If you’re coming over from my Facebook post asking you to guess my dress size, welcome!
In the last 15 years, I’ve been a size two up to a size 16 and every size in between. Ever since puberty, my weight has fluctuated wildly and I have gained and lost easily.
Right now, I’m at the smaller end of the spectrum after cutting most of the sugar, carbs, dairy and junk food out of my diet at the start of 2014. I feel so much better and my former skinny jeans are actually too big now. I seem to have found my “happy weight”.
Here’s the funny thing, though…
the number on the scale is the lowest it’s been in years yet on our recent vacation, I took along clothes that ranged in size from a size 4 skirt to a size 8 pair of shorts. Surprised?
It was 1997 and I was attending community college in Florida. I wore a cute, knee-length blue and white dress to class (I’m kind of a dressy gal) and I was waiting for the class before mine to let out. There were people waiting next door, too, and one girl mentioned to those of us standing around that she was nervous about giving her big presentation that day.
“You know you get docked points if you’re not wearing a skirt, right?” a classmate reminded her.
She became panic-stricken.
“Oh, no!! I can’t loose points!!”
Then she looked over at me. Me, a perfect stranger. We weren’t even in the same class!! I didn’t even know her name!
“Can we switch clothes?? Please??” she asked.
Can you believe that I did it? We went into the restroom and I traded my dress for her cut-off jean shorts and off-white summer sweater–we passed them back and forth right over the stall wall. She was so grateful and our classmates thought it was great and I felt like a modern day good Samaritan.
What no one knew was that I couldn’t zip those shorts up.
She was probably a size 6 and I was probably an 8 or 10 but to her, we were the same size.
I’m not sure anyone that observed this exchange was thinking, “There’s no way she’s fitting into those shorts,” or “That dress is going to be a tent on her.” The onlookers were probably just wondering what they’d have done in the same situation.
I didn’t care, the sweater was long enough to cover the top of the shorts and I just sat in the back of the class with my little gut hanging out. It was worth it to make her day.
In a related story….
A while back, maybe four years ago, when I was postpartum after having only gained 12 lbs. during my pregnancy (don’t be jealous, I had anxiety so bad that I lost my appetite), I mentioned that I was back in a size 6 dress, the size I wore in high school.
Several people made comments like this: “Haven’t you always been a size six?? You’re tiny!”
Apparently no one knows what size I am, now or ever!!
Let me ask you…do YOU even know what size YOU are right now?? Maybe you’re a 16…ish. Or a 26. Or a 6/8. Or a misses 14/plus-size 12?? Or maybe you have no idea.
HERE’S THE DEAL.
No one is as interested in your dress size as you are.
Every person also has a different perception of “big” and “little.”
I’m tall so I think people perceive me as being slim, even when I’m carrying more weight. If you are petite, people may perceive you as small, regardless of your weight. Or if you’re tall and big-boned, they may always see you as “big.”
What does 150 lbs look like? 100 lbs? 250 lbs? What does a size 4 look like? A size 10? A size 24?
If I lined up ten women, how accurately could you guess their weight or their dress size? Could you put them in order from biggest to smallest?? (Of course that would also depend on your idea of “big” and “small”)
Think about five of your best friends.
Do you know what size they wear? Have you even thought about it before? I doubt it–but I bet you’ve thought they’ve wondered about your dress size, though!
The thing is…
To be a woman of influence, you have to learn to accept your dress size.
That means you have two choices:
1. Accept yourself the way you are, knowing that no one really knows or cares about your dress size.
2. If your weight is bothering you, take some steps to get healthier.
If you need to lose–or gain!–weight, research a program that will allow you to make small, sustainable changes over time to get to a weight that you can be happy with. The size you wear or the number on the scale doesn’t matter–YOU being confident in your own skin is all that matters.
When you’re happy and confident, people notice THAT–they’re not sizing you up.
People don’t care what size you are. I can be three different sizes in one day and everyone will have their own opinion on that.
Women of influence find their happy weight and embrace it. I know mine will continue to fluctuate so I’ll just dress it from day to day as best I can and keep walking with my head held high. I hope you can do the same.
FOR THOSE WHO WERE WONDERING…my typical pants and/or dress size right now is a 4. I also wear some 2s and 6s, though. Full disclosure? I’m 5’9″ and my scale says 125 lbs-ish
As for the photos I showed you…the green dress is a 6, the denim shorts are an Old Navy 4 and the tee is an XS, the yellow blouse is a small from Charming Charlie, the white pants are a 4 from Liz Claiborne and the polka dot dress is a 6. I’d call myself a size 4/6.
2020 Update: Having had another baby and, frankly, finding out just how much chocolate I can consume and still fit into my clothes, I am currently closer to 135 lbs. and a size six in dresses and pants. I can wear some size fours and pretty much everything I wear is a small unless it’s a kimono or loose top then I get a medium.
Read more about my weight loss journey: