Wardrobe Weary On a Road Well Traveled

My closet is a ghost town: a myriad of tops and faded jeans all neatly lined up and abandoned.  There are very few clothes in my closet that I can actually wear right now, thanks to my stubborn insistence that I not buy another piece of clothing until I drop a size.  I live in a world of elastic waistbands and frumpy, wide-width shoes. Fashion is not my friend.  Fashion is a word I can’t even relate to anymore.

I didn’t realize it until this week, but I have been avoiding my closet.  I’ve made a lot of big changes in my life in a relatively short amount of time:  I gave up sugar, diet soda, stopped thinking of healthy eating as a drag, and put an indefinite HOLD status on my plans to have lap band surgery.  It’s only been 6 weeks. These changes are still in their infancy – and, with over 20 years of yo-yo dieting under my belt, I guess it’s only natural for me to shy away from anything that might derail the motivation train.  My resolve is precious to me.  Who hasn’t given up on a “diet” within the first days and weeks of starting it?  I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve thrown my hands up and reached for the chips.  My resolve is something that must be protected and gently nurtured.  This is why I’ve been avoiding my closet and all those clothes I can’t wear.

My closet makes me feel like a failure – and yet I choose to stubbornly cling to a hundred hangers worth of memories.  I decided to stop avoiding it this week.  Time to grab the bull by the horns.  Just two steps in and I was surrounded by a half dozen different sizes.  All of them were judging me.

As I organized and sorted, my hands flipped past t-shirts and non-tunics galore.  I remembered the times I wore these clothes – times when the number on the scale was not nearly as shameful as it is now.  I weighed a lot less then, but I was never able to let myself be happy with where I was.  I may have been a lot smaller, but I remember I always felt just as huge as the day I hit my highest weight.

Then I saw it: the first leather jacket I ever bought myself.  It’s a size 22 – which is still plus sized, but 10 sizes smaller than where I am today.  I can’t part with it.  Every time I see it, I’m reminded of the first time I saw it in the store.  I had lost 75 pounds, but I was on the small end of a size 24 and wasn’t sure it would fit me.  I’ll never forget the triumphant feel of slipping that jacket on.  Perfect fit.

I stood in my closet, smiling at the memory of it, but the smile faded within just a few seconds.  I know all too well what happened next and my moment of joy was replaced with shame & disappointment.  Just a few months later, I started another downward spiral and I gave up on myself.  Again.

Having never been able to give myself credit for the accomplishment of losing 75 pounds, I was still berating myself for being 295 pounds (my top weight at the time) – even though I hadn’t weighed that much in months.  I call that kind of negative, automatic thinking my “auto-pilot”.  I didn’t even know I was doing it until my attitude hit the skids.  I tried to pick myself up with a pep talk.  “Hey!  I do NOT weigh 295 pounds!  I’m kicking ass!!”  I tried to believe in myself, but I never felt it in my heart.  It made me vulnerable in ways I couldn’t see.

While at my most vulnerable, I was unprepared for the jerk parade that ensued when I started dating again.  It only took a couple douche bags to break me down.  It wasn’t long before I started finding excuse after excuse not to work out.  Fast food was suddenly more convenient.  Ice cream was back in the freezer.  That bitch Little Debbie was back in my life.  It was easier to curl up on the couch with a plate full of pizza rolls and let the world outside go by than it was for me to look at what went wrong and try again.  By the time I stepped on the scale again, I was 299 pounds.  All the way back up to my top weight with 4 pounds extra.  Nice job.

The leather jacket in my closet is a symbol of the good times on the road to weight loss and the pitfalls that await me if I make the same mistakes.  In some ways, it might be better if I just gave it to charity.  I can’t.  Not until I can wear it again.  When I slip that jacket on my shoulders again and I feel in my heart that I am a Hot Mess Bad Ass, then I can let it go.  That’s the way it is with all the clothes in my ghost town closet.  There is peace to be made.  Retribution.

