One of the hardest parts of recovery is the weight gain.
It’s hard to get used to your new body, and it almost feels like you’re in someone else’s body. You get used to being really unhealthily thin, and when you get back to a healthy weight, it just feels weird. It feels wrong.
Growing out of your sick clothes doesn’t make it any easier. All of a sudden, your little skinny jeans don’t fit anymore. Your favorite extra-small t-shirt gets too tight. The more underweight you are before you begin treatment, the harder it is.
I made the mistake of holding on to my sick clothes.
I thought, “Well, I’m going to keep these in case I lose weight again. It could happen.” Every time I looked at those small clothes, I was triggered. It made me want to go back to that unhealthy size. I felt like my worth was attached to fitting in those little clothes. I felt like that was the size that I should be, no matter how unhealthy it was.
My closet was full of clothes that I couldn’t wear anymore. I had picked up a few clothes along my recovery journey, but some of those didn’t even fit anymore. Finally, I made the decision to clean out my closet.
Ever since I started gaining weight, I hated trying on clothes.
It was just too triggering. This made cleaning out my closet even harder. So I came up with a system: If it looked too small, I wouldn’t even try it on. I just put it in the get-rid-of pile and moved on. If I started trying something on and it felt like it was going to be too tight, I stopped and threw it in the get-rid-of pile.
After going through my entire closet, I had mixed feelings. I was upset that I was having to get rid of so many of my favorite clothes, but I was relieved to have them out of my closet so I wouldn’t have to see them again. I gave all of my clothes that were too small to my mom to get rid of.
Next came getting clothes that actually fit me. I dreaded going to the store to try things on, so my mom offered to get some for me based on the last size I could wear, which happened to be from Hot Topic. She picked out some stuff for me and brought it home so I could try it on. And they were all too small.
Finally, I had to accept the fact that I avoided from the beginning: I couldn’t wear the same type of clothes that I could when I was sick.
I couldn’t wear tight clothes because it was too triggering. I couldn’t wear the same size I could when I was sick. I also couldn’t keep shopping from the junior department.
Gaining weight meant that I actually started having the figure of a normal 18-year-old girl. I absolutely hated the fact that I have a figure now, but I knew that I was going to have to accept it.
I had to completely change my mindset of clothes shopping.
No more tight clothes, no more junior department, no more denial about my new body. Instead of shopping for tighter clothes, I made the decision to only shop for clothes that I felt comfortable in. I decided to get a trigger-free wardrobe. And that was the best decision I’ve ever made.
My mom and I went to JCPenny’s instead of Rue21. We went to the women’s department instead of the junior’s department. I was shocked when I started trying stuff on and it actually fit me well. And it felt great. I looked through and found clothes that were comfortable, but still my style. I discover that the women’s department wasn’t bad as I thought. There was a lot of cute stuff that I really liked.
I picked out clothes that were both stylish and trigger-free.
The shorts and pants I got were loose with an adjustable elastic waistband. I got shirts that weren’t tight on my stomach or chest. And, of course, most of it was black (my favorite color). I thought skinny clothes that showed off my bones were the only clothes I looked good in. I was amazed at this new style of clothes that I was getting- comfortable yet cute.
I highly recommend these type of clothes during recovery. The elastic and adjustability accounted for fluctuations in weight and after-meal bloating. I happily made the decision that for me, comfortable was the new skinny.
I used to think that small meant special.
I didn’t want to be a medium because that meant average. I was terrified of being average or normal. But I’ve realized that average isn’t a bad thing, and smaller doesn’t mean better. I’ve realized that my worth has no relation to what size I wear.
Now, I accept that I am not a size small anymore. For some people, it would be a healthy size, but not for me. I know now that I’m healthiest and most comfortable in a medium. And besides, sizes don’t really matter. They change from brand to brand, and I know now that a size does not determine my worth or anyone else’s.
Maybe your healthy weight puts you in a medium. Or maybe a large. Or maybe a small. It’s different for everyone, so don’t think any less of yourself if you’re healthiest at a larger size. We’re all shaped differently, and that’s okay.
Accepting my body after recovery weight gain had almost everything to do with being okay with not being a size “sick”. That’s how I said goodbye to my sick size, and to connecting sizes with self-worth. I’ve made stylish comfort my new priority when shopping for clothes, and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. If you’re struggling with your size during recovery, you should give it a shot.