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The Body-Image Solution: Elastic Pants

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My 30s hit me a couple of years ago, and my metabolism went down the shi*ter. I miss the days when I could work out a reasonable, non-obsessive amount, eat moderately, go out drinking 'til 2 in the morning then have a greasy pizza, and still wake up thin every day. Now, if I eat one potato chip, what I wake up like in the morning is a crap shoot. I don't get it. I really don't. I'm practically a different size everyday, fluctuating up and down, never knowing when or why I'll wake up bloated. I used to be able to predict bloat days, but sadly, this seems to be no longer the case. To say this predicament is frustrating is putting it lightly. I feel the only solution is to purchase elastic pants (and bottoms) and elastic pants (and bottoms) only. These include leggings, jeggings, yoga pants, jersey A-line skirts, harem pants, gauchos, and, dare I say it, sweat pants.

The ironic thing about my body's unpredictable nature and my current wardrobe dilemma is that I can honestly say that I lead a healthier lifestyle now than I did in my 20s. I work out in some capacity nearly every day, be it via Pilates, cardio, lifting, or yoga. I even have my giant elliptical machine in my family room so that I can't ignore it.

Avoiding exercise is not an option for me. It helps my wild mind calm down and shut up momentarily. In addition to my fairly consistent exercise regime, I eat better. I don't eat a lot for one thing -- I never have actually. My grandma actually gets mad at me and tells me that I eat like an "uccello," which is bird in Italian. My stomach tends to get full quickly but then hungry again a few hours later, so I naturally eat several small meals a day, which I hear is what we're supposed to do to speed up the metabolism.

Though I do indulge now and again, I do so much less frequently than I had in my thinner days. I make a conscious effort to incorporate vegetables and fruit into my diet. Though I realize I could be incorporating more, I (a) don't have the ability to stuff more food into my stomach, and (b) I NEVER did this in my 20s. I drink water like it's going out of style, which is yet another thing I was never conscious of in my younger years. I don't drink alcohol abundantly, I don't go out partying, and I don't have late nights. I go to sleep early like an old woman and always get more than eight hours a night. I make all these healthier choices in my 30s, and yet I'm still a good 10 to 15 pounds heavier than I was in my 20s. I've only been able to shed a few pounds here and there, but it has always been extremely hard (like verged-on-starving-myself hard), and the weight has always reliably returned. Those LBs are stubborn bastards.

Because of the stubbornness of these pounds, the unpredictability of my daily weight, the unknown factor of potential bloatedness, I've resolved only to purchase elastic pants. When I put on a pair of non-elastic pants that fit the previous week, but don't fit the following, my confidence plummets. When that happens, I view my body in the mirror entirely differently. Though I may have thought I looked thin prior to trying on said pants, after finding they're snug, I see myself as fat in the mirror. It's crazy how our perception of reality changes and hinges on such slight shifts. It's crazy, but it's undeniable. When I think I'm fat, chubby, chunky, ugly, etc., I'm not only in a worse mood, but my lifestyle changes for the worse. I kind of give up and resort to unhealthy choices in a defeatist manner, which just makes the whole body-image/confidence dip I had even lower, deeper and sadder.

The solution: elastic pants. If I can always fit in my pants, then I can avoid feeling like sh*t about myself. Now, I do realize I have to keep some normal pants and bottoms around; I mean, I do venture out in public. (Although, I've been known to do so in sweatpants because I'm sexy like that.) I also like to keep a few non-elastic pants around as a gauge. Once in a while, I like to check in with my bad self and make sure my hips haven't raged too out of control -- gotta keep those suckers reigned in. This is no easy task. They have minds of their own.

All that being said, my main focus is to maintain as healthy of a body image as I can, exercise and eat healthy to be healthy both physically and mentally, and realize I'm enough. That's a hard concept to realize -- the idea of being enough, thin enough, beautiful enough. The nutty thing is that "enough" is only defined by me, and it is only me putting the pressure on. I must release that pressure, and elastic pants can help me do that both in my waistline and mind.