How sweet and fitting it is to have pants that are, well, fitting once again. After nearly a decade of inexorable expansion of my waistline, the past two years have seen my middle just as steadily shrinking away. My physical form is in a state of constant flux, and it is beginning to be a little disheartening.
I do not want to sound like I think losing excess weight a bad thing; I am thrilled to be back to a size and shape that I never imagined I would see again in this life. But it is just possible that it is beginning to be too much of a good thing.
When I arrived at college I was a scrawny country lad of 142 pounds. By the end of the semester there was sixteen pounds more of me, and the trend continued in the indulgent years that followed. By the time my son was born I tipped the scales at (drum roll, please) 217 pounds. This was, I thought, an incredible figure: I could not, or at least should not, possess quite so much mass. But I was darned if I knew what I could do about it.
The answer came a few months later. A serious family/financial crisis led me to change my commute to the bookstore from a ten-minute bus ride to a fifty-minute walk. At the same time our grocery budget was stretched tighter than a banjo string, which meant that my caloric intake plummeting to very unpleasant levels. The result was what my friends at work dubbed the “less-input, more-output diet plan.” And the pounds just fell away. No more did my work lunch consist of an apple fritter, a glazed raised doughnut, and a custard bismarck washed down with a quart of chocolate milk; now it frequently consisted of a half-cup portion of leftover lentils, or even nothing. More than once I surreptitiously retrieved a co-worker’s discarded burrito wrapper from the break room trash and gobbled the uneaten portion within.
Things didn’t stay that bleak for very long; my diet has certainly improved in both quantity and quality since that summer, and I still walk to and from work every day. The weight on my driver’s license was true again last time I was near a scale, and when I tell people I have lost more than forty pounds since my son was born they are duly impressed. I have been able to put on pants that I had earmarked to give away, since I would certainly never again be able to wear them. I am pleased.
But now it can stop. Really. Just as I grew despondent at constantly outgrowing my wardrobe as my girth constantly expanded, now I grow weary of buying new pants that fit, only to have them falling off my soon-to-be-nonexistent hips two weeks later. I was so thrilled the other day when I came home with jeans the fit of which caused my wife to blush; now I have to cinch them up with a battered old belt to keep them in place. Even my skin-tight ‘dancing jeans’ from my brief college interest in country line dancing are almost roomy. When, oh when will my body decide what size it wants to be? I feel that I am eating sufficiently. I do not believe that I have a tapeworm. I am certainly not exercising excessively (or at all) outside my 1.5 mile commute on foot morning and night, five days a week. I really don’t care what size I am, I want to stay one size long enough to be able to afford more than one pair of properly-pants that fit at a time. Is that so much to ask?