The only thing worse than shopping for clothes as someone who’s plus size is someone shopping who’s plus size with an eating disorder (or with an eating disorder in general). Am I being Negative Nancy over here? Maybe. But if you don’t already understand, you’ll soon know why I’m making such a big deal out of this.
More and more straight size clothing stores are starting to incorporate a larger size range these days. There are even more plus size specialty stores than ever. So why is it so hard to shop for clothing as someone who’s plus size? Well, the short and simple answer is that sizing is complicated.
Let me tell you about my recent trip to American Eagle at the mall. I saw they were having a sale on jeans for $19.99. I thought wow, I should stop in and try to find a cute pair since I literally don’t own one pair of denim jeans right now. The reason for that is every time I buy a pair of jeans, mind you that fit correctly, the inseam always ends up ripping. Thick thighs save lives is a joke.
I’m hopeful about the sizing and it barely even registers to me that I wouldn’t fit into their jeans, because I just purchased some items of clothing from Aerie, their sister store. No, I didn’t purchase denim from there but their leggings and PJ bottoms fit me great and I don’t even wear the largest size.
I head to the sale rack where the clearance jeans are and get all excited. They have up to a size 20! I usually purchase my jeans/jeggings in a straight size 16 from Old Navy. I expect to have to size up at AE. I take a few size 18 pairs into the fitting room and can barely get them over my thighs. I think ok, no big deal, their sizing is weird, I’ll just go grab some 20’s. Well, this is where the panic starts setting in. I get the size 20’s over my thighs but can’t even zipper them up one iota of a millimeter. At this point, I start to think this is all my fault.
“I am disgusting for being so fat.”
“I am so naive to think that trendy jeans from American Eagle would fit.”
“The sales associates must be laughing and talking about me.”
“I need to lose weight.”
All of these self-deprecating thoughts are not helping me. I walk out of the store and think ok, Gianna, you really need to focus on slimming down.
I AM RECENTLY RECOVERED FROM AN EATING DISORDER. Like newly. Three months new; from an extremely serious and life-threatening thirteen-year case of bulimia. If I wasn’t currently in recovery I would have easily fallen into the trap of losing weight to fit into their clothing. Fortunately, I’m mentally strong enough to take a step back and realize I need to cut myself some slack and slow down. I know deep down that whenever I purposely try to lose weight I end up in a cycle of restricting/binging/purging. I’m not about that life anymore. I know that my body will eventually naturally settle at it’s set-point once I maintain recovery for a while.
It’s extremely difficult right now to be ok with my body. My body image is not so hot, because I’m quite an impatient person. By reminding myself recovery is new to me and that I wouldn’t sacrifice my recovery for anything, especially not to fit society’s beauty ideals, I should be ok.
As always, you can check out the card featured in this post, and many more, right on my Etsy site here: http://etsy.com/shop/refinedresilience