Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Great Closet Purge

I spent most of today in the closet.

Here are the before pictures.

I am the luckiest girl in the world, right? I have so many clothes!

It's an illusion. I mean, yes, I have a lot of clothes. But, sadly, most of them don't fit.

This is what my closet looks like now.

I really did it. I got rid of everything that doesn't fit and make me feel great. I have four large bags of clothes in my car ready to go to Goodwill and about the same quantity of items hanging in an empty closet downstairs. I am giving myself six months. At the end of that time period, whatever is in the downstairs closet that STILL doesn't fit and make me feel great is also out the door. And then I will start rebuilding my wardrobe.

My fifteen year old said today was like watching an episode of What Not To Wear, except I didn't get a $5000 VISA gift card to spend on new clothes when I was finished.

True dat. 

This was one of the most depressing things I have done in a long while. And I haven't even sorted through the drawers in those plastic bins you see, nor those in my chest of drawers. There is only so much pain a person can take in one day. 

Yes. I cried real tears.

My weight has fluctuated wildly through the years; at my heaviest, in my junior year of high school, I tipped the scales at nearly 160 pounds. Since then, the number has gone up and down for various reasons, including pregnancy, but post-divorce it stabilized at 105, which I really felt was an ideal weight for me. I wore a size 0 for several years and felt really great about my body.

But then menopause hit and my body betrayed me. I am 5'2"; five pounds is a dress size. Which explains why so little in my closet fits me any more. 

Not even close.

The irony is that my weight is within the "normal" range on the BMI charts. No one would look at me and accuse me of being overweight. I have an under active thyroid but I take medication to treat it; my doctor says that my weight is fine from a medical standpoint, and he doesn't recommend that I exercise more than I already do (35-45 minutes a day on the elliptical). 

Which means that, to a large extent, this problem is in my head. Or is it in somebody else's head? Like the guy who rejected me when I weighed 105 pounds and decided I wasn't as "slim and slender" as he originally thought? Because even when I got down to 95 pounds in an effort to please him - rendering me clinically underweight - I still had curves. Yet at that point in our relationship he still felt compelled to tell me about the woman he had dated before me who had the kind of body he really craved. 

One with thin thighs.

It kind of makes me sick to think about it. 

Honestly? The self-assured, grown-up part of me wants to accept this healthy, middle aged body as it is, scrape together some money, and buy clothes that fit. 

But the overweight teenager that still lives deep inside me is determined to get back into those cute little Victoria's Secret jeans and elegant Talbots dresses hanging in the closet downstairs.

Toward that end,  I have downloaded an app for my iPhone called Lose It! (also available online - click HERE) which requires me to track every bite of food I eat and every calorie I burn up through exercise. Provided I am able to stay with the program, I will reach my weight loss goal on November 3, 2011. And it it's not going to be easy; 1151 calories a day isn't very many. But right this minute I am feeling pretty motivated. So wish me luck.

I am looking forward to trying Denise's coffee drink (click HERE) tomorrow. I bought the necessary ingredients this evening. Karma thinks it all looks pretty good, too.

Do you struggle with body issues? Do you have any tips/recipes to share?


Playground Monitor said...

I'm 5'3" and have been struggling with weight post-divorce. Two dietician friends told me it's because stress releases cortisol into your system and that attracts fat to the midsection.

I got rid of a bunch of clothes not long ago. I spent 3 months on Weight Watchers and lost NOTHING. WW is a good program, but I don't think it's designed for stress weight.

So now I have these horrid body issues. I think I'm fat yet like you, my weight falls within the norm for my height. Whose norm, I ask???

Tomorrow I'm going to see an acupunturist to discuss using this modality for weight loss/stress management/digestive woes/ various aches and pains and anything else it can help with.

I'm ready to try almost anything. And acupuncure worked wonders on an inflamed muscle in my back about 15 years ago.


Pam Asberry said...

"Fat to the midsection" - to me, that describes postmenopausal weight gain. I actually LOST weight post-divorce due to stress. I guess our premenopausal and postmenopausal bodies react differently. I will be curious to find out what you learn from the acupuncturist. At this point, I am about ready to try almost anything, too!

Playground Monitor said...

I lost weight initially -- 15 pounds. But once the initial shock was over and I had to deal with the reality that after 37 years I was going to be alone, the stress set in. There are other stressors at play too. I'm one big ball of stress.

We can discuss acupuncture over dinner Friday!


