Sunday, April 11, 2010

Beware the Chair

"All I do all day is write and eat donuts," said Janet Evanovich. I met her at SleuthFest a few years ago, and she whispered this as an aside while we were having our pictures taken.

Sounded pretty good to me. At least at the time.

Now...not so much.

More and more I'm realizing that I live two lives: the real and active one, AND the one in my head. That's cool most days. But I was trying on cocktail dresses for a special event, and when I saw the size label, I freaked. I mean, I had a total meltdown.

Unfortunately, that meltdown didn't do anything about all the fat I've collected.

I was so upset that I literally had an anxiety attack. The saleswoman looked at me curiously. "Anything wrong?"

You betcha. My saleswoman was six feet tall, twenty years old, and had the frame of a whippet after being starved for a month. I mean, if she weighed 90 pounds, it was after a Thanksgiving day feast. I, on the other hand, was feeling positively porky.

Under Miss Thin's watchful gaze, I struggled in and out of the fancy dresses. Believe me, there's a reason the stars have stylists. There's no way you can get those outfits on and off without help. You have to hold them up around the boobs to pull on the zipper. And for the zipper to meet, you need both hands, which leaves you with ... free falling hoo-has.

I wiggled into one dress. Hated it. Then another. Hated it, too. I started to whimper. I needed massive help with Dress #5, so I asked my husband David to yank on the zipper. And he did. He also caught an inch of the tender flesh under my arm in the teeth. He was apologizing, I was crying, and the saleswoman was...nonplussed. I bet she sees stuff like this happen all the time. Really I do.

"I want to go home!" I cried.

"Okay, okay, calm down," David said. "How about if we go get something to eat?"

"I am never EVER eating again. In my life! EVER!" With that, I pulled on my own clothes (which I could do without any help at all) and ran out of the dressing room.

Okay, I didn't give up on eating. I am watching my weight. I joined a gym. (I had been going to exercise classes before, but for some reason or another, they were doing one of those silly spring break things. I don't need a "we take frequent breaks" sort of exercise place. Not at this point in my life. I need an "anytime you strike up the mood to break a sweat, there's a place to go" sort of exercise place.)

Then I went to a lovely little shop in Vienna (Virginia) called Trousseau, and they helped me with the latest and greatest slimming undies. (Sausage casing has always gotten a bad wrap, IMHO.) At Trousseau, they cheered me up immeasurably by telling me about a fashion show in New York where a model got stuck in a Spanx-type undergarment. Evidently, the whole fashion show came to a screeching halt. Everyone was waiting for her to do her strut down the catwalk. But she didn't come out. Finally, some bright spark went back into the dressing rooms and rescued the poor girl.

Now I'm in love with the crew at Trousseau. Kisses!

And David? He went back to Saks Fifth Avenue and bought all the dresses for me that he liked. He even bought me a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes to go with. What a trooper. That's one of the reasons I love him. Here's a photo of my ensemble:

Oh, and there's more. With all due respect to Janet--I mean, I love her writing and her characters and gush, gush--I do not want to live a life of writing and donuts alone. At my last zumba class, I learned we had only done 5,400 steps. Yeah, and I worked my proverbial butt off. It takes 10,000 steps daily to stop weight creep. So I plan to get up and away from the computer screen more often. I may start setting an alarm clock to remind me. Seems that recently medical experts are advising the same.

All day long, I plot and plan how to kill people on paper. Little did I know, I was probably doing myself in as well. I aim to get my butt outta the chair and into the fresh air a little more.

How about you? Did you ever have a fashion emergency? A health wake-up call?


Linda said...

First of all--you look Fantastic! Hooray for supportive husbands and that dress color is great on you!

Now--for my reality. Bless you for the wakeup call! Shortly before turning 50, I lost 135 pounds and vowed to keep it off--I had a retail job that kept me on my feet all day and a daily walking commute to boot.

Several years later, due to major lifestyle changes post-Hurricane Katrina, I have a desk-based customer service job headquartered in my own home, which also cut my daily commute down to walking from one room to the other ;-)

Some folks would love that--I love it, especially as I no longer drive or even own a car. My butt doesn't like it very much. The weight has come back with a vengeance over the last few years. My internal dialogue is starting to keep me more home-bound due to my looks. The depression that causes urges me to eat more for comfort...and the downward spiral has begun.

Add in the fact that I am taking my writing more seriously (a rather solitary occupation), and I am well on my way to becoming a true hermit.

So, you have Blessed me today with a true Message. I can see that even successful people share my angst and feelings, and that if you can admit your struggle, so can I. Admission is the first step to change.

I love your fiction--please know that your fact can also help more people than you could possibly ever imagine ;-)

Good luck on your weight-control journey (please don't try to "lose" weight--things that are lost are often found again LOL).

signlady217 said...

Love the dress you ended up with! Va, va, voom!

Betty Hechtman said...

I'm not sure if this counts as a fashion emgency - it was Target after all, but I was trying on some pants and the zipper wouldn't unzip. I started t panic and felt trapped in the pants. I think I had t finally squeeze out of them without undoing the zipper.

The dress you finally go is beautiful and you look beautiful in it.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Thanks, Sign Lady!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Betty, Blogger ate my original response, but I'm thinking if you are half-dressed, undressed, or in any state that's socially unacceptable, and you are stuck...that's a fashion EMERGENCY. Doesn't matter if it happens in Saks or Tar-gzeh. (By the way, I cry real tears every day because I don't live close to a Tar-gzeh store anymore!)

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Linda, I'm thinking of republishing my book "I'm Too Blessed to be Depressed," because lots of women enjoyed it for the reasons you share. See, we might look like swans but underwater, most of us are paddling like heck, trying to stay afloat. You are so right--I don't want to "lose" the weight. I want to manage it!

Terri Thayer said...

Walking or the gym is a great place to think about plot or characters. I carry a small digital recorder on my walks and capture those gems!

Linda O. Johnston said...

You look great, Joanna! Now, I'm off to my first Curves visit for the week...

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Terri, I'm with you. I get my best ideas walking. It's always a shock to me how I come back to my work with fresh eyes.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Thanks for the compliment, Linda. This morning I had my first tai chi class. Afterwards we went out to coffee. I discovered these folks are a wonderful resource. Seems that my new hometown is full of "spooks," or ex-CIA folks. Wow. Talk about your double-duty exercise!

Marlyn said...

You look great, Joanna, and that color is gorgeous on you.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Thanks so much, Marlyn. My husband thought the color matched my eyes.

Lorry said...

Joanna, that dress looks fabulous! Love the color, and so glad your husband is so supportive. It makes all the difference in the world.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Thanks, Lorry. The color made me happy every time I looked at it.

David is wonderfully supportive. I even dedicated Photo, Snap, Shot to him.