I have officially lost myself — plus a little bit more. That teeter-totter from last week has flipped to the other side!

I thought about actually posting a full progress picture with before/after, full body, but I’m so close to a maintenance point (relatively speaking) that I’ve decided to hold off that extra few pounds. Because, in the long run, we’re talking about time.

When I first started this particular journey over 5 years ago, my days were often filled with the yearning to rush to the end and instantly be 200+ pounds lighter. I know I’m not alone; how many of us would love the chance to wake up tomorrow with the bodies we really wanted all of these years?

I’ve lost the equivalent of this 5’11”, 188-lb fighter. Whew!

I have since changed my mind about that. I have needed to take my time and learn, appreciate each day as it comes, and understand how I fit into this refreshed life. Impatience does nothing but rob us of learning opportunities and joy.

There is so much I would have missed, had I just jumped years forward — so much worth treasuring and enjoying. My life didn’t suddenly stop just because I gained weight, and it has been worth the living, overweight or not. We should never be under the impression that weight loss somehow makes us happier; it’s not the act of losing, itself, that generates happiness. It’s up to each of us to find that on our own.

While I’ve been watching the scale and my measurements go down, I’ve also been learning how much those numbers do not define me. I am not magically happier and living a better life because I’ve lost weight; rather, weight loss has been a byproduct of becoming mentally and physically healthier. The act of creating a stronger Me is what makes me happy.

371-Pound Me would have argued that I’d been through enough pain; please just give me the end product. But 183-Pound Me knows damned well that there were hard lessons to learn along the way, and there are yet lessons to learn. Skipping them would have just propelled me back to where I started, much like a bungee cord snapping back to the beginning.

I’m not done, yet, learning about myself. Finding out who I am in this body, in this time, in my life. Each moment comes as a surprise to be unwrapped with relish — and appreciation, even if the moment is a difficult one. Time is a precious commodity, and to waste it away in hopes of something better, instead of valuing each day for its worth, is a mistake.

All of us have the power to use these moments to become better versions of ourselves and to never stop learning.


In The Middle


I’m on a teeter-totter, balanced in the center; on one side, the weight I’ve lost, and the other, my current weight.

To say this is a strange place to be — in the in-between — is an understatement. I am literally ounces away from losing the equivalent of… me. Talk about your mental unpacking! Have I lost myself? Is it good to lose yourself?

I’m gonna argue for yeah, it’s a darned good thing. I spend a lot of time, these days, grinning to myself about silly little things that are only really funny to me. Last week, I was standing right next to a friend who was looking for me; he looked right over my head, looking for me on the opposite side of the room. Not too long ago, my own husband didn’t realize I was standing about thirty feet away from him in a grocery store.

Not actually me, but I couldn’t resist.

My own mother has sat across the table from me and made comments about the things that are different about me.

The changes on the inside are much greater than those on the outside. When I first started this process toward health, my mind yearned to not be tied to a body that held me down; now that one is nearly as capable as the other, I’ve found a harmony I don’t recall having, before. My skin may be physically saggier than a deflated balloon, but I am more comfortable in my skin now, with all of my battle scars in middle age, than I ever was when I was physically at my fittest in my teens.

I love my body for what it is. It’s far from perfect, but I no longer lament that I was born with a bad body. It’s simply mine to do with what I will; invest in it, or deny it. I’ve spent far too many years denying it and cursing it. Now, more than any previous point in my life, I understand it. I know its capabilities, and more importantly, I know what to do about them.

So, while I’m waiting to tip the fulcrum over to the other side to the teeter-totter drops down on the other side of the middle, I’ll just hang out here with you and know, with absolute certainty, that I’ll be tipping past the middle soon.

Top of the World


The news is in, my friends — I’m officially healthier than ever! And not only that. I finally broke through to a new low!

I had a wellness exam done, complete with biometric screening, for our health insurance. While I don’t fit the insurance industry’s picture of health (hello, BMI!), all of my other numbers are beyond reproach. I am absolutely thrilled with my lab report, and it’s direct proof that the path I’ve chosen to follow is extending my life by improving my health.

