[Part of my mission to “live deliberately” involves ruthlessly cutting out anything that saps my time, energy or money to no good end. I’m calling these things my “Quits,” and this is one of the many items that have found themselves on my Quits List.]
A couple weekends ago, I found myself doing some fall pants shopping. Not because I didn’t have enough decent fall pants already, but because the pants I had no longer fit me.
That’s right. I was buying fat pants. They were only a size bigger, mind you, but it was enough. That was when I realized that things needed to change.
Another Embarrassing Story About Pants
Bear in mind that I’m a petite little nothing with conservative upper-body proportions (like the way I classily phrased that?), so every extra pound around my middle area sticks out (literally) very clearly. I’m not so insecure as to feel less worthy as a person because of a few more pounds; moreso it’s my craziness that gets to me. You see, when I glance in the mirror and see the new protrusion, I’m immediately seized with the panicked thought that maybe my birth control has failed and I’m about to have the child I never wanted. I know this is completely ridiculous, but as the husband and I are up to about 5 million and 2 reasons why we never want to have kids, you can see how this might disturb me. (I’m crazy. I know.)
Bear in mind also that I am a rampant frugality junkie, so a wanton waste of perfectly good pants—only to buy basically the same pants, just the next size up—makes my soul howl.
At first I tried being all clever about my increasing waistline and just letting that top, unbuttonable button slide. You can cover up a lot with this season’s fortunately long tunic tops, so no one was any the wiser (although I did feel inherently wrong knowing what I’d done). But after a while, even that wasn’t enough. Things just weren’t comfortable anymore. Sitting was not something I looked forward to. Something more had to be done.
I actually (and this was when I realized I’d hit rock bottom) did a Google search for those as-seen-on-TV pant waist extender thingies, thinking I could prolong the life of my otherwise-serviceable pants that way. (They’re surprisingly inexpensive, but is the money saved by extending the life of my pants worth the tradeoff of my dignity in owning a set of waist extender thingies?) [Cordelia postscript later on: I did in fact buy the pant waist extender thingies. I figured I could retain my dignity as I am actively working on being healthier. They’re not that bad. Thank god for the aforementioned tunic tops.]
In the end, I realized that something even more drastic needed to be done. These were all ways of working around the symptoms of a much bigger problem. The fact of the matter is that I’ve been treating my body like utter poo for a long time now, and it’s finally starting to catch up with me.
Something to “Aack!” About
This isn’t just another girl-hating-her-body-image rant. The real issue here (in addition to lunatic imaginary pregnancy scares) is that lately, I just haven’t been feeling “on.” I’ve always been a high-energy, jittery type of person, but lately I’ve been hauling myself through the days by the sheer grace of caffeine and motivational thinking. I feel lethargic. I feel weighted down. I feel draggy.
Maybe it’s because my nearly-30 (gasp!) metabolism is finally catching up with me. Maybe it’s because I spend 8 hours a day sedentary in front of a computer, then several more hours at night doing my writing/freelancing. Maybe it’s all that, combined with years of truly crappy eating habits (ding! ding!). Whatever the causes, I’m forced to admit that just choosing low-fat ice cream or eating one less slice of pizza is no longer enough to get my equilibrium back.
I need to start eating like an adult.
This would be a little sad but for another unexpected change has come over me lately: I actually want to start eating like an adult.
It’s Not Just My Husband (Sorry, Husband)
For several years now, I’ve been following what I call the “American diner-style” diet. I follow this diet because:
a) My husband is the cook in our house, and he has the palate of a very picky two-year-old, which results in a rotating menu of chicken fingers, hamburgers, pizza, and grilled cheese.
b) It’s a hassle to cook two completely separate meals-for-one each night; and
c) Up until now, I’ve been able to get away with it.
But lately, things they are a-changing. I no longer feel happily full and treated after a delicious crappy meal. I feel tired, bloated, and vaguely resentful. When we go grocery shopping, I find myself gravitating towards the organic aisle and gazing longingly at stalks of asparagus as that little mister thing lightly sprays them in dew. You don’t want to take me to a restaurant with a salad bar, because it won’t be pretty. I will clean that sucker out. Don’t think I won’t.
These are all very un-subtle ways that my body has clearly been screaming at me that things need to change. I can no longer eat junk all day long and get away with it thanks to a high-strung personality and an active young metabolism. I need to start taking better care of myself. And I think I’ve finally hit that point where I will, because I actually want to.
I’m tired of feeling tired and sluggish all the time. I have way too much I want to do with my days.
There Will Be Some Changes Around Here (Because I Can’t Afford Any More Pants)
Here is how I will be implementing my Eat Like an Adult (or “No More Fat Pants,” if you prefer) campaign:
- No more stupid snacking. Cookies and fundraiser candy bars are out; nuts, fruit, and protein bars are in.
- No more stupid lunching. Gone are leftover pizza and Fluffernutter sandwiches (so cheap, though!). Salads are the new order of the day. Big, honking salads loaded with all the fresh veggies my body has been fantasizing about in the grocery store.
- Careful with the carbs. Oh, how I love me my carbs! I’ve been known to eat ravioli-covered pizza (thank you, Great Northern) and a macaroni-covered patty melt (no thank you, Denny’s recent “cheese lover’s” menu—yummy, but with an “oh god, kill me now” after-feeling). I’ve heard that Paula Dean once made a lasagna sandwich—I would be all over that bitch. (The sandwich, not Paula Dean.) But this love affair must stop. I’ll allow myself a tryst now and then, but that’s all. I’ve got to diversify.
- Careful with the portions. When I studied in England for a semester, I was fascinated by the fact that I could finish an entire entrée at whatever restaurant I went to—I was a machine! Same thing in France, in Ireland, in Scotland…This was simply because American food portions are REDONKULUS. That’s right, I used that word, and I put it in caps, it’s that true. If you’re serving entrees that could easily feed a family of four, something is amiss with your sense of proportion. Accordingly, I need to learn to stop eating not when I hit the “oh god, kill me now” point, but when I hit the “ah, that was nice” point.
More fresh, less packaged and processed. Convenience foods are both full of preservatives and much pricier than buying fresh, natural food and making things yourself. This means I’m going to have to learn to cook more (something I’ll have to do anyway with our new two-menu system), but it will be worth it health-wise and budget-wise.
- Start moving around more, you slug. It’s tough after a hard day’s work to come home and immediately heading back out again to take the dogs for a walk. But just eating better won’t be enough. I need to start getting off my tail and moving around more, even if it’s only making separate trips downstairs to the copy machine for each project instead of waiting till I have a bunch and only going downstairs once. Every little bit counts.
Hey, All You Healthy People!
What suggestions do you have for treating your body better? What recipes, blogs, tricks do you follow? Seriously, I’d love some suggestions, because I can use all the help I can get on this one…
Image: Tiffany / Flickr
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