Dr. Sarah Stombaugh:
This is Dr. Sarah Stombaugh and you are listening to the Conquer Your Weight Podcast, episode number 29.
Welcome to the Conquer Your Weight podcast, where you will learn to understand your mind and body so you can achieve long-term weight loss. Here's your host, obesity medicine physician and life coach, Dr. Sarah Stombaugh.
Dr. Sarah Stombaugh:
Hey everyone, thanks for joining me today. I am excited to be recording this week's episode, finally because it has been on the tip of my tongue for a few days now. And for those of you who follow along with the show, you know I have a new baby. She is about eight weeks old right now, and I'm breastfeeding her, which means that I am waking up in the middle of the night every single night and I really can't complain. Her schedule's been pretty doable. We've got a good pattern and a routine down, but still I'm waking up once or often twice at nighttime. And something I've been struggling with is what I call breastfeeding insomnia. I'm not sure if I coined that term or if other people use that as well because I'm sure lots of people have dealt with this phenomenon. You wake up in the middle of the night to breastfeed your baby and afterwards you lay down your sleepy baby, but your own brain has completely clicked on and is now fully awake.
And despite the fact that it's the middle of the night, a time where you would not usually be awake, you've woken up and it's not as simple as just like pushing a button and automatically falling back asleep. And I have to admit with my boys, I have a two and four year old, I didn't deal with this as much with the middle of the night awakenings. There's a balance between wanting to maintain enough of that middle of the night delirium and sort of sleepiness so that you can easily go back to bed, but not being so sleepy that you fall asleep while breastfeeding. And as a physician, I am like really embarrassed to say this out loud, but I actually fell asleep while breastfeeding a couple of times with my boys, and that is so, so, so, so dangerous and incredibly scary, and it's such a terrible feeling to wake up and realize what has happened.
And thank goodness they're both okay, but it's the type of thing that makes you stop and think. And I realized I cannot let this happen again. And as a result of those experiences this time around, I've been erring on the side of being more awake. But that comes with the unfortunate side effect of like actually being more awake and then having falling back to sleep after breastfeeding. And I tried my best to stick with like really cheesy Netflix shows things that are going to require very little emotional investment. But what sometimes happens is that my mind wanders to my podcast or my business and it's a really slippery slope because then all of a sudden I've thought up an entire podcast episode, but it's like the middle of the night. And having worked with countless patients who deal with insomnia, I know the worst possible thing you can do is to get up and then take action in the middle of the night, right?
You allow yourself to do these meaningful activities and you're training your brain that sure it's okay to wake up in the middle of the night and to be productive in the middle of the night. And certainly for people who are struggling with insomnia, it's okay to get out of bed when you can't sleep, but you want to be doing quiet, non-stimulating activities. Things like reading, prayer, meditation, watching a really boring television show, getting up and doing work is not a good idea. So I do know better than to do that, although I would probably be tempted. The thing that keeps me from doing it, to be honest, is that I record my podcast from our master bedroom closet and I am 99% sure I would wake up my husband and he would not be thrilled with me. So as such, I just jotted down a few notes and it's taken me a few days before I've actually had time to be able to sit down fully outline and record the episode for you.
So here we are doing that today, and this is a fun topic. I think we are going to talk about our wardrobes. This topic has been on the forefront of my mind because every day I wake up and I have to get dressed. And at two months postpartum, I have realized that I don't really have enough clothes that both fit my needs and fit my current body. And I talk about the same concept with my weight loss patients all the time. The reality is this topic applies to most everyone in some way or another. So today we are talking about why you deserve a closet full of clothes that fit your body and fit your needs. I often talk to my patients about their clothing, and this is actually a really common area in which people struggle along their weight loss journey. Commonly, people might be at a weight where they aren't comfortable or they don't have any or many clothes that fit them at their current size.
