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Elastic Pants – Friend or Foe

I endured a very bad break up with my knit elastic waist pants. It was an arduous co-dependent relationship; we were quite enmeshed, but one of us needed to move on. It saddened me because I loved them for all they helped me to deny, and it was difficult to refute the comfort factor!

When my clothes fit properly, I notice three to five pound fluctuations. Years ago, I remember hearing thin people say this, and I was convinced malnutrition fogged their brains. I thought these skinny bitches were out of touch with reality amid their minuscule bums and nonexistent thighs; I could easily find 20-pounds within 24-hours and truly not know from where it came. Surely, it was the result of a visit from the tooth fairy’s malicious cousin in the wee hours of the morning that planted a truckload of mashed potatoes under the surface of my skin enhancing the numerous lumps and bumps already plaguing me. I was fine the night before. How the hell can someone notice three pounds? That was just the elastic talking.

I don’t want to alienate anyone. There are a lot of people whose primary wardrobe consists of knit elastic waist pants. I remember a time when this held true for me, but I’m now very wary. Knit elastic pants presented an adequate mirage, but they significantly altered the maximum load capacity of my clothing thus increasing my level of denial. Elastic is not the confidant it purports to be. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise! Having an awareness of such a small fluctuation amazes me since I chose to simply ignore the entire existence of my body for so many years prior to weight loss. The human vessel really sustains remarkable machinery whether or not finely tuned.

My relationship with elastic began innocuously enough. I refused to walk into THAT department. I found my new treasure in the local discount store – stretchy pants. I covered all the basics and totally coordinated everything in my closet thanks to the fashion advice passed down from my mom. She instilled the fundamental code for every clothes purchase; at all cost stick with black, brown or navy. Those colors are the most slimming and they coordinate with every wardrobe.

The stretchy pants shoved aside the fitted suits and straight-leg work pants in my closet. The dust settled, and I opened my own personalized clothes boutique with a wide assortment of sizes available as I traveled up and down the scale. The sordid relationship with the stretchy pants allowed me to remain in the misses department. No plus sizes for me, no sir. The scary part is that this transformation all occurred with a full length mirror perilously located in the corner of my bedroom. It was easy to avoid my reflection because the brown stretchies found a home draped over the mirror – brown after all was not nearly as slimming as navy or black.

Life was good for a couple years, me and my stretchies. It is no coincidence that I progressed from knit elastic waist pants, to stretchy pants, to just stretchies. A familiarity existed here that went well beyond a healthy love affair.

I suffered my first real confrontation of being more than a little chubby on a shopping expedition after my first pregnancy when I ventured into a national chain for plus-sized women. I found some cute clothes, and again I was sure I wouldn’t need them for long because I was going to lose weight. This was only short-term problem. “Temporary” became a frequently uttered word in my repertoire. I skulked around the store and wondered if anyone saw me enter….ah, like other people didn’t know I was fat. I proceeded to the checkout. The clerk had the audacity to ask me if I wanted to open a charge account. How dare she? I was appalled. Evidently she failed to read the memo informing her that I really didn’t belong there.

The love affair with stretchies was over! I was still relegated to wearing them for several more years, but they no longer held the same allure. Occasionally, when I feel a bit vulnerable, I gravitate toward them in the store now. I may even go as far as to touch the soft knit and think about how cozy they would be; however, a voice deep within sends out an alarm which prevents me from going beyond this brief walk down memory lane. I know that elastic is not demonic in and of itself, but what I have found is that to be successful at maintaining a healthy weight, it is necessary to be honest and accountable with myself. I can choose to stretch the truth a bit, but whom do I harm in the process? So, the love affair with elastic is over, and I refuse to return any more of his calls.

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