May 25, 2011


Clothing has played such a key role in my weight loss journey so far - even beyond being a physical measure of progress. I recently got rid of a ton of old clothes - a lot of it had to get trashed, unfortunately, since it was ripped or stained, but most of it went to the Salvation Army. It took a very long time to part with it all - I must have put it in piles ten different times before finally bagging it up and dropping it off.

When I finally buckled down and did it, it felt amazing - like a burden had been lifted from my shoulders. But for a very long time, every time I thought about cleaning out the closets, my stomach would tense up and a flood of anxiety would wash over my body, and I'd mentally change the subject as fast as possible. They weren't just t-shirts and sweatpants and sundresses ... they were some of the last physical remnants of my old life.

And it wasn't that I worried about needing the clothes after regaining the weight I have lost - that thought, surprisingly, never crossed my mind, and I'm hoping it's because the changes I'm making this time around are much more sustainable. What worried me was more a loss of comfort: even though I couldn't wear the clothes any more, having them there in my closet was something consistent from my old life to now.

Losing weight changes your life; with extreme rapid weight loss, these changes are multiplied. For the past ten months, I've been desperately clinging to some of the oddest things, seeking comfort wherever I can find it. Clothes have been an easy way to do this - something material to carry over from one phase to another. It's interesting - before I started to get healthier, I never really gave thought to the new clothes aspect of my weight loss journey besides wanting to be able to shop at more than one or two stores. When I was in high school and college, though, there was one shirt I always wanted to fit back into.

In eighth grade, I was living with my dad and my grandparents. I hadn't had a birthday party since I was about four years old, and somehow I persuaded my dad to let me have a friend over for my birthday dinner. I really don't remember the "party" itself, but I remember what I wore: a black skirt and a button down shirt from Lane Bryant. It was white with little blue and green flowers all over it, and I loved it. A lot of clothes at Lane Bryant have a mature style about them, which made me feel incredibly depressed, awkward, and out-of-place as a 12-year-old needing to shop there. But this shirt had a youthful quality to it, and I remember feeling so lovely when I wore it. That day I was turning 13, and I thought I looked pretty - at that point, it was my best birthday ever.

My aunt took a picture of my friend and me standing on the front porch, and for years afterwards, that was my goal picture. All I wanted was to wear that shirt again - not just for how it looked on me, but to recapture how I felt when I wore it. In my 12th year, my parents' divorce was finalized, my best friend moved halfway across the country, and I developed a binge eating disorder that lead to my gaining a hundred pounds in about a year - but here I was, on my 13th birthday, feeling honestly and genuinely good about myself in spite of it all.

The next time I'm home, I'm going to try and find that shirt, even if I can't wear it anymore. (It was a size 20, I believe.) I'll put it on once to marvel at my progress, then drop it off at the Salvation Army so that perhaps someone else can wear it and feel lovely.

What about you? What do you wear to feel your best? Do you have a "goal" outfit? Do you plan to have any clothing-based weight loss rewards?


Jessica said...

I don't really have any goal clothes...I am not much of a fashionista :) I think I get most excited when I can "throw on clothes" and feel great in them.

Maia said...

It's interesting because I've been the same way with my clothes. Because I didn't think I was actually very pretty I spent a LOT of money on clothes to help me feel better about myself. Now seeing those clothes become unwearable is kind of hard to realize and then let go of.

I actually had a goal outfit that is too big for me now too! Guess I gotta find a new one!

Spoonful of Me said...

I have two sets of goal clothes. One for my mini goal and one for my goal weight.

Ellie said...

I know that I am still holding onto a lot of clothing in my closet that I just cannot wear anymore. I don't really know why I have kept most of the clothes but I get that feeling when I look at it hanging in the closet, that I need it to remind me that I don't want to be there again.

I don't really have a goal outfit, unless you consider the swim suit I dawn ever monday a goal. I just want to finally feel happy with myself and proud of what I am.

And just for the record, every weight loss reward I have given myself thus far was a piece of clothing to put in my closet. (Usually a nice dress or sexy shoes). My next reward is going to be a hair cut, since I need one of those badly.

Thanks for sharing, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with trouble letting go of the past, even if I don't ever care to be back there.

Shabby Chic Mom said...

Hi, new follower. I have one pair of jeans that are my goal jeans!
unfortunately, I haven't been taking as much pride in dressing lately (think workout pants and tshirts)

timothy said...

i too purged the closet. i had 5 lawn bags full of clothes. anything that was 2/3 x or over a 32 pant went. i had to buy 30s which i haven't worn since jr high (1983/4) and i'm in a plain xl shirt. probably won't ever be able to wear a large as i'm broad shouldered but boy oh boy does it feel great! i have a shirt from my 1st concert that i'd love to get into again. oh and i want to wear a cut off t and NOT be ashamed of my belly! lol think eddie murphy in nutty professor it's gonna be spandex all the way!

Hungry Girl Fan said...

I have a whole set of clothes from when I was skinnier that I am looking forward to fitting into again. As I lose weight, I have been getting rid of the sizes that are too big for me - mainly so I am not tempted to go back to fitting into them.

As a reward for when I reach my goal weight (hopefully soon!), I plan on going shopping for a bunch of new clothes. Normally, I just wear a plain-colored t-shirt with pants or a skirt. I can't wait to get some clothes that fit me well and are a little more exciting!

Tim said...

How weird, I'm actually sat on my computer instead of sorting out the clothes in my wardrobe which I planned to do this evening. I will never wear those t-shirts, jeans etc again but every piece of clothing provides me with memories, both happy and sad.

Anonymous said...

Aren't clothes attachments the weirdest things? I went through that a while ago. I had a favorite pair or sweats (yes, I said sweats). I LOVED them and thought I always looked so great in them. I went through every piece of clothing (top and bottom) that I owned and put it into four piles (toss, give away, keep, and future). I got rid of so many clothes, I found several that now fit, some that I completely bypassed (purchased thinking it would motivate me to lose weight and had never even wore them and now they were too big) and then some were tight so they were going to soon fit me. But those sweat pants. I almost didn't try them on because I knew they would fit and I still wanted to keep them. My husband convinced me to try them on. They were HUGE on me. Looked absolutely HORRIBLE on me. I was sad. Really? Sad? *sigh* Funny the things we get attached to.

Maude said...

The thing I always find funny about "goal" clothes is that by the time I get to where I can fit into them, the clothes have usually gone out of style and I don't want to wear them anyway. They're like another element of the weight loss fantasy. It's kind of funny how that works.