Monday, April 2, 2012

Accidental project 333

After reading Fairy's post on her adventures with project 333 (living with 33 pieces of clothing for three months), I started thinking about whether this project would work for me.

For a long time I've been the kind of person who I would rather own three pairs of pants from Brooks Brothers (bought on clearance with a discount gift card, of course!) than 15 pairs of cheaper pants. So this should be easy, right? Yet I've still managed to be someone who does own 15 pairs of pants.

How? One word: Bulimarexia.  Since 2001 I have alternately binged and starved myself. Fortunately, I haven't purged in the more typical sense of the word. Since 2007 when I last made a batch purchase of clothes I have been 118 pounds at my lowest and 141 at my heaviest. I own everything from a size 4 to a 10. After I got married in 2010 I gained the last 10 pounds. I'm now a very consistent size 10. I have also not had any bingeing or restricting incidents in the last 35 days. My ED is dormant, for the moment.

I've been in treatment for the ED for two years now. I can spout phrases like

There will never be a 'thin enough' for me, I have to start accepting my body size now.

No one who matters to me is judging me by the size of my pants.

Holding onto my past (pants) is keeping me from moving forward.

I was artificially keeping my weight down by restricting my food. This is my body's true weight, the one that God has given me. He loves me just the way I am and because of that I can be respectful of my natural size.

It doesn't mean I've come to believe these statements are true.

Right now 80% of my closet doesn't fit. I have two choices:

1.I can keep dieting and trying to be a size 4 again. This will probably kick-start my eating disorder. But I won't feel bad about getting rid of $1000 worth of clothes.


2. I can get rid of all of my old clothes, knowing that I will not fit into them again. This will probably help me start to walk down the path of accepting my current body size. But gah, I spent a ton of money on those clothes!

The desire to give away all of the clothes that don't fit is admitting that I'll never be a size 4 again. Two weekends ago I actually cried myself to sleep about this. But in fact, giving away all of the clothes that don't fit is actually probably just a sign that I am finally taking the first steps on the path to accepting the body I'm in.

I like the idea of Project 333 because it will force me to empty out my closet and fill it with the things that actually fit and look good on me. I'm not emotionally ready to dive in just yet. Besides, there's no Brooks Brothers clearance for another few months, LOL! But in the meantime I can start to clear out my closet as much as I can bear to part with. Today I took a first pass through my closet. It's a substantial enough pile so I'll post the reckoning for it in a day or two.

Have any of you done project 333 and had weight, clothes size, or body image issues at the same time?  What are your thoughts?


  1. I think having multiple sizes of clothes is typical of most women's closet, but it's something I have a goal of fixing in mine. I have a few sizes in my closet still. Right now, I'm nearer to my highest weight thanks to being lazy while working on the road and working way too many hours over this winter (meaning I was sitting on my butt 80-100 hrs a week for 4 1/2 mos) now that I work remotely. I seriously have no excuse right now though as I'm barely working at all most weeks. I've gotten pretty good at ditching the smallest stuff since I started decluttering. If I get back to that size, I'll reward myself with some new clothes. :-) Yes, thinking about the money spent sucks, but just think how nice it'll be to be able to reach into your closet and pull out *anything* and know it fits!

    1. "...just think how nice it'll be to be able to reach into your closet and pull out *anything* and know it fits!"

      That sounds like good motivation to me! I may have spent money on the clothes, but I'm earning back in the happiness I'll find when I can be happy with my closet.

      Good luck with getting back to an exercise routine!

  2. Option 3: Sell the clothes & save the cash to add to your wardrobe!

    I've always been low on the amount of clothing I own. However, there have been clothes I would hold onto for when I got smaller again or in my current state when I got bigger. I'm having a hard time grasping that I may never gain the weight I want. The hardest things for me to get rid of were my bras. And I have had many nights and days and in betweens where I have mourned what used to be. Accepting my current body is just about the hardest thing for me. And to think I hated my body at my heaviest only to find that I also hate it at my lightest (130 not preggo highest and 92 lowest/size 4-6 v. size 00-little girl sizes). If you find that secret to body acceptance, please send it my way!

    1. But you got rid of the bras -- that says so much! You had the courage and you did it. Hopefully I can be that courageous. It's amazing how these pieces of fabric have such power over us and our self-worth. We'll still judge ourselves even without the clothes. Sometimes I feel like there's no escape.

