January 08, 2010

Faking It 'Til You Start Making It...And Some Other Useful Stuff Too

Umm....could I get an escalator
or a helicopter here?
Photo: Northern green pixie

If you made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight then you’ve probably weighed yourself by now (and maybe on an hourly basis if you’re a type A personality). Anyone new to this game might be disappointed that they didn’t get the same results as the contestants on “The Biggest Loser” do in their first week. Okay, chances are you didn’t have a personal trainer, doctor, nutritionist, housekeeper, cook and camera crew on call 24/7. But then again, your weight loss isn’t being promoted as “entertainment” and broadcast to millions of people either so there are obvious tradeoffs.

Maybe you’ve even gone as far as to tell everyone you know that you’re going to lose weight this year. I’ve had mixed success with that one. On the one hand, it helps keep you accountable for your actions. On the other hand, you have people’s expectations up to see a smaller you every time you get together – which probably accounts for me becoming such a loner these days. Talk about pressure! But relax, there are a few things you can do to give the illusion of weight loss until your actual workouts catch up with your goals.

It’s been said before but it bears repeating: Ladies, make sure you’re wearing the right bra. A bra without the proper support impacts your whole appearance and makes you seems pounds heavier than you really are. Get the girls (in my case, “Ethel and Lucy”) a decent fitting and you’ll be surprised how much slimmer you look when they’re sitting up high and proud. And as for finding the right sports bra, my co-blogger, Jo, had this post about how to find the one that’s best for you.

Being more aware of your posture is another favor you can do for yourself. Most of us don’t even notice when our inner knuckle dragger starts taking over our profile but this would be an excellent time to take notice. I know, I know - pulling your shoulders back and throwing your chest forward could put an eye out but consider the alternative of presenting a bearing of low self-confidence. Stand tall! You’re going to get this done – not shrink back into slacker mode. Standing straighter gives you a more proportioned look . Added height always translates into a slimmer presence (I have tried stilts – not recommended).

Great balance, lousy posture
Photo: Super Fantastic

Wearing properly fitting clothes is another way to look slimmer before you’ve actually lost any weight. This hasn’t always been something totally under our control until fairly recently. Much of the plus-size clothing is cheaply made and even cheaper looking. Why, what grown woman wouldn’t love wearing a sequined Pooh tee shirt! And make sure those petroleum-based stretch pants don’t get too close to an open flame, now. But, even though the progress towards decent women’s wear has been glacial, there are some retailers who either cater to or offer a plus-size category to their store. Lane Bryant is a long-time plus-size retailer and once the lone wolf in the wilderness. But you should be aware that upscale Talbots offers a Women’s line that is every bit as beautiful as their misses. The assortment still isn’t as great but the point is there are a lot more decent clothes out there than there used to be. Coldwater Creek also has some beautiful clothing for the larger woman.

Don’t fall into the same trap I did when deciding to lose weight and not buy any decent clothes along the way just because you’re saving up to buy them all once you reach your goal. Looking your best at every stage is vitally important towards reaching your goal of weight loss. Staying positive is going to keep your head in the game. You don’t have to have an entire wardrobe at a larger size but take care to have a few outfits that look great and fit well along your journey. And if you’re not really sure what style of clothing looks good on you, start watching TLC’s What Not To Wear for some great suggestions and a few good laughs along the way. They take a great variety of women and show them how to dress in a style appropriate to their shapes and personalities.

As for feeling psychologically lighter, I always find that a good de-cluttering helps enormously in terms of reducing stress. This has come in especially handy when I’ve finally come to terms in dealing with what’s in my closet. There is every size in there from my smallest (I’ll get back in those again someday!) to my largest (just in case I backslide). When I finally decided to give away anything that I hadn’t worn in a year, I was amazed at how much more room I had, not to mention how much less stressful it was just opening the closet and not being reminded of my past failures and potential for future screw-ups. Be the size you are now and don’t hang on to clothes that are too big. Having a safety net in terms of larger clothing almost guarantees you’ll wear them again. Everybody’s friend, MizFit, posted a great video clip about clutter that really hit home with me. Check it out.

Oooooohhh!! A clean, organized closet!!
Are anyone else's toes curling besides mine?
Photo: this could be my house

Another resource that I’ve found very helpful while waiting for my results to show up has been Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight Loss Solution book. I don’t know how you feel about the guy but this book covers it all; from the physical to the mental. He certainly doesn’t need my endorsement as he’s got more money than Donald Trump (and significantly better hair than him too) but I got a lot out of reading this and you might too.

Another author I want to mention (and have once already) for anyone who feels there’s a better than fifty percent chance that their weight is tied to their emotions, is Geneen Roth. I’ve read a few of her books and she really helps dissect how food and emotions can get so dangerously entwined with one another.

