Dieting/WLS, Exercise, Fat, Fillyjonk, Health at Every Size, Self-Image

To hell with tiny pants

My exceptionally lovely and talented friend Cacie (who is also a regular reader and a fledgling size-acceptance enthusiast) recently went shopping for pants. She writes in her livejournal:

I did, however, buy two pairs of jeans because a) they actually fit, which is more than I can say of all the rest of my jeans that I must have bought during a very long hunger strike, 2) they had the color/fit/stretch that I wanted, and lastly) they were buy one get one 1/2 off. There is nothing like putting on some weight and waiting months before trying on a pair of well-fitting jeans and going “Oh my god. This is what pants should feel like.” Granted, I’m not exactly thrilled about my extra 10 – 15 pounds that I can’t seem to shake, but MAN. To hell with tiny pants.

To hell with tiny pants! Goddamn, Shapelings, I want that to be our rallying cry. To hell with squeezing and binding and discomfort, on our asses or our attitudes. To hell with not having any room to breathe.

Cacie is a very small person and in fact her pants are objectively tiny, but of course that’s not the point. It’s not about whether your pants are big or tiny compared to other people’s pants, but whether you’re going to continue squeezing yourself into pants — or beliefs, or ideals, or expectations — that don’t fit YOU. Eventually we all have the option to try on something that fits, whether it’s a size 12 or a size 20 or the anti-dieting habit or the idea that you’re allowed to stop hating your body, and breathe that sigh of relief that only comes with the relaxing of uncomfortable pressure.

Only a few months after discovering size acceptance, Cacie is not only making great inroads into non-dieting, but giving us slogans that I want emblazoned on a fucking T-shirt. Not all my friends are so astute — some of them have really been embracing the tiny pants lately. One friend was just diagnosed with “several large gallstones,” almost certainly brought on by her weight loss on South Beach. (That’s right, folks, weight-loss dieting can give you gallstones. Never told you that in health class, did they?) Her reaction? Well, since she can’t eat anything she likes due to the pain, she’s dropping a lot more weight, so at least there’s an up side!

Another friend is trying on the crazy pants most of us know so well: She says she’s tired and down on herself and not feeling like her body is functioning properly (fighting off infections, healing well, and so on), so she’s joining a gym and vowing to lose two pounds a week. Apparently the health benefits of exercise can only be realized when you dig up skinny photos of yourself and tape them to your mirror for motivation! (And just as an aside, shouldn’t this make it painfully obvious that the “health” thing is a weak excuse? I mean, she’s not taping up pictures of her lymphatic system.) When I countered that perhaps she should focus on feeling healthy, feeling better about herself, and feeling like her immune system is functioning properly, in which case she would be basically guaranteed to succeed, she said she had read that two pounds a week is what you should aim for if you want sustained weight loss. Yeah, and I read that virginity is what you should aim for if you want to catch a unicorn, but that doesn’t make unicorns exist.

I don’t say this to mock my friend, because we all know what this is like. I just want to use it as an example of squeezing yourself into tiny pants, literal and figurative. This friend is actually collecting all her literal tiny pants to remind herself of the size she used to be, and if she’s anything like I was when I was dieting, she’ll be trying them on every week just to check. But she’s also forcing herself into tiny ideas, like the idea that health boils down to size, or that weight loss is a viable goal while simply feeling good is not. She’s a smart girl, and her brain is too big to fit into that outlook without some uncomfortable compression.

Fat or thin, we’re all too big for such small ideas. To hell with tiny pants.

114 thoughts on “To hell with tiny pants”

  1. Yeah, and I read that virginity is what you should aim for if you want to catch a unicorn, but that doesn’t make unicorns exist.

    That’s the best thing I’ve heard all week. (wiping tears of laughter.)

  2. Cacie gets credit for that again… I came up with that while chatting with her earlier, and I’m 50% cleverer when talking to her. (Interestingly, when talking to Sweet Machine I am both 50% smarter AND 50% dumber.)

  3. Heh. I had the tiny pants organized by size. They were in the drawer, biggest to smallest (smallest on the bottom) so as I lost weight I could wear them again.

    They’re all gone now :D (Goodwill or the garbage since when I actually looked at them, some of them were crap).

    The unicorn thing is funny. What is it with unicorns lately?

  4. Dear Fillyjonk –

    I excerpted this on my (private) blog. I hope that is ok. I am in an eating disorders group online and I wanted to let you know how wonderful this was to read today.

    Thanks to you and Cacie.


  5. Eventually we all have the option to try on something that fits, whether it’s a size 12 or a size 20 or the anti-dieting habit or the idea that you’re allowed to stop hating your body, and breathe that sigh of relief that only comes with the relaxing of uncomfortable pressure.

    Yes, yes, yes, and YES!!!!

    I’ve only been “here” for about a month now and I can already see the difference. I’ve been battleing manic depression most of my life, and for a long while there I was feeling low every. single. day. Since finding Fat Acceptance and realizing what I’ve been doing to myself, thinking *I* was the problem, something amazing happened.

    My depression actually got better.

    No, it hasn’t “gone away” — nor do I expect it to. But I no longer feel like crying every single day, I no longer obsess about my body and/or what I’m eating every single day. I’m feeling more positive and actually noticing positive changes in my body. I haven’t changed anything except my outlook (which is still an ongoing process), but as a commenter on my blog said, “self-hate weighs a lot. :)

    Oh yeah, and I LOL’d at the unicorn line, too. :D Looooooooooooooooooove it!

  6. I think I had the realization today that my body is my vessel. More importantly than anything else, it’s what I live in life in. Above and beyond what anyone may say or think, including myself, it’s what I will be in while I experience my life. And there are things I love and things I hate about it. But why focus on the hate. And I think that loving it and treating it well can certainly include exercise and vegetables, but it most certainly cannot include things like constant self-hatred and not eating enough food.

    The idea of your friend doing what might very well be the right thing (I know I feel warmer and less prone to infection when working out) for the wrong reasons and with the wrong accoutrements, makes me very sad. Not just for her but because this is such an easy thing to fall into.

    And as for pants, ARGH. I have a slightly different problem. One of the big things I’ve come to accept about myself (mostly) is that I bloat up about a size after eating or drinking something carbonated. There really isn’t a right size. Add to that my short, short legs and absolute refusal to wear low rises, and I can’t win.

    The good thing? Finally realizing that these things would be out of my control, no matter how much I bought into diet culture. (and deciding I absolutely refuse to buy pants not cut for me? feels really really nice)

  7. Woo! I’m so sending my best friend this article. I want her to rid her mental (and actual) closet of the tiny pants.

    Then I’ll take em out back and burn them. We’ll make s’mores as they burn. :-D

  8. SM, I thought your battle cry was “if you had a neck and I had hands, I would squeeze your brain which is your body right out the top of your head which does not exist.”

    The idea of your friend doing what might very well be the right thing (I know I feel warmer and less prone to infection when working out) for the wrong reasons and with the wrong accoutrements, makes me very sad. Not just for her but because this is such an easy thing to fall into.

    This is so well-put! That’s exactly how I feel. I totally understand the mindset and I know how hard it is to see the inherent contradictions from inside, but it’s really tragic to watch it happen. And you know, this friend’s job and lifestyle mean that she eats a lot of crap and doesn’t exercise — she’s a musician and she’s on the road a lot, eating road food and having no money and sitting around in a car. I’m sorry she’s feeling unhealthy and thrilled that she’s planning to get more exercise. But I don’t want to watch her sabotage her health by fixating on that two pounds a week (which is actually a really high rate of weight loss). I’m trying to balance my desire to get on my fat soapbox with my desire to not be a huge nag.

  9. OMG! I am wearing the tiny pants today because I’ve been way too lazy to do laundry. All I want to do is find my comfy jeans and thank the universe for whoever decided to put stretchy stuff into denim. The tiny pants need a bonfire funeral.

