Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Diet Stops Here (Wait! I mean it starts here!) by Jenny Gardiner

First and foremost, never, ever, ever give away your fat clothes. I say this while sporting my current uniform: a grungy 20-year old Penn State sweatshirt and once generously stretchy yet now extremely stingy yoga pants that haven’t, alas, been donned for their true purpose in ages.

My other uniform consists of a black shirt and jeans. Black because it’s slimming. Ish. Or so they say. And stretchy jeggings, to be exact. Thank the lord for tender mercies (i.e. stretchable cotton). Though I was probably better off in the more punitive Levi’s of yore, which kept me honest, size-wise (that is until I could no longer wedge myself into them, and then so much for that honesty, eh?).

A couple of years ago I got, well, not skinny, but more mainstream, size-wise. Skinny hasn’t happened since the Reagan administration (when I had a youthful metabolism, not that of a tree sloth). After slimming down, I waited over a year before donating my voluminous stockpile of fatwear. They were beautiful clothes, too, all styles that helped mask the added weight I was lugging around, sadly. In giving them away, I figured it would be nice if someone in need of them happily found their way into my, um, largesse.

I think the very day I dropped them at Goodwill I gained four pounds. Which brings me to another pointer for this New Year’s resolution-minded message: never, ever, ever, ever stop getting on that damned scale.

Years ago, I’m pretty sure it was during the holidays, when food and wine seem to just jump into my mouth when I’m not looking, a wise, thin friend urged me not to get on the scale every day. “Oh, your weight can fluctuate by several pounds daily!” she assured me. “Just get on once a week.”

So I took this advice to heart. After all, it was from a skinny person. They must know, right? But if you get on the scale one day and weigh two more pounds, well, news flash: wait seven more days and nothing good comes of it. Trust me on this.

My weight has fluctuated so much I should’ve been called Yo-Yo. And not the person who’s great with a violin. The person who can’t seem to stick in a healthy pants size to save her soul, that’s me. This time around it was a tumultuous series of life events that kneecapped me. Not that that’s any excuse, mind you, but hey, I am the first to tell you it is really quite easy to stuff your emotions with food; I’m a pro at it. In fact if there were an advanced degree in it, I’d surely have earned one.

This time around I stupidly doubled down while outgrowing my wardrobe: I bailed on the gym. For pretty much my entire life, no matter how plump I was, I always, always, always worked out. Whether it was with the Jane Fonda record (yes, I’m dating myself with that reference), Tai Bo, P90X, lap-swimming, obsessive amounts of tennis, hiking, spinning. walking, or anything, I always made time for some form of daily exercise.

But then I wasn’t being productive, professionally, failing to get in the writing hours I needed. I was dropping the ball, big time. So I couldn’t justify spending time at the gym. My girlfriend and I were just discussing this gym/work dilemma. Because I get my best work done in the morning. But I also get my best workout done in the morning. That inherent conflict means choosing one over the other (I know, I could technically force myself like the grown-up that I am to do one at an inopportune time of the day, but I haven’t, okay?).

And so I made the grave mistake of bowing out of exercise because I should be writing prolific amounts. But instead I spent a lot of time wrestling with all those stuffed emotions and not doing diddly squat (make that any squats). Occasionally I resumed working out, though didn’t dare show up at the gym because everyone knows you don’t want to be seen at the gym while fat.

I got back on my spinning bike at home, until I had a rather weird spinning accident, requiring 16 stitches on my shin. That was enough to kibosh my biking career for a while. I got back into it later in the summer, even biking one day for about 36 miles, which was really fun since we didn’t get hit by any cars, but still, I was feeling guilty for not getting work done. So I have holed up for the past few months writing. The good news: I’ve got my writing mojo back. The bad news: I shudder to witness my reflection in a plate glass window and cringe to see pictures of myself. For sure ain’t no selfie-taking going on for me (while dressed in slimming black).

I imagined my zaftig brethren this holiday season wearing my really pretty hot pink raw silk jacket, or that sparkly sequin top, and all those many outfits I gave away, while instead I jammed myself sausage-like into a stretch black velvet pantsuit that somehow escaped my closet purge. I refuse to buy more fat clothes, as it feels like I’m abandoning ship, figuring thin me is a thing of the past. But with my oversized clothes shrinking (they are just shrinking, right?), where to next? I don’t want to be Admiral Perry navigating the unchartered territory of what to do once the fat clothes don’t fit.

But new beginnings can start at any time. Sure it feels cliché for that to be with the new year. But now’s as good a time as any, so here’s hoping I’ll eventually be able to give away my latest wardrobe, even though they’re not even cute, just functional. Wish me luck.


The first of my IT'S REIGNING MEN series was just released: SOMETHING IN THE HEIR. Here's the cover (alongside the covers for books two and three in the series--more to come!)

JennyGardiner_SomethingintheHeir200 JennyGardiner_HeirTodayGoneTommorrow200JennyGardiner_BadtotheThrone200

and some time soon I'm going to reissue Anywhere but Here---I'll keep you posted.
Accidentally on Purpose (written as Erin Delany)
Compromising Positions (written as Erin Delany)
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Quilt Lady said...

I feel your pain and know where you are coming from. I have put on about ten pounds since the summer and its killing me. I have always been fat and yo yo all the time. I was exercising every day at least taking a walk and then I wore my hip out. Had a hip replacement done in July was up 4 pounds then and since them another 6. Trying to get back into walking but can't walk as far as I use to. Does new metal hips weigh more the your normal hip. That is my excuse and I am sticking to it. I did take a 40 min walk today if that counts.

dstoutholcomb said...

I hate the word diet--it's better to eat healthily and exercise. now, I need to practice what I preach.

Liz Flaherty said...

I'm here on the yo yo wagon with you. My one pair of yoga pants and I have gone back to the gym. Like you, I get a better workout in the morning, but the truth is I don't care if it's a GOOD workout, only that I'm moving, so I go whenever. Even when I get all righteous about fat-shaming, the truth is that I feel better when I' fat, and I want to feel better.

Good luck.