It’s going to be difficult for a while.  Auto-pilot is hard to fight when I have no physical reminder that I’ve lost weight.  An obese person can’t see or feel a loss of 5, 10, or even 20 pounds.  It doesn’t make much of a dent.  Pants don’t feel looser when they have elastic waists.  It makes it a lot harder to stay positive when you’re able to wear the same pair of pants through pounds and pounds of weight loss.  I don’t expect to be able to wear the next size down for at least another 10 or 15 pounds. The scale and the tape measure are my only real tools for measuring my success – at least for a while.

Just a few days ago, I caught myself on auto-pilot again.  I sat down in my chair at work and thought to myself “I can’t believe I weigh 381 pounds…”

Here I go again, right?  I don’t weigh 381 pounds.  I weigh 361 pounds.

That’s right, peeps:  I’ve lost more marbles since my last post!  I’ve lost 20 pounds since December 15th, 2011.  Why do I have such a problem acknowledging my own success?

That’s why I left myself this note on my monitor at work the other day:



Of course, now I’m going to have to put a new note up there:  361.  What a horrible inconvenience to have to keep rewriting these notes, right?  🙂

I was so excited to see 361 blinking back at me from the scale this morning.  I had to weigh myself three times before I would believe it, finally stepping back and muttering “shut UP!”  My groggy hubby, still in bed, rolled over and said “Pretty sure you’re not supposed to tell the scale to shut up, babe…”   Goober.

I’m two pounds away from the 350’s – which means I have two pounds more to lose before one of those little pink jewels go PLINK in the “Pounds Lost” jar.  It looks like I’m going to hit my next mini goal:  359 by Valentine’s day.

What’s my goal after that?  354.  Why?  Because I will no longer be able to say I have to lose over 200 pounds.  🙂  At 354 pounds, I will have 199 pounds more to lose.

Seems insurmountable, doesn’t it?  199 more pounds.  My God.  I’m here to tell ya:  I’m gonna do it.  I will kick every single pound squarely in the ass and send it packing.  Ten pounds at a time, they’re dust.  For me, success is no longer just hitting my goal weight.  Success is changing my life and earning my way.

So here I am:  a 361 pound success.  Proud and grateful.



36 thoughts on “Wardrobe Weary On a Road Well Traveled

  1. I am so proud of you – thank you for sharing.  This rings entirely too close to what I do.  Even this morning I was venting about something instead of acknowledging that through the ups and downs, I’ve managed to keep off 65 lbs.  Time for us to celebrate the little things, instead of looking at the end result.

    On a side note – I’ve gotten my supplies and may just get to work on my marbles today!

    Have a great Sunday Di – *hugs*!

    1. Thank you, Lauren!  I was hoping some of my sister fat fighters out there would relate to this and it looks like I was right.  🙂  And keeping 65 lbs off is no small thing, girl…that’s AMAZING!!!  Can’t wait to see your marbles!  (I didn’t mean that to sound naughty…LOL)

  2. This feels like something I’ve written or will write!  I’ve been on a lifestyle change since Jan. 1st and I’m doing great so far, but I worry….what will be the thing that will knock me off track & cause me to go back to my old ways.  I look at the clothes that I have in my closet, I’ve gotten rid of all my smaller clothes in the past.  So all I have right now are my big girl clothes.  I’ve lost 13 pounds and I can’t see a difference because it feels like in order to feel a difference in plus sizes you have to lose 30 pounds.  I’m clinging to that number on the scale because right now it’s the only way I know how to judge if I’m losing weight.  I worry that I’ll always see the big me in the mirror and I worry that what I lose will never be good enough.  

    I am going to make some ‘motivational marbles’ so that it’s something tangible I can see!  I’m going to follow your blog.  I love it so far!


    1. Heather, I totally agree:  it is about 30 lbs for plus sizes.  I’d like to have an elastic waistband burning party when I hit my goal weight.  LOL.  I hope you come back here and post a pic of your marbles on the Motivational Marbles Project page!!

