What's a Girl To Do When Only 2 Pairs of Pants Still Fit?

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I give my pants a 15 pound stretch range and this is based on how tight I’m willing to wear them out in public, or how long I’ll let them sag before I splurge on something new that’s more flattering.

Let’s be honest,  it’s way more fun to go out shopping for new pants when you are in the “saggy pant butt” category vs. the “you can see my underwear line no matter what style of undies I have on because my pants are so tight” category.

I recently reached the top of my pants stretch range.  In fact, I let bad habits slide until only two pairs of my work pants were still appropriate to wear to the office!  Ugg!!!

Yes , two pairs of pants to choose from when my closet boasts an ample supply of other lovely dress pants was the trigger for me to take my gradual weight gain seriously.  I’m not an avid scale person, and I don’t typically count calories, which means when I’m not being honest with myself about the cookie after supper, the popcorn on Friday night, and the baileys in my coffee on weekend mornings, I have to rely on the fit of my clothes to keep me in check.  Unfortunately, sometimes I allow myself to slide for two long and voila!  Only two pairs of pants in my closet that I can manage to slide over my hips.

And I guess the real red flag isn’t the actual number of pairs of pants that still fit, but more so how I feel in those pants.  When I don’t feel good in my pants, that’s when I know that even after months of telling myself, “this is the week that I will really eat clean!” and then not really changing any of the bad habits I’ve let creep back in, that this time will be the time that I do make the changes I need to make and they will stick!

What is your ultimate motivation to make a choice to change some habits in your eating style, and then to actually do what it takes to stick to the new habits?  We often know we need to make changes, but we allow our bad habits to continue until something happens that gives us the willpower required to really focus on new habits that become a new way of life, at least for a while.  Not only do you need the willpower to start – but you need to be aware of what that thing is inside of you that drives you to keep going when so many others fall back to old habits a few weeks into their attempt at a new formula.  If you don’t know what motivates you to start change AND what will drive you to keep going down that new path, unfortunately, failure is almost inevitable.

Two weeks ago I took action to get my eating habits back to where I want them to be.  I know myself well and any type of challenge where I’m accountable not only to myself but to others, typically is enough motivation for me to stick with some tough habit changes for a long enough period of time to create my own new habits.  So, I not only signed up for the Whole Life Challenge (check it out at www.wholelifechallenge.com), but I also joined a team of strangers who I am accountable to because my points each day allow them to increase their overall team score in the competition.  What do we actually win, I suppose our good habits going forward and potentially more pants that fit!

Here’ a brief synopsis of the 6 ways to earn points in the challenge:

  • Keep as many nutrition points as you can (to a maximum of 5 per day) by sticking to the approved foods for the nutrition level you’ve selected.  Subtract a point each time you eat something off plan.
  • Drink 1/3 of your body weight in ounces of water each day. 
  • 10 minutes of activity each day
  • 10 minutes of stretching each day
  • Follow your supplement plan each day (such as taking that vitamin C, D and omega 3 you have in the cupboard but can’t seem to remember to take)
  • Meet the lifestyle challenge of the week (this week it’s to eat veggies with every meal)

So the actual challenge where we log our points every day through the whole life challenge website officially started yesterday, but the team that I joined has a two week detox plan that they tack on before the official challenge begins to get people prepared for what is to come and I assume so that our team hits the ground running with high scores every day.

Habit changing started fiercely on day 1 of the detox as I had planned to meet a friend for a late lunch at a restaurant in the mall.  I arrived a bit early and wandered around the mall waiting for my friend.  I happened across a Kernels popcorn shop and automatically this thought popped into my head “I should grab a bag of Chicago mix to eat in the car on my drive home”.  Had I not been on the detox plan, I likely would’ve done just that, purchased a treat for myself justifying the I was deserving of it because I was actually out of the house doing something for myself for a change.  This choice would be made despite that fact that I most certainly would not be hungry on the drive home as I would’ve just enjoyed a lunch with my friend.  Being involved in this challenge meant that I consciously thought through both the idea of whether or not I really wanted food as a treat for being out on my own and whether or not I would even be hungry.  These are the types of decisions I need to be making more often to retrain myself in the healthy habits I want to come naturally.

So test number two that day was to be compliant while eating out in a restaurant.  Being involved in the Whole Life Challenge and accountable to my team for staying on track meant I chose grilled salmon on a bed of greens and quinoa.  I’m not going to lie; it wasn’t what my taste buds were asking for.  They would’ve much preferred a burger and fries!  Restaurant eating is somewhere I know I need to focus though.  Too often I give myself the excuse that restaurant eating can be an indulgence since I don’t do it every day.  But the habit I’d like to develop is to look at restaurant eating the same way I do any other meal.  It doesn’t have to be a treat every time I go out to eat and the healthy food is just as delicious as the indulgence type foods. 

These are just two examples of some of the choices I want to consistently be part of my lifestyle.  When I can make these choices for myself most of the time, that’s my own personal formula for clean(er) eating.

My husband and I did participate in the Whole 30 challenge (www.whole30.com) in February of 2013 (strategically starting the day after Superbowl at his request since giving up alcohol for 30 days was part of the deal).  In this challenge, he was the reason for my accountability because when that guy makes up his mind to do something, there are no cheats!  We both had amazing results and felt great after those 30 days and we both had developed habits that stuck like glue for well over a year.  It was around last summer however where the wheels started to fall off for me.  Where the “it’s ok to indulge in this right now” moments happened more often than the moments where I consciously made the healthier choice.  My formula for food is a lifestyle way of eating, not a diet, so I am ok that it does ebb and flow. But when I’m not being honest with myself about how often I’m choosing to indulge, that’s when the weight starts to creep on, I start to sleep less restfully, I stop being diligent about hydration, and I accept that maybe bad habits (like coffee with baileys every weekend and not just while on summer holidays) might be ok.

So, two weeks into this challenge with the detox under my belt and I feel great!  The only way I can explain how I feel right now to others is to say I feel “less puffy”.  As for my two pairs of pants, they still are all I can appropriately wear into the office, but they are fitting just a tad more comfortably already, telling me I am on the right track.

I know choosing how to fuel my body will be a lifelong, daily thing.  I want the freedom to indulge now and again, with the honesty to know when I’m making excuses for old habits that sneak back in.  I am on a mission to be the best me possible and a big part of that is relying on my body to be strong and my mind to be clear.  I know the food and drink choices I make play a big part in that so I do take it very seriously.  That, plus feeling good in my pants, all 10 pairs hanging in my closet, puts a smile on my face!