Too big for his britches — and that’s OK


Recently I broke down and made a bigger decision.

It wasn’t a big decision. Trust me, it was a bigger decision.

After years of believing I wore a particular size of pants, I finally acknowledged I needed to go up a size. My waistline has grown to the point I couldn’t buy slacks in the one size anymore, and I needed to get something 2 inches bigger around.

It wasn’t an easy decision, I assure you. Like many people, I’m a little touchy about the distance around my belly. I’ve spent most of the last few years sucking my gut inward as I buttoned my shorts. Then I’d exhale and complain about how my trousers must’ve shrunk in the wash again.

Being on the wrong side of 40 is harsh. You still feel young and energetic, but your body starts to defy you. Your energy levels aren’t the same as they once were. It takes longer to recover from strenuous activities, especially those involving alcohol. Aches last for weeks instead of days.

And, as I found, your weight might remain steady, but the inches on your body do not.

I’m a man who lives by numbers. I like quantifying things. Thus, in my mind, there’d be no reason to change the size of my britches because my weight hadn’t changed. I’ve been pretty consistently within 5 pounds of the same number for the past 10 years.

Admittedly, that number is a little higher than I might like. I try to eat less and exercise more, just like those fitness experts tell you. It’s hard taking advice from thin people, though. I’d really like to hear from someone who’s still a little chubby but used to be a lot chubbier. That’s a voice I could trust.

I’ve found that among the casualties of aging is my metabolism, though. I can eat the same amounts I did 10 years ago and exercise roughly the same amounts, yet less and less blubber seems to melt off my body.

That’s hard to fathom, since my metabolism was my best friend growing up. I could eat whatever I wanted, and I remained rail thin. I remember my mother telling me I couldn’t play football my freshman year unless I weighed more than 100 pounds. I felt like I ate nonstop that summer to reach 102 and make the roster. I was a svelte 140 pounds by my senior year.

Ah, to be 18 again. If I showed up for practice at my current weight, they would’ve put me on the offensive line. Time changes you, for sure.

Sometimes you have to change your own mindset. I don’t want to consider it giving up, but you do have to accept that your target waist size might be a long-term target instead of a short-term one.

I’ve delighted in the comfort of pants that actually fit me properly. It’s amazing how much more flexible you become when you’re not worrying about splitting a seam.

Now I have to look in a slightly different section of the store to find clothes that fit. That’s a trade-off I’ll make for the comfort that comes with it. The sooner I learn to be comfortable in my own skin (and slacks), the better off I am.

David Trinko is managing editor of The Lima News, a division of AIM Media Midwest.

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