I hate shopping for clothes. I have always hated it. I’ve waged my own private battle of the bulge in every dressing room I’ve ever been in. Too tight, too big, too small, whatever. Clothes never fit. I’d rather buy shoes and purses any day. They always fit, just like jewelry.

However, losing weight requires shopping. At some point, you will have to replace the clothes you’ve been wearing. And, you should go to a store and try them on, because, if you’re like me, you don’t have a clue what size to start with. On top of that pending frustration, clothes shopping is an emotional experience for me and my daughters (one pre-teen and one teenager). We might cry for any number of reasons — something we love looks terrible/need a bigger size/can’t find anything that meets the perfect picture in our heads. You know — really reasonable reasons to start crying.

Friday I had to go shopping again. This time because I needed something to wear to my daughter’s upcoming Confirmation. I set out (with my mom) and honestly, I was terse and dismissive of many of the things she wanted me to consider. In planning for this shopping trip, I mentally prepared myself for the worst. I was certain we wouldn’t find a thing and this would become the first of a long series of excursions to find something for to me wear that wasn’t horrendous. (Note the bad attitude that comes through in my word choices).

I didn’t want to be shopping. And then I started trying on clothes. The first outfit (nice pants with a great sweater set) looked amazing! Then, upon closer inspection, we realized the pants were roomy in the legs. And, they were super long — maybe a petite length? The only thing petite on me is the length of my legs — but because of the rest of my shape — petites are not an option, usually.

Except, on Friday — I put on a pair of petite length pants that were a size smaller than the pants I bought a month ago. I haven’t lost but a few pounds since then. To go with the pants, I got a great short sleeve top (I don’t do sleeveless) and a jacket. What’s important here is that not only is the top at least 2 sizes smaller than I would have expected, but I can also zip up the jacket. Unless it’s outerwear, I can NEVER zip a jacket.

I tell you all this in excruciating detail because I want you to learn from my experience. Here are 5 Lessons I learned from the Dressing Room:

  1. Be nice to whoever is shopping with you. My mom did not deserve the sarcastic and snide comments I said out loud (or in my head) while we were perusing the racks of clothes. She is my rock and my greatest supporter. She deserves better than I gave her at the beginning of our day. (Side note: I did recover, apologize for my crankiness and thank her profusely for putting up with me).
  2. Start with the size you think you wear — not the one you want to wear. It is so much better for your psyche to go smaller in size vs. the reverse, especially if you’ve been losing weight.
  3. Give yourself plenty of time. Don’t go shopping with only an hour available. I think we were in the store for 3 hours. One store. Three rounds of clothes in the dressing room. OY!
  4. Don’t over buy. Buy whatever you set out to accomplish. Stay focused. Yes, I need many more things, especially with the change of seasons, but we stayed focused. Veering off course makes the shopping last too long and kills your mood (trust me, I speak from experience). Remember, your mood was likely already questionable given the situation at hand.
  5. Just because the numbers on the scale haven’t changed, doesn’t mean your body isn’t still changing. Yep, I didn’t think it was possible. But based on the sizes I bought Friday compared to the sizes I bought near the end of March, something’s been shifting even if it doesn’t show up on the scale. This is important to your weight loss journey. Don’t get down just because the scale isn’t budging — especially if you’ve already lost a lot of weight. Look for the beyond the scale victories.

The moral of this story is that finding that amazing outfit to wear at my daughter’s Confirmation gave me new incentive to stay the course and keep plugging away at my weight loss. I challenge you to do the same.

What makes you feel great about yourself? How does that impact your weight loss efforts?