Friday, September 4, 2009


In a world where the corporate dress code is increasingly a charming relic of the past, my office seems to be one of the last holdouts. In the last few years we’ve seen a few relaxations of the strict business professional atmosphere, most notably the recent abolition of the mandatory hosiery rule and the inclusion of open toed shoes on the list of acceptable footwear choices. So when we get a chance to get our denim on (at the cost of a $5 donation to rotating charitable cause), there’s nary a suit or skirt in sight. Today we get to participate in what many workplaces celebrate on a weekly basis: Casual Friday!

As a fat girl from way back, I have to admit that the love affair this country has with jeans was somewhat lost on me. While I could find jeans in my size, I also found the very nature of denim heavy and constricting (not to mention the fact that the inner thigh friction swish of denim is WAY louder than that of softer fabrics) and not particularly comfortable most of the time so I rarely chose them over more forgiving garments that didn’t hug every curve (read: lump). As I lost weight, though, I started to appreciate the magic of a good pair of jeans. For the first time in my life I wasn’t relegated to whichever pair I could fit over my ass and still manage to button—I had choices. I could try on different cuts, different leg styles, find the right rise for my newly discovered waist and hips. It was a whole new world.

Unfortunately the jeans I’d finally learned to fall in love with simply don’t fit me anymore (I believe that it’s somehow related to the 40+ pounds I’ve gained, but I can’t be sure) and I gave in a few months ago and bought some new jeans. Jeans that were not one, not two, but THREE sizes larger. I reconciled myself to them by asserting that they were only a temporary fix and I’d be back into my beloved smaller jeans…eventually. It turns out that I’m moving in the right direction, and my current fat jeans are starting not to fit--getting loose enough to be annoying, but still not loose enough to be unwearable.

So when I put them on this morning I found that even a trip through the dryer (which I never would have DREAMED of doing at my highest weight) wasn’t enough to shrink up the extra give in the waist and so I had to reach for the old staple of my thin wardrobe that had rarely seen any play as of late: a belt. I pulled my favorite (and only, for that matter) old worn wide brown leather belt (which I didn’t even buy in the fat women’s section of the store! Sure, it had two “X”s in the size, but still—REGULAR section!), threaded it through the loops on my jeans…and realized pretty quickly that it didn’t fit. I’ve got jeans that are getting too big, and a belt that’s too small. Son of a bitch.

After a few deep breaths I managed to fasten the belt using the first hole and was still able to breathe, so I hastily slipped on my shoes, herded the kid out the door and drove off to start the day. The morning passed uneventfully enough for a while, and after my first cup of coffee made it’s way through my system I stopped off in the bathroom and one of those sideways strange angle glances in the mirror stopped me in my tracks. My ill-fitting jeans cinched by and ill-fitting belt have combined to create a perfect storm of unattractive consequences.

It wasn’t so long ago that I clearly recall looking in that same mirror and liking what I saw. My size 18 jeans hugged in all the right places, elongated my legs (which always seem too short for my 5’11” frame and need all the help they can get), held in place firmly by my belt onto my newly defined hips visible beneath a soft long sleeved white t-shirt under the super cute red fleece vest hung fashionably over it and the toes of my sleek black shoes peeked perfectly out from beneath the boot cut hem that barely skimmed the floor.

But today I saw a different woman staring back at me. Swollen feet stuffed into loafers disappearing into jeans that covered Lumpy thighs and a baggy crotch below a round stomach and a roll of fat above a too-tight belt that pressed just enough through the cotton of the simple v-neck shirt over it to announce it’s presence to the world. I wanted to flee the building, grab my purse and use my cell phone on the way home to call in “fat” for the rest of the day, climb into bed and cover my head and have a good cry about what I’ve become. I really, really wanted to do that. But instead I took a deep breath and went back to my desk and told myself that since I already had my big girl pants on literally I might as well hitch them up, metaphorically speaking, too.

Then an hour ago life, as it often does, decided to add insult to injury and Mother Nature bestowed upon me a wardrobe malfunction of the variety that necessitates changing one’s pants as practical matter. So I came home, put on some non-jeans work appropriate attire, and sat down to tell you all about it. (Lucky you!)

So here I sit, infinitely more comfortable, but feeling defeated nonetheless. But I’m also determined that the next casual Friday will be less of an ordeal. I’m finally back on track and the scale is heading in the right direction, and today helped me remember where I want to get back to—and beyond. Everyone needs a nudge in the right direction sometimes, and today was just the kick in the pants I needed.


  1. I hate mirors! It is a shame that you can lose enought weight to make those jeans fit loosely and still not feel good about them. I've been there...

    At least go buy a belt...right?

    I also seldom where jeans...they all just llok like fat guy jeans to me.

    And you did make them looser! and the scale is going in the right direction.

  2. Oh man, the jeans debate.. I hear ya man. But any sort of motivation to get you in the right place, right?

  3. Oh Sara! I understand,as I'm kind of in the place that you're in. My office does the $5 jeans day thing, too, but they gave us a freebie today for the holiday. Since i've regained some, too, it wasn't easy finding ones that fit. My issue with jeans today is the idea that stretchy jeans are a good thing. I'd like to find just one un-stretchy pair. When you got "lumpy thighs," stretchy jeans just aren't a good thing (at least for me) - even at my lowest weight.

  4. Oh boy ... I hate days like this.
    Sorry to hear about the "insult to injury" episode ... I've been there too if I think I understand what you're saying.

  5. Sara, I've been there. My worst ever jeans experience was when I squeezed my size 20 butt into a pair of size 18 jeans. I was at work and the butt of jeans ripped out, right along the seam of the pocket, all the way down. I didn't even know it. I was walking around with my butt hanging out when a coworker (guy) told me.

    What's really awful about this story is that I had another pair of jeans, exactly like these jeans, and I wore them the next week. Guess what, the exact same thing happened to me. They ripped in exactly the same place and my big, fat butt was hanging out again. Sooooo embarrassing. This was about three years ago. Took me another year to get my butt in gear. :)

    Hang in there Sara. I know this is hard. It's hard every day for me too. It's a major struggle to just try to be semi-normal. To not let my desire to eat to rule my life.

  6. Sara, don't feel defeated. The fact that your jeans need a belt is a GOOD thing. Well done on moving in the right direction :-)

    Don't know if this may help. I've been making little 'folds' or 'tucks' (sorry, I'm no dressmaker so don't know what the darned things are really called) in my trousers as weight gradually goes. Just sewing a little fold in the band in a couple of places at the back, then a couple more, and so on to tide me over until I can get down a size. It means you don't need a belt (horrid, uncomfortable things) and they are covered by tee-shirts, sweaters etc. so don't show.

    And... agreed! That Mother Nature is a real bitch sometimes.