You don’t want to buy that dress or shop for new jeans until you’re at least 5,10, 15, 20+ kilos thinner than you are now.
You imagine this beautiful new wardrobe you’ll buy when you’re skinny and image how fantastic and confident you will feel.
I get it. I used to think the same.
I've had lots of ups and downs with my own weight. When I went through my "heaviest phases" (read: I was binging every day), I didn't even want to get dressed in the morning. I dreaded opening my closet, trying on some old jeans and realizing I couldn't get them past my thighs. And even though I could barely fit into anything in my closet, I refused to buy myself some new wardrobe staples. That would be like waving the white flag, right? And hell to the no was I ready to do that. On the other hand, during my "lighter days", I was rocking my size 0 jeans from the kid's section that I was beyond excited to fit into again. I loved dressing up, going out, showing off my slim figure and fitting into mini skirts that I bought when I was 13.
Essentially, I had clothes for all my different life phases. Certain pieces represented a triumph in my quest towards skinnyland while others represented my darkest days. Specific outfits brought up different emotions and brought me back to despair or elation-depending on the day and dress size.
But no matter what the size, I always had a little voice in my head saying:
"Don't buy new clothes now, because you will loose (more) weight again soon. There's no point in wasting money now, because I know that I will soon be skinny again. I just HAVE to."
The thing is this - I was LITERALLY putting my life on hold waiting to be skinny. I would fantasize about what it will be like when I reach my long-awaited goal. The dream of being skinny, of having a thigh gap, of rocking fashionable outfits that I thought looked horrendous on my in my current state.
But let me tell you why waiting until you lose weight before you buy clothes is the worst idea ever:
- It keeps you feeling like crap about yourself - If you’re only allowed to buy clothes when you’re thin, what does that say about your self-worth right now? Are you not worthy of feeling good about yourself in your skin, just as you are right now?
It keeps you trapped in the fantasy that being skinny will make all your problems disappear - many of us unconsciously believe that all of our suffering is due to our dress size, from our unloveable appearance, complicated relationships, problems with work colleagues, dissatisfactory social life etc. Our weight is to blame. So we believe that when the weight disappears, it will take old wounds, hurts, and rejections with it. Oh silly us. How many times have people gone through an inspirational weight loss journey only to realize that they still feel like a fat person at the end of it all - unworthy, unlovable, damaged. Geneen Roth, one of my favorite authors on this topic, said it best: "Consider a milk carton. No matter what you do to change its shape--switch the spout to the other side, round the corners, cut off the top--you know that what's inside is milk. Not apple juice, not vegetable soup, but milk. But somehow we don't know that changing how we look on the outside--shedding pounds or cinching in our waists a few inches--doesn't change what we are, either."
- It only increases the self-destructive relationship you have with your body - Hating your body and refusing to make it feel physically comfortable (aka forcing yourself into jeans that are 2 sizes two small!) is simply an added means of torture. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life. I don't mean that you should accept being fat, overweight or with a couple kilos extra. By all means, if you want to change this, then go for it. But don't make yourself be miserable in the process.
The bottom line is this:
Being thin will NEVER EVER do what you think it's going to do.
You think you want to be skinny, but what you're actually craving are the emotions that you associate with it - being confident, comfortable, welcomed, admired, respected and accepted. Unfortunately, in today's society, thinness is the purported currency of happiness and that's why so many of us get "confused", which is why I think so many of us are struggling....But once you understand that this equation will never add up, you can have whatever you believe that being thin will give you, and you can have it now.
The only way to do it? By starting to live as though you love yourself. By making a commitment to be kind to yourself and by not letting anything stand in your way. By setting aside time for yourself daily. By being vigilant about acting on your own behalf. By beginning today. And in terms of your closet situation (because let's face it, if nothing fits, you're in a bit of a pickle even if you love yourself unconditionally), here's what I suggest:
- Clean out your closet - Throw away what makes you feel shit. I know this step can be INCREDIBLY hard for some of us, but you have to rip off the bandage and just do it if you want to move on. [Little story about myself: I had this one pair of size 00 Diesel jeans from the kids section that I got when I was 14, and that I could literally only get up to my knees, and yet I kept it till I was about 19. I just couldn't let go if it. It represented so much to me, and so I held on to it over the years. It was only years later that I really understood the emotional torture I was inflicting on myself with this, that I was ready to let go. And let go in style I did - I took out the biggest scissors I could find and cut them into a million pieces! Ohhhh the relief I felt in that moment! It was as if all the pressure I had imposed on myself was lifted in an instance.....] --> PS I've done this with a couple of my clients and they all had the same exhilarating experience once they let of those specific items that were haunting them.
- Get yourself a couple new pieces that make you feel good now - This point doesn't need further explanation. Just go out and do it. But please be mindful of the emotions that will come up, as it will likely be a bit of an emotional whirlwind. My tip would be to make sure that you have some time for yourself after going shopping to reflect on the experience. Maybe some journaling, going for a walk or talking it through with a friend?