Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

I was in line at the ‘upscale’ grocer (Molly Stone’s) tonight buying some fresh veggies (and those lite Western Bagels) when I noticed the person after me was purchasing an amazing-looking chocolate cake, piled high with chocolate shavings. I turned to the checker, smiling, pointed to the cake and joked ‘Oh, and I’ll have three of THOSE!’

The checker looked at me and said ruefully, ‘Yeah, I can tell you are one of those thin people that could eat that and never gain a pound!’ I laughed and said something about having to watch my weight like everyone else.

And I walked out of there on air. Considering my crummy week of poor food choices, how amazing that a perfect stranger could look at me, and make such a flattering comment that would make me see things in a totally different light.

Its so easy for me to be hard on myself, to remember the unfortunate choices I’ve made, the opportunities I missed, the miles I didn’t run, the strategies I didn’t use. I know its only human nature, but I need to remind myself that its too easy and a cop-out to just say ‘I’m no good at this.’

To be honest, what set me off this week was the fact that I finally got some very expensive trousers that I had ordered on line. (Since I became thin, I’ve discovered that I’m too small to buy off-the-rack clothes, and since I like to dress nicely, I’m challenged to find quality clothes that look right on my frame.) I eagerly tried them on, only to discover that they were far, far too small. Sure, sizes vary, but I buy from this company all the time and I just wasn’t expecting that.

At the gym, I seemed to look the same, and the rest of my same-clothing-sized trousers all felt comfortable and loose. But all week I’ve thought about those silly too-tight trousers and wondered if I had just lost my way.

The fact is, I can NOT eat three chocolate cakes without gaining weight. But it took an anonymous checker making that offhand remark to remind me that its all about perspective. What I CAN do is treat myself more kindly, accept that I have the power and ability to eat well and be satisfied, and all things considered, I’m ‘making it’ a lot more often than I’m ‘faking it.’

Oh yeah, and I’m returning those pants.

Jonathan.SDP@gmail.com

8 thoughts on “In A Mirror, Dimly

  1. Nancy says:

    You are right, it is about perspective. You “look” like you could eat three chocolate cakes and that is what matters. Unless you were to tell her, that checker would never know what you have overcome to look the way you do. A comment like that goes a long way to reinforce positive thinking about the successes you’ve had. Her comment speaks volumes. I hope I get to a similar spot in my journey some day, where I look so good that no one would ever guess that I had a former weight problem. After a week of good food choices, I’m five pounds closer to that reality!

  2. Quinn says:

    ūüėÄ

    Re:The checker’s comment: GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!

    Regarding the trousers bought online: it’s possible hat someone made a mistake in labeling them. It’s also possible that the difference in due to a different cut, say the diff between Eddie Bauer’s Ruston and Adams (regular/classic and relaxed).

  3. stretchy says:

    Jonathan,

    I thought wacky size problems only happened in the women’s dept….
    last summer I bought a pair of size 4 jeans that fit perfectly at a Major International Store. They were on sale, so I grabbed a size 6 pair to wear in the country, thinking they would be a little baggy. Now these jeans were the same style, EXACTLY. When I got home, the 6’s were way too small. I returned to the store and “just to see” tried on the size 2’s…they fit loose.

    OK let’s review: the 2’s were too big, the 4’s just right, and the 6’s were too small. This place must be run by people who failed math.

    When I calmly explained this to the staff, they were unable to grasp what had occured. One woman asked if I had gained or lost weight. (Hello, I tried all these sizes on JUST now!) She still couldn’t grasp what it might be…

    My old size 8 jeans from high school still fit me perfectly. Back then, a 4 was an 8. I understand downsizing, making us feel thinner than we are, but wacky sizing seems to have infected the entire clothing industry. why have sizes?

    why don’t we all just wear togas, sarongs, and saris?

  4. carol says:

    Jonathan,

    I think sometimes it’s about giving ourselves enough time and space to figure out what’s really bothering us… as you did with the trousers. When we deny our feelings about especially sensitive topics, they can create havoc.

    you wrote:

    “What I CAN do is treat myself more kindly, accept that I have the power and ability to eat well and be satisfied, and all things considered, Iím Ďmaking ití a lot more often than Iím Ďfaking it.í ”

    For those of us with a history of self-flagellation, thanks for this. It’s a keeper.

