One of the most difficult things I’ve experienced in recovery so far was weight gain due to some health problems in April of 2016. I feel like my body is finally “settling,” but for long time, I didn’t recognize myself when I looked in the mirror, and all of my clothes didn’t fit. It was incredibly depressing, but looking back, I have to focus on the real victory – I didn’t go back to my eating disorder to “fix it.”
Using talk therapy, yoga, hiking, mediation and cardio (all in moderation), I’ve been able to get back to a place where I feel better. I’ve really had to let go of vanity during this process and accept that buying bigger sizes in clothing is just where I’m at right now. My husband has been incredibly supportive. He reminded me that when we got married, he was the heaviest he’s ever been. That was so surprising to me because I truly did not notice! I just loved him and wanted to get married. Remembering that that’s how he feels about me has helped me tremendously. He’s sees me as the same woman he loves, regardless of the number on the scale (which I don’t know and I have refused to weigh myself).
Another supportive person in my circle has been Nia Lauderdale. Nia is a Chicago-based personal fashion stylist who uses style to teach high-achieving individuals who are experiencing transitions in life to amp up their signature style and step into their personal power that inspires them and gives them their best life now. When I first came to Nia, almost in tears, I told her we were literally starting from square 1 because I had nothing in my closet that fit me. She was not intimidated at all by the challenge, and she helped me develop outfits for two work trips based on what I thought was not useable in my closet. I had to buy a few new pieces, but it really did not end up costing me much at all.
Here are a few outfits she recommended:
- Green Ruffle Short Sleeve top (purchased); green studded earrings (already owned); black pencil skirt (planning on purchasing); stacked heel with ankle strap (planning on purchasing).
- Black Asymmetrical cardi (already owned); Boyfriend Jeans (planning on purchasing), V-neck t-shirt (owned); Wedge Heel (owned); Black beaded bracelet (owned).
- Black Tunic Dress (purchased); Wide Colored belt (planning on purchasing); Silver pearl necklaces (owned) studded silver earrings (owned); denim jacket for a more causal look or switch out for printed cardi or black blazer (owned – planning on purchasing black blazer).
Nia was extremely understanding of my health issues, my eating disorder history and my extremely tight budget. She works with men and women of ALL sizes. She also helped me understand how I could mix and match the items from the outfits above to create my own look.
For a recent television appearance, I combined my Green Ruffle Short Sleeve (LOFT Outlet) with my black pants (Old Navy) and my black booties (Trunk Club). I have worn a gold beaded necklace (gift) with this outfit, or a blue statement necklace (Stitch Fix). The Rockstar black pants from Old Navy are so stretchy and comfy, but still look polished. I plan on buying three more pairs, likely during Black Friday sales. Being able to wear “real pants” and not yoga pants while I’m feeling uncomfortable in my own skin is great, especially in professional situations.
If you think you are not included in the fashion industry because of your size, I’ve now discovered that that does not have to be the case! I have always had curves and felt odd in fashionista crowds, but Nia is helping me discover my self confidence through style. I highly, highly recommend her and I’m so grateful to connect with someone who is compassionate and doesn’t focus on the dollar first. She really listened to me, and I know she can help you on your journey to self confidence, too.
Nia can be contacted for formal correspondence, general inquiries or fashion questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.