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Ryann’s Body Positivity Journey: Healing Through Letting Go Of Clothes + How She Donates Clothes And Shops Responsibly

**TW: this post discusses sensitive topics such as weight gain and diet culture.

When I pitched the idea for this post, I wanted to talk about clothes and sustainability but I also hoped the process would force me to come up with to some grand proclamation about body positivity and self-love. No pressure, right? But the truth is, I still struggle with my body image. I struggle with the fact that my body is not the size that society deems the most desirable. I struggle with letting go of the pile of clothes that haven’t fit me in years. I struggle with looking at my body as it is, as it is meant to be, and accepting it as worthy or even beautiful. As I continue to mourn and compare myself to my old self–my younger self sans cellulite and rolls and curves–the despair and shame I sometimes feel is much louder than any body positive mantra or quote I can come up with.

Even as I am writing this, many things are coming up that feel almost too shameful and vulnerable to admit. I want to try and convince you that my weight gain was not a moral failing. That it wasn’t from laziness or lack of trying to be thin as if thinness is the golden standard for every body. It’s what I’ve been trained to think, so I feel a bizarre pressure to tell you “I try to diet and work out” or “I think it’s actually my antidepressants that made me gain weight” because that is what I like to tell myself. Radical self-acceptance of my body seems too much, so an excuse feels a lot safer than proclaiming “This is my body and it is good and worthy and beautiful”.

When I think about my body and what it once was versus how it is now, I worry that people will think I let myself go. That is my deepest fear, although when I think about that phrase on its own, it’s a positive and freeing idea. “Letting go” is cathartic. It can even be therapeutic.

This post is about letting go in ways that are good for the soul and the earth. It’s about letting go of shame, fear, and expectations. It’s about mentally cleansing, physically shedding things I’ve outgrown, and wholly rejecting the idea that my body needs to be anything other than what it is. I have to let go of shame and fear and also, more tangibly speaking, I have to let go of my clothes that no longer serve me. This process is emotional because my wardrobe is and has always been a curated, highly personal reflection of me. Just as a snake sheds its skin, I am shedding the clothes I no longer need, and to make it a little less painful, I’ve discovered steps that help me do so both kindly and sustainably. If you are in a similar place, I hope they can help you too. 

HOW TO RESPONSIBLY GIVE AWAY YOUR CLOTHES

For years I hoarded clothes that were several sizes too small. Every once in a while I’d come across them stuffed in the farthest corner of my bottom drawer or in a shopping bag in the back of my closet, hidden like a terrible secret. The presence of them in my wardrobe was more often than not, an awful reminder that I could or should be doing more to lose weight.

Getting rid of these clothes opened up a door for me to actively accept myself and my body. I knew I held on to them for so long because I thought it might motivate me to lose weight. If I gave them away, it would be like accepting defeat. But actually, the true defeat would be allowing this idea of a perfect body get in the way of my happiness. True defeat would be letting CLOTHES that are too small dictate my self-love. As Erika Hart once brilliantly put it, “It’s not you, it’s the pants.”

So here’s to getting rid of clothes that are just too damn small, and starting to heal in the process. Here’s how I do it:

GIFT THEM TO SOMEONE CLOSE TO YOU WHO WILL APPRECIATE THEM AS MUCH AS YOU DID.

I am going to reiterate this one more time. Holding on to clothes hoping that you will lose weight and fit into them again does nothing for no one. Those clothes are just taking up space and will become a roadblock in self-acceptance. After a certain point, and I think it varies person to person as to what that point is, it becomes time to let them go and make room emotionally and physically for something new.

If you are anything like me, parting with clothes can be like severing a limb. Even when I misplace clothes that I love I feel a loss akin to when a beloved fictional character dies. If this sounds anything like you, you might find it cleansing to give your favorite pieces to people closest to you who will love and appreciate them just as you did. Just the other week I was visiting with one of my best friends and she was wearing an old pair of jeans of mine. When I say “old” I mean, my actual favorite pair of jeans that I still cherish and love from afar but have come to accept will never fit me again. It turns out they fit her perfectly and it makes me very happy seeing them be loved and worn by someone I love. 

You might think it would be hard or triggering to see your beloved clothes donned by someone else, but it’s surprisingly healing. I would be sad not knowing where my clothes ended up, especially ones I was once emotionally attached to–and giving them to my dear friends brings me a ton of joy.

SELL THEM ONLINE OR ORGANIZE A CLOTHING SWAP

I hate waste and sometimes giving away bags of clothes to Goodwill can feel wasteful. They might end up on the rack and be purchased, or they might never see the light of day again and end up in a landfill.