    Carol

  5. Laurie says:

    Sizing is nuts. Particularly with jeans. Iím a jeans fiend and constantly buying new ones. It seems the more *expensive* the jeans the worse the problem gets. I recently ordered a pair online that are an exact duplicate of another pair I have that fit *perfectly* in a size 6. This new pair would not come up over the top of my thighs! I immediately thought I must have gained 10 pounds overnight and was lazy and out-of-shape. I ran to weigh myself and yes, I was up 1 whole pound! Was my scale broken? Could I have *secretly* packed another 9 pounds without my scale knowing it? Letís seeÖ. I could still fit perfectly all my other 4ís, 5ís, 6ís, and 7ís (also goes to show how wacky the whole sizing system is) so it must be the NEW JEANS not ME! It is *sad* how a pair of jeans can throw me into a mini state of depression and make me forget what Iíve accomplished. Of course the jeans are going back!

    At the Ben & Jerryís store where I went to buy a t-shirt the lady told me ďall the skinny girls like you who work here wear the kidís size medium or large, not the adults.Ē I thought WHAT? Skinny? Me? Iím still huge!

    My mind still hasnít caught up with my weight loss. Iíve maintained my loss for 10 months now. I go up or down by 2 or 3 pounds and Iím fine with that. I just hope the day will come where the size label on a pair of jeans wonít have such an impact on me and Iíll be able *see* and *believe* that I really am a healthy looking thin person for the first time in my adult life.

    (sorry this was so long)

  6. Andrea says:

    I’ve had a similiar experience. I’ve had several wrong turns on the food journey the last week, but in this same week I’ve also had several people (who haven’t seen me in a while) gushing over how great I look.

    It’s hard for me to let these kind of compliments sink in, but the lightbulb moment came last night when I was cleaning out my home office and came across photos of me at my heaviest — 100 to 120 pounds ago. My mouth fell open in shock to realize how far I’ve really come. Most telling was my husband’s reaction to the photos (we’ve been married less than a year and he’s never seen me at my heaviest)– he said in disbelief, “It doesn’t even look like you!”

    So how come, after a few days of making poor food choices, that I feel I haven’t changed one bit? That I’m still that young woman who buried myself in layers of fat? Perhaps I need to keep a few of these pictures in my journal to remind myself how far I actually have come, and to tell myself that if I can achieve what I’ve already accomplished, I definitely have the strength to keep going.
    Andrea

  7. stretchy says:

    As I write this I am wearing a sarong in protest of the fact that I am a size Large, Medium, Small and Extra Small.

    I understand how Laurie feels, I still think I am bigger sometimes,
    than I am. When I buy a LARGE fitted t shirt that fits tight, and an Extra Small Trenchcoat that fits loose on the same day. This doesn’t help with body image.

    I feel more than confused.

  8. jonquil says:

    The sizing problem, unfortunately, will never go away, partly because there are just too many variables involved. For one thing, there is no standardized, international sizing system, and most manufacturers are using averages based on market research of their imagined “target” customer. They then hire a fit model in a sample size, create patterns, and simply “grade” or scale the patterns up and down, even though real human populations don’t scale in strict linear fashion. The “Size USA” consortium project is supposed to help with this, but so far, I haven’t seen any results in the marketplace.

    Another problem is quality control, especially in jeans, where the cotton used can have a lot of shrinkage potential. No two bolts of cotton are exactly the same– you have to remember this is a plant product, not a synthetic, grown in different soils in different climates, reacting in somewhat unpredictable ways to the manufacturing process.

    For example, if the jeans are subjected to some sort of wash, distressing, or other finishing process after they are constructed, they can shrink a lot, or sometimes even stretch a bit in odd places (because of the lycra). The weave also affects the stretch of the fabric– there are “left-hand” twills and “right-hand” twills, which feel quite different on the body. And then again, dyes can make fabric shrink more, especially dark dyes and blacks.

    The same unpredictability can apply to other natural fabrics, such as wool, but we don’t usually subject these fibers to as much washing, so shrinkage isn’t as obvious until they are “dry cleaned.” The biggest issue I’ve found in wool pants is the shape of the rise, which isn’t often contoured like it used to be, so it tends to make the trouser feel tight. A lot of little tailoring tricks have gone by the boards in recent years, even in expensive brands, due to cost-cutting pressures and fierce competition.

    There are lots of other factors, enough to make a manufacturing manager crazy. So, it’s not you, it’s a huge problem within the apparel industry. Don’t take it personally.

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