How Not To Buy Pants In “Recovery”

Last night I had the moment in recovery that always sends me running back into the arms of ED. I went clothes shopping.

I have a terrible habit of only ever buying pants when I am in starvation mode and can squeeze into a size 4 or 2. (Size 0 has never been attainable for me.) Last night I (rather stupidly) thought that I could handle buying a pair of size 6 pants. I thought I was being realistic although I was not brave enough to go and stand in a changing room in the store and look at myself. Instead, I got them home and they were so tight that I immediately lost my mind. I cried, I cursed, I mouthed off at God for not understanding that I cannot be this fat and maintain recovery.

I ate half a box of ex-lax, binged on quinoa salad and vegan coconut macaroons, ate the other half of the box of laxatives and went to bed mad, sad and distressed. I cannot deal with this excess of flesh. I cannot deal with barely fitting into a size 6 where six months ago I swam in my size 4 pants and purged until kingdom come. I panicked last night. I did what I always do when that fear overwhelms me. I broke down and abused myself for being a failure.

The only thin, almost non-existent, silver lining is that I did not purge last night even though it was all I wanted to do. I did get up this morning (after being up all night thanks to ex-lax) and went for a run, continuing on with my 5k training program. I got a migraine almost instantaneously and have spent the day in excruciating pain, both physical and mental. This anguish knows no bounds. I want to be well. I want to be thin. And not just any thin, but the thin that I believe to be beautiful: bones.

On a lighter note, never wear your new cream coloured pants to work after consuming a box of ex-lax the night before. Just in case……

I should have more faith. I really should, but not today. Maybe tomorrow?

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29 thoughts on “How Not To Buy Pants In “Recovery”

  1. Each brand has different sizing, some places, I wear and 8, others I wear a 4, but I get what you’re saying. But when you think about the difference between those sizes, it’s really not that much. I’m sure that probably doesn’t help, but it’s true. πŸ™‚

  2. Nataly says:

    Sizing between brands, and product lines within brands and even sometimes within the same product line is so variable it hardly bears worrying about. However, that doesn’t remove the anguish associated with the feeling of not being β€’enoughβ€’; not thin enough, not disciplined enough, not good enough. Except that you don’t need to be anything more than you are. You are you, and that is already enough. There is no one else like you out there and you have unique talents and gifts and you laugh differently to the rest of us and your hand on your boyfriend’s arm is different to the way anyone else would move their hand or fingers because you are the only one like you, and that already makes you more than enough.

  3. “I should have more faith. I really should, but not today. Maybe tomorrow?”
    I have been there. I truly have and am most days right there. You are not alone. Love to you ❀

  4. Hie, I’ve nominated you for the shine on award, you can find the rules etc on my blog. πŸ™‚

  5. apity says:

    More faith maybe from the next meal? Yeah, you should. If I say tomorrow, I won’t do anything the next day, and you? It’s a mistake to thing that tomorrow will be a good day if you don’t do anything now. I always say it that tomorrow won’t be the same and it never happens, but when I start fighting immediately then the day after it’s easier to continue a started work.
    I write to you from Italy.
    Please, sorry for my bad english.

    • Thank you for that thought. You’re English is very good. I think you are right that I should never wait for tomorrow to start fighting and that it should be done today or tomorrow will never be any better.

  6. littlefawn83 says:

    I nominated you for the Shine On Award! Check out my latest blog post for instructions, it’s really easy!!!

  7. Jane says:

    Oh sweetie! I have been there so many times myself (years of EDNOS has seen me in various different sizes.) It’s the most depressing thing, and one we can often beat ourselves up about. I frequently have to keep throwing out/ selling clothes because they ‘fit me different’ to how they once did, even if I haven’t grown/ shrunk out of them there’s always that doubt and self consciousness…

    Clothes are clothes at the end of the day. If they don’t fit we can throw them out. If we bust an organ through the damage we do to ourselves with our EDs, now that’s not so replaceable. It’s what I keep telling myself anyway πŸ™‚ Also that I have been a size 0 (I’m short) and my muscles wasted, my hair fell out and I was too late to leave the house. I keep asking myself, was it really worth it?

    Easier said than done. I struggle myself!

    Also, lax addiction is hell. Been struggling with it on/off for a very long time. 😦


  8. hungryrunninggirl says:

    I am in the EXACT same spot as you. Coming to terms with that new pants size is just freaking hard.

  9. Mel says:


    That feeling of “Damned if I do, damned if I don’t” is so frustrating… I really really pray that it gets easier for you to stay recovered. I get so worried every time I take laxatives that I will become horribly hydrated, because I like to jog often. Sometimes it’s worth it to me to not take them just so I can sleep a binge off (otherwise I am up all night, half-asleep on the toilet). And I cannot tell you how many times I have shat myself. So embarrassing…but funny.

    Do your setbacks ever have a pattern? Personally, I have realized I am completely thrown off the rails around my time of the month. I’ve also been having other health issues which does not help… I utterly hate modern medicine – my doctors thought I was hypothyroid (which, would have been fine), but now I am back to square one after having my blood tests come back normal again (how I could be hypo one week, then a few weeks later normal, after not taking medication for it, is beyond me). I took birth control pills since I was 14, and since stopping a year ago, my metabolism has acted like a little c***. I know better than to go clothes shopping the week before and the week of my period. I would probably collapse amidst a tantrum in the dressing room, the wails escaping from my mouth causing the other customers great disturbance. Fortunately, as an aspiring writer, I get to wear lounge clothes most of the week, but I am aware that eventually at some point I will have to start dressing like a normal person. Some days it is just too unbearable to put on pants, with the weight fluctuations. I’m only in my mid-twenties but I would kill to have the metabolism and firm skin I had even a few years ago.

