Let’s Go To The Mall!

I wish I had the enthusiasm of Robin Sparkles when it comes to shopping, but alas I remain Sparkle-less. I’m giving everyone a fair warning here, it’s very likely that this is going to end up being a bit rant-y by the time this entry is all said and done. But I feel like my readers have learned to put up with my humorous view on life and will take the good with the bad. At least I hope so. After 18 months of hard work, I’m currently one pound away from my goal weight, though at this point it doesn’t even excite me much because it feels like a given. When you’ve lost 99 pounds, 100 doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still immensely proud of my accomplishments but it’s no longer the largest focus in my fitness journey.

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What I wouldn’t give for that 90’s Canadian savoir faire.  

Now that I’m finally at the end of this weight loss journey (or at least as far as I wanted to get), it’s time that I finally bite the bullet and rebuild my wardrobe. For many women I’m sure this would be a very exciting opportunity, but for me it’s more of a nightmare scenario. For those of you who don’t know me well, I’m a very casual/boring dresser. My daily outfit pretty much always consists of jeans or shorts, some semblance of a pop culture t shirt, and flip flops or converse sneakers. I’m not what one would call a snappy dresser, I like to wear clothes that are comfortable and allow me some form of self-expression. Over the last several weeks I’ve been taking a few hours here and there to attempt to shop for some new clothes, however most of these errands have been rather fruitless. So I’ll just go ahead and lay out for you the things I’ve discovered about shopping after losing a pretty significant amount of weight.

Being an “average” size makes it hard to find clothes. This one was rather unexpected, because I recall so many issues with trying to find clothes when I was a size 22 and I assumed being a size 8 would make my life easier. The fact of the matter is, being a size 6/8 (medium) means that I’m now fighting for clothes with all of the other “average” sized women of the world and that means there’s less available. At size 22 I would have to try several stores to find a dress for a friend’s wedding that even fit, let alone be something I actually wanted to wear. Now there’s definitely more variety available to me, but there’s also less of a chance that they’ll have the dress I like in my size. #TheStruggleIsReal

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This is my “impressed that I fit into a size 6” face. 

I have no idea what style clothes look good on my new body. For most of my life, I’ve known that darker colors work better for me to hide the problem areas. My mom taught me to look for dresses with A-line silhouettes and a cinched waist to accentuate my curves. Now that I’m “thin” I have no idea what looks good on me, I’m super indecisive and it’s just compounded with my total lack of fashion knowledge. I’ve been trying on an extensive assortment of tops, dresses, pants, etc. trying to see what looks good and it all seems so strange to me. The clothes look good, but none of them feel quite right. Though that’s probably because I need someone else to tell me that I’m not delusional and something looks good on me.

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I don’t really know when this whole sleeve cutout trend started, but I tried this on specifically because it looked like something Elektra would wear. 

Despite being thin, I still gravitate towards baggy clothes. It seems that even though I know I can now wear tighter clothes and they won’t make me look like a sausage about to burst out of its casing, I’m so used to being in baggy clothes that it’s the only thing I feel comfortable in. As I’ve mentioned, I pretty much live in t shirts and even though most of the time now I can fit into a men’s small or women’s medium I find myself still buying a size up. I’m hoping that with time I’ll get used to wearing clothes that fit and will be more confident in purchasing them for myself. That being said, I don’t think I will ever give up my penchant for wearing flannel shirts over my t shirts in the “winter” of Florida. 2 years ago in Target I saw a mannequin with a flannel shirt over a Thor t shirt and jeans and felt vindicated that it was stylish if it was on a mannequin. Or at least that’s what I told Ariel and was my defense for the look.

My procrastination skills extend to rebuilding my wardrobe. I am a bit of a procrastinator when it comes to most things in life (i.e. being 25 and still trying to finish my bachelor’s degree). This is even more of an issue for me when it comes to clothes shopping. Over the course of my weight loss journey, I would wait until my previous pair of shorts/pants was hanging off of my waist and wearing a belt no longer even helped before I would buy a new pair. I also tend to rarely have more than 2 pair of shorts/pants at a time especially while I was in the middle of losing weight. If you need any more evidence of this, you’ll just have to look in my fitness clothes drawer which is still more than half full of L/XL shorts that I have to tie the drawstrings on so they don’t fall off at the gym. As long as I have the bear minimum to get me through the week between laundry loads I won’t buy new clothes. Though that may be a combination of procrastination and my stubbornness in all honesty.

