Thursday, August 30, 2007

How do we reclaim the word "DIET"?

I wish there was a way to reclaim "diet", back to its meaning "what one eats" instead of meaning "what one eats to lose weight" (which really means what you can't eat). With the weight loss industry co-opting this word for their shell game, those of us who are trying advance fat acceptance are left out in the cold when trying to describe how we eat, and why we eat what we do for our own individual health re: allergies, pain management, illnesses, etc. I don't know how to go about reclaiming "diet", or what new words could be used instead as I am new to the whole fat acceptance/HAES movement, but what I have done when talking to friends/family about diets is qualify my diet as an HAES diet, and when they ask what that is, I explain the difference between eating to be healthy (and how I can eat what I want when I want, without guilt) and eating to lose weight. I explain that I don't diet, or exercise, to lose weight anymore, that what I do is designed for me to feel as good as I can, and be as healthy as I can, in the body I have, that I am done trying to force my body to be a size it wasn't meant to be and doesn't want to be. I don't know if this is any kind of solution, or if it would work for anyone else, but it seems to make some people think when they start talking diets, and I ask them to clarify what they mean by "diet", and then tell them that I don't believe in diets for weight loss and explain why.
And what I mean by the diet industry's shell game is that they know diets don't work, but they keep promoting diets, and coming up with new diets (which is really recycling the old ones, just giving them a new name). We are shown all these diets, each with its own little shell, and told try this, it will work. When that fails, it's "here's the next shell's diet, this one will work" and on and on and on, ad infinitum, as long as we are willing to buy into their game. And just like the con man's shell game, we walk away with less money, and nothing to show for it (except a temporary weight loss and extra pounds regained when the diet becomes impossible to follow forever). Touting a diet (for weight loss) as a lifestyle change is bullshit also. A lifetime of restricting calories, eliminating whole categories of foods, and eating exclusively low-fat, low-salt, low-carb, low-calorie everything is guaranteed to either starve you to death or make you go on an eating binge to assuage the hunger your body says you've been denying for far too long.
Personally, I prefer to eat a wide variety of foods, some healthy, some just delicious and maybe not so healthy, and do what exercise I can with the body I have. I'm not going to live my life wanting what I can't have, since I'm not thin now, never have been, and probably never will be. So be it, I'm working on loving me as I am, and living my life in the body I have now.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Chic postal code = less obesity

People who live in chic neighborhoods with high property values are less likely to be obese than those who live in under-privileged areas, a study published Wednesday showed.
This article says that for every increase of $100,000 value of housing in a postal zip code, the percentage of obese people decreases by 2 percent. Well, DUH! The more money you have, the healthier the food you can buy, the better you can afford to belong to a gym, and usually, the better your health care is. Not to mention that the thinner you are, the more money you will make because you are not being discriminated against for being fat (fewer promotions if hired, lower pay if hired, or not being hired at all if you are fat) so the better you can afford to live in a higher-priced neighborhood.
"Obesity is an economic issue," Adam Drewnowski, director of the university's center for obesity research and leader of the study, said in a statement.
Yep, it's an economic issue all right, for the diet industry and big pharma and those who manufacture the instruments, etc used in WLS. If the hysteria about the so-called obesity epidemic were to die, they would lose billions of dollars. So they continue to perpetuate the lie that fat will kill you so you will keep spending money on diets that don't work and weight loss surgeries that can cause more problems than you had before the surgery.
If the outcry about the obesity epidemic were really about our health, the money would be spent ensuring that everyone had access to health care, everyone had access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables, and everyone had the time to prepare and eat healthy meals. Somehow, I don't think that's going to happen. It's so much easier to blame the fat person for being fat (lazy, stupid, smelly, ugly, gluttonous pigs who don't care about themselves). Stereotypes don't prove anything, except the ignorance of those who believe them.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fair food even better: No trans fats

I read this yesterday (link 1), about some vendors at the MN state fair not using oils with trans fats anymore because supposedly those oils without trans fats are healthier for us. Well, guess what, taking the trans fats out of cooking oils alters the taste of the food cooked in them (not for the better either), changes the color of the food, and makes the food greasier. Not only are trans fats found in partially hydrogenated cooking oils, they are also found in meat and dairy products. They are not added to those meat and dairy products, they are naturally occurring and a necessary part of our diet. This is another case of scare tactics aimed at society, telling us what we need to eat to be healthy. I'm sorry, my grandparents didn't follow any of these half-assed, unproven, idiotic ideas and they lived well into their 80's and 90's.