While I have never been one to mention the methods I have used to lose weight (and won’t, now), I will say that I’ve had plenty of people tell me over the years that these methods are unsustainable and unhealthy. For the most part, while these people mean well, they have shown that the standard mindset is that there’s only one way to skin this particular cat. And that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Not me. But I sure do feel this way!

This is exactly why I don’t openly discuss my methods in this blog. The simple, direct reason is that just because my methods work for me does not mean they will work for you — or anyone else. Each of us has to find that perfect balance that produces results. Each of us has to travel our own path, not borrow someone else’s.

Those critics — the ones who believe I am making myself unhealthy — disagree with my doctors, who actually have seen the results and have had nothing but praise. And why not? My cholesterol numbers are beyond perfect, my blood sugar numbers are (finally!) normal and healthy, my blood pressure is spot on, I have been able to reduce my medications, and I am thrilled with this progress. After all, this is a journey toward health, not opinion.

Meanwhile, although the scales had not seen a new low since last April (until this morning! Yay!), my body size and measurements continue to change. This is one of the biggest reasons for not being scale-dependent; while I admit that I like seeing lower numbers, there, it’s the overall stats that matter.

The lower size in my clothing. The number of inches on the decline. A total cholesterol number a full 25 points lower than last year, and I thought last year’s number was pretty good. Blood pressure numbers going down. The number of steps per day and total distances I can walk? Going up.

These are the truer indicators of successfully becoming healthier, regardless of scale numbers, based on science rather than opinion. But it’s awfully nice to have the scale agree, as well.

I used to spend my days dreaming about being in the exact place I am at this very moment. The future is here; I no longer have to anticipate, to wonder, to wait on when things will get better. And that’s the best indicator of all.




Five years. Five incredibly long — but surprisingly short — years.

So I’m looking back at where I’ve come, where I was at various stages, and the first is the day before I started my journey in 2013.

It’s Labor Day, 2013 (September 2) — the day before I start a weight loss program. It’s a food blowout day; my husband and I set it up to have one last big meal before the beginning, tomorrow.

This is probably no different a statement than many would make on the eve of (yet another?) diet, but my sincere hope is that it’ll be the last effort I have to make, because this one will be successful. I have struggled so much with my weight, my entire life, that it’s hard for me to think positively; every single effort has failed.

Every single one.

Sure, I’ve lost weight, and I’ve gone a long way toward regaining health. At one point, I shed 140.5 pounds — but then piled it all on back. It’s difficult for me to get locked into a positive mindset because what I’ve known, in the past, is failure.

I’m 51, looking down the barrel at 52 (next month, in fact); I am horribly tired of living this way, and for whatever time I have left in my life, I want the ability to live it fully. I’m not doing that right now. At well over 300 pounds (I’ll find out the exact number tomorrow morning, when I weigh in), I’m extremely limited in what I’m able to do. I have horrible joint problems, an underactive thyroid, and everything I do, without exception, is painful and takes effort.

I’m tired of living this way; I have known better. I am frustrated and embarrassed about how I move, what my limitations are, what I’m forced to wear — how I feel obligated to make excuses for my shortcomings.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want anyone’s sympathy. What I want is to live, to deal with people without their first impressions of me being “holy crap, she’s fat!”, to not have to worry about the things that bother me on a daily (hourly!) basis, to live without fear of falling, of doing something simple that could shorten my life when it wouldn’t be tragic for a healthy 52 year old. I have a desperate time with self-acceptance; I do not like what I am, who I am, how I live.

Tomorrow, that changes.

I am happy to say I have changed in so many ways since that first decision, that first goal. I passed my Year 5 mark a few days ago. I suppose I’m due for a State of the Butt look-back. 😉

Right at this moment, I’m perched on my loveseat — the spot where I’ve written nearly all of my blog entries. I take up significantly less room. I am much healthier. I saw my doctor this week and managed to reduce some of the medications I have been on for years. I’m waiting for my final labs, but in office, everything looked perfect.

