Feb 172015
 

When you’re trying to lose weight it’s easy to get stuck in a rut in a lot of ways. One of those ways is taking care of your appearance. When I was losing 100 pounds I was definitely in a rut because I couldn’t really afford new clothes. I’d buy some new clothes but then I’d lose weight so quickly that often times I didn’t get a chance to wear my new clothes before they were too big. Some outfits even had tags on them still! Check out this old post about the topic: Losing Weight and Shopping.

One of the things I regretted was how much money I spent on new clothes I never got to wear. If I could go back and tell my younger self I would have advised myself to buy clothes at thrift stores to save money. Despite that, there was one thing about that whole experience that I think is important: when you’re losing weight it’s important to dress for your body type.

When you’re losing weight it’s easy to get frumpy. Clothes become ill-fitting and baggy. When I was at my heaviest I already wore clothes that were bigger because I thought it hid my size. In reality it just made me look even bigger. As I lost the pounds the clothes got baggier and looked terrible! I had workout clothes that were literally falling off my body because they were too big. It doesn’t motivate you or maybe you feel good when you feel like you’re walking around in clothes that are falling off.

I think it’s really important to reward your weight loss efforts with non-food rewards. Shopping for new clothes is a good one. You’re not sabotaging your successes by “treating” yourself to a hot fudge sundae. Instead, you’re rewarding your successes by buying a new outfit at your new weight to make yourself FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF.

Buying New Clothes at Your Current Weight

You don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe at every weight you get down to. That would be expensive and ridiculous. But so many times I bought clothes that were too BIG for me OR too small, hoping that “one day this will fit.” Don’t do that. Just buy a few interchangeable outfits that fit well and look stylish. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. Sometimes just some fitted black pants and a few colorful shirts is all you need to boost your self-esteem.

Since I put on about 13 pounds in the last year I found that a lot of my clothes weren’t fitting properly anymore. Sure I hadn’t gained a TON of weight but it was enough to make my clothes look odd. Pants were too tight. This caused a muffin top and my legs looked like they were busting out of my jeans. Fun times. Shirts were tighter, a little bit shorter around the waist. It was demoralizing. It made me feel BIGGER than I actually was.

It’s really important to pay attention to your body shape and buy clothes that are flattering for your shape. I found this chart that was really interesting too:

table

When I first got back from Hawaii and realized I’d gained some weight, I went through my closet to get rid of stuff I  knew I’d never ever fit into again. I kept the stuff that I knew I’d be able to wear again and then I bought a few pairs of pants and a few shirts in a larger size. Sure it wasn’t what I wanted–I hated having to buy clothes in one size up, but feeling comfortable in your clothes makes a huge psychological difference.

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Recently Michael’s mom and stepdad gave me a generous gift card to Kohl’s for my birthday. I went out and bought some new shirts and even some new underwear and a bra. Not that I needed to buy a bigger size, they were all generally the same size I’d been wearing but I felt so much better about myself with some new clothes. They were cute clothes, they fit well, they were flattering for my current body shape and it just MADE ME HAPPIER.

Haircut

This is another thing you can do while losing weight. A new hairstyle! It’s something easy to do and can make a world of difference. A new hairstyle can change the shape of your face, make you look nicer and in turn make you FEEL better about yourself.

Like I said in a previous post, I’d let my hair get really long and hadn’t taken care of it. I felt super frumpy. I hated my hair. My clothes weren’t fitting right. It made me feel bummed out about my weight. I didn’t need to wallow anymore. A few new outfits and new hairstyle made a humongous difference for me!

Getting Your Nails Done

Going to a salon to get a mani/pedi can get expensive but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself at home. I know that when I do my nails in colors I like I feel feminine and pretty. Again, it’s all psychological. Boost your mood in ways that don’t include food and you’ll be successful!

Accessories

I love earrings and necklaces. I have a large collection that I’ve accrued over the years. I have my favorites that I wear all the time and then once in awhile I re-discover something I had that I’d forgotten about and it’s like wearing something new!

