When Your Pants Shrink on The 250th Wash

“Don’t get on the scale.  Ever.  It’s just a number, and it doesn’t really correspond with your health or your fitness level.  So throw it out!  Never step on a scale again!”

I had an eight year period of my life where I embraced this philosophy.  After being fairly small for most of my life, I gave up the scale in my late 20s and what do you think happened?

Did I feel unchained from watching my figure?  Did I gain a newfound sense of confidence?


I put on forty pounds.

I know what you’re thinking.  It was probably because I was putting on muscle!  Was I really fit under that doughy layer of marshmallow fluff?

For some people, I’m sure that’s the case, but it was most certainly not the case for me.  I personally chunked up for a few reasons, and none of them had anything to do with having too much muscle mass.

The first reason for My Own Personal Chunkening was that I ate anything I wanted, anytime I felt like it, until I felt uncomfortably full – and I mean packing it in.

Wendy’s Double Cheeseburger, fries, and a Frosty for lunch?  Thank you!  And not just as a treat.  Every day.  Then round off the workday afternoon with some cookies, maybe a bag of chips or two.

Dunkin’ Donuts sausage, egg, and cheese on a bagel as a midnight snack, after already having eaten three meals and two snacks that day?  Please pull forward and pay at the first window.

Brownie sundae at every restaurant meal?  I would order a brownie sundae and when the other person with me would say, “We’ll split it!” I had absolutely no qualms about giving them the look of death, saying, “No,” and then inhaling the sundae like it was my last day on Earth.

People loved this.  Any time I shoved an entire slice of pizza into my mouth, my cheeks expanding out to those of a hamster, they practically applauded.  People love to encourage bad behavior for some reason, I assume so they don’t feel so bad about their own?

This is a good look and you know it.

The second reason was that I sat at a desk-job all day.  I did zero exercise.  Literally none.  I was so unfit, I was constantly out of breath even just walking fast, and my joints hurt all the time.  Knees, hip joints, even my finger joints.  I wasn’t even 35 and I hurt all over.

The third reason was that I was perpetually very stressed out and under-slept.  I was out playing shows with the band at night and still waking up at 6am for my 8-to-5 day job every morning.  I dragged myself into work in the morning on 2-3 hours sleep regularly, and I was all kinds of messed up and constantly sick.

I was so exhausted that I felt I had earned the right to stuff my face and slowly become one with the couch.  Hadn’t I suffered enough with my financial problems, stressful workload, and unsupportive boyfriend?  The least I deserved was fresh-baked cookies and an episode (or eight) of The Golden Girls.

And I tell ya what, my thick ol’ body onstage with the band?  People loved it, especially the women in the crowd.  They couldn’t believe the confidence I displayed onstage despite my yuuuuuuuuge ass.  They were encouraging, and sweet, and awesome, and always made me feel like a million bucks.  I was never actually as confident as I appeared to be, but I felt like I owed it to women to show them that they could be confident no matter what size they were.

The reality was that deep down, anytime I saw a picture of myself, I would get very upset, delete it, and spend the rest of the day freaking out about my double chin.  Clothes didn’t fit me unless I put on practically head-to-toe Spanx, and I had to wear biking shorts under my dresses so that my thighs didn’t rub together.  I sat down at my kitchen table one time, and snapped a leather belt I was wearing right in half at the back.

I knew I’d put on weight, but I didn’t think it was that much.  As someone who’s exceptionally skilled at living in denial, I made up every excuse in the book when I split a pair of pants that I’d had and worn on a weekly basis for ten years.  “Oh, the washer must have shrunk these!  On the 250th wash!”

I went to the doctor for the first time in a lot of years, and they made me get on a scale.  When the little metal slider thing clicked into place and the number was read aloud, I felt my knees go weak.  I could not believe how much I weighed.  I had estimated that I weighed about 30 pounds LESS than the number that was staring back at me on the scale.  Holy ballz.  I’m only 5’4″.  When you’re that short, every 5 pounds puts you up at least another dress size.

I had finally had enough of feeling like crap all the time, so I started working out, and kind of watching what I ate.  I lost about ten pounds, and I was really happy with it.  Then the ex-boyfriend dropped a nuclear bomb on my life and I lost ten more pounds in one week.  (Related – I don’t recommend grief-rage vomiting as a diet.)

Then I straightened my ass up, decided I needed to get healthy, and signed up for a paleo local food delivery service and lost another twenty-five pounds.  I started exercising just 15-20 minutes a day, six days a week.  (That paleo diet made me lose weight like crazy.  I literally could not stop losing weight on it, and eventually had to start adding stuff like bread and pasta back in to even maintain my weight.)

