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When Your Jeans Feel Tight: A How-to-Deal Guide

Have you ever taken a pair of jeans out of the closet you haven’t worn in a while? There is already an inner battle in my head when I do. Should I try them on? What if they don’t fit? What if I’ve gained weight? How did they fit the last time I wore them?

Now you shimmy them on. You might already be on the struggle bus in the shimmy process. Or you might get them all the way up but they don’t quite zip. Or they might zip, but that’s only a technicality. It zips but doesn’t quite fit.

In my day job, I like developing a “mode of analysis” for all my projects and issues I handle. So here is the DAOFitLife “Mode of Analysis” for your tight-jean issue. Step by step, with decisions along the way that you make based on what you feel is right for you!

First thing’s first. DON’T PANIC! Consider some low-hanging fruit that may be the cause.

It could be water weight….

So many factors can contribute to that tight zip. For whatever reason, it could be bloat. I highly recommend in your jeans triage scenario you read my post and watch my video on how to debloat:

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I have a video with top debloating tips and common but unforeseen culprits, like artificial sweeteners.

It could be a new workout…

If you have just started Cross Fit, taking barre or Pilates, or any kind of strength training, your body’s natural response is to retain water as your muscles are stimulated. This is a common complaint of people who start new workouts regimes especially when they have not done so for a while.

The solution is to give it time but also consider my guidelines below about cardio!

But if it’s not….

Then you have a choice. Do you buy bigger jeans and donate the tight ones? Or if it’s a matter of shaving off 5 pounds or less, do you keep the jeans?

Think about how you feel about the way you look without the jeans

If you were feeling fantastic and then trying the jeans brought you down, consider tossing them. Who cares? Our bodies change throughout our lives and those jeans may have fit when we were a less healthy version of ourselves.

Keeping smaller clothes in some ways is an admission that you want to someday be a smaller size (again), as this article describes. On the other hand, fitting into the jeans or dress could be a source of motivation, as discussed on this reddit thread.

It’s a complicated topic, but I think balance is always a good approach. So below is a BALANCED approach in case you do want to keep and try to fit in the jeans.

OlegDoroshin @ Adobe Stock

If you go with buying bigger jeans…

Then find a forgiving brand! I am a huge fan of the following (unsponsored) favorites:

  1. Any Levi’s jeans, but especially the classic high-waist 70s flare.
  2. L’agence: Yeah, they’re French, and yeah, they’re expensive, but they last and stretch forever.
  3. Mother: You may have not heard of this one, but it’s really soft
  4. GAP: Cheaper and they make jeggings
  5. Any kind of Paige jeans.

Check out this Vogue article for more info about these jeans and other brands – most of which are suitable for men, and also available at discount stores like Nordstrom rack.

Tips to Fit Back into Your Jeans Without Crash Dieting

Tip #1: Set realistic and specific goals

Start by setting realistic goals for yourself. Identify the date of your event and calculate the time you have to work with. Remember, losing weight too quickly can be unhealthy, so aim for a sustainable and steady weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. Having a specific goal in mind will help you stay motivated and focused throughout the process.

Tip #2: Adopt a balanced and calorie-controlled diet

To lose weight effectively, it’s crucial to maintain a calorie deficit. Start by calculating your daily calorie needs and then reduce your intake by 500-1000 calories per day. Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Avoid sugary drinks, processed foods, and excessive snacking.

Also, consider dropping your protein intake, especially when you are getting too much of it, which is possible – I discuss the “broscience” misleading myths about protein in this article:

white cream on stainless steel tray
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya

Tip #3: Practice portion control

Portion control plays a significant role in weight loss. Be mindful of your serving sizes and use smaller plates and bowls to help control your portions visually. Use measuring spoons for condiments, especially oils, or use healthier substitutions (which you can consult in my article here). Include a variety of colorful vegetables on your plate to increase satiety and reduce overall calorie consumption. Remember to eat slowly and savor each bite to allow your body to recognize when it’s full.

C Malambo/ @ Adobe Stock

Tip #4: Incorporate fasted cardio

Recent studies show that fasted cardio can burn 70 percent more fat. And it doesn’t have to be running or any kind of hard-core bootcamp. What I did was set my alarm for an hour earlier and walk 10,000 steps in the morning while drinking my coffee. The other benefit of fasted cardio in the morning is that it boosts your alertness and also ensures that nothing else gets in your way of working out.

Regardless of what time of day, incorporating regular exercise especially cardio can help you slim down fast. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week. Engage in activities you enjoy, such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or dancing. Additionally, include strength training exercises to build muscle, as muscle burns more calories even at rest.

I would also recommend prioritizing cardio over strength training for a while especially if your goal is to fit into smaller jeans. Especially taking part in a lot of Pilates and barre classes, as well as lower body weight training, can definitely make your lower region larger.

woman in black long sleeve shirt holding blue plastic bottle
Photo by Bindle Bottle

Tip #5: Stay hydrated and mindful of your beverages

Water is essential for overall health and can aid in weight loss. Aim to drink at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water per day. Water not only helps you stay hydrated but also promotes a feeling of fullness, reducing the chances of overeating. Avoid sugary drinks, sodas, and excessive alcohol consumption, as they can add unnecessary calories to your diet.

Tip #6: Get enough sleep

Adequate sleep is crucial for weight loss and overall well-being. Lack of sleep can disrupt your metabolism, increase cravings, and hinder weight loss efforts. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to promote optimal functioning of your body and mind.

The DAOFitLife CEO, Galaxy, can attest to this tip!!!

woman in black long sleeve shirt covering her face with her hands
Photo by Elisa Ventur

Tip #7: Manage stress levels

Stress can lead to emotional eating and sabotage your weight loss progress. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as engaging in relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Engage in activities that you enjoy and make time for self-care.

black and silver electronic device
Photo by Kenny Eliason

Tip #8: Monitor your progress

Keep track of your weight loss progress to stay motivated and make adjustments if necessary. Weigh yourself regularly (preferably once a week) and keep a journal of your meals, exercise routines, and emotions associated with your journey. Celebrate your achievements along the way to stay positive and focused on your goals.

More reading

Here’s how to stretch out jeans that are way too tight (Cosmo)

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