Don’t Be Afraid to Dress Your Bigger Body

My body has shifted size and shape more than I care to admit. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to maintain a weight/size for more than a 6 month period – whereas my husband has been the same size/weight for most of the past couple of decades! In the past, I had struggled with “letting go” of clothing. If it became too small, I’d keep it for “when I lose the weight” and if it got too big, I’d keep it for “when I put the weight back on”.

This is a horrible way to live – constantly in the past or future.

The truth is, if clothing is no longer serving you, get rid of it! Unfortunately, this is a hard pill to swallow – myself included! I am writing this 3 days before Remembrance Day and, thankfully, I’m not on parade, but I’ll still be in my dress uniform. Some of my kit I haven’t had to wear since Basic Training – which, at the time of fitting, I was just a few months out of my last Figure competition. Needless to say, that doesn’t fit me anymore! Over the past year and a half, I’ve been accumulating kit, slowly going up in size (we get points to spend on mess kit each year) so I now have a (mostly) fitting uniform! Though, admittedly, I have to borrow one of my husband’s white dress shirts as mine simply don’t fit! I have since updated my measurements on the site we order the clothing from and I’ve ordered larger items, but I doubt they’ll get here in time for Remembrance Day.

Honestly? Taking my measurements was a bit of an eye-opener. I honestly didn’t think I was *that* big, but these are the biggest my measurements have been in a very long time. The weird thing is that I didn’t have the spiraling that would have happened in the past – even when I was much smaller! THAT is how I know I’m recovering from my eating disorders/ diet culture beliefs; I didn’t feel disgusted or have the immediate reaction of “needing” to go to the gym or actively dieting.

Cause, you know what? I’ve already started taking the steps to a healthier lifestyle – yes, I’ve just been struggling recently with it being Halloween and all the candy floating around the office, but that’s to be expected! Life happens! And this time of year – between Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas and New Year so close, eating more food and richer/sweeter food than you might normally, is to be expected. I am aware of this, I expect this, so I’m mentally prepared for some body-backlash!

You can’t eat like shit and not expect to have some sort of “negative effect” from it!

I’m a firm believer that you should dress for the body you have. If you’ve gained weight, buy bigger clothes! Now I’m not saying to get a whole new wardrobe – that’s not realistic for most people! But go to consignment stores or second hand stores and get staples that can be worn multiple different ways; dressed up or down depending on accessories.

The truth is, when you like how you look, you are happier. I don’t know a single person who has ill-fitting clothing who can say “I love how I look!”. Clothing that doesn’t fit well just screams “I’ve put on weight and don’t care enough to dress better”. You may argue that you’re going to diet and lose the weight, so why put out (any) money to buy something bigger when you’ll fit in your clothing better in a month.

But what if you don’t? What if you keep gaining weight – or not, and you just stay at the bigger size – then what? It is less damaging to just get a new pair of jeans or pants when your old clothes don’t fit than it is to wait. Not only can it be damaging emotionally, but also physically. Ill-fitting clothing can cause binding and unnecessary pressure on internal organs, it can cause skin problems, mobility problems, and simply uncomfortable.

I know how you look shouldn’t affect how you feel about yourself, but let’s face it, for most of us, it does! And I may not love how my body looks right now, but I accept my body in this current state. Yes, I’m changing how and what I eat as I struggle to find that happy place where I enjoy what I eat without being too high in nutritional content, and how I work out. I’m keeping up yoga – as that’s my happy place! – but I’m doing more at the gym… or re-establishing my routine. Yes, come the new year, I’ll be kicking it up a couple notches as my husband will be away for most of 2020 doing training, so I won’t have any excuse not to go to the gym, but I’m not going to wait until then to do it! For the next 2 months, I will focus on my diet and getting that sweet-spot quantity and variety, and getting the gym habit re-established.

Will I lose weight? Probably! Will I go down in size? Probably! Will that matter? As long as I FEEL better, NO!!!! There is SO many more important things in life than to worry about your weight. Health, YES! But losing weight should not be a factor!

