The Sizes Got Bigger and Bigger

Have you ever had to purchase new clothes for an upcoming vacation or trip? How about new, bigger clothes? That’s what happened to me during the second year of our marriage. When I was first married, I wore a size 10, and never thought too much about my size. Things in the store fit me, and shopping was fun. However, during the first year and a half of my marriage, I put on about 30  pounds,  until I could no longer fit into size 10’s, or 12’s. John and I shopped together, but I had become a master at hiding the size I was trying on. I’d take 3 different sizes into the dressing room, and when I came out, I’d announce – “I’m going to get this one!” I’d pay, and he’d be none the wiser.

There came a day when we planned a vacation to the Georgia mountains with two other couples. All three couples were excited about hiking, shopping, and white water rafting. Well, I wasn’t going to do the rafting, but that’s another story. As I was packing myself up for the vacation I realized with great chagrin that I didn’t have a pair of blue jeans that fit. I had kinda stopped wearing jeans because mine were too tight. I knew I really needed a pair of jeans for the vacation, so I invented an excuse to buy some.

I went into the living room and showed him my old pair. I said, “These pants are out of style, and I’d really like another pair that are more stylish.” Being the good husband that he was, he didn’t blink an eye, but said, “Sure, I’ll go with you.” I shook my head, “I’ll just run out real quick.” So I went shopping for a pair of jeans. I started with a size 14, and quickly realized that wasn’t going to work, as I couldn’t even get them over my hips. Surely it was just the particular brand, so I tried another. No go, those were even worse. Eventually I found a pair of tight 16’s and reluctantly bought those, swearing to myself that I was going to lose this marriage weight.

Once home, I got a pair of scissors out of my sewing kit, and surreptitiously cut the size tags out of the jeans, so John wouldn’t know how big a size I had to buy. Those pants were tight, but I suffered through the vacation with them. Here’s a picture of me during that trip, with my brand new size 16 pants. After the trip I did join WW, but didn’t last more than a couple of weeks before I once again went back to my poor eating habits. It would be seven more years of continued weight gain before I finally lost the weight.

Have you ever had to buy the next bigger size clothes just to “tide you over?”  For me, it was a frustrating, and sometimes humiliating experience. Each time it happened it was almost as if it were happening to someone else. Who was that person in the mirror who needed a 1x, a 2x, and oh my goodness, a 3x? What happened to the normal sized woman I used to be? My clothes were always the first indication that I had once again gained more weight. First the hips got tight, then the waistband wouldn’t close, and eventually I couldn’t even get them up over my hips. Each time it happened I felt defeated and out of control.

After 10 years of bigger sizes, I finally got my food choices under control. One thing I really enjoyed was seeing the formerly tight clothes become well fitting, then loose fitting, and finally falling off. I splurged and bought myself a new pair of jeans each time the previous size got too big. It was wonderful to go into the store and look at jeans the next size down. It was even more wonderful when those jeans got too big and had to be replaced.

One thing that helped me along the way was to try and visualize what I wanted to look like. Not necessarily the number on the scale, or the size hidden in the waistband, but how I looked. Over time, by making wise food choices, exercising and carefully watching my portions, I achieved success. As you walk your journey, commit that you will no longer buy bigger sizes to “tide you over,” but rather work towards your weight loss goals while wearing those pants that may be a little tight! With daily effort, and close attention to healthy eating habits, you can have the success you desire.

What did you do when you went up in sizes? Embrace it? Fight it? Ignore it? Diane

33 thoughts on “The Sizes Got Bigger and Bigger

  1. Miz says:

    This one hit home for me as I can recall as though it were yesterday simply unbuttoning my jeans and blousing a tee overtop.

    Then unbuttoning my jeans and letting the zipper sliiiiiide a but and blousing a baggy sweater overtop.

    denial denial denial until my pants were nearly around my, uh, glutes.

  2. Fran says:

    I never got more than 2 sizes bigger than I always wore so I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I was used to being sometimes a bigger size when I was at a healthy weight because the clothers would fit better in a bigger size.

  3. Susan says:

    The upwards size didn’t bother me till I got to “plus size” size 18 then I knew I had to get a grip on my weight. Now I wear size 12’s and some 10’s trying to get down in to size 10’s still working on the last 10 pounds.

  4. blackhuff says:

    To visualize how I want to look like, also helps me in achieving my goals and working to get to my big goal. It’s not the scale but the image in my head of how I want to look like that motivates me as well.
    When I bought clothes the bigger I got, I ignored the fact that I am fatter. I wish I didn’t do that.

