Fashion, Fat

On Socks and Happy Pills

I put on socks today for the first time since May. Friday night, I wore both a thick wool sweater and sandals out to meet Sweet Machine, but I decided this morning that Denial Time is over. Fall is here. For the next eight months, my daily routine will involve driving myself mental trying find two clean socks that match. No getting around it.

That, and getting dressed today in general, made me think of a few things.

1) I fucking love comfortable clothes that fit. Dumbest statement in the world, right? But the fact is, I used to wear a whole lot of uncomfortable clothes that didn’t fit. I desperately hung on to clothes I’d grown out of. I bought pants with gappy waistbands and shirts with sleeves that were too long and dresses that were a smidge too tight, because I was convinced in the store that THIS PARTICULAR GARMENT would change my life, even if it looked weird on or cut off my circulation. Now, if it doesn’t really fit, I don’t buy it. Period.

This limits my options substantially. I need petite plus sizes, for the most part, and those are not plentiful. But when I do find them, and nothing’s too long or falling off my shoulders — or too tight because the petite line only goes up to one size down from me — it’s a very good day. What I finally realized was, I had a closet full of a few things that fit, which I wore constantly, and a whole ton of things that didn’t quite fit, which I wore rarely and hated wearing when I did. So as it turned out, not buying the really, really cute, potentially life-altering thing that didn’t quite come in my size would ultimately be no more of a disappointment than buying it. (In fact, it would be less of one, because I wouldn’t be out the money and closet space for something I couldn’t wear.)

These days? It’s fun to get dressed. When I pull a pair of jeans out of the drawer, I know they’ll look just right on my ass and not get caught under the backs of my heels. (Well, except for a couple pairs of Right Fits I haven’t shortened yet; the petites are still a bit long, and this whole “only buying stuff that really fits” thing can only be taken so far.) When I pull out shirts and sweaters, I only have to decide what matches, not what’s long enough to cover a gappy waistband when I sit, what’s too tight by itself but okay with a cardigan over it, what requires a cami underneath because I can’t button it over my boobs, etc. The whole process is so much less stressful, I can’t even tell you.

I know I’m lucky in that it is possible for me to find stuff that really fits off the rack, even if I bitch about the relative dearth of petite plus sizes. Some people can’t. But a lot of us probably can and just don’t, because we want to get into that other size someday, or we just can’t bring ourselves to buy something with this size on the label, or we must have this particular top, whether it comes in the right size or not.

Let me tell you, it feels so much better just to put on clothes that fit.

2) I am so glad I’m old enough that Eddie Bauer, Land’s End, L.L. Bean, and J. Jill, all of whom offer a far wider range of sizes than most stores, seem like perfectly reasonable places to shop now. It is much easier to find clothes that fit when I don’t give a rat’s ass if I look like a soccer mom.

3) I’m excited about fall, for the first time in I don’t know how long. I’ve always loved sweaters and changing colors and really windy days and the fantasy of living in an L.L. Bean catalog, with baskets full of fresh-picked red apples and Golden Retriever puppies everywhere I turn. But for the last several years, all of that’s been trumped by the abject dread that arrives when the days get shorter. It’s only going to get colder and darker from here. A lot colder. And a lot darker. For MONTHS.

This year, I’m giddy about autumn — although Al flatly rejected my suggestion that we go apple-picking — and I’m even looking forward to winter; I do love fireplace fires and down slippers and Christmas decorations and snowpiles that haven’t yet been fouled by dog piss and ambient urban grime. But for the last several years, winter has been hell on me. By Christmas, I’m despairing of ever enjoying light or heat again; by Valentine’s Day, I am a crazy person. A crazy person who is MOVING TO THE TROPICS NEXT YEAR, I FUCKING SWEAR IT! Seriously, there would be days when I’d sit and sob because it was so goddamned cold outside, I couldn’t stand to leave the house, and I knew I had months to go before it even let up, let alone before we had an honest-to-goodness warm, sunny day.

This year, I don’t really anticipate getting to that awful place where I’m researching Florida real estate with fat tears running down my face. This year, I am genuinely psyched about the change of seasons.

This year, I have a system full of Lexapro.

