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The 'Game Changer' in Accepting My Larger Body Size in Eating Disorder Recovery

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I’m going to start out with a confession. I’m writing this article for selfish reasons, but I’m publishing it knowing that other people may need to read this too.

Today, I’m feeling good in my body, and I know I need to capture this feeling and write it down, because bad body-image days will come and I need something to look back on to help me know that eating disorder recovery is the right choice for me.

The past four years have been a struggle when dealing with my eating disorder. I had many weight fluctuations due to restricting and being in and out of treatment. It seemed as though each time I would weight restore, I’d get scared and return to using behaviors.

I don’t want to do that anymore.

This week, I finished my last partial hospitalization program (PHP) for my eating disorder. When I entered treatment this time, it was for bingeing. My sleep had gotten out of control and I was stuck in a restrict/binge cycle.

I’m told that people with restrictive eating disorders often end up struggling with bingeing because all of a sudden, no food is off limits. In my case, during treatment we discovered that my iron levels were really low, and correcting that is helping mitigate behaviors.

However, often with bingeing, weight gain occurs. Due to the many medications I’m on, my dietitian at PHP told me they weren’t going to set a biologically appropriate weight for me. Basically, they said my weight is at the mercy of what my medications will do and I need to learn to be OK with that.

Accepting my body at a larger size than my restrictive eating disorder brain imagines to be acceptable for myself is tough.

I have never been one for enjoying clothes shopping. I still hate it with a passion, but lately, I’m looking forward to getting new clothes. It’s hard to accept they’re a larger size than I want, but I finally feel comfortable wearing something that fits me well.

I no longer am trying to fit my body to my clothes, rather my clothes to my body.

I’m fortunate that I have a shopping buddy to help me as I work on creating a new wardrobe. On a few occasions, I’ve asked my mom to go shopping for me. This way, I don’t have to be overwhelmed by so many different articles of clothes and having the option of trying on smaller sizes than I know would fit. I leave the size selection up to my mom, and all I am responsible for is finding out if they fit, are too small or are too big.

Creating a wardrobe that fits my recovered body is a game changer. I don’t have to try to morph my body into some clothes I hope will fit my body, because I know these new clothes will fit me without question.

One thing I hated the most with my old clothes was struggling to pull pants on over my new curves. I felt like I was squeezing myself into a straightjacket. Now, my clothes fit and I feel like I can just relax and be myself. I’m not constantly thinking about tugging my shirt down or pulling my pants up.

I can just go about living my life.

Accepting my larger body size, which is by no means easy, and fitting my clothes to my body, is what is going to allow me to continue on with my life without constantly thinking about “going back” to my eating disordered body size.

Today, eating disorder recovery and living with a weight-restored body feels worth it. I hope I can remember this and I hope everyone else out there who needs to see this can too.

Getty image by Maria Korneeva

Originally published: September 14, 2021
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