  5. Bonnie says:

    I really needed to read this today. I bought a bathing suit for our vacation in May. It “fits” sorta, I am tired of being fat. We are going in May. My mini goal is to wear it and be proud of myself.

  6. vickie says:

    my belly was so large (disproportional) that I really couldn’t find any fitted clothes that fit, no matter what the size. If they went around my middle – they were circus tent size for my hips/butt/thighs. Not so say that the hips/butt/thighs were slim – they were not – just saying – this is exactly how I ended up with a ‘lovely’ wardrobe of mom jumpers, over alls, sweats. Yes, under growing clothes and getting new, lower sizes was great. But mostly what was great for me was being able to wear REAL clothes.

  7. Karen says:

    Ah yes. I have done that. Often for the same reason, I had a trip or an event and nothing fit. I hated buying new stuff, always sure I would lose the weight and not be in that size long.

  8. Amy says:

    I am ashamed to say I wore maternity clothes for a long time – so I didn’t have to face buying too many new things in depressingly big sizes. Just hated shopping for clothes back then.

  9. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Diane, I think we have all played the fool ourselves game at some point in our life! In college, I did that a bit & wore lose tops over my pants. Now, if the pants get tight, I take action ASAP! 🙂

  10. Tish says:

    I’m sitting here in my favorite pair of cords–from 8 years ago! I tried them on a whim today and they fit. They look good. Yay. Unfortunately there were lots of years of larger, elastic waist, “forgiving” materials and black pants in the years between!

  11. Desert Agave says:

    I got very good at buying myself new clothes in larger sizes without thinking about it too hard. It helped that Lane Bryant switched over to that weird sizing system for awhile. So, for example, when I went from a Red 5 to a Red 7, I didn’t really worry about what that meant, since Red 7 seemed like such a meaningless size anyway.

  12. jessey says:

    Xmas 1999 I had to buy jeans because we were allowed to wear jeans for 2 weeks – I was 157 when I had been 136 in May when I started dating my BF at the time. He did make a comment when he saw the size 14 when I went to pay. I was pissed, but it didn’t do anything to encourage me to lose weight. I didn’t gain anymore in that relationship. But I did get up to a size 18/20. I would eventually buy new clothes, because at the time I could afford to. it is a horrible feeling….But now I have size 8-16 in my closet so I can do a lot of shopping there!

    And what is it about wedding dress sizes where if you are a size 6, then you have to buy a size 10? I was a size 16 when I got married but my dress was an 18 or maybe a 20 (and it fit) – Why would they do that to us?!

  13. Jane says:

    This story is my story. Having to deal with increasing sizes, in addition to going on vacation, made me not want to go. Of course, I always went, but the extra weight put a damper on what should have been fun and carefree! Great post.

  14. Diane says:

    For me it never made any difference. When you begin first grade wearing a woman’s size 16 1/2 , not because of overheating, you learn quickly that size never has and never will define you. I am now faced with the mystery of seeing the scale either not move or move in the wrong direction and require the purchase of smaller sized. Numbers are funny things that can play serious head games with you !

  15. RNegade says:

    Sizes are deceptive! After losing a lot of weight I discovered a couple pairs of size 22 jeans (in the back of my closet) that I had worn about 10 years earlier. So, when those 22s started to feel a bit loose, I went shopping for size 20. I ended up, however, purchasing and fitting easily into size 16 in the same brand as the old 22s. Now, there is no way I went straight from a 22 to a 16 (same brand and style), and I realized that vanity sizing has indeed become a reality. At some point in time when I was increasing in size, the sizes were becoming more generously cut!

    Thus, during the decade I was gaining, whenever I assumed I had grown just one size larger (according to the sizing tag), it was probably closer to 2 sizes larger, due to vanity sizing! It seems the manufacturers, during the last few decades, have been colluding with consumers in our national denial about America’s increasing girth.

    Now, whenever I hear that Marilyn Monroe wore a size 12, I understand that size as, approximately, equivalent to a modern size 6.

  16. Sunny says:

    That’s what brought me back into the blogging (and dieting) world. Having to buy a size larger. You can’t deny that reality for long. So I’m back to admitting I still don’t have a 100% handle on this issue. Maybe never will. But I stopped the bleeding before I was back to Square One. Thank God. And thanks to you too, Diane. 🙂

  17. Jenn @ Cooking Aweigh the Pounds says:

    When I got to size 16/18, I stopped wearing jeans. My mind had not caught up with my jean size and I was so frustrated that I could not fit into my size 30 jeans that I used to wear in college. I blamed Levi’s for changing the fit on the jeans. I blamed the stores for having such confusing fits, sizes, and layouts. So I started living in active wear because apparently that industry understood how clothes are suppose to fit! LOL Now I am like you and look forward to shopping and finding cute clothes that fit! I live in jeans now! And I actually use active wear for what it was meant to be used for! 🙂

  18. Tami says:

    I have been there and done that a number of times over the years! I had one style of a skirt in 4 different sizes! Did I think no one would notice the skirt was getting bigger!?