I did by last winter, too, but since I’d only started it in September (happy anniversary, Lexapro!), and it took 6 or 8 weeks to kick in, I still went through all the usual autumn dread. Winter definitely wasn’t as bad as it had been in years past (it was also a fairly mild winter in Chicago), but I still wasn’t really used to feeling pretty good yet. Now I am. After a year, pretty good is now my default mood, and despair is an anomaly.

I never really thought I’d see the day. In fact, I think half the reason I resisted anti-depressants for so long was that I was afraid they wouldn’t work, and I’d have no hope of ever conquering my depression, no tricks left up my sleeve. I’d have to accept that this was the real me. As long as there was a possible solution still out there, I didn’t have to accept it. (But of course, as long as I wasn’t taking advantage of that solution, depressed me was the real me.)

4) And because you know how I love a dead horse, I can’t resist pointing out my suspicion that a similar mentality is  at work in people who stubbornly refuse to believe that diets are useless.  Don’t you dare take away my hope of being normal someday! Don’t you make me resign myself to this misery!

I can relate, obviously. But the thing is, being fat does not have to be misery; being depressed, by definition, pretty much does. The other thing is, there really is no effective treatment for fatness; it’s not me taking away your hope, it’s that bastard reality. And the other thing is, if you work on getting rid of the misery instead of the fatness, you might just find that the fatness doesn’t bug you so much.

I’ve gained a bunch of weight on Lexapro, as I’ve said. Not so very long ago, I would have automatically nixed the thought of any drug that I knew might make me gain like 30 pounds in a year.  Even an antidepressant — if it’s going to make me fatter, there’s no fucking way it can make me happy!

Today, I’m pretty much at my fattest. And my happiest. And I’m really looking forward to fall and winter. And I just bought a whole ton of new fall clothes that fit, because the ones from last year don’t, and I had fun with it instead of flipping out over the new number on the tags.

One of the most controversial things in Joy’s Fat Rant was the part where she entreated us to quit “blaming our fat” for everything. To some people, that sounded like the “Quit making excuses, fatty!” shit we’ve all heard quite enough, thank you. But all she was really saying (Joy, correct me if I’m wrong) was the same thing she said throughout the rest of the video: Don’t put your life on hold. Don’t believe you can’t do things just because you’re fat. Don’t assume everyone else on earth is as obsessed with your fat as you are and will reject you for it. Don’t automatically blame your fat for things that might have nothing to do with your fat.

I did that shit for years — most notably, assuming no guy would ever want to date a chick as fat as me (including when I was not actually fat), and thus not even trying to find a date. (While constantly bitching about not having a date, natch.) But more insidiously, I spent a whole lot of years blaming my fat for my depression, telling myself that if I just lost the weight, I’d be happy. Even after I lost the weight once, was still depressed, and gained it all back. I was so totally convinced that fat was the root of all evil, I believed that getting rid of it would cure every damn thing that was wrong with me, including a chemical imbalance in my brain.

Instead, balancing out those chemicals has made me both fatter and much, much happier. I’ll fucking take it.

40 thoughts on “On Socks and Happy Pills”

  1. Yay for fall! I am thrilled at the prospect of wearing sweaters again. In fact, I just finished knitting one last night!

    I already mentioned this to you, Kate, but to other readers: if you have seasonal depression, another option is to do light therapy with one of those crazy lightbox things. It sounds like New Age mumbo jumbo, but it has helped me a ton, and I used to live in the Pacific Northwest, where the sun basically disappears entirely from October to May.

    it was also a fairly mild winter in Chicago

    Oh crap.

  2. I would like to claim credit for that lightbox. I took up a collection!

    Kate, don’t forget the fact that, what with how incredibly hard it is to find clothes that fit fatties (or, in fact, fit any real bodies besides fit models), a lot of people don’t really know what “fitting” is. I know I don’t. Most of my jeans would probably be considered too baggy and most of my shirts would probably be considered too tight; that’s what I’m used to, so that’s what I buy, and it perpetuates itself ad infinitum. I usually think I look good, but I’m quite sure I would make Stacy and Clinton weep.

    The Lexapro thing is such a toughie for me, because I actually went off it because of the weight gain. While I don’t believe that losing weight (vs. following HAES) can help with PCOS symptoms, it does appear that gaining weight very fast — enough that my weight gain and stretch marks made my doctor think I had Cushing’s — can really make it worse. I’m extremely conflicted about it now, but the fact that I didn’t have my period for four months after Lexapro weight gain makes me think that I probably made the right decision. Eventually I’ll have to take charge of my brain chemistry again, though, and then I don’t know what I’ll do. To make a sort of terrible pun: it’s not the weight, it’s the rapidity. I don’t mind being fatter, but getting much fatter within a couple months is not good for me.