  3. As I am reading, I’m crying no one every put into words the way I feel about my closet, until you just did, my old favorite jeans judging me. I don’t know if I knew I felt that way until you put it on here, God Bless you Princess!

    1. Gina, thank you so much for such a gracious comment.  I’m sorry you cried, but sometimes tears are a good thing right?  We’re gonna get through this like the bad ass rock stars we are.  😉

  4. You are right, it doesn’t seem to matter what the number is,  big or small, it is so easy to focus on the failure of being at THAT number rather then then success of any number that we have lost.   You are smart for remembering to focus on the success.  Several years ago, when I was on one of my diets that seemed to be working (stress got in the way of that success)  I would change my screen saver weekly to reflect the total number of pounds lost so far.  It felt so good to see that  “25” flashing across the screen that it would renew my strength and keep me at my desk to eat my well balanced lunch, instead of heading off to the nearest drive-thru. 

    I have clothes in my closet that are too small. I try them on regularly – and when I can pull up the zipper, I celebrate. (I don’t wear them yet, they look horrible, but I know that I am that much closer)  I recommend sorting your clothes into size goals and trying on the clothes as you loose the weight. If you are exercising your weight will distribute differently then if you are just dieting. Remember the scale isn’t the only way thing that shows the weight loss. The inches come off a little differently when you are building lean tissue.   You might be surprised that something that fit you when you weighed 300 before might now fit you at 325.  

    Hugs – I am proud of your success

    1. Jackie, I love the screensaver idea!  Part of the organizing process was to sort them by size…we think so alike!!  🙂  Hugs back!

  5. YOU GO GIRL!!!  You are amazing and you are inspirational!!  You know no matter how much your auto-pilot might try to kick in, you will always have a stronger cheering section full of friends!!  ^^ 

  6. You are doing so fantastically fabulous!!!  Keep on keeping on!!!
    You have made life changes and that is the beginning. We can all do it- a diet or a surgery is just a tool  but your life changes are your forever!!
    Regarding your clothes. I have bad news for you. Go through your entire wardrobe and select some basics and some favorites and get rid of the rest. Find somebody who is losing but is larger than you. Those clothes will be gifts like the ones I have handed over to others. For you? You will never wear them. You might spend a lot of time trying on the achievement sizes but your body will be different when you wear a 24 again. I can’t even wear my favorite brand right now-my loss is at 75 pounds and I am only halfway there. (I was 325 and weighed in under 250 this month). I don’t own a scale but my clothes check me every day!
    Keep it up and enjoy all those new clothes – even if it is a $5 Hanes t shirt!!!!

    1. Hi Debbie!  Oh, I did that whole selection thing years ago…these are truly the ones I can’t part with.  I don’t really care if they look good or not when I button the buttons or zip the zippers…I just want them around until I’ve exorcised the demon.  🙂

      Congratulations on your amazing weight loss success!  Go, girl!!!

  7. Girl, you ARE a success!  I just wanna give you a big ‘ole hug.  Don’t you LOVE that ‘shut up’ feeling when you on the scale just because and a couple more pounds just fell off. And I know it can be slightly discouraging when you are at a size where it takes several 10’s of lbs. to make you require new clothes.  But if you keep things up like this then all too soon you will HAVE to buy new clothes at a much faster rate.  So get ready for that =) 
    You’re struggle brings tears to my eyes…and SO MANY of us can relate so very closely (if not identically) to the pain and frustration.  But now you have brought out your struggle & resolve for us all to see.  And we are here to help you succeed and succeed with you.  And not only do you have a support & cheer team behind you…but you have a whole group of us ready and willing to help you SHOP for new clothes!!!
    So let’s get on with this, Hot Mess Bad Ass.  Bring it.  

    1. ZombieMom, you make me smile!  🙂  Thank you so much for always being so supportive and wonderful.  I can’t wait to go shopping!