By removing trans fats, companies can tell us their products are healthier for us and charge us more for them (how many products do you know of with artificial sweeteners, altered fats, etc that are cheaper than the original product?).
This second link is from Junkfood Science and covers the hype on trans fats pretty well. I remember baking cookies when I was a kid (and shortcake, and cakes, and breads) and using Crisco (not butter like I do now). I had wondered why my baked goods now weren't as light and fluffy and tasty as what I baked when I was much younger. Now I know, it's the lack of trans fats that are allowing long strands of gluten to form in my wheat doughs, which makes them heavier. I was never able to make a flaky pie crust, but my mother could. Pie crusts nowadays aren't as flaky, they taste doughy, and I couldn't figure out why. Now I know, no trans fats in the Crisco.
But of course, all this is fine, because eating is not something to be enjoyed, food is nothing more than fuel and should not be savored lest we all become OMG!!! FAT! Tasty food is sinful, decadent, fattening, unhealthy, while 'good' food is low-calorie, low-fat, and healthy. Tasty food is bad for you, 'good' food is healthy for you and isn't supposed to taste all that great because if it did, we might become FAT! This does not take into consideration that not all people are meant to be thin, and not all people are meant to be fat. As has been said before (and there are studies that show this), you can't make a naturally thin person fat, nor can you make a naturally fat person thin.
And as far as food at the state fair being healthy or unhealthy, most of the food there is not what anyone would eat every day, so what does it hurt to splurge once a year? I don't see anything wrong with splurging more than once a year either. I don't make a habit of it, but if I see something that I like, it smells good, tastes good, and I want it, I don't give a rat's ass if it's good for me or not, I'm going to eat it. If you want to deprive yourself striving for an unattainable size 0, go for it, I don't care. But don't berate me because I refuse to buy into that mindset. What you eat, how you look, your health, and whether or not you exercise, none of those are any of my business. And what I eat, how I look, whether I exercise or not, and my health are none of your business either.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sherrilyn Kenyon ROCKS!!!

I just finished reading Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon and it was awesome! The heroine is 5' 6" and wears a size 18, has just been dumped by her boyfriend (who is an asshat of major proportions) and meets a WereHunter (wolf, and is he ever a hunk). Book goes through trials and tribulations of human/Were falling in love, etc. But what really reached me in this book is the following quote from the book.
Bride: "It's amazing what you can get used to, isn't it?"
Vane: "How do you mean?"
Bride: "Just that sometimes we let other people treat us wrongly because we want to be loved and accepted so badly that we'd do anything for it. It hurts when you know that no matter how much you try, how much you want it, they can't love or accept you as you are. Then you hate all that time you wasted trying to please them and wonder what about you is so awful that they couldn't at least pretend to love you."

I read that and cried. It describes so much of my life when I was younger and being abused by my mother, physically, emotionally, and mentally. It also relates to how fat people are treated by society and their loved ones (not all of us, I know, but quite a few of us). Until we learn that diets and WLS don't work for everyone, and learn to love ourselves as we are, we are on that merry-g0-round of being treated like crap and doing anything we can to get people to like and love us (dieting, eating disorders, WLS and the like to get thin so we will be loved).
