Shopping for Spring: How to Stay Positive

Warm weather is finally upon us. The sun is out, the sky is usually blue, and it is getting warmer. It is time to put the sweaters and heavy jackets away and unpack a new set of clothes. This transition can feel overwhelming, especially for someone with an eating disorder. By choosing clothing that makes you comfortable, you will be ready to step into spring with a smile.

Spring can often make you feel like a good person. The winter is over, and if you live anywhere with distinctive seasons, you know the difference a clear blue sky day and bright sunshine can make – even if it is still 35 degrees out. Luckily, eventually, the 35-degree days turn into 45 into 55, into 60-degree days, and those bright sweaters or long-sleeved shirts have you sweaty. You go into your closet to find that you have outgrown your old t-shirts, dresses, and shorts physically, mentally, or both, which means it is likely time to do some shopping, which can feel scary for someone who struggles with their body image.

How Clothing Can Affect Us

What we wear can make us feel confident, and it can also make us feel self-conscious. You likely have a piece or two that you immediately think of for both of these. If you have the means, I suggest donating clothes that do not make you feel good. It can be hard to stay positive, and if you are wearing something that magnifies your negative self-talk, that piece has got to go. It is spring! You have made it through the winter and are ready to take in the sunshine with lots of SPF and a smile. You have no time for the voice in your head making you frown. Plus, donating or selling old clothes is a good way to give back to others – spring cleaning has generally been shown to boost moods. (Acenda Health, 2023). 

Below are some ways to stay positive whenever you find yourself trying new items:

Make Sure You Are Not Hungry

Fuel up before trying new clothes since it will give you more energy, which might be needed after that 5th pair of jeans. Protein and complex grains are good choices since they keep you fuller longer and do not lead to sugar spikes and dips (which can lead to dramatic shifts in energy).

Hide Tags That Show Sizing 

No one will know your size, and it is much easier to go by the fit and how items feel instead of looking at the tag and hoping they fit well. Especially in eating disorder recovery, your brain might be looking for ways to lash out, and knowing what size top dress or pants you are trying on could be the directive that voice is looking for. Similar to our negative talk voice, we want to ditch the eating disorder voice. Mixing sizes up in dressing rooms can also help keep the focus off size and instead on how it fits.

Give Yourself Reminders

Remind yourself that clothes are made to work for your body, not that your body is made to work for the clothes. Not everything will fit well, and that’s okay. What fits you may not fit someone else, and that is okay. It is important to find pieces that make you feel comfortable. 

Prioritize Clothes That Make You Smile and Feel Good 

Just because everyone is wearing one style does not mean you must also have that style, especially if that style does not feel like your style or vibe!


Bring a Support Person

Bring a loved one or friend who will be looking for similar clothes or who is just good at hyping you up and giving you advice. Try to avoid the friends who comment on bodies and more on loved ones and friends who can tell when something lights you up.

Take a Break If You Need It 

Shopping online or in person can be super tiring and frustrating inducing. If you are feeling worn down, end the day there. The clothes and shops will be there the next day, and so will you. You can always go back, try another size, or order clothes online to try one whenever you want. Honoring your body by choosing clothes that fit right can take a lot of time and energy. Remember to be kind to yourself, and know that you will eventually find your new favorite clothing pieces. 

At BALANCE eating disorder treatment center™, we know one of the most challenging aspects of body image is navigating body changes, especially regarding the clothes you wear. It can feel like your body is wrong for not fitting into clothes, which can trigger disordered thinking and behaviors. In reality, clothes are meant to fit you, not the other way around. Watch our recent Dress for Recovery: What to Wear to Honor Body Acceptance Instagram Live with BALANCE Founder & CEO Melainie Rogers (she/her) and Assistant Director of Admissions & Clinical Services Jamee Pollard (she/her) here.

Our admissions team would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our programs and services. Book a free consultation call with our admissions team below, or read more about our philosophy here.

This post was written by BALANCE Blog Contributor, Elizabeth Foot (she/her).

Elizabeth is currently pursuing her Master’s of Public Health in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Michigan, on track to become a registered dietician. Prior to returning to school, Elizabeth received her B.A. in Public Policy from Hamilton College in 2020.

Since graduating Hamilton, Elizabeth has worked for an infertility insurance company as a marketing associate, has volunteered with Multi-Service Eating Disorder Association (MEDA), and has advocated on Capitol Hill for expanding insurance coverage to registered dietitians as part of the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC). Elizabeth is also a strong supporter of intuitive eating, HAES, and is excited to become a licensed practitioner working in the ED field. In her free time, Elizabeth can be found creating recipes, practicing yoga, or counting down the days until she can get a dog.

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