How Do I Know What Fits Me?

I shop for clothes by myself and I have no idea what I really look like in what I wear.  It’s not a good combination.  I’ve read that it takes a year for the brain to catch up with every 25 lbs lost, and that certainly resonates.  Oh, I understand that I’ve changed and that I’m different, but the eyes  don’t recognize what properly fitting clothes look like on ME.

After watching Stacy and Clinton for years, I know a lot about what styles and colors work best, but the FIT doesn’t make sense.  My brain knows that tight = too small, and loose = fitted, which doesn’t always translate to looking right.  I’ll try on a top and see nothing clinging to the lumps and bumps, and think it’s a good fit when it’s really baggy.

Since many plus size ladies also shop alone, we give each other feedback and can see “too big” clothes on other people that we don’t recognize on ourselves.  And sometimes, sure, they are wearing “too small” clothes because they are blocked by the sizes/number and not by how things fit.

But yesterday was totally different.  I went looking for some casual pants for fall, mostly just to see what was out there.  Catherine’s is no longer an option for me, since everything in the store is too big, too long, too boxy, or just not my style.  Or maybe all of the above.  So I went next door to Lane Bryant, a store I usually avoid because I don’t like the clothes.  They do have lots of pants, though, so it seemed like a good idea.

Over the course of the next 45 min, three sales women of different ages and 2 customers gave me feedback on how I looked in what I tried on.  I mostly stayed in the dressing room while they brought me pants in different styles, colors, and sizes.  My job was to put them on and come out and model.   Mostly I tried on jeans or pants out of a denim or denim-colored fabric.  I haven’t worn jeans for at least 20 years.

One pair felt as though it was painted on, which caused my watchers’ jaws to drop.  They thought, to a person, that the pants were too loose, which totally shocked me.  It happened over and over.  They made me stand in front of a mirror and said, “Look at yourself. See yourself as you are NOW.  You are not the same size you were before.  These clothes FIT.”  And they were right.  Stacy and Clinton were mentioned frequently 🙂

I ended up coming home with 3 pairs of pants, in 3 different sizes, all on sale with coupons for extra savings.  One is a pair of gray knit pants that will work for the office and for casual wear, size 14/16.  Another is a pair of jeans in size 16, and a third a pair of “jeggings” in size 18.  I’m not completely sure about the jeans, but know that as I lose more weight, I will feel more comfortable wearing them.  Plus I will practice at home before I let anyone see me.

What this reinforced is that I need to go shopping often now – not to buy, but to try on sizes, colors and styles and really see what I look like when I try the same thing on in different sizes.   The sales floor is often quiet mid-week, and taking an afternoon off to shop should let me have extra help and feedback.

I’ll be choosy about what I actually buy; I don’t want/need a lot since I know my size will change, though it’s going slower now than it was earlier (which doesn’t bother me at all).  But as the new season approaches, I know I have next to nothing that fits and I refuse to start the fall in baggy clothes.  The trick is knowing what’s baggy and what’s not.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

I’m in between trips and scrambling like mad not to fry in our current heat wave.  It was hot in Texas, but somehow it’s worse here which is just not right.  Thank heavens for AC!

The Texas trip was originally supposed to be to attend my nephew’s wedding, but it morphed into a family gathering at my brother’s ranch (140 acres in the middle of nowhere between my parents’ house and my brother’s place in Houston). They have very photogenic cows 🙂

My mom’s sister was there from California, nephew Rob from Massachusetts, and me from Connecticut.  Rob didn’t stay long, heading west to spend the weekend with his brother (the former groom) and friends going to a baseball game and country western concert.  My youngest niece ran a triathlon that weekend (I can’t imagine doing it in that Texas heat!) but my goddaughter (above) came from Lubbock for the weekend.  We celebrated our June/July birthdays together with carrot cake 🙂

Everyone flipped over my new look and I realized while I was there that I’ve almost lost my mother in terms of weight.  She weighs 115 lbs and I’ve lost 110 – which really is a whole person.  Puts things into very clear perspective.

I had a great time but was glad to come home (as was Tessie).  But I’ve been scrambling again because I leave on Friday for my national conference in Denver.  I have several meetings to facilitate so I have agendas and prep to finish, plus catch up on my paid job.

My conference wardrobe was all thought out, including a few dresses that looked good and were cool and comfy.  Except I’ve realized that all of them – ALL of them – are too big. Great problem but a bad time to figure it out, since the stores are starting to stock fall clothing (just after July 4th, go figure) and only have very picked over summer things.  I did get a few tops today that I can wear with black pants that will work.  I’ll find out soon enough.

I found it pretty easy to eat while in Texas.  My mom generously stocked up on some Greek yogurt, berries, chicken, and guacamole, and there were plenty of good options for me at the ranch.  Mostly people were interested in my choices and asked a lot of questions about the band and how it worked.  It was good practice for going out with more people; I’ve been reading menus for Denver and practicing restaurant eating, at least in my mind.  We’ll see how it goes!