What I have learned over the years tho, is that if they don't like me when I'm fat, they aren't going to like me any better when I'm thin. My sense of humor doesn't change when I lose weight, my honor, respect, integrity, and trustworthiness don't change with my weight, neither does my intelligence. Thin or fat, I'm still an opinionated bitch, and I'm not going to apologize for it. I have also learned that if they can't like me as I am, thin or fat, good/bad/indifferent, then I don't need them in my life (one of the reasons I don't have anything to do with my mother, which is another rant altogether). It took years of therapy for me to learn that, and even though I said it about my weight, I didn't really believe it, not deep down inside. But, thanks to the internet and fat acceptance blogs, I'm making a beginning at believing it. Finding it said so well in a supernatural romance novel is so rare, and so uplifting for me. It's funny too, because I don't really like most romance novels, but the supernatural ones, with witchcraft, vampires, were animals, those I love (could be that I have loved science fiction/fantasy for years and that has fueled my interests in this type of romance).
I just wanted to share this bit of insight.

stomach stapling leads to longer lives

Other blogs have talked about this study,, and I agree with most of what has been said. Like studies don't prove anything, but they add to the discussion and add to the areas that can be investigated. It's the media spin that tries to cite them as proof of whatever agenda is being promoted at the time.
I happen to know of one person whose life was not lengthened by having her stomach stapled. And with her health history, I have no fucking clue why her doctor even thought it was an option, let alone recommended it.
My best friend, Pat, was an lpn in a surgical ward when she had to have her gall bladder removed. At the time, she had a BMI of about 25. Three weeks after her GB surgery, her doctor at the time sent her back to work with no restrictions. Pat ended up with a massive ventral hernia (it took about 3 years to develop). She had numerous surgeries to try and repair it, and gained weight in the process. By the time I met her in 1991, she was no longer able to work and had to wear a special undergarment to hold her organs inside her body cavity. She finally had a surgery to repair the hernia that placed mylar mesh across the herniated area (it went from one side of her body, across her stomach, to the other side of her body). She had a lot of pain, and weighed about 400 lbs. She didn't like leaving the house because of her size, and all of her friends came to see her, she didn't go out to see them, she didn't go out to do the grocery shopping (her husband did it), and very seldom went out to church. When we became friends, I lived across the street from her (our sons were friends and that was how we actually met, her son thought we would like each other), and was over there on a daily basis. I finally convinced her that she could go out of her house, no one was going to make fun of her as long as I was with her.
She confided in me that she had been severely abused by family members when she was a child and that she was a multiple personality (actually, the way she broached it was by asking if I had ever felt like I was different people at times. I had read When Rabbit Howls by Trudi Chase and knew about multiple personality disorder). Pat learned that she could trust me and gradually let her different people out when I was around. She had a lot of problems, cutting and hurting herself, but who was I to judge her? I hadn't lived through anything nearly as bad as she had (and it was bad, she told some of it and it was sickening). I didn't like that she hurt herself, but all I could do was accept her, love her, and be there when she needed me. Pat was there for me when I needed someone too, so we became very close.
When she and her husband and sons decided to move from Illinois to Minnesota, I moved with them. Pat's new doctor here in MN thought that Pat needed to lose weight because of the hernia and all the problems she had with it and knew that dieting wasn't going to work for her (Pat had dieted off and on for years). So she recommended that Pat get her stomach stapled. A surgeon who teaches this bariatric method at the University of MN did her surgery, and Pat went from 400 lbs to about 160 lbs in a little less than a year. Now, I don't know what the doctors were thinking, but they didn't do the follow-up with her that they should have, because within 2 years of losing the weight, she was back in to have the surgery redone because she was gaining weight. When they went in, they found that her intestines had gotten tangled in the mesh from her hernia repair, and lengths of them had died. So they ended up removing all but about 10 feet of her intestines (out of the approximately 25 - 30 feet that a normal person has). Now, not only did she have her stomach stapled, but she had short gut syndrome on top of it. She had to be close to a bathroom when she ate a meal, she had horrendous gas, and had to take vitamins and supplements to make sure she got the nutrition she needed. She also took liquid opium on a daily basis to try and keep her bowel as inactive as possible to lessen the short gut syndrome effects. Pat ended up back in the hospital because she was having severe stomach pain, and they removed an 11 lb cyst (this was her 15th stomach surgery in 20 years, she was 42 years old at the time, in 1997). She was released and came to my house to recuperate because her husband was working and her sons were in school and she needed someone to care for her. She woke me up one morning with chest pain, and was rushed to the hospital. They had her on complete bed rest, she couldn't even get out of bed to use the bathroom, she had to have a nurse help her with a bedpan. I found out later that she had myocarditis. She came back to my house for a couple of days, said the doctors had discharged her (that I'm not sure of, I think she may have signed herself out AMA). She went to her home a couple of days later. I called her the next day because we were supposed to go shopping for her birthday, and her son said she was sleeping and he didn't want to wake her. I called several times that day, and he kept saying she was sleeping and he didn't want to wake her because she needed the rest. Pat's husband and her oldest son came over that evening to tell me that Pat had died in her sleep. We found out later that it was the myocarditis that killed her. She died the day before her 43rd birthday, and to this day, I think it was all the complications from her hernia and stomach stapling that killed her.