I used to go into his office and I would, sooner or later, ugly-cry. I told him at some point that he should just note that I’m an emotional wreck in his chart: have tissues handy, because I would end up crying in frustration over my weight. These days, that’s hardly the case, and every single visit finds me in better health. Those results aren’t exactly typical when you reach your late 50’s.

I have options available to me that I thought were long gone. One of the things I’ve done on this journey is to make occasional videos about where I was at that particular point; I just got through rewatching the very first one I made over 5 years ago. In it, I lamented that once upon a time, I had been able to walk 6 miles, to jog, to scuba dive, to ride a bike.

Neither is me. Both are me.

Five years later, I still am not able to do any of those things — but I’m a hell of a lot closer than I was. I can comfortably walk close to two miles, now, without tiring; it’s my yet-to-be-replaced knee that holds me back from extending that distance. Five years ago, walking to the mailbox and back was a major feat. As for jogging — well, I don’t know that I’ll ever choose to attempt jogging, again, but not because of ability. I have my hopes set on next year for scuba, and next spring for riding a bike. All of these are simply a matter of getting my other knee replaced; were it not for that, I could do any of these things right now.

Right now. This moment. It’s no longer some undefined dream down the road, if ever.

I hated being the one who stood out because of my size; the one who held others back because of my physical restrictions. The one who was in constant pain. I handicapped myself. I limited myself. I held myself back from doing the things that brought me joy. I have always been the one in control of my fate — and I needed to just get the hell out of my own way.

My wish, 5 years in, is that I find myself in constantly improving conditions for the next 5 years — and the 5 after that. What I wish is that I never find myself in the sad situation I was in those short years ago; the paralyzing fear that I had waited too long to start, the self-doubt that I would ever see the point where I stand today. Living inside my mind, then, was truly terrifying; I honestly thought I might have harmed my health to a point where death was a real possibility.

A heart attack. A stroke. A fall that might handicap me further.

One day, several years ago, after I’d already made the decision to lose weight, I found myself in a scary situation. I woke up one morning and my right knee (the one that has now been replaced) had locked. When it locked, it locked at an angle and could not be straightened. I could not put any weight on it at all.

The solution was to put my rigid brace on my knee and force my knee back into alignment. The problem? My brace was in the living room. We live in a small house; the hallway from our bedroom to the living room is roughly 15 feet long, if that long. Perhaps 25 feet total from my bedside to the living room, where my brace sat, and I was home, alone.

Hop on one foot? Not when you’re around 300 pounds, you don’t. At least not if you have bad knees and even worse balance. My cane was little help. I managed to inch my way into one of the spare bedrooms across the hallway and pull out the travel wheelchair, plop my butt down in it, and scoot my way down the hallway to the living room. By the time I managed to get my rigid brace on and get my knee back into alignment, close to one and a half hours had passed.

This is what I did to myself. By letting my health degrade to that point, I had willingly, little by little, handicapped myself. It was an unforgivable place to find myself — and that was not the only occasion when my knee has locked and prevented me from living a normal life. Where I have prevented myself from living a normal life.

So here I stand, 5 years down the road, and while my abilities are so much more than those horrible moments, I can never forget them or allow myself to return there. This is a battle I have waged for five years; and the truth is, there is no end. I accept that there is no end point — I will always have to remain at the ready, wary of letting myself fall back into old thinking and old ways.

I used to think that living with that constant awareness would be a hell of its own, but it really isn’t. Not now that I know my mind, my body, where I want to be, and how to get there. It’s an awareness that brings joy with each step I take that’s closer to normal. Each time I can be strong enough to make good choices. Each effort I make to become just slightly better than I am in this moment.

Those slight increments add up into hard-won miracles. All of us are sculptors of our own lives, and what I am creating for myself has brought me joy. Unlike the idea behind the sculpture featured in the photo above, the thin me is not emerging from the fat me; both are me. The choices I make on a daily basis decide what I am, today, from one moment to the next.


Skin Deep


Recently, a local business owner whose diner I occasionally frequent exclaimed, loudly enough for the seats in the back to hear, “Oh my God! How much weight have you lost?”

