My closet can be broken down into three categories. Three metaphorical piles. Maaaaaybe literal piles. I won’t show you the inside of my closet.
The first pile is clothes I can wear now. At my current weight and shape. Which, is about 15 pounds over what I’d like to be and what I would consider to be sustainable. This is where I was at when I got pregnant with my first kid.
The second pile is sequestered into a large plastic multi-gallon tub. It holds clothes I could wear at the minus 15 pounds. A high, yet still single-digit size. Fitted shirts. The ones that come in towards the waist and then flair out slightly because, hello, hips. They don’t fit anymore because “love handles” have made themselves comfortable atop my hips.
The third pile is trophy clothes. When I first started jogging, I unexpectedly lost about 20 pounds. (I didn’t know that I had that much to lose, but I did.) These are clothes in the smallest sizes I’ve ever fit into in my entire adult life. I wore them for a blink of the eye before my body plateaued and I gained back 10 pounds. Because, I started jogging for the challenge of it, not to lose weight. My eating habits remained the same, which included homebaked cookies, brownies and other treats at both lunch and dinner. Plus, the occasional late morning and afternoon snacking on chocolate candies: Hershey’s Kisses, M&M’s, Mini Cadbury Eggs (Easter candies are my weakness).
I refuse to spend much money on clothes that will fall into the first pile. This size, this shape is simply a rest stop. It’s not my final destination, so why spend good money on clothes that in my dreams will only be worn for one more month? Two more months? Six months? Six years? I don’t know. I don’t want to be this size. I don’t like being this size. I wish that my robust second pile of clothes fit, because I like those clothes better. I like the styles and colors better.
I’m willing to spend money on clothes for the second pile—when I finally get back to fitting into these garments. Because, I like that size. I like the version of me that has the time to exercise—to exert myself enough 3-4 times a week to melt off those lunch cookies. I like the version of me who has the time to plan out lunches and dinners. This version isn’t starved. This version is satiated, yet isn’t seeing the scale creep up, pants aren’t getting tighter in the calves and thighs and waist.
I’ve come to accept that the third pile, the collection of trophy clothes will probably never be expanded. That’s okay. That size was a weird blip in my personal history. Maybe a mistake. I was never supposed to be there. My body was so shocked and outraged with my new jogging habits that it threw itself into survival mode. But, when it figured out that it was going to be okay, that it could indeed overcome the running and put back on some of the weight, it did. They’re ribbons and medals proudly displaying that I did it. I’ve been there. I don’t need to go back, because I have my souvenir.
So, I dress in limbo. In clothes I don’t like because I’m not willing to spend money on them. And, it doesn’t really cost that much to look decent. To look kempt. Like you put some thought into your appearance.
Because I never meant to lose weight in the first place, I don’t know how to lose it again. I tell myself over and over again that I don’t want to focus on a number or fitting back into glory outfits. I tell myself over and over again that it’s about going back to exercising 3-4 times a week. That’s my goal. I want to pound pavement. And sweat. And hike snowy trails. But, my day-to-day is different. I have difficulty justifying the time. It’s hard to be motivated to jog instead of just walking. So, I exercise in limbo. In years-old workout pants and shirts with elastane that is being tested by the extra volume and redefined shape.
They say to talk to yourself as if you were your own friend. You’d never be as harsh to a friend as you are to yourself. If I was my friend, I’d say: First, you’re not doing that bad. You’ve had a lot of changes in the last few years. Do what you can. Walking is better than nothing. Cut yourself some slack.