I'm sorry that you're having a rough time!

Like a lot of you, I relate. The very first thing I do when my weight goes up is buy a great pair of jeans at a consignment store. It's a low-cost way to recover some fabness and try out different styles. Comfort is key for me (I have digestive issues that make pressure on my belly really unpleasant) and jeans are always the hardest to fit, so that's my priority. In fact, yesterday I had a bad episode and my high-rise jeans were painful, so I stopped by the Rack on my commute and bought a pair of jeans two sizes up. Cut the tags and changed at the store -- huge relief!

This varies but I also find that taking photos of my outfits, instead of relying on what I see in the mirror, gives me a more impartial view. When I look in the mirror, the new weight seem so obvious. I try to keep in mind that what I am reacting to is the change away from the body I see every day, more than the actual appearance. It's likely an outside observer wouldn't see the difference if they tried.

I hope your shopping led to some fab finds today.

"How do you deal with this kind of thing -- both emotionally and practically?"

PracticalIy, I try to do exactly what you're doing, diet and exercise, and definitely getting enough sleep. I am similar in age to you, and I agree, progress seems a little slower, but any progress is good progress, and non progress can be informative.

Emotionally, although I do slow down and aim for maximum wears, I don't punish myself by refusing to buy new clothes, or buying things I don't like, because, and this is really probably the most important part, I feel like my life isn't just about me, it's kind of like a job I show up for. I have things to do, and people, including myself, to care for and I need to show up wearing clothes and not distracted by self pity or not liking myself. Clothes are practical necessities for the job.

Everyone has given excellent advice, but have overlooked the dressing room problem. Never, ever look in the mirror while changing in a dressing room is my policy. I just don't need a new view under bad lights at that moment.

Oh, yes... I agree with most of the suggestions already given and I'm wishing you fast return to health. All the best.
What works for me is never to allow myself to compare my body to other, "perfect" magazine bodies. I remind myself that beauty and "perfect" size are a cultural thing, not something absolute. And I shop more online- everything seems better when I'm trying it on at home, not in a dressing room, and the selection is much better. I remind myself that I'm aiming for a healthy, but not necessary slim body.

Girlfriend, I feel your pain. I'm up a lot more than you are, so I actually had to buy a whole new wardrobe over the last few years.

As for how I cope with it, well, I'm fortunate that I'm a recovering alcoholic, because the 12 steps have helped me find a measure of self-acceptance regardless of the number on the tag. As for the numbers on tags, well, all I have to do to make that sting a bit less is remember all the discussions I've seen on here about how women's clothing sizes make no freaking sense at all. Even when I was smaller, I could have an extreme range of sizes in my closet. At one time, I had everything from a gap XS jogger to a size 8 pair of pants that all fit me roughly the same, and don't even get me started on shirts/tops because even when I was at my very very smallest I had to size up and up and up for some tops to fit my stagehand shoulders & arms. This also ignores the problems I had with my waist being a different size then my butt or shoulders.

Currently, I'm dealing with the way I feel (horribly big and bloated and all that jazz) by reminding myself that I've been going through:
* health issues that have led to some weight gain
* medications that cause some weight gain
* perimenopausal hormone changes that have contributed to weight gain
* medication that causes EXTREME fatigue that basically prevents enough activity to prevent further weight gain

I'm also holding on to hope that:
* my physical therapy for my shoulder will help me lose (or at least rearrange) some of my weight-I'll settle for the same weight if more of it is muscle
* the medicine that causes the fatigue will be over in 4 more weeks
* the p.t. will help build a habit of daily exercise that will outlive the 4 more weeks of medication
* Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in T2 is a possible side effect of physical therapy and exercise (see pic) LOL

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Hi everyone,

I'm posting from a cab on my way to the airport. I've just read through - again - the incredible advice and support in your responses. I can't tell you how helpful you have all been. Just knowing I am not alone in this challenge is amazing: thank you all. You are wonderful and smart women.

I know my weight gain is small (at this point) but what worries me - aside from my lack of commitment to better eating/more exercise - is that I am about to start a daily medication that has weight gain as a possible side effect. Worrying about all of this was somewhat debilitating and made me want to crawl into a hole. Listening to all of you and shopping both relaxed me and also has given me back some drive to care about my body differently. Angie, your words about this being only a one-size change helped put this into perspective for me. Again, THANK YOU ALL.

