The thickening part started in my late 40’s, but being an avid gym rat and a semi-health food person, I discarded the notion of middle-age spread.
I discarded the notion until lately, when I found myself paying attention to “Hydroxy-Cut” commercials and other gut-busting remedies. Inwardly, I groaned, thinking I was surely beyond thinking that appearance equals self-worth. Apparently not.
I have muddled through thick-waistedness for a while now, and have identified definitive stages. I feel there will be a personal victory once I successfully complete all of them. I hope to emerge a kinder, humbler; albeit thicker, person.
The first stage I identified was self-pity. This stage began the day I found I could not adequately lift a lithe leg to my previously lean stomach in order to slide a foot into pantyhose. Nope. After a couple tries, I had to sit down on the bed, hoist a bent leg outward a little, thereby avoiding the extra fleshiness that has made its home around my waist. Self-pity slapped me full in the face. I ran to the mirror and looked at myself sideways, and decided it was not yet noticeable. Then I secretly ate a cookie.’
The second stage I experienced was denial. This, for me, resulted in less exercise because my mind balked at more exercise. Isn’t thirty years’ worth enough? Haven’t I earned the right to relax a little? After two months of denial and another half inch around my waist, I decided exercise will always be mandatory and got back up off the couch.
The third stage was grudging acceptance. This stage has been derailed, surprisingly, by my daughters, who cannot accept the fact that I am growing older and trying my best not to be depressed about going up a pant size. What do they know? They are in their 20’s, for Pete’s sake. I am constantly bludgeoned with phrases like, “Mom! All you have to do is a bunch of planks a day! Do you know what a plank is?”
Yes, I know what a plank is and I hate them with all the strength I can muster. A steady diet of planks would kill me and I refuse. If crunches were good enough for Jane Fonda, they are good enough for me.
The litany continues, “Mom! Dude! Have you tried P90X Workout? It’s incredible!” or “Mom! Dude! You don’t have to give in to this, just work out 15 minutes a day! That’s it! That’s all you need!”
I don’t have the heart to tell her that someday, she too, will experience waist-thickening. She is still too young, though, to prepare her heart now. I understand this. So I am sagely quiet and pull my new elastic waistband up over the troubling tire. On a side note, I do not want this to become a habit. Lately I have noticed I stick my thumbs in my waistband and hoist it up over the stubborn flesh around my middle every time I sit down.
This stage usually occurs in a fitting room. I would suggest that fellow waist-thickeners stay out of fitting rooms. Buy stuff, and try it on at home, where the lighting is more gracious. I was horrified when I saw myself in the fitting room at the height of my personal thick-waistedness and promised myself I would eat less and work out more before I was tempted to do this again.
The disgust stage is pretty emotional, but the hysterical outbursts lessen with time.
The next stage is moderate acceptance infused with a healthy lifestyle. I found myself drawn to magazines that have article headlines like “Getting a little fluffy?”, or”Extra inches around the waist unavoidable in aging process, but exercise helps.” I avoided magazines with rail-thin models or wasp-waisted waifs. After a while I became a little too cocky, and tried on some tops that had been languishing in the back of my closet.
Not one of them fit, which caused me to backslide all the way to stage one.
My outlook is better lately. I am working on accepting both gravity and age as inevitable. I never try on old clothes when cleaning out the closet. The hysterical outbursts are nearly non-existent.
Inner beauty really is more important than outer beauty, after all. My brain and my waist need to communicate better about all this, and have a meeting of the minds somewhere in the middle.
For instance, my waist has told me to ditch the elastic waistbands, but my brain tells me this will be uncomfortable. On this particular issue, I agree with my waist. Those elastic waistbands are truly hideous. So we have all compromised with higher-waisted pants that do not look ridiculous, thereby avoiding the elastic option.
Loving myself has definitely been a challenge during this time of thick-waistedness. However, I am hopeful that with diligent vigilance, I will be able to prevent the dreaded time of non-waistedness, which would most definitely result in prolonged hysterical outbursts and trigger a resurgence of elastic waistbands.
I am telling my brain that non-waistedness is not an option. I hope my brain alerts my waist.