Home Inspiration Motivation and Measuring Weight Loss Progress: The Progress Dress

Motivation and Measuring Weight Loss Progress: The Progress Dress

by Erika Nicole Kendall

June 9, 2009

I’m almost tickled to tell this story. Partly because it’s lightweight embarrassing, but what the hey – it can’t hurt, right?


In 2007, I ordered a dress-I-had-no-business-buying-and-never-would-wear-in-public from Fredericks of Hollywood. Well, I purchased three of ’em but this one… this one was different. I knew it would be my “Awww, snap!” dress.

That is, until.. I couldn’t even get this mug over my head.

I mean, it wouldn’t even touch my shoulders – I was so wide up top that I couldn’t get my arms in it to try to slide the dress down. I was pissed! How dare this dress not conform to the awesomeness that is… me!? How dare this dress offend my delicate sensibilities! I even got a little gangsta with it – how you gon’ just… do me like this!

July 3, 2009 - with the illest 'fro ev-er. Notice that I'm actually holding the dress in the back.

I didn’t throw the dress away, though. I didn’t even have the sense to return it. Returning the dress would’ve been a blow to my ego – admitting that I couldn’t fit something, admitting that I was too large for something (an extra large, at that – as if to say, “The dress is an extra large, I’m extra large.. this should work. Right? Right?”), or that my size was getting in the way of something. I quietly tucked the dress in the back of my closet, occasionally seeing the sleeve poking out and glaring longingly at the front of the dress, fantasizing about rocking it red-carpet style.

I left the dress in the closet for two years.

In 2009, long after I had seriously started gaining traction on my journey, I started feeling a little ballsy. I started going through my closet, reclaiming the bajillion pieces of clothing I’d collected – mindlessly buying the size I thought I was, only to come home and find out how sorely mistaken I was – and trying them on… one by one. After several skirts (one skirt – seriously – was so seriously TOO small for me, it would’ve taken an extra six inches of fabric to make those clasps meet) and pairs of pants… I finally got to the dress.

July 3, 2009 - Still Rough-n-tuff wit' my afro puff!

It didn’t fall on like I hoped it would – in fact, there was some pulling and tugging goin’ on. But… I got it on. And thus.. the challenge began.

All I wanted was to be able to rock this dress like the girl in the picture. I wanted to look sexy – to feel sexy. I wanted to stop taking pictures of only a part of me in the dress. I wanted to no longer hide me – and hiding the fact that I was hiding me – like there was some logical reason I shouldn’t be seen. True, my own personal sense of self-worth wasn’t linked to any perception of beauty but I also wasn’t going to let my own perception of my beauty begin to affect my sense of self-worth… hence why the dress hid in the back of the closet in the first place.

The dress hung in my bathroom, right on the closet door. It served as my polite reminder. “You’ve got a long way to go, baby… so never give up!” And every two weeks, I tried on that dress and pulled, tugged, and squealed at my progress.

And one day, that dress fell on so fast, it almost fell off. It was then that I’d realized a few things: 1) that just because they make it in your size, it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll look like the girl in the photos when you rock it. Mind you, that’d never applied to me before, because I was always extra careful with my clothing.. trying to not be the “sloppy big girl.” 2) just because you can fit it without wrinkles and rolls, doesn’t mean you look like the girl in the advertisement. It doesn’t even mean you look good in it. It means… you can fit in it without wrinkles and rolls.

August 8, 2009

Lastly, 3) although I’d reached my goal of being able to wear the dress – and that was an awesome goal to accomplish – I needed to be realistic with myself about what I wanted out of my body and what my “wants” would really bring me. Sure, I could fit into an XL dress with no problems, but did I want to rock an XL, or a medium? Did I want to look good in a tight dress (which you can do with a good corset), or did I want to look hot naked?

Hey, I’m just keeping it real.

So… I’m an advocate of the progress dress. A dress that you can use to show yourself how far you’ve come, and how far you’d like to go. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there’d be months where I’d lost pounds by the tens, and couldn’t see where the pounds went when naked, but it’d be that much clearer when I threw on the dress. Shoot, if it weren’t for the dress, I wouldn’t have known I’d lost all my boobs!

August 8, 2009

My progress dress helped me to actually see what the changes to my body meant for my wardrobe possibilities. I mean, be honest – we look at ourselves naked every day. Especially for those of us who might criticize ourselves [unnecessarily] every day, it may be hard to see our progress because we expect to wake up one morning and see [insert “problem” area] gone away. Having one dress to turn to every couple of weeks makes a great deal of difference in appreciating our progress.

Eventually, I out-shrunk the dress (wow, it even feels strange to say that), and donated it – along with the rest of my wardrobe – to charity. It’s certified hoochiewear, as you can see, so I can only help but to wonder what the charity thought of receiving that. I have a new progress dress now, but since my perception of my body has caught up with the actual progress of my body, it serves a new purpose for me.

