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It’s only fitting: A new outfit for a new outlook

By Lisa Spodak (ResultsNotTypical@worldnow.com)
Provided by WorldNow

Week 53 Weigh In:

Change this week:  +1 lbs
Change overall:  -69.5 lbs

My weight gain this week is disappointing but not unexpected.  I definitely over-indulged at an Oscar party on Sunday.  While I hoped the scale wouldn’t show that, it unfortunately did.  Now I’m moving on!  (It’s a lifestyle change, there will be setbacks, just get back on track… It’s a lifestyle change, there will be setbacks, just get back on track… repeat as necessary….)

In other news this week, I’m still spending a lot of time obsessing over something I really didn’t expect to be so complicated – dealing with clothing challenges.  I thought that as I got smaller, shopping would just get easier, but I’ve had to make some major shifts in thinking about what is flattering.  My comfort zone isn’t changing as quickly as my weight and the realization that smaller, well-fitting clothes actually make me look better was a real eye-opener.

Gym clothes seem to be the focus of so many of these feelings.

I feel self-conscious and out of my element at the gym to start with and the last thing I want to do is draw attention to my body.  So for as long as I can remember, my main requirement for gym clothes was that they covered as much of my body as possible.

Then a couple of months ago, I was killing time in a train station and wandered into a lucy fitness apparel shop.  I still usually shop in plus-size stores, so I felt a little uncomfortable going into a “regular” store, but the salespeople were very nice and helpful and urged me to go ahead and try things on.

Unexpectedly, I found some flattering t-shirts that I really liked and even found a pair of casual pants that fit!  I chickened out of trying on any exercise clothes though — all that stretchy material scared me and I didn’t need the salespeople seeing me in all my exposed lumpy glory.

When I got home, I decided to visit the website of the store and see about buying some more of the t-shirts.  As I was poking around I came upon their brand statement and felt like it was speaking directly to me:  “We all know that when you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you go the extra mile. So at lucy, our passion is to design fashion forward performance apparel that inspires athletic women like you.”

I contacted the company, explaining that I was writing a story about finding the right gym clothes, and asked if they had any samples I could check out.  I thought that by putting it out there that I was writing a story, I’d be forced to deal with the issues that were bothering me.  I couldn’t just leave the clothes in my drawer, I’d have to actually wear them in public and see if I did feel differently than I did in my usual sweats and t-shirts.

The company had just launched a new line, the lucy Power Gym Collection, so they sent me a top, pants and a jacket to test out.

The camisole top didn’t really work for me.  The built-in shelf bra didn’t provide enough support for me and I was constantly tugging at the parts that clung.  Even though the top is long and covers my stomach, it felt like wearing a sports bra out in the open and I’m just not ready for that yet.

When I saw the stretchy material of the Power Pant, I was a little worried about what I’d gotten myself into.  But I had said I was writing the story and I had no story if I didn’t wear the pants!  The pants are formfitting on the butt and upper legs and fall into a boot-cut below the knee.  I felt a little self-conscious the first couple of times I wore them, but  also for the first time, I  felt like I was wearing something that felt good in the gym instead of just something that I could fit into.  The wicking material kept me from feeling sweaty during my workout and the pants didn’t catch and rub between my legs like cotton ones do.  They also held me in without making me feel like I’m a big sausage.  After wearing them a few times and realizing that nobody was pointing and laughing, I actually felt myself walking a bit more confidently and, as ridiculous as it sounds, like I was even walking taller.  It was like I finally wasn’t feeling the need to hide.

But the jacket was actually the catalyst for the biggest change.  For about 12 years now I’ve used a big boxy fleece as my exercise cover-up.  When it’s cold out, I wear it as a jacket to keep warm.  When it’s warmer, I tie it around my waist to keep it handy and to hide any less-than-flattering pants.  When I moved in September, my friend Melissa was helping me prune my belongings and tried to get me to get rid of it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it – it makes me feel comfortable.

And now here comes this new jacket.  It’s made of the same stretchy material as the pants and is very fitted (I actually can’t quite comfortably zip up the XL yet).  When I wore it the first few times instead of my fleece, I felt very exposed.  It didn’t cover my rear and if I wore a bulky t-shirt, it bunched up under the sleeves. 

But the first time I went back to the fleece instead of the jacket, I realized that it actually made me look bigger and sloppier.  The jacket has nice clean lines and made me look more in proportion.  I tried to rationalize wearing the fleece instead, thinking it would keep me warmer, but the jacket actually won in that respect as well!

After about a week of wearing the jacket, I was surprised to find myself thinking about getting rid of my beloved fleece.  It was a practical thought (who keeps a sweatshirt for 12 years??) but also a symbolic one.  And when I did it, it was much harder than I expected, but also strangely freeing.  It was like I was finally accepting that this time I’m really changing and this time I’m not going back to where I was.  That fleece will never fit me again and there’s no reason for me to be afraid to go into a store and try on something new for the new me.


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