Vanity Sizing: Do you know what size you really wear?

June 22, 2014|Posted in: Health

Do you know what size clothing you actually wear?  This might seem like a silly question but apparently it’s not.  While listening to the radio the other day, I heard about “vanity sizing”.

I guess I have known that companies do this but I didn’t realize how prevalent it is and that we actually have a name for it.  For those who don’t know, vanity sizing refers to what clothing companies do when they purposely change the sizes in their clothes to make the person buying them feel better.  For instance, what you might know as a size 8, the company actually labels as a size 6 and all of a sudden when you try on their clothes you feel so much better about yourself.  Because somehow walking into that store you magically lost 10 pounds…?  I guess you have to give it to them – it’s a great marketing tactic.  Who wouldn’t feel great about purchasing a pair of jeans 1 or 2 sizes smaller than you thought they were?

But I think there are a lot of problems with this.  First of all, finding clothes now becomes even more of a pain.  I know I usually have to bring in 3 different sizes with me to the dressing room because I have no idea which one is actually going to fit me.  And for a person like myself who really prefers to just do online shopping, this presents an even bigger pain.

But the real question is, what does this do to our body image?  This messes with a lot of emotions for people.  It can also send mixed signals.  One day, you think your size is a 6 and you are feeling great about yourself when the next day you go shopping and have to get a size 8.  You might not have even changed in weight or you could have but you really don’t know how that affected your size.  Talk about confusion!  And unnecessary stress you might put on yourself!

A lot of times, health and fitness articles will recommend that you judge your efforts based on how your clothes fit, not on a scale.  Normally, I would agree.  Muscle weighs more than fat so you could be leaning out but the scale might not show a big drop.  This vanity sizing kind of screws up that whole theory, doesn’t it?  So what now?

I think the best way for you to judge your health and fitness efforts is by how you feel more than anything.  The scale and how your clothes fit can tell you something but really, the important thing is how you feel.  Do you feel slimmer?  Have more energy?  Are in a better mood?  Feel less bloated?  Then all these things mean you’re on the right track.

Also, let’s stop judging ourselves by the size of our clothes!  After all, a person who is a size 4 (depending on the store of course) could be much healthier than someone who is a size 2.  No one needs to know the size of your pants and no one should care.  Especially you.  The most important thing should be that you are healthy by eating healthy and exercising.

Try not to worry about what size clothes you are wearing.  Wear what makes you feel good and you like.  It’s just a size and doesn’t mean your healthy habits aren’t working.  Let the companies do their marketing (because they will) but don’t let it rule your life.  You are the best judge of your health.

I want to encourage you to follow along in my health journey through what I learn and experience. I hope there is something you can take away from Fit Busy Female that inspires you to start taking control of your health and feeling better every day.

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