Again, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Go to thrift stores, antique stores, consignment shops. You can find some really neat, unique jewelry if you keep an eye out.

Celebrate Progress

I definitely recommend that people trying to lose weight take progress pictures! I wish I had taken more. I was not comfortable being in front of a camera when I was bigger and I regret not taking more photos of myself as I lost the weight. I have pictures of when I was over 250 pounds and then I have some pictures from my brother’s wedding when I weighed 200 pounds. Then there were more taken as I got closer to my goal weight.

LisaEireneBeforeAndAfter

But I think it is a positive, uplifting ritual to take progress pictures. Sometimes when you are looking in the mirror you can’t see the progress you are making. Photos will show you that!

Take Care of Yourself

The point of doing all of this stuff is to make yourself look attractive to yourself. Wear things that you like and think positive thoughts when you look at yourself in the mirror. Try practicing positive self-talk and tell yourself something you like about your appearance. So often we get stuck in a rut where we tell ourselves “I’m so fat” and “I hate my stomach rolls” and “Why can’t I lose this flab in my arms?” and it becomes a broken record in our mind. Before you know it, all you do is talk shit about yourself and that brings down your mood and self-esteem. I know, I’ve been there many times.

I am trying to silence that negative voice in my head that’s always pointing out my flaws instead of celebrating my victories…

Losing weight is hard and it’s a drag sometimes and sometimes it TAKES FOREVER. Anything you can do to boost your mood and take the focus OFF your weight and the number on the scale is a good thing for making progress!

What are some of your favorite things to do to make yourself feel good about your body?

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Feb 102015
 

I have five tattoos. I love them. They all mean something to me and they all tell a story of that time in my life. The first one I got when I was 18–like a week legal! I was young, a little stupid and didn’t do my research. It’s a small ankh on my right ankle. The work isn’t great and someday I need to get it redone. The second one is a labrys on my left arm, symbolizing strength, independence and feminism.

labrys

The third is an Egyptian goddess, symbolizing rebirth, fertility and femininity.

goddess
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The fourth is the Eye of Horus, an Egyptian symbol for protection. This one is pretty special to me–I got it in London (Notting Hill!) and my cousin Anna has an identical one on her ankle, too.

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Lastly, my favorite tattoo, is on my back. It’s a purple lotus flower with a symbol above it. Not only is the work gorgeous, but it also has happy memories for me, too. I got the tattoo on my trip to San Francisco with my cousin Anna. We stopped at a parlor on Haight –I wish I could remember where now! The last tattoo I got when I was 22 years old and I haven’t gotten another one since.

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I think part of the reason I have tattoos has to do with where I grew up. The Pacific Northwest is very “crunchy”. I grew up surrounded by people who had tattoos, piercings, dreadlocks, crazy hair, pretty much every stereotype you can imagine about Seattle and Portland. That was the norm.

But giving it some genuine thought and analyzing the “why,” I think there is another reason for my tattoos. I think that when I gained my weight and I was really unhappy with my body, I wanted to do something to make it be beautiful in my eyes. I didn’t like my body, I couldn’t lose weight, I felt self-conscious and unhappy. Adorning myself with art work of my choosing seemed to change that.

I’ve changed a lot since I lost 110 pounds. I learned to love my body (most of the time). Becoming a fit, healthy, active person not only changed my body for the better, but it changed my brain, too. I started to look at my body in a positive way because I was able to do things I could never do before. Having the ability to swim two miles without stopping to rest was mind blowing to me! I was so proud of my accomplishments!

The weight training program I’ve been doing has been transforming my body even more and it’s given me the self-confidence I was lacking. I LOVE seeing definition in my arms and recognizing my own strength. And of course, working on getting awesome muscles just make my tattoos look even better. :)

Do I regret the tattoos now that I’ve changed? Not at all. I think it was the self-expression I needed to do at a certain time in my life. I’m sure I will get more someday, and definitely clean up the ones I have now when they are faded. I look back at that time in my life and instead of thinking about how I disliked my body, I remember the story that each tattoo tells. London, San Francisco, feminism, strength, whatever it represented then, it still represents now.

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