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A Store Clerk Implied I Was Fat

Photograph by Getty Images

So the other day I ventured out of my house for the first inaugural attempt at buying clothes post-my-fourth-baby. Can you hear my futile attempts at concealing how exciting of a prospect this was for me?

I’ve pretty much put off buying any real clothes since I had my first daughter, which unfortunately for me and anyone with eyeballs, was almost seven years ago now, so let’s just say my wardrobe is a bit outdated. With the holidays coming up, I figured it was time to drag my non-Kimmy K. derrière up to the store and pick up a few presentable items by which to drape across my being.

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Once there, I was of course gifted with the good luck of having the youngest, peppiest, slimmest store clerk attendant known to mankind, who immediately made it her mission in life to get me to try on every single item in the store.

“What are you looking for today?” she asked, levitating off of the ground with good cheer. “Anything specific I can help you find?”

“Oh, well, I just had my fourth baby, so really I’m just looking for anything that fits…” I mumbled, hoping she would let me browse in frumpy peace. Thankfully, my phone rang at that very minute and I answered it eagerly, gliding away from the clerk inconspicuously. The minute I hung up however, there she was again, fastened to my side like the love handles that are currently making their namesake a laughing stock. “So, how do you feel about jeggings?” she said.

“Um, er, well, I guess I like them,” I said, contemplating exactly what a jegging was. And then it hit me—oh yes, stretchy, pajama-like pants that can pass for actual jeans. “Actually, I love jeggings!” I said brightly, my tone matching her own for the first time.

“Great!” she said leading me over to a display of folded clothes and holding up two options. “Now, do you want a large or extra-large?”

Her words hurt me as did the fact that after I requested a size down, she helpfully stocked my dressing room with only XL jeggings.

Now, let me just pause her and explain that I do not have a problem with large, extra-large, or extra-extra-extra large jeggings for that matter. What I do have a problem with, however, is a peppy store clerk taking the lead in assuming exactly what size I would need, simply because I just had a baby. I’m not a huge person—sure, I have some pounds to drop after having a baby, but I wear around a size 10, and like any postpartum mom, I’m sensitive about my body image. So, yes, her words hurt me as did the fact that after I requested a size down, she helpfully stocked my dressing room with only XL jeggings. (Which for the record, were laughably big on me.)

To add insult to injury, she also steered me toward the paneled legging section, perfect apparently for mushy mothers like myself with a front area to “hold it all in.”

Insert unimpressed face here.

Needless to say, I of course bought the paneled leggings (they were awesome), left the XL jeggings in the room in a huff, and raced home to find some free workouts I could do from the comfort of my own home. I’ve been hitting the elliptical almost daily, but let’s face it—those 30 minutes are really just about 10 calories burned as an excuse to watch “Gilmore Girls” and aren’t really doing much to help me lose actual weight. I knew that I needed to mix in some weights with my workout and I wanted something super fast and effective, free and more importantly, something simple that I could just do at home—ain’t nobody got time for hitting the gym here.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are a lot of really great options to find free workouts online, so thank you Ms. Rude Store Clerk, for inspiring this list that will take me from flabby to fit in the new year:

1. Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred.

The idea behind Michael’s 30-Day Shred is really simple—30 days, three different workouts. You start with the easiest one, at Level 1, and move up to Levels 2 and 3 when you are ready. I have to admit that I’ve never been a “Biggest Loser” fan, but oh my good gosh, this workout is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s 30 minutes, all you need are regular dumbells, and it works every.single.part of your body. At the time of this writing, I am on Day 5 of “The Shred” and am hoping that by sometime next year, I can work up to Level 2. Gulp.

2. Jillian Michael’s Yoga Meltdown

Continuing my love of all things Jillian Michaels is her Yoga Meltdown workout on YouTube. I love yoga but admit I can find it a little dull—which is why I love the more “intense” versions, and I think it’s a great way to build up muscle and stamina without killing your body through high-impact exercises too.

3. Denise Austin Kickboxing Cardio

Denise Austin is an oldie but a goodie—I used to do her exercises with my mom all the time as a kid, but I still love her and her workouts because they are fun, easy and they work. This free kickboxing cardio one is one of my favorites, especially when I’m feeling a little on the stressed side.

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4. Winsor Pilates

Pilates is one of those tricky exercises—you think it’s really simple until you actually do it and your muscles are crying out in agony. Eventually, I want to move up to the hour-long workout, but until my baby gets old enough to allow me to put her down for more than five seconds, this free 20-minute exercise will have to work. Thanks, Pilates.

Do you have any great free workouts you know of? Do share!

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