If you ask my Dad about back pain, he’ll likely tell you one of two things first: (1) Don’t sit on your wallet, or (2) Don’t wear a belt.
I’ve dealt with my own share of back pain (more on that in my next post), so I get the sentiment, but I’ve never been one for suspenders. So, for years I’ve worn the same cheap, green nylon belt with a “D” ring fold-over, style buckle. It matches nothing and my wife hates it. Well, actually, it matches my sense of style, so that should tell you a lot. I got it along with an equally fashionable pair of size 38 cargo shorts from one high end retailer or another (probably Wal-Mart, but it’s been so long I really don’t remember).
I had a ton of issues with stiff-buckled belts when I was fat and out of shape and the ugly green one had just enough give to provide some relief but also keep my pants up. So it stuck.
At my heaviest, I could barely fold the end over and loop it back through to get it secure. In fact, it would pop loose on occasion if I let my guard down and didn’t suck in hard enough. My relationship with the belt was constant adjustment. I would pull it tight and it would fight back against my ever-growing gut. Looking back now, I realize that was a hard thing for me to deal with emotionally, so I blamed the crappy belt that wouldn’t stay tight. In all reality, though, I was the thing that needed to do better, not the belt. It took me years or pain, pills, booze, anger, and depression to realize that. I went through some very dark places before I stepped onto this road (more on that to come), some that I maybe shouldn’t have survived. But, the belt has been with me the entire time.
Today I have to wear it off-center with the buckle just above my left hip pocket. This gives me enough room to thread the excess through my front two belt loops so it doesn’t dangle down in front of my crotch like an… extra belt. As of this morning there’s a full ten inches of “leftovers” when I pull it snug. Oh, and those size 38 cargo shorts? I’m trading those for a pair of 30s as soon as I can find some that fit my thighs (my legs aren’t as impressive as I want them to be, but I never skip leg day).
This week is four weeks from my first physique show and I’m still on track. I’ve been pretty absent from posting due to the fact that I usually can’t remember which day of the week it is. But I’m still on the road and I’m not getting off until I get there.