Ladies and gentlemen! I have an announcement, for which I know you have all been waiting with bated breath:
My leather pants, the pants that started it all, officially fit my body once again.
I don’t have to suck in to do them up, I can breathe, and there will be no lacerations should I decide to sit down. I will now be able to resume my dream of appearing to be a dominatrix biker-chick. Can you hear the Hallelujah chorus?
It’s been almost exactly a year since I embarked on my journey to Edinburgh, Scotland, land of fish & chips and deep-fried Mars bars, which is absolutely crazy to think about. Time flies and all that. I’ve been home now for longer than I was away, which is also crazy to think about. The whole experience feels simultaneously like a distant dream and like it just happened yesterday. If I close my eyes, I can almost feel the gentle Scottish rain upon my face, which I have been feeling particularly nostalgic for as of late in light of the recent face-stabbing Canadian winds we’ve been experiencing.
All that aside, I want to get back to the pants. The initial post was written about halfway through my stint in Scotland; besides the pants, the majority of my clothes still fit. I’d gained perhaps about 5-ish pounds. By the time I got home, I’d gained around 15 pounds. Absolutely none of my pants fit (the waistbands of pants tend to hit me right at my exact fattest spot), and many of my dresses and skirts were more than a wee bit snug. Trying to don my work uniform was a quite the struggle; my pants that had required a belt to stay up mere months before were at risk of cutting off circulation (thank God we wore aprons – very handy bulge covers), and my already-slightly-snug button-up shirts (*ahem* – well-endowed chestular regions and buttons are really not good friends) were in real danger of popping a button right into someone’s Chicken Fusilli.
When one or two articles of clothing don’t fit, it’s not really that big of a deal; but, when every morning turns into a game of “Alright, what will make me look the least like a stuffed sausage?”, it tends to knock you down a bit. I felt like every person I reunited with post-Scotland was thinking, “Wow, she got fat.” I don’t know if anyone was actually thinking that, but in case they were, I always felt like I needed to beat them to the punch. So, whenever someone asked how my trip was, I’d always lightheartedly say something like, “It was really awesome! I got kind of fat, but oh well!” That way, no one would whisper behind my back about how fat I’d gotten, because I’d already acknowledged it. Or, at least, that was my logic.
Why did I gain so much weight? Well, I believe it was for a combination of reasons. The eating-hummus-for-five-hours-straight-every-night thing definitely contributed, though I toned that down in the later days of my stay. I didn’t drink any more often than I do at home, though when I did, it was always succeeded by a drunken trip to our local greasy chippy (shoutout to Café Piccante). I actually was quite active, just because of the amount of walking. Except to get to school, I walked almost everywhere I went. Edinburgh is an incredibly hilly city, so I daresay my butt looked pretty toned by the end, even if the rest of me expanded in unfavourable ways.
I strongly believe that the main contributor to my slow-but-sure weight gain was purely because I could not afford the quality of food I was used to at home. Since I live at home, my parents pay for my food. We are always well-stocked with a number of fruits and veggies, we buy organic when we can, and we eat a variety of different meats on a weekly basis. I am always well-fed with good food.
On the other hand, in Edinburgh, I was living on a limited budget in a city where food is quite expensive. Buying large amounts of fruits and veggies wasn’t practical, as they are both expensive and quick to spoil, and I couldn’t eat it fast enough. Literally, chocolate was less expensive than produce, and it doesn’t spoil, so I ended up keeping a lot of sweets around for snacking. I rarely bought meat, and when I did, I ate it in very small quantities. I still recall the time I splurged and bought pork chops. I didn’t realize until the moment I cut the first bite how much I had missed meat. I’ve never been one of those “I’m a carnivore lol meat 4ever” people, but at that moment, nothing had ever tasted as wonderful as that pork chop. In light of this, I bulked out my diet with inexpensive rice, pasta, and beans. While none of these things are inherently bad for you in moderation, when your diet mostly consists of just that, it will take its toll. Portion control is a weak point for me, and at home, where vegetables are a big part of the portion, it isn’t much of a problem. But, when almost your entire meal is pasta for days at a time…you get the picture.
I say this because I do feel this is an issue that needs to be addressed. Eating healthy truly is a privilege. Those of us who can afford to eat well are quick to judge those who can’t, and even quicker to judge the outcomes of the resultant eating habits. Even with my limited budget, I had it much better than many. I had the time and energy to cook my own food, as well as the nutritional knowledge that has been hammered into my head since birth by my health-obsessed mother. I could afford the occasional splurge. A large number of the population does not have the extra time or the knowledge, and even the occasional splurge is out of the question. It should come as no surprise that studies have found links between socio-economic class and obesity (and also with race, since certain races are more likely to be living in lower-class conditions, but this is not one of my rants about society’s racism issues, so I digress).
This, of course, is not to say that I wasn’t extremely, incredibly fortunate to have been able to live my exchange experience. Weight and all, I am so, so thankful for the amazing adventure I was able to embark on, and I wouldn’t change any of it.
Now, I’m sure some of you will be wondering how I went about losing the weight. Honestly, I didn’t do much. I went back to eating my good, healthy, less-pasta-filled home-cooked meals. I started practising yoga, which I’m sure didn’t hurt, but isn’t exactly the most vigorous fitness activity out there. I resumed working as a server, which is actually a pretty active job (walking and sometimes literally running back and forth for hours while carrying heavy trays and plates sounds like a workout to me). And, as slowly but surely as I gained it, the weight gradually dropped off. My clothes began to fit properly again, and I stopped feeling like a stuffed sausage. I’m actually pretty sure that the pants would have fit a couple months ago, but I put off trying them on. Why? Well, to be honest, I was kind of scared that they wouldn’t fit, and then I would have felt like a failure. True to my nature, since it was potentially unpleasant, I procrastinated doing it.
I still stand by my point from my original post – that is, that I shouldn’t hate myself just because I gained a little weight. My feelings of distaste can largely be attributed to two things: One, none of my clothes fit; I have A LOT of clothes (many would say I have a problem/obsession) and did not want to have to buy an entire new wardrobe just to not look like a rolled-up sleeping bag straining against its holding straps. Two, I momentarily concerned myself with what everyone else would think; I have observed many of the people I know and speak to on a regular basis (friends, family, what-have-you) talking about and ridiculing fat people and people who have put on weight, and I really didn’t care to be the next subject of conversation. For all the walls I try to put up against other people’s opinions of me, sometimes, they just aren’t as rock-hard as I’d like them to be.
My leather pants and I have been on a great many adventures together – from drunkenly dancing to Blink-182, to encounters with rude rat-faced individuals, to a time when I really was too fat to wear them and they had to be banished to the bottom of my closet, to today, when button and buttonhole may at last be reunited across the vast expanse of my stomach with little struggle. They have taught me a great many lessons – and hey, I guess you could say that they’re the reason I pop up on your newsfeeds and bug you with rants every couple months. I’m sure you’re all just as grateful as I am.