    And the unicorn thing made my day

  10. OK, so I went into a store that many of us probably know, where they tried to sell me “the right fit” jeans. After trying on a yellow 3 and a yellow 4, one too tight and one too large, the woman tried to convince me that if I STRETCHED in the 3’s in the morning, my muffin top wouldn’t be so bad. Hehehe. I just find that amusing. THEY HURT!!!! No more squeezing or feeling bad, thank you!!!

  11. My experience is really similar to nuckingfutz’s (where else but on the interwebs could I write that?). I just realized two days ago that my mean voice – the one that berates me when I feel my thighs touch, or when I’m laying on my side in bed and feel my belly against the sheet – is gone. Like, totally gone.

    Of course, I also have a really awful immune system and need a full body reboot to get rid of the headaches and boy do I need some exercise. I feel like my body is screaming at me lately, but being physically sick and weak all the time isn’t terribly conducive to anything more strenuous than my everyday urban walking life.

    But considering that anxiety, depression and body issues were eating up 95% of my mental energy, having that little voice disappear is just bliss. And it coincided with access to many Torrid gift cards (because the proper first anniversary gift is Torrid. Emily Post may say paper, but she’s wrong). Rock.

    And, OMG, the unicorn!

  12. I’ve just been reading this blog and a couple others for a few weeks now, and I really have been feeling so much better about myself. I still worry about the amount of hate people have for me due to my size, but as a person and as a wife and a woman, I feel so much better.

    I was raised (as my mom I’m sure was raised also) to think that I was beautiful -in spite- of my weight, and somehow have even relayed that message to my husband (“I don’t care if you’re fat.” he always said).

    The moment I came here and realized that being fat ISN’T BAD (omg), I’m telling everyone (including my mom and husband) no, I’m beautiful INCLUDING AND BECAUSE of my body. That has somehow given my husband permission to talk about how much he loves my belly and my curves and it’s odd but liberating to have him loving on these parts of me which I have hated my whole life (I would have been mortified if he had grabbed my fat and cuddled me around the middle before, not anymore!)

    Now I find myself listening more to my body and my stomach than my brain and eating so much more fruit and fresh things than I ever have in my independent adult life. I just went to Disney World and realized how unhappy my body gets when it does a lot of physical activity and I’m hoping to change that, too, and it’s so much easier thinking about what food will make me feel good instead of what has the least calories, what’s “BAD” or “GOOD”, what other people would think if they saw me eating it, or what my weight is that day.

    Anyway I just wanted to say thank you for all the info and your great work, it has really helped me and I’m linking it everywhere in hopes to spread the message. :)

  13. oh tiny pants….hahaha

    i have another issue with the whole pants thing. i am..very tall. even if i were a man i would still be pretty tall (i’m 21, and female, and 6’2″)

    lately ive kind of given up on pants, due to them always being far too short…i mean, i can make them long enough if i pull them down so they squeeze around my hips and show some of the good old plumbers crack but eh…skirts..are so much easier. and leggings :)

    and you can add another “thank you so much!” onto the pile here…i just started reading this site a few weeks ago, and i agree with the above commenters, it really has made quite a difference with how i feel about my body. i am…as kate inbetweenie; i have been all my life (except for a period in highschool, when i thought it was a good idea to quit eating for a few weeks at a time..ended up frequently passing out with an added “benefit” of amenorrhea)…but man. i was not healthy or happy at all

    these days, i go on long backpacking trips, climb mountains, swim, walk everywhere, and am generally much more happy

    in at every size! yay =)

  14. The whole thing about “tiny pants” reminds me: I bought myself a couple of new pairs of jeans in the past week. I went to the shop, and tried on a size 22 and a size 24 of each style and colour that I wanted. I fit into the 22s, just. I wouldn’t have been able to eat, and moving would have been a right whatsit, but I could get them to do up. So then I tried the 24s, which not only did up, but enabled me to bend, and to put things in the pockets.

    I bought the 24s. I’ve found buying clothes I can move in lets me have clothes which suit me a lot better than buying whatever just fits.

  15. Hoorah! I’ve always been a big proponent of pants that are comfortable to wear. On other fronts, I found this ad for a new Quizno’s sandwich to be quite interesting.

    On the one hand, we’ve a beautiful thin women lusting after the sandwich being enjoyed by a beautiful normal-sized woman (hmm, I guess the casting directors saw her a plump? I saw this as a nice comment on how the always dieting must often feel around those who eat.

  16. Hey, I’m all for saying to hell with Tiny Pants, but you know, my friend authors the blog Tiny Cat Pants and it’s actually both really good AND FA! ;)

    I mean, she’s not taping up pictures of her lymphatic system.

    That line just cracked me UP!

    Especially since I got congratulated by my doctors on my 40lb weight loss…until they all realised that it was a sign of a serious, chronic NON WEIGHT-RELATED illness.

  17. This is such a timely post for me because I just went on a huge shopping trip today, mostly because I needed some office-appropriate clothes as I look for jobs, but also I’m generally completely making over my whole wardrobe, because of this blog, and fatshionista, and all the other cool FA stuff I’ve been reading which has completely changed the whole way I feel about my body and what clothes I can or should wear, and ya know, reminded me that it’s way better to have clothes that actually fit.
    Also, also, I can haz grown-up clothezes nao?
    (I’m 26, I just graduated college last spring, everybody in my classes was shocked to find out I wasn’t 21. Not that there’s anything wrong with being 21, but I’m not. And I realized that the way I was dressing was certainly a major factor in this impression.)

    I happen to have found lots of fun stuff (cute skirts! tops with princess seams!) and gotten lots of great bargains (yay!) which is all very exciting, but also exciting was the fact that I realized I am an actual size now. I’ve gained a bit of weight recently, and this is actually useful where clothes are concerned, b/c I used to be all over the place and between sizes, and apparently now I’ve pretty much stabilized at an 18 (depending a bit on the store, of course, but at least it gives me a starting point). It is amazing how much easier it made my shopping experience!
    I am actually happy to have gained weight! A few months ago I could not have ever imagined myself saying that sentence. okay with it? maybe. but to be strong and proud and accepting enough to say “ya know what? this is useful”? not until FA, and it’s a wonderful feeling!!!

    Oh, and yes, I did buy some pants that actually fit!
    But also, I bought some skirts, including two that are just-below-the-knee length, which apparently looks great on me, but I didn’t know that until recently b/c I haven’t worn a skirt that’s not full length in maybe 10 years, and it’s only b/c of Fat Acceptance (and Sock Dreams! Thanks The Rotund!) that it even occurred to me to try shorter skirts.
    Hooray for new styles and clothes that fit. Hooray for no more ugh-why-am-i-in-such-a-bad-mood?-oh-yeah-b/c-my-belly-is squashed! pants!!!

  18. Can I just say how much I love Jasmine’s comment? YAY!

    Also, I just bought some black jeans the other day, and they fit right and make my ass look damned sexy. ;)

    Seriously, I have to add to Jasmine’s comments about how much this blog has made a difference to me. I thought I was already self-actualized and everything, but it seems like lately I’m feeling sooooo much more confident about my body. I’m performing at open mike nights – my own music, no less. I’m buying bustiers and sexy jeans to wear on stage. I’m chatting up good-looking musicians and getting chatted up in return. Like, holy crap!

