Jeans and big bellies

Today I am wearing jeans.   This is abnormal.

It didn’t used to be — like many American girls, I grew up wearing jeans.  After college, working at  a major software company, jeans were like a uniform.   I wasn’t one the guys, but wearing the same clothes helped me fit in: jeans,  a t-shirt or sweatshirt, and athletic shoes.  As I got bigger, finding jeans became more of a quest.  Lees, Lane Bryant, jeans with elastic in the back of the waistband.   Years after I’d quit buying “goal clothing” and assuming “I should keep this because it’ll fit when I lose weight”, I still kept old jeans.*

Why don’t I wear jeans much anymore?

It’s partly that they’re harder to find in my size.**  In fact, I had a few years where I could get elastic-waist lightweight denim pants pretty easily, but not 5-pocket (or 4-pocket)  sturdy jeans.  These years also coincided with me taking a meditation class and discovering that I couldn’t take a full breath in the jeans I had been wearing.

I have a big belly.  I know, I know, what a shock.  But I am definitely apple-shaped, not pear-shaped: my belly projects frontward; my waist is larger when I sit than when I stand.   In retrospect, the jeans I wore in high school and college acted like a girdle, holding in my lower belly, and yes, I had a muffin along the waistband (though it was usually covered by my top).   And I got used to breathing mostly with the upper part of my lungs.  But in a meditation class where I’m being encouraged to breathe deeply …. again, the jeans were having a girdle affect.

So as the jeans wore out … I didn’t replace them right away.  I just wore elastic-waist pants.   More comfortable, certainly.   But I’m wondering if the girdle lack over the last few years is also having an effect, in that my belly is drooping lower than it used to and I haven’t gained weight.

Then, after buying a house, I discovered that blackberry vines keep “volunteering” to grow in our yard, and I’m periodically pruning roses and trees and otherwise doing tasks where I really wished for sturdy, thick jeans.  A few years ago I did buy a couple pairs of jeans on sale: a pair of “stretch” midrise jeans from Silhouettes in size 38W and a pair of Lane Bryant highrise jeans in 40W. I’m wearing the stretch ones today.  They’re quite comfortable for sitting,*** but I do periodically have to tug them up while walking.****  But they performed their role of “body armor” while I was scrubbing the deck, so I’m happy.  Next up: blackberry vines. (Or, maybe, lunch.)


*And old bras.  I still keep non-fitting but have found to be comfortable bras, because my bra size changes whenever I make a change to my exercise routine. It also changes with the moon.  Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if it started following astrological charts.

**Especially since the local boutique which carried jeans up to size 44W (Kathleen’s) closed when the owner decided to retire.

***The 38Ws fit fine while sitting but tend to try to slip off while standing. The 40Ws are fine while standing and very tight while sitting. Different manufacturers.

****I suppose I could buy a belt if I wanted to wear them more often…or, say, ask the man of the house where his belt is (his belt, which was originally my belt, but I wasn’t wearing it)…

March Round-Up

This is partly for me, and partly to show folks a little of what’s going on “behind the curtain”.  I’ve considered calling it “Best of Living 400lbs” but I’m not sure it’s really the best articles…what do you think?

March’s most popular posts:

  1. On Acceptance
  2. Why paying attention to weight can be good
  3. “Every Little Bit Helps!” Really? Depends
  4. Sometimes Exercise isn’t Fun
  5. 400lb Women are Rare….

March’s posts with the most discussion:

  1. Sometimes Exercise isn’t Fun
  2. Why paying attention to weight can be good
  3. On Acceptance
  4. Search Trends: Diabetes
  5. (tie) Sweet Potato Fries and Freedom to Cook

On a procedural note, I am going to have spotty Internet access through the weekend. I may be slow to respond to comments and to let first-timers through the mod queue.

Virtual Window Shopping: Hourglass, Apple, Pineapple, Pear…

Shades of Right Fit Jeans!  Junonia has come out with a series of sport pants in 4 different cuts, in sizes 1X to 6X, and 3 different lengths.  Nice, eh?

Hourglass, Apple, Pineapple, Pear

Four pants designs

Well…sort of.  You see, they’re not giving any custom sizing for them — just talking about cut in the description.  Has it perhaps not occurred to them that things like “garment waistband measurement”  or “garment hip measurement” might help some of us to determine which cut we might want?