    I’m excited about fall too except I don’t have any money, and I want to buy new clothes that fit! I did spend some money on some T-shirts, and they didn’t quite fit, and I kept them anyway, so there you go. I am trying not to buy anything that I won’t be totally in love with, especially because I’m trying not to buy anything period, but meanwhile I am pinning up my skirts and wearing tanks under my t-shirts and generally looking disgraceful. I’ve actually stopped really dressing, vs. throwing on a t-shirt and jeans, partly because of the stress of having all these clothes that don’t fit and no money to buy more.

    Maybe I do need that Lexapro.

  3. I’m totally on board for all of the cool weather love BUT I might be singing a different tune when it starts getting dark at 4:30 and the Arctic winds are blowing my fat ass all over the place. I might need some happy pills soon.

  4. I usually think I look good, but I’m quite sure I would make Stacy and Clinton weep.

    FJ, good point about a lot of people not knowing what “fitting” really is, but at the risk of dredging up the whole “It fits” v. “It’s fitted” debate again, all I’m talking about are clothes that I feel good in, can breathe in, and don’t have to fuss with. And in fact, I’m talking about T-shirts and jeans just as much as anything else. So what you describe totally falls into that category, in my mind.

    I would make Stacy and Clinton weep, too, for sure. You saw the part about where I do most of my shopping, right?

    I TOTALLY hear you on the rapidity of Lexapro gain, and as I said in one of the dieting threads, I’m actually considering trying a different antidepressant to stem that gain. The gain is fast and strange, and after a year, I’m not entirely sure when/if it’s going to stop. That’s daunting even without PCOS. But it is really good to remind myself that, as side effects go, this one’s pretty benign for me. I don’t have any other side effects, and it’s been magic for the depression, so I can’t complain. But yeah, if it’s possible to find a drug that works this well and doesn’t involve a rapid, substantial weight gain? I might very well want to try that.

  5. To further clarify, I’m talking about things like this:

    I no longer buy pants that aren’t petites, period. I would freakin’ love to try C. Enne. V. jeans, for instance, but they don’t come in petites. So it’s not happening.

    I also no longer buy jackets or coats that aren’t petites. This rules out a LOT of choices, including most fat store choices. (Though I realize I’m really lucky to be an 18 or under, because true plus petites are even rarer.) But jackets cut for taller, bigger-boned women just do not work on me — they’re beyond alteration, even — no matter how cute they are on the hanger.

    If I MUST have an article of clothing that doesn’t quite fit, instead of buying it slightly too small and hoping it will magically fit one day, I buy it slightly too big and have it altered to fit my body as-is.

    I sit down in everything I try on, to make sure it doesn’t do weird shit over my gut that it doesn’t do when I’m standing up. And if it does, no matter how good it looks when I’m standing up, I don’t buy it. I used to not do that, and I ended up with a closet full of clothes I didn’t wear because they did weird shit over my gut when I sat down.

    When I find basics that fit me really well, I buy as many of them as I can afford. So now, instead of having 6 different brands of jeans, only one of which I really like and wear, I have 3 pairs of identical Right Fits and 3 pairs of identical Levi’s. Instead of having T-shirts from all over the fucking place, only a couple of which I really like and wear, I have Eddie Bauer Essential Tees and Athleta Shape Tanks in every friggin’ color. And some combination of the above is what I wear 9 days out of 10.

    I love empire-waist, surplice tops IF they have enough room for my boobs (with a cami). But I have bought several that only almost did, and then driven myself nuts pulling them down so the seam would stay under my boobs. I don’t buy shirts I’ll have to fuss with like that anymore, even though I would LOVE this one, for instance.

    That’s the kind of shit I’m talking about, not “flattering my shape” or whatev. I mean, I try to do that, too, but the first step is finding clothes that don’t actively work against my shape.

