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Tight Clothes

An interesting discussion on my Food and Feelings message board was about wearing clothes that are too tight. If your weight goes up and down, wearing clothes that fit just right might be a challenge for you too. Here are my thoughts on the subject.

If you’ve put on weight or if your body weight has shifted and clothes are restrictive and pinch your flesh, it’s important to examine this situation from several angles. Here are some questions to answer: What does my body feel like in tight clothes? What does my body feel like in loose clothes? What does my body feel like in clothes that fit just right? How do I look to myself and others in too tight or too loose clothing? What are my reasons for wearing clothes that are uncomfortable?

Many people continue to wear clothes that are too tight because they refuse to buy a larger size, believing that they will return to their previous weight. That’s okay if we’re talking a few days, but the thinking doesn’t work if we’re talking weeks or months. Being in denial that you’ve gone up a size doesn’t help you solve the problem. It’s true that some folks have neither the time nor money to shop for a new wardrobe, but it’s equally true that people have both the time and money and still don’t.

Some people may feel it’s a kind of punishment and that they’re doing penance by wearing clothes that restrict and make them feel uncomfortable. They think that they deserve to hurt because they’ve committed some eating sins. They might even believe that their suffering will make them eat less or differently. But pain and suffering are more likely to make someone eat to soothe their upset than to eat “normally.” Some people believe that if they move into a larger size that means they’re giving up hope of ever being slimmer, but a person can eat more “normally” at any size.

At 67, I recently went through a shift in body mass though, according to doctors’ scales, my weight has remained the same. So, I went through my closet and tried everything on. Some pants and skirts had to go. Others were put in the let-out-myself or give-the-tailor-some-work pile. My mindset in the process was not that this was a bad thing that had happened to my body but a natural part of aging. By accepting the change neutrally, I was better able to take effective actions. I know my situation is different than changes in clothing size due to weight gain from not eating “normally,” but the principle is the same: Rather than torture yourself by wearing uncomfortable clothing, respect your body and do the best you can to make it feel good in whatever you wear.