Flying While 400lbs

I wasn’t going to write about Kevin Smith being bumped for fatness because I felt like I’d written enough already on airline stuff.  But I’ve been contributing to the Kevin Smith thread at Shapely Prose.  Then tonight I wrote up a huge long comment on my airline experiences at We Are The Real Deal and … it’s a post in itself.   So.

Observations:

  1. Per the airline definition of “fit” (armrests down with seat belt on) I can “fit” in a single coach seat. This is partly because I have an “apple” body shape. It’s not comfortable — compression occurs — but it’s doable.
  2. My shoulders are pretty wide, though. When I last flew in a single coach seat (2 and 3-hour flights, same clothing size as now) I’d get a window seat and lean on the bulkhead to keep my shoulders and elbows out of my neighbor’s  way.
  3. It’s very possible that I could end up next to someone (a gent with very long legs who’s “straddling” the seat ahead to keep from crunching his knees?) who has to touch my fat thigh and risk fat cooties.  Or who also has wide shoulders and keeps brushing mine.  Or I might get reassigned to a middle seat between people who don’t want to brush my shoulders.  If they complain about me, what do you think is going to happen?  I buy a second seat or get bumped.
  4. The man of the house is slimmer in the hips and fits into a coach seat much easier than I…but his shoulders are wider than mine, and has much more difficulty not brushing his neighbors’ shoulders…
  5. Which makes me wonder why hips that don’t fit into 17″ are a huge problem, but broader than 17″ shoulders are fine. This couldn’t possibly have anything do with broad shoulders being a desirable trait among men, could it?
  6. I have been known to book 2 coach seats for a cross-country flight, primarily for my own comfort. Once was with United, in 1996, before United had its “passengers of size” policy. The more recent times were with Alaska, last fall and in 2004.
  7. I’ve never had a travel or airline website allow me to book 2 seats for 1 passenger.  I’ve always had to call the airline directly. Each time I’ve ended up on hold while the agent looks up how to book 2 seats for 1 person.
  8. Each time I’ve bought multiple seats, I’ve been cautioned that they might not be together when I fly. (??) Yes, even when purchasing as a “passenger of size” policy — the policy which says big people must buy two seats? after telling the agent I weigh 400 freaking pounds? — I’ve been told this.
  9. Cassi commented on an earlier post that she had purchased two seats in advance and was told “Oh, we’re overbooked, so we’re bumping your empty seat” at the gate.
  10. There are reports of people flying to one location in a single coach seat with no problems, but being told they have to buy a second seat to get home. Or to take their connecting flight. In other words, the policies are applied inconsistently.
  11. I also sometimes fly first class. The seats are still tight, but they are more comfortable, especially for my legs and shoulders. (I wear a 30″ inseam.)
  12. I don’t fly often. Yes, I can afford to buy an extra ticket or even fly first class (first class on Alaska is often not much more than 2 coach seats – unlike many other carriers).  But it is an optional expense, and I usually opt not.  I’ve gone years between flights.
  13. My current job doesn’t require travel. I’ve traveled for business before (wearing the same clothing size as now) and it’s not bad, but that was before the “passengers of size” policies. I’d hate to be stuck in an airport explaining to my boss I’d been bumped from a plane as “too fat” and that I’d need an extra ticket to get home.

Conclusions?

Airlines really want the problem of people who don’t fit to a) go away or b) get monetized. If there’s a complaint, the fat person is kicked out and made to pay a penalty. If there’s no complaint, then they ignore it. This capricious and inconsistent application of the policies is one of the biggest problems I have with such policies.

If you haven’t flown lately, how do you know in advance whether you’ll fit?  Sure, you can take a tape measure and start measuring seats, but unless you have a 17″ (or 17.5″) wide seat with armrests at home or work or otherwise readily available (movie theater?) you may not know.

At the same time, airlines don’t see any reason to make it easier for people to book two seats. And remember, just because you paid for two seats doesn’t mean you’ll actually get them. (Again: capricious and inconsistent. It’s like a theme or something.)

