It Came From The Search Terms

Seat belt extender, attached

Seat belt extender, attached

Once again, a post inspired by search terms used to reach my site.

how much does a woman who wears a 5x weigh

This probably depends on the woman’s height, amount of muscle, and how many limbs have been replaced with cybernetics.  Really, some of those are heavy.

what are the rules about having to buy an extra airline seat?

Depends on the airline – and you’ll probably want to call to book 2 seats.  Related posts are Day in the Life: Buying Plane Tickets and Flying While 400lbs.

alaska airlines seat size

Check out http://www.seatguru.com/

“do all overweight people”

I doubt it.

seat belt extenders walmart

No idea. I got mine from the dealer and Amazon.com.

im a 400 pound man is there a tool to help wipe bottom

If you’re reading this, I hope you look at the options at Amplestuff, Oversize Solutions, or Amazon.com. Amazon also has an option that works with toilet paper or a wet wipe, with a button release for sanitary disposal. There are also portable bidets available at Amplestuff and, again, Amazon.com. (This is FYI only, I don’t have actual experience with any of these devices.)

will i be too fat for the rides at disney world

I generally wasn’t, but it depends on your size & the ride. :)

TSA Travels

I don’t fly very often. This is likely why it I didn’t go through a full-body security scanner until Friday and, again, today.  I don’t have strong opinions about the type of scanning used, although I do consider much of the airport security approach to be security theater. So I did the scanner instead of other measures.

image

Image from Wikipedia

These were the millimeter wave scanners. The opening is narrower than the machine. I turned sideways to get in. Otherwise I fit fine. Each time the machine flagged me for pat downs afterward on my thighs, just above my knees.  The second time also included pat downs of my tummy, back and bottom. I was always patted down by a woman – no waiting.

Other posts on flying:

Flying While Fat
Buying Plane Tickets (more seats than passengers)
A mid-flight conversation on flying while fat

Halloween

The company I’ve worked at for the last three years has parties for Halloween & trick-or-treating in the office. I’ve sometimes felt strange, in past years, to be the fat lady handing out candy.  (No cultural baggage there…!)

This is the second company I’ve worked at to do the full-on trick-or-treating. Some years at the old company I stamped kids’ hands with bats and cats, but I gave my rubber stamps away in an uncluttering binge. So I stopped by the party store on the way home Tuesday.

image

I’m giving out small toys this year. It’ll be different, and the kids might like the variety. Besides, leftover kazoos might be fun.

Weight Talk, Business Travel Edition

I’ve been working with people in the UK and German offices of the company I work at since I started.  Now that I’m a manager, my boss mentioned that a trip to Germany for training may be in the works.

Fat woman with cellphone

Image courtesy of Rudd Image Gallery

…which would mean flying while 400lbs.

In the interest of being diplomatic, I expressed interest and pleasure that I would have an opportunity to meet the folks I correspond with and share my expertise. Then — in the interest of full disclosure — I brought up the possibility that an airline might require me to purchase a second seat if flying coach.  My primary concern was that this may happen while boarding, and could lead to delays if another seat isn’t available.  My boss said she understood that was the whim of airlines, not me, and that she would make sure the company paid for any such additional seat charges.  (She’s also thinking that it would be reasonable for to fly business or first class since the flight time would probably be over 12 hours.)

I am pleased that I did not get emotional. I stayed matter-of-fact and somewhat detached.  I was prepared to be told that this would be dealt with if it happened, or that this meant I would not be able to travel for business.

One side effect of being fat, for me, is that I don’t apply for jobs that I’m qualified for that require travel.  (Usually in the corporate training field, teaching programming or software usage.)  I don’t exactly feel this is a loss given the TSA and how airport air tends to affect my asthma, but I usually have lots of other jobs to apply for.  If I was in marketing, for example, business travel would be a much bigger deal for me.

Convenient Seat Belt Extenders for Cars

IMG_20130302_135115I’ve mentioned before that I have a seat belt extender for my car (provided by Toyota). In other cars I often use a shoulder/lap belt as a lap belt only, which is less safe, but the only way I can buckle the seat belt.   The friend I carpool with recently got a new car, and once again, the seat belt is too small — it was tight even with the shoulder belt behind me.

