Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Progress Report Pep Talk

Sometimes I make myself blog about my progress as a form of giving myself a pep talk. This usually happens when I catch a glimpse of my still huge body in a reflected surface such as the shiny door of my microwave oven, a window I'm passing by when I'm out shopping, or the television screen.

It may not surprise anyone that there are no full length mirrors in my home. Sometimes I wonder if I really should get one so that I can view my body without the distortion that comes from those reflected surfaces. Frankly though, I try simply not to look because what I see makes me unhappy and demoralized, but occasionally, I catch a look without trying to do so.

So, these little progress reports are my way of talking myself out of an oncoming depression at how I appear to be "different", but not "better" at this stage of the game. Taking stock of the things which actually are better helps, even if many of those things are relative and of little consequence on the whole.

Here are the little things which have changed for the better:
  • My tighter pants (which are stretchy pants) have become loose and are starting to gap a bit at the waist. They're also getting too long and will need to be hemmed. My looser pants are becoming what my husband calls "comically" big. I expect these loose pants to be too impossibly big to wear by the end of spring of next year, even with an elastic waist which can hold them up despite the size.
  • Long-sleeved T-shirts that I wear during cool and cold weather times which were uncomfortably tight now fit properly. My upper arms used to fit like sausages in a tight case before in these shirts, and now there is a little play in the fabric of the upper arms.
  • My face looks younger and better by an appreciable amount.
  • I can only wear my wedding ring if I put a sizing band on it or it is prone to slipping off my finger.
  • I don't get nearly as winded climbing stairs or find it as difficult to haul myself up them.
  • Though I still wake up with back pain and stiffness (from lying down overnight) every morning, I can now walk without sitting to rest most of the time for up to about 45 minutes, though occasionally my hips will ache and I'll have to have a brief sit down early on in a walk.
  • I can withstand hunger pangs far more readily than before and it takes more time to develop a low blood sugar headache than when I started. This is a profound change and I believe my body has made an adjustment to less food and is responding less aggressively to less getting less food. It's still not easy to sit around being hungry, but it is "easier" than before.
  • I haven't felt the impulse to binge eat or eat compulsively for about two weeks, though I still eat things which I crave in small portions when I'm not really hungry.
  • My belly button depth has noticeably decreased. I know this is gross to people who have never been morbidly obese, but when you shower or clean yourself, you have to go pretty deep to reach the bottom and I can tell by the finger depth that my belly, big as it still is, is getting smaller. One of these days, I'll not have to go the entire depth of my index finger to reach the bottom, but I'm not there yet.
  • I'm starting to develop a lap again. My belly apron was so big that I didn't have much of a lap, just my knees poking out. I'm seeing more of my thighes while sitting than I have for quite some time.
  • It's becoming easier to type at my computer as my arms rest lower on my body as my stomach gets smaller. I don't have to hold my elbows quite so awkwardly to work around my stomach.
These are the qualitative differences in my life that I've noticed as of late. I still have a very long way to go, but I'm thinking that when I no longer fear squeezing into an airplane seat, I may agree to go to Hawaii for a vacation. My husband has been wanting to go for a long time, and he thinks it'll ultimately be good for me. My sense is that I may be ready to do this some time late in 2010 if things continue at a pace. Ideally, I would like not to go until I weigh around 200 lbs or less.

Though I don't weigh myself at all at present, I probably will start doing so sometime around the middle of next year, though I will likely do so infrequently (on a monthly basis at the most frequent). There will come a time when progress will be harder to measure qualitatively and a quantitative measure might be a motivational tool. At present, I still view it as potentially more damaging than helpful in my particular case.

Happy New Year to my small group of kind readers, and good luck to you all in the coming year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Not Wanting More

During the holidays, I was given a big portion of a cake from a work-related associate. The entire amount of cake would probably be two somewhat large portions or three smallish portions. I gave myself a portion equivalent to a quarter of the entire amount of cake. The cake was divine in texture, taste, and smell. It was definitely one of the best bits of cake that I ever had.

I had about 5 bites of cake in my portion, since I eat relatively small bites. I do this because my mouth is small and I can’t eat a lot at once. I ate my small piece and experienced something that I cannot recall having experienced in my memory, and certainly not as an adult. I thoroughly enjoyed the cake and finished my piece, but I had absolutely no desire to have more. It wasn’t that I was full, as these days I’m rarely truly full. Besides, I’ve been full before and followed up quite imprudently on a desire to eat more (especially when it came to dessert) when I had had quite enough. Fullness never put me off of eating more of something that tasted good.

