Love your body, clean your closet

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 was Love Your Body Day (LYBD).  LYBD seeks to encourage women (and men) to, clearly, love their bodies.  Stop fixating on the things you hate about your body.  Stop wishing it was different.  Stop worrying about numbers on a scale.  Stop negative self-talk.  Stop reading magazines that promote airbrushed models as the desired shape and size for beauty.  Stop letting other people’s words get you down. Here’s a secret: They aren’t always happy with their bodies either.

A pants size will not make you happy.

To bring this idea around to a practical minimalist application, I’d like to talk about the clothes in your closet, wardrobe, or dresser that do not fit and do not make you feel fabulous.

Holding on to clothes that are too big, just in case, is not healthy.  You have an excuse to stop being accountable for your health because you think it’s okay since you’ve got a pair of fat pants. First off, stop calling them fat pants.  Someone else out there just calls them pants.  They may like their body just how it is, and you calling their pants “fat pants” just adds another little layer of insecurity that society is throwing at them.  Stick to the clothes that fit you.  “But what if I gain weight?” Then you buy bigger clothes when you gain weight.  Keep yourself accountable — eat a balanced diet of mostly plants, and move for thirty minutes a day, and you should maintain your weight (minus any health issues that cause extreme weight fluctuations).

Holding on to clothes that are too small, as motivation, is not healthy.  Having clothes in your closet that are too small is a body-negative reminder of your “ideal” beauty and body.  Get comfy in your body, and stop making yourself feel bad by surrounding yourself with reminders of what you’re not.  If you want to lose weight and wear smaller clothes, do it.  In a healthy way.  Which will take a while, so go ahead and take that top to Goodwill.  Reward yourself with new clothes when you do lose the weight, instead of having to look at a blaring neon sign that says “YOU CAN’T WEAR ME” every time you get dressed.

Holding on to clothes that are not your style is silly. These are the clothes that technically fit, but that you don’t wear.  Because they have a weird pattern, or you don’t like the cut, or you just don’t wear long sleeved shirts but your aunt bought it for you, or a tee shirt from high school that you have no reason to wear, or any other of the million reasons people hang on to these clothes.  If you are not wearing them, get rid of them.  Try the hanger trick.

Some guidelines:

  • Only clothes that fit you and that make you feel good deserve a space in your closet.  Anything else is not worth your time.
  • If you are pregnant or otherwise gaining weight that is temporary, a range of sizes is acceptable, but it IS possible to avoid having an entire (soon useless) wardrobe of maternity clothes.  See Miss Minimalist for more on that.
  • If you have a lot of clothes in sizes that don’t fit and you can’t bring yourself to get rid of them all, limit yourself to one box of clothes to put in storage for you to have on hand in case of weight fluctuations.
  • Don’t let your mom guilt you into keeping an ugly shirt because she bought it for you. Apply this to whatever guilt-ridden sentimental reason you have for keeping something you don’t really wear. Sorry mom.
  • When purchasing new clothing, look for items made with forgiving fabrics with some stretch, or elastic waists.  This makes the clothing more comfortable to move in and accommodates minor weight fluctuations.

What’s your favorite item of clothing, and how does it make you feel to wear it? Share in the comments!

 

6 thoughts on “Love your body, clean your closet

  1. Roxie says:

    Okay, you wanted me to comment and so here I am, not only reading, but commenting lol.

    Overall, I really like the concept of getting rid of clothing that doesn’t fit you. Holding on to useless hopes of what you “could” or “would” look like is frustrating, and at the end of the day will only have you feeling like crap about yourself.

    However, as a Health at Every Size (HAES) advocate, some of the language in here was just a touch judgemental, even though knowing you personally, I don’t think that you meant it that way. When we say that kind of blanket statement of “if you want to lose weight, do it the right way/healthy way” it assumes that people aren’t already living healthy. Many fat people exercise and eat very healthy and maintain their fat weight, as I’m sure you know. This sentence: “Keep yourself accountable — eat a balanced diet of mostly plants, and move for thirty minutes a day, and you should maintain your weight” bothered me because of the language “keep yourself accountable”. As if a person who doesn’t do these things is not holding themselves accountable. It reminds me a little bit too much of don’t “let yourself go”. A person has a right to live their life as they see fit and if weight or health are not of great concern to them, I don’t think that we should make judgments on their choices.

    Just my two thoughts for the day on how you could continue making your blog more fatty friendly!!

    MUCH LOVE!

    • Caitlin says:

      Much love back to you! And thank you for your comments. Let us discuss them and see if we can sift through the way I worded things to see if my message comes through better here after I’ve chewed on your comments a bit🙂

      I want to make an important note about context — the quotes you pulled out do sound like I was being judgmental and saying “my way is the right way,” but I think when taken in the context of the whole paragraph and blog post, they’re components of a bigger message.

      When I said to lose weight “the healthy way,” it was in this context:

      “Get comfy in your body, and stop making yourself feel bad by surrounding yourself with reminders of what you’re not. If you want to lose weight and wear smaller clothes, do it. In a healthy way. Which will take a while, so go ahead and take that top to Goodwill.”

      What I’m getting at here is that yo-yo dieting to lose weight fast often results in the weight coming right back. You and I both know that weight loss, *if that is your goal* is a slow process that happens gradually, not overnight (unless illness or some other circumstance happens — a detox juice diet won’t do it with lasting results). You and I both also know that we’re fabulously fat and we eat a healthy diet. This isn’t about shaming a fat body, it’s about saying that if you do want to lose weight, it’s better to do it as a gradual process (thus a gradual decrease of clothing size) rather than a blitz of diets that probably won’t stick. Diets are frustrating and disappointing because of the promises they make and break.

      Also, when I said “Keep yourself accountable,” it came after this statement:

      “Holding on to clothes that are too big, just in case, is not healthy. You have an excuse to stop being accountable for your health because you think it’s okay since you’ve got a pair of fat pants.”

      Meaning that if people are using their bigger size clothing as a fall-back in case of weight loss, that’s not the best idea (my opinion, feel free to throw it back at me and we will talk more, as we often do!). I also mention that it’s okay to keep some bigger or smaller clothing in storage, just not constantly in the closet as a reminder that “Oh, I want to get skinnier again,” or “It’s okay if I eat _____ or skip my workout, because I still have clothes that will fit.” Again, *if the goal is weight loss.* Having that backup can be self-sabotage if you’re actively changing your lifestyle. And you and I both know that eating a cookie is not a death sentence, and that it is perfectly healthy and acceptable to include “unhealthy” things in one’s eating habits. I would be so sad to eliminate french fries forever. But i know that if I eat french fries every day for a week, I will (a) feel really gross and (b) undo some of the healthy habits I have made for myself, like eating unprocessed foods more often.

      Side note: I think it’s very important to not refer to eating things like fries or cookies or milkshakes or what have you as “bad food,” “cheating,” or “slip-ups.” They’re all food. They may not be very nutritional, and they may even be called unhealthy, but that doesn’t make them evil. People do have to keep themselves accountable for what they eat though, if they want to promote the self-love that comes with loving their body and treating it right. I’m not saying people who eat McDonald’s are bad people. McDonald’s can be very tasty. But eating it every day is not good for your, my, or anyone’s body, and the human body doesn’t perform well on a diet of fast food/fried food/sugary food/etc., even though those things are okay in moderation.

      People can absolutely be healthy at every size… but only if they have healthy habits at every size. My statement to eat mostly plants and move 30 minutes a day was to maintain weight, meaning that your pants should still fit as long as you make an overall pretty simple effort to treat your body the way you’d like it to treat you.

      And after all that, to hit your final note, that “A person has a right to live their life as they see fit and if weight or health are not of great concern to them, I don’t think that we should make judgments on their choices,” I agree with you. If people really aren’t concerned, they can do as they please and be happy with their decisions. I don’t think you have to be at a certain weight, size, or anything else to be happy. You may not be totally healthy, but that’s fine too, as long as you enjoy your life, more power to you! Where I run into some dissonance with this idea is when people who lament their size, hate their bodies, or otherwise “complain” about their lifestyle don’t seem to bother taking the steps to get where they want to be. I actually really welcome your thoughts on that as someone who promotes the HAES and Body Beautiful movements, because I have a lot of trouble with it. Share your wisdom!

      And thank you again for your comments. You give me excellent opportunities to improve the way I write and communicate better!❤

      One last side note, a P.S. if you will: I do not have a weight loss goal. I don't even have a goal. I just want to be happy and feel healthy in this body. So I take a walk every day and I do my best to eat unprocessed, whole, and raw foods in lieu of processed or fast foods. Weight loss may be a consequence of these lifestyle and habit changes, and if so, that's cool. If not, that's cool too, because at the end of the day I'm doing what makes me happy. And all three pairs of pants fit. And I no longer look in the mirror and think "Ew." Victory is sweet, and contains no high fructose corn syrup.

      • Caitlin says:

        I knew there’d be a typo. “In case of weight loss” should read “in case of weight gain” or something else that I’m sure you can infer from the rest of the stuff I wrote.

  2. roxiepatton says:

    Okay, you wanted me to comment and so here I am, not only reading, but commenting lol.

    Overall, I really like the concept of getting rid of clothing that doesn’t fit you. Holding on to useless hopes of what you “could” or “would” look like is frustrating, and at the end of the day will only have you feeling like crap about yourself.

    However, as a Health at Every Size (HAES) advocate, some of the language in here was just a touch judgemental, even though knowing you personally, I don’t think that you meant it that way. When we say that kind of blanket statement of “if you want to lose weight, do it the right way/healthy way” it assumes that people aren’t already living healthy. Many fat people exercise and eat very healthy and maintain their fat weight, as I’m sure you know. This sentence: “Keep yourself accountable — eat a balanced diet of mostly plants, and move for thirty minutes a day, and you should maintain your weight” bothered me because of the language “keep yourself accountable”. As if a person who doesn’t do these things is not holding themselves accountable. It reminds me a little bit too much of don’t “let yourself go”. A person has a right to live their life as they see fit and if weight or health are not of great concern to them, I don’t think that we should make judgments on their choices.

    Just my two thoughts for the day on how you could continue making your blog more fatty friendly!!

    MUCH LOVE!

  3. livingsimplyfree says:

    I used to have a closet and dresser full of clothes. It drove me crazy when I couldn’t find any thing that fit right and was such a waste of time. So I did exactly what you are talking about here. I tried on everything to see if I loved it. I check to see if the clothes were in good shape or fraying at the edges and got rid of everything I didn’t love. Now I can find whatever I want quickly and know I will feel comfortable in it.

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