Pam Asberry said...

Sounds like a plan, Marilyn! I think we are going to have A LOT to talk about! :-)

Nora B. Peevy said...

Hi Pam,

I read your post and it made me sad. For a few reasons. One is that I can relate. I used to be fit and active, but in 2003 I was diagnosed with severe fibromyalgia and just a few years ago I had myself declared legally disabled. I cannot do what I once could. I have had a lot of health issues related to the disease and then last year I spent the entire year recovering from a very severe car accident. In January of 2010 I was hit by a semi. Nothing like that to wake you up and make you realize what is important.

I am sad for you and all of us women because we really feel the pressure to be a perfect body image that the media portrays us as. And a size 0 is really not healthy for most people, unless you are naturally that thin. We are taught from a young age to hate our bodies and not love ourselves. And then we worry about what men will think, instead of what we think of ourselves, which is the most important person -- you.

Don't worry about what your weight is or what size you wear. That is just a number. Do you look good? Are you healthy? Do you feel good? Those are the important questions.

Diets are not a permanent solution for me. Learning to figure out what stressors cause you to eat and gain weight is. I know for a long time after my divorce I ate when I was unhappy and stressed. Now I find myself asking: Am I really hungry? Am I eating because I am sad or unhappy? And I realize that eating for those two reasons will only make me feel worse about myself. It's a struggle, but I'm working on it.

Seriously, if you think about being a zero, who wants to be a nothing? I would rather be a number. Whoever came up with that size is an idiot. It is teaching young women really ridiculous values. I know that self-esteem is important. Things like this just chip away at people's. If your clothes fit nicely on you, don't worry.

I have a thyroid issue too, but mine is the opposite. I have a slow thyroid, which is made worse by the fact that my metabolism is slow from being inactive and all the cortisone meds I have been on in the past few years for health reasons/injuries. It is a slow road, but I am getting where I want to go.

I'm eating what I want, but less at a time. And I'm not calorie counting. I have lost about 22 pounds so far. I find that if you diet, you crave things and then you binge. You gain it back. Learning to eat better and not skipping things I want has worked for me. Maybe, it will work for you too and then you won't have to count calories. Counting calories made me crazy. LOL I also enjoy working out to the best of my ability. It is a good stress relief. Waaaay better than binge eating.

Hope this helps some.


Pam Asberry said...

Nora, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I am so sorry that you struggle with so many health issues; I cannot even imagine. And then were in an auto accident - hit by a semi? I don't need to tell you that you are lucky to be alive!

But so am I - so are we all - and I realize that. I have much to be thankful for, and I truly AM thankful. The fact is we live in a society obsessed with thinness - to an unhealthy extent. Honestly? Aspiring to fit into a size 0 is probably not realistic for me at this stage of my life. But I really AM short in stature and small-boned to boot, and I truly would look and feel better about 10 pounds thinner. Whatever size I am when I get there is the size I will shop for and try to maintain.

In the meantime, I am going to try very hard to love myself just the way I am - feeding myself healthy food (less chocolate and red wine, more fruits and veggies and whole grains) and exercising regularly (for my mental health as well as my physical health). And I am going to take my unwanted clothes to a secondhand store and use whatever cash they give me to buy a couple of things that fit me NOW.

Good luck to you in your quest for health and well-being. And thanks again for joining the conversation.


Marilyn Baron said...

Yes, I struggle with body issues and if I gave you a recipe it would be a fattening one, so I won't. I also struggle with closet issues. Every room in my house (except my office) looks neat, except my closet. I would love for my closet to look like your before pictures.
Marilyn Baron

Pam Asberry said...

Marilyn, this seems to be a real "hot button" for a lot of women. For me,going through my closet was freeing. Not that it was easy! But now that all the "guilt" is gone, I am more motivated than ever to pursue health and fitness. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

S.M. Carrière said...

I've struggled with body issues since I was about 16. I still do, but more and more, I'm reminding myself that I'm healthy and strong, and if some guy doesn't like my build, he can go suck it.

I feel for you with that terrible man who prefers anorexic-looking women! I hope that one day I'll meet a man who appreciates my hips!

Honestly, I feel quite jealous of you at 105 pounds. I'd have to be dead a few months before I ever weighed 105! I hover at my least heavy around 169 pounds. It's a little depressing to think that I weigh as much as many of the blokes in my kick-boxing class.

