Tricky Tricky

I thought I was being so tricky as I gained weight. I used the following tricks:

♦The good old fashioned rubber band trick – you know that one – you slip a rubber band through the buttonhole for the pants and then thread the loop over the button. Guaranteed to give you another inch in the waist as long as the rubber band doesn’t pop. (I learned that pony tail holders are stronger.)

♦The wet the waistband and upper hip trick – this one I liked a lot and used it in conjunction with the rubber band. I’d dampen the waistband and several inches below slightly. I then pulled and yanked on the pants as they dried. This seemed to give me some breathing room.

♦The cut the elastic in your tights and knit pants trick. This worked as long as all the elastic didn’t come sailing out.

♦The stretch your shirt over your knees trick. Take one too tight t-shirt, sit down and stick your knees into it. This gave me a good amount of hip room.

♦The it’s out of style trick. I’d just claim that some article of clothing was out of style and buy a new shirt or pair of pants in a larger size. No one was the wiser. . .

♦I even tried to trick myself into thinking my pants hadn’t really gotten bigger, rather they had shrunk in the dryer. (Not that I ever dried my pants – they were always line dried so as to avoid extra shrinkage.)

Of course even when I was employing all these tricky tricks I knew I wasn’t fooling anyone. Not myself – not my husband – and certainly not my friends who saw me on a daily basis. Anyone with eyes could see that I was getting bigger and bigger. No amount of clothing trickery was going to make anyone believe otherwise.

I suppose it came down to the fact that I was really trying to lie to myself that it was the clothing’s fault that I needed to use a rubber band at the waist. Surely the five times I swung through the McDonald’s drive-thru in one week didn’t make any difference in the fit of my clothing. It was just the clothes or maybe water weight.

As I gained more and more weight even I couldn’t convince myself that trickery was working. I then began trying to convince myself that I was getting so big because of a failed metabolism or some other medical issue. I even went so far as to have a thorough check-up – just convinced that I needed to go on some kind of medication. I didn’t. And of course now I’m glad that I didn’t have an underlying medical condition.

What I had was an eating problem.

All the clothing tricks in the world couldn’t camouflage that. It wasn’t until I came face to face with myself one day and knew I needed to really change my lifestyle did I give up the clothing tricks. Changing my relationship to food involved not only the food choices I made on a daily basis, but also coming to terms with the fact that I needed to be honest with myself about my appearance and my size.

As I lost weight I had to employ other clothing tricks – like taking in the waistbands, armholes, and shoulder seams. Those were good tricks to learn!

Have you ever played the clothing trick game? Diane

42 thoughts on “Tricky Tricky

  1. Deniz says:

    Diane, you could be describing my life here! I used the same sets of tricks as you, both on the way up the weight journey… and on the way down. I even convinced myself (and tried to convince others) that I had a metabolic problem leading to excess weight. I too am SO glad that wasn’t the case.

    I may not yet be where I want to be weight-wise, but I will never regret for one moment making the decision to change my life and get out from under all my excess weight.
    .-= Deniz´s last blog ..Building on the good start =-.

  2. Kat says:

    This past weekend I took my first skirt in to be altered. It literally is falling off of me and pinning it was very silly – it made a very uneven pleat. This is the first piece of clothing that I wanted to save. Most of my other fat clothes, even the nice work suits, I have given away. I am looking forward to wearing my “new” skirt!
    .-= Kat´s last blog ..Weekend update =-.

  3. Mia says:

    I wore a lot of sweat pants when I was heavy. They had a lot of give to them. I also popped a lot of buttons that I just substituted a safety pin for. That was about all I did. I probably could have used some of your ideas but just never thought of them myself. I do love nice clothes so that added to my motivation to loose the 50 pounds I needed to loose.