I wasn’t surprised at the people told me I looked great with the weight loss, but I was surprised at how many people were total dicks about it.  I mean, really, really surprised.  They would ask outright how much I weighed (something that would NOT have been cool when I was overweight), scrutinized my diet, accused me working out for hours every day, and there was even a rumor going around that I had developed an eating disorder.

When I was inhaling pizza and cheeseburgers until I was so full that it was physically painful and I could barely move, nobody accused me of having an eating disorder.  They cheered me on.  When I stopped eating pizza, people gossiped that I needed to go to a clinic.  It was really weird.

So don’t let random unsubstantiated tips like “Don’t get on the scale!” take over your life.  I get on the scale at least a few times a week so that I know when I need to tone it back on the pies, because it works for me.  Do what works for you.  Paleo worked for me, might not work for you.  Running 10 miles a day might work for you, doesn’t work for me.

And the washer totally shrunk those pants.  On the 250th wash!

38 thoughts on “When Your Pants Shrink on The 250th Wash

  1. Oh Mags, I feel your pain! I too am only 5’4 and yes that’s short but it’s even shorter when you gain weight. I’m so glad the paleo diet worked for you and yes people can be total dicks about shit like you losing weight. It’s envy and they can’t handle how good you look now.

    When I started this job, I weighed 202 lbs! Yep I’m saying it out loud, because I was like you, spandex became my friend and everything in my closet was black. Because we all know that black makes you look thinner….lies, those are all LIES I TELL YOU! It just made me look like an over weight older goth, which wasn’t the look I was going for.

    But, after suffering from knee issues I finally went to the doctor, who found I was insulin resistant because even though I was working out, walking five days a week, and trying to stay away from carbs I was not only NOT losing weight, I was gaining it! So he puts me on meds to regulate my insulin, he upped my thyroid medication AND he put me on the keto diet.

    I was skeptical at first about the diet, then I started to lose weight, and adding different exercise to it only made me lose more weight. I went from a size 12-14 to a size 8, YAY! Although by the obesity standard I’m still “obese” because of my height, I’ve lost 43 lbs and I feel so much better. But I say, fuck that obesity scale, I’m not going to look stick thin and I don’t want to, as they say real women have curves and I’m proud of my curves! I even began running which before was totally impossible for me because of my knee and my weight.

    I’m happy for you and that you’ve reached this goal, so fuck the haters and have some BBQ and beer for breakfast! It’s all protein anyway, well except the beer but you can have cider which is different, lmao!

    You go girl, you wear that spandex now and look hot onstage!!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hell yeah – that’s awesome! Short ladies unite! I wish you lived closer so we could go eat some meat together! 😉 I’ve thought about doing keto myself, but I didn’t know anyone personally who’d done it, so it’s great to hear it’s working for you! I may go ahead and try it out now! I swear, I could eat bacon all day long and not gain a pound, and then eat a single piece of white bread and look five pounds heavier the next day. I think carbs just aren’t our friends, which is unfortunate, because I crave them night and day and would sometimes kill or die to get them.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Right? I crave pasta and crusty french bread, I’m craving it just writing about it, lol. I was super strict when I first began the keto, but now I allow myself (as per physician’s permission) some carbs, I try to stay under 150 grams of carbs a day. Which isn’t easy sometimes, pizza, bread and my weakness Dr. Pepper. Now that was hard, Dr. Pepper is like crack for me.

        But if you stick with it, it will yield results I know because I did it. I’d love to eat some meat with you and toast with a couple of beers (on our cheat day that is, lol) Eating bacon was a win-win for me, and all the meat, port and chicken I can handle, hells yes!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I never used to have a problem with my weight and paid no attention to what I ate. Sure, by the time I hit 50 I’d gained 20lbs but it happened slowly and wasn’t that noticeable. Then I had to have a hysterectomy and my hormones went nuts. In the past 4 years? I’ve gained 40 plus pounds and don’t even recognize myself. Hot flashes, fatigue…. menopause bites the big one.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I distinctly remember telling someone when I was 21 years old that I was “just one of those people” who could eat whatever they wanted and not gain weight. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha. Of course, that one came around and bit me in the ever-expanding ass. Now when I hear a young person say that, I just laugh and laugh and laugh and say, “Uh huh. Call me in ten years and let me know how that’s working out for you.” It really is such an uphill battle as you get older. Just one bad weekend of eating and I put on five pounds just like that, and it takes two months to get it back off.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Preach sister! And I know it’s wrong, but when I see one of those skinny bitches from high school who thought they’d be thin forever…. and they’re pushing 300 now? I chuckle.
        Silently because I don’t want them to sit on me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I tell ya, the aging metabolism is a real equalizer. I’ve yet to run into a cheerleader from my high school days who hasn’t packed it on just like everyone else! It’s just so much damn effort to keep it off with age!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. 4’11 here. 5 pounds is nuclear death. I lost 60 pounds with healthy eating and excercise. Results? Normal weight, doctor happy. People? Omg, do you eat? Are you sick, what do you weigh, you’re too skinny etc. F*CK them all. 5 years and a crappy thyroid later, I’m back to looking at the same battle. Now it’s, should you be eating that? Should YOU be talking??