So… I said all that to say… what’s your progress dress look like? 🙂

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newSaga May 11, 2010 - 9:39 AM

I have this lipstick red, certifiably fabulous 1940-ish clingy, falling off the shoulder, jersey number…

…think Ellen Barkin in Ocean’s 13. MILF-sexy. Trust, I’m staying in my grown woman lane. Well, I ordered it from a fabu plus size online boutique. And I ordered “my size”. Except, the dress runs small. And I’d gotten bigger *blushing*

I ordered it 6 months ago, and said I’d get into it by my 44th b-day. I’m eyeing my calendar, it’s < 2 weeks away, and…I have work to do to make SURE it's too big by my 45th. Hmph @ myself, but thanks for some inspiration 🙂

Erika May 11, 2010 - 10:05 AM

Now, that sounds like a sexy dress!

So we’ve got 54 weeks, huh? What are you starting with today?

Tricia May 11, 2010 - 1:26 PM

It’s a slinky paisley patterned minidress by B&Lu. It’s a 1x and I figured it’d just be a bit snug at the time I ordered it (a year ago) but I was NOT ready for the fact that I could barely get it past the boobs! I hoped that I’d be able to wear it a year later – I’ve slimmed down since then but just not enough for it to look wearable. *sigh* I’m hoping in a couple of months to get to the point of wearability- and I really can’t wait to out-shrink it! Thanks for posting your story!

Erika May 11, 2010 - 2:53 PM

Now, that sounds cute!

So what are we doing today to get on the path of out-shrinking that cute paisley dress? 🙂

Thanks for commenting!

Amber May 11, 2010 - 2:48 PM

I love this blog! It is so inspirational. My progress item is actually a pair of jeans. My husband and I have been married for 6 years. I wore these jeans alot while we were dating and he loved the way I looked in them. Let’s just say that I have acquired more jeans that he likes, but they are not THOSE jeans. I am trying to get back into those size 30 jeans and fill them out “just right”.

Thanks for the post!

Erika May 11, 2010 - 2:55 PM

I hear ya! Awww @ the hubby’s favorite pair, lol.

Just like I asked everyone else – what are you doing today to get in those jeans tomorrow? Hmm?

Amber May 11, 2010 - 3:08 PM

Ha! Well…its a slow roll and consistency is my problem area. BUT today I did an ITrain Elliptical workout for 30 minutes and an additional 10 minutes on the treadmill and then did some stretching. I plan to do one of the Yoga segments this site tonight.

He (hubby) is deployed and we have set a goal together. Basically lose 20 lbs by the time he returns in July. So far he is down 12…I am down 5. Thanks to your site I have the motivation to keep pushing!

Erika May 11, 2010 - 7:24 PM

I love it! Motivating each other! I see you, Amber!

Oh, and God bless our troops! My father is a war vet… they’re the best. 🙂

Lady Barbara May 11, 2010 - 3:39 PM

I love your website, thank you for sharing your story. I not only have jeans, to back into but other clothes too! I have set a goal to do cardio at least 5-6 days and then I got sick with this flu and that knock me back down to no gym and no workouts. So bum out about it, but I have a goal and it must be met! I have one silk suit, that I look at and I try it on and it’s way too tight(hips), then I put it back. I want to wear this suit so bad, it will be real soon.

Erika May 11, 2010 - 7:24 PM

You’re trying to get in that suit? You’d better want it pretty bad, Lady! 🙂

cjbrownsc May 11, 2010 - 3:59 PM

I haven’t purchased my “progress” dress yet, but since reading this blog entry, I’m going to purchase some “progress” jeans this weekend.

When I lost 53 pounds 7 years ago (only to gain it all back plus some!), I was able to fit into a pair of size 30 Lucky Brand Jeans. That was my goal and even though I didn’t stay there very long, that is where I am trying to get back to. Whenever I go in a local store that carries those jeans I always go to that section, take a pair of the jeans off the hanger and get depressed!

I think since reading this entry, that’s the visual that I need to see everyday to keep me motivated.

Erika May 11, 2010 - 7:26 PM

Yep! So grab a pair, and hang ’em up somewhere where they can mock you. Repeatedly. That’s what I do with my new progress dress, LOL. Trust me – it WORKS. LOL!

Benee May 14, 2010 - 12:06 PM

I dont have one 🙁
I feel like such a loser now

Erika May 14, 2010 - 12:11 PM

Don’t! Ain’t no thing to hit up a quick, cheap store and grab something cute!