  8. You go girl!!! It takes a REAL women to tell your true story…I know…I have been there…I KNOW exactly how you feel..I had gastric bypass in 2009 and have only lost 88 lbs. and have gained 20 of it back…so i know all about failure!!!! I have been reading your post and tears come to my eyes and say I CAN DO THIS AGAIN just like you are doing…I have been really praying and seeking GOD for the past 2 weeks and starting tomorrow going back to the gym..I joined it again last week and I AM going to do this… THIS TIME..I have bout 60 lbs or so I am going to lose. So hang in there and know that you have people looking up to you and rooting you on and I’m sure I’m going to need it too.. 🙂 I look at your blog everyday and cant wait till i set down every night and read what you have to motivate me. So keep up the good work, I’m here with ya….Best Wishes!!!

    1. Thanks, T!  Sweetie, you gained 20 pounds back…not all 88…I wouldn’t call that a failure exactly.  Sure, you need to reverse your direction, but I know you can do it.  Don’t worry about that 20…or even the 60…just do everything you can TODAY to be healthy.  Then do it tomorrow.  Science and nature don’t lie, girl…if you do the work, you’ll get the reward.  Just think:  when you see that first pound drop off the scale, you will KNOW in your heart that you’ve changed your direction and are going the right way.  That’ll be the biggest pound you’ve lost, right?  🙂  I know you can do it!

      1. Thanks, for responding. You hang in there tooo and we’ll cheer each other on…You go girl!!!

  9. REading your blog motivates me more than you will ever know. I am so proud of you and you will complete each goal with outstanding success. I know its not easy- but with all our strentgh the zipper is no longer stuck on our fat suit after all the years of tugging and straining to get that stupid little piece of fabric out of the zipper we have done it- and slowly it is starting to unzip. One day the healthy us will unveil and people will not recognize us we will use that to our advantage and be so overjoyed when people we haven’t seen for years don’t remember you and say wow you look great.

    Your right heavier people don’t see alot on themselves but others can tell. Hold on to that jacket and the day you put it on and it fits I want a picture. You will look and feel amazing just knowing that it might be the demon of memories you will know you have accomplished something so much more to you than what other people take advantage of everyday..

    Continue the great progress- you are an inspiration to many and you keep me going…

  10. I don’t think anything mocks an overweight person more than their own closet. It seems as if we fight this battle all of our lives but at different sizes. As your story goes, you’ve been aware/fighting image issues since your were ten. Even though they were inflicted by someone else, that person affected your view of yourself for the rest of your life. Whether by ourselves or another, it absolutely sucks to deal with. I wish I could go back to my size 16/18 younger self and slap some sense into my brain about my size. “Hey, dummy! You’re not fat!!” I would love to be one of those people who never, and I mean never worry about weight. You know who I’m talking about. Those women who laugh at supper time and talk about how they haven’t eaten all day because they forgot… forgot to eat??!! How the crap do you forget to eat??? Anyway, I digress. I am who I am and it’s no one’s fault but my own that I have allowed myself to be where I am today. And that’s what it boils down to. I applaud you for making up your mind to be a hot mess bad ass. I think it’s time I discovered my bad ass self as well. 🙂 Besides, I’d really like to get into the other 75% of my wardrobe… Going to get the stuff to make my Motivational Marbles today. Will post a pic of them later!! Rock on, Soul Sista!! 

    1. Christy, I can totally relate to everything you had to say.  🙂  Don’t hate me but I actually did forget to eat once…but I’ll tell you what:  it made me have an out of body experience like I didn’t even know who the hell I was.  LOL   I can’t wait to see those marbles!

