The conventional wisdom about clothes and weight loss is, to get rid of those clothes that no longer fit, so that you are tempted to grow back into them.
I understand that to a point, but I have pretty cheap genes (not cheap jeans, but maybe those too). I am not a packrat by any means, but I hate to throw something away that is still in good condition, or might be needed again.
The obvious solution of course is to give those clothes away. Someone can use them, why hoard them in a box or a bag in your closet? Yet, ladies especially, how many times have you saved a dress or other item of clothing because it’s a) a special memory (I confess, I still have the robe I wore for my college graduation and I have all three hoods) b) it might come back into style and c) if I just lose ten pounds it will fit!
Pretty sure no one who has intentionally lost weight wants to grow back into those old clothes, but I have saved extra large size clothes out of financial guilt.
My situation is a bit different now. In retirement, in my retirement home, I have pledged to myself to not keep more clothes than will fit in my dresser, my closet and one tote for off season clothes.
In addition I have two winter coats and two clergy robes (one that will soon fit, YAY!) and four costume dresses and assorted tunics, belts and veils, which I don for in character biblical storytelling skits. Some of those fit in a small closet at the top of the steps that also contains a metal shelving unit, an ironing board and my walker from my knee replacement days, that I hope to not need anytime soon.
As of this writing, I am down 29 pounds. It is not a fast process, and I recently hit a strange plateau where my weight went up and down so often it looked like a sewing machine zig-zag stitch on my weight graph.
For the most part, I have maintained a 1200 calorie a day total. And I walk the dog three times a day. I still love chocolate and hate exercise. Hmm! I should put that on a tee shirt. My last cookie or chocolate candy was June 16th or there about.
Yet, I have not felt deprived. I have worked hard to vary what I eat so that I don’t get bored. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I am eating fruits and vegetables 3-5 times a day. I recently shared this with a friend and she did not believe me, thought I was making it up.
She wasn’t being mean, she knows I do not like fruit all that much. She has said to me on more than one occasion, ‘If you had been in Eden, we would not have had a problem, because you don’t eat fruit!’ But I have assured her each time, that she was wrong, there probably would have been a chocolate chip cookie tree, and we would still be in the same boat; out of Eden.
Back to my clothes:
I don’t remember when I first noticed that my clothes were getting baggy, but it was probably at least two months in. I did not rush out and buy new clothes (cheap genes, remember?) But one day, I saw a skirt that caught my eyes. I used to live in skirts, but haven’t worn them in 8 or 9 years. I bought it and found myself thinking that it was time to go shopping for skirts.
I realized that my 2x jeans were too baggy and decided to shop for some 1x jeans. I found a pair in the bottom of my dresser, that I didn’t realize I had. I am glad I found them before I bought more, because they too were baggy. Yay! The funniest discovery among my old clothes was a pair of size 14 dress pants. When I held them up to myself before trying them on, I marveled that they dragged on the floor. Why on earth would I have bought pants that were too long? I didn’t. But I am 70 and have apparently lost 3 inches in height.
Short Term Goals
Right now, my goal is to lose 11 more pounds. That won’t put me very low on the BMI index, and may still put me in the overweight category, but I think it will be okay. My goal has never been to be skinny, just healthy. That will give me a 40 pound weight loss and at that point, I think putting my energy into maintaining the loss will be important. After all, I have succeeded at least 4 times in my adult life in losing this much weight. I have not yet succeeded in keeping it off; until now.
I know that I will need to be careful and thoughtful about my food choices and level of activity, but I also feel that I have learned a lot, about myself, about food. I feel like I am poised for success. I anticipate that I will add 300-400 calories to my daily intake and continue to explore other aspects of healthy living. (I hate exercise, remember?)
There is a good chance that I may meet my goal by mid-December. But you can never tell when there is a plateau around the corner. And something else is around the corner too, Thanksgiving and Christmas. That calls for careful choices. I am not obsessive compulsive, but I already know what I want to have for Thanksgiving Dinner and what I am willing to pass up. As much as I hate exercise, I love carbs, I do! I can skip homemade rolls (I love homemade rolls and love to make them) and even skip the pumpkin pie. But turkey, my mom’s oyster dressing and cranberry sauce and some kind of green vegetable will be on my plate.
What About Christmas Cookies?
My husband is an amazing man. He can eat one cookie, and share it with the dog! I keep telling Sheba I don’t share, and I still like my cookies to have friends. But there are other carbohydrates I would rather enjoy, so I am hoping to make some mini loaves of cranberry bread and cranberry orange scones for the freezer. My big will power question will be, can I make cookies and not eat them? Making raisin-filled cookies for my husband is a simple act of love. I don’t like them, they don’t tempt me. But beyond that I may have to figure out why I think I need to make cookies in the first place. Not there yet.
Ongoing Struggles and learning:
As much progress as I have made with my weight, I still trip over the same mistakes. I still eat too fast. I have figured out the clue to fix that, but haven’t mastered it yet. What is that clue? PUT DOWN THAT FORK! I have spent much of my life confusing my fork for a shovel. I am trying to consciously remember to put my fork down in between bites. I succeed about half the time. That is still progress.
I do not drink enough. I like hot drinks to be hot, and cold drinks to be ice cold. I know that I need to be drinking more, but I get caught up in what I am doing and forget to stop and get a drink. When I write, or when I am working, I can get laser focused on my task, even though I am generally easily distracted. So remembering to get up and refresh my drink or walk around the room or up some steps just is not on my radar.
Because I am eating many foods I normally would, and some foods that I like but had avoided, I don’t think I have ever felt like this was a diet. My focus has been on healthy eating and protecting myself from the possibility of diabetes or cardiac issues. Eating cookies won’t make you diabetic, but I have had risk factors for years. So all this work goes to eliminating at least one risk factor.
In addition to some new clothes and forcing myself to bag up the things that are in good condition to give away, there have been other fun discoveries. I have collar bones! Who knew? But there they are in the mirror. I have a waist line! Wow! I could probably take darts or tucks in my tee shirts! I feel pretty! Being overweight is not necessarily a barrier to a good self image for everyone. But I can tell you it has been a long time since I have felt pretty or liked who I saw in the mirror. Color me grateful!
The journey continues, so I will continue to let you know how it is going. I am still following a specific plan, but my writing is not about getting you to do what I am doing. It is simply to share the journey in the hopes that you might see yourself in my words and experiences, and find hope here too, and laughter. Always, laughter.
Not holding back the tide!
Copyright 2020 Michele Somerville, The Beach Girl Chronicles and https://msomervillesite.WordPress.com