Let’s talk about how to be confident in your clothes.
My last day in treatment, the counselor wisely advised me to get rid of all my old clothes, even my underwear. If you are like me, I used the waistband on my jeans as a measure for body checking. A rigid waistband triggered my need for control.
I had to get rid of all my clothes so that I couldn’t use my old size as a trigger. I was not meant to stay the size ED demanded. That was the whole point of recovery: Freedom from ED’s ridiculous standards and need for control.
I came home from treatment to a rather empty closet. Benj and my sister got rid of my clothes for me. I didn’t have a chance to mourn the loss of my old size. Instead, I could start from scratch and become a new person in my own clothes, not ED’s chosen wardrobe.
Find Your Style
My style changed. Instead of choosing clothes that ED would have liked, I chose clothes that fit with what I liked. It was a bit of trial and error, but I came to realize what I liked. And right out of treatment, I liked a non-rigid waistband.
I didn’t want anything tight around my middle. I didn’t want stiff denim on my legs. I didn’t even want to show off my legs for that matter. I wanted comfort and I wanted to feel confident in the new, healthy body I was developing.
I wore dresses – t-shirt dresses that flowed comfortably. I wore leggings under my dresses. My leggings were colorful and full of designs, and they were fun. I didn’t wear jeans, ever. For 3 years, I didn’t even own any jeans. I didn’t need to.
I knew that the rigid waistband would still be a trigger for me.
I refused to be triggered. No rigid waistband had the right to strangle my freedom from me. So instead of flirting with danger, instead of wearing what everyone else generally wore, I wore my dresses and leggings. And I was happy.
Summer came and I found waistless sundresses. Flowy dresses that made me feel fun and free. I didn’t care that I was the only mom sitting at her sons’ baseball game in a dress. The dresses weren’t fancy or restrictive. I wore dresses and I felt confident in my body.
That is the point.
Be Confident in Your Body
Be confident in your body by figuring out how to be confident in your clothes. Don’t try to wear what you feel like you are supposed to wear. Just because it’s summer, don’t wear shorts if you still aren’t comfortable seeing your legs. Don’t wear skinny jeans if they trigger body shaming. Don’t wear a rigid waistband if ED is going to use it as a means to communicate with you.
Don’t put yourself in the way of danger.
Then you are partly at fault for allowing ED a way to wiggle back into your subconscious. Our job as recoverers is to close every door possible to our eating disorder. If we leave any cracks, you know as well as I do that ED will find it and he will slowly creep back into your head.
Slam every door possible. Including your clothes.
I felt beautiful and confident in my dresses and leggings. I knew I would not feel beautiful in jeans and a rigid waistband because I wasn’t confident enough at that point.
Let Your Style Shift with Your Recovery
Then I shifted. The change was very gradual. It snuck up on me slowly, unconsciously.
- I’d see someone in jeans and think, that might be okay to wear.
- I got annoyed by my dress instead of feeling like it was comfortable.
- I started wishing I had shorts to wear around the house.
- I felt tired of my leggings.
- My wardrobe no longer felt fun.
And then I found myself shopping for jeans. I found a pair that fit. I liked them. I felt pretty in them. I felt fun in them. I felt confident in a waistband.
That is when I knew I had turned an important corner in my recovery.
I felt confident in the body I had, enough that I was okay with a rigid waistband. I knew after 3 years (yes, it took three years of no waistbands) that my body had settled into its shape. I had lived for 17 years constantly fearing that eating one M&M would cause me to gain weight. After three years of balanced eating and healthy exercise, I fully understood that my body wasn’t going to blow up 4 sizes just by eating a cheeseburger.
I fully understood that my body worked as it should because I treated it as I should.
I felt confident that I could wear a pair of jeans with a rigid waistband and know that it would fit me in two weeks or in two months or next year. And if it didn’t fit, well then, I’d get the size that did. I no longer feared my size. I trusted that God created my body to work.
That was freedom.
Fight for a Life Without ED
We are reaching for freedom. We want freedom. You do want freedom. But you’re going to have to fight for it. You’re going to have to sacrifice for it. You’re going to have to be okay with rules of recovery before you can have freedom from ED.
Fight for a life without ED.
Fight for your freedom by knowing how to be confident in your clothes. I gave up jeans for three years. Because I wanted my freedom, God gave me a mindset that craved what I needed for recovery. God knew I needed dresses and leggings. He knew I needed time away from jeans. He knew I needed to build my confidence. He knew I needed patience for a gradual recovery.
Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t be hard on yourself and try to rush what should not be rushed. The best things come to those who wait. So if waiting to wear jeans will help you recover, then find your new style.
Wait for it. And while you are waiting, learn how to live your best life.
God created you for life. Living happens by breaking the chains that hold you down. A rigid waistband held me down. So I broke that link to ED. ED couldn’t come back through that door. I broke his power over me through my clothing, and that made a difference.
So, friends, let’s talk about how to be confident in your clothes. Find some that you can live your best life wearing.
Find your ED-free style.