fat man and the comfort waistband

Creative Commons License photo credit: lucianvenutian

I have seen some good stuff written about fat man pants. What are “fat man pants”? The idea is simply that when you gain weight, you need to buy new, comfortable pants rather than walk around in your waist-cinching pantaloons. Simple enough. If you have a size 32 waist and you wear size 32, you’ll be comfortable and look fine. If you are size 32 and wear size 34, you’ll look a little puffy, maybe, but still OK. Size 34 man stuffed in size 32? Ouch, and it can get worse – size 36 trying to squeeze into those nice size 32 jeans that fit just a few Coca-Colas ago? Not a pretty sight.

But fat man pants are a big mistake. I recently felt the need to buy some new pants (always need to look presentable in the fashion-conscious accounting field…hah). I was a little bit unnerved to see that my usual size 34s were suddenly a little too tight unless I got the “comfort waistband” – a code phrase for “fat and/or bloated stretchy waistband.” It was not a proud moment for someone who lost 100 pounds.

I got a little bit lazy over the last two years.
With a baby boy and a sports injury my weightlifting and running trailed a long way back. A cold winter slowed me down even more. A pregnant wife meant that I felt like I was able to “gain a bit” since hey, she did too! That is bad thinking.

So my fat man pants moment came and passed like this: I got the comfort waistband, but I also took a hard look at my diet.
I’ve been down this road before.  I cut out bread, pasta, rice and sweets from my diet. I switched from eating toast with cream cheese in the morning to eating an omelette (few carbs, less fat). I started doing pushups and started taking the stairs again.

And you know what? Just like that, my comfort waistband slackened. I haven’t been starving myself, or doing any weird exercises: just restricting the worst of the carbs (I’ll still eat veggies and some fruits) and avoiding the easy way out of taking escalators or elevators and making sure I drink plenty of water.

My point? Weight loss is not difficult – changing your mindset is. People make it difficult by treating it as a massive project; I see people launch into diets with the fervor reserved for political campaigns. Just make a series of gradual changes. Don’t be halfhearted – you ARE making a lifestyle change – but don’t feel that you are entering a “special time” of dieting, at the end of which you will emerge thin and able to eat anything. You will not. You need to change your approach to food and exercise to match your life as it is now, not as it was before the kids or back when you had more free time or before the knees got stiff. Evolve.

And for the record, I have shed 8 pounds by doing nothing more than this.