I couldn’t find a photo of the gold dress.

I am not one of those people who can tell you what I weighed at various milestones in my life. I could tell you what I wore. Growing up, my mother delighted in helping me select clothing for special occasions. In rare moments of adolescent appreciativeness, I recall feeling so grateful that she’d go to whatever store I chose after a long workday to ensure I had what I felt I needed. So despite the fact that I’m not that much of a shopper, I love something new for a vacation, party or even important work event. I could tell you about the puffy gold (yes gold) dress my “friend” talked me into for our shared sweet 16 party; friend’s dress was sleek and sexy and though not dress-related we’re no longer friends. There was also the pink number I wore to my college graduation dinner at Emeril’s and the green sundress for the brunch the morning after my rainy wedding. Fashion blunders aside, when I think back I can also pinpoint exactly how I felt in these outfits.

Chances are, most of you can name the articles of clothing you sported when you felt your best. We also have outfits for our less than stellar days. Clothing plays an interesting role when you’re loosing weight.  One client, we’ll call J (for jeans), told me at our initial session that she wanted her “reference jeans” to fit again.  A month into our weekly meetings, I inquired about the jeans and J told me “not there yet”.  A month later I was informed, “we’re making progress”.  Weeks passed and finally J bounded into my office “I can get them on, the reference jeans zip…but they’re not suited for outdoor use yet.” I cracked up knowing exactly what she meant. Fitting and being wearable are not the same thing. Then, not long after the jeans zipped, J made a decision. It had been so many years since she wore them and she just didn’t like the reference jeans any more.
Sometimes we hang onto clothing because there’s sentimental value and other times there’s the hope that we’ll fit into it again. Like J, another client who’s losing weight had a plan as she started fitting into things again. She told me she’d get rid of items once they fit but only after she had the chance to wear them once. Again, it I wasn’t so much the actual fashion of these items but the size reference.  And while we all have skinny jeans or smaller sizes, there are also the fat clothes. I returned to work fairly soon after having each of my boys. One of the many joys of owning your own business is that there is no paid leave. There was no way in hell I was going back into my office in maternity clothes so I bought a few pair of pants in a larger size. I saved those pants and would slip into them long after whenever I was feeling pudgy. The last thing I want is anything close to my body when the bloat monster attacks.
I thought most people were like me and wore larger clothes when they felt blechy and smaller clothes as confidence increased but a session yesterday showed me this wasn’t always the case. This client, “T” said “when the scale is up I wear my tightest clothes to remind myself I want them looser.” I said, “so you torture yourself into eating better?” Wow, I wonder what she thinks about when looking back. Perhaps it’s something like “I remember that outfit, I couldn’t breathe at all in it.” T would probably like J’s reference jeans.
Do you have any reference items of clothing? What are your memories when you recall feeling your most confident or fit? What do you wear when you’re feeling a little larger? And can you believe I wore a gold puffy dress? So sad.

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