  6. Just wanted to put a plug in for what worked for me in case it’s of interest for others who can’t take antidepressents for whatever reason. Depression and “mood” issues run rampant in my family. All the women at least. So after my second run with post partum depression (after battling depression on and off since I was a teen – and let’s not talk about PMS) I went to two doctors in a row to try and get something – anything. Both blew me off. #2 told me to “eat a better diet” without even asking me what my diet was (I now wonder if that was a fat thing?). Anyway, someone on another site recommended the book The Mood Cure It’s nutritional supplements, most of which I’d heard of, but none of which I was taking in the amounts and combinations she recommended. That was over a year ago and they still work – but I still have to take them. A part of me is resentful that I can’t be “normal” without taking pills but you know, it’s better than feeling like there’s no point in life and yelling at my kids, you know?

    Kate wrote – ” I was so totally convinced that fat was the root of all evil, I believed that getting rid of it would cure every damn thing that was wrong with me, including a chemical imbalance in my brain.”

    I see this shit everywhere and it so pisses me off. I don’t know what to say to these people who honestly think that all their problems in life will be solved by being thing (Abusive husband? Lose weight! Can’t pay the rent? Lose weight! Hate your job? Lose weight!). And then I feel like as a fat woman who has depression issues I can’t talk because I’m proving their point. As if thin people are never depressed???

  7. I’m glad that Lexapro has helped your depression, Kate. I am lucky, in that NM has a very short ( if any) winter. No Seasonal Affective Disorder can get a foot in before it is spring again.

    As for wearing clothes that fit, I started doing that last year, and I was amazed at how nice it was to sit down and not have part of my ass-crack show, just because the jeans looked fantastic when I stood.

  8. Man, I have so few clothes that fit me right, and I have no money or transportation ability to get new clothes. This really bums me out. I have only 3 pairs of jeans, and none of them fit right (two of those pairs were cast-offs from other people). One did, but it stretched out. Lots of tops I have require lots of adjusting, which is very annoying. I’m so with you about how wonderful it is to have any random article of clothing fit right. And I haven’t quite mastered the art of learning to properly try on clothing–but I’m getting there.

    “all their problems in life will be solved by being thin”
    I’m proof that this is a load of crap. I’m thin, and I currently have some condition that’s been wreaking havoc on my nervous system (either ms or b12 deficiency). One of my symptoms has been awesome mood swings. I go into bouts of weeping almost every day! Oh, but I’m skinny, so it’s all okay! Riiiiiiiight.

    I think all it does is prevent my parents who sometimes try to stupidly rationalize away my illness from having another ‘reason’ to use (ie, I never get told it’s my weight that’s causing this crap, though both sometimes want to blame my nutritional intake).

    Heh, where I live, in Florida, I find I’m more miserable in the summer than in the winter. But that’s likly because I have no heat tolerance, and our winters (if you can call ’em that) are really nice. I loooove November; that’s when the weather is the best.

  9. FJ, you can totally claim credit for the lightbox! It was all you. Although I must add that the good people at the University of Oregon health center, despite their other shortcomings, were awesome for having a “try it before you shell out the big bucks” light therapy option for cheap.

  10. Big thumbs up to the light box. It has helped me a lot. I was terrified of going on ADs because of the weight gain possibility. Luckily it didn’t happen, but I can’t believe how long I suffered because of that fear. Even now I think I might need a change but I just am afraid.

    I think the idea of going for the fit rather than the number on the label is so hard for so many different women, all shapes and sizes. All part of that “programing” (I’m not sure that’s the right word) we experience to live and die by numbers.

    Great post, Kate.

  11. Man, I have so few clothes that fit me right, and I have no money or transportation ability to get new clothes.

    I hear you on the no money, Margaret, but as for the transportation, I should also point out that I get most of my clothes online now. I know a lot of people hate shopping online, but it does expand your options a LOT.

    And in fact, I’m screwed at both Eddie Bauer and J.Jill stores — they don’t carry their full petite lines in-store, so I have to get the stuff that fits me right online. Grrrr.

    As for the rest of what you’re saying, I had dinner last night with a very thin friend who has an autoimmune disorder and rheumatoid arthritis. When she went to her rheumatologist to complain of knee pain, with a BMI of fucking 19, he told her to try losing 10 lbs. to make the pain go away.

    So even being thin doesn’t always stop that shit. Bleh. I’ll be posting more about that tomorrow.