So I don't believe it when they say they screen out people who are too ill for the surgery. Pat's mental state alone should have kept her from surgery, but she was a very intelligent woman and I think she knew how to manipulate the tests and the psychologist. I also think when they stapled her stomach, they should have taken out the mesh and done a better repair of her hernia. I think she saw the surgery as an approved way of mutilating herself (she got in a lot of trouble with her therapist for the cutting and burning she did) and the weight loss was just an added incentive.
Did I learn anything from this? No, I was stupid too. Pat and I had talked about WLS for me because I was having issues with mobility. I had been hit by a car when I was 19 and had my pelvis fractured in 3 places. I also have degenerative joint disease in my right knee (I roller skated a lot when I was younger, and that was the knee I landed on when I fell). So I've always had problems with my back and my knee, but as I got heavier, the problems got worse. I dieted, but we all know about how successful diets are. My doctor put me on phen-fen and I was losing weight with it, until they took it off the market because it caused pulmonary hypertension. So every time I dieted and lost weight, I gained it all back when I quit dieting (and then some). My doctor (the same one Pat had, that should have given me a clue) recommended stomach stapling for me, with the same surgeon Pat had.
At the time, in 1997, I weighed 350 lbs, and was told that with the surgery, I could get down to an ideal weight of 160 lbs (I never weighed 160 as an adult, the lowest I ever weighed was 175 and I would have been satisfied with 200). But anyway, I was scheduled to have the surgery in September of 1997, then Pat died August 5th, 1997, and I was going to cancel. Pat's husband and sons talked me into going through with it, telling me how much better off I would be if I lost some of the weight I was carrying (I was having trouble with walking for any distance over a block, and I couldn't carry anything for any distance, and stairs were a big problem too). So I went in and had my stomach stapled, and in the first 3 months, I lost 70 lbs. When I went back for my 90 day check-up, the doctor told me I could start adding regular food back to my diet instead of eating everything pureed or mashed. Big mistake. I couldn't eat meat, other than hamburger or ground chicken/turkey, veggies were out unless it was squash of some kind. If I ate anything that wasn't ground or mashed, it came back up, but I kept trying because the doctor said I should. Well, to make a long story short, my stapling came undone, and I put back on every one of the 70 lbs I lost, and another 40. Now, my blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar numbers were always in the normal range, the only problem I had was with my mobility, and that did improve some when I lost weight, I will admit that. But because the stapling didn't work for me, and I gained an additional 40 pounds, I'm worse off than I would have been if I hadn't done anything at all. At least before, I could walk for a block before my back cramped up and my knee started hurting. It's nine years later, and I'm lucky if I can walk 50 feet without severe back pain. I can't walk on uneven ground (like our lawn) because it kills my knee and back. I can't stand long enough to do a sink full of dishes (I have to sit down until my back quits hurting, then finish the dishes). I can't sit in a bathtub because I can't get up without help, so I have to shower instead (and sit down as soon as I get out of the shower because my back hurts). I can't vacuum the living room all in one shot, I have to do a section, sit, do a section, sit, and then finish because I'm in pain if I try to do it all at once. Shopping is a bitch if they don't have a motorized cart or have seats in the store if I have to walk. The only vehicles I can get in and out of with any ease are minivans and trucks because they don't sit low to the ground and I don't have to bend my knee more than it wants to bend without pain. I can't carry anything up and down stairs because I have to use the handrail to help pull me up the stairs and go down the stairs sideways one step at a time (right leg down to step, then left to same step and repeat all the way down because my right knee won't bend enough to go down like normal people do). My life has become so limited because of that additional 40 pounds and I absolutely hate it.
