Even though we were scheduled to fly south to Bordeaux that Monday morning, I postponed getting dressed. I had come on this trip with the full intention of enjoying all of France’s cultural treats and I didn’t regret that Tarte grand-mère on my birthday, or the wine with dinner or the croissants for breakfast.
Still, I would be a little sad if once again the pants were tight, as was only to be expected.
I shook the pants slightly as I held them out in front of me – for no good reason, really, because I never can judge the size of anything in relation to me until I actually put it on. Most of my brain seems to be prefrontal cortex, which is heavily involved in the act of self-criticism, so even as I reach for a size 8 with all the hope of a child digging through the pile of manure for a pony, the beast in my head is saying, “Are you kidding? Double the number, honey, and you might be in the ballpark.”
I don’t like that beast.
But as usual I listened to it and, being all the more reluctant to attempt to zip up the brown cords, I took one of my favourite actions instead: I procrastinated.
I folded the cords away and instead pulled on the grey pants that I’d brought because while they’re kind of dressy, they’re also soft and kind of stretchy and that makes them ideal for long plane rides.
Their forgiving fabric also makes them a closer fit amongst Frenchwomen in their black trousers, high heels and three-quarter-length wool coat accented with a scarf wrapped just so. That’s what I told myself, and it’s true. It’s just not the whole truth which is, of course, that I did not want to find out I’d gained back a bunch of weight and would have to make the decision again: to eat, drink and vacation or climb back onto the wine-free tart-less wagon.
I was barely a week into my fifty-first year and choices were just as hard as they’d always been.
I drew the grey trousers over my hips and warily folded the waistband closed. Sucking my belly in, I tucked the buttons into their holes then tugged up the zipper tab. I released my hold, relaxed my belly…and the pants slid down an inch.
By the time we reached the airport, my cheeks hurt from grinning non-stop and I had to excuse myself and duck into a toilet stall, partly for the usual reasons – four glasses of water by noon, remember? – and also to do up my bra.
This was unexpected.
I knew theoretically that burning up more calories than I ate would result in fat fading from my whole body, of course. The alternative – a slim butt and those sausage upper arms, perhaps – was too gruesome to contemplate. It just hadn’t occurred to me that skimming off the back fat was going to be the undoing of my bra hooks.
And as we were about to find out, there was another kind of undoing in store for Fodder.