  19. I’m going to chime in with the rest of the commenters who’ve found their self-image greatly improved since they started reading this blog. My husband noticed a difference in my attitude within a couple of days. I’ve been reading a lot of posts to him, and those linked from here, I’ve been linking to this blog all over the place, and apart from a two-day blip as the result of a run-in with an idiot, I can honestly say I’ve never felt better about myself and my body, and I only found this blog a few weeks ago. I’m less worried about my dad – before I read the facts about weight and health I was of course convinced that my 6′ 3″, 310lb dad was going to die of a heart attack or something, but now I know that he’s fine! His blood pressure and blood sugar are great, and his fat isn’t going to kill him.
    It’s so good not to worry about what I’m eating! I’m severely insulin-resistant and I have lipoedema as well, so basically my body finds it very easy to gain weight (a thirty-pound gain in a month is not uncommon), and because of the lipoedema, it is literally impossible to lose weight. I’m about 280lbs and 5′ 8″. Before I was put on the evil Pill I was 165lbs (and still thought I was fat, because that’s what the doctor and everyone else was telling me). So I’ve spent the past gods know how long avoiding carbs, eating basically nothing but green veg and meat (since I can’t eat fake meats or nuts, and can only eat eggs and cheese sometimes, it varies) and I cannot tell you how much I hate meat (before I got ill and fat, I was vegetarian for years). I was miserable and constantly in a bad mood because most of the time, I’d honestly rather eat nothing than eat meat, but these days, in order to avoid hypoglycaemia I have to eat every few hours. Since I started reading this blog and links from it, I’ve decided that there is no point being miserable and nauseated most of the time, and if I don’t want meat, I shouldn’t have to have it. I’m eating what I want (provided it’s not one of the many things which make me ill), and it’s so relaxing! So good to know that my food isn’t going to throw a nasty little meat-surprise at me! I’m giving my body what it needs and what it wants (oh, intuitive eating, why did I not find you sooner) and I probably will gain some weight from eating more carbs, but that is totally okay. Because I am fat and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not healthy, but that’s nothing to do with my fat, that’s all stuff that started long before I was fat. I went over and looked at the adipositivity site and you know, I’ve always found fat women to be beautiful and sexy but I never made the connection to myself. Having spent a while reading here, I was able to go “Well she’s beautiful, and that’s pretty much how I look. Wait! She’s beautiful…I look like that!” and I called my husband in going “Look! Aren’t these women gorgeous? I look like that, don’t I? You really do love my body! You’re not just saying it!”
    So, yeah. I’ve blithered on a bit but basically what I’m saying is oh my god, I’m so much happier about my body and my health now, and my worth as a human being, and my husband is less worried about me, and I know I have more progress to make but it’s already amazing, and thank you, thank you, thank you.

  20. Excellent post. It took me a long time to learn this one. A corollary: Just because the fashion-industrial complex is selling something does not mean it fits me or suits me. I am entitled to establish my own look for my own reasons. Including “wow, I really hate that.”

  21. To hell with tiny shirts as well!

    Actually had a sales associate in a store once fit me wrong for an outfit then suggest I use it as inspiration to lose weight. *facepalm* Turns out I did lose weight: I dropped their discount card, credit card, sales flier, and coupons from my purse.

  22. Katriona: I had an extremely stylish friend in grad school who got most of her clothing from the absurdly-named Long Elegant Legs. Like plus sizes, they’re not cheap — because they figure you’re a captive audience — but they go up to a 24 and a 39″ inseam in some styles! Maybe you don’t have to give up on pants just yet.

  23. Since I am relatively new to reading and learning from FA and feminism, I have begun reading “The Beauty Myth”. The chapter on Hunger is just so depressing. It never really occured to me that ED women and dieting women are eating the same or less calories daily as victims of famine. This is not necessarily a choice made on their part, but a reaction to immense pressure to become as thin as possible. (Thin as in weak, tired, sick, depressed and asexual)

    I just sat there after reading this chapter. I can’t really explain how it made me feel.

    Achievement is fitting into tiny pants. But sacrificing your health, your mind, your spirit and your sexuality just doesn’t seem worth it.

  24. If this blog has done anything for me (besides make me laugh and make me think), it’s made me almost hyper-aware of diet talk and what kind of an affect it has on my mood. I get so tense and irritable when I come across it online or in person because I just want to scream, “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG” (insert cat macro here, natch). The endless sentences about self-deprivation that end with the inevitable “I was so GOOD today!” or weekends that might feature something that involved cheese or sugar that turn into paragraphs of self-loathing about how “bad” the person was, going to the gym two or three times a day, six days a week…it hurts my heart to read.

    Jasmine wrote: I still worry about the amount of hate people have for me due to my size

    Fuck the haters. Take pleasure in the defiance. Even on my worst day, I find it absolutely delicious to saunter past people that might find me offensive simply because I exist. I wasted too many years telling myself that I’d be able to do all sorts of things the second I lost some weight and fit into those elusive tiny pants. I think one of the biggest challenges for any of us is making that decision that the day’s come to kick the tiny pants to the curb, stop hanging our lives’ plans on whether or not we’ve lost X amount of pounds, and just getting out there and kicking serious amounts of ass until there ain’t any ass left to be kicked.

  25. Another thing is that if I’m wearing comfy pants, I move more. I don’t care where I have to park, I walk faster where I’m going, I get up and run errands around the building more. I’m more productive, I’m more active. When I’m wearing the pants that don’t quite fit, I’m always worried about ripping them, I feel constrained, I don’t move, I don’t do anything. Comfy pants are healthy!
    (And the days I get compliments on my appearance? Are the days I wear the comfy pants.)

  26. Yeah, and I read that virginity is what you should aim for if you want to catch a unicorn, but that doesn’t make unicorns exist.

    At least becoming a virgin is easy. It’s just a matter of willpower. You just tape a picture of your hymen on the fridge, and every time you get a beer, you will become more virginal. I’ve done it a million times.

    It’s exactly like trying to make yourself taller, only crazier.

  27. I haven’t commented here before, but I also wanted to share that this blog and learning about FA has been so great for my poor body!
    I also have a story related directly to “tiny pants.” My 18 y/o sister and her friend visited me to go shopping and when I asked what we were looking for, her friend said, “I need jeans. I’ve gained about 20 pounds and none of my pants fit. My mom wanted to put me on a diet, but I just decided to buy new pants.” What an amazing, freeing comment! So we went jean shopping and we refused to apologize for asking sales associates in regular stores to get the laregest size they carry down from the top shelf. We all found jeans that fit that day and ate pizza for dinner. I didn’t even have my normal reaction of running 5 extra miles after a shopping trip. Such a small victory, but I’ll take it!
    Also, if this had been in my dieting, pre-FA phase, I probably would have recommended that she try weight watchers or something and we never would have had that awesome day.

  28. Thanks so much for this post. It really spoke to me. Because… while I want to be more like Cacie, I’m really more like your other friends. I’m going to “out” myself here: I’ve been reading Shapely Prose (and some other FA blogs) for maybe a month or more now. I’m also doing Weight Watchers. (Which I’ve been on and off for five years now. You think I’d get the point by now that it’s never going to work.) Yes, this is a schizophrenic way to live. I’m struggling a lot right now with all of these new ideas about FA – about accepting myself as I am NOW, not who I was trying to be or want to be or think I could be. This is HARD. Really hard. One month of really great, powerful, smart, scientifically-backed-up ideas is fighting against 33 years of my mom, my friends, the media, etc., all telling me what I “should” look like and how I can lose weight if I do A, B, and C, and how if I don’t do A, B, or C, I’m lazy or have no willpower or look awful. So it’s a tough fight.

    I have several pairs of jeans in my drawer that I’ve been trying to get back into. They’re size 12s. Right now, my 14s are falling off me, but I’ve been afraid to try on the 12s in case they don’t fit. It’s a screwed up mindset. I should just get clothes that FIT, damn the size, and not feel defined by the number on the label. But I do feel myself changing in some ways. Recently, I saw a commercial for Curves cereal (has anyone else seen this?) It had all these phrases on the screen like, “I no longer see my body as a work in progress,” and “I’m happy with how I look and feel,” and I thought these were such great phrases – except that they were selling DIET cereal! That pissed me off. And just a month ago, maybe that commercial would have made me say, “I should get that cereal!” And now I’m saying, “Why can’t I be happy with how I look and feel without the dieting and the stupid cereal that probably tastes like cardboard?” So I’m getting there. But even as I write this, I’m going to my Weight Watchers meeting in an hour. I don’t want to pretend that I’m there yet. I’m not. I just can’t make the leap yet.