  11. You are an inspiration! I am 23 and trying to get “back on the wagon” of eating healthy and working out. In my group of friends i have always been the tall (5’11), big boned, heavy, PALE, low self-esteemed girl. Looking at my skinny beautiful perfect friends, i was always frustrated because i could never be like them. It doesn’t help i have 2 perfect, athletic, SKINNY, brothers. My shoes were very large to fill (one brother, 6’9 had a full ride playing basketball to college). I was not athletically inclined, my grades were always low, and i was kind of an arts nerd. I find comfort in food, and being in the kitchen. Silly me, i went into the business of beauty, and became a cosmetologist, hahaha. I have finally found some confidence and started back to school. Come to find out, I’m not an idiot!! So, now its time to stop “dieting” and making excuses, and confront my weight head on! Your blog has given me the extra motivation to start kicking ass! I can relate to your closet feelings..I have a little black dress i promised myself i would fit into in my closet. Every time I look at it, i feel like a failure…NOT ANYMORE! Time to make this dress my bitch! I don’t remember when I was able to go into a store, and be happy to shop. It is something I dread. I am always drug to the mall with my friend who is a model (yeah, its disgusting) and forced to look at the clothes i can never wear. I look forward to the day when I can walk into a store, try on a top, look into the mirror, and be happy. You, my love, have given me the hope and motivation to do it! Pitch the clothes you aren’t fitting into! There is no going back! YOU CAN DO THIS! Keep the leather jacket, and think how awesome you are going to look in it, because soon enough, you’ll be wearing it. Thank you so much. I don’t think you understand how browsing you blog has impacted me. KEEP KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES GIRL!!!

  12. You are the wind beneath my wings, girl…and I’m so happy for you KICKING ASS!!!

  13. I love this post! And the line “That bitch Little Debbie was back in my life” made me laugh so hard, I can relate! Best of luck to you, your attitude is awesome! (Love the quote pic at the end, btw)

  14. I just found your blog a couple of weeks ago and am so inspired by your attitude and resolve. You’re doing great! I just wanted to mention that I had similar issues with my closet because it was packed full of clothes in five different sizes. I recently went through and pulled out everything that is too small and basically created a store for myself in my spare bedroom. Everything is organized by size so when I lose a size I can literally go “shop” my own stuff! Hopefully this will encourage me to not shop in the real stores so I can save my money for when I hit my goal weight! I wish you the best of luck and thanks for sharing your journey!

    1. Brandi, thank you so much for your post & your support.  🙂  I love your idea of creating a store!  I may do that….I have an extra bedroom and a loft upstairs that isn’t turned into a game room yet (nor will we be able to do that for quite some time…costs money!)

  15. I just started reading your blog. I am so glad that I found you!!! I have at least 50 lbs to lose. I say 50 because that is the minimum amount to lose. I have my motivation jars but I am still debating on items to use and what increments. I am hoping this is the trick to helping me lose. My weight gain started approximately 20 yrs ago when I became pregnant with my oldest daughter. I gained 60 lbs during that pregnancy and only lost 20 lbs. Then 2 yrs later I got pregnant again and gained another 60 lbs and only lost 20 lbs. Then I didn’t watch what I ate and gained another 16lbs. I have lost 26 lbs from my highest weight but I just can’t seem to budge that scale. I have high blood pressure and pre-diabetes but doc says if I could lose this weight these would go away. I have been doing Zumba twice a week for 5 weeks now and it seems to be helping a little. Plus I have been doing a little cardio 6 days a week at home.
    You were talking about your closet. Sorry to say but I don’t have that problem we has a total house fire 4 yrs ago and we lost everything. I had to start over with my closet. My problem is I hate to go clothes shopping. So I have the bare minimum in my closet. It seems that nothing fits right. If I do go shopping I try to do it alone so that when I am in tears in the dressing room no one else sees them. My husband and kids just don’t undertsand.
    Sorry to ramble….just wanted to let you know that you have another follower!!

    1. Hi Ruchelle –  Thank you so much for sharing a little of your story with us.  I’m so sorry to hear about the house fire…what a terrible thing to go through.  

      There are times when I can’t get the scale to budge and I have to force myself to have faith in the science of it all, really.  I go back to basics, food-wise, and I make sure I work out every other day.  I increase my water intake.  Sometimes it takes a week or so, but I just keep my eye on the ball and eventually the scale budges.  It has to.  Science says so…so just have faith, girl.  You can do it!

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