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The Problem with Vanity Sizing: Your Clothes are Growing with You

As a part of the recent fitness challenge, I had to do what I rarely have to do: measure my body. I was in for a shock, not only because I had not measured myself in a long time (not since my sewing class 5 years ago), but also because my clothes size had not really increased proportionally to my actual body measurements.

The tactic or phenomenon, known as “vanity sizing,” is used by clothing manufacturers to appeal to the vanity of the customer in order to make more money. While it used to be more popular with women’s apparel, it is quite prevalent in men’s apparel nowadays too.

At one point, sizes were once standard in the United States, but that went away in 1983. Not only does this make shopping a nightmare, I believe that “vanity sizing” is one of the contributing factors in the weight problem here in the United States. People are being conned into thinking that they are smaller while sizes are getting roomier. Supposedly this is for the benefit of the customer’s self esteem, but does this really benefit anyone but the clothing brand?

English: Studio publicity portrait for film Ni...

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I remember reading at some point that Marilyn Monroe was a size 14. This statement was made to make all the overweight ladies out there feel better about themselves, but it is using a different context to create a false sense of self esteem. More than likely Marilyn Monroe was a dressmaker size 14 at her heaviest (5′ 5 1/2″ and 140lbs), which makes her a ready-to-wear size 6, nowhere close to being overweight by today’s standard!

While it is not any clothing brand’s fault that I got fat, I know that I didn’t really think about the fact that my clothes are actually getting fatter with me. From now on I will be regularly measuring my body because clothes do lie!!

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2/29: My Leap Day of Truth

First thing this morning I was up and went to meet my accountability coach to get my measurements. I had been so nervous the day before… I didn’t really know what to expect. I had measured myself on the scale a few weeks ago but not since then because I was frustrated by the zigzag pattern that I was seeing. It looked like two steps forward and one step back most of the time. Plus I was not really able to get on a scale at a consistent time since I don’t usually shower at consistent times. I just do it when my schedule with the baby allows and that in itself felt like an accomplishment!

I nearly had to do a double take on the measurement results! I had lost 8 lbs in 29 days! I apparently lost nearly 4 percent body fat, 2 inches in my waist, 1 inch at the chest, and 1.5 inch at my hips. I hadn’t lost any inches in my arms, though, so that puzzled me. I worked consistently and didn’t cheat on my diet but I couldn’t really take in the results right away; it was better than I had expected and I didn’t really expect it because I hadn’t seen the difference when I looked in the mirror.

The confirmation that the results are real came from Glenda, who comes over one a month to help clean my house. I always look forward to her visit by today was doubly so because she told me upon seeing me that I looked thinner since she last saw me a month ago. This gave me the courage to put on my one size down jeans, and it did fit.

As a part of my fitness challenge I was to take another photo in addition to the measurements so I took another set of pictures with my trusty little digital camera. I must say that this is my ultimate test of truth and for it it showed that I still have more to do. It wiped away any urge to celebrate and I was more determined to focus on my goals.

I know that the progress next month might not be as good but I plan on more progress still for sure!

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