Anorexia – Relapse and Prevention: Small Clothes and Tears

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Relapse Symptom: Becoming upset about not fitting into my small clothes. An unavoidable aspect recovery from anorexia is weight gain. Weight gain doesn’t just mean a number on the scale, as it feels like when you’re losing weight, but it also corresponds to an actual increase in mass and size. When losing weight during anorexia, it seems to be a part of the illness to become blind to the weight loss and loose fitting of all your clothing. However, when weight restoration starts to happen, it can feel like you can feel, and see every single pound that you gain: and it is more strikingly obvious when you try on old clothes that you used to like to find that they don’t fit anymore. In fact, you can’t even pull your old jeans over your thighs and it is at this point that you have a choice from the following options:

a) crying over how fat you have become
b) swearing you will lose the weight to wear them again soon and folding them away for when said weight is lost
c) do a clear out of clothes that really oughtn’t fit you…ever….in a million years
d) embrace the reason to go shopping for new clothes

The last option obviously seems like the most logical and enjoyable option, however in the wrath of anorexic thinking, logic and enjoyment go out the window. Anorexia will berate you for gaining the weight, becoming larger and “look, you fat bitch, you can’t even pull your jeans up. They used to be big on you, and you were still fat so just think how disgustingly fat you are now. You should lose that weight again, you looked so much better”

This is a very difficult voice to confront and battle. Anorexia is so convincing and so easily believed that not saving the jeans for later “when I’ve lost a few pounds” is a very difficult urge to resist.

How I stay well: Only in my later years of recovery have I been able to accept my expanding body. I have now settled at a healthy weight and a healthy size – but it is a size and weight I have never been before. I am at my highest weight. Since realising how small my old clothes were, and learning to accept that really I should never be that size again if I want to remain healthy, I had to take the bold step of throwing out my skinny clothes. This is a mile stone in recovery for many people, and it is a difficult one to overcome. “what if I lose weight again?”,”what if I get sick again?”,”but i really liked those clothes, they made me feel nice”. So in one afternoon I went through my wardrobe and I put it all in a charity shop bag. However, after my wardrobe depleting significantly, I have used this as an excuse to shop gradually over the months and years for a new wardrobe for my new healthy size and shape that I seemed to have settled at. Finally, in new clothes that fit I am less likely to put on an outfit and think or feel that I am far too fat. My clothes fit nicely, I look good and I’m healthy all at once.

For when my thinking slips though, I have to remind myself that at my height I should never be a size 6 again. I shouldn’t really be a size 8 either and that a 10-12 is perfectly fine, healthy and apparently sexy too. Who doesn’t want to be all of those things?

Other Signs and Symptoms:
1. Introduction: Anorexia – Relapse and Prevention and Counting Calories
2. Weighing
3. Drinking cups of tea, in succession, on after another, after another, after another.
4. Skipping Meals
5. Feeling anxious and out of control
6. Feeling uneasy about “bad foods”
7. Making diet plans
8. Burning calories
9. Denying Hunger
10. Thinking about food
11. The Thin Ideal

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