I think probably most people would see this attention as complimentary. For me, personally, it was embarrassing. I’m about 95% introvert (and the other 5% lives on the Internet!), so having any attention drawn to me, especially by someone who’s practically a stranger, makes me want to withdraw instead of proudly accept what they likely meant as a compliment.

This is one of many mental things that I have had to work on. After losing a lot of weight years ago, I allowed my weight loss to define me, and when I inevitably failed, I failed spectacularly and quite visibly.

We all deserve to love who we are and the skin we’re in.

This time around, I am not in the least bit interested in being defined by weight loss; it’s as distasteful to me as being defined by my weight when I was morbidly obese. It’s just another side of the same issue. Although it’s difficult to explain to those who have not been there, themselves, overtly identifying someone by their weight loss is not necessarily a compliment.

Don’t misunderstand; I am proud to have accomplished what I have to this point, and I accept praise from my friends. You all have been with me from the start, and you know the battles I’ve faced; I have been transparent because I have needed to work through these things, and I know I am not alone. If you as my friend pay me a compliment, I will appreciate it because I know you mean me well.

But it’s tricky. In the case of the diner owner, she went on to ask me how I was losing weight after I told her I had lost 182 pounds. I understand that’s a normal question, but from my angle, a bit nosy. I don’t discuss such things openly because I firmly believe everyone must find their own way; what’s right for me isn’t necessarily right for you. Add to this that I was in a restaurant and I had not yet ordered. Although I was only there to drink coffee, had I been there to eat, I would have felt as if my food choices would be scrutinized.

Besides, what if I had lost great amounts of weight because of personal tragedy? An eating disorder?  A health issue? This is one of those topics people should truly approach with caution.

A few weeks ago, I was leaving another restaurant when one of the servers asked me quietly how much weight I’d lost. She, too, has lost a great deal of weight, and we had a nice conversation. It was quiet, respectful, and I didn’t feel like I was under a microscope. Maybe she was less overt because she’s been in the same place; maybe she just found the right opportunity, but I appreciated her approach.

Believe me, I know it’s tough for those who deeply want to say something to someone who has obviously made a drastic change in their life. I compare it, though, to asking someone if they’re pregnant; if you’re wrong, you’re in trouble.

Be subtle and respectful, and most will respond in kind. Be loud and perhaps be wrong, and you’re likely to be remembered.

Back in 2005 or so, I remember a friend coming up to me and nicely telling me how proud she was that I was working so hard on losing weight. She told me how great I looked; and then her husband said “yeah, because you were ugly before!” The sad part was that even though his wife just about beat him up over it, he was absolutely sincere in what he said. And now, in 2018, I still remember how my gut wrenched when he said what he said, and how hurtful those words were.

These days, I don’t expect anyone to approach me with kid gloves. I have worked hard to separate my self-worth from my appearance. I was able to brush off the underlying thought of you must have thought I was a fat ass before when the diner owner exclaimed about my weight loss; she doesn’t really know me, anyway. All she knows is what she sees; she can only see skin deep.




I keep a small dry erase board in the bathroom; it has small sections for the days of the week and a magnet that can be moved as each day passes. This is my goal chart.

On it, I chart four things: exercise, daily step goals, self-care, and work. I keep a few little notes on the bottom of each day to remind me what I want to work on over and above these things. I work from home, and I wanted to put these things in a place where my mind would be on them. I know if I complete these four tasks each weekday, I can go to sleep at night happy with what I’ve accomplished during the course of the day.

My exercise includes stretches and leg-strengthening; these not only help me work on keeping my flexibility in my nifty new wish-it-was-bionic knee joint, but prepares the other knee for replacement. The step goals help me with endurance and walking a bit further each week. Self-care includes my practice time for orchestra as well as reading; things that restore me. And, of course, work is work — I have clients and projects to move forward.


Every single one of these goals is an investment in the future. I do them on faith; I trust that they move me toward something better every single time I undertake them. I do them because I have the desire to be better than I am in this moment.

But I also do them because they’re each a celebration of the effort I’ve put in, to this point.