So I started googling and discovered there’s more available out there than the last time I checked.. In particular, there’s more alternatives to the “permanently install item in the car” items.   An important question for “click-in” extenders is the size and type of the metal tongue.  Type A  has a 7/8″ wide metal tongue.  Another is type B, with a 1″ wide metal tongue. Between the two they will fit most cars.

There are a few other types, including the tongue type used by Hondas and the tongue type for GM cars made 1968-1999.   They also come in a few different styles.

I ended up ordering a 2-Pack of Car Seat Belt Extenders, 1 type A and another type B.  Thanks to the 7/8″ extender I was able to wear the 3-point seat belt properly in my carpool yesterday.  I also intend to take them with me if I’m renting a car.

Update: Turns out my carpool buddy asked about extenders while buying the car at the dealership and picked some up today gratis.  :) I’m still glad I have some for travel but was definitely a nice move on the Ford dealership’s part.

Weight Loss Myths

Shakesville posted about this Gina Kolata NY Times piece already, but I wanted to highlight this:

David B. Allison, who directs the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham [...] sought to establish what is known to be unequivocally true about obesity and weight loss.

His first thought was that, of course, weighing oneself daily helped control weight. He checked for the conclusive studies he knew must exist. They did not.

“My goodness, after 50-plus years of studying obesity in earnest and all the public wringing of hands, why don’t we know this answer?” Dr. Allison asked. “What’s striking is how easy it would be to check. Take a couple of thousand people and randomly assign them to weigh themselves every day or not.”

Yet it has not been done.

And, in the meantime, you have parents, doctors, families, and friends advising people to follow these myths. You have weight-loss companies making money from these myths.  And they don’t work. Or, they work for some people. Or, they work temporarily before all the weight comes back (plus more).  Feel like hitting one of the lying liars who lie and mislead people into putting all that time and energy and work and money into eventually gaining even more weight yet?

From Allison’s study abstract: 

Many beliefs about obesity persist in the absence of supporting scientific evidence (presumptions); some persist despite contradicting evidence (myths). The promulgation of unsupported beliefs may yield poorly informed policy decisions, inaccurate clinical and public health recommendations, and an unproductive allocation of research resources and may divert attention away from useful, evidence-based information.

What sort of myths?  Back to Gina Kolata, here’s some weight loss ideas that have been proven to not work, yet are commonly preached to people everywhere:

  • Small things make a big difference. Walking a mile a day can lead to a loss of more than 50 pounds in five years.
  • Set a realistic goal to lose a modest amount.
  • People who are too ambitious will get frustrated and give up.
  • You have to be mentally ready to diet or you will never succeed.
  • Slow and steady is the way to lose. If you lose weight too fast you will lose less in the long run.

Kolata also highlights some ideas that have not yet been proven true OR false:

  • Habits in childhood set the stage for the rest of life.
  • Add lots of fruits and vegetables to your diet to lose weight or not gain as much.
  • Yo-yo diets lead to increased death rates.
  • People who snack gain weight and get fat.
  • If you add bike paths, jogging trails, sidewalks and parks, people will not be as fat.

…and yet, again, these are in diet books, diet programs, and in the last, calls to change how cities are laid out.  (Not to say that bike paths, jogging trails, sidewalks or parks are bad. Just that they won’t automagically make people thin.)

Why is this?  Doctors believe that being fat is terribly, horribly bad.  They want to give people something concrete to do.  And, often, doctors aren’t educated about nutrition or obesity research.  We end up with these myths being repeated over and over, endlessly, and people blame themselves when they don’t work or don’t work long-term. Or they figure it probably works for most people, just not me.   Even the list of “Facts – Good Evidence to Support”, which starts with “Heredity is important but is not destiny”, makes me wonder how much of it suffers from the “must hold out hope of weight loss!” bias.  Especially when the article notes that losing 10% of their weight is typical, and very few lose more.

Overall, the NEJM paper is a call to improve the research.  Even so, they’re not tackling the big “weight loss improves health” idea, or how much of its support comes from short-term studies that include exercise as a component (and never mind that exercise can improve health on its own, independent of weight loss).  Even the reference to most weight loss being in the 10% range will likely not burst the FOBT.

As Liss notes, “What a different culture it would be if fat people weren’t a problem to be solved.

