My husband and I are very excited to be moving to the Peoria area later this month. It’s the perfect time to go through our belongings and get rid of the extra stuff in our lives.
I decided to start with my clothes. It was a really hard process for me, not because I loved the clothes so much, but because of my attachment to the body that fit those clothes.
Five years ago, I was a size 0 and weighed 115 lbs. I never had an eating disorder, let me be clear about that. But I was guilty of disorderly eating. I counted every calorie, ate fat-free everything, and only used artificial sweeteners. I was paranoid about everything I ate and honestly didn’t enjoy food much.
I was thin and that felt great. I never worried about how I looked in my clothes. And I could run fast, which only fueled my obsession over food.
But that kind of life isn’t sustainable. As someone with depression, I entered into a rough patch of life and turned to food for comfort. I would eat in hiding out of shame for my lack of discipline. I put on weight month after month until I was up to 150 lbs and a size 8. The extra weight made me self-conscious, ashamed, and even more depressed.
Things were able to change when I got married. I found the discipline I had been lacking, I could open up to my husband about my relationship with food which added a layer of accountability, and we started cooking healthy meals together. I finally felt like there was order back in my eating. Then I found out I was pregnant.
It was a really difficult time for me. I was tired of gaining more and more weight and was ready to lose it, but knew that this season of life required weight gain for the health and wellness of my son. I also was really sick, so I often had to eat whatever would stay down not what I knew was nutritious. As I watched the scale keep going up and up, I had to constant remind myself this was a good thing. At the end of my pregnancy, I had gained 22 lbs; a healthy amount for both myself and my son.
Which brings us back to now. At 6 months postpartum, I’m down to 137 lbs and a size 4. More than just the numbers: I’m fitting into clothes I couldn’t wear leading up to my pregnancy, I’m eating healthy and enjoying food, and finally have a good relationship with food. I eat cheese and peanut butter without fear and have kicked the artificial sweeteners.
So back to the clothes. I was sorting through the piles and piles of clothes in my closet. The ones I had held onto for years in hopes that one day I would fit into them again. I was tempted by them. I thought about the ways I could restrict my diet and how hard I could exercise in order to fit back into them. But as I stared at it all, I had an image replaying in my head. It was my younger sister standing in front of me with tears in her eyes telling me she was afraid to hug me because she thought she would break me. I love my sister and I love hugs. I never want her to feel that way again.
Those clothes were a reminder about a time in which I was not kind to myself. A time in which I caused a lot of concern for my family. A time in which I compromised my health for a size on a tag. It was time for me to give them up if I was ever going to truly reconcile with myself. So I bagged up the clothes and the emotions that were so heavily tied to them.
My body is still a work in progress. But whatever size I end up, I will be healthy–emotionally and physically. It takes time, and I’m facing things one step at a time.