I recently asked the folks on Lynn’s Weigh on Facebook (BTW, are you a “fan” yet? Click here to check it out!) what they do with clothes that no longer fit as they lose weight. Most folks said they give them away (Debra suggested the organization Dress For Success), which is what I eventually did, but it took awhile for me to trust myself not to need them again.
Getting rid of old clothes is empowering, but I strongly urge you to keep one item of clothing to remind you where you’ve been and how far you’ve come, especially on those days when you struggle and think, Why am I doing this?
I kept one lone item of clothing from my 300-pound days: my size 28 black stretch pants. I wore them every day. They were my constant companion. They even went with me to the Adirondacks where I allowed my husband to take the only full-body photo of me at my highest weight (see “I *Heart* Burlington, Vermont” for the full story).
My size 28 black stretch pants were literally stretched to their limit. As I grew larger, holes began to form. Stains no longer washed out. I didn’t know it at the time, but those holes and stains reflected how I felt about myself, namely that I wasn’t worth taking care of.
Eventually I invested in Weight Watchers rather than another new wardrobe, but my confidence level was still pretty low. Fifty pounds into my weight loss, I was still wearing my old size 28 wardrobe. I posted on the WW discussion board (the 100+ To Lose board was my salvation) that my clothes bagged significantly, but that I wasn’t sure if I should buy new clothes or wait. I felt guilty about spending the money since I wasn’t convinced I wouldn’t gain it all back, and sadly I’d given away all my smaller clothes as I marched up the scale, convinced I’d be morbidly obese the rest of my life. (*See my side story at the end of this blog.)
A WW board member named CrispyRice encouraged me to invest in a few things in a smaller size. She said wearing clothes that fit would help me see the results of my weight loss, which in turn would encourage me to keep going. She also told me to not buy all black – my typical “hiding” color – and to shop at Goodwill and other second-hand shops.
Her advice was spot on. Not only did I feel good about buying a smaller size – a pair of size 24 khaki shorts and a white XL shirt (down from 3X) – I felt smaller in lighter colors and wearing fabric close to my skin as opposed to it hanging limp and devoid of form.
More importantly, I felt confident in my new, smaller clothes. Confident that I’d no longer need my larger sized wardrobe. Confident that I wasn’t gaining my weight back, not if I had anything to say about it. I bagged up the 28s and the 30/32 pant suit and gave them to Goodwill, all except for the size 28 black stretch pants – which, lest you think me tacky, I wouldn’t have actually given away given their condition. But I didn’t throw them away, either, because we have a history. They elicit the same feelings I have about photographs or special gifts.
My size 28 black stretch pants are my friend. I was wearing them the moment I joined WW online. They were on camera with me when I was on Today (both times) and Entertainment Tonight (crazy, I know) when I was promoting the People magazine’s “Half Their Size” issue in 2008. And as my friend, my pants help me through those days when I wonder: Why am I doing this? Why do I journal my food? Why do I eat the way I do? Why do I (usually) say no to chocolate cake, mac n’ cheese, and half in half in my coffee? I love those things!
“Ah,” say the size 28 black stretch pants, “but you love yourself even more.”
See why we’re BFF?
(*Side story: The only exception to giving all my smaller clothes away as I was gaining weight the last time, was a size 16 lined suit that I’d only worn once. I called it my “dream suit.” When I was 300 pounds, I dreamed that it would one day fit again, but dreaming was all I did about my weight for several years. When I started to lose weight, that suit became my “goal suit.” I tried it on every other week when I got down to 200 pounds. I used the zipper as a gage for how many inches I was losing. When I was 180, Larry and I moved and I got so busy unpacking that I forgot about my goal suit. By the time I dug it out, I weighed around 155 and it was too big. Sigh. I’d missed my window of opportunity. But I still honor it for the icon it was, even though it’s probably hanging in someone else’s closet.)
Thank you to all of you for your comments and email on my last post regarding sexuality and weight. NOT an easy subject to think about, let alone talk about, but a few brave souls did.
Congrats to Alexandra for winning the “Cardio Striptease” DVD! Alexandra blogs at “Adventures of a Done Girl Named Alex” if you want to give it a look see.