One of the things that Jennifer (my health coach) encourages us to do is to get rid of any clothing items that no longer fit. Sell them, donate them, or give them to a friend – just get them out of your closet because they no longer represent you. And even more important, they won’t represent you in the future, either. This process of discarding any ill-fitting items has been an absolute joy for me. I have exactly ZERO attachment to the tents and mumus that used to drape over my limbs in an attempt to minimize my fatness. Girl, please! Minimizing strategies are such bologna anyway. No vertical strip could ever hide the fact that I was 300lbs. And the only thing that wearing Spanx accomplishes at that size is to push all the fat up in one direction, and push all the fat down in the other direction – resulting in the words most unsavory and blorping hour-glass shape imaginable. So, yeah, I am gleefully bagging up anything and everything that doesn’t fit, and then swiftly showing it the door. Bye, Felicia!
In contrast to tossing out my fat clothes, I have always kept a smattering of beloved items that either no-longer fit – or frankly, never fit (like, not even one time) but that I loved enough to drag from county-to-county and home-to-home for years and years. Two of my favorite items that have remained in my closet despite never ever being able to wear them, are brand new (with tags) Lululemon jackets. Brand new when I purchased them nine years ago, technically speaking. I remember buying them with my husband Craig. I tried them on in the store and they almost fit. We discussed how they could be my goal jackets (I just laughed out loud typing that). I must have been on some kind of diet or exercise regime that had resulted in dropping a few pounds, which gave me the confidence that I would indeed someday soon be wandering around the streets of Palo Alto in my fancy “goal” athleisure-wear. Although, in my defense, these jackets are pre-Luon debacle and of the highest quality.
Anyway, as you can guess, I never did reach my goal. Not even close. In the years that followed that trip to Lululemon, I gained close to 100 pounds. Every time I moved or reorganized my closet, I would find the two jackets and feel sad. Still, I kept them just in case I ever got my act together and lost the weight. And thank goodness I did, because last week, I was purging my closet of things that no longer fit and came across my two goal jackets. I lifted them up, holding them up against the light and wondered, “what if..” I must not have had much confidence in them fitting, because I didn’t even take the tags off as I slipped the first one over my head. OMFG it fits, I thought. At least, I think it might fit. I went for the second opinion and asked my husband if he thought I could wear it out in public. “Absolutely!”, he shouted. It looks great, and you’re rocking it, he crooned. So I wore it to the kids soccer practice, and three separate moms asked me where I got it and if I thought there may be any left. Only if you have a time machine, ladies – this swag is thoroughly vintage. The next day, I wore the pink oxford striped jacket to work, and had the same reaction. Where did you get that, and how can I get one? It sounds so crazy to be dedicating an entire blog post to jackets, but this is honestly one of the most significant and profound happenings of my weightloss journey so far. These to jackets have meaning, and are representative of who I wanted to be for so long, but couldn’t get out of my own way to get there. Until now.
I am a good skier. I grew up spending most of my weekends on the mountains around Vancouver, Canada. It is one of two sports that I am truly confident participating in. I love golf too, but that has more to do with my husband stocking our cart with cocktails and teeing up my errant balls in the middle of the fairway, than actual skill. I love the feeling of gliding down a snow packed slope. The cold wind in my face, and the promise of a warm fire and a cold beer waiting for me at the bottom. Plus, it is one of two sports that am better at than Craig – and I remind him of that frequently (there aren’t many things that I can do better than my man). I love skiing, but I haven’t been on a slope for almost a decade. The first year or two of missing out likely had more to do with being in love and buying a house, and barely being able to afford the grilled cheese sandwiches that we lived on. Still kind of a bummer, but totally excusable. And sure, there were two years when I was pregnant, but the rest of the years off were because I couldn’t zip my ski jacket up. Instead of buying a bigger jacket, I alternated between berated myself for allowing things to get so off track and using my ski jacket as a goal to reach. What is with my goals being tied to jackets? Needless to say, I never did make it back on the mountain. Even when we took trips to Tahoe, I offered to watch the kids so that others could go. Because, you know, nothing says fun like taking 8 kids to Build-A-Bear on a gorgeous bluebird winter day. Fact: Build-A-Bear is why they have cocktail stations on ever corner at Northstar. Also a fact: if you disguise your cocktails in coffee cups, the Build-A-Bear employees turn a blind eye. God bless the compassionate folks at the Northstar Build-A-Bear. Amen and pass the vodka.
Back in February of this year, I tried on my ski jacket for the first time in a very long time. I was getting real with where I was at, and my ski jacket represented both were I was, and where I wanted to be. I love my ski jacket. It is a black and somewhat puffy North Face jacket that I splurged on, a) because I loved it so much, and b) because it fit. Even though I weighed much less than 325 pounds (the absolute highest I ever got to), I still wasn’t the kind of broad who could just waltz into a J Crew and have a shopping spree. North Face was another brand that wasn’t exactly made for my body, so I jumped for joy when it fit (one decade ago). I pulled my arms through the sleeves and heaved it over my shoulders. The sleeves were above my wrists when I held my hands in front of my body, if that gives you an idea of how ill-fitting it was. I moved to zip it up. The sleeves were essentially a clown car! Deep breath. Now try zipping it up, I thought. I couldn’t get the two sides of the jacket to meet within 10 inches. TEN INCHES! I tried to laugh it off with my husband, hiding the shame. If getting honest about where I was in this process was the intention, this was like shock therapy. I don’t know how I had the balls to do it, but I asked Craig to take a photo of me. And then I went on with my life and forgot all about it.
Next week, the family and I are heading to Northstar for Thanksgiving. Naturally, I have been thinking about what we’ll need to bring with us, so while I was puttering around the house on Sunday doing chores, I noticed my ski jacket hanging in my closet. I brought it down and noticed the dust that had accumulated on the shoulders. I gave it a shake and held it up – yup, I still loved it as much as I ever did. The last time I tried it on, I knew there wasn’t any hope that it would fit me. The last time I tried it on, it was a joke. The last time I tried it on, I felt the hot sting of shame rise up in me. The thought of “what if” entered my mind, just like it did when I tried on the two Lululemon jackets. I went for it. First, sliding my hands through the sleeves and holding them out in front of me. The clown car was gone. Next, I grabbed both sides of the jacket and pulled them together. They touched! Lastly, I held on to the two sides of the zipper. It slipped inside and zipped up almost effortlessly. I stood in my bedroom and stared at myself in the mirror. Warm tears of surprise and redemption streaming down my face. I ran to show Craig. He was so proud of me. I was so proud of me. We recreated the same photo in the same spot, where I had last worn the jacket back in February. It still blows my mind to think that I am 10 or more inches narrower than I was at the beginning of this year. I feel so effing proud of myself. I am lighter in every way – and while I still have a long road ahead, I know that I am unstoppable.
Vodka sales in the village are going to take a dive next week. If you’re looking for me, try the slopes. I will be the one in the black puffy North Face jacket.