wearing clothes that fit anna cannata starkel nutrition body image

Do you own a pair of skinny jeans that haven’t fit well in over two years? Are you holding on to them in desperate hope that you will one day rock them comfortably and look so hot all of your problems will melt away? Or maybe you continue to wear a much-too-large sweater over a pair of baggy jeans in an effort to hide your true shape? Whether the clothes we wear are too small or too large, wearing clothes that don’t fit well can exacerbate the body hate that is a component of eating disorders and disordered eating.

It is, in essence, telling yourself you are not beautiful and acceptable just the way you are.

Think of how wearing jeans that are too tight can cut into your middle. This is painful physically. It’s hard to let your belly relax and your digestion may be impaired. Wearing too-tight jeans can also be painful emotionally. Feeling the waist band cut into your middle can be a constant reminder that you are not as thin as you think you should be. 

Next, let’s consider wearing clothes that are too big.  This may also play a role in exacerbating body hate. But also, keep in mind that some people wear baggy clothes to hide breasts, curves, etc, and that is okay! 

A step in healing body hate is to dress in clothes that fit well and are comfortable. You don’t have to wait until you’ve reached your dream weight in order to wear clothes that fit.  Start NOW!

Here are a few tips to help you on your way:

  • If you’re finding that it’s just too hard to get rid of those clothes that haven’t fit well for years, ask a friend to come over and help weed out your closet. 
  • If you don’t have the money to buy a whole new wardrobe, shop at second hand stores or have a clothes trading party with friends.  Well-fitting garments can also be introduced one piece at a time.
  • Go shopping with friends in recovery to help reduce fear and obsession about how you look.  A trusted friend can also give a great, more objective, second opinion.  Not to mention a friend can make shopping more FUN!
  • Bring more than one size into the dressing room with you.  Different designers size clothes differently.  What might be one size in a certain brand, could well be a different size in another.  If you find an item that fits well, but you feel uncomfortable about the size, buy it anyway and take the tag out when you get home. 
  • Dress in a way that aligns more with your gender identity.  Consider the whole store, not just certain sections, when picking out a piece.  Have fun and make wearing clothes that feel good to you your top priority.
  • When trying on clothes, assess for fit comfort before you look in the mirror.  Can you move well in the garment?  Is it too tight fitting in any area?  If satisfied with the feel, then turn around and assess the looks.
  • Have fun with a few versatile accessories.  A cozy scarf or a sassy pair of sunnies can add a big amount of pizazz to your outfit with a small amount of effort or cost and can help your creativity shine.

Dressing in clothes that fit well will bring out your natural beauty. You don’t have to look like you just stepped off the cover of Vogue with every hair in place. It’s possible to let your inner beauty, your kindness and wisdom, take center stage. What people will notice about your appearance is the sparkle in your eyes and your zest for life.


Interested in learning more? Schedule an appointment with Anna to get support on your journey to holistic and kind health.   

Written by our nutritionist and mental health counselor, Anna Cannata, MS, LMHC, CN

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