Thursday, April 26, 2007

A brief clothing rant

Oh, I'm ranting again. Just for a second. Bear with me, as I rail against the unfairness of the world.

I know I'm fat. I'm slowly losing weight, actually, according to my doctor. Go five pounds gone! I'm not good at diets and such, due to lack of willpower. I am slowly starting to rediscover my love of exercise. All well and good.

And so then I am reading my Lucky magazine, which I will confess that I have an addiction to, even though I can't fit into most of the clothes pictured. It's still nice to read and get clothing ideas from. And I discovered that there was this designer Dace, who has the cutest, casual/could be dressy in the right way clothes, that I would love to own, and splurge on a piece from. And they only go up to a size large--oh, they have an extra-small, but god forbid they do an extra-large or anything higher. Grrrrrrrr.

Rant over, thanks for listening. =)

And while I'm briefly ranting, may I point you over to Rae Dawn Carson's International Pixel-stained Technopeasant Day contribution, about a fat girl who saves the world. Read it... it's good!


quietly writing said...

Have you read the book FRENCH WOMEN DON'T GET FAT? It's a great read, filled with wisdom.

Because "diet" is not a good idea. The point is to change one's lifestyle to match a French one, which means eating all "real" food (nothing processed or articifically flavored), eating slowly and truly enjoying the food, and eating less. And the weight comes off naturally and stays off. The obesity rate in France is extremely low, and you know they're known for their gourmet food.

The same philosophy is outlined in Will Clower's THE FAT FALLACY.

I highly recommend both books. I dropped a dress size and haven't gone back. :)

Katie said...

A lot of those designs look pretty simple. If you could find a seamstress you trust, you could probably have something very similar made for you.

Demon Hunter said...

Great clothing rant, Jenny. I hate some of the colors in Lane Bryant. Who wants to wear loud colors to draw attention to anything...

Angela said...

Hiya! Regular blog-lurker here. And as a size-16 type, wanted to share my sympathies for your clothing travails and attempts to drop pounds!

Also wanted to thank you for the link to Rae Carson's work. I jumped over to check it out, and dropped her an appreciative comment.

Anna (annathepiper on LJ)

Don said...

quietly's pretty much on the right track there. I tend to follow the "Frazz diet" which is get your food exclusively from the outer section of the supermarket (where all the fresh stuff is) rather than the inside (where all the processed stuff is).

It's not a question of diet, it's a question of lifestyle. Walk/bike/bus instead of driving, eat fresh foods rather than processed foods. I'm still working on dealing with 15 years' effect of bad eating, but now that I rarely drive, get most of my food from the farmer's market, etc. I look and feel a lot better.

Jackie said...

I get very annoyed to find a size ten marked as an X-tra large. There is nothing X-tra large about a size ten.
It is not a wonder to me that there are young women in this country who have food issues.
I live in the city with the fattest women in the USA, so going into the store and finding clothes that are over size 18, is not too difficult. Beats the heck out of me where the showgirls shop. Must be L.A., not Las Vegas.

Rae said...

Aw, thx for the link, Jenny!

Yanno, I would list losing weight as the Second Hardest Thing I've Done (right after novel writing.) So be proud of those 5 lbs. In fact, you should buy yourself a new dress or something. :-)

Catherine Avril Morris said...

Those clothes are so cute! And they look pretty simple to make. You could totally find a seamstress friend who could whip something similar up for you...or even a seamstress client. (Um, I sew... I'm just sayin'.)

The Anti-Wife said...

After years of dieting, the only thing that has worked for me is fanatical portion control. I eat everything I like and want - only in very small portions. I use small plates, bowls and utensils. I never eat from a bag of chips, just take enough chips out to fill a small bowl and eat those. And I eat very slowly.

Combining this with walking about 1 1/2 miles 4 or 5 times per week, I've lost 25 pounds in 2 years and kept it off. I'm also down 3 dress sizes. I actually had to buy new clothes recently because the old ones were falling off.

Don't deny yourself the things you love. Just eat them slowly in tiny amounts and take a walk. It really works.

Katie said...

A friend of mine is an eating disorder activist, about a size 8-10, and she wrote a letter to the ~president? CEO?~ of Forever 21, complaining that she was a completely normal 20-something who couldn't fit into the clothes marked "Large" at that store. The reply was actually quite polite, but the person stated that the target customer for that store is TEN years old. So not only do you have to be a skinnyminny, you have to be a slutty 10-year-old.

poetsforpeanuts said...

I feel your pain, Jen.

