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helen-louise
baratron
baratron
*surprise and confusion*
I went clothes-shopping today, because all my clothes are falling off me again.

I have bought three pairs of trousers that are labelled size 14.

Size 14. Fuck! I haven't been below a size 16 in 10 years. I've been a size 18-20 for most of that.

The really scary thing is, these trousers all fit me over leggings. (I have to wear loads of layers because I'm cold all the time, owing to having lost all that insulation.) If I wasn't wearing the leggings, I might even be able to squeeze into a size 12 - if not this week, in a month's time.

I can't get over how much this is freaking me out - and not entirely in a good way.


There is this belief that all women want to be thinner. All women, all the time. Like many sweeping overgeneralisations that get applied to one or other of the binary sexes, this is actually bollocks. I know quite a few naturally-thin women who are sick of people making thoughtless comments about how "real women" have curves, or having well-meaning friends enquire about whether they might have an eating disorder of some sort. I also know plenty of larger women who carry their weight well, are able to move comfortably and are strong and happy. I even know a fair number of females who are fat and proud, and whose size is none of my damn business.

I... yes, I admit I wanted to be thinner, but only because size 18-20 at my height is bloody awkward. The "regular" range of clothes were a bit too small, but most "plus size" clothes were too big - because as well as making them wider, they also get a lot longer. Petite height plus size does exist, but seems entirely tailored for apple-shape bodies, and I am a classic pear shape. (Smallish bust, wide hips, huge arse. Like one of those dumpy Comice pears, not a tall elegant Conference pear.) I also have a fairly small waist-to-hip ratio (at my fattest, there was still a good 10" difference between my waist size and hip circumference). All of this adds up to give me great trouble in finding clothes. I ended up buying lots of identical clothes in different colours, and hoping no one would notice.

I was pleased to get to a size 16-18, because that gave me a lot more flexibility. Also I lost the bit of flab over my belly that I was most paranoid about (I think everyone, no matter how good their self-image, has parts they like less than others) and started to lose some stretch marks. I managed to start wearing clothes I'd bought a while ago and hadn't been able to wear in ages.

But now what? I look thin! It bothers the hell out of me when people say how "healthy" I look, because I think I look skinny and washed out! I think it's blatently apparent that the reason I've lost so much weight is that I've been ill. My face is all bones and angles. I've lost my chubby cheeks. My nose is too sharp (and I can just tell that my body hatred paranoia is going to transfer itself back to my nose, which I've hated on and off ever since I was 9 and a girl called Ruth in my dancing class told me what a big nose I had. I spent a few years squashing it with my fingers every chance I got to try to make it smaller, until I found out that wouldn't work, and I'm still inclined to fiddle with it as a nervous habit. This is not helped by it often being snotty).

I've got used to having a mental view of myself that is, say, 20 lb (~10 kg) lighter than I actually am; and picking up clothes that I think will fit me, and finding out they're too small when I go to try them on. Now I have the opposite problem, and I'm surprised to find it's no less unpleasant.


I'm sure there are people reading this who will say "what the hell is she moaning about? Losing 3 stone without even trying? God, I'd love to lose 3 stone!". Except I didn't want to lose 3 stone, it just happened. I'd much rather have been healthy and able to eat whatever I wanted for these past 9 months than bloody ill and on an ultra-low fat diet under pain of Pain. I'd probably still have lost mass, only by exercising rather than by dietary restrictions.

That's it, I think. If I'd lost mass out of choice, I'd be delighted. If I'd lost mass by doing something that involved effort, like exercise - and if I had accompanying increased muscle strength, and a stronger heart and lungs, it would mean something to me. As it is, I have physically less mass, but I'm weaker than I was - because the only exercise I can do is walking, and even walking carrying a fairly lightweight bag gives me pain. Oh yeah - and my BMI? Still in the "overweight" range, apparently. 27, where "healthy" starts at 25. *snorts*.


The worst thing is that I feel like a traitor. I was honestly perfectly happy at size 16-18. I didn't like being size 18-20, but only because it was hard for me to find clothes to wear. (And that wasn't even so bad, with shopping in the US). I was honestly perfectly happy fat. Now, I think I look skinny, almost scrawny. And I don't like the way other people's attitudes to me have changed. Thinner, and with my hair grown out to long, I almost fit within the definition of "conventionally attractive". "Normal" people are eyeing me up in public places - not geeks, not bi/poly types, not fat acceptance people - but normal people. ("Mundanes", as they're sometimes insultingly called.) I don't want to be attractive to normal people! I want to be attractive to my type of people!

And, um, I'd quite like to know what size I'm going to end up, so I can buy clothes in that size and be done with it, instead of having to get new clothes every couple of months. I don't enjoy clothes shopping, even if I do have slightly more choice at this size.