    I’m sorry to ramble on like this. It’s just that I’ve felt that there’s a place for someone like me here – someone who is taking in all of these ideas but isn’t ready to fully jump on board, but is trying really hard to change my thinking – and I wanted to let you know that I’m here, reading, and that this post was really helpful. I hope, despite the fact that I’m doing some things that the FA movement and the writers here are against, that I’m still welcome here to read and learn.

  29. Another long-pants suggestion depending on your taste, if you don’t mind wearing junior-y styles, many of the Truck and Piper jeans at seem to come in plus sizes and up to a 37″ inseam.

    Just allowing yourself to buy something new that fits can be such a comforting feeling. Forcing yourself to continue wearing old clothes that are ill-fitting reminds you every second you are wearing them that you don’t feel you are worth having anything decent (and how many people have I heard make the excuse that they can’t afford new clothes so they just have to lose weight to fit into the old ones? Granted they may really NOT be able to afford new clothes but in most cases they would somehow magically find the money if they were getting thinner instead of fatter than they used to be).

    We need some FA t-shirts (in a variety of flattering actually-cut-for-women plus and misses sizes, of course! :) ) and “to hell with tiny pants” needs to be one of them.

  30. Hey Sue, you and I have a lot in common. Email me at scowgirl at gmail dot com if you ever want to chat.

  31. At least becoming a virgin is easy. It’s just a matter of willpower. You just tape a picture of your hymen on the fridge, and every time you get a beer, you will become more virginal. I’ve done it a million times.

    *dies laughing*

  32. Sue, pretending you’re there helps, at least for me. The moments where you believe yourself start to get longer and closer together.

    I had this long personal post half-typed up that’s probably self-indulgent and annoying, but then work people could see my screen, so you’re all saved.

  33. Sue –

    Things have been really good for me lately, which is to say, that isn’t always the case. I go through periods of very disordered thought and behavior, and periods of relative comfort and acceptance. Reading Shapely Prose (and becoming friends with fillyjonk) has helped me leaps and bounds with the way I look at other people, and sometimes even myself. However, there is something about disordered eating and body dysmorphia that hang around like ghosts that you can’t always see, but consistently threaten to show up again and scare you into starvation.

    It is so easy to talk about how great I think my ass looks in these new comfortable and attractive pants, but on the bad days, all I will see is the number on the tag inside the wasteband and hate myself for it. I try to enjoy the good days as best I can and make it through the bad days by doing my best to eat healthfully, even if I can’t make myself think healthfully, and reach out to my friends by talking about it and reading blogs like this one.

    If you haven’t already been directed to Good With Cheese, I strongly recommend it.

  34. To hell with tiny pants indeed! But dear God can I please find a pair that fit me without also having 8 inches of excess fabric at mid-thigh like jodhpurs? Old Navy, I’m looking at you!

    Can anyone point me in the direction of a decent pair of jeans (size 30/32)?

  35. Sue – I’m not there yet either. I’m at the point where I’ve stopped dieting and started eating what I want (that’s made easier for me by the fact that I was never much good at dieting anyway) but not at the point where I feel good about it. And sadly, not at the point where I’ve stopped buying pants that are a little tight because they make me look smaller than the ones that fit. But I’m getting there, and it sounds like you are too… keep reading the FA blogs and the wonderful comments and I think you’ll get to the point where you’re ready to quit Weight Watchers.

  36. We need some FA t-shirts (in a variety of flattering actually-cut-for-women plus and misses sizes, of course! :) ) and “to hell with tiny pants” needs to be one of them.

    The Midwest Teen Sex Show has T-shirts that say “Homosexuality is a choice…. like cancer

    I wonder if we could think of some similar slogans for FA?

    I am not sure that “Fat is a choice…like cancer” would work, though, since people are convinced that fat causes teh cancer.

  37. Last time I wore tiny pants, they were manufactured by Pampers.

    I think it is the weirdest thing that people try to make their bodies fit clothes, rather than the other way around. That’s a special kind of crazy. Yay for telling it to fuck off.

    This is the funniest virgins-and-unicorns discussion I’ve ever seen. Awesome.

  38. Katriona – I know how you feel! I’m 6’1″, and finding pants (among other clothing items) that fit was a nightmare, until I found a wonderful store called Tall Girl. (I think they have a website, and as far as I know they have stores in Canada and the US). One of the things that I love about Tall Girl was that it was the first store I’d ever been in where I wasn’t the largest size that they carried (or larger). Tall Girl carries up to size 22 or 24 (I think), and it was an amazing feeling to be a “Medium” in something. I was in high school (looking for a prom dress) when I first found them, and given that high school was probably the time when I hated my body the most, finding Tall Girl, and the other women who shopped there was great (sorry to sound like a shill for the store… onto other matters.)

    I found this blog a couple of weeks ago through Shakesville. I started reading feminist blogs a couple of years ago, although this is the first time I’ve commented on any blog. Reading all of the comments and posts here has given a sense of a supportive community that I would like to join in some manner (maybe I should start my own blog :P).

    Oh, and I wanted to thank Kate for introducing me to Igigi clothes, I ordered a couple of things from them recently (including the Yoke wrap dress) and I absolutely love all of them. Shockingly, I feel happier, more comfortable, and more confident when I wear clothes that fit. During my recent move, I purged my closet of all of my clothes that didn’t fit, or that I didn’t wear that often because I just didn’t like them (I also disposed of all of my heels, or torture devices if you prefer). To hell with tiny pants!

  39. Kristin, the woman who had me try on about six pairs of Right Fit jeans explained it to me as a need to get them small enough so that when the jeans stretch, they don’t fall off. And that’s how it’s worked for me – if I were wearing the next size up, my jeans would fall right to my ankles by 2 p.m.! So I’m wearing a size that’s a teensy bit tight on my stomach when I first put them on, but fit perfectly after a little while. But they definitely shouldn’t hurt when you put them on. Eep.

    I feel a burning desire to throw all my tiny pants in the Goodwill pile. They’re everything from a 12 to a 16. The pants I bought this fall at Torrid are a 20 or 22. I gained a lot of weight fairly quickly (binge eating disorder + huge emotional turmoil) and was in denial about it for a really long time. Getting pants that didn’t leave seam imprints on my thighs or those ugly red marks on my belly was liberating. Now I can breathe! I’m kicking myself for doing that for so long. TO HELL WITH TINY PANTS!

  40. I’ve been reading without posting for a few days, but this one just cracked me up! Doesn’t anybody here have a cafe press something similar? My new dream in life is to have a coffee cup on my desk at work that says, in large block letters, “TO HELL WITH TINY PANTS!”

    Ok, so it’s not the only dream in my life, but right this Friday-afternoon moment, it’s in the top 10 :-)

  41. Let’s face it, if you’re a woman and you don’t have someone custom-making your pants, you’ll never have a pair that fits right unless you happen to get really lucky. For me, I have the option of pants that are thre right length and fit in the waist but are skin tight on my thights, hips, and butt, OR insanely long pants that are all bunched up around the waist but not cutting off the circulation in my thighs and butt. So I end up wearing a lot of skirts. I think there’s a good reason why women have traditionally worn them for centuries– we just don’t have the bodies to wear pants.

  42. C, I sort of feel like there’s a pair of pants out there for everybody, but you have to wade through 8924759820368236 pairs to find them. Maybe that’s really naive, like the idea of “soulmates.” But if there weren’t pants out there designed to fit most asses, then why would so many kinds of pants work terribly on me in so many different ways?

