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My Measuring Stick


For so long I was obsessed with the scale, and the tape measure, and anything that would tell me I had made progress in my weight loss.  I lived for the days that my pants would be so loose that I could have to actually buy a belt or hit up The Salvation Army (bonus of my discount for working there) and get new pants that would last me until the next size.  I wanted to see my numbers go down.  Pant size, weight, medication dosages if we are being real and any number that would validate to me that I was getting healthier.

Then I entered the dreaded zone…Maintenance.  You know that area where you aren’t supposed to lose more weight and you may go up or down a pound or two each week.  The zone where it is normal to see the numbers go up.  Oh how I hated this zone.  I had been so lucky that during most of my weight loss the numbers were only going down.  I had the occasional ups when I had overindulged, didn’t get enough water, avoided the gym…the usual reasons.  But in maintenance those weren’t the excuses.  It was just my body settling into this new happy weight I had waited so long to get there.  And I was miserable.

The scale was no longer my friend.  Because no matter how perfect my eating was there were days it would go up.  Of course that would be followed up by the week that it would go back down.  It was a crazy little roller coaster like the ones they let the children ride at Disney.  No real loops like I had experienced with back surgery and depression during the losing phase.  Just little baby hills that DROVE ME NUTS!  Oh how I hated those little ups and downs.  I felt at fault because I wasn’t being perfect and I had added calories to maintain that I was blaming for the little up and down cycle.

Soon I realized this was normal.  I don’t know how I got to that stage.  I still step on the scale everyday.  But one day I got it into my mind that the number on the scale really didn’t matter.  And then I wrote myself and Operation Beautiful note on my bathroom mirror.  I look at it everyday when I step on the scale.  The scale is a tool now instead of my nemesis.  The number really doesn’t matter and I couldn’t live or die by the scale.  Because if I did I would be dead right now because I’m still losing the 17 pounds I gained while depressed and injured over the holidays.

I have a new measuring stick to judge my progress by instead of relying on the scale for everything.  At one of my happiest and healthiest times in December of 2006 I bought a pair of pants.  These aren’t just any pants.  They are special pants.  They have magical powers to me.  Okay maybe I’m being a bit dramatic but they are my favorite pants.  I bought them at Mexx on 5th Avenue in New York City when I was ringing The Salvation Kettle Bell as part of my training to become a pastor in The Salvation Army.  We weren’t technically supposed to go shopping on our breaks…but this was one of the stores that What Not to Wear frequented and I wanted so bad to own something from there just to say I did.

On my break I went into the store and looked around at everything.  I was entranced. Then realized I couldn’t afford anything with my measly income as a seminary student.  No wonder they give the people on WNTW $5000 to shop with.  They need it in stores like this.  But I was determined to get something…anything.  Somewhere in the back corner of the store I found the sale section…if you could call it that.  Everything was still more expensive than what I normally wore but I was going to get something even if it meant I would freeze without coffee while standing on the streets of NYC ringing the bell for a week. At least I’d have cute pants.

And then they came into view…THE pants.  After stripping off the 10 layers of clothes I had on so I wouldn’t turn into a popsicle, I slipped into them.  They were amazing.  Just check them out.

Perfectly worn in.

They were a great color that would match with almost anything in my existing wardrobe and had a great fit.  I quickly piled back on my layers and made my way to the cash register.  I took a deep breath as I handed over the pants and my card to the cashier.  To my surprise they rang up for half the price on the ticket!  Score!  I quickly resisted the urge to go back and pick up a second pair in a different color (imagine a long movie like pause as I seriously contemplated the second pair) and instead walked out proud that I had a pair of pants that looked great, from an amazing store and were in a size I never thought I would wear.

Can you see all the sizes?

Vanity sizing has thrown me off to knowing my true size.  Old Navy was one size, Banana Republic was another and GAP was an entirely different size.  So I was stoked that in a fancy store I was really the size I thought I was…I was a true size 10.

They fit perfectly that first day and I continued to fit into them for quite sometime.  They were my perfect goal pants and I wore them as often as possible…almost everyday.  I told you they went with everything.  When I gained weight with my back problems they wouldn’t even slide up to my hips.  At some points they didn’t even button.  When I hit my Lifetime Status earlier this year they fit even better than the day I bought them.

These pants that I love so much are my go to measuring stick.  When I am at my healthy weight they fit perfectly.  When my eating and exercise are off track they get tight.  And when I completely jump off the healthy band wagon and run the opposite direction the pant are hidden in the bottom of my drawer only to be drug out for a quick test of my progress when I finally decide to chase down the wagon.

This week has been my test week.  I pulled them out, dusted off the cobwebs and thought I’d give it a go.  After all my jeans that I bought from Eddie Bauer that fit perfectly for the last 2 months were going to fall off my behind when I met up with the CDNY Eat Drink Blog girls on Monday.  I really needed a belt. And voilà…

They are on!

They fit!  Okay maybe not the best they have ever fit but they actually buttoned and so I know I’m moving in the right direction.  So even when the scale is being a pain in my behind I know that I’m making progress with my workouts and eating.  These pants are a great reminder that I’m working hard at taking care of myself and being healthy.

Do you have a measuring stick besides the scale?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. 29/07/2010 8:00 AM

    I can always tell how I’m doing by how my wedding rings fit 🙂

    • 29/07/2010 9:59 AM

      My wedding rings actually need to be sized down but I can totally tell how that would be a great determination if things are on target.

  2. Brandi permalink
    29/07/2010 9:05 AM

    I have a similar measure. There’s one pair of jeans that are my FAVORITE. Totally worn in. Have been patched once already and are slowly wearing thin in other places, but I love them. And I can tell how I’m doing when I’m wearing those jeans.

    • 29/07/2010 9:58 AM

      I’m sure eventually I’ll have to patch these pants but they are my favorites and like I said I think they have magical powers.

  3. ann rennie permalink
    29/07/2010 10:58 AM

    YOU ARE AWSOME THIS IS SOOOO RIGHT ON ABOUT MAINTINANCE IT CAN BE A REAL TRIP. I may steal this and use it in my meetings a measuring stick indeed great way to look at it. The fact that I can put my summer clothes away and pull out the winter stuff and it still fits is a big one for me.

    • 29/07/2010 11:01 AM

      That I’m looking forward too. I used to have to buy new clothes each season because they never fit. Now I know they will. I’m so excited.

  4. 30/07/2010 12:27 AM

    WOW! Great post and insight. The scale can be very deceiving. I got rid of the scale in my house and simply go off the way my clothing feels. It’s such a freeing feeling to not be in bondage to a piece of metal… aka- the scale

    • 30/07/2010 12:49 AM

      Good for you. It is hard to get rid of the scale but at least I don’t let it control my life anymore.

  5. 30/07/2010 2:31 PM

    What a great post! I agree that the scale can be frustrating. Any trainer will tell you to use a pair of pants to really assess progress. Good job!

    • 30/07/2010 2:40 PM

      Thanks. I’m trying to remember how my clothes are supposed to feel at my happy weight.

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