For the first time in memory, I really enjoyed something, but didn’t want more at all. I had the experience and enjoyed it, and that was “enough”. I don’t think I can recall having “enough” when it comes to food I really enjoy short of having extreme stomach discomfort that forced me to stop, or running out of food. It’s the sort of impulse that tends to make people who are overweight have issues leaving a bag of cookies or chips unfinished. They just keep going back for more at every opportunity until it’s gone. I remember that impulse with perfect clarity as it’s a battle I’ve fought again and again and lost throughout most of my adult life.

Not wanting to go back and eat more of that extremely tasty cake was such a profoundly different experience, that I took note of how the absence of desire felt. I wondered if it was going to happen the next night when I had another small portion of the cake as a holiday treat. I wondered if this was a fluke, or if it was the culmination of the conditioning I’ve been doing on myself for the past six months.

The next night, I had the same experience. I had a small piece of cake and again had no desire to tunnel back into the fridge and nibble at more. Maybe it’s the cake, but I doubt it. I think there has been some sort of shift in my relationship with food as a result of the behavioral changes I’ve made.

I can’t say that I believe it’s going to happen every time, nor can I say I believe it will last forever or happen every time I eat some really delicious food. I don’t even know exactly what actions I've taken which has led to this change, but I have a feeling that it's related to actively tasting food that I eat for pleasure and not denying myself anything that I want to eat. All I know is that it felt good. It felt as if I had a sickness that has been plaguing me all of my life and suddenly I wasn't suffering its effects. It was like a tremendous psychological burden had been lifted, if only for a short time.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pigs in Pokes

Lately, there has been a great deal of advertising done by someone using a drawing of a blond woman going from fat to thin and promising you can lose weight by following “one weird old tip” (or something to that effect). I don’t know what the tip is, but the ads look, feel and sound like the same old pig in a poke type of thing that has been sold to those looking to lose weight for decades. These are plans that promise you that you can easily and simply lose weight by making simple and desirable choices in your life.

It’s easy to understand why people want to sell you easy answers. They want your money. The slightly more difficult part is understanding why “we” (and I actually don’t mean “me”, but humans in general) actually buy simple answers to complex problems. My guess is part of it is desperation. We can’t make the lifestyle alterations necessary to achieve a lasting healthy weight, so we keep looking for some trick or option that we’ve missed. Someone has to have the answer because there are still more thin people in the world than fat ones, and the thin ones don’t seem to be any less neurotic or any more intelligent than us.

The thing about these deals, and this applies to all of them, even the most absurd ones, is that they work for some people. Sometimes they work for a little while, and there may be at least a handful of others for whom they work for the duration of their lives. The main problem with the wackier plans is that they rely on substituting real food for fake “balanced” concoctions that offer all of the nutrients you need at fewer calories and with no satisfaction (no matter how hard they try to fake good taste). In the short term, people can manage this. The problem is that, in the long run, you grow tired of a stomach that rumbles because it didn’t get real food and taste buds that want to experience something more.

Many plans actually make sense from a certain viewpoint or seem logical, balanced and healthy. The problem with many of the most sensible plans is that they depend on a certain level of discipline which can be maintained under ideal conditions, but may rapidly fall apart in difficult life situations or when your options are limited. This is something that I faced rather seriously when I found that I was too injured to exercise my way to weight loss as I once did. It is also an issue for people who accomplish weight loss based on restricted food lists. The more you “can’t eat”, the harder it is to take part in normal life, particularly social functions.

I have always been dubious of the diet “pigs in pokes” – the cookie diet, candy diets, cabbage diets, soup diets, etc. It’s not just the fact that all of these plans are so obviously about selling specialty products to people desperate to lose weight, it’s also that I’ve always seen them as very short-term solutions. What happens when you lose all of the weight you want and stop eating the cookies or medically-formulated bars or soups? They do nothing for you in terms of teaching you how to deal with food in day-to-day life and seem to set you up for a cycle of regaining when the "diet" is done.