Clothes have a longer life if they are sold or gifted directly to someone. In the past, I’ve used Depop and Poshmark and it is definitely worth it to try and get some money back from your purchases, but honestly, gifting or swapping clothes with close friends is the most fun and rewarding. Best practice is to do so with a glass of wine (or several) while listening to Beyoncé.

REPURPOSE OLD CLOTHES INTO CLEANING TOWELS

Don’t destroy your old favorites but this is great to do with old t-shirts or leggings. Not every piece of clothing has a lot of resale value, so to avoid them ending up in a landfill, I like to cut them into squares to use for cleaning which reduces the need for paper towels, too. 

RETHINK THE NARRATIVE OF YOUR FAVORITE PIECES & SAVE THEM FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

I don’t have any sisters so growing up I always raided my mom’s closet when my own wardrobe wasn’t inspiring me. She and I have very different styles, but photos of her from the 80s and 90s prove that she was indeed hip and I would have loved to be able to repurpose the outfits she wore in her 20s. So, even if just for nostalgia’s sake, I have a few very treasured pieces that I’ll hold onto, in hopes that my kids will one day raid my closet and say, “Wow, mom, I had no idea you were cool”. I think of them as strictly “collector’s items” that I do not expect to wear ever again, but hope my kids will be cool enough to want to :).

HOW TO BUY CLOTHES MINDFULLY WHEN YOUR WEIGHT FLUCTUATES…A LOT

here I am many months ago, actively posing my body in a way that disguises my curves and rolls

So your clothes no longer fit and you can’t run around naked. Go figure. This is never fun, especially if you are trying to be sustainable and buy less. But buying less is only feasible if what you have still fits. Our bodies are not stagnant. Our bodies fluctuate, move, grow, age, and provide shelter to our very selves. They are the vessels in which we exist in the world, and they do inevitably change. Just this year, my body has outgrown several sizes and nothing is more triggering than trying to squeeze into clothes that simply WILL NOT FIT. So, to avoid spiraling into shame and self-loathing I must procure clothes that do fit, but I try to do so responsibly. Here’s how:

CREATE YOUR CAPSULE WARDROBE

A capsule wardrobe is sort of like a curated uniform. As someone who’s always viewed fashion as self-expression, it has taken me years to figure out what style is really “me”. Trends are fun and always enticing, but I find when I lose myself in what is trendy at the moment, my outfits feel inauthentic and unflattering which leads me into a spiral of blaming and hating my body. For me, a capsule wardrobe helps me to buy what I will actually wear so I don’t make regrettable purchases.

Having capsule pieces helps me stick to what feels good for me, so I don’t have buyer’s remorse. It DOES NOT have anything to do with dressing according to what would be considered flattering for my size, but rather, dressing myself in whatever makes me feel good.

BUY SECOND HAND WHEN POSSIBLE, BUT BE INTENTIONAL

When I enter a Goodwill or thrift store, I have to actively refrain from buying just to buy. A good deal is tempting. So if I am going to step foot into a thrift store, I make sure to have an idea of what I am looking for. Sometimes it’ll be oversized men’s button-ups for summer, or vintage Levi’s that I can cut into shorts. No matter what, I have my capsule wardrobe in mind so I can envision how a piece of clothing would fit in my wardrobe. If I can’t picture wearing it with two or more things, it’s probably not a smart or sustainable purchase–and chances are it’ll end up right back at the same Goodwill I got it from. 

My motto is if you don’t absolutely LOVE it in the store, you’re not going to love it when you bring it home. Love it or leave it, my friends. 

SHOP SUSTAINABLY & SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES (BUT RECOGNIZE THAT MONEY & ACCESSIBILITY IS A FACTOR)

Shopping small or buying vintage can be tough, especially if you are mid-size or plus-size. Unfortunately, the fashion industry still prioritizes a certain body type. Often the brands that are championing the shift towards more inclusive sizing are more expensive, and then there are the brands that don’t offer sizing beyond a size 12. Fast fashion is often the most accessible option for bigger bodies, which is failing of the industry, not the individual. I try to shop small and second-hand when I can, but because my body fluctuates a lot, I try to be kind to myself when fast fashion is the best option economically and emotionally speaking.

That said, I love vintage and one-of-a-kind pieces and am always searching for gems. When I buy second-hand or vintage online, I have the best luck when I shop at The Real Real and Etsy. The Real Real always lists the clothing measurements so you can be sure what your buying will fit, and Etsy shop owners are usually happy to send measurements if you ask. Especially when buying vintage online, you want to be extra careful that you are buying something that is right for you and your body.

Well, that is all I have for you my friends. If you are still here, thank you. If you also struggle with body image, I see you and I know it’s hard. Every day we exist in a society that promotes and praises an often unhealthy and toxic diet culture that can lead to eating disorders and even life-threatening habits. We deserve more than that. We deserve to exist in our bodies however they are meant to be.