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Before I wrap things up, here’s another progress pic. 99 pounds of difference and 2.5 years between these photos. 

Well I usually feel like I’m able to wrap up my blog entries into this nice neat little bow, but considering how this one ended up as I suspected becoming a rant I don’t really know how to end it. So I suppose when in doubt, use a Bob’s Burgers gif to wrap things up and how Gene is in this one accurately captures how I feel about my new style. Indecisive but committed.

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Give A Little Bit

I’ve always been a big supporter of Goodwill and frequently shop there, I probably go at least once a week to peruse. I’ve made so many crazy purchases from there, my favorite recent one was getting Williams-Sonoma Star Wars cookie cutters for $3! They’re normally over $20 and they were in the box. But I’m getting distracted, my point is that I enjoy frequenting Goodwill and always tried to donate stuff to them at least once a year or so. In the ultimate irony, weeks before I started my epic weight loss journey I donated a massive amount of old clothes to them. I had finally given in and decided that there was no point in keeping all my “skinny clothes” because I had been overweight for years and they were obviously never going to fit me again. Of course within 6 months, they all would have fit me again and I had some serious regret.

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I mean seriously, how awesome are these cookie cutters?

 That’s ok though, because I’ve had the opportunity to shop for clothes at Goodwill frequently for the last year, and its better this way because I’m supporting the community instead of just wearing old clothes of my own. Goodwill has been a great resource for me to get cheap clothes to wear in this time between my heavier state and my finished product (which will hopefully be in a few months). Goodwill has given me some of my favorite jeans I’ve ever bought and at the low-low price of $7, what more can a girl ask for?

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The magical $7 jeans, I was so excited to be down to a size 14!

Getting back to my point though, something wonderful about losing weight (at least for me) is purging my closet of all the old clothes that no longer fit and making donations to Goodwill. People have harped on me throughout my journey that you have to get rid of the “fat clothes” that way you have no excuse to gain weight again because you won’t have clothes that fit. While I’m sure that’s good motivation for some, I have no intention of gaining back all of the weight so I hadn’t even considered keeping my clothes.

About every 2 months from November on I have done a closet purge and pulled out at least 1 trash bag full of old clothes. Today I made the most recent purge, and I’ve officially cleared my wardrobe of every pair of pants I owned, because none of them fit anymore. Luckily living in Florida means I probably won’t need to wear pants for another several months. This time I totaled up 2 large boxes of clothes and a reusable shopping bag with other stuff. The plus side to donating clothes to Goodwill so frequently has also been that I get rid of other stuff I no longer need as well. I was always one of those people who would hang on to things because it never seemed worthwhile to take a grocery bag of stuff to Goodwill, as it didn’t feel like enough. Now when I make the big clothes donations I toss in DVDs I haven’t watched in years, books I will never reread, and various toys or trinkets I’ve hung on to for no reason.

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Just one of many Goodwill donation piles over the last 14 months

I’ve become a much less material person than I used to be; my wardrobe takes up half the amount of space that it used to, I’ve given away half of my books, I don’t spend money as carelessly as I did in the years prior. It took me a while to realize that my weight loss journey has not only had a positive effect on my health, but also has led me to make big changes in my life for the better. I guess really the point I’m trying to make is that losing weight has gifted me with the ability to let go of things.  It started with making healthy changes and that spread to other aspects of my life. I stopped going out to eat as often, because it’s hard to stick to low-calorie stuff at some places and that led to me saving money. I started thinking of things I was going to purchase in terms of how many groceries I could buy with it instead and most of the time I decided that fresh produce was better for me than another new t-shirt that wouldn’t even fit me in a few months.

While I’m not trying to talk anyone into doing anything they don’t want to, this is my bit of encouragement/nagging that if you’ve been thinking about trying to lose weight just start doing it. The baby steps I took to get healthier led to so many positive changes in my life and I have no intention of letting things go back to the way they were before. Best of luck to all of those starting their journey and those already in the process! I would love to hear from anyone about their journeys or the good things tht have come from losing weight or getting healthy.