  43. If you want pants that fit, without paying for a custom couture job… learn to sew!

    Although, by saying that, I know how to sew and I rarely make pants because they’re too hard to get perfect. But if you really want to see what it’s like to wear things that fit you you you, it’s fun too!

  44. I’d love to learn how to sew. I don’t love being klutzy, and I always manage to poke myself. Not always in the finger. I just manage to poke myself. *sigh*

    I think I need grace lessons or something.

  45. fashionable nerd, to make a pair of pants, one would probably use a sewing machine, not a needle and thread. =) I’m also klutzy, and bad at hand sewing, but I do alright with the machine.

  46. It’s so easy to get overawed by sewing. I happen to a) own a sewing machine and b) know for a fact that I am able to use a sewing machine, and I still can’t get up the cojones to actually set it up and sew some stuff.

    We need a Shapely Prose sewing circle.

  47. I think my body acceptance increased ten fold when I stopped wearing pants that are too tight and bought some that fit. It’s easy to feel like you’re “too big” if you’re always wearing clothes that are too small!

  48. just wanted to chime in on the weight loss/gallstones issues mentioned in the post. This is a very real issue. I’ve lived through weight loss-induced gallstones. I lost 75 pounds over about 8 months. I then ignored a lot of stomach pains, thinking it was menstrual cramps. I kept ignoring. It kept getting worse. Turns out my entire gallbladder was filled with stones, and one stone obstructed my bile duct and caused pancreatitis. It took a week in ICU, plus surgery to remove the gallbladder. It was a horrible, painful ordeal, and I missed a month of work.
    Fortuntately, I healed. I’ve since gained the 75 pounds back, plus about 10 more. I’ve also learned to buy pants that fit me (size 22!), because tight waistbands hurt, double-digit numbers do not.

  49. Goddamn! I’m so glad you’re better, mrscracker; I’ve read that gallstone removal doesn’t always put you back to normal, and that some people continue having pains indefinitely.

    I had had no idea that weight loss could cause gallstones until my friend came down with them, and I’m still boggling that people never talk about it. Because, what, it would discourage people from going on a diet?

  50. Or “You really need to lose some height”

    (Too confrontational, and inaccurate, and I hope it goes without saying that I have no problem whatsoever with tall or short people, but I think the height-weight parallel is the most accurate one).

  51. Perhaps coffee mugs and fridge magnets that say “To hell with tiny pants.”
    A slogan to accompany those suggested by Meowser and spacedcowgirl:
    “You’d be so pretty if you were a few inches shorter/taller”

  52. I totally did not know that about the gallstones. That’s stunning.

    Speaking as someone who fairly recently purged her closet of tiny pants, it’s awesome. If you haven’t done it, do it. When you only have pants that fit your current body in your closet, it’s a lovely reminder that the body you have doesn’t need to be changed. Plus, it frees up room for new clothes, and tell me *that’s* not a good thing.

  53. Fillyjonk,

    This is such a wonderful post. Like Sue and others, I’m new to FA and getting comfortable in my own skin. I’m also going to admit , for the first time to anyone, that I think I might have some disordered eating going on now. I like to tell people that I exercise because it makes me feel good – and it does – but there is a side of it that’s uglier than that and somedays I exercise when I don’t need to because I’ve had a ‘bad’ eating day. Its not full fledged bulimia and most days I have a very healthy way of living, but when I get down it seems to veer off in that direction and it scares me. In July, I went to my doctor because I was having some joint pain and he looked at me, nodded, and told me that trying to drop about 15 pounds would probably make things easier. I hadn’t thought of myself as fat. I’m a fan of the gym and I run every day and my BMI right now? 24. So I sat in my car and cried, hating life, analyzing what I was eating – and then called my husband who promptly went about changing our primary care physician. (Yes, I’ve got a good one.)

    Then I started browsing FA sites, etc. to ward off any creeping thoughts of attempting to take that ill advice, and here I am. It’s working. I haven’t dieted or over-exercised in about two months. I’ve got a long way to go, but I hope no one minds me tagging along.


  54. I want to make it very clear to LollyDee and Sue and everybody else that people who are still working towards self-acceptance are more than welcome here. I think y’all know this, at least LollyDee who’s been a contributing Shapeling for a while, but it deserves to be said flat-out: you do not have to be a fully-realized fat activist to be a valued member of the FA community, or at least the SP community, as long as you are respectful and open-minded and generally delightful. Hell, I still freak out about my weight and my belly and my eating all the time — I don’t talk about it much, because I want to model different behavior, but today I didn’t get to the gym because I had too much work and my pants were just washed so they feel really tight and I can’t pretend that I haven’t looked with concern at my ass in every reflective surface I pass. Because you would have to be either a superhero or completely insensate to be a woman in Western culture who’s old enough to type and not occasionally give in to self-loathing — or at least feel like you should.

    Especially if you’re about to see your family for an eating holiday! Oy!

    If accepting yourself were easy, if not dieting was encouraged or even unremarkable, this blog wouldn’t even exist. You guys are all doing something extraordinary, and extraordinarily difficult. So please don’t have a moment of doubt that you’re less than welcome here just because you’re not perfect at it.

  55. I’d like to add to mrscracker’s comment that pancreatitis, indeed, kills!! Very much so!
    So a shout out to everyone who’s reading this and is secretly still dieting now and then (don’t we all?): when they say “losing weight too quickly is unhealthy” they don’t just mean it makes your skin flabby or your hair fall out. Please, don’t hurt yourself!

    On the matter of friends who aren’t quite there yet: I have this friend who’s a size 18/20 or so. She’d rather chop off her arms than buy something that’s labeled “plus size”.
    It’s soooo frustrating. She searches stores until she finds the one shirt that’s meant to fit super loose, buys it in L and wears it skin tight. Her pants are so tight, they cut her in half. She’s a beautiful woman, but she looks like a clown lately, it’s unbearable. I really want to help her.
    Every time, I patiently drag her to the few stores in our town that have plus sizes, even the elusive and awesome H&M BiB line, and how does she react? Every time? Points her finger and laughs at me for buying plus size, and proceeds to buy something 4 sizes too small! It drives me nuts! We women just have to make our lives as hard as possible, do we?

    Is there anything you can recommend doing or saying to her? What was an eye opening moment for you?

    (I thought wearing something that’s actually cut for looking good on your body shape should suffice, but, apparently, it doesn’t.)

  56. A very important mentor and family member of mine almost died this summer due to pancreatitis, which was caused by a gallstone ripping through her pancreas.

    They’d been ripping her gallbladder to shreds for years, and she was on a practically fat free diet to stay away from the pain. But she’s a Really Big Woman, and so medicine treated her like a lying fool. Right? Couldn’t be gallstones that she was controlling with diet, because she was a 4X, and that proved she was unable to control her fat intake.

    (Gallstones are painful enough that the operant conditioning is pretty freakin’ strong. She’d made a torture based “lifestyle change”. While finishing her dissertation.)

    But then they figured out that she (although always a shapling), really HAD gained that last 100 pounds 20 years ago due to utter failure of thyroid, and that she really WASN’T lying about her self-reports of diet and exercise.

    So they put her on a thyroid med. Which caused weight loss.
    Which caused gall attacks. Which ripped through her pancreas. And almost killed her.

    Now, the thyroid meds were due to a new and non-judgmental doctor, who looked at some other difficulties she’d been struggling with long term and said, Hmm. Let’s do some tests. But by then, she’d already given up on the gallstone issue. Thought she had another (benign) intake-related condition. She’s a tough woman.

