As the quote goes – Vanity, thy name is woman.
Women are saddled with societal baggage of conforming to the beauty norms of the day. In this day, it appears that being thin is still in. I would however, prefer if we were allowed to look like Ruben’s women! This pressure is, I feel, further exacerbated by visuals we are presented with, especially online. Just look at any ad campaign or successful blogger/influencer/model and the trend is there – you must be thin.
There is also the other movement for people to be lean. I often stumble on before/after pictures on Instagram, of women who have successfully shed a lot of weight, or who promote “clean eating” and exercise, and the common thread is this – they’re all fairly thin and lean.
So, how does that make you feel, when you realize that the clothes in your closet fit a touch too snug. Or that you have to hold your tummy in when wearing that favourite dress, that you’ve owned from 5 years ago, when you were a tad more svelte? Or that your butt looks larger than ever before 😛
Do you make a resolute decision to exercise and go on a diet, or do you say sod it! And size up in your clothing? I’m curious because I went through this exercise! 🙂
I have never been conventionally thin all my life. At some points of my life, it might have bothered me. This would be when I was at College and University. I’m thankful however, that social media was not a thing then, or I might perhaps feel it more than I did. In actual fact, I never really felt very bad about being larger than the regular Asian girl. Granted, I was not obese either. Just overweight from eating too much LOL! 😀
When I started working, what with late nights and irregular meals and stress, I lost a lot of weight. My late grandmothers back then, every time I met them, would lament that I was quite literally fading away. Asian grandmothers lay a lot of score by seeing their grandchildren well-fed – a leftover from their lean war-torn years, I’m guessing 🙂 Later, I stabilized in terms of weight and size, and remained that way for quite many years. I was never lean, just thinner than I am now (and looking much like a lollipop thanks to my big head LOL! 😀 ).
Then, I hit 40, and suddenly, it was as if my metabolic switch was turned off LOL! 😛 Do what I might, eat as little as I did, but the weight and fat came creeping in. Couple this of course, with a slightly more sedentary lifestyle that came with more stability and comfort, and suddenly my favourite skirts failed to zip up properly, or they’d bunch up and pull around my hips and tummy in an unflattering manner. I did also partake in some exercise at this time, which helped me feel better, but did not help much with my shrinking wardrobe.
Early this year, I sat myself down, and told myself that I had to be realistic. My clothes cupboard was bursting, but I could no longer realistically wear half of them. So, I did a brutal exercise. I took out every piece of clothing and tried it on. If it still fit, and I would still wear it, I kept it. If it didn’t, out it went.
But I realised then that the majority of my clothes were ill-fitting. I was still holding on to dresses, skirts and pants that served me well say 5 years ago when I was a little more svelte, but which I could barely do up now. So, I gave away most of my wardrobe.
When it came to buying new clothes, I decided to be more realistic. I was previously a size UK8-10, or S-M. When I went to try on clothes, I realised that for the clothes to fit better, and for me to feel more comfortable, I had to size up to a UK10-12 or M-L/XL (Asian sizing is pretty screwed up thanks to the pressure for most Asian girls to be waifs, so I rarely use it as a gauge – my UK sizing is more consistent).
Granted, some of you may not think this terribly significant. But for a spell, I felt a little out of sorts. I think it’s to do with societal expectations. You are supposed to size DOWN, not UP! 😛 Sizing up is almost like admitting defeat in the battle of the bulge. You don’t take to Instagram to happily announce that you’re now up a size in your clothes!
But that feeling soon passed.
What was more important for me, was that I was healthy. I had not put on a significant amount of weight in an alarming manner, and in fact, I was actually visually more proportionate now. It was just vanity that made me feel out of sorts for having to size up when shopping for clothes. But really, ultimately, it was about looking more presentable in clothes that fit, feeling comfortable in what I was wearing, and not kidding myself that I was still 25 LOL 😀
I think sometimes, we lay too much score by what we see in others, and forget that many factors come into play. The most important of which is genetics, and self-discipline and to a very large extent, self-deprivation. I have always said that I enjoy my food too much to give it up in the name of vanity, and I really hate exercise and sweating 😛 I do the minimum to keep my joints limber, but really, that’s about it. I don’t recommend that anyone follow my lead, but I will also say that you should do what you feel comfortable with.
If “eating clean” makes you feel better, do it. If you want to indulge in a roti canai or a salted egg croissant, or conventionally, a cupcake, do it. If hitting the gym or running gets your adrenaline pumping, then by all means, do it. If that helps you keep your weight off or lose it, even better. If you feel out of sorts every time someone mentions going for a run, or going to the gym (as I do) then don’t. Find something else to do that makes you feel comfortable. For me, it’s yoga. Some people tell me it’s too minimal and low impact. But I say, so be it – minimal is better than nothing. Besides, ever tried doing yoga properly? You sweat buckets and freaking ache after! 😛
So yes, I’ve gone up a clothes size, but really, it’s not the end of the world and it never should be 🙂
Do you feel bad when you realise you have to go up a clothes size?
I actually do not own a weighing scale. I never have. I weigh myself if I see one lying around, but really, that’s about it! 😛 So I don’t actually know how much I weigh at any one time and maybe that’s a good thing LOL! 😀