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  • Dr. Jenna Daku

Re: Clothes that no longer fit

Spring is in the air, and so is body insecurity.

The theme of changing bodies, and clothing sizes, has come up a lot in clinic lately and I thought that it is a topic that merits further discussion.

Our bodies are always changing, and they are meant to change throughout our lives. This means that we won't always be the same size of clothing. Of course, we also need to hold in mind that sizes themselves are continuously changing. You can walk in to any high street clothing shop and chances are their sizing is different to their competitors sizing. This is what's known as vanity sizing and it can be a real headf*ck for someone who is recovering from disordered eating and trying to remove themselves from diet-culture.

It's totally normal to experience physical changes when you're recovering from disordered eating. And it's totally normal to experience discomfort and even despair if the changes you experience conflict with the engrained diet-mentality and weight stigma that you're trying to break down.

What can end up happening is that you might find yourself holding on to clothes that don't fit any more, burying that pair of 'skinny jeans' in the bottom of your drawers, or 'saving' that favourite t-shirt in the hopes that one day you might fit it again. Or, perhaps you continue trying to wear these items of clothing in spite of them feeling deeply uncomfortable, in the hopes that your body might change to fit them once more.

It's not your fault that you believe that your body is the problem and the thing that needs to change in this equation. However, I would urge you to consider whether continuing to wear clothing that is too tight or hurts you might be a form of self-punishment. Wearing ill-fitting clothing like this when you're trying to heal your body image can prevent you from moving forward and respecting your body. It can keep you stuck on wanting to shrink your body whilst simultaneously wanting to expand your life - and these are two ideas and desires that inherently clash. In other words, you can't truly expand your life and your self-worth if you're still trying to punish and shrink you body.

You deserve to feel good in your clothing and that cannot happen if you're trying to squeeze in to clothing that only fit your body when it was being ravaged by disordered eating. That is not self-respecting, or self-compassionate and you deserve so much more.

Now, of course I recognise that not everyone has the financial privilege to go out and buy brand new clothes. If you can, that's great. If you can't, this doesn't mean you're stuck. There are creative ways of spicing up your wardrobe. You could swap clothes with friends, neighbours, or relatives. You could sell your old clothes to make money to purchase some new ones. You could see about having your existing clothing tailored by someone you know, or do it yourself if you're able and inclined. You could also look in to second hand clothes.

Furthermore, not everyone has the thin privilege to go out and buy brand new clothes because not all sizes are represented. In the UK the majority of high street shops are not size inclusive, and this is something that absolutely needs to change. Until then, I am in the process of compiling a list of UK retailers that are more size inclusive - although admittedly none of them are 10/10. So, if you'd like a copy of the list so far or if you have something to add to that list please let me know. My goal is to compile the list and post it on my website in the next few weeks.

EveryBODY deserves to feel comfortable in their skin and in their clothing, and an important part of self-care, self-compassion, and building more positive body image is to ensure that you can feel as physically comfortable as possible x

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