  57. Lolly, I’m so glad your husband found a good new PCP for you. Apart from the fact that I am shocked your doctor could recommend, with a straight face, weight loss for someone your size, IMO it is a sure sign of a lazy provider that they tell people to lose 15 pounds to fix… well… just about anything. I wonder if these doctors realize how much damage they do in just casually telling everyone who walks in to lose weight.

  58. Whoa, charlie, that is so horrible! I suffered with gall stone attacks for five years before I realized they weren’t heartburn, so I can imagine how awful it would be to try to get treatment and not even be believed.

    I was really lucky to have an awesome GE who quickly diagnosed me when I finally decided that maybe heartburn shouldn’t make you puke and cry, and she yanked out my sack-of-marbles gall bladder lickety-cut without ever bringing my weight or diet or activity levels or anything else into it. (I found out afterwards that my family has a history of gall stones very young – thanks for the heads up, Dad!!!)

    My favorite was the hordes of med students’ jaws hitting the floor while they took my medical history and stats. A 300 pound woman with no diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or cholesterol??? What?!

  59. Wow. I just want to say thanks for the responses, especially from Cacie, who once again reminded me that things are pretty much never as easy as they look or sound. :) It really helped to hear the reality behind the story. And to hear the same from others, to realize that when I say “this is hard” – well, everyone gets that. I think on some level I was a little afraid that people would slam me for my post (y’know, “Get out of here, you…. you… DIETER!”) but I also believe that changing a whole belief system doesn’t happen overnight. So… thanks.

    And I’m going home tonight to see if those size 12 jeans fit. I’m tired of being afraid of fabric. If they fit, great, I have two more pairs to wear! If not… well, I’m not sure yet. But it’s a step.

  60. I mean, try them on just because being in between sizes sucks because you can’t wear anything that fits. I’ve been losing some weight lately (“lately” = over the past 2 years — post-antidepressants return to baseline) and I had at least 6 months of being too big for an 18 and too small for a 20. I definitely tried on my size 18 pants on a regular basis just hoping I could have well-fitting pants again, since the 20s were getting ridiculously baggy. You deserve well-fitting pants.

    But if they don’t fit? Here’s another astute thing Cacie pointed out in her livejournal: YOUR ASS CANNOT READ. It doesn’t know numbers. It doesn’t care what size jeans you put it in. And none of us care either. Even while you’re still stuck caring, it might help to know that lots of people don’t think you’re any less of a person for wearing size 14 jeans.

  61. Oh, and about “get thee behind me, dieter!!” — obvs we don’t want you bringing Diet Talk in here, as in “omg I ate 800 calories today” or “do you think a lettuce cup has too many carbs” or whatever. But you know that. Talking about how hard it is to kick disordered eating habits when most people seem to consider them not only normal but virtuous? That’s what we’re all about.

  62. Lolly, I’m in envy that you were able to change your doctor to a good one. I think I have a good one now that I’ve returned to Southern Cal, but in order to get to her (she was on the list of fat friendly health professionals) I have to drive 80 miles round trip to get to her office. I’d kill for someone not fatophobic nearby to Pasadena who can also deal with chronic issues because I hate the driving.

    And I’m going to admit I keep the “tiny” pants. It’s not that they are tiny- its that they vary in fit. My body shape and distribution changes with the seasons and activity (swimming vs running for example). I don’t want to have to shell out for new clothes every 4 months or so, so instead I keep what is generally the right size and rotate what I’m wearing as to the current shape of my body.

  63. Astrobabe, as long as you’re only wearing them when they fit, I think you get a pass. :) “Tiny pants” = pants you’re squeezing yourself into because their number is small.

  64. Tari – I have low blood pressure, and it got really REALLY low while I was pregnant. I remember a med student who changed cuffs twice “just to make sure” while I was in labour, because I needed to actually be moving to get a reading. (Standing up was something I had to do slowly…)
    They also seemed convinced I’d have gestational diabetes.

    Sue – I’m absolutely with you. I keep going to lose the baby weight, and off it goes, and on it goes, and off it goes, and on… It’s my weight, since the youngest baby is 2.

    I had a little crying jag a few months ago, after hearing myself think that “no part of my body deserves a pretty henna decoration.” That’s no way to live. That, and my family member’s ordeal, left me desperate, pleading to the universe that either I get thin or find some way *not to hate myself any more*.

    Then a regular blog read of mine linked here.

    Most of me is feeling like a huge… weight!… has been lifted. But the dieting-since-I-was-11 part keeps saying (well, they haven’t shown liposuction to be bad yet). (well, maybe the leptin thing’ll pan out.) (well, maybe I’ll get cancer.)

    My thin-wishing brain isn’t sane. Yet? Yet.

  65. Explain that to the fiance ;-)

    He calls some of them my tiny pants because he doesn’t understand how I can have a range of sizes 12-20 that fit at some point over the year.

    Honestly though it’s not the tiny pants that kill me it’s the tiny shirts. I hate long sleeves and tank tops aren’t right in the “winter” in LA. I still have a mental block around buying bigger t-shirts. I know I ought to, but I hate having to wear what is effectively baggy just for them to fit my upper arms. I’m slowly embracing 3/4 sleeved shirts, but it’s weird.

  66. Man, it’s so funny how sizes work. Sweet Machine is the same way — she goes up and down sizes really fast. Me, I generally wear the same size for at least a 20-lb range. I’d have to go up and down 80 lbs over the course of the year to really require that kind of pants collection. Just another reminder that OH HEY NOT ALL FATTIES ARE THE SAME.

    (That said, I have pants in sizes 16-22 that at least sortakinda fit me right now. So the craziness of clothing manufacturers does figure in here.)

    I have found that Old Navy shirts a) are cheap b) stretch out a lot. I have some great half-sleeve tops from ON — the half sleeve is totally underappreciated — and they can go from tight to loose over the course of the day. That might be an answer to binding sleeves.

  67. I keep my “tiny pants” in a box at the back of the closet, in case my weight fluctuates… I was also keeping big pants there until I gained so much weight that they’re all tiny pants now. I ran out of room in the tiny pants box, so I went through them this weekend, trying to figure out which ones I might need if I go through another really stressful period (stress always makes me lose weight) and which ones I would very likely never wear again. I now have a bag I need to take to the Salvation Army or something.

  68. 1) The unicorn comment made me look like i was having a fit as i struggled not to laugh my ass off at work.

    2) Clothes that fit ALL THE WAY!!! 2 years ago i lost some weight and started buying clothes that fit (sad that those two had to, at that point in my life, go together). I’ve gained some weight since last winter and have this past week worn a few things that were *just* too small and realized that i used to wear my clothes like that ALL THE TIME and that i seriously didn’t miss the pinching waistbands red marks etc. Those skirts are getting tried on again in a week (PMS weight shift , a fact of life for me) and if they’re still not comfy they are GONE!!!!

    3) This site and others like it are really affecting my life and my point of view, in a positive way. Thank you!

  69. I now have a bag I need to take to the Salvation Army or something.

    TAKE IT!

    Think about it this way: If you go through a stressful period and can’t eat, won’t you really, really deserve to treat yourself to pants?

  70. Em — no, your poor friend is completely brainwashed. There is no talking her out of it any more than there is talking her out of any other cult. (We could use some professional deprogrammers out there, couldn’t we?) Eventually she will likely reach the point where she won’t be able to fit into straight sizes no way no how, and then she will either buy a sewing machine or have to break down and buy her actual size. (Hopefully she won’t resort to bulimia to make herself fit, shudder.)

    In the meantime, you are well within your rights to turn the firehose on her if she laughs at you for buying your actual size. I mean, really, that’s just beyond the pale.

  71. Oh, yeah, I hear you there, I have like two contractor bags full of stuff to take to the Sally. (One of them is all sheets — we got a bigger bed.)

