I have bought three pairs of trousers that are labelled size 14.
Size 14. Fuck! I haven't been below a size 16 in 10 years. I've been a size 18-20 for most of that.
The really scary thing is, these trousers all fit me over leggings. (I have to wear loads of layers because I'm cold all the time, owing to having lost all that insulation.) If I wasn't wearing the leggings, I might even be able to squeeze into a size 12 - if not this week, in a month's time.
I can't get over how much this is freaking me out - and not entirely in a good way.
There is this belief that all women want to be thinner. All women, all the time. Like many sweeping overgeneralisations that get applied to one or other of the binary sexes, this is actually bollocks. I know quite a few naturally-thin women who are sick of people making thoughtless comments about how "real women" have curves, or having well-meaning friends enquire about whether they might have an eating disorder of some sort. I also know plenty of larger women who carry their weight well, are able to move comfortably and are strong and happy. I even know a fair number of females who are fat and proud, and whose size is none of my damn business.
I... yes, I admit I wanted to be thinner, but only because size 18-20 at my height is bloody awkward. The "regular" range of clothes were a bit too small, but most "plus size" clothes were too big - because as well as making them wider, they also get a lot longer. Petite height plus size does exist, but seems entirely tailored for apple-shape bodies, and I am a classic pear shape. (Smallish bust, wide hips, huge arse. Like one of those dumpy Comice pears, not a tall elegant Conference pear.) I also have a fairly small waist-to-hip ratio (at my fattest, there was still a good 10" difference between my waist size and hip circumference). All of this adds up to give me great trouble in finding clothes. I ended up buying lots of identical clothes in different colours, and hoping no one would notice.
I was pleased to get to a size 16-18, because that gave me a lot more flexibility. Also I lost the bit of flab over my belly that I was most paranoid about (I think everyone, no matter how good their self-image, has parts they like less than others) and started to lose some stretch marks. I managed to start wearing clothes I'd bought a while ago and hadn't been able to wear in ages.
But now what? I look thin! It bothers the hell out of me when people say how "healthy" I look, because I think I look skinny and washed out! I think it's blatently apparent that the reason I've lost so much weight is that I've been ill. My face is all bones and angles. I've lost my chubby cheeks. My nose is too sharp (and I can just tell that my body hatred paranoia is going to transfer itself back to my nose, which I've hated on and off ever since I was 9 and a girl called Ruth in my dancing class told me what a big nose I had. I spent a few years squashing it with my fingers every chance I got to try to make it smaller, until I found out that wouldn't work, and I'm still inclined to fiddle with it as a nervous habit. This is not helped by it often being snotty).
I've got used to having a mental view of myself that is, say, 20 lb (~10 kg) lighter than I actually am; and picking up clothes that I think will fit me, and finding out they're too small when I go to try them on. Now I have the opposite problem, and I'm surprised to find it's no less unpleasant.
I'm sure there are people reading this who will say "what the hell is she moaning about? Losing 3 stone without even trying? God, I'd love to lose 3 stone!". Except I didn't want to lose 3 stone, it just happened. I'd much rather have been healthy and able to eat whatever I wanted for these past 9 months than bloody ill and on an ultra-low fat diet under pain of Pain. I'd probably still have lost mass, only by exercising rather than by dietary restrictions.
That's it, I think. If I'd lost mass out of choice, I'd be delighted. If I'd lost mass by doing something that involved effort, like exercise - and if I had accompanying increased muscle strength, and a stronger heart and lungs, it would mean something to me. As it is, I have physically less mass, but I'm weaker than I was - because the only exercise I can do is walking, and even walking carrying a fairly lightweight bag gives me pain. Oh yeah - and my BMI? Still in the "overweight" range, apparently. 27, where "healthy" starts at 25. *snorts*.
The worst thing is that I feel like a traitor. I was honestly perfectly happy at size 16-18. I didn't like being size 18-20, but only because it was hard for me to find clothes to wear. (And that wasn't even so bad, with shopping in the US). I was honestly perfectly happy fat. Now, I think I look skinny, almost scrawny. And I don't like the way other people's attitudes to me have changed. Thinner, and with my hair grown out to long, I almost fit within the definition of "conventionally attractive". "Normal" people are eyeing me up in public places - not geeks, not bi/poly types, not fat acceptance people - but normal people. ("Mundanes", as they're sometimes insultingly called.) I don't want to be attractive to normal people! I want to be attractive to my type of people!
And, um, I'd quite like to know what size I'm going to end up, so I can buy clothes in that size and be done with it, instead of having to get new clothes every couple of months. I don't enjoy clothes shopping, even if I do have slightly more choice at this size.