What’s Wrong With Being Confident?

If you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning (or care to go back and read “The One With The Origin Story”) you’ll recall that I’ve had my struggles with self-confidence and weight as I’m sure many of you can relate. One of the things that really helped ignite my journey to fitness and weight loss was the regaining of my self-confidence. I had much like Stella (aka Angela Bassett) had, gotten my groove back though unfortunately Taye Diggs was not involved in my groove retrieval. It did however include the introduction of my own personal hunk to treat me right, make me feel like a natural woman, and various other Motown-esque puns. But this entry isn’t about how Meg got her groove back, as you’ve already gotten the cliff notes version of that. This post is to discuss how weight loss completely retooled my views on self-confidence.

My mom always raised me to be a “strong, independent woman who don’t need no man” which involved the watching of many films/tv shows with strong heroines (Buffy, Alien, Terminator 2, etc.). She taught me important life skills like how to change a tire and even make minor home repairs so that I would be able to do whatever I wanted on my own. She instilled a strong sense not only of independence but also confidence. When I was in my whiny teen years complaining about how I was unattractive and no one liked me she would look to me and say “I’m going to tell you exactly what my mother told me, I don’t have ugly children”. She made sure that I always knew I was special and deserved nothing but the best, especially when it came to the people I chose to spend my time with.

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With a badass mom like this, how could I not have serious self-confidence?

After I lost my mom, I stumbled for a bit and lost a lot of my self-confidence while I was trapped in a less than ideal relationship and couldn’t find the way back to the right path. Once I got my groove back and found my self-confidence again I realized there was one thing holding me back, the only thing I was still truly self-conscious about was my weight. Now don’t get me wrong, I carried myself very confidently it was more of a deep seeded, personal concern. I had an amazing man in my life who gave me the self-confidence to want to make myself the best I could possibly be. Within the first month of consistently losing weight, I was losing my hang ups and beginning to hold myself with more confidence.

As the pounds continued to slowly fall off of me, I noticed subtle differences like how my posture was getting better. When I first started running, I would avoid making eye contact with the other people on the trail, but as I started to feel more confident in my running and myself I started smiling and waving at other runners. I was talking to the other people in my class, not sitting with my ear buds in until the professor started talking. My temporary introversion was slowly melting away and the long disappeared, extrovert Meg was finally back.

The biggest change I was noticing though, was how I shopped for clothes. In the past, I bought mostly black shirts to hide my “problem areas” but suddenly colors I had never considered were making their way into my wardrobe. I was comfortable wearing tank tops in public and not worried about people noticing my back rolls or how big my arms looked. I bought shorts that were shorter than mid-thigh, and didn’t care if they were tight on my thighs. I started dressing how I wanted, not how I thought other people would want to see me. When I started fitting into medium t-shirts for the first time since middle school, I really started feeling good. The day I tried one on and it fit, I almost cried I was so filled with pride of the progress I have made.

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The Meg of 2014 summer always wore big T-shirts, now I wear tank tops for most of my workouts and sometimes just because I can. 

These revelations in self-confidence extended beyond my wardrobe and how I carried myself though, I began having the confidence to take chances in the rest of my life. I started taking risks with my painting and having more confidence in my abilities. I had more zest for my business, and was trying out new designs. I was finding confidence in every aspect of my life and I owe it all to my weight loss and more importantly to Chris. If he hadn’t given me the confidence to start this journey and want to make myself better I don’t know where I would be now. I know it’s cheesy, but he means the world to me and I’m so thankful we found each other and he was up to the task of supporting me as I made such big changes for myself.

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Chris really is so good to me, love you babe. 

I Ain’t Saying She’s A Goal Digger

Yesterday I had a pretty big Non-Scale Victory, I discovered that I’m able to buy women’s medium shirts now from Old Navy. This was a pretty big deal to me as someone who previously could barely fit into XXL women’s shirts a year ago. So I thought I would take this next post to discuss the importance of not only having goals and enjoying Scale Victories (SVs), but also being proud of the Non-Scale Victories (NSVs) and the little things along the way.

