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Black Leather Pants

Black leather pants. That has been my dream to wear them, because then I know I am fit with the body of my dream. I have never had that body. When my mother is asked about my size as a child, she responds, “She wasn’t fat, she was…happy.” That may have been true as a child, but it changed as I became self-aware in middle school. My sister who is four years older would put on my clothes and pull out the waist to show me how big they were on her. At school I was called “the Pillsbury dough girl” by the boy on whom I had a crush. In high school, I was told that I had a pretty face but that my body did not match it. The worst memory for me was when I was at camp as a teenager. A group of boys would chant “wide-earth” every time I walked in or out of the cafeteria. My mother could not understand my unhappiness with my body and self. She told me that my size and shape was the best it would ever be in my life. She basically indicated that my fate was that of most of the women in my family: a life of obesity.

I now have successfully stayed the thinnest person in my family, but I am still overweight and I have never worn black leather pants. I have had two children and been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I have been told that they are both reasons to not be able to lose weight. I accepted that for a period of time while I cared for our family until I realized that the way I looked in pictures was not a bad camera angle, but my true self. I realized the scale was not changing. I realized that I avoided looking in mirrors because every time I did, all I could think were negative thoughts about me. I finally realized that I was not happy. I had to make a change. I started doing boot camp. I started noticing changes in my body and I started doing exercises that I never thought I would be able to do. I realized for the first time that change is possible.

I have lost weight in the past, but typically with a deadline such as my wedding. I came so close to buying those black leather pants, but all the weight returned before I got there. I realize now that I did not make a lifestyle change as much as a change that made me feel deprived and was unsustainable. I think that the program that the SLAM B.A.M. competition offers may be the impetus I need to make serious change to last a lifetime.

I want my changes and my drive to inspire others, but most importantly I want it to inspire my family. I want my children not to grow up believing in a fate of obesity, but to know a healthy lifestyle and to know that with a strong mind, anything is possible.

So why do I still desire those black leather pants? To me black leather pants reveal all flaws, so they must be worn with great confidence and with a good body. I would wow my children and make my husband proud, but most importantly, I would have the body of my dreams, I would have the confidence to put them on and the desire to wear them for years to come…MY black leather pants.

~ Shannon Panszis, 2009 SLAM BAM Contest 2nd Place

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