clothes shopping

Importance of Feeling Good

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.

ladies-dresses

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?

What Happens After You Lose the Weight?

Sometimes I wonder if my blog would be more popular if I had been writing from the beginning of my weight loss journey, instead of starting at the end. Sometimes I wonder if my readers have a hard time relating to what I write about because I think many are just starting out on their own journey. It’s strange, I don’t know that I consider this a “weight loss” blog because I’m not trying to lose weight, and haven’t been for a few years. Instead, this site is about how I’ve kept the weight off, what has worked for me over the years, and also to illustrate that maintenance can be fun. I try to lead by example: continue healthy exercise, count my calories, eat whatever I want in moderation and live my life in a healthy way. My hope is that what I write inspires people to do what they are wanting to do: lose the weight.

So what happens after you lose the weight? Chances are, if you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, your life is very different NOW than it was THEN. Maybe you were a couch potato like me. Now you’re an adrenaline junkie who loves sports. Maybe you were used to eating crap food from a box in massive quantities like me. Now you’re into healthy, whole foods within an acceptable calorie range. Either way, you’re life and mine are very different after losing weight.

I think there are three stages. This is just my own experience and I’d love to hear from others who have reached goal weight.

The Honeymoon Stage

This is the best part about reaching goal weight. We get to feel JOY and satisfaction about reaching a big goal. We worked hard to lose that weight and finally seeing that number on the scale is an amazing feeling. There might be happy tears, cheers, and feelings of accomplishment.

The other part of this stage that is awesome is all the attention. During this period of time, I got so much attention from people: friends, family, coworkers I’d rarely interacted with came up to me and told me how great I look. It was such a nice ego boost. Especially after years of negative self-image and body hatred for being obese. My self-esteem was finally where it should have been all along. I wish it hadn’t taken 100 pounds lost to find that self esteem I should have had, but it definitely helped.

One of my favorite parts of reaching goal weight was the clothes. Sounds silly and shallow, right? Well, for a long time I wore really horrible clothes. I was too big to buy anything cute and 10 years ago, the plus sized options were few and far between. I tried to buy attractive plus sized clothing but in the end it was big jeans and big t-shirts I thought hid my weight problem. Losing 100 pounds opened up a whole new world for me. I was able to buy cute skirts and blouses that accentuated my curves and muscles.  I found that I loved shopping when I used to despise it. It was FUN. I was playing dress-up!

The Frustration Stage

This is the stage where reality sets in. It’s been awhile since reaching goal weight, people are used to the new YOU and as a result, you get less attention. I admit, I missed the attention I got from people because it was such a big ego boost. It always made me feel good when someone complimented my new body. This is where I learned to love my body without outside influence and compliments.

I was also at the weight I was going to be. I no longer got to experience that “oh my god I lost 3 pounds! YAY!” feelings because the scale never changed. (Which is good, don’t get me wrong.)

One of the ways I rewarded myself for losing weight was buying new clothes. I bought a new wardrobe almost monthly as I lost weight. I wasted a lot of money buying new sizes as I lost the weight, but it was still a good feeling being able to go down a size each time you shopped. Once I was at goal weight, I didn’t have to shop often and I kind of missed that reward system I’d set up for myself. It was something to look forward to each month.

The downside to losing a lot of weight: stretch marks and loose skin. Exercise helps that but it doesn’t prevent it or cure it entirely, unfortunately.

Finally, at the end of this stage I accepted that I was at goal weight and didn’t need to lose anymore (even those “last 5 pounds”) and I was faced with the question: What Now?

The Acceptance Stage

This is the stage I’ve been in for years now. It’s the “this is me, I’m starting to forget I was ever that old me” stage. Now, whenever I meet new people they know me as just Lisa. Not “the girl that lost 110 pounds.” Many people in my life now never knew me when I was 250 pounds. I still have a big group of friends that knew the “old me” but when new friends find out I used to be 100 pounds heavier, they are shocked. That’s still weird to me.

The best parts of this stage are the challenges I can do. I train and do things like the Portland Century, the Salem Metric Century, Hood to Coast and even simply going for long hikes. I get to do fun activities that I couldn’t do 100 pounds heavier.

A plus to this stage is that I rarely have to try on clothes. I know my size and I can grab it off the rack and wear it. That’s a really good feeling. And just like in the Honeymoon Stage, I still get to wear cute clothes!

This is the stage I hope to be in for the rest of my life. I’m sure there will be ups and downs but I’m going to do my best to maintain what I’ve lost. As a result, I have to eat less calories than I’d like to (don’t we all??) and I’m working on improving my relationship with food (something I’ll always work on, I suppose).

The real work starts now. Maintenance is sometimes harder than losing the weight. With maintenance, there is no finish line–no goal to work towards. The hard work is in staying on the plan that worked in the first place.

What happened to you after losing the weight?

Do you think there are stages of “after” weight loss? Where are you in that journey? Please share your experiences!