The first time I tried on a pair of my size 2 jeans that didn’t fit anymore, I felt like I was dying.
That’s how much the lie that I NEEDED to stay size 2 and size XS crept its way into my life. That’s how out-of-whack my priorities were. It really did feel like the end of the world.
It only became more apparent when I tried to talk to Johnny about it. He’d been encouraging me for years prior to start buying size medium, because he knew I was recovering from my eating disorder and was, naturally, hoping that I would gain weight to be a healthy weight in the midst of my recovery. “Shouldn’t you be buying mediums?” he would gently prompt me when I picked through the XS at the store.
My mind would be full of lies: He’s really saying that because he wants to make sure you don’t plan on gaining weight. Make sure you stick with smalls. There’s no way you can ever allow yourself to get to a bigger size.
Well, here I am, and… guess what?
Sometimes I’m a size small. Sometimes I prefer a size large. Sometimes medium.
Sometimes my best pant size is 4. Sometimes it’s 8.
This is what made me realize that it’s ACTUALLY true what people say… size means nothing.
I don’t actually have ONE size, because all clothing stores and brands make them differently!
When I was unhealthily underweight, yeah, I was basically always a size XS. But now, I try things on and buy what fits me best. I am learning to let go of that little letter on the tag.
I really realized that I needed to die to this when I opened some clothes from my beautiful momma this past Christmas. They were a size large.
I immediately got emotional as the lies flooded in. “She’s always bought you a small in the past… your weight gain must be so noticeable. She thinks you’re a size large.”
Johnny saw that I was upset, and encouraged me to talk to my mom about what I was feeling. So I pulled her aside, thanked her so much for her thoughtfulness, and then explained where my emotion was coming from. She pulled me close and said, “Cassie, this store’s large is really tight. This isn’t about you… I just know how they fit. Try it on and let me know what you think!”
So I tried the clothes on, and my mom was right. I wouldn’t have wanted anything smaller! That doesn’t mean I’m always this size… the shirt I was already wearing that day was a small, and it fit great. It meant that I learned an amazing lesson to stop looking at the tag, because it’s simply completely arbitrary.
Throwing out clothes that don’t fit anymore came next. I always had this fear of purging my closet of my “sick clothes,” because it would mean I was officially saying I wasn’t a size XS anymore. The main thing we see and hear on the media is encouragement to people who have lost a ton of weight to throw out their “fat pants” so they’re not tempted to put the weight on again. These kind of lies filled my head, as I have ALSO been that person who went from overweight to underweight and suddenly was buying size small clothes for the first time.
But, here is what I prayed about and allowed the Spirit of God to remind me of before going through my closet:
1. I am healthy now because I have a period; I’m in the healthy weight range; my blood work is good; my doctor has said I’m healthy; I don’t faint anymore; I can focus on work and reading and blogging and LIVING, where I didn’t have the brain power to do that when I was underweight. So I can know that this is a healthier size for my body through this evidence.
2. I want to feel good and look good in my clothes, regardless of the tag. I will donate the clothes that don’t fit, make me uncomfortable, are too tight, or that I don’t like anymore. The letter or number on the tag is besides the point. Stores have different methods for determining sizes, and they don’t know my body.
3. Johnny, my family, friends, God, and I am thrilled to be healthy, that anorexia is behind me, and that I can trust that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). This is the same for YOU, my friend. Your natural size may not be within the “healthy” BMI range. Your natural size is unique, and not like women you see on Instagram. Your natural size is beautiful. Your natural size is whatever you are when you don’t have to STRESS about hitting a certain number of workouts, tracking food/eating only certain foods, etc. Your natural size is whatever you are when you are free from rules, legalism, and idolizing size/food/exercise.
I am truly FREE from this today, and I believe that you can be, too. Do the thoughts still sometimes creep in? Absolutely. But I now KNOW truth from lie, and know that, because of Jesus, I can be confident in my body, knowing that it’s a vessel for Him to use me, and that He looks at me and sees His own beautiful creation.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).