      People say that you can recover from body image issues. Maybe it's not about learning to love our bodies, but to accept that we don't like them, but there's not anything we can do about it, because it'll never be good enough for us. Argh, how depressing, but at least it feels vaguely like acceptance...

  3. As a recovered anorexic, I totally understand your post. The irony is, after having two kids, I'm now at the highest weight I've ever been not pregnant. I have been holding on to the size 2-4 clothes I wore before my son was born nine years ago. The thing is, I likely will not fit into those clothes ever again because my body has changed from having children. Even if I did, they're so out of style that I wouldn't want to wear them. I continue to ave body image issues (although I don't restrict) and am desperately trying not to pass them on to my children, especially my daughter. I want her to be proud of her perfect God given body.

    I discovered Project 333, too. This week I finally took all of those clothes in my closet and put them in garbage bags for donation. And my closet still has clothes from size 4 (one pair of black pants) through size 10. I'm currently a 10. I am going to do a modified 333, because I just joined a gym and have made a commitment to myself to get healthy, whatever size that translates to.

    The majority of my clothes are gone. (My closet looks great and I feel great standing in there.) I'm not totally done with the purging process (still doing laundry), but I'm close.

    Hang in there. You can do it. Congrats on the making it 35 days. One day at a time.

    1. I'm finding it really interesting how women who have had children and gained weight seem to be more okay with having gained weight than women who haven't had kids yet. I cheer your hard work to try not to pass on ED thoughts and behaviors to your kids. It seems like a great way to heal.

      It sounds like you've been making amazing progress, both with ED and with your decluttering. Way to go, looking forward to seeing more in your blog!

  4. I really think getting rid of the old small clothes would be an affirmation that you have decided to be healthy. It's a good idea to do 333 and just bin and stash them for now, and after the three months you are likely to be more willing to deal with them once and for all. Sell if you can, or donate if you want it easy, but don't worry about the money. It's already long gone. Your health is WAY more precious than a pile of old clothes.

    I used to be thin (5'7" tall and 110-120 pounds) but I was also sick then. (Crohn's disease, but also body image issues.) I got healthier and gained a bit of weight.. then I was lucky enough to get pregnant and after that I never went back to being thin, but it's okay. I accept myself now as I am and I'm just glad I'm not sick. Being thin is not worth that hell.

    Anyway my wardrobe was drastically reduced during pregnancy and afterwards, when I realized I wasn't just going to snap into my old size. I've had thyroid and hormonal issues too, but I may never get to the pre-pregnancy size. And if I do I will deal with it then. I didn't want those old tiny clothes daunting me, like I was expected to fit into them. Having a daughter now, I just want to give her a healthy role model of love and self-acceptance. That's what matters to me now.

    I haven't done 333 because I just have so little clothes anyway, and during the summers I actually probably wear way less than 33 pieces. More like 15 haha.
    I really hope you can learn to accept yourself as you are. <3

    1. "Your health is WAY more precious than a pile of old clothes."

      That's what it really boils down to, isn't it? I'm glad to see other women have had issues about their weight have gotten to a place where they can be content. I want to be like you and be able to be a good role model for my kids when I have them. And boxing the clothes up is an easy first step.

      Thanks for the encouragement :o)

  5. Changing sizes is the result of something else. Of course this will happen to you, and me, and many other people. Each person's "something else" is different so do not fret about it. Even Einstein had problems! Everyone changes sizes but some people never tell.
    Project 333 is worthwhile, but do not give away your other clothes. You can guarantee that two weeks after you throw out a garment a use for it will happen. Pack them into some spare suitcases and store them. Be careful if seasons are going to change during your three months. Be sneaky and chose a time that will be easy for your first attempt. You deserve it to be easy.
    Why not make an inventory of your clothes. Use the computer and perhaps some sort of spreadsheet. Then you will have an accurate idea of what clothes are available just now. This could make many things easier in the long run.

    1. Good points. There are a few items in my closet that I really can't stand, so I think I need to focus on those first, even if they did cost a lot of money. Thanks for commenting!


Please be kind :o)

If you try to advertise your online business by writing a comment on this blog, please don't bother because I will delete it.