Please believe I’ll be on great glam this weekend picking out a new progress dress! LOL

Miko December 8, 2012 - 2:55 PM

You are not a loser. Different folks need different things for motivation. If you need a progress dress get one.. 🙂

Sonja June 17, 2010 - 7:11 PM

So I have this slick black cat suit that I want to wear when I reach my goal…needless to say I have a loooong way to go and I can’t seem to stay motivated!! But everytime I look at that cat suit in its size “Medium” I realize that I have to make a change. The feeling I get when I can step into that dress will be wonderful!

Tiffany August 14, 2010 - 11:42 PM

I’m just now reading this post. I am now at a point where I am getting focused and really want to not just lose the weight, but to also make a lifr style change so that the weight will stay off.

A few months ago a girlfriend and I was out shopping and she talked me into buying this dress: it has a high waist and is black at the top with a grey bubble bottom with ruffles outlining the bottom.

I kept telling my friend that I WOULD NOT be able to get in it, size 14, but she was insisting that I would. I won:). It has been since sitting in my closet at the back. after reading this posting, I took it out, put it on to take pictures and hung it on the back side of my bathroom door.

I can’t wait to continue this process.

Thank you so much:)

Natch September 10, 2010 - 12:21 PM

I am going to use a pair of slacks I wear to work and when my hips can’t hold them up I will bag them up. I am going to collect all the clothes that don’t fit and simply get rid of them so I don’t have to look back anymore. If it falls off my shoulders and hips, I have no need for it anymore. I have a pair of capri jeans I am going to try on tonight and hang then on the back of my bathroom door. Yep, my friend suggested this too!

Michellle September 17, 2010 - 5:26 PM

Im a Junior and i weight exactly 210 pounds. I really would like to lose weight and get back down to a size where i feel comfortable at , a size where i dont have to pull and tugg on my cloths before stepping into the halls of my high school. I’ve been a heavy set girl since six grade. I’ve ripped out pictures recently from magazines trying to find some type of motivation but needless to say those didnt help very much. Everytime i tried to start a journal to help me keep track of my feelings and progress i fail. I never continue for the simple fact that i get busy from life itself. i try to talk to my mom aboout it but i find its no help. And the eating ….. i (try)not to eat that much but when the food is really good i cant help it. Shopping by itself is not easy.:( My goal is to lose 20 pounds by my bday which is four months away. I dont know where to start. Im hoping that this website would give me a guide or even help guide me through my weight loss struggle . some how at least . :))

Jenae June 6, 2011 - 7:26 PM

Hey Michelle,

You should consider grabbing a girlfriend and going for walks. Or maybe even walking to and from school. I bought cute workout clothes and believe it or not, when i go running i like it because i feel fab.

I think its all about a support system. My friends and I dont workout together, but we track our progress together. its always helpful when you arent the only one that has to eat the foods that arent so fun. HMU on FB, you can be apart of our network. My name is Jenae Jones.

Renee October 8, 2010 - 1:09 PM

I am so glad I found your site. I have a very cute red dress which I purchased two years ago and it didn’t fit right then. I bought it when I was going to Ghana. I am returning to Ghana in December and would love to really be able to wear that dress! I am going to pull it out and make it happen. I have about 8 weeks before I leave . Thanks for you honesty and opening your life to us : Blessings.

Tanya November 4, 2010 - 10:21 PM

I’m just now starting so I don’t have a “progress” dress!! I’m bad at setting goals, so maybe something like this well help!!

Jewellmarie November 29, 2010 - 4:00 PM

Thanks I needed something to get me to the gym today>>>this helped. Sometime my progress doesn’t show on the scale but it will when I try on my goal swimsuit!!!

ann December 4, 2010 - 10:47 PM

This is my first time at your blog and it is very informative.
Isn’t it interesting how an individual’s face changes after she has lost weight, you look like a different person.

Wetina January 16, 2011 - 7:34 PM

AWESOME! Where has this site been while I’ve been battling this weight! Stumbled across it and now can’t get enough!

Gwenda February 24, 2011 - 5:59 PM

Great Site!!

Evelyn March 11, 2011 - 6:12 PM

My progress dress is my wedding gown. It’s been ordered. 3 sizes smaller than what I am right now. Yeah.

Carmel April 1, 2011 - 1:11 AM

I wonder what this dress must look like on you now… lol This is a form of weight loss porn you know, but there is nothing wrong with that. I want that for myself and everyday – well most days- I do a little more to get there. I’ve lost 4 lbs thus far this week. Let’s see how tomorrow looks.

AJNorman May 11, 2011 - 2:49 PM

OMG!! I love your site!! This brought tears to my eyes but was encouraging on so many levels! I lost 25 lbs last summer to turn around and gain 20 of them back. **tear** I don’t currently have a progress dress…it’s a whole summer wardrobe! I am more than inspired now to get into clothes smaller than last summer’s wardrobe. I’ve been reading your site for a while and now I am REALLY going to try clean eating. Thanks so much for sharing your journey!! You probably don’t know the magnitude of what this site has done for encouraging myself as well as many others.

