Shopping with Your Eating Disorder

On Saturday I went shopping for a dress for a friend's May wedding.  (I was going to wait until I was all stressed out about it, but I had a revelatory realization that: how much weight can I really lose or gain in 4-6 weeks?)

It was one in a string of slightly eye-opening experiences, in that I kept grabbing the size I associate with myself, then the size below it... then having to send the saleswoman back for the next size down.  Some of the designers didn't actually make dresses in sizes small enough for me.

It was weird.

Now, I suspect some of this is owed to the fact that no designer anywhere wants to agree on a size about anything, ever.  Seriously, one Ralph Lauren "Lauren" dress I tried on in "size B" fit like most of the other designers' stuff at least two sizes up (we'll call it "size D").  I ended up with a "size A" dress, though the saleswoman made a point of saying that that designer made things "big."

So I really don't come away knowing anything, do I?

Well, I know I didn't quite look right in the mirror.  Our only full-length mirror at home is inside the door of our book closet (yes, book closet).  That's out in the living room, and I am not one to make a habit of parading about mostly naked.  So when I disrobed in the dressing room, I did a bit of a double-take.  "Oh.  Huh.  Oops," was basically my train of thought.

ON THE OTHER HAND, it is a department store dressing room we're talking about, and aren't those notorious for slimming effects?

Again, I really don't know anything, huh?

I know my bras are too big right now, like, whoa.  Except when they're not?  And it might all be slipping straps and crazy brain?

I know I walked home after I went shopping, lest I gain one ounce, despite the fact that I could gain well into several ounces, nay, a pound or three, and the dress would still fit.  And despite my earlier realization that four weeks cannot a dress size make or break.

I know that I am measuring the time running up to this wedding in a back-and-forth hopscotch of I should gain weight/I should lose weight/I should gain/I should lose, because it's in Atlanta, which means seeing my parents, which means... complicated psychological stuff:  I want people to worry, I want no one to ask me about it, I want people to see I'm underweight, I want no one to know I'm not okay, everyone already worries and knows I'm not okay, oh Quantum Field I don't want to get into it.

Hm.  Well.  At least it isn't Passover again, right?  Right.  And at least I ended up paying 10% of the total cost of the dress.  Seriously.  Ten percent.  Thank you, gift cards and pre-sales (not that I fully understand what that is).


  1. Can I just say I love you for not posting the actual sizes? It's so hard to read and learn from and empathize with other peoples' struggles without comparing ourselves!

    And it's SO much harder when they talk about how "adjective" they are in their own mind, then give a hard number (size, measurement, weight) and then we compare it to ourselves and feel that much better/worse/confused. So I love that you can talk about your experiences without poking all my triggers. <3 <3 <3

  2. I know just what you mean, Vianki. I definitely try to stick to at least the basics of ED triggering here, though I imagine I do cross some people's lines.

    Comparing is such a tough symptom to let go of, no? I'm truly afraid that no matter how far away from actual food-related behaviors I ever get, I'll always be comparing myself. Okay, maybe "always" is an overstatement. Here's hoping.

  3. Hon I'm glad you found a dress. I hope you don't stress your self out. I know easier said than done. I'm finding when that monster comes around the my stabbing pelvic pain is not every fun. And all I want to do is eat foods the doctor has told me I can't have anymore.

    Anyway I'm glad something kind of went right, and hopefully no stress for the wedding. At least M will be there.

  4. This probably isn't the place for this, so delete me right after you read if you like, but I couldn't find a way to message you privately....

    I am wondering about a new way I discovered to cope with eating. I'm can't decide if it's genius or just another way of obsessing. I track my calories (for my situation it's a necessary evil) but I've discovered if I put what I'm planning to eat down before I eat it (like I enter my whole day in and see the total) I feel less guilty about eating it, and i'm less likely to binge. It's this tiny way of having control. I'm just wondering your take.... Good? or feeding the issue?

    I realize you're not a doctor or therapist, but I'm not quite to the point where I am ready for that level of "help," I guess i'm just looking for an opinion. Sorry if I offend.

    Thanks. :)

  5. No offense at all! You're always welcome to email, too. cynical [dot] nymph [at] gmail [dot] com

    I've found food planning and food journals like you mention to be helpful sometimes and triggering at other times. I think the key is being honest with yourself about when it will be helpful and when it will be triggering. Sometimes it definitely feels right to look at a list and say to yourself, "Okay, this looks like a reasonable amount of food, and there's nothing wrong with having this much today." For me, the key in that kind of food journaling (pre-journaling, I guess) is to make sure I acknowledge if I am still hungry after I've had my allotted food - because that's totally possible. Or you might not be physiologically hungry enough to eat everything on your list, and that might be okay too.

    Bottom line, if it feels right and helpful to yourself, and you can be honest with yourself about when it might slip over into triggering or unhealthy thinking, then if it helps, it helps! :)

  6. :) Thank you! I'll be sure to keep an eye on it. That's a great way to think about it.


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