  12. I so hear ya about clothes that fit right. I just spent the summer temping in uncomfortable business clothes- argh. Every morning is an exercise in what is the most boring and uncomfortable outfit I can put together so as to be “presentable”. Most of my regular shirts are out cause I got boobies and we wouldn’t want anyone to notice them. I am sooo happy that in one more week I go back to my little college job where they are lucky I wear clothes at all with what they pay me.

    As for the depression/weather stuff. After 5 years on welbutrin I went off it (and everything else I was taking for migraines, etc)last spring. Within about 2 weeks I felt much better than I had for a year. I don’t know why that worked but I am a little afraid of this winter without meds.

  13. Kate, i definitely hear the winter angst thing. That’s actually a large part of why i moved away from Chicago. The winters just got to me way too much. They still affect me down south, but not nearly half as much.

    And i can vouch that lightboxes are practically life-saving devices. My husband’s parents live in Michigan (where the grey sky factor is actually worse than Chicago), and they’ve got a lightbox in the kitchen. They totally swear by it. Expensive, but worth it.

    There is something special about autumn. Crunching and crackling leaves under your feet, a brisk wind off the lake, rosy cheeks, and the smell of pumpkin spices and cinnamon. It’s just when it turns to winter that it sucks.

    I’m definitely glad you’ve found that Lexapro works for you. That is much yayness indeed. :D

  14. I love fall as well! Winter used to be my favorite season, but then I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and now I associate winter with more pain. Eeek. I like fall because it’s a bit chilly, but my pain levels aren’t as intense as they are in summer or winter (two extremes for the West coast area in which I live).

    Also, I totally relate to *everything* you’ve said about depression and anti-depressants. I was 16 when I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, but was initially scared to take meds. As it turned out, the meds saved my life.

  15. Another cheer for the psychoaffective drugs here, even with the weight gain.

    I live in Sydney FFS – our winters are sunny, even if the days are somewhat shorter, and I still get SAD. (I’m on sodium valproate as a mood stabiliser, as every antidepressant under the sun just made me numb, because I’m actually bipolar but I only went to see docs when I was depressed (hey, why would I go when I was feeling like Superwoman?), so it took a shrink to suss the right Dx. The valproate is prescribed off its recommended use: it was developed as an antiepileptic, but also works as a mood stabiliser for weird heads like mine)

  16. I think the idea of going for the fit rather than the number on the label is so hard for so many different women, all shapes and sizes. All part of that “programing” (I’m not sure that’s the right word) we experience to live and die by numbers.

    I totally had a nervous breakdown the first time I realized I’m a junior 2X. (Partly because I didn’t realize at the time it was a junior 2X, so I didn’t see how that jibed with the size I thought I was at ALL.) Ridiculous for so many reasons — primary among them that I think plenty of women look hot wearing a lot more Xs than that — but in my head, buying something that said 2X on a label no one else would ever see was the equivalent of just wearing a sandwich board that said, “I AM AS BIG AS A HOUSE.” As if the label said something about my body that my body didn’t say for itself.

    And that, I am said to say, was not in the very distant past. The good news is, I got over it quickly, and realized, “Hey, I can shop in the Target juniors section! Yeehaw!” I also realized very quickly that I was being a total fucking idiot. But it wasn’t automatic. The automatic response was, “Wait, I’m WHAT size??”

  17. I’m totally thrilled it’s fall because, as a Northern girl living in the south, my seasonal affective disorder hits in the summer. It’s probably nothing to do with light (for me), and everything to do with being essentially shut-in for about half the year right when all my programming is telling me I should be outside at barbecues and the beach.

    And I’ll second what ShannonCC says about The Mood Cure, although the one I worked with was The Diet Cure (side note: I didn’t lose weight as promised on the diet cure; also, it was before I got into fat acceptance . . .). I found a lot of the recommendations there effective. I find it heartening that there are many different options for dealing with SAD, depression, etc. As we know, our bodies each work a little differently, so having different options helps.

  18. When I first read this, I thought, “Damn, you lucky dog, I wish I felt euphoric about the change of seasons. All I can think is, it’s raining today and it isn’t going to stop for eight months.”

    I have actually found that my battery of amino acids (among them, DLPA, acetyl-L-carnitine, L-tyrosine and 5-HTP) along with supporting B-complex and C, do as much to keep my mood and alertness on even keel as Effexor ever did, plus I don’t need to sleep 12 hours a day in order not to bump into every door in sight. Tricky balance, because more 5-HTP definitely boosts the serotonin more, but also depletes the dopamine somewhat, and not enough dopamine means I act like, well, a dope.