I’ll try to check in from Denver but am not at all sure when I’ll have free time to write.  My time is pretty scripted.  But I’ll check in and at least keep up with y’all even if I can’t write until I’m back.  Stay out of trouble!

Pampering My Feet

I’m hard on my feet, especially the heels.  Because I have super-wide feet (10 4E) with narrow heels, it’s hard to find shoes that actually fit well; looking cute is pretty much out of the question. I shop at Zappos mostly because I haven’t had any luck finding shoes that fit in local stores – and the choices are very limited.   Birkenstock clogs have been my go-to shoes for winter weather; the only problem is that the heels are exposed and, well, it’s winter.  I stay warm enough in spite of that, but the heels have been looking and feeling cracked, dry, and unhappy.

So I splurged today on the works at the nail salon, pampering myself with a fancy schmancy spa pedicure that included all kinds of things.  It started with a mud mask for the legs with callous softening cream on the heels which were wrapped in tissue and then the whole leg/foot was wrapped in plastic wrap.  The toes also got cuticle softener, were wrapped in plastic and then wrapped up in a hot towel, with the whole foot/leg placed in plastic bags to soak in the whirlpool foot bath for 15 minutes.

It was a good start.  After that, the wrappings were removed and I had callous removed, legs exfoliated, cuticles tidied, more callous work, oils and lotions and massages every which way, more heel work, followed by hot stones and towels and more massage, and fresh aloe was rubbed on the legs and heels.  All this while sitting in the massage chairs with little buttons to make the back knead, compress, etc.

She finished up with vitamin E capsules opened and the oil rubbed on my heels, which were wrapped in more plastic while the toes were polished with my current favorite OPI color (“Oui bit of red” from the Paris collection).  The toes dried in one of those little UV/Heat stations while I got a 15 minute back massage.   It was a splurge of a visit but the relaxation and pampering were well worth it, and my feet feel amazing now that they are finally unwrapped from layers of plastic wrap.

My feet put up with a lot from me and I take them for granted.  I got used to going for regular pedicures about 8 years ago when my weight and extra rolls kept me from bending over easily to do a good job keeping my feet from looking as though they’d been attacked by gnomes.  Paying someone else to give me a pedicure is so worth it, with pumice stones, cuticle care, and nails trimmed, groomed, and painted pretty colors.  Unlike a manicure, a pedicure will last for weeks and in the winter, that makes me happy every time I take off my socks 🙂

Fat Folks on CSI

CSII think I’ve watched all of the episodes of CSI (the Las Vegas original) at least five times. They run every night on SpikeTV and sometimes there are marathons, just in case I want to watch (or listen, anyway) for hours. As a geekette myself, I love Grissom and his fairly clueless people skills, though I can live without the bugs.

Tonight they reran the episode of a death at a “hogs and heifers” event full of very large people swimming, dancing, and romancing. While the public faces wore happy smiles, the emotional vulnerability of the very large suspects made me cry. They talked about how they hooked up with someone who didn’t want to be seen with them in public but was willing to use them for sex. Tho the using went both ways: they thought it was all they could have.

At the end of the episode, Greg asked Grissom what got his juices going in terms of who he was attracted to. The reply? “Someone who doesn’t judge me.”

Yeah, that works for me. I don’t find it often, maybe because I’m so busy judging myself, and I carry that big “I’m Fat” chip on my shoulder. But hearing him say that, even though he’s just a character on a show, was a reminder of what’s possible.

Facing Anorexia

Lean or Anorexic?

Tonight I watched a profoundly disturbing intervention on A&E with a stick-thin woman suffering from anorexia. She is 5’8″ tall, weighs 94 lbs, and eats 800 calories or less a day, and thinks her belly is distended when you can see her bones. They look so sharp and angular that you could use them to cut things.

She is a twin and seeing her on screen in contrast with her healthy sister was particularly hard to watch. It was so obvious to me and my friend watching with me (and 99% of other people) that someone so skeletal looked scary and unhealthy. It was really hard to watch her talk about how she doesn’t deserve to eat, how she has rituals around stretching out the food as long as possible. Her clothes were baggy but they still didn’t disguise her true body shape. Her hair looked awful and her eyes were haunted. Her family was afraid that she would die soon.

Part of me watched in appalled discomfort as she justified her not eating, her appearance, her self control, her right to do what she wanted with her body. Because I know I say some of the same things, only I’m challenged by my obesity, not my anorexia. I’ve had fears that my family would stage an intervention with me — we love you, we need you to live and be healthy, we need you to see that you are killing yourself with food.

I’m afraid that I would not deal with it well. However true it is, there is nothing I haven’t told myself. So instead of allowing myself to be carted off to a treatment center to eat bread and water and have counseling for 90 days, I would probably stuff my face and cry.

The show was sobering and left me with much to think about. I can still see her face.