photo by Steve Penland

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Curse of the Stretchy Pants

So the skating season seems to be off to a good start.

The diet season, unfortunately, is not.

I'm blaming my stretchy pants.

Not really, of course, but they're certainly not helping.  See, I'm not typically a "girly stretchy pant" wearer; I tend more towards jeans, and not fashion jeans either--Carhartt and Cabela's jeans, with buttons and zippers and waistbands that hold their own against expanding muffin tops.  My "kicking back around the house" jeans are just older, grubbier versions of my "Fridays and any other days I can get away with it at work" jeans; in other words, they still exert the same "no, you can't cram any more PopTart fall-out into us" influence as my "nice" jeans.

These stretchy pants, though.  They're something else.  I never expected to like them, and in fact, never intended to buy them.  But every time I went into this particular outdoorsy-gear store (in search of winter jackets or warm gloves or whatever), the happy salesgirls would accost me and enthusiastically extol the virtues of these particular stretchy pants. Most comfortable thing they'd ever worn, they'd say.  Incredible fabric, they'd say, you've got to try it.

But stretchy pants are not, as I've said, my thing.  Especially not $40 stretchy pants.  Until one day I went into the store and some of them (the less popular brown ones) had become $10 stretchy pants.

So I bought a pair.  The ol' Cabela's jeans were becoming a bit snug for comfortable wearing around the house, so $10 for some comfy "temporary fat pants" didn't seem like a bad deal.

But it's quickly becoming apparent that it was a bad deal.  A very bad deal.  Because these pants are way too comfortable.  Soft, warm, with a nice friendly waistband that stays up just perfectly but doesn't ever feel tight.

And therein lies the problem.  When I wear the stretchy pants, I don't think I need to lose weight.  All other evidence--the fact that I can only fit into two pairs of my jeans; the fact that my new Mat I skinsuit will not see the light of day with me in it unless something drastic happens; the visual I subjected myself to on Saturday when I positioned myself in front of the full-wall mirror in the oval weight room for our dryland session --points to a distinct need to shed some home-grown insulation.  But when I wear my forgiving stretchy pants, all is right with the world and I reach for another PopTart.

So something's gotta change.  Unfortunately, I've never been good at dieting by brute force willpower.  As with my skating, I can't just decide that I want to do it and then do it; I have to be somehow motivated by an internal change of heart.  Or, since I'm a behavior analyst, I'll put it in behavioral terms--the reinforcement contingencies need to change.  Somehow, losing weight and fitting into my skinsuit again needs to become more reinforcing than a Brown Sugar Cinnamon PopTart.   I had the change of heart with skating--suddenly, skating hard again became more reinforcing than sitting on the couch.  Now I just need it to happen with eating.  It's happened before, I know it will happen again; sooner or later, my lame attempts at dieting/changing my eating habits/whatever you want to call it will last longer than a day, and I'll start to head back toward "skating weight."

And the stretchy pants will head back to the closet.

For now, though, it's fat and frustrating in the ol' long track life kitchen.


  1. hmm, you may just have to do what I did with icecream- I don't buy cartons of it for my house anymore because I couldn't control how much of it I ate. you might just have to stop buying poptarts!! :O Out of sight, (not quite) out of mind? ;)

  2. Good thought...except I'm just as bad at "not buying" as I am at "not eating!"