By Maureen Francisco
For Northwest Asian Weekly
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the winter edition of Stiletto Woman Magazine. It has been reprinted here with permission.
Double zero. What the heck is it? Well, I didn’t know about it until I became part of the elite club in my early 30s. Double zero has nothing to do with an IQ, a prescription, a drink, the mile high club, or the grade of your eye. My friend, double zero is a size of clothing, which means I’m smaller than a zero. Women envy me, retailers love me. I’m here to dispel the myth about being a double zero, shed some light on the expensive lifestyle, the jealousy that comes with my size, and the benefits of being able to squeeze my 5’1”, 90-pound body into a size few women can fit into.
THE MYTH: I wasn’t born this way. I don’t get to eat anything and everything I want. Remember, I didn’t become part of the club until my early 30s. My mother is a healthy woman, along with my aunts who wear clothes in double digits, but not double zero. I became this way through eating healthier and exercising regularly. It wasn’t a lifelong goal for me to fit into a double zero. It just happened. Seriously. As I’ve gotten older, I realized that my metabolism started slowing down and I couldn’t eat five bagels a day like I did in college.
After college, I became a TV reporter. I was eating on the go, which meant fast food was part of my regular diet. However, after constantly running around and chasing stories, I resumed my pre-college weight and size: 97 pounds, size four. In addition, I hit the gym and ran three times a week.
It wasn’t until I had a desk job when I increased my exercise regimen. Since I sat in front of a computer 8 to 10 hours a day, I vowed to myself that I would not allow myself to look like the characters from “The Office.” To avoid traffic, I hit the gym five times a week. Desserts and mochas were still a regular part of my diet. Then, I weighed 94 pounds, size two.
When I joined a bikini football league, I stepped up my game. I included weight training and yoga into my workouts. Exercising regularly became a part of my life. I worked out nearly every day. Now, I don’t go all out on my workouts where I leave the gym soaked like a Seattle downpour. I made sure I sweated every day even if it meant taking a brisk walk. I also made healthier choices in what I ate. I defriended preservatives and befriended organic, fresh foods and ingredients I recognized. My new eating habits equated to a higher food bill. I was perfectly okay with this since I felt better mentally and physically.
I still didn’t give up on my mochas. In fact, I fell in love with Brazilian mochas that contain condensed milk. That’s not exactly fat free. Yet, the weight dropped, the size got smaller, and the body shaped up. I am now 90 pounds and a double zero.
CLOTHING: My new size gave me an excuse to go shopping. I had no idea it could be so tough to find clothes. I started buying t-shirts and sweaters in the junior section, which saved me money. However, I am in my early 30s and I can’t exactly look like I stepped out of junior high when I step into the office. When I did buy office clothes at department stores, I often had to alter them. A jacket that hung on the sales rack for $20, now became $50 (after alterations).
I finally found a place where I didn’t have to do major surgery on the clothes I bought before I got to show them to the world, Banana Republic Petites. However, fitting into a double zero meant competition. When I found a blouse in that size, I had to buy it on the spot even if it wasn’t marked down, as someone else desperate for adult clothing would snatch it. I could never understand why I had to pay more with my new size, considering I required less fabric. Retailers say the tinier you are, the more attention to details is required on the outfit. That’s the “why” behind the full price. Please!
JEALOUSY: With my new size, my friends started to size me up, literally. They thought I starved myself to look this way. Rather than asking me how I was, they often would ask me why I don’t eat. I do eat, eat — and eat. I eat smaller portions. More often. On top of that, I wasn’t a skinny bitch. I was the nice one, so that made my girlfriends green with envy. They would often put the guilt trip on me for ordering the balsamic vinaigrette dressing instead of the ranch by saying, “Why don’t you live a little?” I do so by ordering the dessert when everyone else says they’re stuffed as they rub their bellies like they would rub a Buddha.
By having all the curves in the right places and being toned, I got the looks from everyone, including men. That didn’t help my friendships as each of my girlfriends started feeling like the wing person. Remember, my life’s goal wasn’t to be this size. It happened because I wanted to make sure I felt confident wearing a bikini as I played football. I didn’t want my mind to focus on how I looked in the uniform, but rather on how I was playing the game. Yet, I didn’t know all the negative aspects and positive attention that came with being this elite size.
CONFIDENCE: At 32, I am more confident than ever wearing a bikini because I worked hard to get this body. For that, I am proud to be part of the double zero club. It’s something I have to work on daily. Being this size is a great motivator for not skipping my workouts. It also allows me to enjoy my desserts and Brazilian mochas without guilt. While I wasn’t born this way, I do want to keep living this way. ♦
Maureen Francisco is an experienced TV reporter and anchor, actor, and media director for a nonprofit organization that helps underprivileged children further their education (www.childunited.org). Francisco also runs MoProductions, LLC. For more information, visit www.maureenfrancisco.com.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.