Never dry your jeans!!!!!!

Public Service Announcement!

Do NOT dry your jeans! Wow… what a way to feel fat really fast! I know this rule, and I broke it!!! What was I thinking????

I’ll tell you what I was thinking!!! I was your typical American moving too fast and I didn’t want to wait for them, or get another pair!!!

I noticed that, as Americans, we move too fast. We live in a very fast paced society. We are workers and movers and we sometimes “do too much.” I often think about France, Spain and other European countries that have siestas and I long for them! I could often use a siesta in the middle of the day as I could go for a longer lunch and a nap, or even just some time with my family! European countries value time and especially meals. (please note that ADD is kicking in and I’m slightly off topic… haha… deal with it, you’re about to learn something!). Well, these countries have it great! They take a siesta (long break) in the middle of the day and go home from school or work for a longer lunch to be with their family and go back to their day. Now, we would say “heck no, just power through the day and get it done and go home”…. But obviously that isn’t working for us!!! The people in these countries are often happier in jobs and in life than we are. Americans basically overwork. Technically, it’s not our fault…. We were raised that way! I teach American Lit and I take us from the Puritans all the way to the present and we were founded on the principle of “hard work” and “perseverance”…. We don’t stop until we get what we want. The problem being….. we never stop! This has been engrained in our head from day 1! We go, go, go….. and often, you’ll see mothers who try to take “me time” feel guilty for taking a break because it’s known that we are on the go! And hard work is what makes our world go. It’s just not common to “enjoy time to yourself” because we are so focused on success. So this idea of “giving yourself time to enjoy” is hard for anyone to understand and adjust to!!!! Starting treatment last year the doctors and professionals all told me to take time for myself (and are still telling me this) but it’s so hard because I feel guilty doing so because I’m not being productive. We live in a results-driven society and when you have nothing to show, that time feels wasted. You can’t place results on fun and relaxing! I think too often we feel selfish as well. Almost like we don’t deserve that time!

Back to my jeans….. (see people, I can circle back! 🙂 ) So, this morning I knew I had to cover Saturday detention (darn those kids for being bad). I told Mike, who was going fishing, that I could let the puppies out and that I could take care of it all and it would be okay….. oops…. Who was I kidding? I always do too much! He asked me 3 times (probably knowing I’ll say yes even though I mean no) and I still said yes.

Important back information: So, last night I went out for Nelson’s birthday! (woo hoo!) and decided to have a beer! YIKES! Well, the bar we love is smoky…. Still worth going to! So, I washed my jeans last night to wear to Saturday school (they are that comfortable). This morning, in my rush, I realized hanging them all night wasn’t enough. After showering I knew they had to be dried somehow. I had some choices on my front-loader…. “air dry” or “speed dry” on ultra-low heat… well, I knew I had to let the dogs out, so as I stood there in my underwear contemplating…. (need a visual? Zebra print! It was a jazzy day, so I went for zebra print undies today! 🙂 too much info? Oversharing? Who cares! :))…. Needless to say, I chose “speed dry” for the length of the dogs’ potty time (I didn’t want to wait… duh, Americans who do too much). I thought this was a great compromise…. WRONG! The potty visit/play was only 6 minutes long for all three poodles, but that 6 minutes changed the life of my jeans forever! Sweet baby Jesus, they got tighter!!!!! We all know this rule!!!! You never dry jeans!!!!! Why? They shrink a little! They don’t shrink a lot, but they shrink some!!!! This event will make you feel fatter than a pig stuck in a tiny tunnel faster than a blink of an eye (couldn’t come up with a better metaphor…. Work with me, people!).

So, as I put my jeans on I thought…. “oh man Rach, why’d you do it?” ….. Ed started screaming! Here are some of the many things he yelled:

ED: Great job, Rachel! You have just gained about 10 lbs in about 10 minutes! I told you that you would lose control over eating if you followed your meal plan 100% and look what has happened… your jeans don’t fit! They fit you before, but now you’ve gained weight! Everything in life is chaotic and now your weight is out of control and you let that happen. You couldn’t just put down the food and now you can’t fit into your jeans! Now you have to go buy new jeans and fit into the fat size! It’s bad enough you wear __ size, but now you’re moving up a size! You have lost full control and you’re going to be obese by the end of the week! I told you so, this should be enough to tell you that you have to trust me and restrict your intake!

