Clothing Sizes are Not Your Friend

Last weekend I took decided to be brave and go on a hunt for new pants. This might seem silly to some, but pants are hard for me. My big (but not big enough) hips and butt, my belly squish and my big (strong, gorgeous) thighs mean that I don’t easily fit most of the pants on the rack. 

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When I was younger and many sizes larger I thought it was because I was just “too big” overall. Choices were limited. But as I’ve shrunk over the years I’ve found that pants are just a b*tch in general. 

My biggest issue is that if I can find jeans that fit my legs, they’re way too big in the waist. If I can manage to squeeze my legs into pants that fit in the waist, the legs end up being so tight they pull the waist and stretch the pants. Either way same uncomfortable problem. 

Anyway, lately I’ve noticed that my pants are a little big and decided to buy some new ones. Unsure whether it was due to two years of stretching fabric and I was still a 12 or if I’d actually lost weight and was something smaller, I went in unsure of my size. 

Naturally I went to the jeans wall in target and got ten pairs of jeans in three different fits and four different sizes. At one point I put on a 12 that was a tiny bit too big and then a 6 that was too short but otherwise almost right. Yeah a 12 and then a 6. Same brand. 

What the hell?

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I could go on and on about how the numeric sizing in women’s clothing doesn’t even make sense and men’s clothing going by measurements if much more useful, but that’s a post for another day. My issue is that, if I can manage to not let a number define my body and if I can avoid the media barrage of impossible bodies, I’m still confronted with total confusion in the dressing room. I’ve grown a serious garden of love flowers to cushion my body but I can only take so much of this bull honkey. 

Eventually I went into a random store in the mall and bought a 29…This number sounded like men’s sizing but unless I’m measuring myself incorrectly, that’s not true. 

So, I ended up buying pants and I like them but bro, what the hell? The fashion industry has got to be stopped with the confusing numbers and the ridiculous sizing. 

Oh and then I went back to the same store a week later to get another pair of the exact same pants and ended up needing a 27…what?

Have any of you had a similar experience or is it just me and my “weird” body over here? Let me know in the comments and, as always, best of luck.

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Escaping the Food Battle

Food and I have a complicated relationship. And not complicated like we fight, break up and get back together or we don’t want to put a label on it or one of us is married to a plant. Complicated like we’re actually trying to kill each other.

We go way back. Unfortunately, however, my knowledge of proper nutrition only dates back a few years.

I grew up in a pretty classically American household; there was a lot of processed foods and ready-to-eat stuff. I don’t remember noticing my body as anything other than a vessel with which I moved through life until fifth grade. Overnight I went from running around without a care to worrying that I didn’t look the way I was supposed to and that I needed to fix it.

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Body issues bred food issues, food issues bred eating disorders and shame which bred more body issues and so the cycle goes. In college, armed with the ability to buy and eat what I wanted and a crippling depression, I gained sixty pounds. By junior year I was desperate and terrified. I was terrified to work out in public for fear I’d be laughed at, so I tried cutting calories. I tried juice cleanses, and purging and alcohol-only days. I tried sketchy internet diet pills that made me pee all the time.

It was not some conscious moment that changed everything, that part came later. Looking back now, I think it had to. At the end of my junior year of college, I studied abroad in London. My daily commute just to and from school logged a solid two miles, plus the time I spent exploring the city the rest of the day. I walked and I walked a lot. I started noticing how much better I felt, not just because my pants were starting to sag, but because my body was getting the chemicals it had been needing.

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The struggle continued through the following years, but the pant sizes kept going down and my general outlook got better. The conscious moment of change came during Peace Corps years later. I’d had stomach infections, parasites, and a myriad of other ailments through my first six months of service. After a lot of antibiotics, I finally started to heal but found that my stomach was always upset for some reason.

So I started reading and I found the Whole30 community and Paleo and AIP* and everyone claimed the same issues I’d had for years past and in recent times. Everyone found solace in changing their diet.

I’m sharing all of this for two reasons:

First, I’m doing another Whole30 reset through January, because the holidays and the stress have led my eating patterns down a dark road and it’s time to reset. I’ve recently read Melissa Hartwig’s most recent book, Food Freedom Forever, and I’m feeling mighty inspired.

Second, for too long diet changes and exercise and living a healthy life have been connected only to weight loss and that’s not what this is about for most people. I’ve felt that itching inside me to lose weight, to be skinny, to finally be beautiful and that itch wasn’t cured by weight loss, it was cured by learning to love myself and understand myself. If everyone told a story of weight loss instead of health and self love, we’d be…well, nowhere good.

I’ll keep y’all posted on the Whole30. I’d love to hear your questions, comments, and especially if anyone would like to join me on this round of Whole30 fun!

Best of luck

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25 Year Old High School Students

A couple of weeks ago, Boyfriend and I stayed in and watched Jumanji. I haven’t seen that movie in at least 15 years and expected that it might now, well, suck. I was wrong.

That movie holds up for a number of reasons, the use of suspense without huge effects, the score, the plot consistency, the emotional connection, but I’m not talking about all that. I bring the movie up because it did one thing really well that you just don’t see now: it cast real kids as kids.

The 12 year old is actually 12. Alan and Sarah are awkward heights because they hit different growth spurts. They wear appropriate and realistic clothes. The girls are wearing little to no make up, they’re eyebrows are wild. They look like kids.

I remember watching shows and movies growing up like Boy Meets World that looked like they featured appropriate ages. I didn’t get a complex on my body and hair and make up and everything else until I started focusing on adults. And even then I knew I wasn’t an adult, I wasn’t supposed to look like that.

Brace yourself, I’m about the sound like an old lady:

Kids these days watch made over, dressed up twenty somethings pretend to be teens and must feel some real pressure to look like…grown ups.

I don’t have a solution, I just kind of think it sucks.

Anyway, Best of luck!

Feelings Friday: Body Insecurity and Bad Behavior

I have yet to meet a human being who isn’t insecure about some part of their body. I also have yet to meet a human woman who hasn’t gone through the “am I doing this right?” stage of a new make-up technique.

Ask anyone who has ever attempted a cat-eye what their first experience was like.

Sometimes there’s a learning curve and sometimes a pal has to step in and say “you’re beautiful and perfect and I love you but I can see your underwear right through those pants.”

I’m of the strong opinion that this “pal” should be your mother, your best friend, or your significant other and this “stepping in” should be kind, courteous, and necessary. If any part of this equation is missing, it doesn’t matter the intention, it can hurt.

I bring this up because I recently started filling in my eyebrows. Let’s all just be honest here: it’s hard. Like harder than I thought. Picking the right color when your hair is dyed uncountable shades lighter than your natural color but you have substantial grow-out is hard. Not making them too big, too small, too far apart, too angular, and basically perfect and natural is hard.

I just want to cover up the bald spots.

Anyway, I did the research, I watched the tutorials, I experimented and I’d like to think I’ve been doing a decent job. I even checked in with my close friends and Boyfriend. Approved.

And then this week an acquaintance of mine decided to comment. On my eyebrows.

She is not my mother, my best friend, or Boyfriend last I checked. Plus she came at me abruptly. Rather than a “hey, can we talk about your eyebrows,” I got “What’s going on with your eyebrows?”

Never, ever, no matter how stupid you think someone looks, should you comment on their body by saying “What’s going on with your [insert body part]?”  Continue reading