Saturday, October 15, 2011

Clothes in the closet

One question I frequently get asked when someone learns of my ED past is “Was it hard to gain back the needed weight?” My sarcastic side wants to reply “No, actually, it was incredibly easy. I barely even noticed my body changing. I just started eating a lot more and one day I realized I was healthy again.” Yeah right. Yes - it was hard and probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do at this point in my life. Wrapping my mind around gaining 20 pounds when I was literally freaked out about gaining one was enough to send me over the edge on some days. I worked closely & frequently with my therapist during this initial phase of recovery. She provided much support, encouragement and hands on advice of things I should do to make the process, of gaining weight, easier. I mentioned in this post how she encouraged me to create recovery cards which provided visual encouragement when I felt like throwing in the towel. Those cards were very helpful although she had another tip that was (what I would consider) most essential to my success.

Get rid of the clothes in your closet.

Photo courtesy of this site
My dream closet. 

That’s right. All of the clothes that fit me (at that time) I was to bag up and take immediately to Good Will or another charity of choice. No setting them aside in a bin under the bed or on a closet shelf. Nope, that was not allowed. My immediate response to this suggestion was “Well I should keep them until they start to feel snug and THEN I will shop for new clothes.” She shot that idea down hard core. 

So what did I do? I went home and bagged up all the clothes with a size 00 label (not a typo - two zeros people. For some this might be a natural body size but not for me) and left them in the bag inside my closet. Baby steps right? At least I was able to take them off hangers and put them out of immediate sight, or so I told myself. Yet day after day I would continue to reach for my (then) favorite pair of jeans. Thankfully, I was eating more and following my meal plans and so the weight started to come. Soon these favorite jeans started getting tight and I noticed a direct correlation in my mood. Trying to squeeze myself into jeans that are cutting off my circulation = Brittnie sporting a really crabby attitude. All. Day. Long. How Brandon put up with me I will never know. It was then I realized that my therapist was right. I had to get the clothes OUT of my closet once and for all. On the day of my next therapy session, I bagged up all my "unhealthy" clothes, put them in the trunk of my car, and drove to my appointment. I admitted to my therapist what I had done (not like she didn’t know) and promised that immediately after our appointment I was taking the clothes to a donation center. That is exactly what I did.

So what is a girl to do who is in the midst of body changes with no clothes that fit (my healthy clothes were still too big at that time)? Shop! Yep, my therapist gave me permission to shop it up until I had several items to wear which would fill the gap until my body returned to its healthy shape. This was the BEST decision I made during early recovery. Wearing jeans that had some give (you know... where I could actually breathe) continued to give me the strength I needed to press on. 

Let's think about it:
Trying to gain weight + squeezing your body into clothes that do not fit = always thinking about the negative aspects of a changing body which also =  a 24/7 rotten attitude. 

My pessimistic attitude lifted immediately once I expanded my wardrobe. Out with the old and in with the new if you will. I was able to live day to day not focused on weight but focused on LIFE.  

If I had to name one piece of advice for someone who is hoping to recover from an ED it would be:

Get rid of the clothes in your closet. 
Not tomorrow.
Not five pounds from now. 

 Photo courtesy of this site
Dream closet #2. Or #1. I really can't decide.

Interestingly enough, this metaphor can overlap with so many areas in life, not just ED recovery.
So now It's your turn to do the talking. Can you relate?  
Are there any "clothes" in your closet that you need to bag up and pass off, for good?


  1. I enjoyed reading your post. For me it's always been the opposite...not sure if I should get rid of clothes that are too big, since maybe one day I might need them again.I always hope I won't need them again. It's backwards. I have yet to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes, I am working on that now as we speak! I appreciate your thoughts and am grateful that you are doing well now.

  2. i actually just did the same thing, but with too big of clothes (trying to heal/gain from a gallbladder/intestinal infection). Starting fresh and focusing on the present health. So glad you wrote this and yes, it relates in so many areas of our life. Lets get rid of those clothes!

  3. I SO wish that this was my organized closet....I really do! Why is it that I hold on to every single last pair of jeans? Thanks for the inspiration - great blog, btw! New follower from!

  4. I read your about page and think your journey is inspiring and wish you all the best in your continued healthy habits. I have never had an ED, but I think all woman can relate to having clothes in their closet that don't fit. Good reminder to clean it out.


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