When I go through my wardrobe to weed out what no longer fits, I pile all the too big clothing on my love seat or couch and glory in that sight for a day or two. Then, the freak out starts. Who am I kidding? Look at all that nice clothing that I'm just going to give away. How much money does that pile represent? Can I really keep off this weight or continue to lose? Odds are against me. Do I want to spend the money to repurchase this wardrobe if/when I ever get back to this size?
The freak out wasn't as strong this time though. I have two other examples to reflect on how this process really works for me. A Weight Watchers buddy said it was like Hernan Cortez burning his ships when he and his crew of Spaniards landed on Mexico. There is no going back. You have to keep moving forward and succeeding at this journey. I do know that getting rid of my bigger clothes the previous two times helped me keep from regaining the weight and getting back into those larger sizes.
I am a very solid size 12 now. In fact, I'm just starting to fit into the smaller side of the size 12 range (e.g. Tahari suits) and even into a-line size 10 skirts and dresses. Soon, I'll fit into curvy 10s (e.g. Ann Taylor Loft Julie pants). Give it a few more months, and I'll be wearing the smaller 10s (e.g. Ann Taylor Loft Marissa pants). By mid-summer, I may be able to contemplate wearing a-line 8s as the curvy 10s become too big. There is a very strong pattern to getting into smaller size clothing that I have now experienced many times through 20-plus (one pair of very hated shorts), several 18-plus, lots and lots of 16-plus, some 14-plus, regular 16, regular 14, regular 12 and just the barest glimmers of regular 10. I recognize, celebrate and love all the signs of progress.
L: May 2005 in Hydra, Greece. I'm pretty sure I'm wearing size 18-plus cropped pants from Dress Barn Woman.
R: March 13, 2010 - I'm wearing regular size 12 from Ann Taylor Loft. This was the first time I'd fit into the brown, size 12, Marissa pants pictured.
The current pile of clothing on my love seat contains mostly size regular 14 clothing and several of my favorite, "smaller" size 16 pieces. For more than a decade, losing 20 pounds and getting into a regular size 14 was an impossible goal. I walked into Weight Watchers in January 2009 half ready to prove that it was impossible and with tentative plans to join the fat is beautiful movement in 2010. Instead, I'm getting rid of those 14s and contemplating getting into a size 10 or 8. That is amazing.
Yesterday, I took the very best of my size 16 and size 14 clothing, most of which had only been worn half a season, to a clothes swap party that I've been fortunate enough to go to 3 times before. A successful member of my local RWA chapters hosts it every year. I was able to see many of my long-time friends take my size 14 and 16 clothing home as additions to their wardrobe or as aspirational pieces. I think that's so wonderful.
I went home with my own huge pile of aspirational pieces, costume jewelry and a nice pair of shoes. (By the way, my shoe size has gotten smaller with my now nearly 35 pound weight loss since January 09 and nearly 45 from my highest weight. I used to be a 8 - 8 1/2 and I'm now more of an 8 - 7 1/2 size shoe wearer.) The hostess of the party had lost 20-30 pounds herself this past year and had contributed many size 8s and 10s to the pile of clothes to be swapped. I seemed the most interested in them (or perhaps the most aggressive person to go after them), and I now have many amazing pieces I can add to those 3 size 10 clothes I bought last winter to use as something to work towards in the next 6 months to a year. In fact, one or two of the pieces from yesterday's clothes swap already fit well enough to be worn in public. I'm filled with confidence that the rest of it will eventually fit. No, this journey is not fast, but I do know that my patience and persistence will be rewarded.
What things do you do as a vote of confidence in yourself? As you get smaller, do you get rid of your bigger clothes?
Michelle Butler has made becoming a healthy writer a priority. She lives, works and writes in the Washington, DC, area. You can follow her on twitter at http://twitter.com/healthywrtr