Do You Have Fat Clothes?

Helping your closet lose weight could help you lose weight, too

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How many of you have a closet filled with clothing of varying sizes? There may be a size 4 hanging in there from when you got married or those honeymoon shorts you hope to someday fit back into. Next to those might be the 6s and 8s that you wore for many years … before the kids came, that is. And next to those, the 10s, 12s, and 14s, just longing to be worn.

Bonnie Taub-Dix
Bonnie Taub-Dix
Yet there you stand, staring at your closet, wearing a size 16, and wondering which size is the aberration and which size fits the body you want to live in. Can you picture what you looked like when you wore those clothes? How did you feel about yourself then? What was going on in your life? What was different about your daily routine, compared to now? Were you exercising more often? Were you dining in restaurants less frequently? You may need to dig even deeper and ask yourself whether fitting into a smaller size is something that's truly important to you—and why. What are the barriers blocking you from losing weight and taking better care of yourself?

While you collect your thoughts and brainstorm ways to get those thinner clothes off the hangers and onto your body, here are a few tips that may inspire you to do a little spring cleaning, no matter what time of year it is:

• Get rid of the low sizes that represent an unrealistic goal that you may not (and may not need to) attain. That size may have housed a body that used to be more active and may have had more time to pay attention to every morsel that went onto your plate. Dress the body you have now—you can always go to the tailor to take something in when it gets too big.

• When you're ready to alter your clothing, be sure to tell the tailor to cut off the excess material—no need to plan on gaining that weight back.

• Choose an article of clothing that's snug on you but that you can remember wearing not too long ago. Hang it on the outside of your closet and try it on at the end of every month. I prefer using clothing as a frame of reference instead of a scale to help tangibly assess and commend weight-loss efforts.

• After you lose a few pounds treat yourself to a new (inexpensive) article of clothing. Don't invest too much money in new clothes because if you enjoy and appreciate losing weight, you may be able to fit into those clothes that are waiting for you at home, and it might even be more rewarding to shop in your own closet!

• Remember that "ideal" weight is not necessarily the weight that appears on charts and tables—it's the weight at which you look and feel your best. Today is a great day to help your closet lose some weight by starting to take a closer look at your plate.

Hungry for more? Write to eatandrun@usnews.com with your questions, concerns, and feedback.

Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN, has been owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC, for more than three decades and she is the author of Read It Before You Eat It. As a renowned motivational speaker, author, media personality, and award-winning dietitian, Taub-Dix has found a way to communicate how to make sense of science. Her website is BetterThanDieting.com.