I want to leave you with this powerful quote by poet and author Sonya Renee Taylor from her book The Body Is Not An Apology. She writes, “On some cellular level, we know our bodies are not something we should apologize for. After all, they are the only way we get to experience this ridiculous and radiant life.”

Even when it is not easy, I am grateful I get to experience this ridiculous and radiant life in this body and share parts of it here, with you all. xx

here’s me today, happy and healthy 🙂

Some helpful resources:

National Eating Disorder Helpline

The Body Positive

Health At Every Size

The Fat Sex Therapist

The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor

More Than A Body: Your Body Is An Instrument Not An Ornament by Dr. Lexie Kite & Dr. Lindsay Kite

Opener Image Credit: Design and Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Sara’s Closet Reveal–The Bold Design Moment She’s Been Craving

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Kimberly Hieber
24 days ago

You are brave, generous of spirit and kind to share your story with the world. You are one of those rare individuals whose inner beauty shines bright and only enhances your outer beauty. Just amazing. Thank you for your raw and thoughtful piece.

23 days ago

Exactly what I came here to say. And so intelligent. I wish I could transplant the perspective of my age, 60+, and somehow you could magically come to experience your physicality as juicy and delicious and thrumming with life. Lacking that, I’ll just add, “Hey, beautiful,” and leave it there.

Ana
24 days ago

You are just plain beautiful. Thank you. Less than a year ago I gave all my beloved all pieces that no longer fitted me and that I had been keeping just in case some day my body would return to its very young self (duh!) to the teen daughter of one of my best friends. Best thing I’ve ever done! Liberating!

Sarah
24 days ago

Thank you so much for being so vulnerable with us. This is so beautifully written and exactly what I needed to hear. I’m 9 months postpartum and have been struggling that my body does not look like what it did before. I’m so proud of my body for growing, delivering, and nourishing another human, but I’m disappointed that I don’t think I’ll ever look the same. I’ve been putting off going through my closet, in the hopes that I’ll fit into my wardrobe again, but I know realistically that won’t happen. Just like you, Ryann, I need to go through this process of letting go and appreciating where I am now. Thank you for inspiring me and giving me the strength to honor my body where it is in the here and now.

MJ
23 days ago
Reply to  Sarah

I’m in the same boat, Sarah, at 11 months postpartum! I have been working out a lot and eating quite well (for general health reasons, not JUST to lose weight) and I actually now weigh less than I did pre-pregnancy, but my waist is definitely still 1-2 inches wider and I am starting to accept my body is just a different shape now. I’m so thankful for the experience of growing, birthing, and nursing a baby, but still look at my pre-baby Levi’s a little wistfully… MAYBE this post will be the push I need to re-home some of my old clothing 🙂

Thanks, Ryann! And I love the focus on re-stocking your closet thoughtfully and sustainably, rather than going on a mindless shopping spree after getting rid of a few pairs of pants.

Karen
23 days ago
Reply to  Sarah

I am 6 months post partum and struggling with the “none of my shorts fit and what will I wear all summer” blahs. Thanks for this Ryann! It’s so hard to embrace your body when it doesn’t look / feel the same anymore!

Karla
24 days ago

“For nostalgia’s sake” makes me feel not so crazy for hanging onto the authentic, from the 70s, bell bottom jeans I borrowed from my dad’s dresser drawer in the mid-90s for a 70s dress up day in high school. I never returned them and they now live in the bottom of one of my dresser drawers. I smile every time I see them; usually when I’ve gone too long between laundry days or I’m deep cleaning my wardrobe. 🙂

iLa
24 days ago

Love that this blog has also this kind of post! Thanks for sharing, I love the quote from Sonya Renee Taylor. In the last years I have limited buying new things, and when I do I am concerned about them being environmentally friendly and ethically made.

Rusty
23 days ago
Reply to  iLa

Ila, I have a friend with the same name!
Beautiful! It’s Sanscrit, isn’t it??

KV
24 days ago

loveliness inside and out.

Leigh H
24 days ago

Thank you for this generous post. So validating.

24 days ago

I am so grateful to see this post because I’ve been guilty of hoarding too small clothes thinking if I could just lost these last 3-5 pounds, but I may lose them and then they’re right back. Also, for the record, I think you look incredible, healthy and beautiful! Thank you for this.

love this post. I’m currently holding onto clothes ranging from a size 4 (my absolute smallest and only been this size for probably 2 years of my entire life) to size 12. welp. i can’t let go of the idea of not going back to my pre-kids weight/size. ugggg. i really need to do this.

K
24 days ago

What a beautiful post, Ryan! Thanks for writing!

