Numbers are very defining to an Eating Disorder. No matter how bad you may want recovery, if you suddenly have to go up a pant size, all bets are off and ED is back to controlling your actions. When in treatment, I took recovery very seriously—I was doing pretty well and for that reason I was afraid to go shopping; what if I don’t fit into the same size clothes?
Shopping during recovery:
I decided to grab three sizes (I knew my roundabout number). Without looking at the tags, and making sure I did not WATCH myself in the mirror as I was putting them on—I changed clothes until the right pair fit. Then I bought the most comfortable ones WITHOUT checking the number on the inside. “It doesn’t matter because these look the best on me” I repeated to myself.
Before going shopping:
Goals during ED’s reign over me: Buy the smallest size. Buy the sexiest belly shirt. Keep these in my closet in order to motivate myself to lose weight and work to look like the skinny models that wear them.
Goals during recovery: Search pinterest for models/actresses with REAL bodies (tweak the wording to find different size beauties ex: plus size, curves, real bodies). I discovered so many celebrities with sexy bodies that were not a size 0. (After finding women I admired I started searching specifically for them and copying their style)
(Below: Kelly Brook, Iskra Lawrence)
Honestly, I have no idea if their figures were bigger/smaller or the same as mine, I just know that they inspired me to be proud of my shape just the way it is. They accentuated their best features instead of focusing on bones the way my ED always wanted to.
I made collages of these woman and hung them up on my mirror.
I also made collages of things I wanted in my future, things that only a life without ED could give me.
Before Getting Dressed:
(post for my instagram Just_Do_Today)
Grab a small mirror and spend lots of time on your make up and hair. Focusing solely on your face, as to not get distracted with your body.
I would carefully curl my lashes, paint on my cat-eyes, and line my lips. I pampered myself until I genuinely smiled and felt beautiful. Then I threw on my clothes. I took a quick glance in the full length mirror and tried to focus only on that smile.
Make a List of Go-To outfits:
Getting dressed with ED can be really difficult. I took hours and I changed clothes every 5 minutes. Whenever I thought I was happy with how I looked, he would point out an imperfection that forced me into changing again. Truthfully: ED was full of shit–when you stare at something long enough, your bound to find a flaw. Therefore, I devote all that wasted time and effort coordinating the outfit I want to wear before it goes on me. Trust your style! They are your clothes after all (and get help from those pictures you’ve pinned).
The trouble is that this is not always realistic. Sometimes we get caught up trying to make sure we look okay, and spend a little too much time analyzing. Suddenly before we know it, we are getting badgered by ED.
That’s when I turn to PLAN B:
Lay down. Take a deep breath. Distract yourself with a show or texting a friend. After ten minutes throw on a GO-TO OUTFIT.
What’s a GO-TO outfit? These are outfits that you’ve worn in the past that you’ve been complimented on; that you’ve found yourself attractive in; that you’ve actually managed to smile about when looking at yourself in the mirror. Write every single detail of this outfit down and DO NOT question how you felt last time you wore it. Throw it on and walk out the door.
My only disclaimer is that you have to be VERY committed to recovery. Do not get tempted by ED when he tries to lure you in (checking the tag inside your pants, scrolling through social media) Be proactive.