I think that most people have a terrible time altering their relationship with food, myself included. It's so much easier to radically alter your habits than to moderate them. This is especially true when you have tried and failed so many times to make the changes that are necessary to lose weight. I think that people buying those dietary pigs in pokes are simply tossing out their entire unhealthy way of dealing with food and hoping to replace it with a new and healthy way. Perhaps that is why fad diets have appeal. If the change isn't radical enough, people don't have the sense of abandoning their "bad" way of life entirely, and they really want to get as far away from their "fat habits" as possible in the hopes of building thin ones.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


"Patience" is something I have to keep telling myself through gritted teeth. I'm so tired of my body that sometimes I just want to scream in frustration. I know I have to be patient, and as I've said before, I am absolutely not itching to reach the end so I can start eating more again. I'm on a plan for life now, but...

The thing I'm losing patience with is not looking better or being a significantly smaller size. I don't want to be stared at, pointed at, or made fun of anymore. I don't want to worry about fitting into chairs with handles or having to buy two seats if I go on an airplane. I'm sick of living my fat girl's fears. I'm tired of regarding my body with disgust and thinking everyone else is as well. I'm patient with being fat, just not this fat.

When I started my efforts, I don't know how much I weighed, but it was probably near 400 lbs. When I started blogging, I guessed I may have weighed 330-350, but I wonder now if it was more like 370-390. I've lost a lot, but I still look freaking huge. If I could bear it, I'd get on the scale, but I just can't handle knowing exactly how far I have yet to go.

Back when I lost weight in my late teens, I think I weighed nearly 300 lbs. At that time, I remember thinking that I would have found the whole endeavor more bearable if I just could have started out at 200 because then the road wouldn't have been so long and daunting. Now, that path seems like nothing compared to the one I've been traveling this time around.

When I stand in the shower, scrubbing my vast expanses of flesh, I find myself wishing I could bargain with my body and convince it to let me live in a nicer one if I promise never to overeat again and to take good care of myself. It's like I want to live in a better house before I've paid for it or finished the remodel, and want it to just give me what I want simply because I earnestly promise that I will do the work, and I will pay for it all. But, it doesn't work that way. there's no way of getting it now and paying for it later. I have to pay as I go, and sometimes the wait just crushes me.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas and Candy

Today, a coworker who is leaving the company gave me a box of 5 Ferrero Rocher chocolates as a goodbye/Christmas gift. In the past when I was trying to “diet” to lose weight, such a gift would have been regarded as a waste at best, and possibly a burden at worst. When “dieting” and denying myself such “forbidden” pleasures, I would have to give away or throw away this act of kindness and thoughtfulness (as it is one of my absolute favorite candies). My response internally would almost certainly have been one of repressed frustration at being given something I enjoy, but not being allowed to enjoy it. I might also have projected some sort motive to sabotage me on my coworker, who may have noticed that I had been losing weight but gave me candy anyway.

I’m pleased to say that I could accept it with a smile and the sense that I could look forward to five days of savoring the pleasure of them one at a time. At 75 calories per candy, they’re within the allotment I give myself for a day’s treats, though they are a bit on the higher side of what I usually eat as a single candy.

This experience has made me reflect on several things. First, there is the dieter’s mentality and how it increases the chances of failure because of the emotional responses to denial. I remember one of the times I attempted to diet and failed when I bought a box of chocolate and hid it from my husband because I didn’t want him to see that I’d was “cheating”. He found the half-eaten box and I felt terrible for having been “caught”. Of course, he didn’t chide me or accuse me of not wanting to succeed, as that is not his way. He just looked sad for me because I couldn’t make it work for myself.

Denying myself things I enjoyed in the past just made controlling my eating that much harder. It’s odd, but eating treats regularly in small quantities actually makes calorie control far easier as it leaves the baggage that comes along with feeling “deprived” behind. It also makes the notion of a “cheat day” ridiculous. By most people’s standards, I “cheat” a little everyday.

Second, there is also the part of the dieter’s thinking process where everyone around you is seen as a potential saboteur for offering you things that don’t fit in with the limits of your meal plan. I’ve written before about people who insisted and pushed me to eat pizza and other foods I saw as verboten when I lost weight around the end of college. What they did was far pushier than this type gift, and they were well aware of my eating restrictions and pushed me to “have fun”.

