As a young girl, so many women in my life talked about their weight. From an aunt discussing the extra holiday pounds she was trying to get off, or a friend’s mom telling me to “enjoy my metabolism while it lasted”, weight has been a topic of conversation for as long as I can remember.
And it was because of this, I grew up believing that being at a manageable weight was not something I could guarantee forever. So, when I entered my 30’s and my bad habits started to hit a little harder, I shifted the way I managed my day-to-day life.
I started exercising somewhat regularly, I ate well most days of the week, and I learned portion control was a beast I needed to master. When I finally hit the anticipated 40, I felt on top of my game, relatively fit and happy.
At that time, I naively questioned why so many women in my life had complained about decreased metabolism. What was this big fuss about?
Then before I even had a chance to settle into my 40’s, I gained 25 pounds in 6 months. I went from a 150-pound healthy person, to around a 175-pound overweight woman. I had changed absolutely nothing about my life, but the weight made its appearance anyway.
Suddenly nothing in my closet fit. I was limited to basically my running pants and flowy tops. My boobs, butt, and hips had ballooned overnight, and so all my t-shirts were now snug and my underwear became uncomfortable. After several doctors’ visits I learned that “natural” hormonal changes from menopause were most likely to blame, but unfortunately, that did not make this any easier.
As my quest began for larger clothes, trips to stores ended in tears and my orders online were getting returned faster than they could ship. I was increasing the sizes of my clothes, but still nothing felt right. Everything looked off and odd, and it felt like this new body did not even belong to me anymore.
I found myself shrinking as a human, spending days in a row at home, never leaving the house. If I did, I would torment myself before putting on the one of three outfits that made me feel at least a little comfortable.
I also felt so much guilt about the money I was spending only because I gained weight. If you want to talk about feeling frivolous, then order 3 new pairs of pants while 15 perfectly good pairs stare you in the face every day.
Then one day while feeling sorry for myself, I had a bit of a revelation.
I figured out that I needed to change my strategy a little. Just taking a pair of jeans I already owned, and buying a new pair in a larger size was not the answer. I needed revamp it all because my body was different now. I had a butt and hips, and a belly to maneuver around, and I needed to find clothes that worked for this new me.
So I started to think outside of the box. I ordered jeans that just a year ago I would have deemed horrifying. However, the moment I pulled on my buttonless tummy-control jeans, I felt a weight of a thousand pounds release from my shoulders. There was comfort and style, and I might have been bigger than I was a year ago, but I still looked darn good.
I knew had to think differently, and shop differently. It wasn’t an easy process but I needed to help make my heart and body feel good again.
So, when I found these size 12 jeans that made me genuinely happy, I bought them in 4 colors. Then suddenly I could mix and match with shirts I owned, and a few I bought.
I began telling myself that no one knows the size of something you are wearing but you. And because universal sizing does not exist, I now own pieces from sizes 8 to 14 and medium to XXL. I buy based on this new body, and try my best to just embrace the fit.
Now, I am not saying I am 100% comfortable, I do still hope to cut this weight gain by at least half at some point. I know menopause is a nasty beast that haunts every woman, and the hope is that someday my hormones will be stabilized and maybe a little of these extra pounds will come off.
Yet till then, I will wear my pull-on jeans with pride and continue my quest for clothes that match this current version of me.