    Maybe I’ll get one of those light boxes, though. I don’t know if I feel more depressed mood-wise in the winter so much as I just want to curl up and sleeeeep. All that rain pattering on the roof makes me wanna go zzzzzzzzzzzzz like a hibernating bear.

  19. Yeah, I really meant that my clothes don’t fit, though. :) I mean literally almost zero of my clothes fit. I just got two jackets at the thrift store, and I thought they looked good, and I tried them on today, and one of them looks comically large and the other is short with big gorilla arms. I was mainly looking at whether they fastened around my middle, but things that fasten around my middle look ridiculously huge on the rest of me. Things that don’t look ridiculously huge are actually pretty tight. It’s really frustrating, because it makes me feel like the clothes aren’t too big — I am. Which is ridiculous, of course. Especially since a lot of my clothes that don’t fit don’t fit because they’re too big.

    My boyfriend thinks it’s because I’m a weird shape, and he’s right. But he thinks it’s because I’m unusually hourglassy for a fattie, which bless him is PRECISELY the opposite of true. It’s because I have such a fat middle that anything that fits it is big everywhere else! Meh, I’m having a frustrating day with clothes today. Someday I’ll be able to talk about how great it is to have clothes that I look and feel awesome in, but right now it’s kind of a triumphant day when I don’t have to use any safety pins.

  20. You know, it’s thanks to blogs like this and in large part to fatshionista, but for the first time in my life I truly, honestly, no shit, do not care what the number is on my clothing. I was sort of surprised to realize that this past month when I’ve been shopping and having to get bigger and smaller numbers with each different style I tried on (even in the same store). It was a nice feeling to find that the bigger numbers didn’t make me feel “less than” in any way :D

    I’m still having trouble being happy with myself in pictures though, but I’m getting there :)

  21. bravo, kate. it’s been so cool and inspiring to watch your transformation.

    i too have used crutches like work, or my fucked up family, or my looks, or my depression on why i couldn’t be happy and in a healthy relationship. finally, after 3 years of psychotherapy and lexapro, i’ve come to believe that i used those issues as ammo in the battle in the war i was waging against my essential self. i was trying to suppress my true nature and portray a version of me that i thought people would love. kinda like cramming yourself into jeans 2 sizes too small. it’s not easy to be authentic, to let yourself be yourself in a world that encourages conformity to an ideal. but clearly, easy is overrated.

  22. I think half the reason I resisted anti-depressants for so long was that I was afraid they wouldn’t work, and I’d have no hope of ever conquering my depression, no tricks left up my sleeve. I’d have to accept that this was the real me.

    Jesus. That’s why I’ve never truly dieted. Or rather, the inverse is why I’ve never truly dieted: because what if it did work? What if it worked and I got thin? I’d have to keep it up, right? I would owe it to my husband, my children, my family, my friends, the strangers who have to look at me, everyone, to keep it up, no matter how much it hurt me or made me miserable. I mean… if dieting made me thin, I’d have no excuse to stop, or to continue going to ever-increasing lengths to maintain the thinness, as being “pretty” for the people I care about is way more important than my own happiness, right?

    Better to be the lazy fat-ass who doesn’t care enough about “herself” to even try, than risk winding up on that freight train to hell.

    And now I’m going to press “Submit” before I can come up with some excuse to not say this, even though it is the complete, heart-stabbing truth of how I feel.

  23. On a much happier note – we went apple-picking last weekend, and it was fabulous even though we got eaten alive by the last of the mosquitoes. We may have even gone early enough in the season to be able to justify a second trip in a month or so. Whoo!!

  24. More than a decade ago, when I was much slimmer, my boyfriend (now husband) bought me a top that was size 1X. I’m not proud to say that I freaked out a bit. Of course he had no idea that different size ranges for women are segregated into different departments – he shopped for himself in the “men’s department” so it only made sense that I would get my clothes in the “women’s department.” After I explained the way department stores are organized, he seemed confused. He hasn’t purchased me any clothing since then – not that I really want him too. Last time I went clothes shopping I tried on a bunch of shirts that were all labeled the same size, but some were too small and some were too big, and none were exactly right.

