18 April 2012

Healthy Style: Size Matters, OR How I'm Finding Me

I originally posted this on my Weight Watchers blog. It seems important, and worth sharing outside of a world that's become pretty important to me - with the rest of you. It's a significant discussion for all sorts of reasons - for me, and way beyond my own personal journey. So I'm sharing it here, slightly edited from the WW version, which has all sorts of WW acronymns. Seriously, the plan is almost as bad as the federal government. I know. I do both.

I also fully recognize the irony - though we can talk later about whether it really is irony - about me posting both a Dining in Style and a Health Style within hours of one another. Discuss.

A Weight Watchers Online friend posted an informal poll on her blog about whether the scale number or the clothing number are more important to you in your "weight loss journey." I'll start by saying I'm grateful she asked the question.

It got me thinking after I read it - and apparently got a lot of others thinking, too. There was a whole lot of discussion, maybe even some hurt feelings, as is wont to happen in online forums, and, around it all, a lot of thought. And then I promptly forgot it in the craziness of yesterday.

Then I tried on some clothes in the process of getting my post-gym bag ready for this morning. Every night before a workout, I put my bag together (less excuses, and less opportunity for The Beans to "catch" me before I leave the house). I couldn't figure out what to wear today, so I tried on a few clothes I'd pulled out of the pre-Bean-No.-2 box in the basement, hoping. They've been sitting in our room, basically collecting dust, for weeks.

This morning I'm wearing a pair of size 12 KORS by Michael Kors trousers I last wore in July of 2009. I know this because the drycleaning tag still on said pants said 7/13/2009. I'd bought them when I'd lost weight post-Bean No. 1.

These pants not only fit, but are a little loose.

I tried on others from the basement last night, and found some fit, some didn't. Some will have to go in the "donate" pile, either because I should have tried them on 2 weeks ago, apparently (a different pair of size 12s looks like they're hanging off of me), or because my shape's changed enough, weight aside, that they just won't flatter my body any longer.

All in all, it was an inspiring 15 minutes of trying on clothes and parading out to the living room to show H, where he sometimes noticed, sometimes didn't. "Big Bang Theory" was on, you know.

And it got me thinking about my online friend's question again.

Clearly, the label number can't mean that much - 2 pair of pants with the same number fit me so differently. And I know that the size 8 dress of my mom's (from her college days) that I wish I still had (it had the coolest print and brass buttons) would never, ever, ever fit me again. It last fit me in early high school. Even though, at this point, a 2012 size 8 feels attainable.

But I'm not sure it should.

I also love that number dropping on the scale. I've been peeking this week, and can't wait for tomorrow morning, when I do my official once-weekly weigh-in. I'm sure I'll feel differently in a week that isn't moving as quickly, but I love that number going down.

I also love the numbers on the tape measure going down as I take my own hip, waist, bust, thigh, and arm measurements weekly. When I easily pull it tighter than I know it was last week, then enter said number in the online tracker, and the graph line drops, I love that visual. (Seriously, WW online has the best graph tools. I love graphs. Geek.) Happy dances all around.

But what I love most, I think I've figured out, is:

I feel better.

I feel healthier.

I look better.

It hit me this weekend, and it hit me again yesterday morning as I worked out with TrainerJen. She had me on that bouncy step platform thingy, and I was facing the mirror. I was watching myself, watching my form as I stepped up and down, and watching how my body was moving.

2 weeks ago, even, I would have angled myself away from the mirror so I didn't have to watch me as I worked out.

I'm not talking about vanity, here, though that's certainly at play. I must've turned myself every which way to check me out in the office bathroom 20 times yesterday. What I'm talking about is that I'm not afraid to see me right now. I feel better, so I like me better. It is, I'm sure, deeper than that, even, and all tied up with all sorts of self-type issues.

This morning, in my inadvertent private yoga class, we were working on some areas that I need to work. It wasn't working. Something was keeping me from pushing up into up dog. I couldn't do it. TrainerJen commented that there's something emotional at play, some change in my life that I'm not able to release yet. She had me pause and do lion breaths. They're fun. And productive. I laughed when we were done. And then I started to tear up.

I'm fairly sure it's the old me leaking away, in lots of ways.

If you're not already following me on Twitter, please do. @DCCeline. If you want to see where I am on my get-healthy goals, look for #healthyme on Twitter and healthyme or healthy style on this blog. If you happen to be a fellow Weight Watchers devotee, I'm also over there, blogging about getting healthy again.


J.Jehanne said...

I love this post and my thoughts are as follows. I dont care about the size of clothes because its really just a number that designers choose. Almost every store/designer/brand uses a different fit model. I have a size 4 waist and size 8-12 legs. I have some skirts that are from Michael Kors and they are a 4 and some from Zara that are a 10. For me its all about how I feel and honestly I feel pretty darn good. I can do more crunches/squats then I have ever been able to do in my life. I truly think that its all about HOW YOU feel and not what the scale or the numbers say. Of course you want to be healthy but as long as you are healthy what does it matter. I have worked with models my whole life and some of them are a 2 and still hate themselves and dont feel healthy and frankly couldnt do more than 2 pushups. I love this post and Im glad you shared it!!!!


Alison (Wardrobe Oxygen) said...

