SAY GOODBYE NOW!
My clothes closet is hidden deep within the house. It’s a very small interior room, the one where we’d hide if a tornado came our way. I’m glad to have it, but for most of the time we’ve lived in this house, that closet has not been a place I enjoyed visiting. The not-so-secret evidence of obesity was hidden there – 10 sizes of clothing (from 24 on down) in “slimming” styles and colors – souvenirs of my many trips up and down the scale.
But unless you’re expecting a tornado, the closet is a lousy place to live. Let’s open the door, let the light shine in, and ask ourselves the $64 million dollar question: WHY ARE WE HANGING ON TO ALL THIS STUFF? Let’s grab a jumbo trash bag and get busy working on a Goodwill donation or a batch of goodies for the local consignment store. What, do I hear groaning?
The short fat girl who dwells inside me whines, “But we might need them again someday!”
LET ‘EM GO!
The other day, I cleaned out my clothes closet. I had done that before, about 6 months into my WLS journey, with great difficulty. I was fond of some of those outfits even though they could work as window drapery as well as clothing. I had spent a lot of money on my work wardrobe, to say nothing of the shoes. I feared that the instant those clothes were gone, I’d gain 50 or 75 or 100 pounds and need them all again. I had little faith that my post-op weight loss would be any more lasting than my weight loss had been in previous dieting attempts. Eventually I acquired enough new-to-me, smaller-size clothing that the closet was about to explode, so I made myself cull out the big stuff and haul it off to the Goodwill Store. Getting rid of it turned out to be a relief, and then of course I had the fun of filling up the closet with more clothes in smaller sizes. Back to the Goodwill Store I went...again and again.
In the 8 years following my WLS, I’ve dealt with some unexpected medical problems that led to band removal and a sleeve revision. While all that went on (and on, and on), I regained 30-35 pounds, and sizes 12 and 14 appeared in my closet again, followed all too closely by a few size 16’s. Eventually I lost that weight regain. When seasons changed and I hunted for something warm or cool to wear, I was delighted to find that most of that clothing was too big. I had nothing to wear!
That’s what I call a First World problem, something foolish to complain about when so many Third World people have little or no food, clothing or shelter. But…there’s no denying that morbid obesity is also serious problem, so I can’t bring myself to downplay my weight loss success. The weird part of this is that saying goodbye to the big stuff wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
You’d think that weeding out mountains of Goodwill donations would be a festive occasion, but my inner fat girl begged, “OK, get rid of the 14’s if you must, but please, please keep the 12’s! You never know!”
I’m happy to report that I managed to ignore her. In the past 4 years I’ve waved goodbye to the big sizes and welcomed back the small sizes. No, we never know for sure what’s going to happen in the future, what unexpected event will drive our weight back up or our weight management commitment back down. But we don’t need to see constant reminders of past failure, and we shouldn’t give space in our closets or our minds to the negative stuff that weighs us down and slows our forward footsteps.
So, whoever you are, whatever surgical procedure you had or will have, whatever your weight or clothing size is today, I challenge you to clean out your closet. Look at every single garment in there and ask yourself:
- does this fit my body now?
- does this fit my lifestyle now?
- is this required by law (state, federal, religious, or employer)?
- does this make me look and feel great?
Any garment that gets 2 or more “No” answers goes in the Goodbye Pile. Simple enough, isn’t it? No, it’s not easy. I go through this at every change of season and probably always will, because my inner fat girl will never forget what pre-op life was like. The only residents of my closet are one fat girl outfit (that I drag out and try on when I’m having a fat day) and way too many adorable size 4/XS outfits. Spring is (I pray) just around the corner here in Tennessee, so I’ve been trying on my warm weather clothing and cheerfully telling the rejects, “Goodbye!”