THAT Box of Clothes

I’ve had THAT box of clothes since I was about sixteen. The clothes from when I was fourteen, which didn’t fit any more. The clothes from when I was even younger, that I didn’t wear because, well, I was sixteen and they didn’t have holes in them or the right band logos or superclever slogans scrawled all over them.

Since that time, more things have been added to THAT box. The designery things I bought when they were supercheap on sale in TKMaxx or on eBay, ‘just in case’, even though it was a wing and a prayer as to whether or not they’d fit. Like as always, I’d get home and the trousers wouldn’t go over my knees, and the oversized tops would be babydoll-fit, and I’d try very hard not to have any feelings at all about that, and simply consign them to THAT box. Things I grew out of on the way to being 31 went in there; things I bought because they were beautiful, or because I couldn’t bear to get rid of them. Jeans that seemed totally the wrong shape for my body. Everything that didn’t go to the charity shop or the textiles bin went in THAT box. It’s a big box. It’s been moved around a lot. It’s always been in the back of the wardrobe, or the middle of my floor sometimes, when there wasn’t anywhere else for it to go. I’ve not exactly been haunted or taunted by it, but I’ve wished and wondered if I’ll ever have found any point to keeping everything.

Last year, I lost a lot of size through the excellent Precision Nutrition programme. Like many people, I’ve a long and chequered history of weight loss, weight management, weight thoughts, wildly random exercise regimes, and, indeed, diet. I successfully transformed the shape of my body quite drastically after two years of heavy weight-lifting, which meant I could wear different clothes, but nothing near what was in THAT box. The box wasn’t a goal. It wasn’t a target. I didn’t have my ‘dream’ jeans in there, although there were a few amazing pairs within. They were just clothes, but I really felt I still wanted them. When I finished the PN programme, I went back to the box, and that was possibly the most disappointed I’ve been…only because they still didn’t fit. But, I thought, I’ve kept them this long, and they are closer, I’m sure they’re closer. One day, I thought, I’ll be glad of them.

I don’t really feel like I’ve got much smaller over the last couple of months, but my body has definitely ‘settled’ a bit. The scale is down a few, but that doesn’t mean much, this I’ve certainly learnt over the years. The January running streak and the 20 days I managed of the 30 Day Shred before I succumbed to a combination of extreme cold-having, post-dentistry jaw agony and tension headaches and decided to take the rest of February off have shaped me up a bit, and my job, which is ratcheting up the hours now spring is making itself known again, is pretty physical.

This morning, I went to THAT box. I had a feeling that its time might have come. Based on not much at all, especially considering I’ve eaten more than anyone usually does in a week in the solid belief that it’s the best way to fight a cold. I’ve been thinking it’s a while since I tried anything on in there.

And it was its time. Everything fitted. Everything. The shorts I wore to Chessington World of Adventures in 1996, and I remember, as Rameses’ Revenge got stuck upside down, thinking to myself, oh no, no, not only is this my actual nightmare, but NOW MY SHORTS ARE DIGGING INTO ME. I haven’t worn them since. Now, with a warm day (those will come around again, right?!) they’re an option. Unimaginable.

My first pair of Topshop jeans. Fit perfectly, and go completely with the mid-nineties revival. They’re gorgeous, and contain absolutely no Lycra, so they might last more than a week without splitting their seams.

My incredible Japanese T-shirts, bought from eBay back in the dark ages of the internet, when international post didn’t seem to cost five times as much as the thing you were buying. Still small, but workable, in ways.

It was strange, decanting the box into my wardrobe. All the things that have been waiting for me to catch up with them. Just there, now, waiting for a day out. Things I know and love so well, but haven’t worn in up to seventeen years. It’s a most peculiar place to be. But I like it. And I’m so glad I kept all those things.

 

Advertisements

The Streak Ceases

 

So, after 33 days of running 2k every day, I have stopped. And I confess, after looking out the window at the branches snapping from the trees and the rain whipping itself into tiny vicious circles, I am relieved about the decision. Although, although, I quite happily ran in the same conditions earlier in the month.

There are a few things I’ve learnt from the running streak times, though.

1) It’s perfectly possible to exercise every single day. Indeed, it’s easier, because there’s no question about whether or not you might work out every day, for you know that you’re going to, so you just need to work out when in the day.

2) A month is all you need to get better at running. A month is enough to see progress in anything. I shaved minutes off the amount of time it took me to run 2k, and, by the end of the month, could reliably run 5k in under half an hour, which years of running a couple of times a week didn’t achieve.

3) When you resent things, it’s okay to shake them up and move on. What I think the important lesson for me here is, I needed to go straight into something else. Something I wanted to do, but felt I could do without any problem. At the moment I’ve two things going – a 30 day ab workout thing I saw randomly on Twitter, that takes about two minutes a day, but still gives measurable progress, and Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred. Both are easily achievable in half an hour, don’t require any things or prep or organising, and, this time around, I don’t even have to leave the house, so can easily get up early for!

So the plan is to shift things up every thirty days or so, as best makes sense. To try to stick to something for a full month so I can reap the benefits, both mental and physical, of measurably progress. I think it might be an idea to move between indoor and outdoor occupations, but we’ll see how I feel about that come March. The trick is, I think, to be as good to myself as I can be whilst being completely committed to doing something every day.

But, if you find it hard to regulate thrice-weekly workouts or so on, I fully advocate a crack at a streak. Less, daily, is more, weekly, and more overall. Which is a good thing. Obvs listen to your body a bit and all that, but I also found that, by the end of the month (except the bit where I fell over horribly, ripped my leggings and wound up with a bruise the size of an egg on my knee), I was experiencing precisely none of the niggles, aches and pains I had early on in the month. It was, it turned out, possible to run them all off. Which was nice.

The whole thing, in fact, was extremely nice. May it continue!