What other ideas to you have to feel or look slimmer until your goals start to materialize?


  1. Thank you for making me splutter my morning coffee over my monitor with your 'plus-size clothing' remarks... I had the misfortune to catch a few moments of a home shopping channel that featured 'quirky' clothes for bigger women that are identical to those you describe... ;o)

    Stop making me laugh so much - I'm supposed to be working on taxes today!

  2. For me it was all about the walk.
    Even before I contemplated shedding my forty pounds of fluff I shifted my INSIDES and how I held/viewed myself.

    I MADE myself walk like the confident friendly content woman I longed to be not the I feel crappy about myself girlwoman I felt I was.

    Its my anniversary this weekend and the first thing my husband says he noticed about me (before we ever spoke): my walk.

    great post!

  3. Gigi, it's not just you. I love organized closets. That one is pure bliss.

    I also think posture is underrated. I have a friend who I've never seen slouch and she not only looks thinner for it but also seems more confident. I wish I were as disciplined as her.

  4. Here is one, inspired by a friend of mine: Please, I beg of you, don't shop in the mens department. My friend, I'll call her "Jill", thought that she would reward herself with nice clothes after the weight came off. Some friends of hers, myself included, had to have a mini intervention with her on that one. LOL! How can you feel good about yourself while wearing a man's polo shirt and chinos?

  5. Oh, LOVE Geneen Roth! For me putting Bella and Stella into a proper bra has really helped. But the thing that's helped most has been having a mental makeover - living lighter on the inside. And thanks for the reminder, TODAY is the day that I clean out all those clothes I never wear. I've finally got out of the trap of keeping my 'so thin you can fax me' clothes along with my 'elephantine' ones but I do notice I have clothes I never wear coz they just don't fit right - and it's time for them to go!

  6. Great stuff, Gigi! Yep, this is the year, I made the choice NOT to let my weight hold me back anymore. I have been focusing on my balance and posture in my workouts. I went and bought clothes. FASHION and how I FEEL is important to my success. I have watched What Not to Wear for several years. I have found a clothing store that caters to us big girls. The Avenue. Fashionable clothes, accessories, and great prices. I got a leather jacket for Christmas and then went and bought 2 pairs of jeans, 4 sweaters, a blouse, some faux pearls and it was only $115 for all. I feel GREAT plus the added bonus of discovering I was down a size! PRICELESS...

  7. Great tips!

    And thanks for the posture reminder! Somehow working on posture seems to have slipped off my "to-do" list again. My inner knuckle dragger is a stubborn creature who takes over whenever I get preoccupied.

  8. Thanks for the de-clutter reminder. I've been meaning to shed the drawer clothes (pajamas) etc. for a long time. Plus, my taste in clothes has changed dramatically since losing weight.

  9. I was slumped over the table, head propped on hand with knuckles squished into cheek as I read your post. Thanks for the reminder to sit up straight.

    Excellent post. Good point to at least have a few items that fit correctly and not worry about changing a whole wardrobe.

  10. OMG! This sounds exactly like a conversation I had with my sister-in-law recently. She has recently joined me in my weight loss journey. The only problem is that she insists on burying herself under oversize sweats. I bought her some new workout clothes for Christmas and I think even she was surprised at how much well-fitting clothes actually make a difference. Not to mention all the compliments she recieved at the gym.
    Great post! Now I think it has inspired even me to go shopping for some new pants instead of making these too-big ones last "just a little while longer."

  11. Karen: some women actually do prefer non-girly clothes and yes, actually do feel better wearing them. I'm one of them.

    I don't wear dresses or skirts. I don't wear frilly blouses, low-cut anything, or any garment that requires more care than "throw in washing machine, throw in dryer, iron if it needs it."

    Girly clothes are not flattering to me, I'm not comfortable in them, and I just don't like them. I live in jeans and T-shirts, mostly; when a dressy occasion comes along I wear slacks and a man's dress shirt and tie. If and when I get married, I plan on doing so in a white tuxedo. And yes, I feel and look awesome in a fitted suit and tie, thanks very much.

    How does it hurt you if a polo shirt and chinos are the clothes a woman feels most comfortable wearing? Let your friend wear what she wants to wear, for crying out loud! It's none of your business.

  12. Let me chime in and say *yesyesyes* to getting new clothes when your old ones start hanging off you. Wearing things that make you feel good is KEY to feeling like you're succeeding. You can get an entire new wardrobe each season from a thrift store for about 100 bucks. For about two years I'd do that. I actually now prefer shopping thrift as I don't see 20 other people wearing the same things I am anymore.

    Go forth, and feel fabulous!

  13. Better posture is something that I definitely need to devote more attention to this year. It's improved tremendously since I've been doing martial arts, but sometimes when I'm sitting ia backless chair the old habits creep in.