Faith
24 days ago

Health comes in every shape and size and you are beautiful, inside and out!
If you’ve never looked in to Ayurveda, you may find it interesting. It bases all of it’s therapies (it’s an ancient Indian science) on the fact that everyone is born with a different body type/constitution, and we have to work with our constitutions to be our healthiest selves.
David Frawley’s book, ‘Yoga and Ayurveda’ is a good place to start:)
Thank you for this lovely post and for being so authentic

Rusty
23 days ago
Reply to  Faith

Oh, yes! A friend of mine went to an Ayurvedic practitioner and it completely resolved her IBS and her skin simply glows now!
It’s for real.

Erin Dae
24 days ago

Oh Ryann, while we live different lives I feel you in such big ways. Inner battle of knowing you need to incorporate fitness to care for your body but bouncing between manic enthusiasm and apathy/excuses? Check. Thinking you are finally at a point of “not caring what others think” and then get blindsided by a comment that brings back all the feelings? Check. Hormonal changes, depression, and big life events all going on at the same time? Check. THANK YOU for being real. Truly. I so enjoy your posts because they stretch me design-wise – but also because your personality shines through them. To me, you always seem like the cool girl that I would want to be friends with but who probably wouldn’t want to be friends with me because I am boring. And as I type out that sentence, I see that I have some mindset work to do still! (I’m in Michigan, but let’s be friends!) I really appreciate you and your fellow EHD writers for making this design blog an inclusive, AUTHENTIC community.

Meredith
24 days ago

This resonates so much! My weight has also fluctuated a solid 10-20 pounds throughout my adult life, and I too have had piles of clothes stashed in my closet that SURELY I will be able to wear again…but I have finally come to realize that our bodies change, and it’s okay, and having clothes that we feel good in NOW is the most important. Also you are a total BABE!

CB
23 days ago
Reply to  Meredith

Agree with Meredith! One of the thoughts I’m trying to incorporate into my own path of radical self acceptance is that fluctuating weight is natural and normal and fine! It’s a range and no matter where I am within that range, as long as I legitimately FEEL good, I am happy. Easier to type than to live, but I’m trying!

Amanda
24 days ago

Ryann, thank you for bringing up what is subtext throughout our whole society. Unwinding from diet culture is good, worthwhile work toward revolutionary health for you and for all the people in your life (whether they know it or not). What can we do, as women, if our energy goes toward something besides our pant size? I think we can do a lot…and I think we must.

Gina
23 days ago
Reply to  Amanda

I love Kate Baer’s new book of poetry “What Kind of Woman” that comes at this topic a couple of times. It’s incredible and her poem “Robyn Hood” beautifully examines the time you’re referencing here.

Nancy
23 days ago
Reply to  Gina

Yes, this book is so good!

Alison
23 days ago
Reply to  Ryann Miller

She is also a great follow online and is releasing a new book this fall! PHENOMENAL.

Sara
23 days ago
Reply to  Amanda

Amen, Amanda. The obsession with women being a certain size/look is definitely a tool of the patriarchy to keep us too busy and flustered fitting in that we never get to our *actual* purpose here. NO MORE. We are each precious and needed for the very big jobs that we are individually here to do. Onward!

Cris S.
24 days ago

This is very much appreciated, even though I’m at an older time in my life (50, and ALL the body parts hurt now) and feel like I should already know better. And yet, I still have 4 large baskets of outgrown exercise clothes in my basement, taking up space and inducing guilt. Every time I get back to exercising I have to buy a larger size to work out in!

One thing that has really helped me now is to divorce my (trying to make it a habit) 30 minutes of daily exercise completely from the idea of weight loss. I exercise to keep my heart strong. Full stop. I have high blood pressure and am looking ahead at my parents, in-laws, and grandparents and want to be healthier and more active at their ages. Working out (at the pace I can at my current weight) is something I do for my insides – and the real mental and emotional boost consistently doing it brings – rather than my clothing size. It’s helped me a lot to adjust my motivations.

I wish you and everyone here the best on this crazy journey! You deserve it. We all do.

Kj
23 days ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Cris S., I heard someone on a podcast say it in three simple words “Move or Die.” It’s a great reminder when I don’t feel like exercising.

Cris S.
23 days ago
Reply to  Kj

Thank you you KJ! This is my new mantra!

Sara
23 days ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Yes. So many yes’s, cris.

Mary
22 days ago
Reply to  Cris S.

I feel this so much, Cris! I’m just starting my parenthood journey (2 kids under age 5), but heart disease runs in my family on both sides and I’ve lost several relatives and also my father at relatively young ages. Some had other unhealthy contributing habits/factors, some did not (like my dad). My dad died a few years before I had kids, so he never got to meet them and it breaks my heart because he would love them so much. I exercise to stay healthy and strong, to keep my heart and lungs in good shape, to be here when my kids have kids, and hopefully maybe even when their kids have kids. Keep moving wherever you are, and know that I’m going to keep moving wherever I am right along with you.

