Tag Archives: friday fatloss fashion

First world problems

Me. Right, the year 2006. Left, early 2000s. Body fat: eternal?

Me. Right, the year 2006. Left, early 2000s. Body fat: eternal?

My abdomen has been large for most of my adult life. I am having technical difficulties today, so you get to see onscreen images captured with my phone of what my body looked like 10 years ago, and again 6 years ago. Even after I’d started the cycle of working out and trying to constraint caloric intake, I still had an abdomen of which I was ashamed. And since these were photos I kept, just imagine the unflattering photos I deleted instead of saving forever on my hard drive.

40 pounds down from my weight of around 203 in March 2011, I still have a protruding abdomen, but it looks better, and I am a lot healthier in every way because of my fat loss.

My clothing size has changed, which I’ve mentioned often in this blog. I have yet to replace everything that I’ve become too small to wear – including dresses. Take into consideration that most of my dress collection that I still have was bought to keep me comfortable after gallbladder surgery during the Texas summer, and pretend to feel bad for me when I complain that I have nothing to wear to a holiday party tonight.

I tried on this charcoal gray wrap dress that is slightly warmer than my sundresses and sleeveless party attire. My boyfriend and I agreed that even though I looked better in it now, it still skewed very “maternity” because of the ability of the Empire waist to enhance the stomach. Photo below is from 2010 or 2011.

Empire waist, you are so maternity on this tummy.

Empire waist, you are so maternity on this tummy.

Ugh, fine. What do I do? Go buy a new dress, right? What an awful problem to have, I know. I’m just glad that I have disposable income again that I can spend on clothes. Extreme budget clothes-buying is entirely doable, but it mostly puts you in single-color tees from big box retailers. That’s how I spent my summer, anyway.

Recent photo, modeling a t-shirt sent to me by a friend.

Recent photo, modeling a t-shirt sent to me by a friend.

Everyone should have such terrible problems. Clothes shopping is still kind of lame, especially as a woman with a large abdomen, but I can take heart that Empire waists are less in fashion, my continued fat loss will lead to more clothing choices (sometimes you buy the dress that’s there instead of the dress you want, especially at plus sizes), and I can afford to put money into the economy on an item I don’t truly need.

Full Basket, Hollow Victory…and Hand-sewn Hems

A mystery malady has taken me down for several days this week. I had ice cream last Friday night, then was sick as a dog all day Saturday. I had chicken alfredo pasta every night Sunday through Wednesday for dinner (thanks, huge crock pot, for all those servings!) and have been ill enough to go home from work early two days out of five. I’ve totally lost my appetite. It’s either a food thing I haven’t tracked down, a virus, or aliens. The only common food I can think of is carbs, but even that doesn’t explain everything, as the ingredients for the ice cream were vastly different from those in the chicken alfredo pasta. Whatever the cause, it has given me more than a little misery and nausea.

When you don’t feel like eating, you reach your weight goals more quickly. But this victory felt quite hollow, as it came at the expense of my health.

Two feet standing on a scale that reads 163 pounds.

Goal achieved, but it’s not very meaningful if I only got there because I’m sick.

I had a moment of, “Oh. Well, there it is. Um…where do I go from here?” But this isn’t a finish line. It’s just a number on a scale that could be inaccurate, a number deflated by illness and lack of appetite. While it’s an indicator that my long-term efforts to improve my health by losing body fat are paying off, this scale reading doesn’t tell me that I’m only here because the thought of putting anything else in my body that wasn’t ginger ale sounded like the worst idea ever at the time of photography.

I spent Saturday afternoon convalescing on the couch. I watched black-and-white movies, I got mobbed by the animals, and I managed to put almost-real hems on three of my new smaller pairs of jeans. I don’t have a sewing machine, so I did it by hand. I did a complete bastardization of the “original hem” method and measured 29 inch inseams, folded the hem back up the inside of the leg, pinned everything into place, and baste stitched in about 16 places around each pant leg. If I hold onto these jeans for more than a few months, I’ll take them to be professionally tailored, but this works just fine.

The hand-sewn hems of a pair of women's jeans.

Hemming at home with hand-sewn basting stitches – a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, according to 19th century homemakers.

(You had no idea you were going to see so much of my poorly painted toenails. For your trouble, and for the pain felt by the entire professions of pedicurists, I apologize.)

Side note: I felt as though I was imitating my maternal grandmother with my lazy afternoon of patching clothing, drinking a diet cola, watching movies from the 40s, and removing one of the dogs from a tangle of denim in order to adjust a seam. I would be honored to be considered as industrious and handy as she was.

So! While putting away my jeans post-hemming, I decided to go through my closet and drawers and take out some of the things that were too large for me. This turned into me trying on a lot of shirts that I’ve held onto since I weighed 203 pounds. I was surprised at how cute a few of them still looked 40 pounds later, but for the most part, I was swimming in cloth.