  25. I have a question for people who just can’t find clothes that fit in the stores: would it be possible to learn to make or hire someone to make you ones that do fit? I know hardly anyone ever does anymore because the first takes a lot of time and the second can take a lot of money, but learning to make my own clothes that fit me, me, ME! (and suit my tastes and style exactly), has given my ego a huge boost and saved me all the money I would have spent on clothes I wouldn’t have worn anyway. I don’t make everything I wear. These days, I don’t have time to make garments that take a lot of fitting, such as jackets and suits, so I leave that work to a tailor when I can’t get what I want off the rack (even if the store will do alterations). It’s not cheap, but I’m worth it, and besides, it’s better to have a dozen clothes that are perfect for you than a hundred that you can hardly bear to put on.

  26. I’m going to start out by reiterating the fact that I AM NOT A DOCTOR. And i’m not about to go all ‘food cops’ on ya, but for those who suffer from minor to major depression (because I do, and can at least speak from my own experience): quit diet coke. splenda. aspartame. asculfameK, sunnette, etc. etc. etc. These little gems are what launched me into full blown, psych stay with private bed, depression.
    And rather than asking what i’m eating, to determine if i have food allergies, my doctor just prescribed psych meds. Now, i’m not saying that depression isn’t real, and shouldn’t be treated, quite the contrary. BUT, doctors are WAY too eager to just shove a pill in your face in lieu of perhaps identifying what could be an underlying cause of the problem. Know your body. Know your enemy.
    (splenda’s clinical trials supposedly only contained MEN, ages 18-40. It’s never even been tested on women, from what i’ve read. that’s scary. Please, correct me if i’m wrong, if someone out there has more data re: mcneil’s clinicals).

    Meowser, ditto on the aminos + b therapy in lieu of effexor!

    Regarding clothing, i can only afford to buy my drag at target. I’m not sure who those clothes are meant to fit. but it’s not me. I look a fright on any given day.

  27. Rachel, I’m totally with you in theory, but I took one sewing class last year and got so bored, I couldn’t stay with it. Learning to do it well is a pretty huge investment of time, though it is SUCH a useful skill to have.

    I’m all about finding a good tailor, but even that idea is fraught with problems. I’ve found one I like recently, but it can be tough to find one who really knows what they’re doing with a lot of different body shapes. Or who really knows what they’re doing, period — I’ve gone to tailors who couldn’t take in a waistband successfully. (Granted, those were random dry cleaner/tailors, but I thought that was such a simple alteration, you could trust it to pretty much anyone. Guess not.)

    So I don’t mean to be a little storm cloud about a great idea, but just… none of it’s simple, is it?

  28. Yeah, I’m dying to find a tailor, but no idea how to go about it. Especially for that one jacket I was so excited about! And all my skirts that are held up with pins.

    Hm… this calls out for an entry in the fledgling Fatshionista blog. How To Find a Tailor. Needless to say I probably can’t write it. Unless it’s a sort of personal essay on the tribulations of conducting a tailor search. And usually when people write that sort of essay, they’re getting paid for their time.

  29. Thorn, I know EXACTLY how you feel and it is a terrifying feeling–maybe the diet will work and then I will be sentenced to a lifetime of deprivation, not enjoying my food, and thinking about everything I put into my mouth. I have always felt like even if those things would somehow make me thin, is life worth living that way? Now, I know based on current evidence it appears that there is no need to live that way because diets don’t work. But if one is somehow discovered that does work, does that mean I should have to follow it no matter how miserable it makes me? This can actually be a pretty scary line of thought.

    I still don’t think there is any reason people should have to diet because even if diets worked, the self-punishment and self-deprivation are not things that anyone should be expected to endure. (Not that I think people should take my opinion into account regarding their own lives… it’s just what I think.) But I totally get the feelings you describe.

  30. maybe the diet will work and then I will be sentenced to a lifetime of deprivation, not enjoying my food, and thinking about everything I put into my mouth.

    Not to mention losing your excuse. “I can’t until I’m thin” is an extremely powerful demotivator. For those of us who are terrified of success, it’s extremely compelling. That’s another reason why fat acceptance is such a vertiginous idea for a lot of people, too.