Susan
23 days ago

The struggle never goes away. Monday at the clinic I found out I had gained 10 pounds. It freaked me out. As a kid I was called “round” even though I actually wasn’t. I had a gymnasts muscular build. As a teen I watched my mom slap her stomach, and say “fatter than most!” (She wasn’t, by far) while she envied my curves and tiny waist. My parents are now 80 and my dad is at the end of his life and they are both worried about the extra bump around his middle because covid ended their weight watchers meetings and he couldn’t excercise because of his failing heart. And I wanted to scream at my parents. “It’s the END of your life! ENJOY it and eat the damn donut if it makes you happy! My body has changed as I slide into menopause and accepting the changes is so so hard. I shop all thrifted clothes for many reasons, and also because it makes it easier to try on who I want to be at this stage of my life and how I want to feel in my clothes now. I don’t want to be 80, still obsessing about… Read more »

Tricia
23 days ago
Reply to  Susan

A few years ago I was making casual conversation with my ninety year old grandmother about how my four year old daughter was underweight according to our doctor. My grandmother’s response was “good for her.” We as a society have so many terrible issues around weight and food.

melbajo
23 days ago
Reply to  Tricia

Tricia, your story was like a punch in the gut and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It is something I could imagine my own mother saying, and I live with her voice in my head. Even after decades of trying to relearn and reframe and empower myself in my body which will never be my mother’s 95 pound body (and I do NOT want it to be), the messages are still deep inside of me. It takes so much energy to work against them every day. Thanks for starting this conversation Ryann. So much love to all of us.

Cheryl
23 days ago
Reply to  Susan

Yes. This so resonates with me. I am going through menopause and am constantly beating myself up about the weight gain!! I truly hope that I can get to a point of body acceptance before I’m in my eighties! Thank you Ryann(who is my daughter) for always reminding me that I’m ok!! Love you beautiful!

Sydney
23 days ago

Thank you for your honesty! It’s such an encouragement. Regarding getting rid of clothes, I try to remind myself that it’s better to give clothes away as soon as I realize I won’t wear it or it doesn’t fit so that someone can enjoy it while it’s still in style. This also applies to children’s clothes – I dropped saving “just in case” and sold some and gave away many!

Shelly
23 days ago

I’m fat and donated a kidney in January. Sitting in the transplant center waiting rooms, sharing space with folks who were slowly dying… I felt like a fool for every moment I spent apologizing for my body instead of rejoicing in gratitude. The more service our bodies do, the less this shit matters. How my arms “look” matters so much less than who they hold and what work they do. xoxoooo

MKP
23 days ago
Reply to  Shelly

My goodness. So well said. Thank you for this.

And thank you, Ryann, for a beautiful and authentic post. It is brave and generous for you to share so much about your struggles. I wish you were all alone in that battle, but unfortunately you are not even close to being the only one. Also, for what it’s worth, I agree that you are a total hottie! Beautiful inside and out.

Sara
23 days ago
Reply to  Shelly

Shelly, what moxie you have. Donating a kidney is the real work. What perspective. So much awe to you for giving that gift. YES. YES to all of this.

Molly
23 days ago

Thank you for writing this. You are radiant. I feel dumb for just now (in my 40s) waking up to all of this (but also give myself grace bc: brainwashed by society for 40 yrs and counting). Something poet Kate Baer said was an ah-ha moment for me: (paraphrasing) “bathing suit selfies are not a right of only the skinny/fit; you don’t have to earn the right to post a photo of yourself having a good time in a bathing suit”. Now, I do not aspire to post a bikini selfie, but it made me realize that I just barely participate in one of the things in life I love the most – swimming, hanging on the beach, playing in the ocean/lakes. I’ve been meting out a few minutes of swimmy fun for myself every year because I’m not comfortable frolicking around in a bathing suit. I’m done with that. I’m going to play on the beach like a 5 year old this summer.

Rusty
23 days ago
Reply to  Molly

Yaaay, Molly! Go you!

Ellen
23 days ago

Thank you for this post Ryann. I’m struggling with fluctuations in my weight my whole life. I lost 35lb in 2019 and I felt wonderful. Last year I gained back 20lb. I’m working on accepting my body and working on my capsule wardrobe. I took a workshop last Saturday with Clinton Kelly, it’s called the “Style Esteem workshop” (on Zoom) and it was wonderful!!

Sara
23 days ago
Reply to  Ellen

That’s so interesting, Ellen. Thanks for sharing that workshop.

Emily
23 days ago

I love this thank you 🙂 I have found Aubrey Gordon’s writing to be really insightful on these topics, as well.

Heidi
23 days ago

Beautiful post. Excellent suggestions. The contended and happy picture at the end is worth a thousand words. You are beautiful!