Norn June 6, 2011 - 7:21 PM

You’ve earned COUTURE, Erika; you are too special for hoochiewear.

Melissa June 7, 2011 - 8:53 AM

I have this sage green dress with polka dots that I bought in 2001. It’s a flattering A line with little bit of swing out at the end. I typically feel like a girl but whenever I wore this dress, I instantly felt like a grown up to be reckoned with. It begs to be worn with a pearl necklace and a chignon to complete the effect. I last was able to wear this dress in 2007 or 2008. And then I quit smoking. And then I started eating. And then the lack of nothing bought the pounds.

Today, thanks to sites like yours and my motivation to want and go after better for me, I am declaring I will wear that dress again! Today at 1pm I will at my Combo Control class (targeting muscle groups with dumbell repetition ending with Pilates based mat workout)!

Tonja June 17, 2011 - 12:23 PM

You ar a inspiration to me acame across your blog by accident on facebook and you have been my inspiration the pass month . Thank you I realize I have to do something about me no one esle can make me but me. yes I have that special dress

milaxx July 1, 2011 - 7:44 PM

I don’t have a dress, but I do have a swimsuit. Because I have bad knees and I’m older, right now the only exercises I can comfortable do is mild walking, some light handweights and water aerobics. I love the water aerobics and attend class at least 4 x’s a week. Soon after I started I bought a more athletic suit. I wanted a speedo but I’m too big for even the largest size they carry. So anyway, I bought a no name tankini from Roaman’s. One day I’m in class jumping & running around the pool and my bottoms are falling off. Seriously I’m stopping every 10 steps trying not to have a wardrobe malfunction. So I go home and I’m talking to my sis and I realize the bottoms are too big! (The top is as well, but I can prob wear it a bit longer thanks to the cut.) So I ordered a new pair of bottoms. This week I noticed the new bottoms are getting a bit loose. I now wear my 1 piece for the more active instructors and save the 2 piece for the more yoga-y instructors. My goal is to be able to buy a speedo suit for class.

qtrlifechronicles July 8, 2011 - 11:19 AM

I just had my daughter 11 weeks (my first child) so I’m losing the baby weight. I still have 9 pounds to lose. Sometimes, I don’t lose weight but lose inches. My progress work pants helps me keep things in perspective and realize that I HAVE made progress. Yesterday, I was able to close and fit comfortably into one of my bigger pairs of pants. Yay! No muffin top when I return to work. I can’t fit into all of my clothes, but I’m starting to fit into some. (I refuse to buy clothes in a bigger size since I don’t want to permanently want to be this size.)

Baby steps…

Nikki July 8, 2011 - 11:35 AM

nothing makes me feel the way that a great pair of jeans do. I used to strut to class in these jeans, to the club in these jeans, to the late night chicken spot in THESE jeans! Oooh weeee, I knew I was bad, it wasn’t even up for discussion… My college days and figure are 10yrs and 60lbs behind me, but what really twists the knife in my gut is seeing my mother rock these very jeans. Oh the torture. My mother is a beautiful woman, but her thighs don’t fill them out properly and she has no idea that there is a very specific walk that goes with those jeans. I want to reclaim them, walk that walk and talk that talk… So, today, I am going to be more in tune with my body – I am only going to eat until I’m satisfied, not stuffed.

Ny July 24, 2011 - 5:41 PM

Mine is a black, slinky diane von furstenburg…i have had that dress so long that when I found it in my closet a month ago, I was wondering where the heck it came from. I bought it when I regained 20 of the thrity four pounds I’d lost. Now that I have gained 30 more pounds…lets just say I have some work to do. I plan to be in that dress by New Years – thats a perfectly doable 10 pounds a month/ 2.5 pounds a week. Or so I hope.

splitsun July 24, 2011 - 5:46 PM

I bought a simple, fitted dress from H&M months ago on sale. It fit but it certainly highlighted tummy which is an area I try to cover up. Now it’s my progress dress. I’m down 20 lbs and my dress shows me what I’ve accomplished thus far.

Tremilla October 17, 2011 - 3:16 AM

I’m lmao over here. You sound just like me. I don’t have just one progress dress, I have several progress dresses, jeans and shirts. I brought this cute flowery babydoll dress with a corset top from Victoria’s Secret in August and a was able to wear it for my birthday in February. I have alot of clothes still with tags on them because they don’t fit. Some I brought too small because they were too unique to leave in the store. And others fit me at the time of purchasing but weight gain prevented me from wearing them. I keep all of these clothes so that I can see my progress as I ,once again, start my weight-loss journey. I can’t wait til the time comes and I must donate them to charity because they’re too big!

