You have it, too, right? That area of your closet, all the way in the back, where those few precious clothing items hang? I call it the “Someday Section.” I don’t have a lot of space to store clothing so I don’t hang on to much if I can’t wear it. However, some items are just too nice to let go as I hold out hope of squeezing back into them someday. Some of the items fit at the time I bought them only to get progressively snug as I regained weight. Some were a smidgen too tight to begin with but I brought them home anyway believing the desire to wear them would motivate me. Regardless, they were spared from the thrift store fate to which many of my clothes are destined and they hang on a few hangers in the back corner of my closet, behind the winter coats and scarves and camping clothes.
As I have dropped weight – just over 23 pounds since March – I have started thinking about some of those clothes. A few weeks ago, I brought out one of my favorites: a pair of black and white pinstriped Banana Republic dress slacks. I was delighted they fit again and, as the last few weeks have gone by and I have put them into regular work wardrobe rotation, they’ve gotten a bit roomier in the thighs. This morning, as I dressed for work (much to the detriment of my morning schedule) I brought out a hanger draped with a few pairs of smaller dress slacks. One-by-one, I tried them on and, one-by-one, I discovered they fit.
It is easy, when focusing on losing weight, to lose sight of the progress which may not reveal itself on the scale. We get stronger, we get fitter from the inside out. We get more confident and more determined. Our clothes fit better. Sometimes our clothes stop fitting at all and we find ourselves with the joyous chore of buying smaller ones. We crave physical activity when once we would have craved a soft spot on the couch. Our workouts get easier, we can push ourselves harder and longer at the gym. We see muscles and clavicles and cheekbones emerging. We tighten our watchbands and bra straps. We catch glimpses of ourselves in mirrors and have to stop to do a double-take. Our feet and our knees stop hurting after a day of standing or walking. Our skin glows, our smiles become brighter and wider (that last one might be in our heads but who cares?). Our friends and coworkers start commenting on the changes they are seeing.
I can never stress enough how important it is to recognize these changes in ourselves. I, myself, become obsessed with the scale and can blatantly disregard any and all real progress I’ve made in lieu of agonizing about the earth’s gravitational pull on my body. That may be the single most unhealthy thing I do in terms of weight loss. This morning, however, as I delved into my “Someday Section” and paraded back and forth down the hallway, prancing around in my smaller pants and showing them off to my boyfriend, I forgot all about the scale. I forgot I was nervous to weigh in this coming Saturday. I forgot I was heartbroken after my weigh-in on September 1. I forgot I’d convinced myself that I’d stopped making progress and become an overnight failure. I remembered that weight is just one marker, one of many ways to see and feel progress, and often it isn’t the most reliable or profound.