“Passenger of size” policies do make it possible to get a refund.  I did receive my refund from Alaska for my most recent trip.  But finding the form to let me request it wasn’t easy, and the people answering the customer service lines didn’t seem to know how it works either.

Some airlines are also advertising “premium coach” or “business” seats that have extra legroom. They get more money and “Hey, we have an option for tall people!”

Finally: If you haven’t read Kate’s Broadsheet piece on flying while fat, I suggest you do.  (And as always, sanity watchers warning on the comments.)

Disney World

As hinted yesterday, my November vacation was Disney World! For a week! Yes, it was fantastic.  We stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter, visited in-laws, did Mission: Space, Soarin’, ate Moroccan food, laughed at Ellen & Bill Nye, geeked out at Spaceship Earth, loved Big Thunder Mountain and Test Track, enjoyed lunch with an Imagineer, and so on.  The man of the house got to ride the remade Space Mountain — unfortunately a warning light blipped and they closed it down right as I got to the head of the line.

I didn’t encounter any overt weight restrictions. The only ride I considered that I couldn’t ride was a Raytheon item in Innoventions where you could plan your own thrill ride and then ride it in a simulator.  I was not able to fit in the simulator seats.  (The man of the house could and setup a ride based on a plane flight, complete with a loop.)

I also didn’t get to try the Space Mountain capsules, though the man of the house thinks (based on how well he fit) I would have been fine.

Ah, you may be wondering – how did I handle the walking?  Um.  I didn’t.  I had planned to build up my walking ability before the trip but ran into problems.  By the time I was getting on the plane, I was using a cane.

Getting around

Disney World, if you’ve never been, is very much A Land of Much Walking.   Especially spread-out is Epcot, my favorite part of Disney World.   Just walking from my room to the resort’s bus stop was a quarter mile; at the parks it would routinely be a quarter- to half-mile walk from the bus to the actual park entrance.  Now, I could do a quarter or half-mile with my cane, but then I’d be done walking for a while.  What to do?

Well – I was fortunate:  I was able to throw money at the problem.   Continue reading

Virtual Window Shopping: Sanctuarie Va-Voom

[Looking at supersize / extended size clothing which is to say, clothing I can wear. Preferably modeled by fat people.]

Sanctuarie’s princess-seamed dress and wrap might work for Valentine’s Day.  Or clubbing.

Dress with wrap, sketch, and swatch

Dress with wrap, sketch, and swatch

I’m not feeling quite enough love to buy a dress that would require a strapless bra, but it is nice to see a dressy dress that’s machine washable!

(The description emphasizes that this dress is “definitely not for the modest”. )

Sanctuarie also carries a full line of clothing in 0x-9x, including swimsuits, lingerie, sleepwear, and even some costumes.   Most of their clothing is shown on mannequins, not models.

Not all their clothing comes in all sizes (especially not in clearance) but a goodly portion of it does.  I’ve never done business with them, though, so I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has.

Airflight Update

As it happens, I could get the armrest down on a standard coach seat.  There was definitely hip compression going on, it wouldn’t be comfortable long-term…but it was down.

However…

The man of the house has broad shoulders.  I mean, I have broad shoulders, and his are broader, and the two of us sitting together in 2 standard coach seats?  Did Not Fit. To our minds, the (empty) second seat was worth it.

I also had an interesting conversation with two of the flight attendants on Saturday when I asked if there were unbooked seats on the flight.   One was quite versed in Alaska’s “second seat” policy and recommended I check with customer service as soon as possible about my refund.   The other, a gray-haired gentleman who’d been joking throughout the flight, seemed appalled.   He pointed out that there’s no universal way to know who will fit in the seats before boarding, and that even if the armrest does go down, things like shoulder width can be just as troublesome.   The other flight attendant was nodding in agreement, which felt nice.

He also said that he hoped that no one had made me feel bad or uncomfortable about my size while booking my tickets.  I told him no, quite truthfully, and that getting a second seat on my own let me feel in control.   He also offered a complimentary cocktail, which I would’ve taken him up on if I hadn’t had ibuprofen.  :)

Related:

Virtual Window Shopping: Nifty Prices

[Looking at supersize / extended size clothing which is to say, clothing I can wear. Preferably modeled by fat people.]

