Get the Bigger Size, Damn it
Take a second and think about your closets, your drawers, and if you're a college student, your Rubbermaid underbed storage containers. Do you have any outfits you keep for when you finally reach your "goal weight?" Do you have jeans that you know are too small, but you keep anyway for motivation to lose weight? Do you ever think, "If I allow myself to buy the bigger size, it'll be a free-for-all, I'll go crazy, and gain weight."
You're definitely not alone if you said yes to any of these statements. Until recently, these were exactly my thoughts. After (very unofficially via text) surveying friends and family, I got a lot of similar feedback making me think this is more common than I thought.
When I found out I was Plus Sized Model Range
I wanted to write about this topic because ever since late high school, I've had beef with sizes, numbers, and what kinds of clothes fit me. One day I stumbled upon the pant size of a well-known plus-sized model. I was so upset because I was the same size. Even though I felt healthy, I felt comfortable in my own skin (literal sense), and I was eating and moving in ways my body enjoyed, I freaked out and immediately wanted to change my body.
If you've seen any of my recent posts, you know I've been diving head strong into intuitive eating, anti-diet culture, and health at any size. I now know we are living in a fat-phobic society, and your size does not have anything to do with how healthy you are. As I was listening to an episode of the Health Psych podcast, Christy Harrison stated:
"Clothes should fit you, not vice versa."
So simple, yet so profound right? The first thing that came to my mind were these pair of peach colored shorts I've been storing in my dresser since mid college for the day my body "changes back to how it was." I am now almost 24 mind you. I thought of that new business professional dress I recently tried on that was pretty snug, yet I proceeded to buy anyway as if it was going to restrain me from gaining weight from then on. I thought of the black jeans I've had for years that are getting tight around my butt. Every time I wear them I either feel like I should change my body, or I feel like a failure for not being able to fit into something that once fit so perfectly.
We change SO much from high school. Why don't we allow our bodies to do the same? If you remind yourself of all the MySpace pictures you posted, the things you wore (shorts with messages on the butt like "Soccer Girl" lol), or the trends you followed in high school you'll probably cringe. Yet, when it comes to our size back then, we would trade places instantly.
Unfortunately, we tend to want to be the size we were when we were in high school becasue our society has glorified the pre-pubescent body-type. Think about it. The age group of women who tend to have thigh gaps and low body fat are women before they hit adolescence. Before it is crucial for them to gain body fat in order to get their period. Before their body prepares itself to have children (even if that's not anywhere in their near future). Child bearing hips is not a joke, ladies!! We may reach our final height in our teens, but our bodies continue to develop into our twenties. As a teenager, we wouldn't expect to fit in our clothes when we were 10, so why do we do the same thing now?
"Buying the Next Size Will allow me To get fat"
The next thing I thought was, sure okay I'll buy the next size up, but that will totally give me the fast pass to becoming huge. I instantly thought of the horrific phrase "fat pants." You know, those stretchy sweat pants you wear when you sit on your couch binge-watching movies as you finish off cartons of ice cream. First of all, even if it does, why was I phobic of becoming fat (helllo diet culture)? Secondly, that's not necessarily true. By being in clothes that fit my body and feel good on, regardless of the number, will only help me feel more myself and more confident. I won't constantly be uncomfortable, afraid to raise my arms in fear of ripping my shirt, always pulling my jeans up over my butt, or touching my body where my skin is being squeezed. Wearing clothes that fit your body doesn't mean you'll eat until you fill them. That's simply a fear tactic diet culture has gladly bestowed upon us.
Why Size LITRALLY Means Nothing. yes litrally
Before you skip over this section because you think I'm going to say something airy fairy like the size of your heart is more important than the size of your jeans, wait! Okay I obv think that's true, but I have more concrete evidence to back my point.
I grabbed some of my favorite pieces of clothing and compared them and this is what I came up with. For Forever 21, I'm pretty much off the charts, and am not sure if I even fit there anymore. I am one size at American Eagle (love their stretchy jeans and shorts), a polar opposite size at Gap, and then completely different in Nike apparel. Now that I think about it, I even vary within the Nike brand itself depending on the clothes. In one store in my local mall I fit into plus-sized, and this other store I am on the lower end of their sizes. I don't even fall into a true size! Why was I getting so upset when I didn't fit into one I "liked?" Whether I was the small size at one store, or the large size at the other, I am still the same body size at the end of the day. This means I was placing my happiness on a tag. Actually pretty sad when you think of it that way.
I'll Keep this for When I lose weight/this will inspire me to lose weight
This is a big one. I had this pair of jeans I absolutely ADORED in college. Well hi, my body changed, and I don't fit into them. I literally haven't in at least 2 years. Well, they were still in my drawer until recently, and I realized I was keeping them for when I "lost the weight I gained in college." As if the weight I gained was bad, or not necessary to my body.
I also Googled this topic, and found a message board where someone asked (I won't name it but it was a weight loss centered community) if this community has had any luck buying smaller clothes to motivate them to lose weight. I thought the replies were astounding in many ways. Lots of people said they have tried in the past, but it never worked. Many people actually admitted that it made the siuation worse because not only did they never get to wear the smaller clothes they bought, but they felt bad about themselves for never reaching their "goal" staring them back at their closet every day.
I was happy people were being honest because their experiences are the more common results when people keep smaller clothes for motivation. Everyone I spoke with, including myself, said that they kept their small clothes, yet it never actually changed their body size. In most cases, it actually made them feel worse because they felt like a failure for not ever fitting into them.
Okay now take a second to think of the outfits you feel the sexiest in. The ones that fit your body the way you want them to fit (I'm trying to stay away from saying "that aren't tight" because I have an outfit I love that fits me how I want it to, and well it's pretty dang tight. I also have huge sweat pants I really don't like wearing because they don't fit me well either). Chances are, you're not uncomfortable or self-conscious in it, and you're probably more confident on nights you wear them. You probably wear them regardless of the number or the letter on the tag, but because you feel good in them.
Yeah. So let's do more of that.
Other than the scale, clothing is the next thing in line that gives our body size a quantitative number, which is why it can bring such feelings of meh and blehh (as does the scale). Instead of feeling self-conscious in your clothes that don't fit, donate your "small" clothes. Sell them to a local consignment shop. Give them to someone as hand-me-downs. Buy clothes that fit you now. This will be one more step in the direction of accepting your body exactly the way you are..now.