  19. Lori Lynn says:

    I would avoid buying clothes for the longest time, b/c I didn’t want to buy clothes in a bigger size or I just didn’t want to spend the money to buy something in the current size I was in. I was waiting till I lost more weight to buy something. But that was usually extended for awhile…

  20. Barry Hughes says:

    That actually happened to me this past summer. I had been hiding behind size 38 jeans and dress pants with the expandable waists. When I couldn’t find a pair I went and tried on a regular pair of jeans. Much to my horror it took up to size 42 and they were tight. I am close to being able to go back to the 38’s but I want this to be a short lived reunion.

  21. Taryl says:

    Oh, I ignored it. I just bought bigger sizes and didn’t think about it, good or bad, as far as I remember. As long as they looked good, I didn’t really care what the tag said. My weight loss epiphany was when I ordered new clothes after ditching maternity from my second daughter (maybe three months after she was born) and realized that they all fit, but not a single piece looked good on me. NOTHING looks good in those sizes, if by ‘good’ we mean ‘hides the excess weight well’. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.

    I love, LOVE shrinking out of clothes now. I am also proud of the fact that my pre pregnancy jeans fit at 9 days postpartum. I have realized, as I posted about in my blog, that if I want them to continue fitting and not backslide into higher sizes, I need to regain control of my food intake now! I have been lax and it shows on the scale, gaining weight this week, I had forgotten how awful that feels when I don’t have a good excuse (like a growing baby) for it.

    Size doesn’t bother me, as a number, these days. But since I am not looking to hide my fat anymore, and don’t want to continue feeling fat and blobby, the only changes I am willing to see in tag size will be down, not up, the number line!

  22. fittingbackin says:

    There was definitely some sadness. Then denial. Then “this is the size i’m supposed to be.” So acceptance… then frustration… then I would usually try some diet to get it off ASAP instead of figuring how I put the weight on in the first place. Sigh. I hate going up a size for sure.

  23. Lisa says:

    The sizes kept creeping up. Before I knew it, I blinked and I was a size 24W. I shopped at Walmart because their clothes ran really big too.

  24. Shira says:

    Diane, I hated when the sizes kept climbing up and the size 16’s were getting tight. Worse time was when I was buying a bridesmaids dress (dark green taffeta that made me look like a Christmas tree) and had to order it in a size 20. Now my body knows its time to watch food intake when the size fours are tight and for that change I’m very grateful!

  25. Charity Moore says:

    This is the first time I have visited this blog. It really is a great resource. I recently started my own blog to help keep me accountable, and help me vent while I attempt to lose weight. My favorite store is Maurices. I love, love, love their jeans! But, everytime I went shopping for jeans, I’ve had to go up a size. It’s so frustrating! It seems like the higher I go in size the less jeans I have. I had several 14’s and 16’s, then when I went up to 18’s I only had two pair. Now, I had to buy a 20 few weeks ago! I refuse to buy anymore 20’s or anything higher! So, this blog post really hit home for me! I was with you on the shame of having to go up a size. I have a friend who always wants to go shopping with me, and like you I would take three sizes with me and hide what size I bought. Not anymore!!!

  26. Quix says:

    I found a way around that one! I only wore stretchy shirts and skirts with elastic waistbands. So I never went beyond XL and XXL. I found myself buying pants out of the maternity section because they had stretchy waistbands, so I was able to even fool myself there.

    Then, I had to get a pair of jeans for a trip. Only the 24s fit. I felt like I got smacked in the face, and resolved to lose weight so I could fit in normal sizes(and I did!).

    Right now I’ve gained a bit, going from a 6/8/10 to a 8/10/12, and have a start date (after my last race) to start tracking and creating a calorie deficit again so I don’t have to buy more pants! Not nearly an emergency, but I know I should take care of it while it’s a small problem. 🙂

  27. Leah says:

    I cried once when I went up, then embraced it. From then it my weight was high with the exception of two years when I lost a chunk. It didn’t stay gone for long, so I was back up and just gave in without giving it much thought, because I felt destined to be heavy. I just remember being glad for larger stylish clothes.

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