I remember that spring. My favorite jeans had been missing since the previous summer. I found them on a hanger under a jacket in the downstairs closet. The excitement of finding them soon faded. At first I blamed the dryer. Then I blamed the humidity. Can jeans shrink in a closet? I tried every which way but loose to zip them up but knew it was a losing battle. These were not “GAP” brand jeans but the gap at the top of the zipper was insurmountable. When did that happen? How did it happen? At first I denied. Then I cried. Then I got mad! I was well into the stages of grief in less than five minutes! I was not going to let a cute little pair of inflexible denims with a perky flower on the back pocket defeat me! So, yes, I turned this into a battle—a “losing” battle—and I was going to win it!
I hung those jeans on the back of my bathroom door. They became my “Tester” pants. When I finally got out of my denial stage and stepped off my scale, I had to admit that I had gained ten pounds in less than a year. (I’ll tell you how that happened in my next article.) I had a serious talk with myself. I knew I hadn’t gained the weight overnight. I also knew I wasn’t going to lose it overnight. I made a plan. It was me against my jeans in the “Battle of the Bulge.”
We would meet once a week on the battlefield to see if we could “bridge the gap” between us. Just so you know, it wasn’t easy and it took almost two months but it turned out to be fun. I also learned the secret of losing weight—you really do have to eat less of something and move more—not an easy thing to do but I had a clear enemy that I wanted to forgive–those jeans! They became my goal and I did what I had to do to get back into them. You know what they say about a woman scorned—those jeans were not going to get away with making me look bad!
Spring forward about thirty-five years. Each week I tried on those jeans and they finally zipped up with ease. I had lost between one and two pounds a week, which is a good, attainable weight loss. I wore those jeans until they faded away. I have another pair with a perky little spring flower on the back pocket. If they ever get snug, I hang them on the back of my bathroom door and tell them they are not going out until they behave and loosen up!
So, if there’s more of you “around” than there used to be, find something that used to fit you (okay, maybe not in high school) and hang it up where you can see it—your “Tester Pants” or “Tester Belt.” Don’t be discouraged if the pounds don’t disappear as quickly as you’d like. Patience and plateaus are part of losing weight. You may even notice that the inches decrease before the pounds. Don’t become obsessed with weighing yourself—once a week is fine. In fact, forget the scale. Use your tester pants as your “scale.” It’s a fun, measurable way to see how you’re doing with or without a scale. Test once every week or even two to see how much closer the zipper, buttons or belt notches have travelled. Spring into your old jeans with the new you!
Yours in fitness,
Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN
Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, ACSM
Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM