Thursday, April 21, 2011

Revisiting the Size 28s

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.”

I thought it best to repost last year’s “Ode to My Size 28 Stretch Pants,” because this is a question I get asked a lot. I hope you’ll forgive the repost, but sometimes it’s good to be reminded why we’re doing all this weight loss/maintenance, right? (I apologize there are no photos. I will try to post them later. Blogger is being a bugger today...ugh.)

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.

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, 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 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.)

**************************

Congrats to reader “kadywood” who won the the Angie Miller “Crave Results” DVD giveaway! Thank you to all of you who threw your names in the hat to win. Cassie, Carlene and I are working on new reviews, so there will be more opportunities to win a workout DVD that will shake your routine up.

14 comments:

  1. I don't have any affinity for clothes I wore post-baby (aka when I was huuuuuge). But I have kept a dress from my (very) underweight days - I guess it's a bit the same...part of your history, but not something you want to revisit :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I plan to keep my biggest pair of dress pants that I wear almost daily (because nothing else fits) as a sign of how far I've come (once I get there). I have been guilty of getting ridding of larger clothes as I lost weight only to regain the weight and wish I still had the clothes! I definitely hang on to smaller clothes hoping to fit back into them. I did finally getting rid of the 4's and 6's that I had several years ago, knowing that I realistically won't be that small again (and I'm okay with that - I'd be thrilled with an 8, 10, or even 12).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post - thanks for sharing! I haven't gotten to the point yet where I'm needing new clothes - hopefully soon!

    http://ShrinkToFitBlog.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was a consignment store junkie while losing weight. The only clothes I could afford, knowing I could take them back and resell as I kept going down sizes.

    I have one pair of size 24W jeans that I keep as a reminder. I don't know if I will keep them forever or not.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I kept one pair of my pants to remind me how far I'd come and where I never wanted to return. It was amazing at how much I could try to "stretch" the truth in my stretch elastic waist pants. It was also pretty interesting that it really was true that I could feel 3 lb fluctuations. Like a dip shit (excuse my language) I did let a few full skirts into my wardrobe. Since my waist and hips are not at all proportionate, it gave me a little too much wiggle room, and I'm now fighting to get that off...my vote: get rid of the fat close - quick! Cherio!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I felt like I could have written this. Wow!!! I too have saved one pair of pants. My size 26 stretch blue jeans. And yes, they have many holes in them as well. I wore them to a fashion show at ww a few months ago. My leader laughed at the holes and all the worn spots.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am not sure how I will feel about keeping my big clohes! But as or When I loose I have uk sizes 18/16/14 in my wardrobe! At the moment my jeans are a uk 20 - tops 18! Although thinking about it my size 20 jeans are from a charity shop and worn/washed so much I think I will be glad to throw them away. Love your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Invisible Girl...I slip into "comfy" clothes now and feel comfortable, even though I know my jeans are snug. Ugh. The mind games we play!

    Cate and Lori, I'll hang on to these pants because they represent a very interesting (for lack of a better word) time in my life. Beyond weight. I'll blog about it sometime :)

    Wishing you all the best laurajane and Belle and Ginny. Keep at least one thing, just in case you want to remember.

    Lisa, did you take photos in your "before" pants??

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have from size 12 all the way up to 32, which I sadly wear now. I am in a panic as my son is getting married in 2 months and I can't find a web site with any 30's or 32's in stock! The depression is getting the best of me. Think I will make myself find a therapist. So wish you lived in my town, Lynn. You are such an inspiration! Please keep on blogging as somedays your post is my only bright spot in my day.

    ReplyDelete
  10. @ Anonymous:

    Your son will love you regardless of your size, whether it be 2 or 32, as long as you love yourself. However, that's easier said than done. If you think you need to seek a therapist, then it's what you should. It's what's best for you. And it's a wonderful idea.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @first anonymous - there's a great post at dropitandeat I read the other day which talks about losing weight for milestone events (and why you shouldn't!)...it might help

    http://dropitandeat.blogspot.com/2011/04/graduation-diet.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. It has been challenging to let myself buy clothes that fit my shape, now, but I don't want to hide away in baggy stuff any more either. I went from size 32 plus (yep, stretchy pants) to a comfy size 10 jeans (well, 10 long). This feels okay. Nice, actually. Not scary-strange, so I think I'll maintain here, at least for the near future. :)

    I recently heard your discussion with Two Fit Chicks...

    Wow. That was fun! You're a natural, and I could have listened for another hour at least.

    Of course life is challenging after weight loss, but when is it NOT challenging? Thanks for the great reminders.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lynn, First time commenter here. I heard your interview on Two Fit Chicks podcast, and was blown away. I too am a maintainer, in my sixth year of maintenance and it was wonderful to hear you talk on Carla and Shauna's podcast. So many of the things you said just hit so many chords with me. It was great to hear someone saying that maintenance is not easy, that it needs vigilance and effort, and that it rarely gets any notice or credit. Thanks, and I'll be a regular reader here from now on. Andrew

    ReplyDelete
  14. Welcome, Andrew! I just visited your blog...love your success story! If you get a chance, can you tell me how to subscribe? I didn't see an RSS feed (and I'm pretty technologically challenged beyond that type of subscription...lol). Thanks!

    ReplyDelete