Sherron November 7, 2011 - 11:16 PM

this article reminds me of my “goal jeans” these white NY & Company midrise straightleg jeans size 8 (99% cotton 1% spandex) that i brought 2 years ago, my goal is to lose enough weight to be able to wear these jeans

right now i am 206 lbs. (i’m very short, only 5 feet 2 inches tall) so my BMI puts me in the obese category

i want to lose weight, i need to lose weight (for health reasons) & according to the BMI chart i am supposed to weigh 125

i think 125 is kind of tiny for me but i give myself 12 months to lose weight

i wud love 2 send u sum pictures of me, my before & after pictures, 1 of me wearing my white size 8 goal jeans

this site is great

Tonya November 8, 2011 - 10:41 AM

I just tried on my progress dress this morning so this post really resonated with me. I haven’t been losing pounds as quickly as I’d like but I’ve been dropping sizes like it’s nobody’s business since I hit the weights at least three times a week. My progress dress is a classic Jones New York little black dress that I can now wear for the holidays a month ahead of schedule! Time for a new dress. Maybe I’ll check out Frederick’s :-). Keep doing what you do!

Angela January 10, 2012 - 12:06 AM

Wow. I have one of these! The exact same thing almost – well, a different style of dress, but a dress that didn’t fit when I bought it online, that’s been hidden in the closet for a couple of years, because ‘someday’ it would fit. When I first got it I couldn’t even get it over my head.

I just pulled it out and tried it on, and it fits over my head! AND – over my chest!! I can’t get it beyond my hips yet, but I am loving this idea, and my dress is now hanging from the closet door ready to be tried on once or twice a month to check my progress.


J. Wilson January 23, 2012 - 12:15 AM

If I had returned all those items I couldn’t fit into, do you know how much money I could have saved?! Lord have mercy. Then, yesterday, I read another of your blogs about people’s feet shrinking and I thought about all my lovely shoes. I gotta get my mind right.
There is definitely something to be said when something you couldn’t fit into becomes “too big” for you. I’m currently a size 20/22. I have a pair of size 14 jeans that I eventually want to fit into but I’d like to be smaller than that.

Lisa B. January 27, 2012 - 1:43 AM

I loved this article. I actually got in a goal suit this month: a size 4 Giorgio Armani that I got for $50 at a consignment shop.

My goal dress is a size 0 white eyelet sundress that I think makes me look innocently sexy. I can actually get in it and zip it up now, but I want to look comfortable in it by March.

K March 29, 2012 - 10:28 AM

Loved the article! My progress dress is a lovely short, black backless dress that I purchased for a function in college. The dress is absolutely gorgeous…and I always managed to turn a few heads when wearing it (in a good way, lol). Fast-forward a few years and I can’t even zip the dress up…it is sooo sad. However, I’ve been poling and I just purchased the Insanity workout dvds. My b-day is this summer and I’m hoping (and praying) to get back into it by then.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Doe March 29, 2012 - 10:29 AM

I have a few items I use to gauge my progress. I can’t wait until my size 22 jeans are actually too big to wear. I’m rocking 20’s now but I’m probably a 21. I have a size 18 I’m waiting to get into because that will mean that I’ve lost at least another 40 lbs and several inches. My next goal is a size 16 jeans my sister gave me when she lost weight. The kicker is a blue fitted jersey dress with ruching on the bottom half. I can fit it now, but not comfortably. It’s a stretchy dress so even if I was a size 14 it would fit but at a 14 with the help of spanx, I’d be FIERCE! I’m giving myself til the end of the year to wear it well! Thanks for the motivation!

Brandi G. March 29, 2012 - 10:41 AM

My dress is actually pretty simple – a gift from my aunt. She’d purchased it from a thrift store. Beautiful, elegant yet simple. It’s a Pheobe Couture – strap dress in my favorite shade of what I call “Bad Girl Pink.” It was a large. I was so excited about putting that dress on and going out THAT night. Well, needless to say I had a “Oh wow, this won’t go over my shoulders” moment as well. I told myself that by this time next year (my 35th birthday) I will rock that dress!

Lethal Astronaut March 29, 2012 - 6:16 PM

My progress dress is gym clothes. I wish I’d thought of a dress, but I didn’t – my progress shots are taken in gym clothes every couple of weeks, and I post them on my blog.

Here they are: My progress photos.

I’ve only been doing the weight loss / gym thing since the start of the year, but I’ve lost twenty pounds and lots of inches, and the difference in just three months is kind of scary. Having a photo log, as you say, is really encouraging 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing how I look a year – or five years – from now!

This chick is flying!