Mostly with the virtual window shopping I’ve been looking at women’s clothes that I could wear* and that I think are really really nifty.   This week it’s stuff I could wear, like enough to wear, and have nifty prices — under $25.

One Stop Plus:

Print knit tunic to 5X, $14.88.

Thermal Henley shirts in gray and chocolate to 6X, $11.99.

Knit drawstring pants in 3 lengths with pockets to 6X, $12.99-$21.99

Dressy skirt in red to 34W, $17.99.

Jean jacket to 34W, $19.99.

Knit sleepshirt to 7X/8X, $15.99

Junonia:

Rib knit tank swimsuit to 6X, $14.99

“Dream. Laugh. Live.” and “Life Is Too Important To Be Taken Seriously” v-neck t-shirts to 5X and 6X, $9.99

Print skirt to 6X, $19.95

Fleece barn jacket to 6X, $19.95

Tennis skirt in closeout colors to 6X, $14.95

Woman Within:

V-neck long-sleeve tee to 7X, $13.99.

You’ll want them if it snows: Fleece sweatpants to size 6X in 3 lengths, $16.88-24.99.

Most of this stuff is pretty casual.  Partly it’s because my job lets me dress casually (and that’s something I do look for when interviewing) but partly it’s because a lot of the dressier stuff is not available in my size or at the target price.


*For the purposes of this series I assume anything 4X+ has a chance of fitting.  Sizing varies depending on manufacturer and cut, plus, sometimes I’m in an oversized mood and sometimes I’m not.

I’ve also seen 4X to be translated as 34/36W,  30/32W, AND 26/28W. Toss in that I’ve seen both 28W and 34W marked for a 58″ bust (again from different manufacturers) and I understand why a common eBay convention is to measure a shirt’s width while it’s laid flat on a table!

Health At Every Size “whether you’re 100lbs or 500lbs”

The LA Times ran a couple articles on Health At Every Size this weekend.

One bit that from the second article gave me a smile:

“You can’t know just based on a person’s size whether that person has good or poor health habits,” says Linda Bacon, a professor of nutrition at City College of San Francisco and author of “Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight” (Ben- Bella 2008). “Some people are heavy and unhealthy, and some are heavy and health- y.”

So instead, folks behind the Health at Every Size program, which Bacon and many others are researching and promoting, advocate intuitive eating — that is, teaching people to tune in to their hunger signals.

By doing so, they say, people are more likely to eat when they’re hungry, not because it’s lunch time, and to stop when they’re satisfied not stuffed. These advocates also encourage people of every size to embrace physical activities that feel good and that they enjoy. “The advice applies whether you’re 100 pounds or 500 pounds,” Bacon says.

Now, not everyone wants to do these things.  Not everyone has the money/time/ability to do these things.  But it’s nice to see the LA Times print that it’s not about the weight.   They’re not only acknowledging that HAES exists, but that HAES isn’t just for the people who “aren’t really fat”.

This is also something I love from the FAQ at Shapely Prose:

Q. OK, I’m mostly with you. It’s not nice to hate fat people, BMI is flawed, it’s possible to be fat and healthy — but come on, isn’t there a limit? I mean, when it comes to really fat people, isn’t it our duty to remind them of the health risks and encourage them to lose weight?
A. No.

Because, you know what?  Being really fat doesn’t make diets any more effective in the long-term.

I know people want to believe otherwise.  Yes, it might just may be possible that if you became fatter due to a life change that made you really sedentary, starting to exercise might cause lasting weight loss.   Returning to a normal routine after recovering from breaking a leg, for example, might result in a return to your pre-broken-leg size.  But then again, it might not.

I also thought it nice that the LA Times article followed the obligatory health professional quote asserting that “It’s dangerous to go down the path that it’s OK to be obese”  — because of course the only reason anyone’s obese is because they are so ignorant they think it’s OK to be obese — with a quote from the same health professional that

Weight-loss interventions are so ineffective […] I agree that if you’re obese and doing what you can to reduce or manage other risk factors, that’s an important goal.

It’s like the writer actually asked the health professional whether she could recommend a weight loss method that, you know, works or something.   And she couldn’t.  Because there isn’t one.