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel for ya! At 4’11, five pounds must be two sizes up! It’s just not fair! I have a friend who’s over 6′ and he eats like a machine and never appears to put on a single pound.

      People just looooove to comment on other people’s weight in a snotty, judgey way. Any time I hear it, I’m just amazed at the gall some people have!


  4. Since I have been in my 40’s (and I am nearing 50 – so I have hung out here for awhile), I have wondered why NO ONE TELLS YOU THAT YOUR METABOLISM SLOWS AS YOU AGE AND YOU GAIN WEIGHT WITHOUT REALIZING IT!? I feel like we should get some info on that. We should be required to sign off on it: check this box so we know that you understand.

    I am blessed to be tall (almost 5′ 10″), although growing up I hung with the shortest people around and was super self-conscious about my height so I slouched a LOT. Not a good look. Anyway, I am the opposite of someone suffering from an eating disorder because I still think of myself as tall and thin. Every once in a while I was catching a glimpse of myself (like when my kids thought they were funny and snuck around behind me videoing me with my ipad. Key words – from behind), and I was like – wow I don’t look as thin as I think I am. Plus I was working out, so what the Hell? By no means was I overweight, but just looking doughier than I thought I was. I started REALLY working out, like high intensity shit. You know when men are in your workout classes at the health club that you are a bad ass. Right?

    On top of that I was diagnosed with celiac disease in May 2015,. I really hate not eating gluten, but I think if I could still eat gluten I would be chowing down on a sleeve of cookies every afternoon. Gluten free food is gross plus highly caloric. So, I mostly eat naturally gluten free food like fruit, veggies, meat, cheese and potatoes. I love potatoes. I also love sheet cake and all things dessert related, so that part of my life is miserable. I eat ice cream – just not cookies and cream, so I got that going for me.

    Good for you for losing the weight. I have never had to lose lots of pounds and I do not know if I could do it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There should be a law against taking video of anyone from behind without their consent! That sort of thing could put me into a tailspin (pardon the pun) for weeks! It’s like those people who take the WORST picture of you when you’re out somewhere and then broadcast it on their social media. You had to take the one where it looks like I have a kangaroo pouch?? The doughy thing with aging is so freaking true. I asked my doctor about it last year when I told her that I was doing all my ab workouts but was still starting to get squishy around the middle, and she said, I kid you not, “You’re old. Get used to it.” To be fair, she is probably early 30s and has a great sense of humor, but it definitely was not the answer I was looking for!

      Celiac is an awful break – I don’t do great with wheat, but I don’t know what I would do if I had to cut out pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches entirely. The cauliflower crust pizza from California Pizza Kitchen is actually really good if you haven’t tried it!


  5. As a fellow 5’4 girl (okay, five-three-and-three-quarters, but hey, I round up), I know the struggle of putting on five pounds and needing a whole new wardrobe because none of my shit fits. After becoming severely depressed a couple of years ago I ended up at the heaviest weight of my life, 30lbs over where I feel comfortable. This year I’ve started working out and eating moderately better and am slowly shedding the pounds. For me, what works has always been calorie-counting and daily weigh-ins. This strategy isn’t for everyone but I’m an analyst through and through and I like data. But it amazes me that the same people who didn’t say shit when I stuffed an entire bag of Hint of Lime Tostitos in my face rapid-fire now have so much “concern” over my methods of getting healthier. Honestly I think they just don’t see me as fun if I’m not being horribly self-destructive and that makes them garbage, not me. Same to your dick commenters.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love me some data! I know “they” say you can tell if you’re losing weight by the way your clothes fit, but that’s never worked for me since almost everything I wear has stretch in it!

      It is so true – people act like you’re not fun anymore when you start taking care of yourself. Isn’t that awful? If a friend tells me they’re working on themselves, I’ve got nothing but love for them!


