The Spandex Menace

I just got back from another road trip, and I feel it’s my duty to warn everyone about the threat I discovered while travelling:  stretch pants.  They may feel comfy, but the truth is that those spandex tubes are plotting against our health and fitness.

Oh, they conceal their evil intentions well enough.  They call themselves ‘exercise wear’ and pretend to encourage us in a healthy lifestyle, but all the while they’re sabotaging our efforts.  In fact… (call the tabloids, ‘cause this is hot stuff) spandex actually nourishes fat cells.

How did I determine this, you ask?

Through rigorous scientific observation and testing, of course.  After all, have you ever known me to jump to a conclusion or engage in hyperbole?  Never in a million-zillion years!

Here’s how I figure it:

I’m normally a jeans girl.  Whether I’m digging in the garden or working on a car or banging together some ridiculously over-engineered carpentry project, jeans provide practicality, comfort, and protection.  But when I know I’m going to be sitting in the car for hours at a time, I change into stretch pants.  So last week I put on the spandex and hit the road.

Well.  Let me tell you.

After six days, I donned my jeans again only to discover that my butt runneth over.  My muffin-top has grown into a dinner roll.  And the only possible culprit is (you guessed it) stretch pants.

I mean, really, it couldn’t have been anything else.  I was eating my usual three meals a day plus one dessert.  Maybe the meals were approximately double my normal portion; but six days shouldn’t make that much difference, right?  I even skipped my four o’clock snack most days, so I’m sure I should’ve been losing weight.

And eating a giant ice cream cone every day couldn’t have been the cause.  Ice cream is a dairy product, which is healthful.  Health food couldn’t possibly make me gain weight.

Plus, all that time in the car was hard on my nerves, and everybody knows stress ratchets up your metabolism.  I should have been melting the pounds away.  It’s simple logic.

But I didn’t.  So it must have been the fault of the stretch pants.

Those bastards clung to my body for six straight days, whispering sweet nothings to my fat cells and feeding their egos until they swelled up like little pillows.  Then the fat cells invited all their friends over to my waistline and had themselves a party.  The friends invited more friends, and pretty soon the whole place was overflowing.

Now, like disapproving parents, my jeans have returned to the scene of the party to evict the interlopers.  So far they’ve only succeeded in squeezing them up and over my waistband, but I hope if I call the calorie police right away they’ll be able to banish the last of the stragglers.

But meanwhile, no more stretch pants.  Take it from me, those suckers are the enemy.

Remember, you heard it here first!

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New discussion over at the VBBC:  Stemp Then And Now.  How has Stemp changed the series, and how has it changed him?  Click here to have your say!

Covering My Ass

I expend a great deal of effort just trying to cover my ass.

I mentioned my disastrous bathing suit debacle in an earlier post, and at the time I noted that I’m very careful about my rear view these days.

Not careful enough, apparently.

The other day I bent over to retrieve something from the bottom of the fridge, and Hubby said, “Oh, nice look.”

With a feeling of impending doom, I said, “Thanks.  Um… what exactly do you mean…?”

Sure enough, the yoga pants that are my daily office uniform had succumbed to the pressure.  It wasn’t noticeable as long as I stood upright, but as soon as I bent over, there was my ass for all the world to see through the dreaded transparent spandex mesh.  (No, the pants weren’t Lululemon – check out notquiteold’s funny Yoga Porn post for more on that.)

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.  Ever since I was a kid, the butt-end of my pants was always the first to go.  All the other kids wore through the knees, but my jeans were perfect in every way… except for the patches on the rear.

I once wore out the backside of a new-ish pair of jeans in one day, but that was a special case – I was shingling a roof and I didn’t have knee pads.  When my knees gave out I finished the job shuffling along on my butt, which was a bad idea in many respects.  Quite apart from damage to clothing, if you’ve ever installed asphalt shingles, you know about those nasty little spiky bits that stick into your flesh like needles.  Try extracting those from areas you can’t really see without a mirror and some uncomfortable contortions.

But getting back to the point…

A couple of years ago I tore a muscle kickboxing.  A muscle in an uncomfortable and embarrassing place:   right at the top of my hamstring.

