In less than a week, I will be moved out of my house. I will say goodbye to the tall living room windows that I love opening up to watch monsoon rains and lizards darting across my backyard. I will leave behind my beautiful open kitchen where I have cooked meals for small groups and boyfriends of the past, and the best bathtub I have ever had that provided me many relaxing evenings.
I’m sad to say goodbye to a lot of the things I have loved about this place, but moving also gives me the opportunity to part with things that have just added clutter to my life, more specifically, my skinny clothes.
I own all kinds of articles of clothing that I never wear – jeans that hug all of the wrong places and shirts that aren’t quite long enough. I keep them around, wishfully thinking that someday, my body will change and they will fit perfectly. I own 3 pairs of stretchy running shorts. I fell in love with them and bought them, because they looked ridiculously cute…on the model. However, when I put them on, they accentuate my flaws. They almost look and feel alright if I don’t move, but as soon as I start walking (much less running), they ride up, revealing and highlighting every ounce of cellulite and fat that I have on my thighs. It’s not a pretty picture and I feel self conscious every second that I wear them, tugging and pulling them down, and hoping at some point they will listen and stay put.
But because I still hold out that hope that someday my thighs will shrink or tone or firm and make me look like that Fabletics model, I keep them in my drawer – not one pair, but three pairs of them. I have had them for two years now and I haven’t worn them at all outside of trying them on (again and again), hoping each time that they will fit the way I’d like them to.
Those shorts will not be moving to Colorado with me. For years, I thought that keeping my skinny clothes around would motivate me to lose weight. And year after year, as I shed the pounds, what I discovered is that clothes that didn’t look good on me when I was heavier looked just as unflattering on me after I had lost the weight. A few of those clothes ended up working eventually, but the vast majority of them still didn’t end up ever being worn out of the house.
When you lose weight, even 100 pounds, it doesn’t change your body type. It doesn’t erase stretch marks or rearrange your pear-shaped figure into a slender rectangular build. Losing weight takes your body as it is and shrinks it. Exercise can certainly build muscle and add a more defined shape, but I could do a million leg lifts and I still don’t think those shorts would fit right.
And, the fact is, they aren’t motivating. In fact, they have the opposite effect – they are demoralizing. They make me feel like I don’t look the way I should look. Every time I see those shorts in my dresser drawer, I am discontent with my body, a body I have worked extremely hard to achieve, and I stop appreciating it. I wish I had more muscle tone, less flab, tighter skin. I feel waves of guilt for having gained so much weight when I was young that left me looking like this in the first place (a decision, for the record, that can’t be changed with any amount of wishful thinking). I get sucked into feeling not thin enough, not pretty enough, not strong enough, and not good enough. That land of discontentment and wishful thinking trashes and discounts the blessing of the healthy body that I have that can walk, run, jump, dance, and so much more!
I don’t want to live there.
I want to be thankful for the body I have and grateful for all that it can do. I want to take care of myself out of a place of gratitude, not shame.
Which is why, today, I am getting rid of my skinny clothes.