Now, it’s a good thing that I am in a healthier place…. Had I not been eating enough, I would not have the brain power to rationally try to fight these thoughts….. truthfully, before I started eating and skinny camp/treatment, I would have cried and believed these thoughts and would have fallen to them. Now, sometimes, in an irrational state, I still partly believe them, but I can step back and repeat:

Rachel: Not true…. I just dried the jeans… stupid mistake. I know that when you throw cotton in the dryer it is going to shrink up a little and it has nothing to do with me getting bigger. It’s the jeans getting smaller – that is why we are always hanging drying certain items! Think back, Rach…. When you were losing weight and hiding it, you were desperately drying everything to shrink it to hide the weight loss – Ed is lying right now, and you didn’t gain weight…. Do a few lunges, loosen them up and get to Saturday detention (you know we’ve all been there…. doing those lunges across the room!).

So, let’s go back to this mistake I made (drying my jeans)….. at that moment it felt like the worst mistake I could have ever made (because the eating disorder will catastraphize everything). Well, not really….. there was this one time in college with some of my friends… we were out one night, and….. wait…. Haha…. Not sharing that one! 🙂 …… But going back to us moving too fast – in college I was working in a group in an Intercultural Communications class with a member from a Spanish culture. As we were determining times to meet in the café, he just kept saying “after lunch whenever”…. And it was so American of me to try hard to pinpoint a time! I had my calendar out saying, “no, I have another meeting, and hockey practice and a paper due, a committee meeting— I need a time to meet, I just can’t sit and wait for you”…. But I noticed that he was so content without worry saying, “don’t worry, I’ll get there” and his schedule looked nothing like mine. Our grades were probably the same, but he was nowhere near as stressed as I was because I was doing more! As Americans, I really do think we do too much. We don’t enjoy the life we live.

This is a stretch, but it’s my blog so I do what I want….. but to us, often, meals seem like a waste of time… I think the average American eats in less than 10 minutes. At skinny camp, I have learned to take an hour (goodness, it’s needed). I took a group of kids to travel in Europe this April and I had to teach them about the culture and what to expect—-  In Europe I had to teach my kids that in order to be on time, they have to ask for the bill from the waiter or waitress. We are so used to American service pushing us out the door (sometimes our bill is there before they even ask us if our food is okay). In Europe, eating is a social experience – they will not push you out the door and they will not bother you unless you ask to be bothered. When you are a “busy American” always in a rush, this is difficult to adapt to!!! To us, it’s awkward to call over a waiter, but it has to be done. They will respect our space because they are willing to allow us to relax and enjoy our time because it’s what they do in their culture. In my opinion, as Americans, we forget to live in the moment. We are so busy moving from thing to thing that we don’t live life. In one of my first meetings with my dietitian I told her that I “get by” with the amount that I eat and she responded with, “why is getting by enough, why can’t you enjoy life?”…. at the time I was IN the disorder I thought she was crazy, but now it makes sense….. I think so many of us “get by” in life….. we don’t live it.

I have come to notice that this eating disorder has helped me ignore the negative feelings that I don’t like, but it has also taken away my ability to live life to the fullest.

So as I sit here with these little boogers who couldn’t follow school rules….

And I’m bored out of my mind….

so bored

I decided I’m going to learn from my mistakese and I’m not going to be a busy Amercian today! I’m going to throw grading out the window and I’m going to live the day to the fullest!!!! I’ve planned a lunch date with Monica and I’m going to do something fun later today! (yes, I’ll regret it with the amount of grading later…. but the grading will be waiting for me with arms opened wide!) 🙂

So, in efforts to keep this “living life to the fullest” going….. think about this…. What do you enjoy about life? Do you just get by? Do you live life to the fullest?? If not, how can you? Are there simple things you can change to live life to the fullest? Take a day and live in the moment and not be “busy”…. I bet you’ll love it!!! You deserve it! 🙂


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