Which is polite way to say “my ass”.

I didn’t go for physiotherapy.  I just couldn’t bring myself to beg my (young male) physiotherapist to rub my butt.  Worse still, to pay my young male physiotherapist to rub my butt.  It just smacked of desperate cougar-dom.

Anyway, the muscle gradually healed on its own, but it still gives me trouble occasionally.  In the past few months it’s been sore.  I’ve been ignoring it because, hell, if I woke up one morning and nothing hurt, I’d check the obituaries to make sure I hadn’t died in the night.

But eventually it occurred to me that perhaps there was an underlying cause.

Sure enough, when I had a close look at the desk chair I’d been sitting in for the past three years, there was absolutely no padding left in the seat.  It was just a bum-shaped fabric-covered bowl with solid (and extremely hard) wood underneath.

Which probably explains the destruction of my yoga pants, mercilessly grinding between the unyielding bones of my ass and the unyielding seat of my chair.

Now I have a new chair and new yoga pants, but I know I’m solving the wrong problem here.

Anybody know where I can get a new butt?

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P.S. Thanks to everybody for your concern over my eye. (For those who didn’t hear, I got hit kickboxing on Sunday and spent most of Monday waiting to find out if I might end up with a detached retina. I wasn’t even fighting; it was just a stupid accident during an easy sparring session.)  Everything seems fine so far – my eye is still a little achy and scratchy, but my vision is back to normal and the doc has cleared me for easy workouts.  But no kickboxing for a while.  *sigh*

Letting It All Hang Out

The worst things in life sneak up on you from behind.  Let me tell you a story:

Once upon a time, there was no spandex.

If you’re younger than dirt, don’t panic – those dark ages are long gone.  Many regret their passing (particularly when forced to view Walmart shoppers), but you, my children, will likely never be required to live without spandex.

This story takes place very long ago, back in a primitive era when there were no cell phones, computers took up entire buildings, and people listened to things called “record albums”, which contained only about ten songs and required playback equipment approximately the size of an Austin Mini.

But the glorious light of progress dawned, and spandex was invented in 1959.  Shortly thereafter, bathing suits became much safer to wear in the presence of water since, unlike the previous archaic materials, spandex didn’t sag and bag when wet.

I grew up on a farm near a backwater town in rural Manitoba, where dubious fads such as flush toilets were regarded with suspicion and adopted slowly, if at all.  Clothing fashions filtered down to us approximately ten years after they were fashionable everywhere else, so I still remember the days of swimsuits without spandex.  Fortunately, we did most of our swimming in the dugout on our farm, so wardrobe malfunctions resulting from saggy swimsuits were limited in the scope of their humiliation.

But when I was in my early teens, I got my first Speedo.  For those of you permanently scarred by itty-bitty Speedos for men, I assure you my Speedo was a one-piece suit that covered more than most blouses and shorts cover today.  It was fabulous.  It fit even when it was wet.

Sadly, I didn’t get to wear it for long because I grew out of it (vertically, not horizontally as I tend to grow out of garments these days).  But after I achieved my more-or-less-final adult dimensions, I bought another spandex-enriched bathing suit.

I’d also like to mention that while we weren’t exactly poor, we didn’t waste money.  So that bathing suit had to last.  And last.  And last.

And it did.  Until the fateful day when I put it on in bright light instead of a dingy change room.  And when I held it up, I discovered that the network of spandex was still there… but every other fibre in the entire butt-end of the swimsuit was worn away.

I’d never noticed it before.  I had no idea how many times I had paraded around at pools and beaches with my ass completely visible through spandex mesh.

After careful consideration, I decided it was better not to know.

These days, I’m much more careful.  I own a new bathing suit and I wear stretchy workout shorts, but I check my rear view in the mirror frequently, if not obsessively.  It’s not a particularly gratifying pastime, and it’s becoming steadily less rewarding as gravity lowers my common denominator.  But at least I won’t be ambushed by anything that’s happening back there.

And I subscribe wholeheartedly to the philosophy of “cover your ass”.