This candy gift is rather different because I have never discussed my recent dietary changes with coworkers. That being said, the very fact that I have been losing weight and that is obvious to everyone around me might make me think the candy is a passive-aggressive gift. I know it is not, but I might be more inclined to think it was if it brought out all sorts of feelings of denial and frustration. It strikes me that thinking that everyone should be aware of and accommodate your (unannounced) diet and restrictions is rather narcissistic (except in health-related cases such as being diabetic or having heart disease), but I think one’s perspective can get pretty warped when on the weight loss path.

I remember in the past when trying to diet that I felt really depressed and resentful when special days like my birthday or Christmas rolled around and I couldn't experience anything special in terms of food. A lot of people deal with these situations by focusing on the non-food experiences at this time, but I’m a food addict and part of the reason for that is that I love the experience of eating. I love the smell, taste, and texture of good food. There simply is no substitute for that sort of pleasure and I can’t fool myself into thinking that watching a special movie, singing songs, decorating, or doing volunteer work is going to obliterate the sense that I’m missing out on something I’d really enjoy if I were permitted it. I’m so gratified now to have found a way to not have to feel all of those negative feelings associated with the holidays and food, and to still lose weight.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Two-faced Friends

When you're in school, you expect kids to pick on your for being different, especially if you're fat. After finishing high school though, I learned that a lot of the overt mockery slows down. After college, it tends to come at a crawl except from random strangers and children. Adults tend to exhibit more self-control in the interest of showing a modicum of social skill and grace.

That being said, I cannot say that I've been at a loss for being acquainted with adults who have made fun of my weight, or talked about it behind my back. The random strangers who make rude remarks are one thing, but the people who are friendly to your face and then stab you in the back still were able to shock me.

Shortly after starting work at a new job as a temporary employee, I was getting to know my coworkers. One of them, a man who was 28 at the time (I was 26) hit it off particularly well with me. We talked amiably, made jokes, and had a good rapport. I should note that this was all utterly devoid of flirtation or sexual considerations. I know that when men and women get on, some people believe that they only do so when there is some sort of attraction. I was (and still am) deliriously happily married and relate to all men I encounter as potential friends, much as I relate to women. After several weeks of working together, I thought that this fellow was going to be someone who I'd get along well for the duration of my time at the job. I should note that he worked one shift and I worked another shift, but there were times when the schedule overlapped.

One day, he was sitting at a table that we worked at communally with those on our shift with several other coworkers on his shift. I was working in another part of the office in private work spaces that my shift's workers were currently occupying. We swapped off in these spaces according to the types of tasks that needed to be done. The schedule for our work was set for the most part, but my schedule wasn't quite the same as that of the other worker's, so I left my cubicle early to join in on the work at the communal work table.

The cubicles were located about 15 feet behind the table that my coworker's shift was working at, so I was approaching from behind. As I was walking there, I heard him say very clearly, "what it must be like to have sex with (my name)... it must be like lying between two big slabs of beef."

Since my shift ended earlier than that of everyone else on my shift, he didn't expect me to approach and didn't hear me, but I sure heard him. I was humiliated and furious. I didn't confront him directly, but I did say something about people who pretended to be your friend and then stabbed you in the back. He pretended that he didn't have any idea what I was talking about, but this just made me angrier and more aggressive. One of my other coworkers told him to "give it up", meaning that there was no use continuing to pretend that he hadn't said something really ugly about me.

After that, all of my interactions with this particular coworker were cold and officious. In the end, he was fired and I was given his job because he was not the greatest worker. I became a permanent worker and he was headed for the door. This was gratifying because I thought he was a thoroughly despicable person and deserved what he got.

I have blotted out a lot of the immediate pain I felt at that betrayal and the two-faced nature of his actions, but the effect was to make me wonder what every "friend" I've ever had has thought about me and said about me behind my back. To be honest, I still don't trust anyone other than my husband and figure that even people who are nothing but gracious and kind to my face are probably telling their spouses or friends about how disgustingly fat I am. I take it as a given that even people who are nice to me are going to judge me and speak ill of me when I'm not around. Sometimes I wonder if the scars of the cruelty I've lived with most of my life will fade after I lose all the weight I want to or if they're with me forever.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

(About) A Third of the Way There

I've mentioned before that I don't weigh myself, but rather measure by look, feel, and clothing. I've noticed that drops in weight tend to be noticeable in little hops. It's rather like walking along the same road for awhile then suddenly finding you are stepping down rather than walking down a slow incline. This is fine with me as I'm seeing what others are seeing in terms of (subjective) progress rather than some arbitrary (objective) number on a machine.