I'm trying desperately to lose the weight I seem to perpetually carry around my middle. Genetics plays a part, unfortunately, so it really is an uphill battle.

However, there are just some things that I will not give up in the quest for weight loss. I am not comfortable giving up my health just to look a certain way.

I would rather remain chubby, but healthy than be slender and ill. I hope to one day meet a guy who prefers the same!

I so much hate the term "thin" to describe "beautiful." I think the U.K. has it much better. Their word for attractive is "fit." Now that's something worth aspiring to!

I agree with Nora 100%. It's not the weight, but the other stuff - health, general feeling of well-being etc that counts.

A male friend once said to me, "Sexiness has nothing to do with size. It's all about her attitude."

I'm hoping he's right!

SAIDFRAZ said...

While it happened really far back I have to tell you, we all really hated that jerk that did a psychological number on you, so glad he's long gone!

You are beautiful inside and out, but I understand that it's what you think about yourself that really has the biggest imprint on your life. Good for you for working on it, just don't let it take over your life. Of course I could probably take some lessons from you about the whole topic :)

Julee J. Adams said...

1. Saidfraz is right, F#@% the jerk who told you you weren't good enough and not in a good way. Didn't know I'd developed such a potty mouth in my old age, did you?
2. Absolutely, take your clothes to a consignment shop and get a few more pieces that work with what you've got that you love. I did that earlier in the year. While it was difficult letting go of my "good clothes," I don't need the stress of trying to figure out where to put things or finding them. I still have a long way to go, by the way.
3. While I am a few inches taller than you, at my thinnest (sr. year HS, when I had mono), I was only 128. My issue now is belly fat and genetically high cholesterol. I am about half-way to my goal of ten lbs. lost by September. Imagine what I could do if I exercised more? What I'm saying is, I worry about your strict dieting. More whole grains, more water, regular sleep (Pot. Kettle. Black.) and more fruits and veggies with the caveat of portion control will get you where you should be in a healthier, if slower way. Just sayin', 'cause I love you and want you to be happy and around for a long time. Take care and SEE YOU SOON!!!! Calling Debbie tonight.

Pam Asberry said...

I'm with you, S.M.; there are certain things I will not give up in order to be thin. For example, if I have to starve myself to hit a particular number, on the scales or a dress size, then it just won't happen. I'm giving myself six months to lose 15 pounds; that seems like a reasonable, healthy goal. In the meantime, "Sexiness is an attitude" is my new motto! :-)

Pam Asberry said...

You are so sweet, Sherri. Yes, it was a long time ago, but it still stings like it was yesterday. Why I spent four years with that man is a topic for another blog post. In the meantime, I am going to focus on being healthy and fit, like S.M. suggested. And stay away from toxic people!

Pam Asberry said...

Thanks, Julee. My trip to the consignment store was one hundred percent unproductive; it was a teenybopper store and I had teenybopper name brands - Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic - but my stuff was too old. I guess I could try an "old lady" store, but honestly I don't want to spend any more time on it. I'm on my way to a beading class in Alpharetta; I'm going to dump those bags at Goodwill on the way and be done with it, once and for all. Can't wait to hear what Debbie has to say; it's gonna be SO GOOD to see you guys! :-)

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

Wishing you good luck with your weight loss goals. It's just really sad when you weigh 105 and a man still doesn't think you're thin enough. :( I'd say he doesn't deserve you! Doesn't hurt to be healthy, but be happy with who you are. The rest will fall into place. :)

I did the same as you...cleaned three closets out, took four huge garbage bags of clothes to Good Will. Got three more closets to go. Hope I don't get lost in all the clutter. lol.

Pam Asberry said...

Well done, Lisa! I have two more closets to declutter, as well, but they are just going to have to wait. At least I don't have to look inside them every day, like I do my master bedroom closet! As for OCD guy, he is long gone - still single and miserable, last I heard. Thank you so much for following my blog and leaving a comment. I look forward to getting to know you better!

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

Same here, Pam. :) Wish me luck on declutter the rest of my closets. I want them done before school starts back up.

Pam Asberry said...

Good luck, Lisa! That sounds like a great goal! :-)

Nora B. Peevy said...

Pam, I am only 5'3" as well. LOL I like my stature, but when you gain weight, there's not as many places to hide it. I understand. Good luck!

Pam Asberry said...

I like my stature too, Nora; like I always say, "I'm not short; I'm fun-sized!" LOL! Hope you have a great weekend.