Clothes shopping can be fun
My success story is tied up with appearance/low self-esteem issues and I hope it inspires somebody else who is feeling pretty bad about themselves right now. Yesterday I re-discovered that shopping for clothes can be fun.
I stopped enjoying shopping for clothes when I hit peri-menopause, about 15 years ago, and gained 40lbs. Nothing, and I mean nothing, would shift the weight except water fasting, which obviously was not sustainable. And of course the few lbs lost that way came back immediately the fast was broken.
With menopause you don't just gain weight, your body redistributes your weight. It seems to particularly target the waist, turning hour-glasses into apples. Not to mention gifting you with big ol' flabby arms that weren't there before. Did I mention nipples that suddenly point down instead of straight ahead?
Having become a-woman-I-no-longer-recognised in full length mirrors, there didn't seem much point in putting effort into shopping for clothes when nothing looked much good on me anyway. I started shopping in thrift stores just so I'd have a variety of things to wear, but why pay a hundred bucks for something that you don't like yourself in when you can achieve the same result for a dollar fifty. Instead, I turned my attention to the home and bought "it" throw pillows, curtains, candles, etc. I lavished the attention on my home that I denied for myself. I knew what I was doing, and it made me sad, but it was also a distraction from feeling helpless to deal with these changes in the 'older woman' I had become.
In May 2011 I began low carbing with the South Beach diet. I still remember how shocked I was when I stepped on the scale the morning of day #2 and saw a 2lb weight loss. Only water-fasting had been able to achieve that before, but this time I'd eaten plenty of meat, fish, and vegetables the day before. What I hadn't eaten was anything sugary or starchy. I had had a whole day without grains for the first time since infancy. The weight kept falling off and staying off. Hallelluliah. Somewhere over the following months I realised that I'd morphed away from South Beach and turned into a Primal eater. And still the lbs kept disappearing, along with several health issues.
Eventually I started to recognise myself in mirrors again. But my low self-esteem had become a habit and fear of clothes shopping had become ingrained. When I lost 25lbs I tentatively tried on a party dress at Daffy's. It didn't look bad and it fit. So I bought it without trying on anything else. Just wanted to get the whole ordeal over with and get out of there.
So here's the punchline. It's taken me over a year to get used to my new/renovated body and to trust that I am really an honest size 6 - which is smaller than I was before menopause. I have a waist again. And some good bras! I've faithfully worked my arms with dumbells. So....last night on the way home from work I went into Macy's on a whim. I took my time and looked at all their dresses on all their floors. Then I took 12 (yes 12) sleeveless, sexy, cocktail dresses into the fitting room and tried them all on, and every single one of them looked good on me. I couldn't believe my eyes. I was in that fitting room for heaven knows how long - having FUN! I bought one of the dresses and can't wait to wear it during the holiday season. I think I'll use it as my "after" picture.