  14. What Not to Wear is a great show for figuring out how to make your body look the best. I dressed like a disaster until I started watching it and following some simple rules (I was born in raised in Alaska where high fashion is a nice pair of carharts and clean flannel)! I had several people comment on how much weight I had lost when I just started wearing clothing that fitted properly in the *right* ways for my form.

  15. Great post! Like you, I don't like the expectations game so I do better pushing myself vs. having a ton of people want to know how much I lost & such. I think to much of that expectation game in real life lead me this way. I have learned I can do certain things on my own & the health thing is one of them. I do realize though that a lot of people need the support and accountability.

    As for clothes, I watch WNTW all the time. I still need help! :-) I have applied to that show many times cause I want personal & one on one help!

  16. Ooooo! Gorgeous closet! (Except, they must be at a hotel - who only owns five shirts!?!) My hubby always sabotages my organized closet dreams...the big lout.

    And thanks for the reminder that it's time to clean that sucker up and get rid of stuff we don't wear. And to sit up straight. Yeesh I'm bad at slouching while at the 'puter.

  17. I agree with much that is here, and will add that paying a few minutes of attention to hair and makeup, for me, makes a huge difference. I am a very low maintenance girl, but have learned that 5 minutes spent hair and 3 on makeup will make me feel far better all day long. The right mascara can change your life.

    I remember last fall when I stopped punishing myself and bought 3 pairs of pants that fit. Transformative. I finally could get dressed in the morning without feeling desperate or mocked by the lose 10 pounds and you can wear me again clothes. I have absolutely no idea what I would have worn on my lower half this past year had I not sucked it up, gone to TJ Maxx, spend some serious time in the dressing room figuring out what looked good. Those pants are not the size I want them to be. And yes, a year later, I am still wearing them, which is also not what I would have wanted. But it was essential just to pause and stop rejected who I was and the amount of space I took up at that very moment. At this point, when I do need to say goodbye to those 3 pairs of pants because I change and they are too big, I will get rid of them, but with real gratitude and affection. I just love those pants and they way they've made me feel whole and cute and presentable this past year.

  18. These are important keys to weight loss

  19. Maybe no matter how we wanted to lose weight but we don't have the determination i guess nothing will change. While I download free online movies at http://downloadmoviesfree.net to entertain me tonight I am on my treadmill.

  20. I loved this and so agree with the properly fitting workout clothes one. I started feeling much better about myself when I ditched the baggy gym clothes.

  21. You are right on all points, I love it and if you don't mind, I want to copy the link and share wtih some friends. I wish I had the logical mind to buy nice clothes when losing weight (as I do now, with about 15-20 more to go), it would of helped my self esteem so much, again, thanks for the great great great post!!

  22. Everywhere I turn I get the bra message... The Universe must be really concerned about the girls, so I surrender - I'm getting a sports bra!

    I am lucky in that I have a mother who sews beautifully, so I can have a few pieces of decent clothing on my way down the scale without breaking the bank. It helps enormously.

  23. That was a wonderful and inspiring post. I have to say that you got me on a couple of items.

    Number one: the bra. I do need to buy properly fitted bras. I think I'll splurge on this item this year.

    Number two: clothes. I am making the mistake of not buying properly fitting clothes while I'm trying to lose weight. The result is clothes that are too snug or too loose.

    Thanks for the wonderful tips. I'll be sure to keep them in mind.

  24. On my journey of losing 137lb my number one clothes rule was the moment a garment was loose it was out the door. If I gained I had nothing to wear, literally - pretty good incentive! Also don't buy stretch clothing - while it may shrink with you it will also allow you to stretch out too while kidding yourself those pants still fit. An older friend commented one day that we all got bigger when stretch fabrics hit the market. In a garment made of firm fabric with zippers and buttons you know the moment you have gained a pound.

  25. Two tips that I totally love that you share in this post are about being aware of your posture and throwing away those clothes that are now (hopefully) four sizes too big. I especially love that point and definitely want to share that with our "Less is More" community as a good donation tip for cleaning out the closet and feeling great about it in the process.

    Thanks for the great post!

  26. That was hilarious.

    I'm changing my goals this year. From losing weight to living life. I'm shunning "dieting" and will instead eat healthy. The difference? I'm not going to deprive myself of the good things, but will eat them in moderation.

    I'm not going to the gym, but will instead run and bike around my neighborhood. I've long forgotten how beautiful my area is, until I found my old Schwinn (http://schwinnusa.com/allschwinn_3403201_B0021I150I_Schwinn-Coronado-Womens-Comfort-Bike-26-Inch-Wheels.html) in my garage. I'm running indoors on my treadmill right now--but I'm out the house once it gets warmer.

    Can't wait for summer!


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