It’s true. Shopping can trigger weight loss. At least that’s what happened to me last week, not immediate weight loss, mind you, but an immediate front-and-center realization that I needed to pay attention to my growing front and center, aka stomach.
Now before I tell you what happened while shopping, I’d like to preface this story with a huge dose of this: “My body, my being, beautiful, holy, worthy of honor.” (Momentous Living, page 31)
Each of us has unique body challenges, but its these challenges that can be harnessed to better understand ourselves at a deeper and healthier level. So please do not judge me and my body type. And I promise I will not judge you and your body type. Whatever your struggle is with yours, read my story in the context of you, not me. For somewhere within our differences, there is this common thread: regardless of our body size, body weight, and body configuration, our bodies are beautiful, holy, and worthy of honor. Period.
If you’re still with me. Please moxie on (foreshadowing here).
One of my 31 days of birthday self-care entailed cleaning out my closet and going shopping. Frankly, I hate to shop. I’m one of those people who goes in, finds what she needs, and gets out. After purging my wardrobe of clothes that no longer fit, no longer felt comfortable, or no longer looked good, I was left needing several items to start my new year off feeling more put-together and more refreshed.
This task, however, was too overwhelming to tackle alone, so I reached out to Moxie, one of my October birthday friends, and asked if she’d like to shop with me. You might remember Moxie from my post, “How to Dig Yourself Out of a Hole.” Yes, that Moxie. Not only is she good at digging out of holes, but she’s also an expert shopper. I knew this, but I had never witnessed her in full force. Was I in for a treat!
Hang with me. I’m getting to the weight loss part soon.
After telling Moxie what I was looking for, mainly shoes and shirts and a swimsuit top, she mapped out a plan with targeted stores, and then finalized a date. That date was last Friday. We started by first swapping clothes we didn’t want that we thought the other might like. I left Moxie’s house with three shirts before I even started shopping. And Moxie gained some shorts, shirts, and I think a dress or two. We were off to a more-than-moxie start if I say so myself!
Next, we hit the shoe store where Moxie directed me to the clearance section. I followed her instructions but didn’t find one pair of shoes in my size that I liked. Instead, I found eight full-price pairs, that I needed to pare down. This is when I first got overwhelmed with too many choices. I just want to wear flip flops and be done with it (and occasionally tennis shoes or cool boots). But now, staring at all these shoe choices, I felt as if I needed all kinds of shoes.
I lined up all my choices, side-by-side in their boxes, viewed them from above, and then tried on each pair, walking to the mirror, sideways, frontways, sideways, and then asked Moxie’s opinion. I couldn’t decide. Finally, I managed to pare down to four, and decided to buy all of them, reminding myself that I had already gotten three free shirts, so technically, the price of four pair of shoes was really the price of two.
Next, we hit the clothes stores.
The weight loss part is super close now.
Even though I wasn’t looking for pants or dresses, I found myself trying on pants and dresses, and only a few shirts. And it seemed most everything I tried on either showed my stomach, didn’t cover my stomach, or didn’t have room for my stomach. I don’t know how many times I said, “OMG, my stomach is so big!”, but it was enough times that I started apologizing for obsessing over my midsection.
“Sorry for saying ‘stomach’ so much today,” I said.
And then, I’d say it again while trying on the next round of clothes.
“OMG, my stomach is so big!”
Now, to put this into perspective, I have a bean pole body that I am sometimes self-conscious about because I feel like I look anorexic. Which I’m not. But now, my bean pole body has a bulging stomach—a midlife combination of not enough and too much—like those beer gut guys with bird legs you see on the beach wearing Speedos—too much gut, not enough butt. OMG indeed!
Menopause (and probably because I barely exercised the past couple years) caused my body parts to shift out of proportion. With each dressing room, came more distress as I kept sucking in my gut to button up pants, or camouflage my middle in a dress, or help a shirt lay flat. It was all very stressful. Why couldn’t all that ab flab have distributed itself throughout my entire body, or at least into my boobs and butt?? No, it chose one place: my stomach.
