Signs of Progress

Disclaimer: This blog post discusses sizes, past and present (I learned posting at WeAretheRealDeal that it’s best to include a disclaimer like this when discussing sizes!). The numbers I’m sharing might trigger someone, so please realize that I’m only comparing myself to myself — not judging you or anyone else.

One of my best friends is getting married this coming October (yay!), and I was so honored she asked me to be in her wedding. Last week, I had to turn in some measurements for the bridesmaid’s dresses.

I’m super-excited about the wedding and the dress (it’s gorgeous and it’s going to be flattering on every body type) — but I was dreading getting measured because, though I only have two pre-pregnancy pounds to lose (yup, I gained one last week, though it could be period weight, who knows), my pre-pregnancy pants/jeans do not fit … which means without even seeing a measuring tape, I knew I had quite a few inches left to lose.

When I saw the actual measurements spelled out, I have to admit, it was quite shocking. I was wearing jeans so the measurements weren’t 100% accurate, but still … they alerted me I had about three inches to lose off my waist and about five off my hips to return to my pre-pregnancy size (OK, probably in actuality two or three inches off my hips because I had gained some before I was pregnant … but still!).

Before I opened the sizing chart she sent me Saturday, I had been forewarned that everyone in the bridal party was measuring 2-4 sizes bigger in this dress than their street size because of the tight-on-the-hips lining underneath.

[I understood this — I was a solid size 6 at my wedding and in pretty much the best shape of my life … yet my wedding gown was a 10. (In fact, I remember the assistant asking me, “What size in street clothes?” I proudly said, “Six.” And she handed me a 10, explaining this typical bridal sizing differential — and it fit PERFECTLY … no alterations necessary). I digress.]

Anyway, in this dress, I guessed I’d measure a 14 and bit my tongue.

I was wrong. I measured a 16. Now, this is NOT said to frown on anyone who is a 16 … and for some, a size 16 is their goal size and that is totally fine. It’s just that the biggest size I’ve ever bought was a 14, and I can still wear most of the dresses that are size 8s in my closet, depending on the cut/material, even now. So you can see why seeing “16” just hit me hard.

My friend kindly assured me I could, like some of the other girls in the bridal party, choose to order a size down, knowing 1) I just had a baby four months ago and am still losing weight 2) the wedding isn’t until October so I’d have a few months to do alterations and 3) the bust would be swimming on me in that size.

I thought about it long and hard … I even posted on Twitter asking what other people would do in this situation.

Yet  this is how I know I’ve made progress. The old me would have flipped out hearing the size; would have probably lived off grilled chicken on a bed of lettuce for two weeks and would have run straight to the gym. Twice.

But the new me is calmer, cooler, more collected. I know it will take time to come off … and it will. I know I’m only four months post-partum (to the day). And I know buying a dress in a smaller size would only set myself up for “failure” …

So, ultimately, I told her to go ahead with the 16.

The truth is, with this dress, no matter what size I get, it will need to be altered in the bust (my bust would measure me at a 10 but there’s no way I would get my waist/hips back to those measurements again without some SERIOUS effort, which I’m not willing to do).

The way I see it, I might as well get the current size I measured at and alter it down — rather that than feel uncomfortable in a possibly too-tight dress. I know no one looks at the bridesmaids — as well they shouldn’t! Still, call me vain, but I still want to feel nice for my friend’s special day and would rather not look like a stuffed sausage.

I share this story today because, at 31, I finally feel like I KNOW myself. I know what triggers me, what makes me tick. I know how I would have reacted and how I do react.

That’s powerful stuff!

That knowledge can be applied to so many situations in life — this might have been a triggering situation two years ago; now I can honestly look at myself and say, “It is what it is.”

Anyone know of a great tailor in Kalamazoo? Come September, I just might need one!

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6 thoughts on “Signs of Progress

  1. Good for you! For sharing so openly. For knowing yourself. And, for being true to what you know is attainable and realistic for you. I know you’ll look amazing. And, I have the same thoughts … as a bridesmaid you don’t need to worry about people looking at you but still, you want to look your best.

    And, for a tailor? I love M&W just off the Kazoo Mall (on South St). They’ve done dress and pant alterations for me and they are great!

    1. Thanks sweetie!

      And I will give them a whirl when the time comes. The dresses should be in by July or August so I have plenty of time to get it altered between then and October.

  2. I had a similar experience (was sized for a bridesmaid dress 6 weeks postpartum, to be worn 6 months postpartum). Although I can’t say I have exactly the same history with weight/eating, everyone has a story, and I was not sure how to handle feeling disappointed in my measurements while trying to balance the “I know I just had a baby so I shouldn’t be worried about this” thing. Bottom line: I got a big size and was super happy to have to take it in once we got closer to the wedding date! Happy surprise, even if it cost me another $65 🙂

    Good for you to have such awesome perspective on your body and your life.

    1. Hey Kate, thanks for sharing. And I totally love your attitude — it’s exactly what I’m thinking, too. If the dress is swimming on me, all the better. I knew no matter what I’d need to alter the bust, so it’s not like I could have avoided that fact even with a (much) smaller size.

      Thank you — it took a LONG time to get here, that’s for sure 😉

  3. This is exactly what I needed to read today. I went to the gym today and all I could think about was how tight I felt my pants were. I was uncomfortable and I was thinking about weighing and seeing if I was upset with the number. After reading this I have decided to avoid the scale and continue to let things be because I know that things will even back out. THANK YOU! You are such an inspiration and I promise that I will be following you to your new blog! 😀

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