  6. Congratulations on your incredible success with the paleo. I wish I had the discipline to eliminate entire food groups. I have heard it works wonders for so many. What works for me is Weight Watchers….Such a godsend. I am down 27 lbs now (truth be told I gained back 4 this Summer because I stopped tracking what I ate). I am still not at my weight goal yet but I am hoping, like you, I’ll get there soon.

    Excellent read. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Congrats on the weight loss – that’s fantastic!

      Everyone I know who’s ever done Weight Watchers has had glowing success with it. I’ve never done it myself, but it all certainly makes sense to me! I wish I had learned to eat like that in the first place! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah, youth. I’ve been fighting this battle my entire life – even when, as a teenager, I was dancing killer 2 hour 45 minute classical ballet class 4 times a week I could maybe just about maintain my (over)weight. The nanosecond I hit the big Six-Oh-Shit the only way I can lose an ounce of the 24 pounds I gained back stuffing my face with Easter chocolate in a fit of widow depression after having lost 60 pounds working in a warehouse, on my feet lifting heavy things all day, is to never eat anything after 4 p.m.; I low carb and I do the “window” thing so if I quit at 4, I don’t eat again until 10 a.m. the next day, after my Total Body Dumbbell Burner Workout, which is a joy for joints my age (not.) Only trouble is, when I quit eating at 4 and stay up binge watching some newly discovered Aussie or Kiwi dramady on the Acorn channel, sipping some of my favorite distilled spirits, I get peckish, and end up nigh-grazing (low carb stuff, cheese, or leftover chicken curry with broccoli but benefit cancelled by the hour of day) and BZZZT game over Do not pass Go do not collect $200. Or a dime, even. Woe is me. My distilled-spirits-have-no-carbs strategy has abandoned me. I’m just not ready to abandon distilled spirits, dammit. And another thing they don’t tell you about unless you watched it happen to your own mother is that as you age YOU GET EVEN SHORTER. I’m down to 5’1 and 1/4 from 5’1 and 3/4 – lost half an inch! GAAAAAH!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The day someone comes to take my night cheese and distilled spirits, they will live to regret it. Staving off hunger is a big one for me if I want to eat well. Once my blood sugar gets low, I start eating anything and everything in sight. I make such better choices when I’m not absolutely starving. Easier said than done, right? Sometimes I rationalize getting older and putting on weight as, “Maybe we’re supposed to have a few (dozen) extra pounds as we get older! You know, for warmth!”

      And it’s so true on the getting shorter thing! My mother used to be maybe 2 inches shorter than me, and now I can rest my chin right on top of her head! It’s not enough we have to get wider, but shorter, too, so it really accentuates the wideness?? Nature is just rude.


  8. I KNEW it was possible everything I had shrunk. I just knew it! I think I’m in danger of of my current fluff situation, I’ve ignored it too long & stuffed my depressed face in spite of it all!! When I topped out at around 215lbs (like 20 yrs ago), I did the whole exercise & watching what I ate… got off 75 of those nasty buggers! Yet… years & kids later… they’ve come back to move in with me and I didn’t even see them bring their relatives along too. Now that we’re vegan, it’s a tough call to say I’d delete carbs from my life – but I think I may have to beat them back a little. And people have said they go vegan for weight loss HAHAHAHAH. Nope. Then again, my husband lost so much weight that everyone asked if he had cancer. What’s with that, anyway?? No one can say nice things unless it directly correlates with their own life choices?? Anyway, CONGRATS TO YOU!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I applaud your veganism – I wish I could do it! I tried vegetarianism a bunch of years back and managed to do it for a year before I broke down and started eating meat again. Vegans are hardcore and I have crazy respect for you! Do you mostly eat fresh foods, or do you do frozen, too?
      My husband is vegetarian, and I thought about trying to do paleo vegetarianism about 7 years ago, but then I realized that’s basically just a raw vegan diet. Too extreme for me (and my love of bacon)!

      I swear, men can change their diet and lose 20 pounds in a month. If I want to lose significant weight, I have to reinvent the wheel and twirl the baton while doing it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you! We don’t get a ton of applause for choosing this, for sure!! If my husband weren’t an amazing chef, I doubt we’d be able to sustain it, but it’s working for us – our three boys are on board too & are even capable of conversing on the topic. One set of in-laws is pretty much NOT on board with it & tell us that we’re ruining their health, etc etc. Plus it’s super hard when you really just want to hang with friends but you’re also hangry.

        I started off vegetarian, but when I found out what the hubs can do with fake cheese I made the full switch. It’s amazing the stuff I thought I’d miss.

