(Chicago Tribune file photo )
Before this fall, I had never been on a diet. This fact makes me a rarity both as an American and as a woman. Research shows that by age 13, an estimated 53 percent of American girls are unhappy with their bodies, and 67 percent of women in America are currently trying to lose weight.
Yet despite my weight fluctuating over time, I have never counted calories or restricted fats. I have gained the freshman 15, lost 30 during my hippie phase, gained a few during post-college depression, and then lost some more during 5K training.
But this was all the unintentional, normal fluctuation of life and, to be honest, I was pretty OK with it ... until I found the jeans.
Years ago, I stowed away a pair of beautiful dark wash skinny jeans I purchased in Argentina. I happened to find them when I was cleaning out my closet for fall and desperately wanted to fit into them despite the fact that they were a solid size too small. Knowing I couldn't re-create my disco-dancing-all-night lifestyle that slimmed by body down to fit into the skinny jeans five years ago, I decided to go on a DIET.
After hearing my co-workers' rave reviews, I went on the South Beach Diet, which involves eating nothing but vegetables and egg substitute for weeks on end. I managed to stay on the diet for two weeks, losing a large chunk of weight and in the end totally hating myself.
I turned into this barely recognizable, diet-obsessed crazy woman, talking almost exclusively about my meal plans and yearning for bread on an hourly basis. During those two weeks, I was just a sad, carb-free sack of calories in and calories out.
In the midst of holiday season, I am determined to not become this crazy person again. It is not worth losing myself just to lose enough weight to fit into 5-year-old jeans.
This season, thanks to some incense-fueled, yogi-style soul searching, I'm skipping all the holiday diet bull and doing my own little routine I'm calling the yoga-pants diet.
The first and only tenet of the yoga-pants diet is to wear yoga pants whenever possible. They are stretchy, versatile and never require a belt. They are a true gift from Santa, who you know is rocking stretchy pants under that red coat.
And as long as I'm wearing the yoga pants I might as well remind myself of the one simple thing yoga teaches me every practice: this body, this life, this world is a true gift for which I am thankful and therefore I shall neither count calories nor stuff myself so full of mashed potatoes that I fall into a starch-induced coma until NYE.
In my yoga-pants world, it is that simple.
Sometimes in our plentiful lives we get so caught up in the idea of scarcity, of not enough. There is never enough time, enough money, enough sugar cookies. So we gorge. We work 60-hour weeks, trample each other for Black Friday deals and consume enough gravy to float the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria.
But as Lifetime Christmas movies have taught me, we have enough. Stuffing yourself today won't keep you satisfied tomorrow; it only makes you hungrier.
For those of you who think all this yoga stuff is for hippy crazies, I suggest you wear the yoga pants anyway. Even if they don't make you feel Zen, they will make your ass look great. Thanks, Santa.
Niki Fritz is a RedEye special contributor.
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