You may have read the title of this blog and thought, “Is she really going to write a blog about pants?”
The answer is yes, yes I am.
You see, when it comes to recovery, pants are a BIG deal.
I’m serious. Talk to anyone in ED recovery and they will tell you pants suck.
When I first started to recover the weight came on fast. Nothing tells you weight is coming on more clearly then your pants not fitting. Nothing is more triggering in recovering the having to size UP in pants. It’s a nightmare. I’ve shed many tears in dressing rooms over pants. PANTS?! These stupid things that cover both our legs. I’ve cried over them and eating disorder or not I bet there has been a time that you have at the very least been really mad about your pants.
All jokes aside, I want to talk about this because it’s something people don’t talk about much in recovery and it needs to be talked about!
I’ll be honest, about a year into recovery I stopped wearing pants and started only wearing leggings, tights or dresses. There are many reasons that I did this.
1. It got expensive. Buying new sizes every few months as I gained my recovery and overshoot weight was pricey. Good jeans aren’t cheap.
2. I don’t care who you are, the stigma of having to get a bigger size because of weight gain is triggering. When you have an eating disorder and are sizing up it is literally debilitating and I mean it when I say I have had suicidal thoughts after realizing jeans didn’t fit anymore. In recovery it is HELL.
3. The swelling I had during recovery just didn’t work for pants. I would swell so bad that in the afternoon I would be a completely different size than I was when I woke up. I’m not just talking a little difference like an after meal bloat, I’m talking about literally swelling up three pant sizes looking pregnant. This swelling was painful. If anyone hugged me it would feel like needles and sharp jabbing on my body. If I wore anything remotely unforgiving it would dig into my sides and cause bruising. Also, it’s triggering.
4. My body shape was very odd and they don’t make pants for the shape I was rocking in recovery. Well, maybe maternity pants, but you tell me if you would want to wear maternity pants if you weren’t pregnant??? In the beginning I had thin legs, thin arms and a giant belly. I felt like I had the shape of a tele-tubbie. Pants just didn’t work.
For these reasons, and many more, I was out when it came to pants during recovery. I packed them away, and decided I would do what I always judged others for doing....I started wearing leggings. I swear I have over 40 pair of black leggings now. No joke. They all look the same and I’m sure people think I just keep wearing the same pair. I am not. They are different :)
I was self conscious about wearing leggings but I didn’t really have any other choice! It was what it was and I just did my best. Wearing leggings was something that gave me SOME amount of comfort during the healing, swelling, gaining process and let me tell you, when you find something that helps during recovery you DO IT.
This was hard because I did pride myself in being somewhat of a fashionista. I LOVED shopping and clothes and style. I would travel to Europe each year and take an empty suitcase just to buy clothes at stores only in boutiques I found in small towns. THAT’S how much I liked shopping. It was hard going from that to black leggings every day for years upon years. It honestly STILL gets to me sometimes. I have dreams of going back into these store and shopping again or wearing that amazing top I bought in a small village in France, but today is not the day. (ugh)
Back to pants before I get sad....
I truly did not wear “real” pants for five years. Isn’t that unreal?! It’s true though. I couldn’t take the pain of wearing them on my skin, I couldn’t take the trigger of seeing the much larger number on the tag than I was used to being, I couldn’t take that they would be super tight on my stomach and so loose on my ankles that I looked like I was wearing two different sized pants.
I always told myself that when the swelling stopped and I was a little more comfortable with my body I would buy pants again.
Well, I did it! After five years of black leggings I have bought myself two pairs of pants! They were hella expensive but honestly, the amount of money I saved not buying pants in those five years I convinced myself I deserved them haha.
I honestly was VERY proud of myself. I’m still two maaaaybe three sizes bigger then where I think my set point is, but it was time to try and wear pants again. My swelling has basically disappeared, my body shape has more or less distributed a little more proportionately and I was just ready to feel stylish again. So I went to a plus size boutique (Torrid) and tried on pants until I found two pair that felt really good and get THIS, the woman at the register gave me a big discount when I told her this was the first time in five years I was buying pants after anorexia recovery! What a gem!
Now, the thing that really mattered was would I actually wear the pants I bought?! I can’t tell you how many times I have bought something in recovery and then never wore it because I copped out when it came time to go out in public.
Well, lets throw a party because I DID wear my pants!! I won’t lie. I had a lot of intrusive thoughts and felt insecure that they made me look “bigger” then my leggings do, but I also said c’est la vie and ventured out in the world with my new grungy grey jeans. It felt good! It also felt bad, but more good then bad!
All the feedback I have gotten is they look great and honestly, it felt good to wear pants again! I don’t wear them all the time, especially when I have those days my eating disorder gets the best of my thoughts, but I do wear them and it’s just another step in the right direction of recovery. It’s also another thing that shows me how far I’ve come!
The number on the tag is much larger then I want it to be, but for some reason I know it won’t be that way forever. Also, this is exactly what scissors are for!! I cut out the dang tags :) Also, my body is healing and now that it doesn’t hurt so much why not try and look cute while I finish this process out right??!!
If you are in the stage of leggings only, I get you. It will get better, I swear. Just be comfortable and do your best! If you are ready to wear jeans again, I understand the anxiety that comes with it as well as the excitement. Do all your best coping skills, and go on a day that you have a great mindset to do so. Afterwards, take care of yourself. Buying pants isn’t easy in recovery!!!
So today I celebrate my expensive, ripped up, grey recovery jeans. I earned them!
- Sara -