Monday, April 15, 2019

On Buying A Dress At 200 Pounds

This week, I had the opportunity (well, the task) of finding something suitable to wear to a friend's wedding. The thing is, over the past decade of weighing everywhere from 175 to 260 pounds, I got to a point where I just don't dress up. My idea of dressing up has been a pair of nice jeans and a cute sweater or blouse... but rarely an actual dress. The last time I went through this was four years ago when I went out and shopped for dresses with my daughter for Mother's Day. I was nearly 40 pounds heavier than I am now, and those cute spring dresses have long since gone to someone else because they were too big for me. The only skirts and dresses I own are a couple that I bought a long time ago: one that I wore at Christmas a few years ago and two that were "goal" dresses (you know, the ones you see and love but are far from fitting into, but you buy them anyway thinking someday they will fit). Funny thing... one of those "goal" dresses is obviously too big for me now and the other might also be too big, but definitely would not be too small.., but they're winter dresses and dark colors or black. I ought to try them on just for the heck of it. But anyway, I needed a spring dress so off I went to shop.

The usual place I would go for dresses closed a couple years ago, so I ended up in the dressing rooms of places like Penney's and Kohls this time around. And it was *really* stressful! It took several days and about 50 items in different sizes to find something I could tolerate (but not truly love).

Every time I went in the dressing room, I had to bring a range of sizes because I had *no idea* what size I am right now. I grabbed everything from 14 to 20 and M to XXL because one side of my brain feels skinny and normal, but another big part of my brain says I am HUGE and have gained back *all* of the weight I lost. Listen, I am still down about 80 pounds from my high weight, but I feel like this 20+ pound regain is way, way more than it actually is. My brain shames me sometimes... says I am morbidly obese. It tells me I am massive and lumbering and busting out of my clothes. It makes me feel monstrous, for some reason. My body dysphoria is very real. Regaining is not good for me, because it makes me believe all of my weight loss has been erased and I am back to where I was before... even though my life is easier, my clothing smaller, and I look decent. My mind lies to me.

In the dressing room, I tried on everything. I was most horrified at anything with a length above the knee... even the ones that are longer in the back and have a sort of overlap in the front so you don't see *much* of the knees unless you're walking. My knees, to me, are my biggest shame spot. I think they look like a 300 pound person's knees and the rest of me looks relatively normal (okay, except for the batwing arms) so showing my knees in any way feels like a betrayal. It says to anyone who looks, "I used to be really big." In their minds, they must be shocked when they catch a flash of a knee surrounded by cushions of fat: "Oh wow, look at her knees! She must have been *really* fat before I met her. I had no idea! She looks normal! But she is just a fat person in hiding!" Betrayed.

So anything that was not long enough to totally cover the knees was a big NO. Then there was the issue of fabric. If a dress had a cotton or clingy fabric, it drew attending to my bulges. Yes, I have Spanx, but I wanted a loose, flowy fabric to at least make my lumps less obvious. And then there was the pattern. I could not have horizontal stripes, or a really attention-grabbing pattern. No bright colors, nothing really stand-outish that would make anyone look twice. I want to be able to blend into a crowd. The waist can't be too high or it makes my big belly look pregnant, and the sleeves have to be past the elbow (again, betrayal with the arms).

I tried on dress after dress and finally was so exasperated that I gave up and switched to the idea of a skirt and top. Of course, all the cute tops right now are short sleeved or sleeveless, so I had to add a light sweater or jacket. And it couldn't be black (too wintery) or white (didn't want to wear white to a wedding) so the color of the sweater, top, and skirt all had to match and I could not find any "pre-matched" sets. Once I found a skirt in a non-clingy fabric in a reasonable, non-attention grabbing color and pattern, and in a size that fit (I went with XL, because I wanted it to have no hint of tightness and I can always pin it smaller if needed), then I had to find the matching top. I narrowed it down to a certain color and then tried on all these tops and so many of them either clung to the boobs, gathered under them, or made my stomach look massive! But I found one that fit pretty well (in a Medium!) and then moved on the the light sweater, which also ended up being a Medium. And then my brain said, "Medium tops, XL bottom, YOU DO NOT MATCH." As in, my body is a normal top half glued onto a massive bottom half. Sigh... Well, you can't win them all. I bought the clothes, wore them to the wedding, and felt pretty okay about how I looked.

I long to just go into a store and try on a cute spring dress or two and buy one and feel great about how I look. No, actually, I just want to be able to buy one and not think twice about whether I look like a freak in it or a regular person. That's my goal, really.

