Remember when you were little and the first tendrils of cool air seeped from the arctic, and your mom would make you try on every single item of clothing that she had packed away in the spring?

And remember how much fun it was to discover that all the clothes had shrunk over the summer?  That the arms of the jackets were too short, the skirts showing too much leg for decency, and how the waistband of the pants didn’t always come together?  And remember going shopping with your mom for everything from socks to a winter jacket?  And remember how fun it was to try on those bigger sizes?

And then, a few years later, your mom would still decree that you try on everything “for size,” but by now you were a teenager and it wasn’t much size that was the problem, but style.  “I wore that last year?” you’d ask yourself as the give-away pile, that you claimed was a “too small” pile, became a mountain.

And remember a decade or two later, after the babies and after just a few French fries and ice cream cones, and how the clothes in the back of the closet started shrinking again?  The skirts were too short, the jackets were so tight you looked like a scarecrow in a field, and the jeans?  Forget the jeans.  Let’s not even think about the jeans, or those itty bitty belts that now looked like garters.

And how the shopping for a size larger wasn’t nearly so much fun as when you did it with your mom, and she’d make you come out of the dressing room and parade around the clothing department like a runway model?  This time, it wasn’t fun.  At all.  It was especially not fun to spend your money on bigger sizes even if they were more comfortable and actually made you look slimmer.  You knew the depressing number on the size tag, even if you snipped it off with a pair of scissors as soon as you got home.

I have experienced all of these incantations, and I have never experienced the reverse, having the size go down.  In fact, I had grown shorter with the years.  I had images of myself shrinking gradually to pygmy size and having to shop in the “husky” girl’s section.

But today?  Today I grew!  I grew a whole, entire inch!  No kidding.

I love what it’s done for my posture, and I really love what it has done for my BMI (Body Mass Index, a nasty number best to avoid calculating because, generally speaking, it is depressing.)  Growing an inch was like losing five pounds.  It totally changed the numbers of the BMI and turned me into a seriously healthy height/weight profile.

How did I do this?  Not by buying a new pair of shoes, but with a professional measurement.  I was weighed, measured, had my blood pressure and grip strength tested as part of the Tomorrow Project, a long-term health study that aims to find the causes of cancer.  I’d like to say it didn’t hurt, but it did, just a little, when the needle pricked my skin for the blood test, but for that extra inch of height, it was worth it.

Thousands of volunteers are still needed.  If you are between the ages of 35 and 69 and have never been diagnosed with cancer, consider becoming involved.  It’s virtually painless and our combined health information might make a difference.  Besides, you might surprise yourself and find you stand a little taller.

For more info, visit

© 2012 Sue Farrell Holler