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Shop ’til you drop

If you’re a little overweight, like I am, or have fluctuated for the last few years, then you can probably relate to the nightmare that is shopping for a body you don’t love.

I LOVE to shop. I really, truly enjoy it and it brings me peace. I am one of those women who have found the power of retail therapy to be a strong influence on my life. One might call it an addiction, but I wouldn’t say that. I do not over spend and I do not have unworn clothes in my closet (well maybe one or two things, but don’t we all?). I know we can all relate to what I’m about to say; I still find I have nothing to wear! How is this possible? I can literally go two weeks without repeating outfits, so why is it that I still wear the same things over and over again? Well last night, I came to the conclusion that being overweight is a shopping motivator for me.

I have so many beautiful clothes in my closet but as I grew in places I wasn’t thrilled about, I stopped wearing many of my favourite pieces. I wouldn’t get rid of them though, as I am always hopeful that I will wake one day and be a lighter, happier version of myself from long ago. Of course that takes time, effort and commitment and no amount of new clothes is going to make anyone feel skinnier, but try telling that to an overweight person. I found that as I got larger and larger, I shopped more and more. Nothing fits right, nothing feels right and nothing looks right. I was still shopping for a body I didn’t have and the idea of returning clothes to the store was daunting. Dressing room mirrors are liars and with today’s ever camera ready generation, one can see all too clearly how large they really are (there’s no insta-filter for cellulite removal, yet). So I have an overstuffed closet full of pieces I don’t wear, or rather, I really can’t wear and shouldn’t be wearing. No matter what size you are, the reality is that certain styles of clothing are for certain body types and if you learn what actually looks good on you and your body type, you will see and feel a difference in yourself.

Every year, as the seasons change, I go through my wardrobe and bag up things I haven’t worn and make room for new things I want to wear. The past few years I have only gotten rid of a handful of pieces, again, hopeful of the skinnier me I will be tomorrow. This past weekend I packed away five bags of clothes and when I stepped on the scale yesterday I saw a drop of 15lbs! I have been eating better and working out regularly for a while now but hadn’t been seeing a change until the last few weeks and I can’t help but feel that my sudden ability to let go of my clothes is related to my changing body image. I feel better, I look better and I want to wear the clothes in my closet again. The other day at the mall, I came home empty handed because I didn’t feel the need to fill a missing hole in my closet. I already have clothes I love and want to wear. I even found myself wishing I had some pieces from years ago that I would have been happy to wear today but gave away in an effort to change my wardrobe to fit my new body. Lately, I do not have an urge to shop for new things and there is no question about it being related to the peace I found with myself and the direction my body is headed in.

Shop ’til you drop has taken on a new meaning for me. I had been shopping non-stop up until the point I started dropping weight and now I know that shopping was a way for me to feel better about my body. I wasn’t being realistic about what I could actually wear. We all want to look good in backless dresses and jeggings but not every body type fits every fashion trend. I’m pretty daring when it comes to the fashion trends I try, for someone who looks like me (curvy, DD, average height) but today, I feel I am in a better place to not only buy clothes that actually look good but ones I actually want to wear too. I am more confident in myself, the clothes I have actually fit and I don’t get dressed fifteen times in the morning ending in the same old comfy skirt and shirt.

I wish I’d known that my shopping habits were actually hurting me. I must’ve spent a few thousand dollars on clothes I should never have bought all in an effort to feel better about my body when, in reality, what I needed was to change my physical lifestyle and eating habits. Of course there are still styles I cannot wear, but I don’t feel such a need to force them to work anymore. I still love to shop but now I am more focused on buying things I need (a new pencil skirt for work or a dress that comes past my butt – whose idea was that anyway?). Even as I type this article, I’m wearing a shirt that actually fits and makes me feel beautiful because I’m not forcing myself into clothes that I cannot wear in an effort to feel thinner.

I feel thinner because I am thinner. I worked for it and I will continue to work for it. I truly shopped ‘til I dropped, pounds that is, and now I’m ready for a new direction for my wardrobe and myself. You can now find me spending most of time in shoe stores as my feet haven’t changed in ten years and you can never have too many shoes…

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