My sense right now, if I had to guess, is that I'm down about 70-75 lbs, and my overall impression is that I've lost about one-third of the weight that I would like to lose. Now that winter has come around, I have a whole other set of clothes to measure progress against and it is pretty gratifying. There's a particular winter shirt which is very long that I had to stretch (with considerable, but not fabric-tearing resistance) to pull over my belly last year that now fits somewhat loosely around the bottom. Since my stomach has shrunk much less than the rest of my body (much to my dismay), this has made me pretty happy. Despite my impression that the old belly isn't moving much at all, this is proof that it certainly is.

For now, I'm staying the course. My guess is that there will come a point (likely as I approach the sub-200 lb. level) where I'll have to shake things up to keep up the steady progress. Right now, I've got two more years to reach my goal so I'm pleased with how things are progressing.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Mother's Book

My mother had two tricks in her book of half-assed parenting, and my father had no book at all. According to my mother, he never wanted kids (thanks, Mom, for sharing that fact with my sister and I... it really helped us feel unwanted and unloved from a young age), and this explained his lack of parenting. As for my Mom, she alternately claimed to want as many kids as she could push out but was stopped in her tracks by a uterine infection that required a semi-hysterectomy or to have not had sufficient access to "rubbers" when she was younger.

Getting back to her slim volume on parenting though... My mother either was completely slack about monitoring us in vital aspects of our childhood or adamant about adhering so strongly to her principles that she exhibited no flexibility whatsoever. She never pushed us to brush our teeth on a regular basis, for instance. Though she claims to have told us to do so, I can't recall her telling us past the age of 6, nor did she ever buy toothpaste. When I got old enough to care because of my own concerns as I approached adulthood, I'd already lost two molars to cavities, was in need of some fillings (which I never got until my 20's) and had to buy my own toothpaste.

When I asked my mother about why she didn't push us harder to brush our teeth, she shrugged and said, "I tried, but you didn't do it." I guess it was just too much trouble to come upstairs to the bathroom every night and check on us when she could just sit on her ass in front of the T.V. and leave us to fend for ourselves. It could also be that having lost all of her perfect, white teeth to gum disease around age 26, she found it hard to care about our dental health.

In terms of the things that she did care about, there was generally a patchwork quilt of things she'd insist on then drop from consideration. One of those things, of course, was food. My mother is a terrible cook and most of the vegetables that I was offered as a child came from a can. Canned vegetables might be okay if you are putting them in soup or cooking them up creatively with some other ingredients, but slopping them into a pot to reheat them and then dropping them on a plate is a singularly awful experience, particularly for a child.

I recall one situation where my mother served us canned peas when I was around 10. Usually, she didn't care about what we ate, but she insisted that I eat those peas and wasn't going to let me up into I consumed all of the vile things. They were mushy and tasted bad and I loathed them. In the end, I think she gave up before I gave in and I didn't eat them. I love all sorts of vegetables, and eat them everyday, but I still hate peas and have never bought them fresh, frozen or, shudder, canned.

This little anecdote is being offered to illustrate how our eating habits are influenced by people telling us what to eat and not to eat. Despite being very open-minded about sampling new foods, I've formed a seemingly life-long dislike of something because I was forced to eat it when I found the experience repugnant. I think parents often make the mistake of forcing foods on their children in an effort to make them eat more healthily without considering the palates of young children. Kids have a much stronger sense of smell and taste than adults and are naturally still more in touch with what and how much they need to eat than adults. It's only after years of being pushed to "clean your plate" or to "eat your vegetables" that they grow into adults who overeat and eat junk food continuously as an act of rebellion.

