Two days before Christmas Eve, my mom and I went out in search of something to wear on Christmas Eve. After finding the dress I'm wearing in the picture below, I grabbed four difference sizes and made my way to the fitting room. One of the most helpful shopping skills I have learned during weight restoration is to pull a range of sizes off the rack, try each of them on and go with the one that fits the best- without looking at that stupid number on the tag. Let me repeat that. DO NOT look at the tag.
I gave in and looked at the size, which turned into me secretly spending the next ten minutes crying in the fitting room. The size that fit me best was the biggest one I pulled off the rack. I know better than this. A few months ago I published a post called Size What? and was able to think more logically about the whole shopping experience.
After talking to my therapist yesterday, she reminded me that I have a choice. Option one is to allow my body image and size of my clothes be in control of my life. Or, option two, I can choose to shift my focus to the things that actually mater in life. Luckily, somewhere between the crying in the fitting room incident and Christmas Eve dinner, I found a way to ease up on those self critical thoughts and found myself actually experiencing the joys of Christmas.
In years past, I have spent the entire Christmas season in misery. I hated the Christmas cookies, the singing, the family gatherings, the shopping, the stress, and most of all, the fact that everyone around me was feeling the Christmas cheer except me. My life was completely consumed in calorie counting and restricting. There wasn't any room left to simply be happy. Eating disorders have a sneaky way of doing that.
I'm not really sure who the girl in these pictures from the past two Christmases is anymore. Sure, there's a smile on my face, but it's lacking something. That smile is a lie.
For the first time, maybe ever, I feel like I truly experienced Christmas this year. I ate Christmas cookies with my breakfast and a cheeseburger for dinner- who am I? With the option to eat whatever I wanted, my thoughts were no longer obsessive. This year has been one of the most difficult I will ever experience, but I feel like all of my hard work paid off on Christmas day. Finally, I understand why everyone gets so excited about the holiday season.
Maybe I will actually listen to my therapist this week and pick option number two; LIFE. Regardless of my dress size.