When I began my “epic weight loss journey” a year ago, I set out with a goal of losing 50 pounds which seemed absolutely insane, but I figured I should aim high. The way I saw it, it’s better to aim for something that seems impossible and at least be able to say that I tried if I ended up not making it. After a few months of consistently losing weight, I readjusted to wanting to lose 65 pounds, because 15 more seemed easy since I had already lost so much. As of today, I’ve lost 80 pounds and my current goal has become to lose 100 pounds. I figured it’s a nice round number and will put me at a healthy BMI for the first time in my adult life and probably close to 15 years. Although who knows, once I reach that goal I could change it up again! That’s what I’ve been doing so far.

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My weight loss graph (so far), as you can see there’s been some ups and downs

But this post isn’t just here as a self-serving bragging ego boost… or at least that’s not where I started when I decided to write this. Apologies for my fat head, but losing a ton of weight kind of makes you a narcissist. I mean seriously, I spend so much more time staring at myself in the mirror than I ever did before. Anyway, get back to the topic here Meg. Goals. When you set out to start losing weight, goals are an important part of the journey. Whether you want to lose a big amount like I did, or a small amount like 10 or 15 pounds to look better or fit into your old clothes goals are very important. You definitely want to set a big goal, somewhere around what weight you want to end up at, but you should also set smaller goals. For me, this came in the form of smaller rewards.

Keep in mind for some stupid reason, I didn’t write these things down (I think because if I did it made all of this real) so I’m going to be going from memory as best as I can recall. My first big milestone was going to be at 25 pounds. When I lost 25 pounds I was going to give in and buy a new pair of shorts. I live in Florida, so jeans are only really necessary for about 3 months and most of the year I’m in shorts. By the time I had lost 25 pounds, my old shorts were so big on me that a belt was barely keeping them from slipping off my hips entirely. You should also know that I’m a “poor starving college student” so these kinds of purchases (meaning new clothes) were a bit few and far between for me. My next reward was to buy new bras at 50 pounds lost, now this one I cheated on by about 3 pounds because I had some extra cash and my old bras were barely fitting on the tightest possible clasp. But I figured I would lose the weight in about 2 weeks and I did. I’ve been blessed to average out to losing about 1.5 pounds a week throughout my journey.

It was somewhere around here, maybe a bit earlier, where I discovered the joy that is a Non-Scale Victory (NSV). NSVs are something that’s completely separate from your weight loss goals, they are things that have nothing to do with your weight, but rather have to do with your appearance or emotions. For me, a huge NSV was when I finally broke down and bought new jeans in January only to discover that I was a size 14. Now for some of you that may not sound big, but I haven’t been a size 14 in many years and when I started this whole thing I was somewhere between a 20 and 22. In a matter of 7 months I had dropped 4 sizes and I was so excited in the fitting room at Goodwill that I almost cried. That’s a personal tip, while you’re still in the process of losing weight and don’t want to blow a ton of money on a whole new wardrobe that won’t fit very, long shop at Goodwill and Wal-Mart! Sometimes they have really awesome stuff and it’s always cheap and even if it doesn’t last forever, you’ll grow out of it anyway!

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I was excited not only to find jeans that fit, but that were a 14! 

It’s important not only to track your weight and celebrate milestones as you reach them, but also to enjoy the NSVs and be proud of your accomplishments. I remember seeing this bit of “Fitspiration” that said “Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods.” and I have to disagree. If I had been stubborn about my goals, I would have stopped losing weight months ago and while I’m sure I would have been happy I don’t know that I would have felt this accomplished. Once I reached my big goal of losing 65 pounds I was content with myself for achieving that much, but I didn’t want to stop. I decided that I wanted to keep at this and see just how far I could get. I realize that maybe I won’t ever get my body looking “perfect” or even good enough to pass as a model or anything, but I’m very happy with where I’m at now even if I stopped tomorrow. However, I figure while I’m at this I may as well keep working on myself and get the closest to my image of what I want my body to look like as possible. If I can make it this far, why not a little further?

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From my “Fitspiration” folder, it reminds me to have patience but continue to work hard