• advertisement

Our Mental Health Blogs

Discovering I Have Curves: How Anorexia Recovery is Changing Me

Last week, I looked down and realized I needed something I haven’t needed for a very long time.

A bra.

“Comfortable Bra”

Okay, so maybe my new bras don’t quite resemble the picture at the right. But I always believed that the phrase —”comfortable bra” — is an oxymoron and that the bra was invented solely to keep women out of the real world and into the kitchen and bedroom. I mean, if we are busy trying to keep underwire from digging into our ribcage, how much threat can we be to the status quo?

I didn’t need a bra when I was in the worst throes of anorexia. Now, I do know some women who were very small, but still kept wearing bras…but I was not one of them. I figured that if I didn’t notice much in that area, no one else did, either, and I was home-free.

So, being skeptical about anorexia recovery, I stocked up on camisoles and decided that having very small breasts were a positive thing. I didn’t need a bra; I was beyond that. I could explore the idea that I was enmeshed in anorexia solely because I was afraid of being a woman…but I won’t go there for now.

Anyway, I didn’t give curves and breasts more than two seconds thought when I started working on recovery yet again. This is because I firmly believe that food and weight are just symptoms of eating disorders, and thus I ignored the less cerebral aspects of recovery.

I didn’t think about breasts, because I didn’t think I was going to get them. Hmm…

Discovering My Curves

I was surprised and a little bit dismayed when I looked at my recovering body and saw curves everywhere. Hips. Thighs. Stomach. And…breasts.

First I had to shop for new jeans and underwear, because let’s just say I weigh significantly more than I did two years ago.

Then I looked down and realized I needed a bra.

This wasn’t as easy as going to my local Kohl’s and plopping down several hundred dollars for a few bras, a type of lingerie that cover less and yet costs more than the clothing over it. First, I had to measure…then I realized my calculations were all off. I was too embarrassed to walk into any store and say, “Excuse me, I’m 46-years-old, but I’m clueless about what bra size I should be wearing.”


Breasts are not the only curves I’m noticing on my new, rapidly recovering body. I noticed hips and a waist; a curvier body that had to be accommodated and yet relied upon.

I also noticed my stomach, newly round, and remembered my active anorexic days and my oh-so-flat stomach. Or so I thought. What I didn’t see was the drawn, narrow face and too-thin body of a woman dying of anorexia.

Embracing My Curves

Last week, I asked my eating disorders psychiatrist if there was any way we could get rid of “the girls,” (what I euphemistically call my breasts.)

He suggested that I should “embrace” my femininity, instead of being dismayed and aggravated by my new curves. I’m thinking, “Yes, that’s a wonderful concept in theory! But you don’t have to wear a bra each and every day!!!” Then I glanced at his tie and figured I should shut up about gender-based torture devices.

I have discovered some good things about having curves and returning to wearing bras. I fill out my jeans much better than I did two years ago. And bras come in lovely shades such as purple and pink.

So I headed to Kohl’s and tried on some various bras, soon learning two things: a. the lack of uniformity in women’s apparel is long entrenched in this society, and b. the cost of many bras could feed a small nation.

I was surprised and a little disconcerted when I first really looked at my new body. I didn’t like all these curves, albeit small ones, on my body. I was no longer used to seeing curves in relation to me; I felt like I was in an alien body.

It also feels like going through puberty for a second go-round. Well, I’ve been to this rodeo before…

My feelings have softened with time, and I often feel feminine in a way that I didn’t when enmeshed in my eating disorder.

Now if I could only find the perfect bra…

I confess I removed my bra before writing this post.

Find Angela E. Gambrel on Facebook and Google+ and @angelaegambrel on Twitter.

4 thoughts on “Discovering I Have Curves: How Anorexia Recovery is Changing Me”

  1. I absolutely love this post. You have really made me smile. I’m currently going through recovery alone and I too feel like I’m in an alien body and think I must be going through puberty again as I’m covered in spots (I actually look like a potato lol) and growing breasts is weird as I’ve learned to live with none. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone even if it’s not the best of situations. x

  2. Hi Angela,

    Just a quick note on bras – 80% of the woman out there are in _the_wrong_size_bra_. Trust me, my mother has a lingerie store. You are in the _majority_ not knowing their size. You have _nothing_ to be ashamed of.

    I recommend you go to a store that specializes and get a proper fitting. You _will_ find a _comfortable_ bra, you just haven’t yet because you haven’t engaged with the lingerie-professionals out there.

    Trust me, you’re not alone and the perfect bra is out there for your brand-spankin’ new womanly curves.

    Go you!

    – Natasha

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Us

Subscribe to Blog

  • advertisement

in Surviving ED Comments

Mental Health Newsletter

Sign up for the HealthyPlace mental health newsletter for latest news, articles, events.

Mental Health
Newsletter Subscribe Now!

Mental Health Newsletter

Sign up for the HealthyPlace mental health newsletter for latest news, articles, events.

Log in

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me