Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Good Reason to Keep Your Fat Pants

I was a fat girl once. Not anymore, but I was. No, really, I was.

That was about eight years, 100 pounds, and five sizes ago, not to mention about 25 points on my cholesterol score.

In my closet, I have one remaining pair of size 20 jeans to prove it. I take them out from time to time, just to remind myself.

My journey from fat to fit is kind of a long, not-so-dramatic story. There's no gastric bypass surgery, or Alli, or Atkins Diet in it. There IS a lot of God and learning and label reading and food measuring and calorie counting. And a lot of miles. Walking miles at first, then biking miles and running miles.

I'll just say this bluntly: being fit is hard work. But I'll say this bluntly, too: it is 100 percent worth it. I wouldn't go back to my old body or lifestyle for a million dollars. Or ten million. Or, well, you get the idea.

Some days, though, I still feel fat. Okay, there are a lot of days when I still feel fat. Probably too many. I completely understand the eating disorder epidemic among teenage girls, who look in the mirror and see fat where there is none - I can't explain it rationally, but I understand the feeling. There are days when I feel like I haven't lost a pound (yes, eight years later), days when I want to cry over the little roll of pudge that's still hanging out around my waistline, and will probably never disappear. Never mind that in reality, I look amazingly better than I did eight years ago. I still feel like the same fat girl, some days.

I took off 105 pounds altogether over the course of four years. I kept it all off for two, and then, over the past two years, I've gained some back. Not a lot. Just some. I haven't needed to buy new clothes, but there is a pair of grey pants hanging in my closet that I can barely squeeze into. I'm not pleased about this.

I've taken a good, hard look at my habits, and it's clear that some little things have slipped along the way: I've skipped too many runs during the average week; measuring my portions has gone by the wayside here and there; I've given in to too many Treat Fridays at work; I've eaten out too carelessly. So I'm making changes to rectify the weight gain. And it's slow (after all, I'm eight years older than when I first started losing), but it's working.

When I feel that it's going too slow, when I am bitten by the Discouragement Bug, that's when I pull out my fat jeans.

Most weight loss books will tell you to get rid of your fat clothes and never look back. For the most part, that's good advice. If you lose weight successfully, buy new clothes, and don't have the old ones to fall back on, it can be a good motivator to maintain your weight loss. And for the most part, that's a good idea - I got rid of everything but that one pair of jeans.

They have served me well.

Whenever I'm having a "fat day," I pull out those jeans and put them on. They come all the way up to my bustline now, and I fit comfortably into them with my arms at my sides inside the waistband. They look ridiculous, and I love it. I look in the mirror and clearly see how far I've come, and the fat girl in my mental mirror shrinks to normal size.