Every step, every stretch of a muscle or ligament, is a reminder that not so long ago, these things weren’t possible. Just last week, I answered questions online about visiting a resort in Mexico when I was in a wheelchair; while I could walk very short distances with a cane, the visit was a challenge because the resort’s wheelchair ramps were not exactly ADA-compliant. (She says, with a bit of a wink.) Walking with no assistance is a gift, and my continued use of that gift only improves as time goes on.

The same holds true for just about everything in my life, these days; yes, I know I’ve beaten the things-are-so-much-better-now topic to death, but they really are. Every single thing in my life has benefited from the core desire to improve my health. Things you wouldn’t think about, like feeling more focused when working. Or having better lung capacity when playing an instrument.

It’s a package deal, and just like a bank account, the more I put into it, the more I get out of it. In the occasional small moments, I still would rather just sit around and do nothing for a while; and sure, we all need these moments of restoration, but these days, that’s just a small part of the package deal, rather than pulling back from doing things because they’re difficult or painful.

This gift means I can look forward to things I thought were lost to me; hiking, occasionally dancing, looking forward to things like riding a bike again, scuba diving, or riding a spinnaker sail. The lower in weight you are, the more you’re likely to fly! I no longer see these things as something to just get through — not when they allow me to participate instead of sitting on the sidelines and envying those who can do them.


(I took the video, below, while sailing in Mexico. That is NOT ME flipping off that spinnaker!)


The Unexpected


As I creep closer to my fifth anniversary on this journey (early next month!), I’ve been giving a lot of thought to expectations.

When I finally decided to give weight loss one more try, my expectations were low. I faked it until I actually worked up the necessary commitment, which took a while. I’ve failed so many times over the course of my lifetime that I didn’t believe for one second that I was capable of getting much past that first day.

I did it, though, with many days passing since then. In fact, 1,809 days.

When I took my beginning stats — my weight, my beginning measurements, my “before” photos — I had one hell of a cry. I made a video to myself so I could actually see and remember what that day felt like. How horrible I felt, how difficult it was for me to move, how ashamed I was of what I’d become. I didn’t need anyone to tell me what a failure I was; every look in the mirror, every laborious attempt to get up off the couch, every time I had to rearrange my body to just put on clothing, every horrible process of hygiene that I will not describe here. (I’ve made several videos since then, and I’m just about due for another.)

Credit: The Oatmeal –

I have no idea what others expected of me, but I suspect the bar was set pretty low. I’ve been around long enough that many of my longtime friends have seen me from my thinnest to my fattest; several times over. I wonder how many times I was the subject of discussion when I wasn’t around; how worried they may have been for me, how disappointed they might have been when I have regained weight time and time again. I know it was out of concern for me, not disgust at my weight; when you love someone, you want them to succeed, and it hurts to see them fail.

The thing is — we forget. It’s human nature. It’s why we can move on after tough times. But it’s also our downfall.

It’s why people start smoking, again, after a heart attack. Why we slide back into old habits that we know aren’t good for us. Why we repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Why we jump on the diet train and derail.

I sometimes wonder — at what point did my friends and family figure stop wondering not if but when — I’d go off the tracks again? Or are they still holding their collective breath, expecting that I might stop making progress? Do they have any more faith in me to succeed than I do in myself?

Because, even though I feel certain that I will finally reach a point where I can modulate into maintenance (for the rest of my life), I am keenly aware that failure comes when you’re not looking. When you’re not prepared. When you don’t fully embrace a change for all it’s worth. When you don’t fully understand and accept change.

When you forget.

I strive hard not to forget the lessons I’ve learned these past almost-five years. It’s why this blog exists. It’s a mental check-in to make sure I never, ever go back to where I was, before. And perhaps in that light, I’m doing the unexpected. I’m mindful of the places I’ve been and what I experienced. I have to get up every day and challenge myself to keep doing the unexpected.

Do what no one expects of you. Your life will change for the better.

(Credit: RIP, Aretha. You did the unexpected in so many ways. Nossum Dorma — No One Sleeps.)

