Do you have a pair of jeans at the bottom of a drawer or a dress in the back of your closet that you can almost fit into, but it just makes you feel bad whenever you try to put it on? Well, you’re not alone.
Sarah E. Canney, a “defeater of bulimia” and long-distance runner, posted an Instagram photo of a pair of folded jeans. Her unspoken goal, she wrote, was to fit back into the jeans after losing the baby weight from her second child. Canney eventually fit into them, but they were tight and uncomfortable.
Wearing them also brought up that negative voice in her head. “I wore these ill-fitting jeans most of last year and every time I wore them insecurities and ultimatums would drift through my head,” she wrote. “‘You’re still bigger than you were after you had Jack.'”
She continued: “Halfway though today I took these jeans off and asked myself, ‘Sarah, what are you trying to prove?’” She took them off and got rid of them, writing in her post, “How many of us keep old clothes because we’ve affixed a value to size on the label? We ‘measure’ ourselves in so many ways. If our approach to ourselves is gracious, forgiving and kind, then our lives will be filled with grace, forgiveness and kindness.”
These jean have been shoved in the back of my closet for the past few months. I bought them just before Jack turned one. After I had Liam my unspoken goal was to fit back into these jeans and I did, albeit not very well. They are tight and uncomfortable, but I wore them anyway because even without a scale, I was using them to measure my success in losing the baby weight. . I wore these ill-fitting jean most of last year and every time I wore them insecurities and ultimatums would drift through my head. “You’re still bigger than you were after you had Jack.” I put them on today and did that little dance you do to get jeans on that don’t really fit and the insecurities and ultimatums returned: “I can’t believe these don’t fit.” “Liam is two, you’d think in two years I could be back to the size i was one year after Jack.” . When I first entered treatment for my eating disorder one of the hardest things to let go of was the clothes-it seems silly, but my identity was wrapped up in the number on that label. I had clothes that I knew wouldn’t fit if did recovery the right way. One night, in a fit of desperation to do something that would help me get better I took most of the clothes I owned and I threw them in a dumpster in the parking lot outside my dorm. . Halfway though today I took these jean off and asked myself, “Sarah, what are you trying to prove?” “What’s the point of owning a piece of clothing that brings out voices from the past that I’ve worked really hard to silence?” They were cheap jeans, the only value they hold is the value I’ve given them: the identity I’ve created around them. . I’ve come to a point in my life where I’ve changed the way I see myself. Now everything is healthy and intuitive. My body will take the shape of the job it has to perform. If I’m giving my best effort every day in every aspect of my life then my body will be healthy, happy and whole, and the size of my clothes won’t matter. . How many of us keep old clothes because we’ve affixed a value to size on the label? We “measure” ourselves in so many ways. If our approach to ourselves is gracious, forgiving and kind then our lives will be filled with grace, forgiveness and kindness.
A post shared by Sarah E. Canney (@runfargirl) on May 10, 2017 at 6:24pm PDT
Canney shares with Yahoo Beauty that at first she wasn’t sure whether she should share the photo on social media. “Initially, I hesitated to post the picture, thinking, ‘Why does how I feel about my jeans matter?’” she says. “But I think as women we never really give voice to the negative thoughts we have about ourselves. They are our deepest secrets, and so we all struggle in silence.”
Along with posting on Instagram, the mother of three keeps a blog dedicated to long-distance running, her healthy lifestyle, and her eating-disorder recovery. A Jan. 12 post featured a discussion with her husband, who stood by her side during her struggle with bulimia, about how to help a family member with an eating disorder.
Mayra Mendez, a licensed psychotherapist and program coordinator for intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health services at Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica, Calif., tells Yahoo Beauty that something like too-tight jeans can trigger a long-dormant eating disorder, but not in every case. “There are many things that can trigger a relapse,” she explains. “The primary thing is if treatment isn’t started early, then there is a greater risk of lifelong struggles with eating disorders. The more time passes with no treatment, the more ingrained the treatment becomes.”
But can writing a blog help with ongoing recovery and support? It depends, says Mendez. “For some people, to journal and blog works very nicely,” she says. “It’s very personal. If someone does well with journaling and monitoring themselves, and it doesn’t become a burden to them, then they should go for it.”
For Canney, sharing is cathartic for her and is something she hopes will help others. “When you’re honest about your insecurities and bring them to light, they lose the power they have over you,” she shares with Yahoo Beauty. “That’s one of the reasons why I was able to recover completely from my struggle with an eating disorder: I was open and vulnerable about the things that brought the most shame.”
She adds: “You don’t have to have an eating disorder to connect with the negative, insecure thoughts I expressed in my post. I think we all feel like we don’t measure up to the unrealistic standard society has set up for us — fitting easily into pre-pregnancy clothes being one of those. If you want to change the way you feel about your body or the food you eat or the clothes you wear, you have to rewrite the story you tell yourself. The best way to do that is to change the harsh, critical things we say to ourselves into positive affirmations.”
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