  72. Yeah, Em, it’s the laughing that gets me… I would feel bad for her otherwise, but the moment she made fun of me for wearing a plus size, it would be really hard not to go “Um, that shit does not fit you and you look ridiculous. You are just as fat as me and you need a plus size. Get over yourself.”

  73. I really love that friend of mine very much, and it breaks my heart to see how much she hates herself.
    I wish there was any way I could help her. But I guess you’re right, it’s not something you can change by saying or doing the right thing.

    But telling her she looks ridiculous? Never ever. Someone commented on my muffin top 8 years ago, when I was 17. It hurt so much. I’m still ashamed about it. As a matter of fact, I tend to wear my pants slightly too baggy, to this day, to avoid muffin top at all costs.

  74. Thanks, everyone, for being so welcoming. Like Sue said, this doesn’t happen overnight. There are so many feelings that go into learning to just…be. It’s easier to give in to the mantra of “OMG, if I just lost 5 pounds I would…” but it’s cowardly. I’m lucky in that my size has always been fairly consistent – I’m from a family that never bothered with dieting, etc – and I never fluctuated all that greatly- but the pressure STILL weighs on me to be thinner. It’s not uncommon for someone to remark that they’re surprised I work out so regularly because I’m not stick thin. I can’t imagine what it’s like for someone as kick ass awesome as Sarah the bike chick to deal with what people have to say about her.

    Reading these blogs has made me hyper-aware of a culture that isn’t actually telling us to be healthy, they’re just telling us to be thin. I’m healthy. Even according to the stupid BMI thing I fall within ‘normal’ whatever that means, and yet medical advice? Lose weight. Because you’re almost overweight.

    — Also, the comment about your ass not being able to read? Yeah, I had to fish a piece of spaghetti out my my nose after reading that.

    *unbuttons pants*

  75. That gallstone article hit me where I live. When I was 19 (in the mid 70s), I had gained some weight – went from 115 lbs to 130 lbs (at 5’6″). I was devastated! So, my MD gave me diet pills (Ionomin {sp?}) which were basically speed. I was supposed to take one a day and watch what I ate. Well, I ended up addicted to them, and eating maybe a small piece of cheese and an apple each day. Went down to 90 lbs. But, I looked great! /sarcasm.

    Long story short, I basically destroyed my metabolism, and when I stopped taking the drug, I gained a lot of weight. The kicker is that 2 years later, I developed gallstones and a severe infection because the stones were blocking the tube thingy*. Had to have my gall bladder removed. My MD told me I had gallstones because I was “fat, fair, fertile, and female”. Yeah. Right.

    Now, I’m a happy 230 lbs. who goes to the gym and eats healthy.

    Of course, I have a lovely scar about an inch and half wide from my pubes to between my breasts… There was no such thing as the laprascopic surgery back in the day. They just split you open. ewww.

    *not a medical term, btw. heee.

  76. I am getting increasingly angry that nobody ever tells you about the gallstone thing. What the FUCK, people?

    Thankfully, my friend can have laparoscopic surgery, so she at least won’t experience a lot of scarring or surgical trauma. And then I guess we just hope that removing the gallstones makes her feel better. But JESUS. She has a family history, and I am so fucking livid that nobody told her before she started the diet (and yes, her doctors suggested it) that this could happen.

    And from the article I linked (which granted is just, you don’t even have to lose very much weight! 9-22 pounds over a 2-year period — I’ve lost more than that just from not being on antidepressants! Although I guess it’s dieting that increases your risk, not weight loss. Which means you can get gallstones just from TRYING to lose weight, even if you don’t lose any!

    But, of course, being thin is being healthy! Woo.

  77. LollyDee- re: your comment about people not understanding why you aren’t stick thin…I was a vegan for a couple of years, and my boyfriend’s parents actually asked me how it was that I could be vegan and fat. I just gave them a blank stare. It was all I could come up with. Come to think of it, I think that “blank stare” should be the universal response to stupid questions. Just keep staring until the other person looks away…

  78. Kristen- there should be a name for that stare. I suggest the “Universal Glare to Combat Unimaginable Idiocy.”

  79. LollyDee- Ha. Maybe I will just skip the stare and say, “you are an unimaginable idiot”, then walk away.


    And…. yet another coffee mug/t-shirt/dog sweater. Seriously, you guys need to talk to Cafe Press.

  81. I just wanted to mention that I got to see the Original Non-Tiny Pants tonight, and they really do make Cacie’s ass look FANTASTIC. Hooray for correct pants!

  82. Hey Em, it’s not that I would ever tell any random person they looked bad in ill-fitting clothes. Whoever came out of nowhere to make fun of you for your “muffin top” (please, jeans are cut so unflatteringly and uncomfortably these days that it is almost impossible not to have a “muffin top” even if you are thin–god forbid women should have some, you know, fat stores around their midsections) was just being cruel.

    But in this case IMO it’s your friend who is being cruel by laughing at plus sizes, so I don’t think a fairly nasty reality check would be unwarranted (even though, let’s be honest, I probably wouldn’t actually say anything either). It’s 100% the attitude she is perpetuating toward you and toward plus sizes in general that I was responding to, not that I routinely go around judging people whose clothes don’t fit right. There could be a million reasons why someone’s clothes don’t fit well (the person actually feels they look best in tight clothes, or they don’t have money to buy new ones, or they have a hard-to-fit body shape that they have to dress on a budget, or they don’t have time to shop, or maybe they just don’t care, and what business of mine are any of those reasons?) Though I do secretly feel sad about the possibility that some women are buying too-small, uncomfortable clothes just because they can’t face a bigger size tag or the prospect of shopping at Lane Bryant. I see this on What Not to Wear a lot and it is so frustrating to watch.

    Anyway, I just wanted to clarify that so you don’t think I’m some kind of monster. Or maybe you still do, and perhaps you’re not wrong ;)

  83. I definitely want to echo the “to hell with tiny pants!” and “thanks for this blog!” sentiments! Shapely Prose (and other blogs like it) has been a sanity-saver for me more than once. After I read this post, I did a massive clean out of my closet. Now, everything in my closet actually fits!

    I noticed that along with the too-small stuff, I also got rid of a lot of way-too-big stuff. The kind of stuff I’ve collected on the days when I feel like hiding. So for me, I’m also going to say to hell with enormous pants too–and by enormous I don’t mean any particular or arbitrary size number, clothes meant to be loose or baggy, or whatever. I mean pants that I buy because they are way too big and because I think I can hide in them.

    Whether it’s in clothes that are too big OR to small, I don’t need to hide.

  84. Yay for perfect pants! (I almost bought a pair Friday, but I didn’t have shoes that would work. Snarky brown pants, being both a good fit *and* long enough.)

    I have cleaned out (but not yet disposed of) the contents of my closet, so that virtually* everything I have fits me in all possible ways — length, width, girth, etc.

    It is so good to feel good about how I look, that I’m healthy AND 200+ lbs. Posh on trying to be something I’m not, I say.

    *I kept one pair of pants that is one size too small, some I bought in Germany, that, if nothing else, I’ll deconstruct and make a bigger version. I love those pants. I’m not quite willing to give them up just yet. I suppose I’m not completely well yet.

  85. “But she’s also forcing herself into tiny ideas, like the idea that health boils down to size, or that weight loss is a viable goal while simply feeling good is not. ”

    Well I’ve been reading these blogs for a while now thanks to the link from a fellow Deviant Artist and while the “Fantasy of being thin” was already a fantastic reality slap in my fat (and slowly accepting that fact) face; this blog above and particularly the line above was really another huge jolt to me. I, like many others, have always equated health with being under a size 10.

    Even though (as confirmed again with an appointment today) I have always BEEN very healthy with an amazing blood pressure and good teeth and all that jazz I always think I need to be smaller to be healthy.

