Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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The Green Dress

In the back of my closet I have some clothes leftover from a smaller life, things that meet the Vickie test of “would I buy it again?”  At this point the only things left are out of season clothes, having already tried on and am wearing or gave away winter things.

One of those favorite clothes is an emerald green 2-part dress, a simple tank dress with a cute little short-sleeved jacket with some embroidery in matching fabric.  I loved that dress and wore it often because 1) it was cute, 2) it was comfortable and breathable, and 3) I look fabulous in that color.  I bought it 6 years ago when I was at my lowest weight, some 30 lbs lower than where I am now, and even wore it when my WW leader and I were on local TV filming a July 4th segment on tips for watching your food while at holiday picnics and parties.

It fits.

I have no idea how this happened.  I mean, I’m still 30 lbs over that 2004 weight – but my body shape has been shifting a lot in the months since my surgery.  I haven’t really lost any weight in the last month but it’s fallen off anyway – I’ve lost 2″ in my hips in the last MONTH.  Believe me, I’m not complaining, but my brain is having a hard time wrapping itself around the fact that my body doesn’t look the way my brain thinks it does after years at the high end of the plus sizes.

People who are very large need to lose a LOT of weight before anyone notices, and that’s hard.  We wear those X sizes (1X-5X or more) and each covers 2 dress sizes if they actually made dresses for people who wear a straight 30 (they don’t).  So you can easily wear the same thing through a 35-45lb loss, assuming it was a bit on the snug side in the first place.  Most of my big clothes were relatively shapeless anyway, since I didn’t want to flaunt my original shape.

I don’t really want to wear shapeless now even though I know I’m still very fluffy and have a long ways to go.  Others may, and do, see me as obese (which I am), but they don’t have the perspective of knowing the amount of weight already lost, the distance already come.

But I’m having trouble knowing how to dress and where to shop.  I need to be careful with my money and not go crazy buying clothes that won’t last me as long as those X sizes.  I’m tired of shopping in fat lady stores and really really want to find some nice petite plus pants, which is almost impossible.  I may go out today and try a few places for one or two pieces since my other pants look like clown pants and are now too long as well as too big.

It’s a good problem to have, don’t get me wrong.  But there is a lot of adjusting to do.  I’m doing the “inside work” as well as the food/body work – but it also requires work to get the eyes to understand what they actually see.  In the meantime, I have a lovely green dress that I won’t be able to wear to the family wedding in June.  Guess I will need to go shopping 🙂

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My Clothes are Hopeless

Much as it pains me to admit, I’m back to wearing fat girl clothes, mostly badly fitting pants, big shirts and non-clingy sweaters. I don’t have any real idea of what fits and what doesn’t, other than that the pants are looking ridiculous.  The ones that more or less fit me looked like clown pants by the time I got home.

It’s discouraging to be very round and short, with a hanging belly that puts my waist lower in front than in the back – because that means that pants with zippers just do not work.  Given that, finding pants that are comfortable but still look even moderately appropriate has been impossible.

I’m too big right now to fit into the things I wore last year, and haven’t been able to find things that I could actually wear out of the store.  So I’m shopping mostly online, waiting until packages arrive to try things on and then returning the things that don’t fit. I don’t want to spend a lot of money to get clothes in my bigger size, even if I can find them.  But I do need some pants that don’t make me look or feel stupid.  And hopefully that will be even warm, because the colder mornings are upon us and winter is just around the corner.

The problem is that most if it fits weirdly.  Even I know that clown pants are not in for the well dressed librarian.  I can’t bear to have things be tight on me because I feel fatter, but I also know that loose clothing makes you look bigger than you are.  It’s a conundrum.

But I don’t know how to find a look that will work; the best I can do is get good pieces, usually sweaters that “float away from the body at the hips” — which is a lot easier to describe than it is to find when you are in the really big sizes.

I’ve watched Stacy and Clinton for years and see them pull outfits together all the time.  They just don’t do it from my closet or the clothes that are readily available.  I’m always stumbling at trying to figure out what I have that’s appropriate, that isn’t too hot or too casual, that I can change easily with a scarf or some other snazzy accessory.  Those aren’t sitting around the house because I’m bad at figuring them out, too.  I’ve never been good at or particularly interested in girl stuff.

Although I don’t want to be subjected to the shredding that happens to people in the 360 mirror when S&C tear their existing clothes to pieces, I really could use someone to help me how to make it work for ME, at my current size. It’s hard to not be able to go into stores, or even buy from catalogs, and have things fit well.  But for me to really know if they do, I guess I need to understand what that means for my body.

I need someone to tell me all this with honesty and caring, while not also saying, “you know, it would be a lot easier if you were thinner.”  Because I already know that.  And I know that gaining weight or just redistributing the body shape is the answer, but that isn’t going to help me find pants for right now that don’t look like clown rejects. I wish I had a magic wand to make Tim Gunn appear and “make it so.”


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Shopping and Other Heavy Thoughts

I’m having a hard time right now living in my body.  My knee hurts a lot and I actually bought a folding cane this week to have in case I need it.  I’ve been aware of my size and feeling uncomfortable physically but also in my head as I see myself in a mirror or think about the fact that finding clothes that fit and actually look pretty is usually an exercise in futility.

Today’s outting to do that ended in a little mini-meltdown at the Avenue over a display of sweaters that were too long, too ugly, and not in my size.  I’m not desperate enough to buy just something to cover me – but I do need some new things because the clothes from last fall are snug around the hips.

