Why Size matters!

So, I’ve just been sorting out clothes for holiday. You know the annual try on and see what still fits, or on a good day what’s too big!

Two separate pairs of shorts both a size 12, both from UK High Street stores. One far too big, one far too small. How does that happen?

size holiday


How do you feel when you go shopping? When you go into a shop and you try on your normal size and it’s too big it can feel amazing! Equally when you try on your normal size and it’s too small it can feel really demoralising. But should we really be paying attention to dress sizes?

When I work with clients on losing weight, body size is what I like to focus on. What the scales say shouldn’t be the main focus. When you ask women how much weight they want to lose, they’ll often describe it in pounds/kilos. When you dig deeper they really want to reduce their size and feel happy in the clothes they want to wear.  I encourage people to choose an item of clothing that feels a bit tight or not comfortable to wear. Then use this as a goal, that feeling when you can wear something that didn’t fit a few weeks ago can feel amazing.

Fat vs. Muscle

fat muscle size

What the scales say isn’t always indicative of your size. Your body composition will define your shape much more than what you weigh. People often say muscle weighs more than fat, this isn’t exactly true. 5 lbs of muscle weighs the same as 5 lbs of fat, it just takes up a loss less room

You can change your body shape and size dramatically without changing your weight. Take this example – same weight but completely different body shape.


One size fits all

UK dress sizes should be standard, we should be able to go shopping and feel good about moving from a size 16 to a size 14 but with the inconsistencies in shops please don’t let this affect how you feel about yourself. Take a look in the mirror, look at what suits your body shape, how do the clothes make you feel?  Don’t let what the dress size says make you decide whether you like something.


The worst culprit for clothing sizes is sports clothing. In most sportswear, I’d be a size 16 or Large but in most high-street stores I’d be a size 12/14. How does this help encourage women to exercise? We start off being made to feel bad before we’ve even got out of the shop.

A client of mine was starting on her running journey. She’d been a runner in the past but having children, work and life had got in the way. She found herself unfit and wanting to get back into shape, lose some weight and start to feel strong and healthy. We started working together and she was making great progress.

running sizeShe decided to treat herself to some new running gear so went to a local running shop. She looked on the racks and everything seemed tiny so she asked the male assistant if they had any other sizes. He went out back and brought through a tiny cropped running top which he said was XL. He then started to apologise saying “Sorry, we don’t stock bigger sizes as most proper runners aren’t very big”. Surprisingly my client left the shop and never went back. Neither did any of our running group!

She got back to her car and burst into tears. When we spoke about it she said she was so angry that he’d made her feel like that. How dare he? We went to another shop together and the lady there was exceptional. She reassured my client saying the sizing on exercise clothes is ridiculous and most people are at least a Large and to pay no attention. “Buy what makes you feel good” she said. She did very well out of us both that day and the rest of our running group over the following months.

Lessons Learnt

Now this isn’t a lesson in customer service or sales but in how we shouldn’t let another person or a label tell us how to feel. My client felt awesome about the results and progress she’d been making and rightly so. The guy had no right to try and take it away from her and I’m so pleased she didn’t let it put her off.

6 months later we did a half marathon together and the other running shop has closed down! Karma? I hope so!

Related Articles:

Goal Setting Blog

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