I bought a pedometer just recently and I'm trying to stay above 15,000 steps a day, that's about four miles of walking, and stop eating out at fast food and restaurants. It's killer! I haven't been doing it long enough to report results, but if you're interested, I'll let you know how the plan works. :P

I live in LA and I go to a store like Forever 21 and a medium shirt couldn't fit a goldfish. If a woman has any kind of boobs, she's a gonner! The shirts are made for skeletons, they even make the manaquins look fat! *sry if I butchered that word*

It makes me VERY unhappy, especially when one of my friends, 5'5" and weighing 115, is complaining that she's 110, and pointing at obese women and saying "I wish I was as thin as her!" I swear, women would look way sexier with some hips and boobs! :P

And runway models? Don't get me started!

Ben S. D. said...

It's all about a lifestyle change; diets are useless because they're temporary. My father is 6'3, and he was 242 pounds a couple years ago (he'll be 55 this year). This annoyed him, considering he had always been in pretty good shape all his life, what with all the bike riding and weight lifting he used to do. So he decided to lose the weight, and in 10 months, had lost 60 pounds. He's now at 181, which is about the right weight for his height and age.

He lost the weight so fast, people would ask my mother, all quiet like, if he was sick. Then when they found out he simply decided to lose the weight, they desperately wanted to know what his "secret" was. His answer was always simple-

"I didn't eat as much and exercised more."

Honestly, it's really that simple. He ate a lot less - he only ate about 1200 calories a day - got back on the stationary bike, and that was that. It also helps that he's been a vegetarian for 20 years. It just doesn't help that the portion sizes in this country are OUT OF CONTROL. I've taken to only eating appetizers when I go out to eat myself. I think everyone would be surprised how content and satisfied they are with literally half the portions they normally eat.

As for the women's clothes, I've hears the average weight of an American woman has soared to 160 pounds (although I'm not sure if it's true or not). So it makes zero sense why clothing stores won't reflect that change. They want to make MONEY, don't they? I mean, it just seems logical from a business standpoint. We've got a Talbots where I am, and I think the biggest size in there is like a 10. If someone weighs 160 lbs., isn't there size more like a 14...? Seriously, it confuses me.

quietly writing said...

Anti-wife -- you've got the formula! Using smaller plates is actually part of the "system" of changing your eating habits permanently.

Think of the obscenely large portions they serve you in restaurants -- on obscenely large plates.

Hubby and I always share an entree now when we go out. Either that, or we order appetizers as our main course -- it's the perfect amount of food with room for a small cup of coffee at the end!

Yep, eat GOOD food (real food), eat small portions, eat slowly, and walk daily.

Like taking the stairs intead of the elevator. Like parking farther away from the mall entrance on purpose to give yourself some extra walking space.

Simple, life-changing habits.

Oh, and stay away from ANYTHING marked "low-fat." Not only is it unhealthy (additives, preservatives, highly processed), but it's usually loaded with sugar or sweeteners which attempt to make up for the lower fat content -- and the sugars TURN TO FAT in your body anyway! Our high-sugar American diet is a huge contributor to the rise of Type II Diabetes (which is completely preventable).

Whew! Gotta get off this soapbox.


Catherine Avril Morris said...

To Ben S. D. -- nope, us 160-pounders aren't necessarily size 14s. I weigh about 162 and I'm a size 10. Of course sizes depend a LOT on where you buy your clothes. Sometimes I'm an 8, sometimes a 12. Mostly 10. As people are pointing out on here, I'm like a size XL at Forever 21 (I never knew they were targeting 10-y-o hotties!!!). And I have friends who weigh the same as me whose bodies are vastly different from mine, and different sizes. I guess it's all about muscle weight, fat weight, bone density?--etc. And it all goes to show--people's bodies are different! We're all different! Yes, there's a huge problem with portion size and instant gratification and all our foods being way processed and unhealthy; but if you're eating healthily enough and moving around enough, then whatever size/shape you are...that's what size and shape you are. It's been said a million times before, but I really wish the "beauty standard" was a lot wider and more inclusive. That way, people would have a more accurate idea of what's healthy or unhealthy.

Oh, and I meant to say in my last post--bravo to Jenny for getting back into exercise. I know you used to be a big track star or something, right? So I'll bet that exercise high will come back to you pretty quick! Past that, it's just making time for it. (That's always hardest for me. I love me some exercise, but I wish I could have about 4 extra hours in my day.)

Sheila said...

The reply was actually quite polite, but the person stated that the target customer for that store is TEN years old.

No wonder. Geez. Why don't they call the store "Forever 10?"

I hate the size/brand differences -Jeans for example: 8 for Old Navy, 11 for Lee, 12 for Arizona...Can't even zip up Guess or Levi's jeans (size 12).

Why can't they make women's jeans and pants like mens - by measurements?

Tess said...

I agree. My issues with clothes are different, but I still find it hard to buy ones that fit me properly. Not everyone is 5'8"! Wish now I'd paid more attention in home ec class when they were teaching us to sew.

Kelly Swails said...