Window Shopping: Sweaters

[Looking at supersize / extended size clothing, which is to say, clothing I can wear. Preferably modeled by fat people]

pluswoman1

Plus Woman Made-to-Order Sweater

After weeks of highs in the 70s and 80s we’re suddenly experiencing … fall. I even wore a sweater to work today.

I’ve been looking forward to sweater season this year.   Suddenly I don’t worry about whether my bra’s cup seams show.   Since my desk at work seems to be in a cold pocket of the office, I’ve kept a sweater at work for the summer which frequently ended up around my shoulders in the morning.

Now it’s colder.  Considering I have enough sweaters (and cords and sweats) that I put most of them in the guest room closet for the summer I may not buy any this year, but I do like to look.

So I’m looking ;)

Plus Woman has a textured poly/rayon/acrylic a-line sweater in eggplant or navy for $69.  Note it’s one of their “Made to Order” items, so you can choose the length (from 27″ to 40″) scoopneck or v-neck, and sleeve length.   This can be a really good option if you want a particular fit.  Plus Woman also has other, less customized sweaters from $34.

Plus Woman has its own sizing, ranging from an 18W-20W equivalent to a 38W-40W equivalent.

MiB calls this a "textured pullover".  The texture does look nice...

MiB calls this a "textured pullover".

Over at Making it Big there’s the textured scoopneck sweater, complete with a little cellphone (or cardkey) pocket on the side. There’s also a cardigan version but it’s the scoopneck that I’ve been ogling for over a month now.

Both come in the rust or olive.

Why haven’t I ordered it?  It is hand wash / lay flat to dry, which seems a bit excessive for a cotton/acrylic mix.   Plus I already have a pile of sweaters, including a rust-colored (v-neck! cabled!) sweater, which makes shelling out another $99 a bit hard to explain to myself.

(No, I don’t want olive.)

Making it Big also has their own sizing, ranging from an 22W-24W equivalent to a 46W-48W equivalent.

Football Players and Fat

It’s September and the American football season has started.  Considering how fat people are reviled in America, it’s fascinating how the biggest football players still receive the cachet of being professional athletes.

I started thinking of this when I realized that the treadmills at Fitness World* allow me to enter my actual weight.  Then the mini-gym at work replaced its treadmills and they don’t top out at 330 or 350 either.  I’m wondering if the fact that more pro athletes are hitting 300+ might be part of the treadmills being built for larger people.  What American treadmill company would want to tell an NFL or college football team, “Oh, no, our machines aren’t sturdy enough for your players”?   This feeds into what’s sold for gyms that aspire to attract athletes as well.

Then I run across this gem in an article discussing how American pro football players are larger than they used to be :

Not everyone in the NFL welcomes the increase of hefty players, mainly because of the health and safety risks involved for human beings who in some cases fit the medical definition of morbid obesity.

In some cases?

This surprised me.  I ran some numbers using William (The Fridge) Perry as an example.   At 6’2″ and 370lbs, his BMI was 47.5 — officially “morbidly obese”.  However, he’d have been obese by current standards at 235, and morbidly obese at 315.   200s are probably more common than 300s, so yes, probably most players are still not officially “morbidly obese”.

Ah, some say, but it’s the body fat that matters, not the muscle.  Doesn’t matter.  The medical definition of obesity *IS* the BMI.   Height and weight.  Popular opinion seems to think it’s a factor of  height and weight and physical condition.  Or height and weight and amount of visible fat.**  Or, to be more pseduo-scientific about it, heigh and weight and percent body fat.  Not according to the CDC.

I do not intend to suggest that pro linemen live in a weight-neutral utopia.  One, players have their weight scrutinized and published.  Two, they’re strongly encouraged to manipulate their weight up and down by coaches and families; they deal with weigh-ins and fines for being too large.  (I think that consciously trying to change one’s weight should be done very cautiously, if at all).   Three, weight cycling in athletes, such as to make weigh-ins, is still weight cycling — which is associated with long-term weight gain, among other things.

But I do find it interesting that a man my height and weight is seen as “strong” and “intimidating” while I’m seen as “matronly” and “weak”.   Men are assumed to have more muscle*** — and to be more willing to use it.   I’ve had tall, fat men tell me that they’re careful to act jolly so as to appear more “Santa” than “intimidating”.  Meanwhile, I sometimes have trouble being taken seriously.


