Wake Up Call

January 2015
 Have you ever walked into a store with confidence that you "know" your size? And gone in and just grabbed what you liked in "your size", paid and went home, only to find out that it isn't the right size after all? Well, it is a lesson I've been learning a lot about lately. 

I went on medical leave from my last job on 9/6/2016. It was the last day that I "had" to wear something that was office appropriate until 12/12/2016 when I started my new job. It was at that time when I pulled on a pair of blue jeans and couldn't button or zip them that I realized that my weight had gotten out of control again. I had actually not been stepping on the scale, and the hospital and doctor offices would just ask me what I weighed. In all honesty, I had no clue at that time that I had gained almost 30 lbs since the beginning of September. 

March 2015
The reason most of my weight gain had gone undetected was due to the yoga pant and legging craze. You see, once I wasn't having to work and was just going from doctor appointment to doctor appointment, I only wore yoga pants or leggings. It was rather infrequent that I would pull on a pair of jeans or anything remotely business like. In fact, if I did, it was usually a flutter top with a maxi skirt. 

Yes, my bras were feeling tighter, but I really had not bought many since gaining the weight back from 18 months ago. But even the new ones were not comfortable anymore. And those khakis I picked up from Goodwill to do my community service there back before Thanksgiving did seem a little more snug than they should have been. But it still didn't hit me. 

April 2016
A few weeks ago, I had decided to give water therapy a try to get in cardio while waiting to have a spinal block to allow an aggravated herniated disc to heal. Plus, it would give me a form of exercise to do until the doctor releases me to do more traditional workouts once again. So, I started going through my drawers to see if I had a swimsuit I could wear. I knew that my size 14's wouldn't fit, and that the one I wore over the summer was still at my mom's (they have a pool). I finally found one that I purchased years ago that was still in good shape. I was a size 18 when I last wore it, so I decided to check to see if it fit (better to do at home than when you get to the gym, right?). I got it up to my waist, but it wouldn't go any higher than my waist (and it was a one piece). 

With that, I called my mom and told her my dilemma and that I was coming over to pick up the one from the summer. It had been a little loose, but fit just fine over the summer. The summer before, the bottoms would just fall down if I let them go, so I knew I had room to go. Well, my mom told me that she had a suit that my grandmother had given her a few years earlier, but it was too small for her. It always bothered me when mom thought I could fit into something that was originally purchased for her, as she always hovered between a 2X and a 3X while wearing a size 24 pant. But I went and tried it on to humor her. 

July 2016
It was a size 22. I kind of smirked at it thinking "this will fall off of me" as I got undressed. But that smirk didn't last long at all. The bottoms fit perfectly. But the top was almost a little too tight. What the? Did I really jump two sizes since summer? I was literally too stunned to cry. I wanted to, but I couldn't. It just was too much to take. 

But it did make me think about some things. Back in October, I had purchased a pair of Lane Bryant dress slacks to wear to interviews. The ones I purchased were a size 18. Right before Thanksgiving, I went to an interview where I started to become alarmed, not by the interview, but by the fact that the pants wouldn't stay zipped during the interview. Plus, the jacket was too tight to button (also an 18). I was never so happy to get home and take something off as I was than when I got home that day. However, I just shrugged off the zipper as being a bad zipper and that I would replace it myself. The jacket? I have a large chest. Jackets have never fit me well anyway. So I didn't think twice about it. 

But the swimsuit stuck with me. Since starting my new job, I had stuck with dressy long sweaters and tunics that covered my fluffy bits so I could wear leggings with my boots all of the time. But even my boots were starting to get tight. So a couple of days before Christmas, I walked into Meijer to buy a new coat (oh, because I forgot to tell you that I couldn't even close the fronts of the coats I currently have). Because of the swimsuit, I picked up a 2X. I tried it on and made sure it fit before going to the register. But on my way to the register, I walked through the plus size department. I saw a rack of jeans on clearance, so I went through them and found a pair in a size 22. I grabbed them and a cute top that was also on sale (in 2X) and went to the register. I didn't try anything else on. I just paid and went home. 

October 2016
The next day, I was to meet my mom to do some last minute Christmas shopping. So, I took the tags off of the three garments I purchased the night before, and put them all on. The coat fit perfect. The top fit perfect. But...the jeans were a little baggy. I kind of chuckled and thought it was just the swimsuit that was too small, and that all I needed with the jeans was a new belt. 

Fast forward to today. The whole jeans thing had been bugging me, and I needed to have more than one (cheap) pair of jeans. So, I went to Maurice's at a mall near me. I smugly walked in, marched right to the plus size section, and picked up two pair of jeans in two different styles in a size 20. I knew for sure that the pair I bought at Meijer was vindication that I was not a size 22. Well, I almost paid and left without trying anything on. But, I stopped. I was then shown to a dressing room where my name was written on the door with a dry erase marker. I shimmied off the leggings I had worn and started to pull on the first pair of jeans. They were skinny jeans in a dark wash. I like dark wash, as I find it more slimming. At first I thought that even these were going to be too big as they were loose in the calf area, but then they were perfect in the thigh area. It was when they reached my belly that I felt betrayed. 

Yes, I couldn't zip or button them. I felt defeated. 

January 2017
It was at this point that the sales associate came to the door and asked me if everything was okay. I told her no, that the pants I grabbed were too small. So, she dutifully walked away to grab a new pair in a size 22, while I shimmied off the jeans, and neatly folded them back up. The sales associate came back and slid the jeans under the door. I thanked her, then picked them up. I took the new pair and slowly started trying them on. Loose around the calves again, okay around the thighs, but fit perfectly around my belly. 

It was at that moment that I came to the realization that I was no longer a size 18. And that if you subtracted 10, you would have the size I wore just 18 months before. Had I really gone up FIVE dress sizes? Was it true that as of this point, nothing - absolutely nothing - in my closet fits anymore? 

Sadly, it was true. A harsh reality that I needed to come into acknowledgment with. I was no longer just slightly plump. I was a big girl. I had to accept this new reality and begin to find a way to live with it. But I also resigned myself that I would only live with it for this moment. I was not going to accept it as my final answer. I was only going to accept it as a temporary setback. 
My Goal by 2018
So, after paying for the two pair of jeans, I got in the car and drove to my next stop: the grocery store. I did NOT buy anything that was remotely unhealthy. I bought whole ingredients to be used to make my Hearty Weight Loss Cabbage Soup and a chili recipe that I was given by the woman who runs The Onion Factory, where I will be starting an intense 8 week weight loss program in mid to late February. I decided right then and there, I was NOT going to accept this fate! I felt like it was NOT my destiny. It is just a temporary setback, and I knew exactly what I needed to do, and what tools to use. Yes, I still have to get through having a spinal block on Monday 1/9, but that will only help me get to that goal sooner and without much impingement. 

So, if you are feeling down because that dress size just went up, or you are frustrated with how tight your clothes have become - don't stress it! It is only temporary. It only becomes permanent if you allow it to do so. Don't let it. Only you are the master of your own destiny. So, join me on this journey to lose the extra baggage and get back to where we desire to be!