I had you all with me while I shopped quickly last night. In general, what I learned from you was this: Fit and versatility are key. So that was my guiding principle. Ultimately, I purchased two items from Anthro, adding them to the two I had purchased at JCrew the night before.

stripe-trimmed chinos: I actually bought these in my regular size. They are meant to be "easy fit" but fit me more streamlined, but still well and comfortably. They currently accommodate my midsection and thighs, and as I/ if I get more trim again, they will only fit better.

black knitted top: I went up a size. This skims my troublesome midsection but I felt great in it. It's a very sharp black and flattering (to me).

pink gingham shirt: BF fit. I actually sized DOWN in this and it is still roomy. I really bought this because the color made me happy and it seemed like a nice alternative for a hot day because the material is so breezy. (I've been wearing too many t-shirts.)

cashmere v-neck: Another BF fit. Took my regular size. I love the color and the fit - I can see wearing this a ton of ways and of course into fall and winter. For now, just an airport/hotel layer.

I tried an EF jumpsuit and LOVED it - I am still pondering that, as it's a little pricey. The sale one I posted yesterday is gone in my size.

Before I go, I want to highlight some specific comments/guidance that were especially helpful. (Part of me hates to do this without responding to every single person. Please know I read and took to heart everything. And to the following posters, know that I will come back to these words frequently in the future.

Tulle: Identify your area
of sensitivity, and avoid clothes that emphasize it.
So simple but really useful.

Unfrumed: I never found
that wearing too-tight or unhappy- looking fits made me want to go for a run—
instead it would depress me and turn me slothful.
This was the best argument for what so many of you suggested: removing the too-tight clothing from my wardrobe for now. I'm planning on doing that when I am home.

Isabel: Clothes are practical
necessities for the job (of life).
I am an emotional shopper and it was bracing to hear this unemotional statement. Super healthful in keeping me from judging myself as I looked and tried on clothing.

Jill58: I really wanted to
"own" the weight; understand it as a reflection of a variety of
issues and not punish myself for having gained it.
This, and Jill's story of rebounding from med-related weight gain, was inspiring and empowering.

Gryffin: I was able to return to my
ideal weight when I ate properly.
So helpful. Some of this is really in my hands. I just have to do the right thing.

Londonkiwi: I think it’s
also worth giving yourself time. Your body will bounce back and you will regain
your sense of self.
Again, inspiring and helpful. I worry about going too easy on myself, and that makes me go too hard on myself. Probably some deeper issues there - LOL - but this was a nice reminder not to be overly dramatic about this situation.

Smittie: I would suggest going
exercising before shopping.
This is a brilliant idea I will try in the future. Because, really, I feel better about everything when I exercise.

Greyscale: The very first thing I do
when my weight goes up is buy a great pair of jeans at a consignment
This was suggested by another forum member too, and after I assess my jeans situation I may do this.

So ladies, again, merci. You're wonderful.

I agree with the others, and am glad you had a successful hunt! Sizes are really so variable these days, just more of a guideline really, so no need to fret s number. Id also say, to appease Loki, buy a really special thing that suits you now....then the weight will fall off! Kinda like if you have drought, wash your car....

I’m glad you had a successful shopping trip! Things that fit easily and feel good go a long way towards making you feel better no matter what size is on the tag.

I love those chinos — if I’d seen them in our store I would have tried them.

Viva, that was a beautiful update. I’m so glad you found some pieces which brought joy. And your honest response to this amazing community’s support was lovely. Continue to care for yourself and be kind and gentle, as you would with a dear friend.

Late to the forum, so don`t know if I`m adding anything—but I want to add to this amazing support network (because who doesn`t need more support)?</p> <p>I doubt a woman alive hasn`t experienced weight fluctuation for both desireable (pregnancy) and undesireable (illness) reasons—so we should all be sympathetic! I confess I did not read every post, so this may not be new: In my transitional times, I shopped lesser expensive stores, from consignment to Target and Kohls. The two latter now have designers (Wang, Wu, Beckham, etc.) who either have or continue to offer lines at these stores. The styles are great, even if the fabrications are less luxe. I still have a sleeveless black fit-and-flare boatneck dress from Target for $36 full price that is one of the most flattering and versatile pieces I own. Ironically, I am more willing to style these cheaper pieces downward, with jean jacket and flats, as well as dial them up with pumps and pearls, which means I get more wear from them than actual designer pieces. If my body changes, I am not out that much, so I don`t mind the spending. To prove you can get fabulous looks from consigners, I follow Sheila at Ephemera: http://sheilaephemera.blogspot.com/

However, consignment shopping is time-consuming and sometimes degrading. If time is money or you need an ego boost, DO shop new, as you have done. You are WORTH it!

Great choices and great approach!

Really like what you picked

I saw this yesterday but could not comment at work (on my phone) so see you have made some cool new additions. Well done and a virtual hug from NZ.

The EF piece... you're worth the investment. Could it be altered to fit if you lose the extra few pounds and return to your "normal" size? If a simple alteration can take it with you if you return to your usual size then that is even more bonus reasons to buy it