But I'm a success according to the article mentioned in the first paragraph of this long story, because, hey, I'm still alive 9 years after my surgery. Doesn't matter a rat's ass that my quality of life sucks compared to what it was before the surgery, I'm going to live longer because I had the surgery even tho it didn't work and I'm fatter and in worse shape.
I don't know if there's any hope of my life improving, but I am working on it, thanks to all the fat acceptance blogs I've been reading. I've always had a fairly well-balanced way of eating, not a lot of junk food, plenty of fruits and veggies and meat and grains. Exercise has been my downfall ever since I got to the point where I couldn't roller skate and ride my bike anymore. But I did find Megan Garcia's Just My Size Yoga and I'm gradually working my way into the exercises on the video. I'm hoping that by getting to where I can work through the whole video, it will put me in good enough shape that I can start walking without being in a lot of pain and maybe I can actually get fit, or more fit than I am now, anyway. I want to be able to go for a walk and not hurt, clean my house without having to stop until the pain goes away, go shopping and not have to use a motorized cart, and do all the things I used to do before the WLS.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My almost paid for minivan

It's been a busy couple of days. Hubby didn't have to work Monday or Tuesday so I got to spend quite a bit of time with him doing little things around the house. We went grocery shopping and he heard a scraping/grinding noise coming from the front passenger side of my minivan (he won't drive it, he likes his truck). He said he thought it was a wheel bearing and for me to take it to our mechanic and have it double-checked. So that was yesterday morning, and it was definitely a wheel bearing. I thought, how expensive can it be? Wheel bearings aren't a big part, and not all that complicated (the last time I changed a wheel bearing was over 20 years ago and it cost me about 10 bucks for the part and I changed it myself). Not any more, though. The part alone was almost $200! So, since I don't drive a lot of miles anymore, Arnie recommended a used part (I've done that before and they usually work out pretty well). It was only $65 for the used one, so I said yeah. I took the van in Wednesday afternoon and sat in the office while Arnie took my baby apart. Then he had me come out and look at the tie rod end, that had way too much play in it. He called to price that part, and it was only an additional $25, so I said to fix that too (you really don't want to let suspension and steering problems go, too dangerous). Hubby was not happy about having to spend money fixing the minivan, but like I told him, it's 10 years old, has 156,000 miles on it, and I only have 3 payments left to make. Of course things are going to go wrong with it. But it's cheaper to repair it than to make payments on a newer vehicle (and I won't own anything but a Chrysler/Dodge minivan any more).
Now, for the main reason for this post. I've been reading on other blogs about people looking for a vehicle that is fat-friendly. When I bought my minivan, I looked at Fords, and Chevys, and Buicks, along with the Chrysler/Dodges. I'll admit I'm partial to Chrysler products, I've owned several over the last 35 years that I've been driving and they've been the best, most comfortable cars. I bought a 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan 2 years ago for $4000 and it had 104,000 miles on it (my son checked it out for me, it was in great shape). Other than tires, oil changes, and brake work, I haven't had to put any money into it until now (which is not bad, considering I put 50,000 miles on it in a year and a half driving back and forth to work). It still gets 25 miles per gallon of gas and I can get my husband, my son and his wife, and the two grandkids in it comfortably (not to mention it hauls a lot of groceries and rummage sale purchases). My main reasons for buying the Dodge minivan were the ease with which I could get in and out of it (I have arthritis in one knee and it's painful to bend it getting in and out of a lower car), there's plenty of room between me and the steering wheel, it's comfortable to ride in for long periods of time, and I don't need a seatbelt extender. And that's saying a lot when you're 5' 8" and weigh 390 lbs and have long legs. My Caravan isn't a flex-fuel, so I can't use E85 in it, but I figure I get good enough gas mileage that I'm not too worried (since the mileage listed when it was new is only 18 to 20 mpg, I figure the fact that it gets 25 mpg is pretty darned good for a 10 year old vehicle with 156,000 miles on it). I can truly say that my minivan is a very fat-friendly vehicle, and it's great for families too, thin or fat.
