Do you remember the first time? WOW what a feeling!

I was talking to a new post-op yesterday and she was telling me about some of the things she was looking forward to as she progressed in her new life.  One thing she mentioned was the idea of being able to shop in a non-plus size store.

I think all of us vets can remember that first time in the “regular” department.  I remembered writing a post about it a couple of years ago and thought in honor of my new friends, who will soon experience this awesome feeling, here it is again!

Please leave your comments and tell me about YOUR first time in a non-plus size store.  This was such a HUGE NSV for me and I am sure many others feel the same way!

April 2009

I decided to go look for a dress yesterday to wear to the KC concert tomorrow night. I usually do not really enjoy shopping because I am so limited by having to stay in the Plus Size department. Anyway, off I went to Cato. I love that place lately. Their prices are so cheap and they have the most adorable little summer dresses. A very dear friend suggested to me to stick with dresses for a while since my weight is changing so rapidly.I have probably bought ten little dresses in the last few weeks because when I buy a pair of pants, after two weeks, they no longer fit and it is frustrating and a waste of money. So dresses it is for now. You can get away with wearing them even after you lose ten more pounds and they are so cool and comfortable for summer.

Well, I see a little black dress that is absolutely precious. I grab an 18/20 feeling bold. Now keep in mind at the time of my surgery in January, I was in a 26/28, Easter dress was a 22/24. I was so excited at the thought of this 18/20 dress fitting me!!! WOW!! How cool would that be??? I try it on and quickly realize it is way too big. There must be a mistake. NO WAY could an 18/20 dress be too big for ME? So I hurry up and get my dress back on and head out to the floor and look at the 14/16. It sure looked small to me, but I thought, what the heck, give it a try!

I tried it on and it was PERFECT!!! I froze there staring at myself in the mirror and then pinched myself to make sure I was not dreaming. I actually got teary-eyed in the fitting room. I know that is silly, but this was such a big deal to me! Less than four months ago I was wearing a 26/28 and now here I was looking in the mirror at myself in a 14/16 and it FREAKING FIT!!!! OOOOMMMGGG!!!!

Now my wheels start turning. I noticed that the regular side of the store had a TON of cute dresses, but I knew they would never fit me. I had been in CATO so many times, and that side of the store was like a restricted area that I didn’t have access to and never would. I felt like a criminal creeping over there to look at dresses that I was forbidden to look at by some unwritten rule! I was truly waiting for the fashion police to come up to me at any moment and tell me to get my fat butt back over to MY side of the store. It was a very odd feeling for sure.

I noticed a lot of the cute summer dresses came in an XL, so I asked one of the sales girls what number size an XL was and she politely told me about a 14/16. Well, I figured, just try one!! What can it hurt??? Besides my ego?
So I grabbed several dresses and went to the fitting room and started to have a blast.

I tried on the first one and got teary once again when I realized it fit. Now, to most people, trying on a dress and having it fit is a normal thing and nothing to cry over. However, for a person who has spent the majority of their life being obese, and not really able to have a huge selection of clothing, being able to shop in a regular store and not have to hunt down the few plus size pieces, is the most amazing and liberating feeling in the world.

I started to have flashbacks to the days when I would participate in a cancer walk, or diabetes walk and get a t-shirt as part of the deal. I could never wear them because they never had one to fit me. Or I would go to a concert with my friends and not be able to get a t-shirt. Back in the 80’s, you really didn’t have the 2XL option that you do now. It was not a big thing, but something that plagued me for years.

I realize I am in no way defined by a number in a dress, or on the scale, but being able to have a whole new realm of fashion possibilities is a really nice benefit of losing weight and getting in shape. It also is a motivator to keep going to the gym, and to keep up my workouts, and to keep vowing not to put CRAP into my body. With my surgery, I would lose weight right now probably without trying, BUT without making the right food choices, and without exercising, it would not come off as quickly and I would not be shedding the inches I have shed with the training. In the last eight weeks my body has lost over 30 inches. Some people have gastric bypass and continue to eat crap and do not workout and in the end, they plateau or never reach their goals or they gain it all back after a year or two.

I am determined not to let that happen to me. I am committed to being as fit and healthy as I can possibly be for the rest of the time I have left on this planet! God has blessed me with an incredible life and an amazing husband and kids and with the ability to have this operation. I feel like I owe it to God, my family and friends, and myself to take care of this temple.

It is pretty remarkable to me. I am so grateful to have the support group I have. Besides God, Benjamin is my absolute biggest cheerleader and he has been so amazing. That man told me I was beautiful at 325 pounds. He is a true blessing. I am also thankful for my wonderful group of girlfriends who encourage me and keep me straight. I love you guys!!!!

And Everyone please pray for Ben now that I can shop a little easier. He is not completely thrilled about that one! And if you are ever shopping and see a person crying WHILE HOLDING A CUTE LITTLE BLACK DRESS, don’t assume they are crazy or going through some emotional trauma. It could very well be the first time in their adult lives that they were able to shop in a normal store and those just may be tears of joy!!!!

Here is my little black dress for the concert in a size 14/16. This dress represents a personal victory!!!! YAHOO!!!!
This is my other dress that I got from the regular department. I have not done that in over 25 years. Just a dress to some, but another personal victory for Erin!!

About Erin Akey

I am a formerly morbidly obese wife, mother, Christian, author, speaker, water fitness instructor, nutritionist, anti-obesity advocate, and Emerald Ambassador with Plexus Worldwide. I am passionate about helping people fight the disease of obesity and also preventing and addressing obesity in children. I believe we have so many amazing tools available to treat this disease and we all need to take advantage of the ones we feel are right for us. I am also passionate about women taking the time to care for their needs. We live in a world where so many of us spend all of our time taking care of others that we neglect ourselves. I am all about making God the center of everything and letting His will take control of our lives and watching the beautiful blessings come from that release of power! Live, Laugh, and LOVE every day! Be grateful and be humble and watch the world around you change!
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