Other times they may be well along their weight loss journey and they're in between sizes. Maybe they have clothes that fit them at their heaviest and they have their aspirational like skinny pants in their closet, but they don't have anything that fits them right now. And so if you're someone who doesn't have clothes that fit you right now, every morning waking up and getting dressed is a really big chore. It means digging through clothes and constantly being faced with all of the things that don't fit you. And that can be pretty emotionally distressing because every day you start out with a reminder of like, Ugh, nothing fits me. What am I going to wear? I'm sick of wearing the same three outfits over and over again. And I talk with people who tell me that they're squeezing into something that's too small, or maybe they're wearing something that's way too big.
They've got these baggy clothes. And I cannot tell you how many women tell me that they lounge around in their husband's old hand-me-down sweatpants. And it's like, whatcha doing? Like, why do we do this to ourselves? In life coaching, we talk a lot about how our thoughts create our feelings, but you can't just put on an ill-fitting outfit and force yourself to think a positive thought about that situation. Because when you put on clothes that don't fit right, it's more likely to bring up negative thoughts and feelings. I can tell you that right now when I put on my pre-pregnancy genes that are two sizes too small, the first thought that pops into my mind is I feel like a stuffed sausage. And when I think that I feel really insecure. Here's the important thing though, the exact opposite is true too. You can set yourself up for success when you put on clothes that actually fit your body.
You are more likely to have positive thoughts and positive feelings. When I put on a pair of high wasted part postpartum leggings that fit fit me well, I look in the mirror and I think, wow, look at me. I look great. And when I think that I feel confident. And so while it's empowering to realize our thoughts come from our own minds, we can also choose circumstances like really great fitting clothes about which we are going to have more positive thoughts. So I want you to think about your own closet. Have you ever looked at an entire closet full of clothes and thought, I have nothing to wear? If you feel that way, you have a major problem. You might have hundreds and hundreds of items in your closet that you don't like or that don't fit you or that are out of style or that you don't wear for whatever reason.
So many houses these days have these huge, huge closets into which we can fit a seemingly infinite number of clothes. Or maybe you don't have a huge closet, but you've got bins and bins of clothes and storage somewhere. But just because you have the space doesn't mean that you have to have that many clothes, especially when they're clothes that you don't even wear. I want you to think about this. A closet that is overstuffed with clothes you don't wear for whatever reason, represents the mental clutter you have around clothing and around your body. Wouldn't it be nice if you could open your closet and see that you like everything in there and everything in your closet actually fits you that you could pull any outfit off the hanger and wear it right now if you wanted to. I want you to stop and answer this question, do you have clothes that fit your needs and fit your body right now?
And if not, why not? Are you afraid of going shopping and trying on clothes? Are you afraid that the size of clothing that fits you will be larger than the size you're ready to see? Are you afraid of spending money because you don't plan on being this size long term? Are you afraid that if you buy clothes in your current size that you might never be motivated to lose weight? Getting clear on what is holding you back here is going to be so crucial. It likely represents a major thought error in your life, and it might be showing up in more ways than just your closet. As you find clarity on what's been holding you back, I want you to think about how can you move forward? Most people will need to take stock of what they actually have before going out to buy new clothes.
But remember, this is your journey. It's completely up to you. Maybe that sounds completely overwhelming, and so I'm just gonna offer this. You could literally throw away every single thing you own. You could donate everything you own and just start fresh. That's totally an option, but most people, I think, are going to want through to go through their closets and make a plan. And as I've talked about before in my home organization podcast, living in Chicago made me seriously think about my closet space and the clothes I choose to keep. In Chicago, especially in the city proper, a lot of the homes are quite old, and as such, they have teeny tiny closets. We actually lived in a place that was built in the 1910s. It had been gut rehabbed somewhere along the way. So I have to say the closet spaces weren't totally abysmal.