In my mother's book of parenting, we were poor and food should not be wasted so if she peeled 10 lbs. of potatoes for mashing and dropped a bucket of them on the table, we were supposed to put away as much as possible. If she opened up a can of some mushy, over-cooked, salty canned vegetables that even most adults would not eat, we were obliged to help her finish it. It wasn't about healthy eating, it was about what she felt should be done in line with her valuing the cost of food over our health. In the end, she obliterated any healthy relationship my sister and I could have had with food, but she absolutely was unaware of what she did.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Not A Calculator

Most days, I drink between one and four cups of tea. Each time, I put a splash of low-fat milk and one or two packets of Splenda in the tea. On a “big day” of tea drinking, I might consume as much as 50 extra calories in milk and sweetener, but I don’t count this in my FitDay calorie counting log. This doesn’t mean that I believe the calories don’t “count”, but rather that it’s unlikely that 50 or so calories one way or the other is going to hamper my weight loss efforts significantly and I’m going to explain why.

Awhile ago, there was some hoopla surrounding an article in the New York Times written by a man who proclaimed that exercise did not aid weight loss because all it would take was a mere 40 calories per day (the amount of a pat of butter) of increased consumption to nullify the effects of the exercise. Setting aside all of the obvious reasons why this is wrong, there is the fact that your body is not a calculator.

In this age when we live around machines that are capable of precision, we often make the mistake of believing our bodies are nothing more than a biological version of a computer, or in this case calculators. There is a misunderstanding that you if you enter the proper numbers, you are guaranteed to lose or gain weight. Bodies, unlike computational devices, are not nearly such simplistic mechanisms.

Your body is designed to adapt. Part of that function is to slow down or speed up metabolism in order to hold on to what appears to be the current state (unless you are ill). If you eat a few more calories today, it will likely boost your metabolism a bit to stop you from gaining weight. If you eat a few less, it will slow it down to stop you from losing. It’s only when we start to go to relative extremes in terms of exertion or consumption that we see an effect. This is one of the reasons that people plateau in weight loss.

The computational model is gratifying because it is logical and gives us the illusion of precise control, but our body simply does not work that way. You can do all of the exact calculations you like and it may refuse to cooperate or act in opposition to what appears to be logical. So, I don’t fret the low-fat milk that I splash into my tea when I calorie count. While I think eating hundreds of calories more per day would have an impact on my weight loss, I don’t think that 20-70 will have much of an impact. It also stops me from feeling that I have to fuss over and record every move I make and makes the chore of calorie counting a little more bearable.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


For the first time in many years, I actually know my bra size. That may sound strange, but the truth is that I’ve been wearing the same two increasingly frayed and deteriorating, stretched-out bras for a very long time. That may sound kind of gross, but let me say that I don’t sweat much at all so it’s not like they were getting stinky with repeated wearing (and honestly, I do laundry every other day so it’s not like I couldn’t wash and swap them out). The not sweating thing should actually be another “fat myth” posting because many people seem to believe fat people sweat after the smallest bit of exertion. I rarely sweat after a great deal of exertion, and it’s rather a problem in summer when I feel like I’m baking in my skin with no (or little) surface cooling from sweat.

Getting back to the point though, the bras I’ve been wearing have been ill-fitting for quite some time. My breasts were spilling out the sides to some extent and the straps kept falling down. At one point they were too tight and more recently too loose. They’re so old that the size information has completely worn off and all that has been left behind are blank, frayed tags.

I decided that I’d lost enough weight to justify new bra purchases and measured myself using on-line guidelines. Honestly, bra size is rather tricky to establish. You’re supposed to measure two different ways in order to determine circumference and cup size and in the end, I just sort of guessed a bit on the small side. I chose smaller than I thought I’d need based on measurements because I have a 38 C on hand from when I’d lost weight so long ago and I just wanted to bridge the gap between what I was (whatever it was) and being able to get back into that tiny, tiny bra again.

My measurements seemed to say I was a 48, and I guessed D as a cup size, so I bought 44Ds thinking I’d get into them soon enough. It turns out that I either suck at measuring or the online instructions to add two inches to my measurements were wrong. The 44Ds fit a little tightly, but can be worn now without discomfort. Why am I making a big deal about a new bra? Well, they make a huge difference in my appearance. Having a proper-fitting bra with the right cup size helps bring out the effects of my weight loss more profoundly. When I see myself, I can see a new body definition and it makes me feel better than before.

I also feel like I’ve got another benchmark for judging my progress. With my old bras being stretched out and unmarked for size, and my not knowing the original size, it was hard to know how many sizes down I may have gone. Now, I know that I am at somewhat tight 44D and will be able to note progress from this point onward.