Feel the Burn

I pulled a muscle in my back last night trying to get into a Spanx bodyslimmer.

A few months ago, I ordered a bridesmaid dress after trying on the store sample. The sample fit, so I ordered accordingly. Turns out the sample was stretched out, therefore the dress I ordered was too tight.

“No problem,” I thought. “I’ll just drop a few pounds.”

Truth be told, that plan is going just fine (although it’s a good thing I still have four weeks to go). Admittedly, I was frustrated at first, but I’ve been trying to lose the same few pounds since I was, like, in the womb, so I figured this had to be the time that I finally did it. After all, having a bridesmaid dress hanging in my room — staring at me while I sleep — is creepy. Threatening. Fear-inducing. It’s also good motivation.

“Might I suggest you invest in Spanx?” a co-worker said yesterday after hearing about the dress mishap.

I have them, and I love them for the smoothing effect under tighter clothing. But, sadly, this isn’t a smoothing situation. This is a “I need to drink less wine and eat fewer comfort foods” situation.

On my drive home, I got to thinking that the next 31 days might be far more pleasant if, in fact, the Spanx solved everything. Maybe a glass of wine here, perhaps a burrito there. Why not try?

Somewhat excitedly, I rummaged through a dresser drawer and found my decidedly un-sexy contraption that was sure to do the trick.

As I tried to weasel my way into it, the only thing I was sure of was that my manicure was getting ruined by my slow, determined pulling at the slippery, high-waisted cincher. I was starting to sweat, but that had to be a good sign, right? How could it possibly not do the trick?

Well, it didn’t.

I put the dress on, and any amount of torso reduction was canceled out by the thickness of the Spanx. What’s more, my back was killing me. I can only assume the extreme tugging had been more of a workout than I’d [clearly] had in months. I texted the bride-to-be and told her what I’d done.

“Uh-oh, are you OK?” she asked. “Are you in pain?”

Pain, yes — but mostly just bruised self-esteem.

What can I say? I’d been looking after matters of the heart in recent months. And when that happens, my mouth wants to fix it. Thus, I feast. And apparently I’d consumed a buffet of consolation.

Years ago when I lived at the beach, I decided one day to be my best self. I ate a lot of protein (protein that wasn’t in the form of a bean burrito), walked about 40 miles a week, learned to love disproportionate amounts of chicken breast, grilled veggies, fruit, tuna, low-fat cottage cheese, salad with a little salsa for dressing, and my cans – cans of no-salt-added vegetables that I took to work (and for which I was ridiculed mercilessly). I also didn’t go out a whole lot, so drinking not much more than water was easy-peasy. Forty-five days and 30 pounds later, I was bikini-ready. For the first time in my life.

But something about knowing that I did it once and can therefore do it again keeps me in park; I’m idling. “I’ll start tomorrow,” I tell myself, “because surely it will work again.”

Except that I haven’t tried again.

Until this week. A bit has changed since those beach days, though. I’ve had knee surgery, so 40 miles a week isn’t in the cards. And I can’t stomach the thought of no-salt-added veggies. Some of the other things, however, I’ll keep. It’s about time I got back to them anyway.

The thing about my Spanx is that if they had worked, there’d be no change. I wanted it to do the trick, but it would’ve been the equivalent of a magic trick – something that isn’t real. It would be false advertising and, having worked in advertising for years, you’d think I’d be OK with that…but I’m not. Instead of saying yes to merely hiding the unhealthy parts of me that I know need to go in the first place, I’ll instead say yes to something that simply smooths once I get down to my goal weight.

Pulled back muscle and all, I left the house and walked. For four miles.

For last night’s reality check, and – in a way – for my pain and flailing, I am thankful. Let’s feel the burn, people.

2 thoughts on “Feel the Burn

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