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What I Realized When I Finally Got Rid of My 'Skinny' Clothes

I’d always heard that recovery from an eating disorder is a journey and not a destination. I didn’t always like hearing that and didn’t always believe it to be true, but four years later I still have that voice in the back of my head that entices me to engage in my eating disorder behaviors. While I used to only hear the eating disorder voice, I now have my recovery voice that fights back. My head is filled with constant bickering between the two as they fight for control over my thoughts.

I can say that I’ve made a lot of improvement over the last few years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle. Sometimes it feels like I’m coasting and nothing can stop me, but then something comes along and I’m forced to stop. To me, these pit stops are reminders that I still have work to do and am still on the road to recovery. They’re there to tell me to pause and reevaluate where I am and where I’ve been going.

I recently came across a box of clothes I had forgotten about. The box contained my “skinny clothes.” I was immediately forced to a halting stop. I’d saved these things from the days I was underweight in the hopes that I would one day be able to fit into them again. Even though I’d forgotten I’d kept these clothes, I didn’t want to get rid of them once they again came into my consciousness. I immediately went back to running numbers through my head — calculating months, calories, sizes, weights, everything.

I wish I could say I found the box and was able to get rid of it right away, but that isn’t the truth. I continued to hold onto those clothing items for months with the desire to wear them again. It was the first time in a while something made me acknowledge my challenges with food and body image. Eventually, though, I was able to face my fears and get rid of them.

Accepting the reality of where I’m at with my eating disorder isn’t easy. I’d like to believe I’ll never struggle again, but I know this is likely something I’ll have to be aware of for the rest of my life. I need to pay attention to my eating habits because I know my emotions and thoughts can get in the way of being healthy.

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Photo credit: Damian Lugowski/Getty Images