“Are you serious?”

“Hold on, just give me a minute …”

A few more seconds of fussing and the zipper was up.

“There,” Manfriend sighed (I’m sure with relief). “You look gorgeous.”

I sat down, inches away from a toddler-sized meltdown.

That’s right. My dress wouldn’t zip up. At least not without a little effort. And so I sulked as Manfriend comforted me and then went about his business.

Three pairs of pants later, he was as downtrodden as I was. Seemed none of his trousers were fitting quite right.

Was it the massive falafal-filled lunch we’d devoured a few hours prior? Maybe. But this wasn’t an isolated incident. (I almost took out Manfriend’s eye when the button on my coat flew off.) Nor was it a great feeling, following almost two months of better self-care.

Thanks to my 30-day challenge idea (that I stole from a YouTube binge session), we’d both been muddling through daily fitness routines. Which is great, considering I’d been to our new gym a total of about eight times.

We were taking it slow and set reasonable requirements. Last month, it was 30 minutes of any sort of exercise. (I opted for yoga for most of it.) This month, it was still a set of exercises, but I’d even given up all baked goods.

(I miss muffins.)

And yet, our clothes were literally busting at the seams.

We were both bummed and, ironically on our way out to a proper, multiple-course holiday dinner hosted by Manfriend’s company.


Never fear, dear readers. Not even a too-tight set of stockings could keep me from devouring the entire slab of veggie lasagna I had. And the clothes debacle had gotten a few chuckles from our dining companions. I slurped up the wine and ate our cakes with gusto.

It’s me, after all.

But then, as folks chattered, someone said something important. A self-described fitness nut, she insisted it took weeks — months, even — before the body really changed. That it’s slow, steady and requires plenty of commitment.

Much like anything else worth having, eh?

She could have been describing my struggles with Chinese language learning, or inevitable plateaus in work or personal successes.

And so, with a big slap from the Obvious Stick, I set my mind straight again. It was the holidays, after all, and while I’m a pretty regular Grinch, I didn’t need to be so about my body image or anything else. I could indulge on a day off and still feel strong during my next set of side planks.

This was for strength and wellness, after all. It was going to take time, and that was OK.

Let’s just hope my bursting buttons hold out until we get there.

Note: This message of self love goes out to all of you this holiday season! Enjoy, in moderation, and give that gorgeous self a big ol’ hug. Love from Beijing, to all of you.

Read more Sieh: coloradodaily .com/columnists. Stalk her:

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