Reader Rebecca wrote to me the other day asking this question: “I was wondering your thoughts on getting rid of clothes that don’t fit as one loses weight. As I continue on my weight loss journey, I find myself fearful of actually letting go of my larger sized clothes.”
From March 2010
I recently asked the folks on Lynn’s Weigh on Facebook 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.