“Sick Clothes”: Clothing Struggles in Eating Disorder Recovery

I have a confession to make.  I have a problem with clothes.

When I was younger, my issue with clothes was usually having way too many of them.  Even as I gained weight as I grew older, I still wanted to go out and buy more and more clothes and kept a lot of the smaller ones I had around.  It was always just in case in my mind.

It was only when I was nearing my heaviest weight that I began not buying myself clothes anymore.  I had stopped enjoying it.  After going to store after store and not being able to find any clothes, I started to give up.  I felt awful about myself already and not being able to buy clothes that really fit, were nice, or were in any stores that other kids were buying clothes in was really tough.  There was a lot of crying and breakdowns in fitting rooms during this period.

As I started losing weight (in a healthy way at first), I once again indulged in clothes.  I picked up right where I left off when I determined in my head I deserved to start buying clothes again.  I had some really awesome retail therapy and some really pretty clothes.  Clothes that fit my body.

Even when I was sick with my eating disorder, I still bought myself clothes.  I needed new clothes that fit, but also I was so obsessed with perfection because of my OCD that nothing but the absolute best would do for me.  My clothes had to be designer and only from certain select upscale stores.

Now in recovery I treat myself as I did when I was heavier.  I have stopped buying clothes.  I keep around smaller clothes—just in case.  I gave my therapist two pairs of jeans that would never ever fit me again, but those are the only things I have parted with.

And what is this doing to me?  It sure is not positive!  My dresser and closet is filled with clothes and only about half fit me.  I hang on to them believing that one day I will fit into them again instead of buying myself clothing items that will fit my body now.  I keep believing that I do not deserve new or nice clothes because I do not feel that great about myself very often.

What would it be like if I gave up the one pair of jeans I am still holding on to that will never fit me again?  What would it be like if I bought myself another pair of jeans?  Or a few new shirts?  What if I spent just a little bit of money on myself for once?

I think it is about time.  It is about time to have more than a few items of clothing that fit my body.  Time to have more than one pair of jeans.  Time to spend money on the body that I have now because this is my body.  This is where it wants to be.

As my little mantra says, “If it is comfortable, wear it.”

It is also about time I give my therapist those last pair of jeans I am holding on to.  I do not need them anymore.  They will never fit again.  I am not going back to being sick with my eating disorder.  Ever.

I challenge the rest of you to look at what clothes you are hanging on to.  Do you have your eating disorder clothes or clothes that are too small still in your closet/dresser?  I challenge you to see if you can give them away.  I also challenge you to buy yourself clothes that fit your body regardless of the size.  Remember: be comfortable!