The right solution is to magically adhere to a food plan, watch the weight drop off, and skip happily into the future as a thin person. But that’s not happening.  Right now I’m hanging on by my teeth to staying in one place on the scale.  The idea of working the WW plan just seems to have a reverse response in that I start sabotaging myself as soon as I try.  So I’m not.

There’s a difference between being fat and accepting that you will always be fat even though there are health and other issues associated with it, and being fat and trying to change it.  I’m somewhere in the middle between them right now, I think.  I’m really really tired of defining myself as my body size.  And I also want to be able to accept myself in this body size without turning that into a decision to stay at this supersize forever.

Many of you have suggested/recommended/advised that I get some therapy help.  And I do understand where that comes from.  I am making the choice not to.  Twice before when I asked for help from someone in a therapy role, I was abused, once physically and once emotionally.  I’m not going there again.  Instead I’m going to listen to my friend Amy in Hawaii, who is the most positive person I know.  She’s focused on living her dreams, not dwelling on the things that get in the way.

I don’t even know what my dreams are anymore; I’ve been too focused on my body and not my heart.  It’s time to pay attention and ask myself some questions.

UPDATE — Head over to Beula’s Dear Ethel site and read Friday’s post on Self Respect. Great list!


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Back Again After a Blogging Break

Big Happy BuddhaI haven’t been a model Weight Watcher for a long time now. Nothing wrong with that, but it also means that I’m not exactly losing weight, either. When I do follow the program for a string of days, I always see and feel a change but I’m not sticking with it, and I don’t completely know why.

My friend P asked me why I was continuing to go to meetings and count points when I’m not paying that much attention to doing things the “right” way. My only answer is that going and doing even the minimal bit that I’m doing has kept me from gaining back all of my weight. Since my history is to lose big and gain back even more, this is a bit of a miracle.

But I’m not happy where I am with my body. I don’t like the way it looks in clothes or the way it looks naked either, for that matter. Not that anyone else is seeing it that way, but I do and it’s pretty lumpy. My knee has been catching today and hurting more than usual, which means that I’m less interested in moving because it hurts – joint pain, not muscle pain. So some of it’s physical and some of it is social.

I don’t know what would make me happy. I was talking to Jen tonight about ideal jobs and where we thought we would be in retirement, and half-listening to a story on 60 Minutes about being happy. One thing I heard in passing was that some of the happy people interviewed said that they had scaled down expectations which were reachable. Somehow that stuck in my head.

I scaled down my life when I moved to CT and stepped down from a senior management position. And I couldn’t be happier about that. I still supervise people but everything is scaled down – and I’m loving being able to leave at what seems to be an early time but still gets in my scheduled hours. I have time to have a long evening and yes, there’s time for exercise if I was inspired to do it.

It’s lonely, though. I do well on my own and am completely comfortable with my own company. But sometimes it feels achingly alone rather than comfortable, so this morning I went to church for only the second time since I moved. Choir and church have provided instant community anywhere I’ve ever lived and it felt like coming home to slip into the pew this morning. The hymns were old favorites and so were the anthems, which I sang quietly from the pew.

I felt welcomed and at peace and will be back, probably next week. It’s Lent and that seems a good time to be reflective and open to new possibilities. No commitments yet for joining the choir – after only one visit, it’s too soon – but I think it could work. We’ll see how it goes. I do know that I go into this week feeling more at peace and that’s a Good Thing.


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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.


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Two annoying commercials

There are two commercials that I seem to see every time the TV is on and they are driving me crazy for different reasons.

P’zoneFirst up we have Pizza Hut featuring the return of the P’zone, a one-pound cross between a pizza and a calzone. Actually, 1.07 lbs of it. A big circle of pizza dough is mounded up with pizza toppings, folded over and the edges crimped, and then backed into a gigantic half-moon shape like an Italian empanada. Tag line: “Big enough to share. So good you won’t want to.” Price: $5.99. The commercial shows young guys snarfing down these giant pies, holding them the way you’d hold a slice of watermelon and biting into them, and refusing to share. They’re obviously that good.

Being a good little Weight Watcher, I went to the Pizza Hut website to check out the nutritional info so I could make fun of it (let’s be real). The “classic” has 610 calories, 23 gms fat, and 4 gms fiber, which works out to 15 points. The “pepperoni” has 840 calories, 43 gms fat, and 3 gm fiber, which is 20 points. The “meaty” version is somewhere in between. But wait! They define a serving size as ONE HALF of these pizza wonders, which makes an entire p’zone anywhere from 30-40 points. Uh, I think I don’t want one now, thank you.

MojitoThe other commercial that is driving me nuts for a totally different reason is the Bacardi Rum Mojito commercial where everyone is wiggling their butts to the beat as the bartender is grinding down the mint. Oops, that’s a “Muddle” not wiggling or grinding. Silly me. I’m not entirely sure how how to count the mojito but that’s not why the commercial drives me crazy. It’s all the skinny women in tiny skirts all muddling their butts in synch, looking as though they’re all connected to each other and spasming with the music.

Now one commercial I actually like, although I’m never entirely sure what the product is, is the one with the music, “For Goodness Sake, I’ve got the hippy hippy shake.” There are happy, curvy women giving a hip shake with a smile and then we learn that whoever the sponsor is supports women having their own shapes and not some predefined number. Or something to that effect.

The women in the last commercial are curvy and look more like me than the women wiggling with the mojito music. They aren’t stuffing their faces with giant pizza moons, either.