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How a Wedding Dress Fitting Triggered My Eating Disorder

Getting Fitted For a Wedding Dress Nearly Halted My Recovery From an Eating Disorder

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I knew when I got engaged that I didn't want to change anything about my diet or exercise routine leading up to the big day because I have a long history of disordered eating. I didn't want to miss out on such an exciting time by obsessing over my weight. I was happy with my body and in a good place mentally when my fiancé proposed, so I felt confident I'd be able to maintain a healthy balance in the months ahead.

But there was one obstacle I didn't see coming. I found a dress I loved before we'd even picked a venue, so I ordered the last one on the website, even though it was a couple sizes too big. I didn't anticipate any problems with altering the dress to fit. I just needed some basic adjustments.

The anxiety started to set in when my second fitting didn't meet my expectations. The seamstress altered the dress in a way that made it feel tighter and look less flattering on my midsection. She had gone against my wishes in making this alteration, and while the rational part of me knew that I only looked different in the dress because of this mishap, I couldn't shake the fear that I had gained weight in the month since I last tried it on. This caused me to spiral and awakened the voice I had managed to keep quiet for so long.

I entered panic mode, listening to the voice of my illness that was telling me it would be impossible to look beautiful on my wedding day unless I obeyed its restrictive rules. This voice was loud and powerful — my eating disorder had found a weakness to attach to, and I was scared that I'd fall back into my old ways. Having to fit into an expensive garment and the self-imposed pressure to look perfect in it for photos was almost too much to bear.

Having to fit into an expensive garment and the self-imposed pressure to look perfect in it for photos was almost too much to bear.
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I called a friend for some advice and consulted with the one who always knows best: my mom. They reassured me that my beauty and value weren't dependent on my weight on my wedding day, and encouraged me to take my dress to someone who would be more sensitive to my needs and wishes. I was able to retrieve my dress, and the shop was kind enough to issue a full refund.

Thankfully, I was able to find a new seamstress who was attentive, responsive, and dedicated to helping me feel confident in my dress. After I expressed my concerns about weight fluctuations, she even offered to do a basting stitch at the waist that could easily be adjusted closer to the wedding so I wouldn't feel pressure to maintain a certain weight. This simple act of compassion alleviated most of my fears and has allowed me to tell my disorder to f*ck off and let me enjoy my engagement.

I believe that taking quick action on these destructive thoughts and following my gut instinct to switch seamstresses has helped me to avoid a full-blown relapse. As my wedding day approaches, I'm trying to honor my body by eating intuitively, moving in ways that feel good, and, most importantly, soaking up every moment of this special time in my life with my partner.

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