Just in case you're wondering how I know about changing wheel dad is a mechanic and I grew up hearing about cars and watching him work on them, so when I decided to go back to school in my late 20's, I went to a 2-year college to become a mechanic. I had the aptitude for it, but when you have a large chest, it's not easy getting under a car on a creeper (and I had one shop teacher who thought there was no way a woman could be a mechanic, women just don't have the skills, according to him). I made it through the engines, transmissions, suspension, exhaust, brakes, and air conditioning classes, but when it came right down to working on real cars, I realized I was good with the older ones (70's and older models), but the 80's models with the computers in them, that was more complicated than I wanted to get involved with (I really didn't want to be responsible for telling a customer that he needed to replace a $600 computer when it might actually be something else that I couldn't diagnose). So I ended up with a lot of knowledge that I applied to my own cars since it was a lot cheaper for me to buy the parts and do the labor myself (good thing I've never been a girly girl and don't mind getting grease under my nails, thank heavens for Dawn dish soap!).
Since I waited until I was 53 to get married, I also learned how to operate a hammer, screwdriver, jigsaw, circular saw, and drill. I can do basic plumbing and carpentry, but electrical work is beyond me (unless it's repairing a lamp or splicing a wire, those I can do).
Well, this kind of rambled on tonight, but I thought I would give any readers a little more background on my life, maybe give y'all a better idea of who I am and where I've been.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Catherine's has Right Fit slacks

I got a flyer in the mail today from Catherine's featuring their new Right Fit slacks. That's right, it's not just jeans like Lane Bryant, it's jeans and slacks. The big plus for me is that Catherine's carry Right Fit all the way up to a size 12 (56" waist). Lane Bryant falls short of that, they only go up to an 8, which totally leaves me out. I knew there was a reason I preferred Catherine's over Lane Bryant and this confirms it for me.
I quit shopping in Lane Bryant stores when the last one I visited had thin saleswomen who looked at me like "what is this fat cow doing in here?". They had no interest in helping me find anything, and said they didn't carry anything that would fit me. Excuse me?! You advertise as a plus-size clothing store, I'm a plus-size woman and you don't have anything that will fit me? Then you've lost my dollars, obviously you don't need my money.
On the other hand, every Catherine's store I've ever been in has plus-size saleswomen who are glad to help me find clothes that fit and that will look good on me. Sometimes I take their suggestions, sometimes not (when I don't take their suggestions it's because I don't like a particular style or fabric or color, not because it wouldn't look good on me, but because if I don't like it, I won't wear it, no matter how good it looks to someone else).
Price-wise, Catherine's and LB are about the same, but I think Catherine's has a better quality (I'm still wearing some of the tops I bought from Catherine's 5 years ago). And their sizing is much more consistent than LB's (and The Woman Within catalog, which used to be LB has totally inconsistent sizing, you can't believe their size charts).
I don't get to shop at Catherine's as often as I would like, but Right Fit in a full range of sizes just adds to my determination to keep shopping with them.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Clothing rant

Don't get me wrong, I love to sew, have been sewing for the last 40 years. But the reason I learned to sew was because I wanted to have clothes that no one else had. I hate going places and seeing someone wearing the same blouse/top I have on. And the clothes I make are unique to me, since I can look at a piece of fabric and know which pattern to use (I had a friend who looked at some of the material I bought, thought it was fugly, and then when the top was made, loved it). But that was before I got fat. Now that I am fat, I either have to tailor the tops I buy or make my own patterns because I can't find anything that fits. Plus sizes in tops usually stop at a size 24/26, and if they go up to a 4X to 6X, they either look like crap, are shoddily made, cost an arm and a leg, or aren't designed for a fat woman.