23 days ago

I can’t help but look at the last image and think about how our dogs love us EXACTLY how we are in any given moment. Thank you for giving voice to what can often feel like a secret, painful dialogue we only have with ourselves. I experienced a life changing triple whammy of chronic pain, infertility, and premature menopause in my early 30’s and weight gain was one of the many effects. Not only did my clothes not fit but clothing with any stiffness exacerbated my pelvic pain. Parting with favorite clothes was definitely part of the healing process and I completely agree that shopping vintage/resale has been a fun, sustainable way to develop my new style. When I look back on that period now, I can recognize that even though I though I *should* be able to stay the same size and keep doing the thing I’d always loved forever, that we are always in a process of change. It’s who we are as beings and that is ok.

23 days ago

I held my breath when reading this post waiting for something insensitive or inaccurate to jump out at me (yes, I read the content warning and I read it anyway because I like to live on the edge!). But it was beautifully said and it’s so clear, Ryann, that you’ve done your homework and know that there is no way to happily exist in the world while also buying into diet culture. I’m heavily involved in the fat activist community, as well as being a fat-ish person myself who lived the first few decades with thin privilege (and an eating disorder). Every time I’m tempted to keep my “thin” clothes or imagine a life where I’m not fat I remember this fact, which I’m leaving for anyone else who may stumble across this comment and be tempted to dive back into the world of “wellness”. This is a quote from the brilliant Christy Harrison: “At the end of the day, we still don’t have a known way for people to lose weight that’s both safe and sustainable. The success rate of intentional weight-loss efforts is 5 percent or less, by most researchers’ accounts. So for 95 percent or more of… Read more »

23 days ago
Reply to  Marian

I love Maintenance Phase! So eye opening. Especially loved the Weight Watcgers episode since I once had a doctor tell me to go.

23 days ago
Reply to  Cate

Omg right?! That one was SO good. The whole history of WW totally blew my mind.

Jamie
23 days ago
Reply to  Marian

I second Maintenance Phase. Every episode is such a great reminder that everything related to diet culture is a marketing ploy. Aubrey and Michael are such thorough researchers/reporters and hilarious at the same time. I especially love that they don’t have advertisers because it would be disingenuous to try and sell things to their listeners.

Catherine
23 days ago

This is absolutely fantastic. Thank You, Ryann!!!

Rusty
23 days ago

Ryann! Wow!
Such a vulnerable post and extremely well-written!

You wrote ” bodies fluctuate, move, grow, age, and provide shelter to our very selves. They are the vessels in which we exist in the world, and they do inevitably change.”
Ain’t that the TRUTH.

I feel like I’ve watched you grow so much since you joined EHD. It’s wonderful!

By embracing our bodies, we treasure our true selves, and get a smidgen closer to our authentic selves by simply being us, who we really are, instead of trying to morph into an image (usually photo-shopped) shoved down our throats by media and marketing.

I gave up too many clothes a while back and it’s SO freeing! I have more to wear now I own less clothing. Weird sounding, but totally true. Things stay organized and I love the clothes I have now. By buying kess, I have more money to buy better.

Sending you a huge hug, Ryann, coz this post must’ve taken a whole bunch of courage to write! Great job! 🤗 xx
(Where’s your engagement ring? Wear it!😉)

Kaitlyn Mitchell
23 days ago

I’m in tears. I felt like this post was directly for me – it’s like you were reading my mind on how I’ve been feeling lately (especially as I walk into my closet). Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring me to go through to purge the clothes that don’t serve me and my body anymore. xoxo

Rusty
23 days ago

You can do it!👍

Lydia K. Williams
23 days ago

Great post! I am so emotionally attached to clothes as memories!! OH this dress I wore in Ireland! Oh, this was the outfit I wore at the riverwalk on our first real date and I felt like a movie character! I wore this tshirt when I got that sweet foster puppy who shivered on my chest the whole drive home! Even if I cant fit into them anymore, it feels like removing a memory trigger for me….I’ve heard take a photo, or write it down, but nothing feels like flipping through your closet and touching a sweet memory. But I really do need to cull my wardrobe! I will never fit into 1/3 of these “memories” again!

Rusty
23 days ago

You could make a patchwork quilt or big cushion?!

Raesha
23 days ago

How about a memory quilt?? I have several of those and I love them:)

21 days ago

And there’s no shame in keeping clothes, if they make you happy. You’ll know when it’s time to let go. And it’s okay not to be there now.

Tiffany Stevenson
23 days ago

Fantastic article, and I’ll say you look amazing and spectacular in both those photos. I know this feeling all too well as a petite woman who can go through several sizes in a day (it feels like). Thank you for your vulnerability. I see you back!

Kathryn
23 days ago

Thank you for this beautiful, life-affirming post!