Peace in eating is one thing. Peace with one's body in situations like this is a whole 'nother thing.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

April Update, Finally... and Assessment

Spring has been busy and the time got away from me without even posting an April update! So here it is... the good, the bad, and the dive into pie.

I was looking over my monthly weigh-ins for the past few months, and then got sucked into assessing what's been going on for YEARS with my weight. Luckily, I keep good records to look back on.

August 2007 - June 2010: Got myself down from 278, but was always in the 200s.
July 2010 - August 2011: Stayed at 199 or less, with a low of 175.
September 2011 - November 2013: back over 200, but stayed under 220
December 2013 - September 2017: in weight hell, between 220s and 260 the whole time

That brings us fairly current. I started working hard in September 2017 at 258 pounds and got back under 200 by April, one year ago. Since then I have stayed under 200 except for a couple of days recently, and on April 1 (this month) I weighed 196 pounds.

I've weighed 199 or less for all of my monthly weigh-ins for 13 months now. I'd like to keep that going forever. Got any suggestions for me? I haven't been able to stay in the 170's for long so maybe what I need to do is push it and get into the 160's for a bit. Then a bit of regain would put me into a very comfortable weight zone (178ish). Pushing it, for me right now, means getting on the bike most days, walking most days, and staying lower carb. I even have considered going back on Wonderslim just long enough to hack off a good 15-20 pounds quickly and start to feel more energized. I found some shakes (packets) in the back of my food pantry recently. They're about 2 years old but hey, powder can't expire, can it?? I could just use them Medifast-style, 5 per day plus a Lean & Green meal of protein and veggies for dinner. It's a thought... I just feel like I need a kick start to get off a chunk of weight and get going with weight loss again.

So, my weight loss for March was one pound. So far in April I am not losing at all (too much pie). I am going to make a decision soon and in the meantime, I am making stuffed mushrooms for dinner tonight and putting more fruits and veggies back into my diet.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Quick On, Quick Off

My eating has switched back to "lower carb", with more protein and plants and less sugar and grains... although I did eat a fast food burger and fries today (managed by eating only half the bun and a few of the fries, which were shared). Dinners are easier to keep healthier, as you can see on my Instagram.

Today I got on the exercise bike for 6 minutes (1 mile). It might not seem like a lot, but it's a start. I have an elliptical now, too, so I will give that a try as I get in better shape. I started on some yard work today, too.

Scale says 197 pounds. That's 2 pounds overnight and 6 pounds in 3 days. The nice thing about lower carb is quick results. And I feel amazing!

See you Sunday!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

I Got the Flick

The other day when I showed up at a party with lots of people I hadn't seen in a few weeks, not once, but twice, I got "the flick." If you've ever gained weight and then run into someone you haven't seen in 20 or 30 pounds, you know what I mean: they see you and just for a split second their eyes flick downward at your belly/hips/bigger body. They quickly recover and go on with pleasant conversation. It is the very *slightest* flicker of the eyes... almost involuntary as they immediately cover their surprise at the difference in your appearance... but it is there. It's happened to me before and it is different from the check-it look you get when you've *lost* weight and people say "you look great!" In this case, they don't say anything.

This usually happens to me once I hit a 15 to 20 pound gain. That's about where I am right now. Two months ago I weighed 187. On March 1, before I left on vacation, I weighed 197 pounds. When I came back 2 days ago after a whole lot of indulging *and* exercising, I weighed 203. Yikes! That's a 16 pound gain in two months! I immediately cut back on carbs and started eating more produce and less junk, and today I am back to 199.

I feel GREAT and am very happy to be home, rested, and ready to kick off a spring and summer of activity and healthy eating. That "flick" was a pretty good motivator because it told me the reality of the gain regardless of how I feel. I don't like the embarrassment I felt over it, either. Time to get the winter pounds off!

Saturday, March 2, 2019


It's been a rough month, eating-wise, with all of the carby comfort foods including breads, pastas, and sweets. It's a hard habit to break once you get into it, just like lower carb eating is a hard habit to break when you've been at it awhile.

I got on the scale on March 1 and weighed in at 197 pounds. That's a 3 pound gain for February and a continuance of the path towards hitting 200 again. I did hit 199 pounds briefly last month, and I don't want to see that again! I think a change of scenery is just what I need to break these bad eating habits and get back to the business of weight loss. I'm heading south on vacation... further south than I've been in 45 years: Florida! Packing up my swimsuit and bringing along my determination to be healthy (which I had to pull put of the closet and dust off a bit) and when I get back in a couple of weeks, I'll be feeling and looking much better. See ya later!