Christi May 13, 2012 - 2:16 AM

The most recent “triumph” was a pair of jeans…Levi’s boot cut, size 12. I wore them for the first time in years (7-8?) tonight to a soccer game with my son. I’m down 30 pounds since last October; 20 pounds since February. I have a box of smaller sized clothing that stays under my bed and every couple of weeks I try them on to measure my progress. When I feel like I’m not getting anywhere on the scale, it’s gratifying to realize that a pair of pants will button one week and fit the next. 🙂

Tresa June 7, 2012 - 7:38 AM

I bought a silver chain that fits around my waist in a sitting position. My tummy has a pooch to it so as this chain begins to move downward…

Rae June 7, 2012 - 10:28 AM

I LOVE this idea. I’ve thought about buying a “progress dress” but have yet to do it. Looks like I need to purchase, then hang it up where I can see. So far, I’m 23lbs down & 77 to go! Can’t wait to get to that point where I have to get rid of my clothes cos they’re too big. 😀

Sita July 16, 2012 - 1:35 PM

I have lots of pretty dresses from before I had two kids…I fit into them a year after my son was born, but after number two (a sweet girl) I have gained weight. Ugh. Now my goal is “to not look pregnant!” Then it will be to get thinner!

But I think I should buy a gorgeous dress..I saw a pink sequinned party dress on a website – I love pink and sparkly! That would have made a great progress dress but, alas, it was sold out. Well, I will find something else..:) I have been exercising and eating more consciously for the last two weeks and I do feel better!

Anjanette July 22, 2012 - 3:17 PM

Great idea. As much as I love fashion (and Carrie’s style in the Sex in the City series) I don’t know why I don’t have one. But all my life I have never been able to walk in the mall and just buy clothes off the rack. I have had to always go the specialty stores to buy clothes that are always ugly and not my fashion aesthetic, but after reading this post when I take my 3 girls to the mall again I will stop and buy the outfit/dress I want in the largest size they have which is what 18, half of the time. Come home and try it on and the next part of my journey will begin. No more scale.

Fatima August 16, 2012 - 2:33 PM

I suppose my progress dress is this colorful little number that my daughter left behind. She of the 5’9″ 170 fitness. While I’m 5’6″ 210 fleshiness. Personally I cant wait fit into anything that’s in her closet.

Tiffany August 16, 2012 - 3:55 PM

This is a ridiculously awesome idea! Lol. I’ve become obsessed with the number on the scale (which can be way wrong if you’re gaining muscle). I always see these sexy dresses that I dream about when I’m thinner. What better motivation than having one staring me in the face?! Love it.

Tekia August 30, 2012 - 2:54 PM

I like this idea a lot. I have a dress that I wore in my sophomore year in college. I’m being it out of hiding.

Nina Goody September 20, 2012 - 4:21 PM

I not only have a “progress dress” but a few “progress” outfits! I lost about 47 lbs over the last couple of years. But I’ve gained 17 lbs. this year. That may not seem like alot but with my height and build it shows. And some of those outfits I wore last winter won’t fit if I don’t get things in check. But it’s not just the clothes, its about my health and how I feel. And we know carrying that extra weight around our mid sections just ain’t good! So my goal, besides wanting a new birthday outfit, is to be down to 155 by my 55th birthday in December. I’ve got 3 months and 8 days. And my 3 grand kids to keep me motivated. I’ll keep you posted.

Nicki November 4, 2012 - 11:41 PM

Does it count if you use jeans that you USED to be able to rock (and rock WELL)? That’s kinda my litmus test. Sadly, I’ve lost about 80lbs then gained back about half. I need all of it gone and THEN about 40 more to be where the BMI says I should be…but if i could lose to the point where I’m comfy…well…that would settle it for me.

Quick question (although clearly this isn’t Question Wed) – did you have loose skin? I’m scared ishless about loose skin bc of my stretch marks.

Robin November 5, 2012 - 4:35 PM

Love this! I don’t have a dress but some jeans I wore the day after I crossed. Since my goal weight/size is a size 10, I’m going to pull those jeans out and take a pic every 2 weeks. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

Hehe November 6, 2012 - 1:32 AM

I have this J Crew dress my mom got me when I was in High School(almost a decade ago). I never wore it because back then it wasn’t my style. I resurrected it 4 years ago but unfortunately it didn’t fit. It was so tight that it didn’t zip. I thought about giving it away but couldn’t because it’s extremely cute and well made.

2012 was the beginning of my weight loss journey and I lost about 17lbs. One day I decided to try on the dress not really to see if it fit but to see how much more weight was needed to lose. To my surprise it fit perfectly!

DeepPeace November 7, 2012 - 1:18 PM

I don’t have a progress dress. I have a $300 progress jacket that I knew would not be offered up again by the time I actually reach my goal weight. So, I have $300 worth of reasons to stick with my weight loss/fitness goals.

larenee10 November 11, 2012 - 10:29 PM

After a year, my little black progress dress is now my sexy little black dress that I have now worn twice to parties. Gotta go get a new one! Thanks, Erika!