I second what anti-wife said. About eight years ago I lost 50 pounds by totally watching my portions and exercising. In the past year I've gained ten, which I attribute to a shift change (I used to work evenings; now I work days). I'm slowly losing the weight I've gained, but it's all about looking at the lifestyle and portion control. At least, for me. Also, sometimes I think a switch flips in your head. Like when you want to write a book, something clicks in your head and you write it, period. You sacrifice things to get it done. When you want to lose weight, something clicks in your head, you make the necessary changes and sacrifices, and you lose it. It's not as easy as it sounds, but then again, nothing worth it ever is.

You go, girl.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya. As someone who lives in a small, isolated town and hovers around a size 14/16, I'm generally screwed. Go into any store and you'll find regular sizes up to a 12, and plus sizes starting at, you guessed it, 18. Pants? Forget it. For years I made my own, taking apart the few garments I had found that fit well and making patterns out of them once they'd worn out.

When I was thin, though, it was worse. I'm 5'8". Not an amazon, by any standard. But try to find a size 8 pant with a 32" inseam. Just try. I once tried on every single pair of ladies' dress pants in West Edmonton Mall. I found one pair long enough. After a single wash, they were two inches too short.

To find clothes that fit--next to impossible.

The odds of finding clothes that fit and are flattering on a plus sized figure--astronomically insignificant.

I feel your pain, baby.

Anonymous said...

Adding to everyone else's comments... it's also about health. I know for a fact that one can be just as healthy at an "overweight" rating as at "normal". Many professional athletes ar in the overweight or obese catagory becaus BMI does NOT take into account your bone or ethic build. It's a guarantee that Viking-blooded me is going to be large than my Asian friend of the same height.

Personally, I wouldn't spend my money at a store which makes me feel bad about myself. If the sales people insulted me I'd stop buying there, so why should I keep giving them my money if they insult me by calling a 14 a large. I'm a Large/XL up top and a 24W on the bottom. I have weird porportions.
I have no clue what I weigh. I don't keep a scale and the only time I know my weight is when I go to the doctor. My doctors have all said that I am completely normal in my blood pressure and other tests. The last time I showed embarassment at my weight my doctor cut me off and said "You're fine. You're a mother of two kids. You exercise regularly, you're blood pressure is great and you're on the pill. Don't worry about your weight."

It's not about some number that changes depending on what time of the month it is. It's about how you feel. Exercise makes my body feel good, a similar feeling to what I get when I've written a good story. I feel like I've accomplished something. And THAT is what healthy is about. Feeling good.

If you eat well (you know, small portions, fairly healthy, etc) and exercise and you're still "Plus size" Don't strive to waste down to "normal" weight. Just accept that you are being the best you.

And don't fall for fads. Someone has always blamed sugar/carbs/meat/breads/fruits for "fat" The only things that do it is too much food and too little activity.

LadyBronco said...

Anonymous 6:38...

No kidding!
I guess if we women are over a size 12 we are supposed to be 5' tall.
I'm 5'8" myself and I have a horrible time finding pants long enough!
(It's why I wear a lot of capris)

Southern Writer said...

I dunno, Jenny, in another few months, you might be grateful for a few extra pounds when we're all starving because there's nothing safe left to eat. I'm not a health food fanatic by any means (my favorite foods are chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate) but I'm starting to be alarmed by all the recent food recalls. In six months, there have been recalls linked to lettuce, spinach, peanut butter, olives, cashews, mineral water, ice cream, chicken breasts, some spices, and pet food. (And in the UK, Cadbury's chocolate / here in the U.S., Wilton's and Harry & David's). Now we know the tainted pet food was fed to pigs, and a few chickens. It is said those animals were limited to California, but then pigs in the Carolinas tested positive for melamine (I think you're Jewish, aren't you, so you probably don't eat pork, but I'll bet you eat chicken). Then there's always mad cow disease and bird flu to worry about ... After the pet food debacle, I no longer trust our government to keep our food supply safe, and they admit, only ONE PERCENT of food imported into the U.S. is tested! Think about that the next time you eat.

I remember as a kid my mother saying that "in the end of days" we won't be able to buy a loaf of bread for a million dollars, but I pooh poohed it as religious extremism, and suggested that maybe she'd been reading a bit too much of the National Enquirer. It sure is beginning to look that way, though. I'm second guessing everything I put in my mouth.

Everyone who's concerned should link to and watch the video there, then sign the petition.

Jenny Rappaport said...

Southern Writer, I understand your concerns, and I don't want to be disrespectful... but it's nice to know that I'll survive when the food apocalypse comes. =)

Anonymous said...