When my son got married last summer, I needed an outfit to wear (I don't do dresses, ever). I couldn't find anything I liked that would fit, even if I could have afforded it. I did find a pattern I liked, and it actually came in my size (I thought). However, when I got the pattern ironed and cut out, I compared it with a top that fit me well. The pattern top was going to be about 2 sizes too small and the alterations would have been horrendous to attempt to make. So I ended up taking a similar top I owned (that did fit very well) apart to use as a pattern and adding the diagonal hem to it (the top has two layers to the front and back, each with a diagonal hem, one layer is longer from left to right, the other is longer from right to left). I used the flutter sleeve from the pattern . The top turned out great and I got lots of compliments on it (everyone thought I bought it and wanted to know where). The pants were another problem (and I have problems with purchased pants too, waistbands hit me under my bra band if I buy talls to get legs long enough). The pants fit, but I had to add 4 inches to the length of the legs and shorten the waist in front by about 4 inches (my waist is normal in the back, lower in the front).
Most of the tops I have I bought off the clearance rack at Catherine's, but even those don't all fit as well as they should. My shoulders, from sleeve seam to sleeve seam, are 24 inches, but I have a 62" bust at the fullest part. I can't buy button-front shirts because either the shoulders come halfway down to my elbows (and they aren't supposed to) or they gap when buttoned. When I buy knit tops, I have the same problem with the shoulders because my bust is so large (and my hips match), so I end up altering the tops to fit correctly.
It also pisses me off mightily that just because I am fat, I have to pay an outrageous price for clothing, bras especially. I'm sorry, it doesn't take that much more fabric and elastic to make a larger bra, so why should I have to pay $40 or more for one that fits me (if I can even find one) when a smaller woman can find a decent bra for $5? My bra takes twice the fabric and costs 8 times as much? Talk about penalizing the fat woman for being fat and having big breasts. I also hate that when I finally find a bra that fits, that style is only around for a couple of years and is then discontinued and I have to start the hunt all over again for another style that fits and is comfortable. And since the size I wear (52H) is not carried in stores, I have to look online and guess if what I order is going to fit.
I realize that women my size aren't the majority of the fat population. The majority of fat women seem to be between a size 14 and a size 24, while I wear a 28 to 32 in slacks, depending on the fabric and style, and a 4X to 5X in tops, also depending on fabric and style. Panties I can find to fit at Wal-Mart since they carry the stretch satin ones I like all the way up to a size 14 (and I wear a 13). But they have nothing else I can wear. They carry Just My Size t-shirts and sweats, but I won't buy them, even tho they would fit, because the tops usually stop at my waist and I like my tops a little longer than that. What does it take for clothing designers to realize that not all fat women are short? I don't consider myself all that tall, I'm only 5' 8". I must be built oddly for a woman, since I have a 32" inseam, a short crotch to waist length (don't have the obligatory fat stomach that sticks out in front of me) and am short waisted in front from shoulder to waist.
I know that even small women have problems with clothing fitting correctly, but at least they have a large variety from which to choose. If I want variety, I have to make it myself, and that takes the joy out of sewing. It's fun to make something because you want to, but to have to make it because that's the only way you're going to get it to fit correctly is not a joyous labor of love. Don't get me wrong, I take pride in everything I do, and I like knowing I've done a good job, but it would be nice not to have to alter or make most of my tops/slacks.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My first post

I've been reading fat acceptance blogs for the last couple of months and have learned so much that I want to see if I can make my own contribution. I read the news online a lot, and have always been pissed off when articles come out bashing fat people for being weak-willed, stupid, lazy, gluttons who can't stop feeding their faces.