Felicia November 12, 2012 - 3:49 PM

wow, I am so excited to see a blog about African American women and how our weight loss efforts are like no one else’s. Thanks

Softspoken February 18, 2013 - 2:22 PM

Erika, I have a sheer hot pink long sleeve blouse with the connected neck tie (large) and a red pencil skirt size 10 that is my progress outfit. NO rolls, muffin top, or dents (in the buttocks) when I strut mystuff in this outfit. I am currently a size 16 almost 14 so I have a ways to go but am motivated. I am doing Jillian Michaels body revolution in the am (30 min) and walking track in pm or doing a class (yoga, cycling, etc). I also set the alrm on my cell like you said for every hour and drinking my water. Soda is the weak link for me but I am standing strong. 🙂

Niasha July 16, 2013 - 10:10 AM

When I started my journey near 6 months ago my motivation was progress clothes (not just a dress) that I could not fit in about 6 years ago….. before my major weight gain and then even a lot more pregnancy weight gain. I have jumped up to a size 22/24. I then gave away all of my clothes in my smaller size 14 but I had a couple of jeans and tops hidden away at the bottom of a barrel in size 18… that I could not part with cuz I just loved how they fit when I was able to actually fit in them. I would never see them but I knew they were there and thought they would never fit again.

Fast forward to Jan ’13 when my sister was diagnosed with diabetes (it does not run in our family… my mom and every else is healthy)… and I was way heavier than she was and I knew it had to do with our unhealthy lifestyle.

So I woke up on the 3rd Feb and got going….. by changing my eating habits…… cut out fried foods, sugar, limit my intake of flour, stop eating late (6pm my cut off time) and ensuring I drank lots of water (nothing else)…. other than that ate my regular food I’d cook at home just in smaller portions. Then the next step exercise… I challenged myself to workout every day for 90 days. I had 2 workout videos that I would interchange and did every morning (for 45 minutes) before work. After 40 days my fitness level was building……………so I added a 60-75 minutes walk and the weight started dropping off. I completed 90 days without missing a day and decided to extend it to 122 before I headed on vacation…… and guess what by the end of it i went from size 22/24 (really a size 24) to as size 16. Those jeans were my gauge on my progress by the time I left for vacation to NY (in June) and a shopping spree for new clothes all those clothes were too big on me.

I bought a jeans in size 14………and that is my new motivation………. I have since added the gym for strength training, boot camp and taken up running (training for a half marathon)…….

Never thought this would be possible almost 6 months ago………… but here I am doing it and feeling so proud of myself.

Kristin July 17, 2013 - 3:19 PM

I wish I had taken a picture 4 months (and 30 lbs!) ago of myself in one of the many ill fitting dresses that hang in my closet. Would be nice to measure the progress that way and give myself a little pat on the back for it. Might as well start now though, since I still have 60 or so pounds Id like to lose. I think I will go with the fitted black sequined flapper-style dress I wore to a wedding a few years ago. It looked good on me then and is definitely too tight now. Ultimately I hope I have to get it taken in several inches!

a.c July 21, 2013 - 4:31 AM

Wow..read your story and started thinking.I have a dress thats white wirh a beautiful design on hem line.Its a size 8,imnow wearing 10 some 12 and even 14.ask me how i fit three sizes…its base on how its made. I want to wear one size in everything.This dress is a line straight,Im hippy it you know what i mean.The dress goes over my head and thats it.Your story has given me motivation im hanging the dress on my door so i can see it Everyday…Cant wait to post progess….

Erika Nicole Kendall July 21, 2013 - 9:59 AM

“I want to wear one size in everything.”

You know, I’m finding that – thanks to vanity sizing – this is virtually impossible.

Poetri313 August 19, 2013 - 1:09 PM

I have a couple of straight cut dresses that really don’t give at all. You either can fit’em or not. They are sleeveless. They can be worn to the office with a nice jacket, to dinner or a party. When I am able to wear these two pieces with ease and comfort I will truly know I have done the the darn thang! They’ve been in my closet for years. Thankfully they are timeless pieces and won’t go out of style!

Stephanie B October 14, 2013 - 3:02 PM

My goal is to be able to shop in my favorite store: NY & Co. I have a pair of curvy fit blue jeans size 18 that I was just able to button up this month! I can wear them but kinda with the fear that they might splint up the rear..soooo, I will be working on fitting in them!

Kami November 14, 2013 - 10:30 AM

Now I must purchase a progress outfit or dress soon. Yep yep.

Elle November 15, 2013 - 2:25 PM

Love this, because I just moved to SF. I don’t have a scale here so I weighed myself the first week I was here at my friend’s place. But I haven’t been back since but I feel like I’m losing weight regardless. I had 2 / 3 dresses in my closet for awhile before I moved though. One of them started fitting right before I moved and the other 2 two I had been struggling to zip up forever. And then the day before I left, I could zip both of them up! It was amazing! They were still and still are tight, but I could zip up!

