Call the law. Somebody broke into my apartment, crept into my bedroom, went through my closet… and shrunk all my clothes. My jeans, my skirts, my slacks, even my T-shirts and party dresses, all vandalized, zapped down to junior’s department-size teeniness. My first reaction was to hunt down the culprits and give them a stern talking to. But the chances that some criminal with nothing better to do in the big city than hatch a diabolical plan to annihilate the wardrobe of a random freelance writer are pretty slim. I, alas, am not.

Winter is always a stubborn, sluggish heifer but summer comes flitting in with signature free-spiritedness and then, before you even have a chance to wear all of your cute sandals and shorts, she’s gone. I feel like I just got done making plans for Memorial Day, yet here we are the day after Labor Day. That means I attended another family cookout with so many of the foods I love. And I indulged. Oh yes, siree, I did. But I have declared that after that last hurrah, I’m getting myself together and losing some weight. Jesus take this wheel.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when I started packing on all of these extra pounds, but I estimate that since the weather warmed up, I’ve probably packed on a cool 10, maybe 11. It’s so easy in the spring and summer. I’m out and about more often, and social events always involve good food. You can miss me with those frou frou hors d’oeuvres and decadent desserts — I’m a meat and potatoes kind of girl with a special place in my heart (and clearly, my stomach) for anything starchy. Potatoes, rice and, my real culinary Achilles heel, bread. I can knock off a basket of cheddar bay biscuits before anyone else at the table even gets their napkin unfurled. Hey, you snooze, you lose.

While I’ve been caught up in the rapture of my long-running love affair with food, however, I’ve also maintained a less than enthusiastic commitment to working out. I’ve been so busy grindin’, working hard to raise my daughter, pander to her schedule and still carve my dreams while launchimg a business, that if it comes down to knocking out an assignment for a client or driving 20 minutes to a zumba class, the score has always inevitably been Hustle 1, Gym 0. I don’t mind exercising as long as it’s fun. I would shrivel up from boredom on a treadmill, but my competitive spirit comes out in classes. It’s just making the time and conjuring up the energy to go to one.

Historically, I have never been a thin chick. Never. I George Jefferson-walked right out of the children’s department into a size 6 when I was in the fifth grade. I’ve always been on the thick side, even when I ran track back in high school. But I was at my smallest in college. I maintained that for as long as I could, until the off-kilter imbalance of too much socialization and not enough activity caught up with me. It’s not that what I eat is all that bad. It’s just that I eat too much. Because Black aesthetics make it totally acceptable to have some extra padding on your package, I didn’t pay much attention to my beefy thighs or the love handles — I call them “kickstands” — rolling up on my sides. Now here I am, one Chick-Fil-A trip away from being an Ashley Stewart shopper.

But praise the Lord that I’ve made it to a new month and am on the verge of a new season, even though I’m in no rush to hurry summer away. Post-Labor Day seems like a good time to knock off some (but let’s be real, not all) of these excess pounds and be healthier. Lighter. More spry. And able to fit into my jeans without pleading the blood of Jesus on the big red ring across my stomach from too-tight waistbands and exhaling two hallelujahs to be able to sit down in them. Writing this holds me to a commitment and solidifies my intention. But, if somewhere along the line, I steal your biscuit off your plate, just be patient and pray for me. I’m in transition.

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