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What Going Shopping Meant to Me in Anorexia Recovery

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Like many girls, I love to go shopping. I love clothes and finding a deal gives me adrenaline! I’ve never been a picky person in terms of patterns, fabrics, colors, etc. so finding clothes was always easy for me. However, during my eating disorder recovery, that all changed. I became more aware of clothes and took a longer time to decide what I wanted and how it affected me. It’s not the size that mattered, but it was more of the way things fit on me that I noticed.

Clothes shopping is often part of the recovery process. I know what the feeling is like, as do most people, where looking at something that used to fit you can bring you sad thoughts and link you to memories of the past. However, for someone in recovery, it’s so much more than that. You look at a pair of jeans or a dress or whatever item you used to adore so much and know it not fitting anymore means your body has changed. The idea of your body being different than what it was before is saddening because they’re still learning to accept and love themselves.

Clothes shopping felt different to me after because I was unsure of my size. I wasn’t sure of what looked good on me anymore, and not to mention I was still getting used to my changing body. I don’t want to place such an emphasis on something like clothes, but it’s what the clothes do that matter. Clothes give you a sense of protection, a sense of confidence and that feeling can be easily taken away or heightened.

It’s a common thing to feel like the process of clothes shopping during recovery is transformational. You have a different body and mindset now and that means you may need new items that cultivate that. Being able to free yourself from the confines of sizes and embracing yourself is a powerful thing.

From my experiences clothes shopping during my recovery, I learned I need to feel good in what I’m in no matter what size a piece of clothing is. So now whenever I shop, I look for clothes that can grow with me and adapt to my changing body. Clothes are supposed to be an accessory to the beautiful person you already are. Don’t let the sizes define you or bring you down because we’re not meant to be boxed into a number or standard. So the next time you’re out shopping, just remember you’re already so beautiful and all you’re looking for is something to help you shine even brighter.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Thinkstock photo via imtmphoto.

Originally published: September 5, 2017
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