Most of us believe that our grandmothers are amazing. In my case, this is not a belief, but a fact.
My maternal grandmother was one of the best women I have ever known, and my memories of her are colored with laughter, board games, and so many yummy cookies.
My grandmother, like many of the women in my family, was a serial dieter. Like many, she would have success on one plan, then over time, she would stray from it only to gain the weight back. Eventually, she would find another plan, and the cycle would resume.
As a child, I remember not caring what size she was. I cherished the trips to Wendy’s for frostys after choir practice, calorie content was not important.
While the whole family knew of my grandmother’s battle with the scale, there was one aspect that we did not find out about until after her passing.
At the time of her passing, my grandma lived alone in a large 4-bedroom house. As family were clearing out her closet, what we found had us laughing for hours, and still makes me smile.
My grandma, unbeknownst to all of us, had kept a full wardrobe in the three size categories that she would be in during her fluctuations.
In one of the unoccupied bedrooms, in closet one was size A-B, red sweater, purple dress, blue jeans, and so on. Walk across the hall, into the next bedroom, and in closet two there was the same wardrobe in size C-D. Red sweater, purple dress, blue jeans, and so on.
The people cleaning the closets met in the hallway to discuss this, before hearing laughing from the third bedroom, her actual bedroom. In that closet, was a full set, red sweater, purple dress, blue jeans, and so on, these ones in size E-F.
Over the years, my grandma had accepted the weight loss and regain cycle so completely that she wanted to make certain she had all of her favorite clothes ready, no matter what the scale read.
I love this story, as it makes me smile, and think of my overly analytical grandmother who was always prepared.
I also see this as a cautionary tale for myself.
Over the past year, as the number on the scale has crawled down, and the size of the clothes that I am wearing decreases, I had to make a choice.
On one hand, the clothes that no longer fit we expensive. I am not independently wealthy, and to get rid of clothing that had cost me that much was stressful.
On the other hand, unlike my grandmother, I am choosing to not accept the cycle as inevitable. I want things to be different for me.
For myself, I felt that keeping the clothes that are the larger size is giving myself permission to fall back into habits that I have worked pretty hard to break.
With a deep sigh, I have been able to slowly remove clothes that no longer flatter me. Thankfully, I had kept the clothes that fit while I was gaining and then moved out of, so I have not had to repurchase everything.
The one item I have kept is my belt. It is not a particularly nice belt. It was not expensive, it is not fancy.
It is a black, fake leather belt from a local department store.
I have kept it as my sole reminder. When I bought the belt, I could wear it on one of the largest holes, and that was it. Over time, I have been able to move it in further and further.
While I still have a ways to go to get to my goal, I use the belt as a reminder sometimes.
I am not where I want to be.
I am also not where I started.
Slow progress is still progress.
For me, there are no extra closets for “just-in-case” clothes.
There is only a belt, with a comically long end wrapping around my waist.