I plonked most of the too-big clothes into the “for charity” basket – a skirt never worn, shirts that never fit quite right, beloved former favorites – and put a few of the shirts back into my closet as plausible candidates for further wear. I sported one of those shirts on Monday. I was cute, sure, but the shirt was huge on me, and I was conscious of it all day. As a tiny, fashion-forward fourth grader, I tried to wear my mother’s yellow-and-white striped tunic to school as a dress; like my 9-year-old self, my Monday self was trying to wear an item of clothing that was clearly inappropriate for my size.

A drawing of a young girl wearing an oversized t-shirt as a dress

Fourth grade fashion disaster: wearing my mom’s shirt as a dress. Hem depicted longer than it probably was in real life. My only excuses are that a.) I was nine and b.) It was the eighties, come onnnnn.

So that shirt, as well as the others I’d set aside, are going in with the rest of the contents of this laundry basket to be entrusted to the next clothing donation center I can find (hoping that the clothes I donate actually do some good, though my hope dwindles upon reading reviews and coverage of the book Overdressed.)

A laundry basket full of clothing

Basket of cast-offs from my closet and chest of drawers. I was surprised I had this much clothing to begin with, much less enough clothing to discard.

I hope to be well enough soon to begin working out in earnest besides stretching and performing push-ups to continue strengthening my bum shoulder. Pilates is on my plate. I love it, but I think I need a new workout. I’ve memorized my old one, and I find the pace a little laggy. Time to do some research.

Making It Work

I went to an outlet store last weekend with a good friend of mine as part of my Search for More Pants. And I struck twilled cottony gold – two nice pair of jeans (I don’t think I’ve ever owned a pair of Calvin Kleins), one dark blue and the other black, for $12 apiece. Huzzah!

A pair of shiny gold pants

I also struck this gold in the clearance rack. Yikes.

The fit on the two pair of jeans was great everywhere, except the hem. I wear petites, which means I have a shorter inseam than women of average height, and shopping for jeans at thrift stores and in clearance racks is always a gamble. Both these pants were made for tall women – they have 34″ inseams. Which means I could sew the hems together at my toes and have myself some denim tights! And…and…if I got a denim shirt to wear with them, I would have myself a denim onesie. YES. An abomination that I would never, ever wear in public. Ever. Maybe. Perhaps if I was bolstered by American flags and a mullet.

I was elated at my new purchases, but the length was an immediate problem that prevented me from showing off my fabulous new threads at work the following Monday. What to do! I can sew to some extent, but I just haven’t gotten around to hemming the legs of these suckers, initially because I was afraid of an epic sewing catastrophe, like an uneven seam or accidentally cutting a hole in the butt while trying to lop off fabric. Those are plausible Eve-created situations.

Another friend recommended I use the original hem method, but I’m not sure how well that will work for pants with flared legs. While I decide whether to make the best of it with my sewing kit or take these to a professional tailor and letting them figure it out, I still want to wear them. So this morning, it came time to MacGyver myself up a temporary solution. (I bet MacGyver could rock a denim onesie, then use it with a can of Turtle Wax and a door snake to create a balloon to get him and a pretty lady out of a sticky situation in East Berlin circa 1987.)

Rolled-up jeans pinned with safety pins to create hems

The dirty secret of this makeshift hem! Well, I guess it’s not really that dirty. No, I don’t want to know how you can make safety pins dirty.

A pair of women's jeans hemmed with safety pins; one hem pinning is exposed.

Showing off how the finished side looks next to the makeshift alteration. Also, don’t you love my adorable red shoes (that need polishing)?

Jeans hemmed using safety pins.

You can see the glint of the safety pins in the fabric. I think it’s passable until a more permanent solution is implemented.

Refreshing a wardrobe when it’s necessary thanks to sliding out of obesity toward being merely overweight, but inconvenient due to a limited budget, is an adventure, and you’ve got to make the best of it and be happy that you’re improving your health. I’ve managed to put together a respectable collection of plain t-shirts from big box retailers to wear with my new, smaller pants, and wearing fun necklaces with them keeps me from feeling plainly dressed every day.

I could keep wearing the clothes that don’t fit me as well anymore, but do I really want to wait until I decide I’ve hit my lowest weight, or decide that I can afford to spend a lot more money on a single article of clothing? Might as well do the best with the resources I have at hand and enjoy the hunt for new clothes while I’m on this weight loss journey.

And speaking of things I enjoy on my weight loss journey, I had this paleo-ish but not super diet-y dinner with my friend after our shopping adventure: cheeseburger with bacon, lettuce and tomato, with a side of sweet potato fries.

A bunless cheeseburger with sweet potato fries from Ozona in Dallas, Texas

Ozona gave me a burger without a bun. I ate almost everything on the plate. Including the little bowl the mustard came in.

And I still made a respectable weigh-in for that week of my Reddit 90DaysGoal sprint.