You're bloggers responses are truly sympathetic and seem especially appropriate. Many are calling attention to diets these days. Recently, I was on a diet for about 4 weeks. Using science and having a limited goal I lost about 3 inches (SELECTIVELY) off my waist. Numbers count. Everyone recommends exercise. Counting calories really works, so I do that too.
If you want to lose fat though, good "Fat Burners" can help more than anything. I buy and use the most natural one. The science behind all of this is simple. Sugar and fat makes you fat. THE natural products that help you metabolize sugar and fat respectively, are INSULIN and L-CARNITINE.
The bottom line is that insulin burns sugar and L-CARNITINE BURNS FAT. Right now, it's extremely difficult to replace needed insulin therapy with anything else. In the same way, the natural product L-CARNITINE is very bio-specific. Nothing else that I know of actually plays the same natural role. It controls the major transport system for fat to be converted to energy. With L-CARNITINE IN YOUR DIET, more fat gets chopped to smaller fragments and eliminated.
I used to lecture in advanced Chemistry. I assume my post contains science refs you haven't seen before. The science-lecturer in me says to make sure the simple science discussed, looks simple. So, for your convenience, I use CAPS for KEY words.
They could also be shouted though. L-CARNITINE CAN RECREATE THE PERFECT BODY!
WilliamEpic (Posting temporarily as anon)

Sam said...

I'm not fat but I had two emergency cesaerians and my stomach is now a strange shape and won't ever change. Clothes look really weird on me - no matter what size. I end up buying straight, tunic styles because anything that shows my stomach looks terrible.
But I'm healthy and my kids are healthy, so I'll stop whining now, lol. Who needs fashionable clothes?

“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”
- Oscar Wilde

Kim said...

I also feel your pain - a few years ago, before my son was born, I was at the gym four or five days a week, and managed to get myself into the best shape of my life! Well, then we decided we really wanted a second child - and - tada! He's a year and a half old and I am still carrying around about ten extra pounds...

Congratulations on those five pounds! Every journey begins with a single step and that's a huge step! You should treat yourself to something - you've earned it.

It so totally sucks that designers seem to think we're all ten year old boys and yes, I have the same problem shopping for my daughter. She's tall and thin, but only 6 so the "little kid" clothes don't really fit and I'd drop dead before I'd send her out looking like a little Britney. You have to wonder where the designers' heads really are!

December Quinn said...

ROFL Jenny!

I agree with anti-wife. It stinks, but the only way to get slim and stay that way is to have, as Mad-Eye Moody says, "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!"

What gets me are how skinny shirts are these days. It's not the waist size or shoulder width, it's the idea that we all have tosros two feet long and as wide as a pencil. I'm short-waisted. I can't wear those things. I don't know anyone who can wear those things. Whose body is shaped like that?

Southern Writer said...

Uh ... sorry, Jenny. I guess my point was that I'll probably be losing weight because I'm afraid to eat anything.

If you want to lose weight so you'll look different, or for your health, I say go for it, but don't lose sight of the fact that you're fabulous just being who you are.

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is this:

Who decided fat girls should all wear large flowers, loud colors, stupid slogans and shiny stuff?


Anonymous said...

The last anon... I'm a horrible horror writer. I love glitter LOL

I went plus size internet shopping last night. Tell me, why am I expected to pay $60 for a pair of jeans when "normal" sized people can get them for $20? Those higher price means higher quality doesn't work for me. I'm just too hard on clothes and too poor to get more than an outfit or two at some of those department store prices.

kathie said...

Keep at it! A little at a time is the way to go, apparently, though I hate anything a little at a time. But that's the expert take on losing weight and I guess just about everything else in the world. Hope all is well with your progress now.

Christine said...

Girlfriend, I feel your pain. I have found a couple of stores that do have nice big-girl clothes. Kohl's has a wonderful woman's section, and I've always found a thing or two in Fashion Bug. Not couture, obviously, but who's reading the tags but you? (Incidentally, the Kohl's house brand, Sonoma, which is casual, is cut big, so much so I have to buy a size smaller than usual. That always makes me feel good)

I also recently needed a dress for a wedding and got s lovely one at Catherine's, which is another part of the Charming Shoppes/Lane Bryant/Fashion Bug conglomorate. Very cute, and not too expensive.

Jenny Rappaport said...

I agree, Fashion Bug has a fairly decent women's section. The clothes aren't the highest quality, but I'm not going to argue with the semi-formal dress I got for $20 on sale, which I've worn to three different events this year so far.

Plus, I find they're good for the inexpensive stuff, like t-shirts and jeans (of which I have a pair with embroidered butterflies that I am inordinately fond of =).

Anonymous said...

There is a huge (no pun intended) market out there for gals like us. Jenny, you wanted an XL - I'm in the same boat. After being a size 10 most of my life (and as low as 6), now, after having had some surgery. I fit into a 14 loosely and a 12 tightly. And usually I find I'm better off in an XL than a L in the little knit tops, etc.

So we don't really fit in the Lane Bryant category and we'd like to have some fashionable, hip clothes. The designers just need to produce beyond size 12.

Now don't get me started on American shoe sizes.