*”Fitness World” == my gym.

**Many doctors also choose not to worry about treating obesity if someone has little visible body fat and/or is very active.  Again, doesn’t affect the official definition of obesity.

***As a group men average more muscle than women do.  Doesn’t say diddly about individuals.

Shopping: Bras, Bras, Bras

(“Bras, Bras, Bras” to be whined in an intonation similar to the infamous “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”)

Sometimes I wonder if the bra I wear most is as supportive as they feel or if I’m just really used to them—in fact, I think a lot of bra comfort has to do with what you’re used to and what you look for in a bra.  I want it to hold up my boobs, mainly, and to also provide some separation and definition.  I’m not a fan of minimizers for daily wear.   I generally find soft cups either don’t provide enough support for me OR they use way too much compression.   (I do find a cotton soft cup with compression is great for exercising.  Not so great for work.  But that’s me.)

The bra I’ve been using for years is the Lilyette Women’s Maximum Support #908 (thru 44DDD) which is also known as Cortland Full Figure Underwire (thru 52DDD). Usually I find these for $24-$34.   However, they have gotten harder to find.  The local Macy’s and Nordstrom’s quit carrying them; the local Catherine’s sometimes has them but only in soft cup, which I always feel I’m drooping out of.

I’ve been wearing these in both 46DDD and 44DDD, depending on time of the month, but the 46DDD are becoming bigger (or I’m slightly smaller) and moves around too much.   Meanwhile the 44DDDs are older and very worn. I also tend to adjust them to make them fit — often bending the underwires inward toward the breastbone, or removing the stays on either side.

So I’ve been trying some new bras.  In particular, I’ve been looking into larger cup sizes.  The Elomi Jasmine underwire full coverage bra I initially found at Nordstrom’s in 44G.  The band is tight, yes, but the underwires are right against my breastbone in front, and the girls feel lighter somehow.  Thrilled, I bought 2.  At first it was great for the first few hours, a bit tight/weird for the next 3-4 hours, and then uncomfortable after that.  I have to keep my torso straighter in this bra; I would not attempt yoga in it, and the underwires do come right up to my armpits.  Now, well, either the band’s stretched a bit or I’m getting more used to it, but it’s much more comfortable — at least for the first 10 hours.

The Elomis are priced at $54 though, which, ow.

Again, I’m not sure how much of the comfort/discomfort is about what I’m used to and how much is the bra itself.   But I wanted to try a few others.  I’d given up on Lane Bryant for bras, but I’d heard on the Fatshionista LJ group that Lane Bryant does have larger-cup bras in their Cacique stores, and there is one in the greater Seattle area.  So I ventured south to Tukwila and tried some, eventually purchasing a Cacique (LB) Lace full coverage bra with seamless cups in 46DDD that felt great the first hour or so  … and then I felt like my boobs were falling out, as in, the cups are smoothing but not supportive.  Tightening the band and straps didn’t help.  Also, a month had gone by, too–a month in which I began working out more frequently.  My 46DDD Lilyettes are looser too.  So I got a 44DDD (in blue!) a few weeks ago.  The band was a little tight but the cup fit was excellent…

I thought …

Until yesterday, when again, I felt like the cups weren’t, um, there.  Or not there enough.  Then, about 4:30, I looked down to see a white-tipped underwire poking out between the buttons on my blouse.

Head, meet desk.  Only no, don’t, not sure what that would do to the underwire.  I adjusted my blouse to cover the wire, went to the women’s room, undressed in the stall, and poked the underwire back into place.  Then I went home to change.

So now I get to decide if I want to try to return a two-week old bra that has been worn 3 or 4 times.  Without receipt.  Or if I want to sew the underwire’s “doorway” closed, and perhaps only wear it to be seen in.  (AKA a “date bra”).

Also, in the meantime?  My 46DDD Lilyettes are looser yet, to the point where the stay on the left-hand side (I lean to the left when mousing) has actually scraped some of my skin off last week.  I wore exercise bras all weekend to help with healing.  Today I’m wearing an Elomi bra, which fits snugly and doesn’t have side stays.

And I think I’ll be getting more of the 44DDD Lilyettes.

