odds and ends from a life under construction

size does matter

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For the longest time, I’ve had two letters in my shirt size. Or, as was the case in the months leading up to my surgery, three. I gave up on stores like J. Crew and Ann Taylor Loft a long time ago; there was no way I’d fit into anything they carried. The bulk of my wardrobe came from Target and Old Navy and, when I was feeling spendy, Lane Bryant (they really have larger women over a barrel). And, over a year after my son was born, I was still wearing maternity tops to avoid admitting that I needed larger shirts.

A couple months ago, I finally realized I needed to get some new jeans. My regular size 18s that had been snug before surgery definitely didn’t fit, and the “skinny day” size 16s were also too loose. When we went to Target to get a couple new pairs, I grabbed 14s without even thinking and headed to the checkout. Jason suggested I try them on, and I immediately assumed that he meant they might be too small (and maybe got a little offended). What he actually meant was that they might be too big. And they were, by a lot. A week later, I went back and bought size 12s.

Adjusting to my new body has been harder than I expected. In my head, I still require the largest size on the rack to avoid looking like two wrestling pigs are hiding under my clothes. If you put two pictures of me side by side, one from before surgery and one from now, I can obviously see the differences. But when I look in the mirror each day, my mind tells me I don’t look all that different. My mind needs a punch in the face.

Because I have changed. A LOT. That medium size shirt up there? I bought it on a whim, thinking it might fit me in a few months when I was closer to my goal weight. I thought it was cute and would probably be comfy, it was on sale for some insane price in the vicinity of $3, and I figured – why not? And you know what? It fits.


And it doesn’t fit in an “I painted this on” kind of way; it fits in an “I can breathe just fine without you seeing the outline of my ribs” way.

Ann Taylor Loft, one of the aforementioned stores that carries attractive and simple clothes I could see myself spending a lot of time in, sent me an email this morning advertising a massive dress sale. My mind wanted to delete that email because there’s no way cute dresses in below-average sizes could possibly fit on my flabby body. But that flabby body gave my mind what it had coming and bought three of those dresses (I have family a wedding coming up, so I’m using that as the excuse). And flabby or no, my body is quite sure they’ll fit.


  • Amy B says:

    Isn’t it an awesome feeling? You look fab, Julie. And that shirt is really cute!

  • Annalisa says:

    Of course you wouldn’t be able to tell. You see you every day. Pictures are more telling because of the lag of time.

    I had something similar happen after I lost pregnancy weight. One photo I had of myself and kid at 5 months had me chunky, and the next, only a month later, I had collar bones again (probably because I had gone from zero to working out 3-4 times a week in the interim).

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