Now I’m in SF and I tried on one of those dresses recently, still a little tight, but easier to zip up. Instead of a scale, I’m just using the dresses to measure my progress. And I hope I’ll just be pleasantly surprised the next time I see a scale.

Renee Barry November 15, 2013 - 3:46 PM

Erika, thank you for your website and all the good information. You got me to thinking. What is a good item of clothing to see if I’m loosing. The only thing I can think of in my closet are my stack of size 6 jeans that are too tight for me. I wear a size 6 now — but all size 6’s are not created equal. Some fit like a size 2 and others seem to be legit. You are right we see ourselves naked all the time and we can never really gauge if we are loosing inches or pounds on a daily basis — I’ve given up getting on that scale because it’s so deceiving. Anyway, thanks for what you do and I’ve got you on my blog as one of my favorites! God bless.

alana December 7, 2013 - 5:20 PM

I have a progress wardrobe. I’ve gained so much weight over the years, that I can probably randomly pick something out of my closet that doesn’t fit. Maybe I’ll pick one of my favorite items (a black & purple tight fitting dress that hugged my favorite curves in the all right places) and use it as THE DRESS.
Ok, scratch the maybe. I will dig it out of the depths of the closet that taunts me on a daily basis and use it as motivation. Yes, I can do this.

Michelle April 24, 2014 - 1:07 PM

I am a new reader of the blog and I am also inspired by your awesome progress.what do you do when your hungry even after you ate. HELP!!!

Erika Nicole Kendall April 25, 2014 - 8:23 AM

Well, I’ll eat! I wouldn’t *not* eat, because then the next time it’s “time to eat,” I might *overeat*. Keep veggies and rice on hand, so that you can *at least* have something that’ll fill you up, and plan your next meal better, so that it doesn’t leave you unfulfilled afterwards.

Best of luck!

Marie214 June 21, 2014 - 11:11 AM

My progress dress became my progress dress on accident. I bought it for an event and when I wore it, it was the “squeeze into this, wear a shaper and suck hat stomach in when you take a photo” fit. I was uncomfortable all night and couldn’t enjoy myself because I felt like I was either going to burst out of the dress or I was gonna die from holding my stomach in all night. THEN I saw the photos and knew they’d be my “before” photos. I’m planning to try it on at the of the summer!

I also have some progress shoes because I heard your feet get smaller. I have noticed a pair of sandals I usually wear comfortably are loose on me and I see space between my toes lol does that make sense to y’all?

Erika Nicole Kendall June 21, 2014 - 5:40 PM
Kimberlee September 21, 2014 - 9:38 PM

Too funny, I was in my closet trying on dresses this morning before church. I have 2 in particular that I have had for several months… I left the tags on and receipt attached…. Just in case… But today… I could actually get them both on without thinking I was going to suffocate before they made it over my head 🙂
No need for the tags or receipt anymore… I see myself looking fabulous in those dresses by Thanksgiving!

Thanks for the encouragement.. It’s only been three weeks, and this site is making such a difference for me.

misskim October 13, 2014 - 10:45 PM

I have been a lurker for some time now. My question is do you recommend that we only use our “progress outfit” and not step near a scale? I must admit..im guilty of letting the scale rule me in a major way..both positive and negative..

Erika Nicole Kendall October 14, 2014 - 10:34 PM

I think investing in a scale that also gives you a body fat percentage reader is helpful for weekly or bi-monthly weighing. But letting it rule you from day to day? No bueno.

cassie Green December 1, 2014 - 3:00 AM

love my jeans thank you I think that is a very good idea.

Felecia Watkins July 13, 2017 - 9:17 AM

I LOVE THIS SITE AND ALL YOU LADIES!!!!! This is what real women do!!!! Awesome! I don’t have a progress dress. I have a whole new wardrobe right now. My mom has always been small; when I was a child she was a 00 at here biggest she’s been a 10/12, but that was her one year of an old age spread at 30. She is now a 4 at the age of 63. Well, I have now been able to inherit all of her size 6 and some 4s. I have the body of my dad’s side of the family (he had a 650-pound sister who had an 800-pound son who was on the Geraldo show in the 80s). I have been on this journey for about seven years now and at the age of 45, I feel so good!!!! I am challenging myself regularly to do new things and reach new fitness goals. I battle almost daily to not criticize myself when I’m naked. Two C-sections and a hysterectomy have caused that pooch we all hate, but I am getting to the point that I don’t focus on that as much as I do these guns that everybody is noticing LOL.

Video: Keeping track of my progress November 7, 2017 - 6:05 PM

[…] I was reading this post on BGG2WL recently and thought of course! That makes sense…and then I went to find a dress […]

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