The Other Side


There are days, like today, where I feel like I woke up with a new body. I’ve spent part of the morning going through clothing and separating out what’s wearable and what’s not, even though I already did this at my lowest weight before surgery. And I am not back to that lowest weight, yet, although I’m very close. (Hopefully, I’ll be in a loss situation by next week’s blog.)

While I’m a big believer in non-scale victories (NSV), I also tend to get hung up on what the scale says. I also tend to still think of myself as obese — not in the stinkin’-rotten BMI sense of the word, but as someone who’s grossly overweight and carries the social stigma of being considered as other. Someone who lives on the far side of an invisible barrier that few get to cross.

I felt something different this morning; an excitement as I realized that my body has continued to change, despite not yet being at my lowest. That number was back in the spring, before knee surgery, before physical therapy, before a temporary increase in weight (and the process to re-lose those pounds), before working my legs to strengthen one after surgery and the other before the next, before hitting my stride again with walking.

Nah, if it’s too *big*, I’ll get rid of it!

I was quite surprised to find that I could lay aside more clothes for the donation pile, and move some up from my too-small drawer (which is looking pretty scant these days). I also tried on a dress I bought back in the spring that was too small, then, and now needs to be altered to fit on top, and a few dresses that have hung in my closet in excess of a decade, waiting for wearing.

Well, the waiting is over! All I need is a few occasions where I can wear them and I’m set. I can finally cut those clearance tags off. (Yes, I’m bad about leaving tags on clothing that doesn’t fit, yet — maybe as a “well, it wasn’t THAT expensive!” thought to console myself for blowing money on something that doesn’t fit.)

I’m at the point, now, where I have a few items that are still too small; a couple pair of jeans, a dress I bought as a goal dress back around 15 years ago, and a leather coat that has been around for almost as long that I should be able to wear this winter with no problems. In short, the number of things in my home that are too small is probably the same number of too-small clothes normal women have.

Maybe even less!

Every single thing is in a regular size; no more plus sizes, with very few exceptions. And those exceptions are items that ran very small to begin with. I actually cut through the plus-size section of my local Walmart the other day, saw something cute hanging up on the wall, and then realized that I don’t wear those sizes anymore.

I’m no longer other; the only one who treats me as if I am… is me. I need to give myself permission to allow myself to enjoy normalcy without forgetting the lessons I’ve learned over previous years. My life is on the other side of that invisible barrier, now. I intend to stay.

On a related subject, when I went into my orthopedic surgeon’s office last year to see about getting on the list for knee replacement, I hit a wall thanks to a PA who regarded me as other. He told me to come back when I lost weight. I had to delay surgery because I didn’t lose the weight and there’s a part of me that has always thought well, he won that round. Later, I was able to lose the weight and had to weigh in to prove it, but I did it.

Yesterday, I had my two-month post-surgery follow-up with my surgeon’s office. I didn’t expect to see the surgeon — or, for that matter, the PA who disregarded me the first time; I hadn’t seen him since that day last year. Until yesterday. He was very professional. I no longer felt as if he regarded me as he did, before. Neither did the surgeon, but he’s the one who helped me find other ways to accomplish my goals. My weight is no longer a factor with their office; no one has asked me to step up on a scale to make sure I’m within the right BMI range.

So here I stand, perfectly normal, and I’m no longer other. Sometimes, it’s like a fairy tale, where I’ve been given the gift to relive my life. I can never forget, though, that this is a gift I worked hard for and gave to myself.


Fall In Line


When I started this journey nearly five years ago, I did it only for myself. Not for my husband, not for my loved ones.

And certainly not for the health insurance company, although you’d think they’d be pleased with my success.

If you’ve been reading my blog over the last year or so, you know I’ve already had some weight-related issues that at first made me ineligible for knee replacement surgery; the dreaded BMI, no doubt a requirement of my insurance company. I slew that dragon, and it won’t be a factor in my second knee replacement surgery.

But now, our insurance company will only extend a “wellness benefit” if you cough up certain information, including — you guessed it — a BMI. They have already said that by next year, any BMI over 30 will automatically require the insured person to participate in a weight loss program (supplied by an insurance company vendor, of course!) or they will not be eligible for the wellness discount.