    Last week, I had two people in the same day comment on how “tiny, tiny” I was, even though just that morning I was staring at my muffin top, thinking WTF.

    Why can’t we have the luxury of seeing what others see?

    Sending you love,


    • M,
      Thanks for your inspiring comments. I agree, we cannot see what others see. I have a boyfriend who tells me I am gorgeous and I roll my eyes at him. Every time I look back at old photos I would kill for the body I hated at the time and thought was fat. It is true that we will never be as young again as we are right now.

      Everyday I try and remember that my purpose on earth is not to fight or succumb to ED for the rest of my life. Do you blog at all? I would love to hear more of your story!
      Sending love right back to you,

      • Mel says:


        That’s a very good manner to live by; I wish there were more days than not in which I sincerely obliged by that. Maybe there is someone who can hypnotize me into forgetting my tragic relationship with food. I’d pay good money for that! πŸ™‚

        I do not blog… I am currently a selfish writer (working on one novel actively and one passively). I should probably blog… but I hate the idea of allowing people to see my work without it being properly published or paying for it first. I’m 100% certain I will eventually be published though… hopefully sooner than later, so you can read it! πŸ™‚

        ❀ M.

      • Looking forward to reading (and paying for) your work!

  10. forevergoingforward says:

    Hey, like you said, you managed not to purge and that is an AMAZING step. Sometimes it helps to just completely avoid wearing jeans. Ok, yes I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND that turning away from your worst fear is necessarily the best way to concur it, but sometimes you just aren’t ready for buying pants yet. I know I’m not. I can’t even look at a rack of jeans without nearly falling into a full blown anxiety attack!

    So my word of advice is to stick with skirts, dresses, and yoga pants. Believe me, these 3 articles of clothing are my saving grace.

    Just tackle the pants when you feel you’re ready! There is hope. Recovery is a slow but amazing process. It is a process where you build self-esteem, strength, and confidence.

    • I love your advice! I am all about maxi skirts right now. I had a tough day today as I teach ballet in front of mirrors all day and I was just obsessed with how fat I looked in my yoga pants….sigh….that icky uncomfortable feeling is all over me. I think it might be years before I shop for jeans again!

  11. Anon says:

    I can very much relate to the pain and frustration you are going through. I have been recovered from bulimia for almost two years now (I suffered for 16 years). There had been several times when I tried to give it up, only to return to the cycle because I couldn’t bear the weight gain that came with recovery.

    I know that a goal of recovery is to be OK with weight gain, but that can take awhile. So let me just say that years of bulimia will really screw up your system and once you stop, your body will take awhile to get back to normal. You will probably feel bloated from eating normally, because your intestines aren’t used to normal eating. Also, purging and laxative abuse takes a toll on your kidneys and you may have trouble with water retention until you heal. Water retention means a higher weight showing on the scale. So just remember that food bloat and water retention make the number on the scale higher, but this isn’t necessarily “weight gain”. Try to think of it as a temporary thing you need to endure to recover. Your body will normalize and the weight will come back off in time. It may take six months to a year, or maybe even longer, but it is worth it. Bulimia will NEVER give you the body you want, anyway. At least not for very long. Everything wildly fluctuates with bulimia.

    Once your body realizes that it can keep the food you put in it and you nourish yourself with vitamins/minerals, the crazy cravings and urges to binge go away. That takes awhile, too. I never dreamed that the freedom from the BP cycle that I have now was even possible after suffering for so long, but it is. If I can do it, you can do it. Good luck!

  12. “Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.” — Anne of Green Gables (one of my favorite books ever!). I used to wear a little locket with that sentiment written on a piece of paper when I was recovering. But each moment is fresh too, and you can always change the action and stop it. It won’t always be all or nothing.

    Remember too, size 6 doesn’t mean fat or failure, it means size 6. It’s an arbitrary number we tend to measure our self-worth against. Saying it doesn’t make it any easier, but learn to rock what you wear and be confident in it. Cut out the tag size, you may know what it is, but feel good in it, not guilty. Also, clothes aren’t supposed to hang off a body, they are supposed to fit! It seems to go against every ED instinct in your mind, but that’s what you are trying to fight off.

    Own your body, your body doesn’t own you.

    • Thank you for that last thought. It will be my mantra tomorrow! I really appreciate the wisdom of all of you that have walked this path and have such helpful advice to support me when I am struggling. I think remembering that each moment is fresh is the way to beat ED because when I am sick and I promise to get better “tomorrow”, then that day never comes!

  13. Bailee says:

    Hello there, my name is Bailee. I just wanted to offer you some encouragement. First, you should know you are not alone in these struggles. I dealt with the same thing for years. I am 21 and have had many struggles my whole life. I have been 238 pounds and 110 pounds. I used to starve, purge, take ex-lax, and benj. You name it I’ve been there. Jesus recently delivered me and gave me freedom and liberty in Christ. The devil still tries to bring back up these issues and like all humans I slip up here and there. The wonderful thing is though that His mercies are new every morning and you are blameless because of His sacrifice. God looks on you as spotless, beautiful, and clean. I just want you to know that I once thought “how could God ever deliver me from all of these issues and then some?” after all of the years of fighting freedom seemed to good to be true, but He delivered me and in Jesus name I am claiming out loud right now that He will free you and heal you from all of your pain and struggles. Keep on keeping on you will succeed. I shall keep you in my prayers beloved.

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