Believe in Your Limitations, and They’re Yours

Last week I posted some statistics about height and weight.  Partly it’s because the statistics surprised me a bit — I thought women were taller and heavier, on average, than they are.  I also thought it would be an interesting bit of data to discuss and think about.

There’s something else, though.   I accepted the data when I read it.  I could’ve denied it.  I could have argued, for example, that women in the Seattle area are really taller than average.  Or that the statistics were incorrect.   Or that since many women do wear heels, their height in heels is what matters, not without.

If, you know, I had more invested in seeing myself as average height.

Humans often do focus on the data which confirms their beliefs and discount what doesn’t; it’s called confirmation bias, and reportedly emotion encourages it.  Reading the Wikipedia article I came across the following:

[D]epressive patients maintain their depressive state because they fail to recognize information that might make them happier, and only focus on evidence showing that their lives are unfulfilling. According to Beck, an important step in the cognitive treatment of these individuals is to overcome this bias, and to search and recognize information about their lives more impartially.

This was something I worked on in therapy for depression, in fact—learning to look beyond my own perceptions to check my feelings with whatever facts were available.   (I think that’s part of why I find demographical statistics fascinating.)  This disconnected me from my feelings to a certain extent, but when you’re depressed that can be something that really helps.

I think of it like putting on my glasses (getting in better focus) or using highway checkpoints (getting an outside reading for my spedometer).   My emotions and feelings of self-worth can be impacted by depression.  Or fatigue.   Sometimes it’s better to say “enough” and come back after a nap or some coffee or when I’ve got my glasses on.

This technique also works when you feel that being fat is the root of all your problems.  Or when you are worried about what other people are thinking.   Yes, sometimes they are pointing at you and saying “Look at her!”—but more often they’re not.

Yes, I am taller and fatter than average.  In some ways I’m a freak of nature — most humans simply can’t weigh as much as I do.   I also have white skin, curly hair, a rack of doom, a Bachelor of Science degree.  Some of these things provide me with privilege, some don’t, but none dictate my worth.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Virtual Window Shopping Swimsuits

[Looking at supersize / extended size clothing,  which is to say, clothing I can wear.  Preferably modeled by fat people]

Halter top at Love Your Peaches

Halter top at Love Your Peaches

I’m looking forward to a sunny vacation in November.   So naturally I’m looking at swimsuits.  Even though I already have 4 suits.

Okay, if you don’t want to know why I have so many suits, skip down.  I liked my deep size 30 V-neck skirted-style once-piece from Sylvia’s Swimwear enough to buy a second one — I could swim laps in it at the gym and enjoyed men’s reaction to the V.   Then I took a water aerobics class and, um I “bounced” right out of the V.   So I got a higher-neck one for water aerobics.  The 4th is a 2-piece (skirted top with detachable straps and black bottom)  I picked up on sale because my torso is longer than average and, yes, Land’s End makes long-torso women’s one-piece suits, but not in supersizes.   Then I found a nudist group that periodically rents a private pool and didn’t need a suit at all!  Oh well.

So … despite not having used the pool at my gym at all this year … I am looking.   Not necessarily buying.

The suit at the right is from Love Your Peaches.  One thing about Peaches is that tops and bottoms are sold per piece, so if you are, gasp, different sizes on top and bottom you don’t have to decide which half doesn’t fit.  It also gets around the “long torso” thing.   At right is the “Marilyn” halter top and one of the “boyfriend” bottoms.

And, of course, the one sort of suit I currently don’t have?  Is a bikini.

Junonia Crossback Suit

Junonia Crossback Suit

No, I’m not sure I’d want to bare my tummy in public, but that red one does make me consider it.  :)

Peaches also has a skirted top – and the skirt can be mesh or solid.  Of course, if I got the top in something that coordinates with black, I could wear the black swimsuit bottom I already have.  Hm.

Junonia’s swimsuits have more of an athletic bent.  I already have a servicable tank suit to fit that need, but then a 25% off on selected swimwear & athletic wear announcement popped into my inbox.  Low and behold, it includes Junonia’s crossback suit (at right).   I’m curious as to how easy it would be to get into, but not enough to buy yet another tank suit.   They also have a tall tank suit for under $30…IF you wear size 4x or below…