None of those terms apply to me and I've been fat for a long time. Can't be weak-willed when you're a single parent setting limits for your child. If I was stupid, I wouldn't read as much as I do, nor would I have been able to graduate from high school ranked 40 in a class of 160. As for being lazy, when you're a parent, working and going to college, and have a house to take care of, you sure can't be lazy. Gluttonous: well, it's not something you can be when you have to adhere to a strict budget. And gluttony doesn't just refer to food, it also refers to going overboard on any kind of material goods (the only thing I am gluttonous about are books as I am an avid reader).
I have tried diets and found that they don't work. For the longest time, I bought into the myth that I was fat (up until I got pregnant at 17, I was 5' 9" and weighed 175). When my daughter was born (April 1972), I weighed 235. I lost the weight when I got hit by a car in October of 1972. By the time I got out of the nursing home the middle of December '72, I was down to 160 lbs. When I went back to work and back to my roller skating, walking, and biking all over Spokane, my weight went back to 175 (and wore a size 14). I stayed at that weight until I got pregnant with my son in December of 1974. By the time he was born in October of 1975, I weighed 325. In 1977, I was seeing a doctor who prescribed diet pills for me. I got down to 220, but had to quit taking the amphetamines because I was turning into the bitch goddess from hell. When I quit taking the pills, I gained back all the weight I lost. I tried diets, Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous, and Atkins. I would lose weight, maybe 50 lbs, then, no matter what I did, I stopped losing weight. I was told I had hit a plateau and to keep losing weight, I would need to further restrict my caloric intake. Now, 1200 calories a day isn't all that much, and going down to 800 calories a day just wasn't an option for me. At 800 calories, I had no energy, I had headaches all the time, and my blood sugar was dangerously low. As soon as I went back to eating enough to have the energy I needed to keep up with life and not have to deal with headaches all the time, I gained back every pound I lost and then some.
After I moved to Minnesota in 1993, a friend of mine had a vertical banded gastroplasty and went from 400 lbs to 160. Three years later, she was dead from myocarditis (I think it was because she ended up with short gut syndrome and couldn't get enough nutrients from what she ate, although I didn't know it at the time). In spite of what happened to her, when my doctor recommended that I have the same surgery (even though all my numbers were good, other than weight, and the only problem I really had was severe back pain on walking and standing), I went along with her. She didn't want to run any tests to see what the problems with my back were, because as we all know, everything that is wrong with a fat person's health is caused by their weight, there can't be any other cause.
So in 1997, I had a VBG. I weighed 350 lbs (and was a size 24) when I went in for the surgery, and within 3 months, I was down to 280. Now, all this time, I had been eating everything pureed because I had a ring at the top of my stomach about the size of a dime and not much would go through that ring. When my doctor told me I needed to start adding regular foods to my diet, I had nothing but problems. I think part of it was caused by the fact that I have an upper denture (and it's not a regular denture, it's the plastic temporary one because at the time, I couldn't afford a regular plate) and couldn't chew my food as well as I needed to. So most everything I ate ended up coming back up. All the vomiting made the stapling come undone and I gained back all the weight I had lost and another 40 lbs (so now I'm 390 and a size 28/30). My doctor wanted me to have the surgery done again, and I told her no, in no uncertain terms, that since diets and weight loss surgery didn't work for me, I was evidently meant to be fat. Since I am healthy, and the only problem I really have is the inability to walk very far or stand very long without severe back pain, I'll deal with it.
I try to eat a healthy balance of foods and I don't pig out on junk food all the time. Don't get me wrong, I might eat fast food a couple of times a month, and we do have chips and snack foods in the house, but I don't eat them all the time. Since I've been reading the fat acceptance blogs, I've found the Health At Every Size movement, and have working on incorporating that into my life. I have never exercised for exercise's sake, but I have gotten Megan Garcia's Just My Size Yoga and have been gradually adding that to my daily activities. My husband's stepson is giving us an exercise bike next week, and I am planning on using that at least 3 or 4 times a week. If I don't lose any weight, I don't care. All I'm hoping is that I will become more physically fit and better able to stand and walk.