Ten Tips to Feeling Comfortable with Your Changing Body
Expect to feel uncomfortable for a while with your new, healthy body. It’s probably been a long time since you were normal weight. Go slowly. Get acquainted with the recovered you and begin to make friends.
Wear gently fitting clothes. When I was recovering, nothing could put me in a panic faster than a too-tight belt. This is not the time for second-skin Spandex or painted on designer jeans. Give yourself a break with wrap-around shirts, drawstring or elastic waistbands, and stretchy fabrics.
Avoid sloppy, baggy tents and shapeless sweats. You’ll feel better about yourself in comfortable but neat clothes.
Throw your scales away. What difference does it make in the grand scheme of the universe if you gain or lose a couple of pounds?
Give your “skinny” clothes to Good Will or Salvation Army. You don’t need the temptation to try and get back into them, and there are lots of malnourished street people who can use them.
Get new, attractive clothes in sizes that fit or are a little large. If the thought of trying on larger-sized clothes turns your knees to jelly, ask a trusted friend to shop for you. Pick someone who knows your tastes, and ask him/her to rip out the size labels before you see them. You don’t need to give control of your life to those tiny tags.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, stand back far enough so you can see your whole body. Look at the whole picture, not just the spots you don’t like. When you scan your image from top to bottom (oops, no pun intended), your stomach and thighs fall into perspective and become just parts of the whole. If you isolate them and look at them without reference to the rest of you, you can distort them and make yourself frantic.
When you eat, visualize some of the food turning into fuel to give your body energy. Maybe you can visualize a gas tank similar to the one in your car. When you get hungry, your body is telling you your tank is empty and you need to refill it by eating.
Gently answer all negative, self-critical thoughts you may have with positive, self-affirming ones like,”Under the circumstances it’s only natural I feel fat. I refuse to let these obsessive thoughts rule my life. I’m choosing to think of something else right now.” Then think of something else.
Several times a day give yourself credit for all you have accomplished so far. Remind yourself of your ultimate goal, recovery, and recommit yourself to reaching it. Best wishes for a happy journey.
by Jean Rubel, Th.D.
Reprinted with permission from Eating Disorders Recovery Today
Fall 2003 Volume 2, Number 1
©2003 Gürze Books
About the Author
Jean Rubel, Th.D. founded Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, one of the first non-profit associations in this field. Their website is www.anred.com.