Go to yoga to get more flexibility and that body awareness and settles your mind. Go to the gym and lift weights (or resistance exercise) to get stronger. Go for a run or bike ride or hike to improve your heart health. Don’t exercise to losing weight. Don’t believe you’ll be happier if you lose weight. Don’t go on a diet because it says you’ll “lose weight fast!” – that just means you’ll rebound fast and hard. Don’t cut out certain food groups because it’s a “fad”. Don’t stop eating pasta or bread because “gluten is bad for you” – only stop eating it is there’s a medical reason to stop eating it like celiac’s disease. Don’t go “no/low carb” because someone says carbs make you fat – you NEED carbs for energy and healthy brain function! Don’t go low-fat because you think fat makes you fat – ANY surplus of ANY macronutrient will be stored as fat! I went Vegan not because I’m cutting out protein, but because eating previously living flesh/fluid disgusts me!

Living a life you love and are excited for should be your goal – and I doubt it would include micro-managing every aspect of your life and depriving yourself things you enjoy! I doubt it would include stepping on the scale several times a day and obsessing about your food, or mentally calculating how much extra time you’re going to have to spend on the treadmill to “work it off”.

Yes, I get it! With media, social media, and perceived societal pressures, we’re prone to feel that we have to look and act and be seen a certain way. Notice how I say “PERCEIVED” societal pressures – and this seems to go up when women bare children and “bouncing back” to their pre-baby bodies.

Photo by @phenrellphotography

No! Just stop this! It is complete madness to believe this! Your body is in constantly changing and is influenced by external factors that people have no idea about. There can be medical issues, psychological issues, abusive relationships, family hardships… things that you don’t discuss with others because it’s NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS! Yes, I share a lot on here and on social media because, yes, people do need to speak up to show others that their mountain can be overcome – but just because I share my struggles doesn’t mean you have to or should! And I can tell you, I still don’t share everything! And this is because some of the details aren’t important.

The best thing you can do is to embrace your body at every stage you’re going through. My current body is my recovery body. 30+ years of abuse compressed into 2 years of recovery. I’m currently working on my “take back my heath” body because, right now, my health is the most important thing to me – physically and emotionally! When will my “take back” end? I have no idea because it’s an ongoing project! It will change and evolve – I may get sick or injured and will have to stop in order to recover from that.

The biggest thing I do now is not fear my bigger body – because, no matter what it looks like, the human body is an amazing machine and should be celebrated and respected! And that’s the problem a lot of people forget – they see their larger body and feel that something is wrong with it. There’s so much emphasis on “skinny” that anything but is viewed as wrong. Size has zero indication of health. Yes, it may indicate possible health factors, but I know some obese people who have a better heart rate and blood work than me. Fatness and thinness have nothing to do with healthiness.

And don’t be afraid of internet trolls – they are out there body shaming everyone – fat people, skinny people, skin colors, hair, clothing, facial features, and heaven forbid there’s something visibly unique about you or you have a “handicap”. I have been body shamed way more when I was skinny and fit than being fat. People on both ends of the spectrum suffer in different ways, but there is the judgement, criticism, and shaming present. If you are subject to an internet troll, forgive them and sincerely hope that they deal with the shit in their life that is causing them to lash out. It is guaranteed that their negative comments has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Something that you’re doing is causing them to be uncomfortable (heaven forbid a fat girl love herself!) because, when it comes around to it, THEY DON’T CARE! They may veil their nasty remarks as “concern” but they don’t care. That is a diversionary tactic for them to avoid dealing with their own problems. Most people are too self-centered to give two thoughts about someone else’s life – which is why strangers can be cruel; they just say what immediately crosses their minds because I can guarantee that if it was someone they actually knew and cared about, they wouldn’t be so tactless.

So, you know what? Don’t give power to people who don’t love themselves on whether or not you love yourself. The biggest act of defiance you can make is to love and accept your body (emphasis on accept) and dress it how it makes you happy – ignoring the size of the clothes!

A clothing size doesn’t define you, your weight doesn’t define you, your measurements don’t define you. What defines you is how you act, what you say, and your beliefs/morals/values.

Everything else, don’t worry about!

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