“These pants don’t fit anymore. I need the next size up. I think my jeans shrunk in the wash.” These are just a few of the many excuses people give for needing to buy a new, bigger size. While jeans do shrink and the dry cleaner does ruin the occasional clothing item, needing the next size up should be a red flag that your weight loss isn’t working and you need to turn things around—fast.
A Personal Tale
After I was first married, I quickly put on weight. I blame myself for never cooking healthy foods, always going out to eat, and never exercising. I gained about 35 pounds in 3 years. Not good. Instead of turning things around, I began buying the next size (or two) up. I lied to myself about my weight gain. I rationalized that my old clothes didn’t fit anymore because of washing errors or some made-up excuse. I stopped wearing my fitted business suits and switched to flowy dresses that made it less obvious I was gaining weight. Denial was strong and lasted for years.
Sizing up is a red flag.
Unless you are underweight, consistently needing bigger size clothing is a red flag for weight gain. Now, I understand that a healthy-weight person doesn’t always wear a certain size. Size 6 is not the perfect size for everyone, and neither is a size 10. It all depends on you—on your body shape, height, etc. I get that. I also understand that clothing sizes aren’t standard. But one of the first signs that your diet isn’t going well is needing larger sized clothing. I see it all the time with the weight loss clients I coach. They share stories similar to mine. They were trying to lose a few pounds but instead of seeing the scale go down, they saw the scale move in the wrong direction. Then they found they needed larger jeans, skirts, and dresses. Some people are good at turning things around before their weight gain gets out of control, but for others, needing larger clothes is what finally gets their attention.
Turn it around quickly.
The faster you recognize the problem, the easier it is to turn things around and get back to a healthy weight or get back to losing weight. Denial, although powerful, doesn’t do you any favors. When you discover your pants are suddenly too tight and your favorite skirt doesn’t quite look the same, take action.
1. Stand on the scale and assess the damage.
It’s never fun to see what weeks or months of overeating have done to you, but honesty is the best policy in this case. Stand on the scale, record your current weight, and move forward.
2. Analyze what you’ve been eating.
When your pants get tight and you need a bigger size, food is usually the problem. Think back on how your diet has been, what kind of portions you are consuming, and what your snacking patterns are.
3. Find the foods you’ve been overindulging in and remove them from your house and diet.
I overate a variety of foods but had a special weakness for sweets. When I finally turned things around, getting rid of sweets was vital to my success. Find your danger foods and get rid of them.
4. Increase or restart your exercise plan.
Exercise won’t fix weight gain but it will help. Plan regular workouts that make you sweat and don’t settle for being lazy.
5. Monitor your weight and clothing fit.
Once you are on the path to turning things around, keep an eye on your weight and how your clothes fit. Hopefully those bigger sized jeans won’t fit for long. If you do these five things, you can turn the weight gain around before you blow your diet completely. Believe me, it is easier to lose 10, 20, or even 50 pounds than 150 pounds. That’s how much I ended up gaining before I finally turned things around and stopped ignoring red flags like needing larger sized clothing.