Or so I thought.
When I started trying on swimsuit tops, I discovered flab pushing out over the sides under my arm pits. OMG again! It’s not just in my stomach. It’s hanging over my swimsuit top too. When it was all said and done, I somehow managed, with Moxie’s help, to secure a few loose-fitting shirts, three comfy dresses, one swimsuit top with wider sides, and one pair of bigger pants. Most everything was on sale, except the bigger pants; but, to my delight, the sales lady applied a 30 percent discount code. I think she empathized with my plight.
Here is where I get to the weight loss part. Yay!!
By time Moxie and I finished our self-care shopping spree, I felt exasperated and Moxie felt exhausted. Regardless, I felt super determined, as in laser-focused, to say good riddance to the extra pounds in my stomach. We can sometimes hide our physical flaws by wearing certain clothes, which trust me, I’ve been doing; but in Florida, you can’t avoid swimsuits, and swimsuits don’t hide much. So, it’s time I faced the gut.
After shopping half a day, and looking at my stomach in the mirror again, and again, and again; and sucking it in again, and again, and again…well…I returned home ready to conquer Project Ab Flab. I’m announcing this to the world, hoping all of you out there will ask from time to time, “Hey, how’s Project Ab Flab going?
I truly need accountability.
To help with my proclaimed Project I rescued one pair of pants from my closet that would not button up, and hung them, like a hail Mary homage, where I could clearly see them every morning as a reminder to shed a few pounds. I really want to wear those funky striped pants again with the fringe on the bottom. I really do.
Shopping can trigger weight loss.
I finished my self-care shopping day with some new shoes and clothes to start my new year. But more than that, I spent an amazing day with my moxie friend and left with a more determined spirit to shed a few pounds—not just to look better, but to feel better.
And that, my friends, is how shopping can trigger weight loss. It can serve as a realization that I am worthy of taking care of my body, and when things start to go astray, then I need to pay attention.
My shopping spree reminded me of why I like to exercise and eat well. I feel better when my stomach isn’t lecturing me that I haven’t been moving enough or that I ate two Reese’s a day for six days, and one of those days I ate four. As much as I love Reese’s, I can’t eat them every day.
When my stomach is sticking out of proportion, it’s sending a message that something’s not only too far out, but something is up, and now it’s time to bring it down. It’s time, in my new birthday year, that I got back to moving and paying better attention to what I put into my beautiful, holy, worthy-of-honor body.
Thanks for reading to the end.
Now, go find a moxie friend and have fun refreshing your wardrobe too. I’d love to hear about your adventure.
P.S. As a bonus for hanging with me through my shopping saga, here are seven foundational principles that help front and centers be not so front and center:
Seven Self-care Principles
- Drink more water. Reducing sugar drinks and adding more water provides dividends beyond weight loss. With 60 percent of our bodies being water, it’s just good sense that both our bodies and brains need water to function at their optimal levels.
- Eat more food grown from the ground. When’s the last time you visited a Farmer’s Market? Local produce lasts much longer than produce from a grocery store, not to mention you get to know firsthand who grows your food and how.
- Plan your meals. This is a tough one for me. But I know when my husband and I join forces on the weekends and plot our weekly menu, we eat much healthier.
- Consume with moderation, e.g. shopping and Reese’s. No explanation needed here.
- Get outside and move. Come on people! It’s fall!!! The outdoors is calling our names. Walk, jog, bike; hop, skip, jump. Kayak, paddle board, swim. Breathe. Do yoga. Do something! This is my biggest goal.
- Find your peeps and hang with them. I no longer live by my best friends. But finding new ways of reaching out and intentionally planning meet-ups gives me something to look forward to each month. Positive people contribute to good mental health.
- Embrace holistic self-care. Speaking of mental health, our overall wellness has everything to do with weight management. Stress, lack of sleep, feeling down or deeply depressed for example, all factor into the health of our bodies. The last time I looked, our heads and hearts were connected to our bodies. Take good care of all of you. And moxie on.