Room for Living

Once upon a time—8 years ago to be exact—I lost about 35 pounds through diet and exercise, landing me at a svelte 100 lbs. Certain I would never again see those 35 pounds, I got rid of ALL of my larger clothes… every last stitch of them. My closet was full of nothing but tiny things to fit my newfound frame.

Fast forward three years… enter a job loss resulting in crushing depression and an inability to keep paying my $55 monthly gym membership… and the 35 pounds came back with a vengeance. When those unwanted pounds returned they brought about 35 more of their friends along for the party. I was the heaviest I’d ever been in my life. And having little money from my minimum wage, substitute job — buying clothes to fit my new fat @$$ was a challenge.

But I had no choice. The job required me to look professional so I had to have a new wardrobe. Little by little and piece by piece I bought back some key items in the larger sizes, but vowed I would get back into those smaller ones as soon as I regained my sanity and sense of self-worth.

Fast-forward another three years toward a satisfying new job in my career field, a supportive, wonderful family and the love of an amazing man and I lost 50 of those pounds again. I’m still not that teensy 100 lbs. but I am healthy for my age and height and I feel amazing by comparison.

For two years I have managed to keep it off. Well, most of it anyway… Save for a few of what I like to call the “fun” pounds. The fun pounds are the little cushion (pardon the pun) that I have decided to give myself without beating myself up or feeling like a failure. As long as I stay within that pre-determined range, I’m OK.

For what exactly are the fun pounds allocated? They are set aside for an 8-day trip up the New England coast where one may choose to eat lobster drenched in drawn butter, varieties of other deep-fried gifts of the sea, maple confections and saltwater taffy every… single… day. They are for summertime ballpark beers, festival food and autumn tailgating fare. They are for fun-size Halloween candy, Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas ham.

Fortunately, this time I did not throw away my larger clothes. Not because I have any intention of going back to Supersized Me, but because Life does happen. The fun happens as well as the stressfulness or unpredictability of everyday life. The curveballs you get thrown so then the ice cream tastes particularly good, the nights you end up working late and pizza is an easy fix or the injuries and illnesses that can wreak havoc on your daily discipline.

And it’s good to know that if the “fun” pounds come back and pay me a brief visit, I don’t have to squeeze into that smaller size and feel like I’m going to rupture my spleen or pop a rogue button. I can slip on my jeans that have a little grace in them… a little forgiveness in the waist, butt and thighs… and I can feel like I actually have some room for living.