change her self-conscious behavior. For a month, she strayed from all mirrors "... to see how much my mood was affected by the way I perceived my looks." It wasn't easy displacing an element she was naturally used to, but after that month, she felt "calmer and more serene." Now she plans on partaking in mirror fasting annually.
Whitefield-Madrano's friend, Kjerstin Gruys, also tried out mirror fasting after her wedding preparations put pressure on her self-perception and shopping for a dress "triggered a renewed – and very unwelcome – sense of vain insecurity." But Gruys took it to the next level - no mirrors for an entire year leading up to her wedding. She even refused to look at photographs of herself! How did her experiment leave her feeling?
I've managed to better separate my looks from my self-esteem. This is probably the most powerful secret to feeling beautiful.
Many news outlets have confronted the idea of avoiding mirrors head-on. Nancy Snyderman, NBC's chief medical editor, posited that checking the mirror is an affirmation, not a chance to pick out imperfections. "Make no mistake about it, this is a visual society, and how we present ourselves opens up the doors for job interviews, dating, etc…"
Tyra Banks made a guest appearance on Good Morning America to discuss the mirror fasting trend and disagreed with the experiment right off the bat. "I'm not for that. I always tell women that the mirror is not the enemy." She believes that imperfections are beautiful, and by avoiding your own appearance, you are letting the image-obsessed media win. Watch the entire discussion here.
Although I do think that the detractors have a point concerning the advancement of careers and open-minded concepts of beauty, I can't see any harm in the act or any risk these women are taking. It is their prerogative to better themselves and the mindsets that they felt were on the brink of overtaking them wholly. To have gotten to this point, they must have been unhappy with how hooked onto their appearance they were. Detoxing insecurity has many methods, and this extreme take was solely for them, not everyone else, to confront their struggles.
Experts suggest that mirror fasting could provide a temporary improvement in mood towards your appearance and it will eventually stabilize back to your usual state of self-consciousness. So if you plan on embarking on this unconventional project in self-improvement, you could take the advice of Whitefield-Madrano and revisit mirror fasting once a year.
What is your take on mirror fasting? Would you try it and for how long?