Sunday, April 3, 2011

Your Choices Are A Tent or Elasticized Potato Sack

200.6 lbs. for 3 days in a row. It’s better than 202.

I recognize the need for movement as part of a health improvement plan. I can walk all day (and have proven this). However, there are a couple of strikes against a daily constitutional: 1) I come in two shades: white and brick red. Red hurts. I am allergic to most sunscreen (except for heavy duty baby sunblock. Anybody who says that the higher range SPF is useless should try spending the day in my skin with one half covered in SPF and half in SPF 55 and then report back) and 2) not a lot of great options for walking around the block in my current neighborhood. There is a high school nearby that was the scene of a nationally covered drive-by shooting a couple of years back. It does tend to put a crimp into focusing on the walk if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder.

Luckily, there is a sizeable mall within easy driving distance (A couple of miles). 2 levels, lots of space to cover.  I just have to leave the credit cards somewhere else. I can maintain a fairly good clip and have to resist the temptation to shove slowpokes and sudden stoppers out of the way. I also have to resist the temptation to reward myself at the food court, but it’s doable.

As my old exercise clothes no longer fit (yippee!), I tried to get some of the new Easy Tone line by Reebok. Use of “tried” will indicate, to those who read between the lines, a lack of complete success. The largest size available is XL. According to most companies, XL should fit a size 16, The jeans I bought a few weeks ago (which are loose) are 16. Other items of clothing that I’ve brought out of retirement are XL and fit. The Reebok web site doesn’t have information on the sizing of its products, nor was I able to get anyone on the phone from customer service (despite a reply email from them telling me I should talk to customer service to ask about sizing when I had contacted them in December. I stopped buying Reebok sneakers because they would fall apart at the seams within 2-3 moths of purchase. Nikes last). Anyway, Dick’s Sporting Goods website had sizing information and it looked like I would fit. The pants are as tight as Spandex on Mariah Carey’s big ass, but they fit. The top, on the other hand, I couldn’t even get it over my head. XL, my ass. And I double-checked the label.  Reebok has a strange notion of who wears extra-large clothing.  Luckily, Fila has a similar, more generous sizing and lower cost. We’ll see if the top I ordered will fit.
You know, people look at the overweight and the obese and judge us harshly. I have written about the parking lot encounter with the woman telling me that her nearly hitting me head-on was because I’m angry at being fat. I remember, after a hot tub soak to ease a nasty muscle pull, as I left the pool area, I heard a teenaged boy refer to me as a “hammer thrower.”  These are total stranger.
I have had relatives (who lack any sense of taste or style for starters) who have lost weight (and it was temporary) force their ugly, lumpy poly-blend wardrobe dregs onto me, usually with a verbal swipe at how I was larger than they were and maybe I think about doing the same thing they were. Oh, and by the way, a few months down the road and they had to shop for replacement lumps in the old sizes.
Buying clothing in larger sizes is no fun, particularly for women. A lot of designers don’t  make clothing over size 12 or size 14 or if they do, it’s as expensive as their main line, but lacks the style , quality or elegance of the smaller clothes. Plus-sizes bathing suits tend to be garish and “cleverly” designed with little skirts or other additional fabric to hide lumps, bumps and bulges. 
If you have a fashion sense, this is hell and Lane Bryant is the ninth level. I don’t think there’s a single thread of natural fiber within 500 yards of the place. The clothing is poorly made (a bra that was supposed to be an answer to the La Mystere available at Nordstroms chafed my skin raw and broke down like a Reebok sneaker. This was even after it had been fitted by a sales lady) and there seems to be more emphasis on signing up new credit card holders than making customers happy. Even the accessories are cheap and over priced.
Buying jeans is a challenge because there’s an assumption that if you have to wear the larger sizes, you have a big stomach (I do) and big hips and thighs (I don’t). The “apple” shaped body presents greater challenges than the pear, besides the greater health risks.  If I buy jeans that fit my waist, there’s room for an extra butt cheek and the thighs of a Budweiser Clydesdale. However, the day 4 years ago I pulled on a pair of Michael Kors jeans and they fit all over, I nearly cried. And when I saw the price tag ($100), I did cry. But I bought them. And when they wore out,  Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, which not only came in my size, but were constructed with a “tummy tuck” panel that minimizes the stomach (you can even go a size smaller in them).
To all the designers (like Giorgio Valente, the first designer jeans guy refused to make larger sizes because he believed “fat people don’t deserve them”) who refuse to make bigger fashionable clothes: Hey, the American size is headed upward, not down and you are cutting yourselves out of a market. Plus, our money spends just as well as the skinny bitches’ does.
There was a time when clothing was designed around the shape of women’s bodies. I think the trend has shifted to women working hard to re-design their bodies to fit the clothes.  We went from corsets and panniers to corsets and hoop skirts to corsets and bustles to bras and Iron Maiden girdles (by the way, my loving mother bought my first girdle for me when I was 12 years old and I was forced to wear it all day to my cousin’s wedding. Not only was I incredibly uncomfortable all day, I was secure in the knowledge that I was the only pre-teen wearing foundation garments, probably on the Eastern Seaboard). Ever since I took charge of what I wear, I have refused girdles (and I’ve had the two generations above me pushing me to make them a daily part of my wardrobe). Control top panty hose practically up to my armpits, yes. A girdle? No. Never. I’ve accepted the fact that I can’t wear the sexy little Band Aids that Victoria’s Secret models wear over their alleged breasts, but I’ll be damned if I go through my day thoroughly miserable so that someone else can feel comfortable about my appearance.  The only time I’ve worn Spanx was when I needed to put together an outfit to look like an Oscar for a costume party (I won a prize, too). It was only a few hours, but it was torturous.
So, tomorrow, I will strap on my Tone Up sneakers (MBTs, not the Skecher knock-offs. Even if I had been considering Skechers, I will not buy them as they have hired a Whoredashian as their face) and work to get my measurements within range of normal.
140 lbs, here I come.


  1. I HATE Lane Bryant - but they've been the only place I can find pants that fit me. WHY NO NATURAL FIBER SHIRTS? I ended up finding a pair of cotton Dockers-style pants and bought them in 3 colors because I knew that I'd never find them there again.

    Love this post, and good for you for being you!

    1. Thank you, Suniverse. I found better quality clothing at Nordstrom Rack and at Nordstrom. You pay a bit more, but it's better quality, better made clothing that lasts longer. The house brand, Caslon, is pretty good stuff. Also, Eileen Fisher (which I've found at Nordie's) has larger sizes, good quality, natural fibers. It's "softer", mostly knits, but I've never been disappointed by anything of theirs I've bought/worn. PLUS: I've never encountered a snide or nasty saleswoman in the Encore (plus size) section at Nordie's. I've been in the dressing room at the cursed LB and heard the sales clerks snickering at the customers.
      Good luck and thanks again for reading.


Keep it civil.