  31. I was on Zoloft for a year and I gained about 10 lbs. Unfortunately, I also started working food service at the same time and I’m not sure if the weight gain was from the drugs or the readily-available cinnamon crunch bagels.

    But anyway, my main point was that the one thing that does more rotten to me than anything else (and I’m sort of between depression and anxiety) is caffeine. Makes me sad, because I love caffeinated stuff, but I had to learn to live without it. I figure, if I stop drinking caffeine and it allows me to live without SSRIs, then I’ll do it, and learn how to stay awake some other way. :)

    And I love fall, winter, and socks, but there are always a couple miserable days in there when it gets cold all of a sudden and my internal thermometer reads a 60-degree day as one where I should be wearing my 3-in-one Columbia jacket. I usually get over that pretty quickly. (I live in Cleveland, just off the lake, where there is Snow and Cold and Many Miserable Days, Year-Round.)

  32. The amino Acid, vitamin thing? That’s the mood cure, roughly.

    There are a three ways I know to find a tailor: Yellow pages, ask at a dry cleaners, and ask or look at a bulletin board at a fabric shop. I’d go the fabric shop route, myself: there are a lot of stay-at-home-moms who will charge a little less and might do a better job, and you might *both* get more for the money. Myself? Unless it’s for a wedding, I usually think “I can do this myself!” then let the clothes languish for several months minimum, or until there’s no chance at all they’d fit me.

  33. Good ideas for finding a tailor, Kerry! Never would have thought of the fabric shop option. I was also thinking that asking a wedding planner (or at least someone who just got married) might be a good way to find a tailor who really knows her shit.

  34. I hear you on petite clothes. I refuse to buy anything else in pants or jackets because I’m sick of having my waistband fold over when I bend, and stretching to put my hands in my pockets. I wish the petite plus clothes were more plentiful and not quite so, um, matronly would be the nice word, but at least they exist.

    It’s amazing how many women with PCOS also have depression. I’ve met a few doctors who consider it a symptom.

  35. Have I told this story before?

    I was really depressed in college. When I went to the shrink associated with my school, he wanted to put me on either Paxil or Effexor. When he actually met me, he decided on Effexor because it wasn’t supposed to cause weight gain.


    I don’t know exactly how much weight I gained on Effexor but it was substantial, and my blood pressure went up with it. That really wasn’t even the worst of the side effects, either.

    Don’t take Effexor, that’s the gist of this comment. Otherwise, do some reading before switching:

    They all have side effects but I’d go right back on an anti-depressant if I became that depressed again. No amount of vitamins and healthy eating would’ve pulled me out of that depression and I’m not going back. Nu uh!

  36. I’ve been on Lexapro since January 2005. Oddly enough, I suffer from anxiety because of all the teasing I had to go through as a kid and teenager because of my weight. It had managed to get me to a point where I believed I had no right to exist in society because I was fat. And I still have to deal with my doctor telling me to lose weight so the anxiety will be lessened. I wish I told him maybe society should adjust its attitude instead! It all comes back to blaming the fattie for the woes of society, which I hate with a passion.

    Now that I’m an adult, I don’t have to deal with those people who made my life miserable. However, I still have those moments. For example, I was leaving a store after buying a co-worker a baby shower gift. I was in the parking lot, and a car full of teenage boys drove by. One of the individuals in the car shouted at me, “Holy s*it, you’re fat!” If I would have had the time to reply, I would have said, “No s*it Sherlock!”

  37. Again.. way way way too late to the parade, but yes Kate- that’s exactly what I meant with that:

    Don’t put your life on hold. Don’t believe you can’t do things just because you’re fat. Don’t assume everyone else on earth is as obsessed with your fat as you are and will reject you for it. Don’t automatically blame your fat for things that might have nothing to do with your fat.

    Back in the day, I found this… still rings true:

    Obese patients are often encouraged to believe that weight loss is an appropriate way to combat depression, save a failing marriage, or increase the chance of career success. The irrationality of hopes pinned on weight loss is so striking that dieting might almost be likened to superstitious behavior…. Passing from childhood into adolescence, leaving home, marrying, starting a new job, having a baby, experiencing marital difficulties, adjusting to children leaving home, and growing old — all these life situations may become unexamined reasons to diet. In other instances, concerns over weight mask even more serious problems.” (Wooley 1991)

    “Obesity Treatment: The High Cost of Hope.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

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