        We try try try to do as much fresh as we can, but we’re of course super busy & we grab the frozen burger patties & stuff like that when we need to. Plus, there’s vegan fast food… cuz of course my ass needs more fast food…

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Such a great post! Thank you. Thyroidectomy, menopause (it’s coming for you, woman, don’t try to hide, that only makes it angrier), and perpetual biking, plus a teeeeeeny bit of IBS, all have people telling me I’m skinny. With that blend of suspicion and envy you describe. I want to throttle them with a candy bar that I can’t eat without being sick for three days. Let’s just be glad we’re alive and able to move and even write now and then!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It must be so damn hard after a thyroidectomy, I can only imagine. The whole “calories in, calories out” theory just goes right out the window with thyroid issues – of course I don’t have to tell you that!

      As it is, perimenopause has turned me into some kind of emotional glass egg that shatters with even the slightest provocation. I assume by the time actual menopause pulls into my station, I’ll be getting inside a tank and knocking down entire cities because an episode of Designing Women made me cry. Can’t we all just find an island somewhere where everyone understands?? 😂


  10. My favorite topic…weight and weight loss. *sigh* I’m glad you have the strength and willpower to get the pounds off and keep them off. Me? Not so much. God knows I’ve tried. One of these days, I keep telling myself. Hasn’t happened yet, but your post gives me a boost of hope. Mona

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wish it didn’t have to be so damn hard – and even harder as we get older. I have a friend who is one of those “naturally thin” people even as she ages, and it’s like she won some kind of genetic lottery.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve always been very thin and never really exercised, but I gained quite a bit of weight after having a hysterectomy, enough that I actually went to the doctor to get my thyroid checked. Turns out all I needed to do was watch what I ate, and actually exercise, which I hate. Ergh. I’ve been making good gains, especially since I like walking a lot, so it’s mostly come back off. But what’s paleo? Is that where you only eat meat?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s mostly unprocessed whole foods, but no grains of any kind. So you can eat all the meat, eggs, and vegetables you want, but no bread, pasta, rice, corn. Pretty low carb. I had to modify in order to keep weight on, so I eat all of those things now, but in moderation. I start to get puffy if I let the moderation go too far!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I … get this. But kind of opposite? I was always a strictly no-scale person. It just felt better for me. A few years ago, I put on a bit of weight while my chronic illness was bad. It wasn’t that dramatic, but I was aware. No one commented (at the time), which I really appreciated. When my illness improved I lost most of it again without concentrated effort. And then I got ‘compliments’ (I mean, it’s inherently backhanded when it’s in comparison to how you used to look, right? The insult to past-you is pretty heavily implied). And it just made me so *aware* of how everyone else had *always* been aware of what I looked like, how I had always been measured and always would be. I ended up so anxious that I started doing the scales thing, and then that anxiety escalated into worse things.

    So yeah. Other people’s tips about weight are just … no. My personal rule that has come out of all of this is ‘don’t comment on other people’s weight ever, not even to compliment’. I do not do scales. And I never adjust my diet for weight loss (I mean, I focus on eating veg for the sake of nutrients and health, sure, but with weight-loss as a target outcome? No).

    The slope is too slippery for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello! My social anxiety just pinged me to let me know I might have done something stupid. It occurs to me, nightmare fashion, that starting that comment with “i … get this” might sounds like I’m saying I *don’t* get this or ‘I get this but with reservations’, when I wasn’t. I was really saying “I get this”. The pause was because of how I would say it out loud, a kind of meaningful thing, not sarcasm.

      I really did relate. I agree that weight tips from other people are annoying at best and actively make things worse at worst. (And also that eating disorders/problems aren’t just not-eating, and can’t be identified by a person’s appearance). I agree you just got to find what works for you.

      This socially awkward clarification has been brought to you by Lucy.

      Liked by 3 people

  13. Glad you’ve found a balance which works for you. It is such an individual thing. I’ve always had physical jobs, but after a change to sedentary work combined with age, not only have the pounds crept on, I’ve lost muscle too. I tried to counter it by eating less, but all I did was kill my metabolism further, and that’s been my biggest lesson. My partner does intermittent fasting. It really works for him but it doesn’t work for me. Regular food and short bursts of exercise is the balance I’ve found. I don’t want to be a supermodel, I just want to feel comfortable, not wobble too much when I walk, but also eat all the cheese if I feel like it! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hear ya on the supermodel thing. I’ve finally reached an age where I’m okay with not being attractive to college-age guys. I’d be perfectly happy to just look good “for my age”. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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