I have always weighed more than my friends. I don't know if I have heavy bones or what, but when I was a size 4 I was still at least 15 pounds heavier than my fellow size-4 friends, most who were taller than I. Because of that, I focus more on the size on the tag. However, as you stated, a size 12 now isn't the same as a size 12 a decade prior.

Over time, I have learned to know my body, and I base my opinion more on the size of my chin, my belly, how my feet fit in my shoes, how I fill out my bra, the look of my profile. I have been a 4, I have been an 18, and I know when it is at a comfortable weight, a strong weight, a healthy weight. It's hard, for society sees success in numbers - numbers on the scale, the tape measure, the tag in the dress. One doesn't want to hear how your feet no longer hurt or that you dropped your cholesterol, they want to hear a "success story" which always goes back to how you fit into a dress.

I see you as being terribly successful - I saw you this weekend and the change from the last time I saw you a year prior was dramatic and inspiring. You feel good, you feel strong, you look strong and healthy, and that is a true success story for me!

DC Celine said...

Thanks, Jen, for your comments - I think it's oft-discussed, but needs to keep being discussed. And it's so personal for everyone. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and a little bit of your story, too!

DC Celine said...

Alison, I feel the same way - even in HS, my frame felt different. H and I discuss this piece often, and I'm not sure I'll know that there is an answer except that I need to know me...which I know you do - you know you. That's clear. And congratulations on it.

Deb said...

As someone who has struggled with weight my entire life, I thought your post was insightful and thought provoking.

I think that clothing size is so different depending on manufacturer and type that it's not reliable. I wear a much smaller top than I do bottoms. My waist is much smaller than my hips and I have to alter almost all of my pants. I think how you feel is what matters. Do you feel good about yourself? Do you feel healthy? Are you reaching your personal goals? I'm a WW member too and we always discuss non scale victories at our meetings. To me, reaching for those platforms are just as important as pounds or sizes.

Congrats on your accomplishments!!

DC Celine said...

Deb, I knew a fellow WW was out there somewhere! Thanks for your kind (and true) comments - the "finding me" part is really the most difficult - allowing yourself to know when you do feel good, healthy, and happy. We're not always good at that, are we?

Anonymous said...

Definitely the number on the scale. If I am 'that number,' I don't care what the tag says.

Carrie said...

Definitely what the scale says - if it says 'that number,' who cares what the tag says?

DC Celine said...

Carrie/Anonymous - not sure if it was intentional, but the "I am that number" is interesting. There is a way we define ourselves by the number on the scale, isn't there?

Emily Kate - Capital Style said...

This is such a great post! I'm going to share it with my facebook/twitter readers!I think both scale numbers AND clothes tags can be misleading, frustrating and arbitrary. We all have different shapes, different bone and muscle densities. Like Alison (Wardrobe Oxygen) said, two people can wear the same size and weigh differently. Likewise, two people can weigh the same on a scale and wear different size clothing. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it is about feeling good and being healthy - the numbers (tags or scale) will follow.

Mocha Mango said...

Wow, I had a chance to read your post. I also agree for me at this point, even if I was a size 18 but my clothes fit me well, I was healthy, and my stomach wasn't hanging over my belt buckle (smile) I would be happy. For most of my life, until recently, I was between a size 4-8. I had my child now I am a 9/10. At first I hyper ventilated because of the tag size! I did! But now, my goal is health and a toned body. So if in my journey I stay a 9/10, but I am in shape and look nice in my clothes, SO BE IT!

Mocha Mango said...

Wow, I had a chance to read your post. I also agree for me at this point, even if I was a size 18 but my clothes fit me well, I was healthy, and my stomach wasn't hanging over my belt buckle (smile) I would be happy. For most of my life, until recently, I was between a size 4-8. I had my child now I am a 9/10. At first I hyper ventilated because of the tag size! I did! But now, my goal is health and a toned body. So if in my journey I stay a 9/10, but I am in shape and look nice in my clothes, SO BE IT!

DC Celine said...

Emily Kate - thank you for sharing with your readers! I hope they come join the conversation! And you're so right - sizing works so differently for everyone - and yet is so definitive in lots of ways.

Mocha Mango - that childbirth thing changes our perspective on a lot of things - including how we use, view, and accept our bodies. Healthy - which has all sorts of it's own definitions - is absolutely where it's at!

Thank you both for commenting!

Curvy CEO said...

You are raising a ton of issues for me. I am at the beginning of yet another "health" journey. I refuse to think of this in terms of weight because it really is about getting myself healthy and not about losing weight...in fact I am actually a little reluctant to lose weight - I love my current wardrobe! As you can guess from my blog I am already very stylish and more importantly I have struggled to learn how to love myself in this body. It was a hard won battle - so in some ways this "healthy" journey feels a little bit like a betrayal of the person I am today. Everyone else hurts this person, am I turning my back on her, too? I am trying to convince myself that in fact I am doing an act of love and service to myself by taking care of her body. /third person rant :)

Mocha Mango said...

@Curvy CEO- I agree with you! The one thing I hate about gaining or losing, is the cute clothes you can't wear (well) anymore! I am still gung ho about my own personal weightloss, however, some of my pieces will be missed :(