    No matter how well I belly dance I always think I need to exercize more cause I’m not the right “tiny” size I’ve gotten it in my head I need to be. I too taped up pictures of a smaller me as “inspiration”. After reading this I just feel floored and amazed and know that tonight I am ripping down that pathetic weight goals list I had taped to the wall under those pictures.

    Everyone is so right here. My goal should be to “Fit in those size 10 jeans from High School” but rather to feel healthier. Maybe I will write up new goals instead such as “get through a particular bellydance without getting as winded” or “feel healthier” in general.

    I think I’ve been coming to terms with fat acceptance for a month now. In fact just before Thanksgiving I finally went and bought jeans (in a size I would have cried at the thought of even trying ON prior) that fit. And oh my goodness the simplistic and wonderous PLEASURE of feeling like your stomach isn’t going to split when you sit down cause you tried to justify yourself into a smaller size just so you can SAY you did.

    Anyways not sure if it all came across as more than jumbled thoughts but I guess the moral is that you’ve all set me thinking and accepting and I have you to thank for that. To hell with tiny ideas and tiny pants.

  86. I had to read this post… again… it is very inspirational/uplifting (even if the issue at hand has nothing to do about size)…

    We need some FA t-shirts (in a variety of flattering actually-cut-for-women plus and misses sizes, of course! :)

    Here’s some slogans:

    “Fat has three letters, not four.”
    “To hell with tiny pants”
    “I don’t support B(s)MI” (the s would be smaller than the other letters.
    “The Obesity Epidemic will kill us all when the aliens take over the world” , and on the back, “BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA”
    “You can’t spell “diet” without “die””
    “Ever notice that the first three letters of “dieting” spell out “die”?
    “A perfect body is unattainable, simply because it does not exist”

  87. I’m a stranger around these parts (the comments section anyway), but I’ve loved this post for a while and had a metaphorical tiny pants moment today that I wanted to share:

    For whatever reason (temperament, neurosis, whatever) I’m someone who thinks a lot and often has a lot of complex thoughts in my head, including in situations or on topics where people around me are not saying a lot of complex things. This tends to be useful in academic pursuits, but has caused me a lot of stress and anxiety in social interactions. The most recent example was a conversation yesterday about obesity and body weight regulation with some friends/classmates. Thanks to my reading here, on other FA blogs, of medical literature I got interested in as a result, etc., I had a lot to say. And as usual, this led to all kinds of worries about how much of what was on my mind I should verbalize, whether people would think it was weird or bad that I had so many thoughts (before even getting to the content of those thoughts), and whether I *was* weird or if other people had just as many and as complex thoughts but just didn’t verbalize them, making me socially inept if I did.

    Then it occurred to me this morning that all this is virtually identical in form to the anxieties we’re conditioned to have when we’re out for lunch with a bunch of people eating salads with vinegar and what we’re really hungry for is a cheeseburger and fries. “Should I order the cheeseburger? What will they think of me if I do? Is there something wrong with me for wanting one? Does anyone else actually want a cheeseburger even though they’re not having one?”

    Making that connection at least momentarily inspired me, in the same spirit that I would tell someone* to just get the damn cheeseburger, to feel less bad about speaking my mind. And although there are no actual pants in this story (well, I was wearing pants throughout), it seemed in line with the overall idea that there’s no good reason why your pants, life, conduct, ideas, ambitions, etc. should be smaller than you are.

    *I don’t actually eat cheeseburgers, for religious reasons, but it was the convenient shorthand that popped into my head.

  88. I know this is an older post, but I’ve been lurking around and just now found it. This post is so relevant for me!

    I have just recently discovered FA, after 3 straight years of diets and punishing exercise routines. I suddenly got sick of pouring myself into size 6 pants one day, and tossed them all in a goodwill bag. I went out and bought size 8 and 10 jeans and starting googling things like “I love my thighs”. This has only been a couple of months ago, but I’m NEVER going back!! To hell with tiny pants!!! :)

  89. I find it sort-of ironic that I found this webpage by googling ‘how to lose 3 pant sizes’.

    I am new to this kind of thought- accepting myself and not belittling any extra weight. I have done extreme things to lose weight and it makes me sick to think about them- hardcore drug usage, anorexia, over exercising. I am done with those things- been clean in all areas for a year. I just haven’t been able to change the thought process (yet).

    I’m only 22 and I am PISSED about the time I’m wasting worrying about something so stupid and meaningless. I am repulsed by the fact that I felt that being thin was so important that I risked my LIFE for it.

    I know I can’t change my mindset in a night but all of your words have given me something to think about. I’ve always considered myself a freethinker and a feminist but for some reason I JUST NOW realized that my way of thinking about my weight doesn’t not co-exist with those notions.

    I can’t say I won’t obsess about said pants sizes- I can only say thank you to all of you for giving me food for thought. :-)

  90. I just found this post, linked from a more recent post.

    For years, I’ve been trying to squeeze into the smallest pants I could (this was after a few years of wearing giant clothes to try and hide in them). Recently, I finally said to myself, Fuck it! I want to be comfortable!

    So now I buy clothes that actually fit me, and I feel so much better about myself.

  91. I had had no idea that weight loss could cause gallstones until my friend came down with them

    This happened to me; I now have three pretty white scars on my tummy instead of a gallbladder.

    Hypocritically, I’m sitting here in a tight pair of jeans shouting, “Yeah! You go girl!” as I read.

  92. (And just as an aside, shouldn’t this make it painfully obvious that the “health” thing is a weak excuse? I mean, she’s not taping up pictures of her lymphatic system.)

    Two years later, this is still hilarious and SO TRUE. Well played.

  93. Further proof that Reading This Blog Saves Lives ™ —

    I just found it today, this very day, and already feel better.

    Mind you, I’ve been on-and-off dieting, anorexic, and just generally bodily dysmorphic for seven years and have hated my body for probably sixteen years (I’m twenty-two whole years old) … so it’s not going to happen all at once.

    For example, I’ll be god-damned if I’m not about to go eat macaroni and cheese for lunch, then, thanks to this post, go shop for some bigger pants.
    But in the meantime, I am putting off the whole ‘leaving the house’ today because
    a. I am afraid of harassment, and
    b. I’m so deeply in love with my own self-hatred that
    c. I’m having panic attacks deciding what to wear so that other people I don’t even like will maybe accept me.

    The sick thing about this is, I’m not fat. I’m not even technically overweight.
    But even so, brainwashing has gone so far in this culture that I’ve been taught to hate myself —

    that men have been likewise endoctrinated, such that they not only ‘other’ me, but also feel entitled to both fetishize my ‘curviness’ and simultaneously mock me for being a ‘fat pig’, a ‘dog’, or a ‘cow’ —

    and that some other women feel the need to compete with me, to prove their pretend superiority with their 23-inch waists as opposed to my 26-inch waist (for fuck’s sake! the insanity!), in the arenas of career and romance, and even for the right to walk unmolested down the sidewalk.

    I imagine that we are all missing out on life, in one degree or another, because of this insidious patriarchal shitfest.

  94. Okay, I know this post is wicked old at this point, but I’m so glad to have found my way to it, I’m going to comment, yo. I just went pants-shopping last weekend for the first time in, for real, four years; the last time I bought pants was my first year in college, when I was at the height of what I now refer to as my Amazing Anorexia Adventure. Anyway, those pants don’t fit anymore, because with good therapy I managed to acquire some body fat, but even though I didn’t wear them and have basically been living in skirts, I’ve kept them around, because, God help me, they’re size one and some insidious revisionist historian part of myself wants to remember the glory days. But it’s October now, it’s freaking cold, and I can’t wear striped leggings to job interviews, so I decided to suck it up and get myself to the mall. Pants that fit are awesome. Pants that fit without requiring that you be amenorrheic are super-awesome. Moreover, if you say it a few times, pants becomes a very funny word.

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