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Comments
ailbhe From: ailbhe Date: 18th March 2006 22:24 (UTC) (Link)
I can sympathise with being congratulated on losing weight by being sick. I went down to more than 12% underweight (I stopped weighing myself after a certain point, and I stopped going down in clothes sizes because I reached skellington) and people were still telling me how fabulous it was. I felt like death.

I hope you get healthier soon, somehow.
quiet000001 From: quiet000001 Date: 18th March 2006 23:10 (UTC) (Link)
I know kind of what you mean. I've been losing weight lately. Now, admittedly, I was TRYING to lose some weight, because I'd been inching up size-wise for a while, and there's a history of type II diabetes in the family and so on, but at the moment, it doesn't seem to matter what kind of bizarre eating habits I have, my weight is still dropping like mad. (Like, 2lb/week STEADILY.)

It's unnerving, because I don't think this is something I'm in control of- I think it's something that's just Happening because of other things going on with my body. (My current theory is it's to do with the high anxiety levels, and particularly the recent onset of randomly startling awake and so on when I'm sleeping or trying to fall asleep.) I do not particularly like it.

And, what you said about the sizes. When I went home for Thanksgiving, my mom bought me clothes. They are all too big now, and she bought them for me because at that point'd I'd lost a little weight, and my clothes were getting too big, so now I have WAY too big, and Too Big, and it's like- I'd like to look nice and well dressed and so on, but really, I can't afford to replace things every size. (And I am Really REAlly Really peeved about my corset. *sigh*.)

THough if it makes you feel any better, the buying identical clothes in different colours trick? That's actually recommended by many wardrobey consultant types. If you find something that's good value for money that suits you and fits well, then buy it in as many colours as suit you and your wardrobe 'style' or colour scheme. (Sometimes duplicates of colours if you know you'll wear particular ones a lot.) So you can stop feeling sneaky about it and just tell people you're a smart shopper. *g* (The wardrobey people generally recommend keeping things pretty simple, overall. Make outfits look different from eachother by using different accessories and touches like that, rather than having loads of radically different styles and garments.)

In the meantime, I shall be eyeing up my pile of fabrics and patterns and wondering if it's worth trying to start working on some summer things, or if I just shouldn't bother because by the time I'm done they won't fit anyway.
From: jinian Date: 19th March 2006 06:57 (UTC) (Link)
(I assume you know that unexplained weight loss is a sign of diabetes sometimes, but I feel I must post it in case someone doesn't.)
From: kshandra Date: 18th March 2006 23:17 (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry the weight loss wasn't a thing you chose. And to hell with the BMI charts - they're a load of crap in my opinion, and I'm not just saying that because I'm all but off the chart. Health is as much about how you feel living inside your body as it is about numbers on a page.

*hugs offered*
From: redbird Date: 18th March 2006 23:52 (UTC) (Link)
I think I understand some of this. One advantage of having been at basically the same size for at least a decade is that I only have to replace clothes when they wear out.

Apparently people in the "slightly overweight" range average healthier by the most basic measure--life expectancy--than those who are below BMI 25, so I don't think you have anything to worry about on that score.

I don't particularly want to be attractive to strangers--but what might catch my (bi/poly/geek) eye about your current appearance is the long hair. Yes, it's conventionally attractive; it's also a strong preference of mine, independent of the person's gender. And, well, can someone look at me walking down the street and know that I'm bi and poly, if they only see me once and thus don't get to observe that there's more than one person I hold hands with in public, and they're not all of the same gender? (The Palm on the belt might be a hint on the geek part.)
submarine_bells From: submarine_bells Date: 19th March 2006 00:43 (UTC) (Link)
A few years ago I was prescribed some medication that really disagreed with me - I slept really badly, became blackly depressed and lost a fair bit of weight (something like around 10kg, if I recall correctly). I felt like shit, but it was amazing how many folk said to me "you're looking really healthy!" during that time. Um, right. "Healthy". Suuure. *snort*
barakta From: barakta Date: 19th March 2006 02:00 (UTC) (Link)
I asked a GP about BMI and they said they honestly thought it was a useful heuristic for anorexics, not otherwise healthy people. The main reason I've been moaning about putting on an admittedly small amount of weight is that I will have to replace my clothes. I hate clothes shopping with a passion.

Amusingly I used to be one of those 'thin' people regularly accused of having an eating disorder. Now people comment that I'm getting chubby which is true because I've done bugger all for nearly a year now. I think I just want people NOT to comment about my weight at all, because it's not helpful.

Not sure I have anything useful or helpful to say about your weight loss other than grring in sympathy at the lack of control over the whole process.
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