I chose Old Navy because I really liked the shirts and shorts I got when I last shopped there, maybe three years ago. The shorts that are featured in one of my favorite self-portraits were a size 8, and haven't fit for awhile. Even the size 6 jeans I've acquired since are falling off me. This belt, which just barely fit me again a year ago (after losing the weight I regained in the hellish year of 2010), was on the third notch today to keep my jeans up.
So I figured I'd try a size 4 this time. I selected three different styles of jeans and a pair of khaki slacks. Every single one was too loose in the waist. The jeans were snug in the thighs, but the slacks were loose all over.
I couldn't believe it. I know women's clothing sizes are bullshit, and sizes tend to be even more bullshit at expensive stores. But this was a cheap store, and here I was looking in the mirror at a size 4 that had over an inch of extra room in the waist.
I came back with one cut of the jeans ("smaller waist, fuller thighs"), a couple of different khakis, and a pair of shorts in size 2. They fit. They fit. And still had a little extra room in the waist.
I was in a mild state of shock as I walked to the checkout counter. Although it's been over 10 years since I peaked at 173 pounds and was starting to look at plus-sized clothing, it really still seems like yesterday.
But fundamentally I am just having trouble accepting that I could be one size away from a size 0. Just as I could not imagine the word "skinny" applying to me, I could not imagine myself at or near a size 0 because size 0 to me conjures up visions of skeletal fashion models who live on celery and Diet Coke and/or work out four hours a day. I don't look like that and I don't live like that. I eat bread, pasta, potatoes, and real sugar, and get a moderate amount of exercise.
I am not naturally skinny, either. The 173 pounds was a result of eating a lot of stuffed pizza, watching a lot of TV, and not exercising. Most of my adult years, when I wasn't exercising or paying much attention to my diet, I weighed between 140 and 160 pounds. But whenever I've stuck to a lowfat, high-starch vegan diet and exercised regularly, the weight has come off and stayed off without difficulty. I just haven't weighed this little since I was ill with chronic fatigue syndrome 20 years ago and had no appetite.
So yeah, OK, I'm a size 2. I'm a freaking size 2. I still can't believe it.
ETA: I did a search and discovered many comments that Old Navy sizing (and quality) is wildly inconsistent, which partly confirms my suspicions about the size 2. However, my size 6 Levis are pretty high-quality and are still too large, so I may still be a size 4 in other brands.
ETA2: Just tried on the pair of size 6 Banana Republic slacks I got used a few years back, and they actually still fit pretty well. So much for my theory about more expensive stores having more bullshit vanity sizing. (Though since they were used, they might also have been old enough that sizes have changed since that time.)