Lisa
23 days ago

Much love to you Ryann!!

Susan L Young
23 days ago

You are simply beautiful.

Suz
23 days ago

Beautiful message; beautifully written.

Roberta Davis
23 days ago

Our society is so messed up! Not only do we punish anyone who isn’t super thin, but “we” (American society) eat all the foods that make most of us overweight and unhealthy. I have struggled with it my entire life- I’ve had all those feelings about clothes that don’t fit anymore. I’ve hated the way I looked. I still have a very few things that I keep for sentimental value. But I also have new hope- I adopted a whole-food plant-based diet to try to reverse my type 2 diabetes (it’s working) and a side benefit is that I am losing weight very slowly without being on a restrictive diet. I’ve found a community of people who have done the same and lost all their excess weight and reversed diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases. I am encouraged. Not because of wanting to be thin (I gave up on that), but that I am getting healthier. I also find that Dr. Doug Lisle’s discussions of self esteem vs. self confidence are very helpful for me- you can find them on YouTube. But as far as getting rid of a lot of unusable clothes- that should help your storage situation,… Read more »

19 days ago
Reply to  Roberta Davis

Love your comment and Dr Lisle. And I love my whole food plant based diet, too! It has really helped me to STOP thinking of eating as the enemy, and instead to think of eating plants as a way to nourish my body well (it also has allowed me to manage Crohn’s disease without meds and to get rid of high cholesterol, which is miraculous – I didn’t expect those side effects!) My brain is in much better shape regarding food and weight and appearance.

On a different topic, during my graduate studies in Speech-Language Pathology, we had a transexual (MTF) guest speaker. She told us that as a man, she had never wondered if she was too big/fat, but as soon as she started taking estrogen, she became obsessed with her size and shape. I think about that comment often and remind myself that it’s not just me! It is fascinating to me that hormones play such a huge role in the way our minds work (in a non-helpful way much of the time!)

A.B.
23 days ago

Thank you for making us all feel loved.

23 days ago

Thank you. The first part of this post felt like you were in my head. I have Hashimotos and the weight gain is real. I look back at photos of my younger self (or the clothes that used to fit) and long to be that size again. It feels shameful to have the body I have. I attribute my singleness to my body. The part about “letting go” especially resonated. I’ve been to doctor after doctor who spouted “calories in, calories out,” sold me protein shakes I had to chug down they were so disgusting, suggested Weight Watchers, and told me I’m obese. I’m exhausted from the trying. The feeling I’m not enough. I eat well, I’m an expert-level Griffith Park hiker, I bounce on my trampoline, and I climb secret stairs. But it’s never enough. So, yes, letting go in a sigh of surrender sounds pretty nice. This post is incredibly vulnerable, but one I’m sure will resonate with many. It did with me. Thank you.

Jenms
23 days ago

This is A BEAUTIFUL post!
I gained 20 pounds in 2019 because I was super stressed and depressed. Then I gained 30 pounds in 2020 because, well, 2020. Now we’re a good deal of the way into 2021, and the pounds keep a’rollin’ in.
I’m trying to feel positive about it, and I LOVE this post of yours. The last photo of you smiling at yourself in the mirror was the best 🙂

Suzanne
23 days ago

Thank you, Ryann, for sharing. “The Body is Not an Apology” is such a great book on this topic. I also have a difficult time letting go of favorite clothes. Surprisingly, I tried Marie Kondo’s method of thanking items for their time with me and the joy they brought me, and it was actually easier to let go of them. I have also gained weight during the pandemic, and while most of my clothes still fit, a few more fitted pants don’t. I hate to spend the money, but I’m trying to tell myself it might be better to just buy a new ones (since they are still available) and let go of the ones that don’t fastened anymore. I feel fortunate that I feel positive about my body, and my issue is more with what feels like waste I’ve created, not being able to use my clothes through their full lifecycle. Featuring ways to give the clothing new homes is great for helping through that process. I’ve sold and bought at my local Crossroads Trading with success. I know they have stores throughout California. I’ve also appreciated how more brands are featuring a range of body types. I used… Read more »

Suzanne
23 days ago
Reply to  Suzanne

Also, your future children will love those vintage pieces someday. While my daughter didn’t want the few favorites I had from the 80s, my niece was thrilled to get some Levi 501s, Guess jeans, and a Gunny Sax prom dress.

Alison
23 days ago

I cannot recommend following Marielle Elizabeth enough for those on a path to body acceptance, or for those in the plus size range who have trouble finding clothing in their size range. I’ve gotten so much from her about how to be a better ally and what language is harmful when talking about our bodies (what we suggest about friends bodies when we put down our own and how we reinforce “ideal” standards). She also talks about clothing that you can wear through multiple sizes (either gains or losses) which is SO smart for those trying to be sustainable in their purchases. Please give her a follow if you’re looking to learn and grow.