  4. Diane says:

    Okay…I missed this memo ! Not only had I never tried any of these clothing tricks, but I had never even heard of them !! You are a very resourceful woman ! The only one I ever did was involving jeans and pliers as a teen. I needed a 44 waist jeans , but the biggest size the stores at that time carried was a 38. So I insisted that they fit me so my parents would by them, and then once i got home I would stuff myself into them , get the assistance of one of my sisters, lay on the bed, suck in my stomach and smash the rest with my hands why my copilot pulled the zipper up with pliers. Then off to school I would go, wearing the “cool ” jeans, and I would not go to the bathroom all day because I did not have a pair of pliers with me . It was a very stupid move- I have a couple of varicose veins on my abdomen as a result and bladder problems today.
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Lazy Valley Sunday =-.

  5. vickie says:

    I never wore ‘real’ clothes. I lived in sweats, pj bottoms, over alls. short over alls, and jumpers. All things with NO waist – because that was the ‘reality place’. I was really annoyed with my belly fat – but just did not see cause and reaction – it was like it was a 3rd party and had nothing to do with what I ate. I think part of this was because I was so disproportional – my waist was my biggest roll. And I just focused on that and did not see the ‘big picture’.
    .-= vickie´s last blog ..Back to my Asthma/Allergist =-.

  6. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman says:

    I have ridiculously long arms and all long-sleeved shirts are too short for me. So every morning I employ a clothing trick: Hold the arm with one hand and pull at the shoulder with the other. If the shirt is still wet, even better. I figure I gain about an inch of sleeve that way!

  7. Marcelle says:

    I have never heard of these trips….I didn’t get to the stage weight wise where I needed them, I never allowed myself to get comfortable in elastic waisted pants….besides my gym gear..
    So interesting…I learn so much about obese people’s habits by reading your blog…x
    .-= Marcelle´s last blog ..Beach Run =-.

  8. Lori (Finding Radiance) says:

    “♦The stretch your shirt over your knees trick. Take one too tight t-shirt, sit down and stick your knees into it. This gave me a good amount of hip room.”

    Oh yes, I did this one all the time. I thought if the shirt was stretched out and wasn’t tight around my hips, no one would notice how big they were………
    .-= Lori (Finding Radiance)´s last blog ..The letter P! =-.

  9. Stacy says:

    I have been guilty of the stretching out of the shirts to hide the tummy roll. Since I make some of my clothes, I convinced myself that I like skirts so much better than pants for work. I just didn’t want to go buy pants a size bigger, and skirts are so easy to make. Now I am wearing my pants to work more than my skirts. I even managed to squeeze into my “skinny” pants this weekend. Happy day! 🙂
    .-= Stacy´s last blog ..Cute yet functional =-.

  10. PhluffyPrincess says:

    Whooo-weee, Diane this post hit the nail on the head. I used the “every store’s clothes fit differently” trick the most when I had to buy a new size. Or I’d buy extra wide leg pants made out of a knit fabric that just pulled up, no buttons or zipper in a size Medium…never mind that they didn’t fit like wide legs should…I’d still be wearing a MEDIUM…so it was all good (in my head). It wasn’t until I got real with myself about how I looked at 175 lbs that I said, okay, this is enough!
    .-= PhluffyPrincess´s last blog ..Snuck on the scale… =-.

  11. angie says:

    wow– the knees and t-shirt trick was part of my life for so many years. even with size 3x shirts, i still needed the extra booty room.
    and like you, i much more enjoy the new tricks that come with a smaller body: cutting t-shirts down to size, or better yet, donating the old ones and wearing much smaller shirts!
    thanks for continuing to inspire me– i read your blog every day!

  12. Cynthia (It All Changes) says:

    I’ve been guilty of all of the above. And of course the idea that a 20 at Old Navy really meant and 18 when in fact it meant a 22.

    I loved learning to take in my clothes as I lost the weight though.
    .-= Cynthia (It All Changes)´s last blog ..Food Fix =-.

  13. 'Drea says:


    Believe it or not, I never resorted to tricks and, to be honest with you, I never heard of them. Because I like to be comfortable at all times, I just bought bigger clothes.

