Mel Greig at the Channel 9 studios. (Source: Instagram, @melgreigradio).
Health goals are notoriously difficult to achieve and so it’s understandable why Mel Greig has tried various motivators and techniques in her quest for a healthier life. She’s openly discussed her quest to lose weight and often uses Instagram to share photos of her nutritious meals and enthusiastic exercise sessions.
Recently a different photo caught my eye. It made me feel sad and reminded me of how a box of old clothes can actually become a stumbling block to a healthy mindset.
Mel Greig’s recent Instagram photo is of a cardboard box labeled “Skinny clothes… Warning: Only open when you are back down to 68kg”. She captioned the photo with: “Keeping myself motivated while packing #weightlossgoals…#healthyliving”.
I’ve been there, Mel. Only, I didn’t just have a one box of “skinny clothes” – I had a whole wardrobe-and-a-half filled with them. And sadly I have to report that holding onto too-small clothes didn’t help me to become healthier. In fact, these “skinny clothes” had an adverse effect on my health – in particular, my mental health.
In 2013, I faced one of the most confronting and personally disappointing experiences with my own body. During my pregnancy, my doctors found that I had a chronic kidney disease. This kidney disease caused me to gain a huge amount of weight, due to fluid retention.
I put on so much weight that walking was extremely difficult. I now have stretch marks all over my body. From my neck down, it’s more unusual to find an unmarked patch of skin, because there’s just so many stretch marks from when my skin strained to bear the extra weight.
Admittedly, much of the weight was also from potato chips, mini apple pies, icecream, hot chocolates and other delicious things. In summary, I put on more weight than I ever had in my whole life because I was pregnant, sick, scared and depressed.
I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby and I thought all of the “water weight” would just disappear. But it didn’t, and I was stuck with a wardrobe full of “skinny clothes”.
Because I didn’t want to walk around naked, I bought some “in-between” clothes that were super cheap and practically disposable. They were all ugly, but I had my “skinny clothes” in my wardrobe to motivate me.
I loved everything in my old wardrobe, and I actually saw it as a collection that I’d invested in. There were vintage pieces in there from 1960s San Francisco as well as a few Aussie designer pieces. The fact that I’d spent so much money on my clothes was another motivating factor to lose that weight. (Post continues after gallery.)
I worked as hard as I possibly could to get my “old body” back. I walked everywhere with my new baby in tow. I did Tracy Anderson exercise videos when my baby was asleep. I bought a steamer and ate steamed chicken or fish with veggies. I lost weight, but still, I couldn’t fit into my “skinny clothes” again.
I tried them on every now and then, and it always ended the same way. I felt terrible about myself. I couldn’t do up the zippers, and they looked awful on me. I seethed at myself, for having bought so many fitted clothes in the past, and for not being able to achieve my health goals.
The Bachelor's Sam Wood shows us an easy exercise circuit. (Post continues after video.)
I saw my skinny clothes every day, which meant that I constantly felt awful and frustrated on a daily basis. Eventually, I had to give myself a break. Something that used to give me joy – my clothes – was now making me miserable.
There was no point in constantly hating myself, just because I couldn’t fit into a few stupid clothes. And how long would this go on for? What if I never fit into those clothes again? Would I hate my body forever, just because of some aging pieces of fabric?
That’s why I want Mel Greig to throw away her box of “skinny clothes”. It’s a different way of losing weight. Giving away our “skinny clothes” is a way to offload the weight of our body-related frustrations, guilt and shame. And for me, the weight of self-hatred is harder to bear than a few extra curves.
Funnily enough, getting rid of my “skinny clothes” actually made me feel lighter. I was no longer burdened by the memory of a thinner Carla, who lived in ignorant bliss of her kidney disease.
I knew I was trying to be healthy and that was enough. I didn’t need an old, outdated dress lurking in my closet, reminded me that I wasn’t doing enough. Because I knew I was trying my absolute best.
If it doesn’t fit, don’t wear it or keep it. And that goes for more than just your clothes – it’s about your life and how you treat yourself.
I’ve watched on in admiration as Mel Greig has grown and moved on from the events of her past. She’s rebuilt herself anew with strength and grit. Here’s to her new start – and hopefully, a box of clothes that fit her for where she is right now, as a strong and inspiring woman who I can’t wait to hear again on our airwaves.
Do you have "skinny clothes", or clothes you'd keep for a future or past version of yourself?