Pants, specifically jeans, have always been a little harder for me. I know I “shouldn’t” complain, but I struggle. This last winter, I was too scared to try on my pants. One day, I started to pull up one leg and I could tell at the calf that it wasn’t going to be pleasant. I stopped there, and I didn’t deal with my jeans all winter. I tried to face it, but I couldn’t. In March, I needed to find something to wear for my birthday and I decided maybe I’d just buy a new pair. Many of my clients know that me trying to shop for jeans is just as scary as me trying on my own, and they offered encouragement along the way. After a minor panic attack in a dressing room, I ended up with something. We joked, however, that the best fitting pair of pants was a size double 0, relaxed fit, curvy skinny jeans. What the hell does that even mean?
I still haven’t worn those jeans but I purchased them because they were on clearance. I had a conversation on a run about this with a couple women – we all range in age and size, but I didn’t feel like anyone was judging me. Many of the women in the group have struggled with their weight or have set weight loss goals, so they understand my fear of not being able to button my jeans.
This past weekend I had a conversation with one of my clients who also recently had to go jean shopping. While she has lost a lot of weight, she’s not yet at her goal and still isn’t comfortable in a dressing room (though who is). She knew it would take a little longer shopping because she didn’t know what size she was and that it still wouldn’t be pleasant because she isn’t yet the size she wants to be. To top it all off, she was in a time crunch. She ended up finding something and being in a smaller size, but that’s not the point of this story.
She told me that while shopping she saw the rack of size 0s and 00s. She even saw the curvy size 00 and had a giggle. And then she said the most comforting and beautiful thing I’ve ever heard as a coach. She said, “I looked at the 0s and 00s and I couldn’t hate them. I know them because I know you. I know real people that are that size, and you know what – I now realize it isn’t any easier being that size. You struggle just as much as I do in that dressing room. You are fighting the same battle. There is just as much pain and discomfort in the 0s as there are in the other sizes.”
Had we not been at the end of a run, and had I not been so tired, I may have cried. Her realization is true. It is very easy to look at someone else and think their life is easy, but that isn’t always the case. I think I relate to my clients so well because of my past and because of the battle I fight every day. I get frustrated when I see people post something about finally being a perfect size “4” or “6” or “8”. I get upset when they show pictures of themselves in their old jeans or pants to show how much weight they lost. Those pictures and posts don’t tell the whole story. Some of us have to learn to be okay in whatever size happens to fit and that happiness doesn’t come from fitting into a certain size or pair of pants.
I’m sure plenty of people have been inspired by those pictures of people in their old jeans that are too big. However, I think learning that despite major differences we are all fighting the same battle and can all help each other – that’s a much greater reason to be inspired. They say that before passing judgment on someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. Well, I guess we’ve changed that saying in my group. I will forever be grateful for the women who had the courage to walk a mile in my skinny jeans. Thank you for not judging me, ladies. You truly are an inspiration.