Whoa, wait a minute. These two things are NOT the same!

According to the stats and charts, a BMI over 30 is considered obese. It makes no difference if that person is a bodybuilder or a couch potato; just punch your height and weight into the calculator, and voila! You’ve been reduced to a number that means nothing to anyone except an insurance company that wants to hold it against you. (I’ll also add that they want waist measurements, as well as some other health-related things that are all in the name of lowering our health risk.)

I’m not going to debate whether these are necessarily good things in the long run. Any positive move toward health is a good thing in my book. What bothers me is being told not just to lose weight — but how to do it. If I don’t manage to make the statisticians happy, I will be instructed on what’s best for me, despite having solidly proven that I already know what works best for me. When it comes to weight reduction, there is a lot of bias.

While I think getting under a BMI of 30 is achievable within the next year, I also resent the entire idea that it doesn’t matter what your body composition is. I likely have somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-30 pounds of excess skin, and that will be held against me. Remove that skin, and I am already under their “healthy BMI” number, or nearly so.

Personally, I refuse to do anything that will jeopardize my success. I am far too close, now, to allow for the whims of a nondescript entity — or anyone else, for that matter — to dictate my health to me.

I am the one in control. I am strong. And I will not simply fall in line.


Size Matters


All jokes aside… does size matter?

According to Racked.Com, 68% of American women wear size 14 — and above. And that number is steadily increasing.

The average woman is 5’3” (a mere inch taller than me), weighs 168.5 pounds, and wears a size 16-18.

I find these stats surprising; not because of whatever research resulted in these numbers (and its validity), but because, according to Racked, I’m pretty darned average these days. I’m a little bit shorter, I still weigh a bit more than their average number, but I actually have a few clothing pieces around that say size 14 on the tag.

Normal? Average? Me?

I have a cedar chest that holds the largest size clothing I ever wore. That includes a pair of jeans in size 32. At that time, that was the largest size the clothing store Catherine’s sold. I was absolutely horrified when I realized that — and yet, there I was.

And here I am. I’m thrilled to death to be under conventional plus sizes; regardless of how the industry looks at it, I go by what the clothing stores generally offer: up to 18 in regular sizes, plus sizes in 16 and up. (Racked considers everything 14 and up to be “plus” sizing, whether it’s marked that way or not.) Not because that number on the tag really means anything — other than price, availability, and style. For whatever reason, a lot of stores still consider anyone in plus sizes as dowdy, old, and shapeless.

The number on the tag doesn’t mean much to me. I know vanity sizing is a big thing; what used to be a size 14 years ago is probably a 10, now. It sells clothing when people think they’re in a smaller size, which just goes to show what a mental game size really is.

Right? RRRiiiigggghhhttt????!

Me, I’m more concerned with the actual measurements of the clothing. Like pretty much every other woman in existence, I have clothing in three or four sizes and they fit the same. There’s not much in the way of consistency. That’s not my point, though.

I don’t think of myself as average. As normal. There may never come a day when I am totally free of the mental idea of being a large sized woman, no matter how much weight I eventually lose. Maybe that’s a good thing, in the long run; I’ve stopped flogging myself for my clothing size, but a little reality check keeps me honest. I know when my clothes get snug that I’d better do something to keep the situation under control.

There are times when I feel like I’m in disguise, passing as a normal person. As if I’m really someone else, and if people look hard enough, they’ll see the real me instead of the poser in front of them. I sometimes feel as if I need to bring up my history as a morbidly obese woman as a way to establish myself. Maybe even apologize. What for, I have no idea.

These days, I make a big effort to fight that part of me that feels like a fraud in this body. Every day, I feel a bit more like I imagine everyone else feels; it just took me a lot more effort to get here. I often take a deep breath, remind myself that I don’t owe anyone an explanation for my existence, and push forward. I am who I am; take me or leave me. After all, we all have a history.

So yeah, in a different way, size matters.

(PS: hubby will be thrilled that I’ve included yet another country song.)