    You were quite resourceful…
    .-= ‘Drea´s last blog ..No Magic Carpet Ride =-.

  14. Sunny says:

    I guess I’m lucky in that I never got that large. The largest size I ever had to buy was a 16. It got tight, but I stopped myself before I became an official “plus” size.
    .-= Sunny´s last blog ..Another Quickie! =-.

  15. Lynn says:

    Ah yes, the ‘stretch the tshirt’ trick is one I used to use frequently. In fact, it startles me sometimes when I pull out an older tshirt & pull it on, expecting it to be snug & it fits or is a little big now. lol

  16. Nicole, RD says:

    ♦The good old fashioned rubber band trick – you know that one – you slip a rubber band through the buttonhole for the pants and then thread the loop over the button. Guaranteed to give you another inch in the waist as long as the rubber band doesn’t pop. (I learned that pony tail holders are stronger.) — oh my gosh! I’ve never heard of this or thought of this. I wonder if my patients have…

    As an overweight kid my mom always yelled at me for stretching out my tee-shirts. I did it…all…the…time!
    .-= Nicole, RD´s last blog ..Back to the grind! =-.

  17. Sandi says:

    I always stretched my shirts out. I would use my elbows to stretch the top part and then my knees to stretch the bottom.
    I would hang my jeans to dry too. Sometimes I would iron them when they were still damp to get even more room. I hated seeing those jeans hanging in the bathroom. I had to come face to face with the width of them. Now when I pull my size 6 jeans out of the dryer I’m am always amazed at how small they are.
    .-= Sandi´s last blog .. =-.

  18. Taryl says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize there were so many clothing tricks. I only just heard about the rubber band trick on my pregnancy bulletin board, for when maternty pants are too loose but normal pants are too tight.

    The only one I have done is the knee-in-shirt trick, usually during pregnancy, to stretch out my cotton night shirts. Otherwise I just bought clothes that fit and never really did care that they were bigger. It just didn’t bother me most of the time.
    .-= Taryl´s last blog ..Weekly check in =-.

  19. Pam says:

    I never employed those tricks, I stopped wearing denim or anything restrictive, and resorted to elastic waistbands. When I finally get around to buying new clothes, the first thing I am going for is something button up with little to no give!
    .-= Pam´s last blog ..Deranged Aspirations =-.

  20. Quix says:

    My trick was stretchy tank tops and skirts. I could still shop in the normal person’s section if I only wore xxl tank tops, cardigans, and stretchy skirts, so I just made that my wardrobe. My wakeup call was when I finally had to buy pants for a vacation – I had to buy size TWENTY FOURS. I not only was into plus size, I was almost OUT of it. After that vacation, I started losing weight and you know the rest! 🙂

  21. tammy ortagus says:

    Dang! I missed out on a lot of tricks!!! lol The only two I did was hang dry my clothes so they wouldn’t shrink any more than the washer ALREADY shrunk them….and stretch out my shirts with my knees to make room for my big ol’ hips!
    .-= tammy ortagus´s last blog ..Miracles and Blessings =-.

  22. Sean (Learn Fitness) says:

    I’ve used the shirt over the knee trick and also the punch shirt trick. It’s where when your wearing the shirt you take your arms out of the sleeves and then punch the shirt with it on stretching it as you punch. Gives you more room top to bottom if you do it right.

    Fortunately I’m not using the dryer shrinking trick but they won’t get any smaller 🙂
    .-= Sean (Learn Fitness)´s last blog ..My New Son Bradley =-.

  23. says:

    You should be so proud of yourself Diane! I mean to talk about everything you have gone through and how it relates to so many millions of people. That’s inspiring. You changed your life and are helping others change theirs. I think you are great to open up. Eating can be a severe problem if we stop fooling ourelf. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    .-=´s last blog ..Tip #60: Bicycle Abs =-.

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