The first shopping trip since my weight loss journey started
Sunday, October 21, 2007
The weather is softening its edges, the hazy mind shattering heat of summer replaced by nights of cool, collective breezes and the need for a second blanket on one's toes come slumber time. I've been perusing my weight loss goal for about six and a half months now, and in that time I have learned many things about myself and my body, just as I'm certain I will continue to as I strive towards my end goal (and my ultimate goal of maintaining a healthy weight for the rest of my life). For one, I've learned what it feels like to get on the scale and see a smaller number, instead of a bigger one for the first time. The pride which resonates through one's soul in seeing your dedication and devotion (slowly) pay off.
My body took a long time to change enough that I required a smaller clothing size. In fact, up until the point where I'd lost 30 pounds, I didn't really see or feel much of change with how my clothing felt. Now though, I've lost 41 pounds to date and finally need to wear a smaller size of pants. It isn't much smaller, but still it is the first time in my life that I've ever not needed to go up the ladder when changing sizes. I realize that a big chunk of this comes from the fact that I'm only in my twenties and that for a lot of my life, my clothing sizes increased simply because I was growing up and then reaching adolescence.
I know - in all likelihood - that I won't remain at my current weight forever, I'll keep on losing and so I'm not about plunk down a tidy sum on a whole new wardrobe, but when even the "smallest" [sic] pair of pants in my closet began to feel too loose for comfort, I knew that it was time to brave the dressing rooms.
Last week I made my way to, shall we call it, Mega-Lo Mart ("King of the Hill" fans will get this reference), and approached the ladies clothing department with quiet trepidation, fearing in the back of mind that perhaps it was only the brands of clothing which I currently owned that were too small (clothing sizes being so ridiculously inconstant between brands), and that I'd still need to shed further pounds before I could fit into a lower size.
For the first time in over three years I began my clothing journey in the "average" sized section, not for bottoms (I'm very pear/hourglass shape and so I always wear a considerably larger size from the waist down) but for tops. Next, for pants, I moved over to the (much tinier) plus size department. I was struck by the sudden feeling that I was straddling two worlds, wishing that I only had to live in the one where nothing was ever labeled larger than "XL". Where in months and years of yore I'd felt grateful to know that at least there, in the plus size section, I could find something to wear, I now secretly despised the fact that I had to be there at all.
Still, there is rarely any getting past the inevitable or the truth, and the current reality is that my pants size is still very much a plus number. Summing up my inner clothing strength I made a ballsy move and selected pairs which were only one or two sizes smaller than what I was currently wearing. In doing so I hoped to accomplish two things. One, I would know right off the bat if I was still the same size or not, and two, I would not create some sort of false disillusion in my mind by trying on a much smaller size and obviously not having it fit.
My hands laden down with hangers containing sweaters and pants I made my way to the fitting rooms, oddly conscious of if anyone was watching me, as if they might somehow know that a "fat girl" was attempting to wear a smaller size.
I started with various sweaters, sized "XL" and "L" (not my "usual" XL-1 or XXL) and my "hoping to high heaven" that they fit slightly smaller pants. Even in the dressing room, the door locked, a plastic number tag hanging on its outside, I was nervous as if I was about to try sky diving for the first time. I slipped a sweater over my head and it went on. It didn't get stuck on my chunky upper arms or feel like a cinched cummerbund around my waist, it fit, and darn well too. Sweater after sweater (depending on the label, in XL and even L!) worked like a charm, so much so that ultimately I had to pick from the lot and just get a couple, as I wasn't out to blow the bank.
Inhaling deeply I proceeded to the pants, with utter apprehension I slide a pair of jeans (2 sizes smaller than what I was currently wearing) on. To my shock and delight they didn't abandon ship at my knees, up my big thighs they continued until, at this point smiling like a fool, I zipped them up. I didn't have to suck in all of my chub or watch rolls hang over the waistband they fit, really fit. And it was at that moment, in a quiet tone under my breath that I whispered to myself in a mixture of glee and hopefulness, "I will never, all things willing, allow myself to become as big as I had been ever again".
New pants and sweaters in hand I left the store, walking down the street as jubilantly as Mary Tyler Moore had in opening scenes of her hit 70's show, only I wasn't going to throw my hat in the air, I was on my way home to mark another incredible weight loss first, tossing my now-too-big jeans into the storage closet.