I remember when we very, like very first moved to Chicago, we were touring apartments, and we looked at this place that had literally a two foot wide closet in the primary bedroom. I cannot even imagine, but I digress. So the place we lived in had a small, not a terrible but small closet. It wasn't a walk-in closet, it was the kind where you open the folding doors and your whole closet is just sitting there in front of you. And my husband and I had to share this relatively small closet space. And what that actually forced me to do though was to be really intentional and aware of the clothes in my closet. When we first moved there, what it meant for me was that most of my clothes were stored in those large plastic tobins. And every season I would go through the honors task of taking everything out, putting everything back in, and a lot of effort went into that.
I realized I had a lot of clothes that I wasn't really wearing. Maybe they didn't fit me anymore. Maybe I didn't really like them that much from the first place. Maybe they were outta style. Maybe they didn't fit my current lifestyle, and sometimes it was hard for me to get rid of them. I still had clothes that I had had since college. And as I'm telling you, this one out outfit pops into my mind. I remember holding up this dressy romper that I had from the time I was literally like 22 years old, and it was super cute. I could still fit in it, but I was like, where would I even wear this? I am a mom in my mid thirties. I'm a doctor. I drive a minivan for goodness sakes, there is literally no occasion to which I would ever wear that romper.
And ultimately looking at it, holding it, I realized that and I donated it, and you might consider doing the same thing. So two years ago, as I talked about in that organization episode, I went full on Marie Kondo and I emptied every piece of clothing I owned onto our master bed. And I spent an entire day going through the clothes, holding each item, asking it if it sparked joy. It sounds cheesy, but that's the Marie Kondo method, the Kaari method. And I asked, does it spark joy? Not, do I like it now? Did I like it 15 years ago? Not do I have fond memories associated, but right now, does it spark joy for me? And once you're feeling ready, you can do the same thing. You can take stock of what you actually have in your closet and maybe you will separate out your keeping piles according to size.
You don't have to get rid of things that don't fit you right now. It's okay to keep clothes that are too big if you otherwise love them and know that you're not ready to get rid of them. It's okay to keep clothes that are too small if you don't beat yourself up when you think about how they don't fit your body. But those clothes that are too big or those clothes that are too small, it's probably not great to have them in your closet. It's probably good to have them in dedicated bins where you can easily access them if you need to, but you're not staring at them every single day. And then look at what's left. You get to ask yourself if your wardrobe fits your current needs and your current body. You get to actually look at what you have, and you'll probably find there's holes that need to be filled.
Maybe you've got a lot of great blouses, but you realize you don't have a great pair of jeans. Or maybe your workout clothes are a size too small. And only then do you realize that's one of the major barriers to keeping you from exercising is you don't have anything you can comfortably wear to the gym. You can decide, what do I really need right now? If you had a couple of pairs of casual pants, a few pairs of work pants, some blouses, a few dresses that fit and flattered your body, enough exercise clothes to get you through your scheduled number of workouts each week, how would that feel to have everything you needed but nothing more? Because maybe you'll realize that you don't need hundreds of items of clothing in your closet, especially when those hundreds of items of clothing don't fit you or don't like.
Like you don't like maybe having 10 options of different outfits of things you really love and that really fit you. Maybe that would feel really great. And if you're on a budget or if you realize you're not going to be this size forever, you don't have to go out and buy designer clothes. They don't even have to be new. There's great consignment stores. People are always selling or giving away clothes on Facebook or next door or other apps too, I'm sure. But if you have the money and you want to buy expensive designer clothes, you can totally do this. You get to do whatever makes the most sense for you and your budget and your life, when I can promise you is that is so freeing to open up your closet and know that you have curated clothing specifically for you, your body, and your needs right now.
I hope you take some time to think about this. Does your wardrobe fit your body and your needs? If not, do you want to change that? Let me know how I can help you. You can visit my website at www.sarahstombaughmd.com. That's S-A-R-A-H-S-T-O-M-B-A-U-G-H-M-D dot com. To learn more about me and enroll in my medical practice if you live in Illinois or Virginia, if you don't live in Illinois or Virginia and you'd like help getting connected with an obesity medicine physician or a life coach who would be a good fit for you, let me know. I would love to help out. Thanks so much for joining me today. I'll see you all in two weeks. Bye-bye.