Mel's blog: When your comfy sweatpants are too tight

There’s not much that feels better than coming home from a long day at work, and getting into my at-home clothes.

It’s usually my first order of business after I get home, bask in the affectionate “welcome mauling” by my children and miniature schnauzer. As my weight has crept up over the past couple of years, my work clothes have become increasingly more uncomfortable, so now it’s not just a matter of, “I don’t want to get kid and life ‘schmootz’ on my suit pants and blouse.”

Now, it’s like, “Geez, these pants are cutting off my circulation. I can’t breathe when I sit down. These babies are giving me a wedgie!” My feeling of late: The sooner I can don something with a drawstring or sashay into some sweatpants, the better. Sweatpants or yoga pants are the pinnacle of comfort. They are the “ahhhhh” at the end of the day when you can’t take a hot bath. (And let’s be honest, who has time for that?)

However, one grim afternoon it hit me: Even my after-work wear was fitting a little too snug for comfort. How could this be possible?! The elastic on my sweat pants was at max-stretch capacity! I mean, the whole point of owning sweatpants is so that you can escape into them when suit pants or even jeans aren’t necessary.

You can imagine how I felt when my go-to, post-pantsuit pleasantry didn’t elicit the same feeling of relaxation. I realized this had to be a sign from the active-wear gods. I wore them at 120 pounds with ease. But now, pushing a decidedly higher number on the scale, the party is over.

It’s the disturbing awareness that with one more pint of an Oregon microbrew, one more all-you-can-pile-on frozen yogurt with the kids, one more convenient run through a fast food restaurant drive-thru, you’re going to be looking for a different color tab on the plastic hanger at Target!

You know the one I’m talking about? The color that denotes you’re wearing the next size up! Bumping up a size in clothing is no picnic. But going up a size in sweat pants?!?! For the love of Pete! I must be mere days away from my friends staging an intervention. “Put down the doughnut, Mel and step away from the pink bakery box!”

You could call it hitting rock bottom, but there are other times I’ve hit that so-called place, only to find the floor gives way. But this sticks out as a HUUUGE red flag, and I’d wager to say would resonate with anyone who’s ever dealt with body image issues.

Those of us who’ve struggled to gain and regain control of our weight and eating habits can understand. Our outfit in which we always could relax doesn’t even feel relaxing? I can justify buying work pants in a bigger size—blaming the design or that the particular company’s clothes run small. But when we’re talking about a garment that’s primary feature is the stretchy waistband and it’s maxed-out and not able to do its job anymore? That’s where I draw the line.

I don’t like this feeling. It’s not comfortable. I want to feel relaxed in my sweatpants again, and maybe, just maybe getting back to that point will help me feel more at ease in all my other pants, too.