Suzanne
23 days ago
Reply to  Alison

I love the idea of buying clothes that go through body shifts. Another reader commented on the changes after childbirth, and later there is menopause. Even without weight gain (although that often happens, too), the distribution of weight changes, the curves move. I’m hoping to slowly shift my wardrobe to one that is more forgiving of those shifts, and as such, more sustainable.

Emmy
23 days ago
Reply to  Alison

Seconding this!! I just came to this comment section to make the exact same suggestion that people follow Marielle Terhart. She posts on everything from inclusive terminology to current events in the plus size fashion space (such as Anne Taylor LOFT’s incredibly disappointing recent decision to discontinue their plus size line) and slow/aka sustainable fashion brands with inclusive sizing. Through Marielle I became aware of Wray, which is now one of my absolute favorite clothing designers to support and follow.

Rachel
23 days ago

Bodies are amazing. They are able to react to stress, hormones, pollution, illness, and varying levels of physical activity and types of food, and just keep living. We are all miracles.

Selena
23 days ago

Thank you for sharing this post! I too have been on the journey of self acceptance for some time, especially since having my first daughter. I am determined to be a positive example for her. I’ve come to the conclusion that somewhere in our late teens or early 20s we expect our bodies to stop changing. Or after having a child expect our bodies to “go back” to what they were. But the truth is our bodies change throughout our entire lives, whether we have children or not. We celebrate it in children as they grow through their phases. But when we stop getting taller, we still need to expect and appreciate the changes our bodies make throughout our lives. And get rid of the pants/clothes that don’t fit any longer, take care of ourselves and enjoy life!

23 days ago

This line: When I think about my body and what it once was versus how it is now, I worry that people will think I let myself go.

Says it all for me. That is the number one thing that stood out to me. I worry that people will think I’ve let myself go. I am struggling with the weight gain after being the same weight for decades. And it all feels very unexplainable — though according to the doctors I have gut health issues + a lot of this damage was caused by 20 years of being on birth control. I’ve always been diligent about working out, mindful about eating. though I was never “small,” I have always for the longest time been 140. and now I’m at 180, it is OH SO HARD.

jules
23 days ago
Reply to  Erin

Feel this Erin. Having a kid was +7 lbs, Going sober + covid was another +10 – thanks to emotional eating and no gym. I flat-out do not feel good in my body, physically or emotionally. I fear being photographed. I dread running into people. I feel like a dowdy old woman and not like me. In my late 40s I wonder what the path will be.

Susan
22 days ago
Reply to  Erin

My set point weight also jumped and is stuck there after years of being the same. I feel ya so much

Shana
23 days ago

Wonderful, thoughtful, brave, and compassionate post. Thank you for modeling growing and healing and self-love!

Christa
23 days ago

Wonderful post. I’ve definitely been there too 🙂

Vera
23 days ago

I love this post and all the comments so much. Ryann you are SO beautiful in every way and your writing is a great blessing to me!
I am 5’2” and my size has always fluctuated – ranging from 4 to 12! Last year I set up a dresser in the hallway for all my clothes that don’t currently fit or aren’t needed for the weather or even season of life. I consider it my “store” – it’s organized by type and size and folded à la Marie Kondo.
This has helped regulate my emotions when my size changes. I just go “shopping” and “return” as needed! 🙂
Next step is I want to develop healthier habits. I LOVE what another commenter said about separating exercise from weight loss. It’s all about taking care of ourselves so we can enjoy life and continue being a gift to others!

Vera
23 days ago
Reply to  Ryann Miller

Too funny and yep same right now! And thanks! I do have the luxury of space for the extra dresser which of course doesn’t happen in every home!

Reagan Tidd
23 days ago

What an amazing and vulnerable post! Thank you for your openness and some life-changing ideas. This was so helpful. I believe all of us struggle with our bodies and if you don’t, just wait a minute. Thank you!

Ellen
23 days ago

Just came here to say thank you for this. I needed it today.

MJ
23 days ago

One other thing to consider, depending on the way/to what extent your body has shifted, is to consider a tailor! Much more sustainable than buying new if your favorite pieces seem like they might be able to be let out/cropped/hemmed etc.

Kelly
23 days ago

You are beautiful, mean it!

Shannon
23 days ago

Thank you for sharing your story. You are an absolutely beautiful woman. From purely a health perspective, it occurred to me that you might want to have your thyroid checked. Weight gain can be a symptom of an easily adjusted thyroid issue, from my understanding. Hope I’m not overstepping! You are gorgeous, inside and out!

Shannon
23 days ago
Reply to  Ryann Miller

We moms tend to stick together. Call your doctor, honey! 😉

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