Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ode To Blue Jeans

I went shopping today for new jeans.  I was tired of the baggy butt syndrome and since I went through all the holes in my belt loop last week, I decided it was finally time to hit the mall.

So a little over 2 years ago...January 7, 2010 to be exact.  I was 168.8 pounds. I loved to run.  I trained for half marathons.  I knew I was overweight for my 5'4 frame but because I was a runner, I felt like I was really not that unhealthy.  Yet other signs screamed at me, I was depressed often, had heartburn issues and odd breakouts on my skin.  Hello? Anyone home?

This is me having my "before" photo taken at an Herbalife Weight Loss Challenge.  I signed up because the competitive side of me will lose weight for money.  It was definitely the catalyst I needed but I did not end up winning anything.  But at least I lost some weight.  My blue jeans in this photo are a size 14 and I was still sporting the muffin top.

I remember filling out a questionnaire.  What is your dream weight?  I put 145 pounds and the scoffed because it sounded so ridiculous and impossible.  I remember them assigning me a coach and it wasn't Leesa.  I wanted Leesa to be my coach, because I found out she was a runner.  I requested to have my coach switched because only another runner would be able to understand me. I am embarrassed now on how elitist I must have sounded.

When you are not happy with yourself, it is amazing on how many places outside of yourself you will look to fill that void.  I shopped for the perfect over-sized clothes to hide the weight.  The shoes.  The make-up. The perfect hair color.  The perfect hair cut.  I scavenged malls.  I read books.  I listened to audio tapes.  I read magazine after magazine.  I took classes.  I tried to emulate my friends' style.  I spent so many dollars looking for that instant fix.  Every time I came up empty.

Then I finally signed up for the YMCA because my friend Christina dragged me kicking and screaming to a Body Pump class.  And shortly after I joined this gym I met, Matt, the spin instructor.  Matt is a super fit, high energy, down-to-earth man who also happens to be an amazing teacher.  The first time I took his class, I wanted to scream and jump off the bike after 15 minutes.  I wanted to run away.  But funny thing after I finished, I knew, I would be coming back for more.  Every time I suffered through his class, it got just a teeny bit easier.

I went shopping for the first time at REI.  Spin shoes were on sale.  I asked the sales guy, SO, what exactly is so special about spin shoes?  He told me the pulling-up motion while pedaling tones the other set of muscles in your legs versus just letting gravity do all the work. Bottom line: It will tone up your leg muscles even more.

Uh okay... yeah...I was SOLD.

I bought spin shoes and became a dedicated regular in spin class. I started seeing muscles in my legs I had not seen before.  And I liked it.

In Matt's class, I met my mom's neighbor Penny who at that time taught water running.  You put on a floatie water belt and you sprinted in the water.  With the combination of spinning and water training, I started to get faster when running.  When my speed improved, so did my hunger for races. 

I started reading about nutrition, especially raw food and vegan lifestyles.  I started cutting out the cheese, cut back on the meat, and switched to alternative milks like Almond Milk or Soy milk.  The weight started falling off.

I had always wanted to do a triathlon, but was terrified of swimming.  Well, I had the bike down, now that I was spinning.  And the more I took water class, the more comfortable I became in the water. I was ready to tackle my swim issues.   A triathlete was born.

In June 2010, my first triathlon (YMCA Freedom Tri) was done on a $99 Wal-mart bike, wearing running shoes (no fancy clip-in spin shoes on this tri) and I doggy paddled most of it.  But hey, I proudly finished it. I was hooked on how the cross training made me faster and lighter with less aches and pains.  I wanted to do it again.

Fast forward to today.  In my last post I mentioned how I wanted to drop to 130 by the Ironman.  I am slowly inching toward that goal. And today I had to buy new jeans.

Lately I have had frustrations with my wardrobe.  My favorite clothes are not fitting like they used to.  I have less clothes than ever because of my size change.  I went to the mall today ready to reunite with my old friend.  I walked in to Forever 21 and felt like I had walked into a foreign land.  The floor sparkled like diamonds, chandeliers hung from the ceiling and club music echoed in my ears.

Wow.   Toto, something tells me I am not in Kansas anymore.

The world that I once welcomed and embraced was now freaking me out.  I bought 3 pairs of pants and felt exhausted.  I could not wait to get out of there.  Gone were the days I could spend hours in the mall, critiquing the clothes in all the store displays.

Now, I was looking at racks of clothes of sizes that I have not fit in since I was 18 years old.  I thought when I got to be this size shopping would be a dream.  But part of me felt like I was dreaming and this was all a joke.  Where is the eject button?

Is this my wake up call that shopping is not the answer to my source of happiness?  Am I finally fitting another piece to the puzzle of life?

I felt like a snake who just molted out of their old skin and was looking at it for the first time.  Who was that, and who am I now?

Who would have guessed that buying blue jeans would send me into an identity crisis?

After 3 stores, and 3 bags of new clothes later, I was ready to hightail it out of that rabbit hole.

Too much to absorb right now but at least I have some blue jeans now that don't give me baggy butt. 

Mission accomplished.  I think.