When we were in
Flagstaff this summer, I did something I never thought I’d do again. I wore a belt.
The “belt-wearing experience” was one of the many celebrations I’ve had on my journey of intermittent fasting. It’s symbolic of a much greater blessing.
In my book Starving Girl – my 30-day experience with the miracle of intermittent fasting and prayer, I write about the moment I realized my belly fat was taking over my life.
My baby was about six months old and I was in the place where I could still make excuses to myself. Yes, I was unhappy, unhealthy and living in denial, but I’d just had a baby. Deep down, I knew there was nothing I could or would ever do about my belly fat. Nothing in my closet fit, except if it was stretchy. I sang praises to the yoga waistband, the clothing that made me feel like I was going to work out at any minute, even if I didn’t.
It was during this time I had an encounter with my belly fat. It was heartbreaking to realize how out of control I was. It’s no surprise this experience started at Goodwill. I wrote:
At Goodwill, I walked over to the jeans rack. With high hopes, I scanned through the jeans. I was looking for specific qualities. The jeans had to be stretchy, low rise and fabulously trendy. I found three pair that looked like they should fit, and purchased them. Later that night when everyone had gone to bed, I went into the bathroom and tried on the jeans. In the mirror I stared, horrified the first pair didn’t even fit over my hips. It was like my stomach and rear end were having a battle of the bulge contest. Sure, I was aware my stomach had issues but my backside too? Ok, I could handle this. Sometimes sizes ran small, and I convinced myself this was the problem. I tried on the second pair and wiggled, stretching and pulling, until they barely moved past my hips. The button and buttonhole were nearly a foot apart. I thought of the construction equipment that dug up and rebuilt roads. It would take the chains and hook of such equipment to bring the zipper and button together. Another hit and miss, but the last pair, the biggest pair I’d found, had the best stretch in the fabric. I pulled the tight material up my thighs. I sucked in air and postured my body straight and stiff, pulling at the zipper as it reluctantly inched up. Although I felt my back jar out of alignment, I continued. I was going to win this battle or lose my mind. The button dug into my thumb and forefinger as I manipulated it into the buttonhole. I’d done it. The jeans fit. Never mind the enormous fat and skin from my belly that hung over the jeans like an udder from under a cow’s belly. With the jeans forcing my belly fat “up and out,” I lifted it with my hands, amazed it moved, pliable like stretched taffy. My belly fat—why was it there? Why did it need to be there? How had I acquired it? Should I name it? Was it always going to be there? Every other part of my body had purpose, but the belly fat had absolutely no purpose. Yet there it sat, overflowing out of my hands like an Italian chef kneading pizza dough. How many shabby chic dressers would I need to sell to pay for a tummy tuck? Out of my peripheral vision, my rear end waved. “What about me?” it seemed to say.
These were the three jeans that had been taunting me ever since. Of course I’d never worn them, and I was too unorganized to take them back to Goodwill, but it was more than that. I wasn’t going to let them win. I had not known how or when, but the jeans were going down, so I’d kept them.
I’m happy to say after just a couple of weeks of intermittent fasting, all the jeans from this horrible experience fit. After three months of intermittent fasting, the same jeans (and many more) were donated to the thrift store because they were too big.
Going through my closet, giving away clothes that don't fit anymore.
Now, every time I wear a belt, I feel an enormous amount of gratitude.
Well, there's that belt again!
My journey with intermittent fasting is far from over. but this small victory means my belly fat didn't win.