On the fourth day, post-workout, I ventured to a yoga class thinking an hour-long stretch was exactly what I needed.
I’m no yoga master, but on a normal day I can at least touch the floor when I bend over. Not this day. My hamstrings were still so tight I could only reach my shins. And when we did the straddle leg stretch, that thing where you sit upright on the floor, legs out to each side as far as you can go, and lean forward, I could only move forward about two inches. Granted, a good day for me is only twelve inches forward, but still, I was way off my normal range of motion.
Sitting bolt upright, legs spread only two feet apart, I stared ahead into the mirrored wall. Surveying the rest of the class, I realized most of the participants were face down on the floor, their legs completing a perfect side split. Showoffs. I’ve never had the flexibility of a gymnast. If I tried that move my legs would pop off like a Barbie doll’s. So there I sat with my inflexible legs surrounded by Mary Lou Retton want-to-be’s kissing the bamboo planks.
My yoga instructor, not looking at me but obviously talking to me, said, "Don't compare yourself to anyone else. Focus on your body and what you can do."
I heeded the wisdom of my yoga teacher and sixty minutes later, I could almost touch the floor again.
Exiting the gym, I couldn’t help but wonder if all this pain was worth it. Am I really altering my body? Making a difference?
I was just about to find out.
Later that day, I pulled on my jeans, and they were looser. Granted, they were my fat jeans, but still, it was progress. And they were fresh out of the dryer, not three days into a good wearing so I knew they weren’t stretched out.
I thought about trying on my skinny jeans, but reconsidered. I wasn’t ready for that kind of test, not yet. So I left them buried in the depths of my closet, hanging next to the black and white psychedelic bell bottoms I wore to a ‘70s party a few years ago. They are the perfect closet companions as I’ve worn each pant the same amount of times—once.
Several months ago, a miracle happened. I think Mars was in alignment with Jupiter during a quarter moon. Some sort of cosmic shenanigans was afoot because I woke up one morning five pounds thinner. With no effort. How about that! And of course what do I do? Go jean shopping.
Jean shopping to me is only slightly better than bathing suit shopping. Because of my measurements, it’s difficult to find a pair of jeans that fit both my waist and my backside. Imagine my surprise when I find a pair that fits me perfectly. The only problem is that because of my unexpected weight loss, if I eat so much as a Tic Tac, they will no longer fit.
I stare at my reflection in the dressing room mirror. I shouldn't buy these, I tell myself. I should get a size larger. But, here's the thing, the skinny jeans are the size I really want to be. I know it’s stupid to shoot for a specific clothing size. As if that’s important, or healthy. But I do it anyway, and I hit my number. That all-important size that makes me feel good. So I bought them.
As quickly as the five pounds disappeared, they reemerged. Ignoring common sense, I shoehorned myself into the jeans, the front clasp so tight it pushed my belly button up against my spinal column. After enduring several hours of intense abdominal cramping, I peeled off the skinny jeans and threw them into the closet.
For now, I’m delighted to prance around in my loose fat jeans. It’s motivating to feel the program working. And maybe, at the eight-week point, I’ll give the skinny jeans a try. Or, here's an idea, I'll treat myself to a new pair and rejoice at whatever size is on the tag.