Day in the Life: the search term

One of the more popular search terms leading people to my blog lately has been “day in the life of an obese person,” leading to the series I did when I first started the blog. Being curious, I googled it. Some of the highest results? “News” stories about people in fat suits. Because seeing how a thin teen’s acquaintances react to their seeming to gain 80lbs overnight is so typical of the fat experience!  Not to mention wearing an unfamiliar, bulky suit is just like walking in your own body!  That’s why a 3rd grader on stilts moves and feels just like a 6′ tall adult! It’s much more “objective” than actually studying a broad sample of fat people – or even showing actual fat people (with heads) who choose to speak out.

I don’t think that every superfat person has the exact same experiences I do.  Far from it!  I also know there is a lot of myths about fat people out there.    I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself, and those myths do not apply.

If you’re curious, my day in the life posts are linked to http://living400lbs.wordpress.com/day-in-the-life/

QOTD: Avoiding Pregnancy

[M]ost American women spend the majority of their lives trying not to get pregnant. According to the Guttmacher Institute, by the time a woman with two children is in her mid-40s, she will have spent only five years trying to become pregnant, being pregnant or in a postpartum period. So to avoid getting pregnant, she would have have to refrain from sex or use contraception for 25 years. That’s a long part of life and a lot of effort to avoid parenthood. – Washington Post

I’ve never been pregnant. I realize many miscarriages happen in the first few weeks, so I might have been pregnant without realizing it.  Perhaps “To my knowledge I’ve never been pregnant” would be more factual.  But.  I have used condoms, taken the pill, used spemicide.  More recently the man of the house decided to be sterilized, and I’m fine with that.

I chose to avoid pregnancy and I succeeded.  It’s possible that I’m not very fertile – I don’t know my fertility status, really, because I never tried to conceive. It helped that I had money for contraceptives, especially before my state required insurers to cover birth control; it helped that I waited to have sex until I was legally of age. I chose contraception and it worked for me.

If my life had gone differently I might have chosen to conceive. If contraception had been less effective or affordable for me, I might have had an abortion. The thing I’m glad of was that it was a choice. Having children does not have to be a given.

The Fat Life Isn’t

Internet is part of life, but it’s not all of life.

The people I know offline aren’t surprised that I am married, employed, and co-own a house.  The emails I get from this site often assume these aren’t possible, or that I must be some sort of exception.  There’s also am assumption that my fat is the biggest problem I have.

No.  So no.  A world of no.

This is a blog about fat acceptance and demystifying fat.  I write about fat, but it’s not the biggest thing.

In February my father went into hospice and my husband nearly died from an infection.  My father did die, barely a month later.

My fat is much smaller than that.

I may start posting more about the non-fat parts of my life. Or not.  But no, me not posting as much here doesn’t mean I’m not fat anymore.  It can mean I’m preoccupied with estate stuff and new hire training and crunch mode and volunteering and and.

The disconnect may be that I announce my weight here. In real life people see it, but I don’t throw out the Big Scary Number.

PS leg lifts love me.   :)

Haven

About 10 months ago I began to view my bedroom as a haven. It’s not just mine; I share it with the man of the house.  But the bedroom has none of my dad’s unpaid bills, bank statements, or benefit applications. It didn’t have boxes of belongings to sort through. It didn’t have my exploding to-do list. It especially did not have hospital or nursing home staff who expect me to do more or care more or be with my dad 24/7.

In our bedroom I began to consciously put that all aside. “I can’t do it here. So I won’t waste effort on it now.” Crossing that threshold meant I was safe.  In time it also extended to the adjacent bath. Later I began to think of other things I put aside here. I let down my “fat guard” and a few other fears — usually in my house, but always in our bedroom.

Tonight I sought that haven deliberately. The stressors are a bit different tonight, tho dad things are part of it. But again, my to-do list is not here. This is my haven. I’m glad.

Reality

I’m not sure when I realized that yes, maintaining a regular schedule is GOOD FOR ME, if only because it helps me sleep regularly. Adrenaline does not automatically kick in to cover for lack of sleep now — perhaps it’s getting older?

But anyway. Regular schedules. Regular sleep is good. Regular schedules also means I take my asthma meds regularly (even more important when I have a cold) and, oh yes, my antidepressants.

Regular meals is also good. This spring, with my dad in the hospital and later a nursing home (all as I was starting a temp job after a stint of unemployment) I wasn’t exactly eating regularly: Too much to do, not enough time to think about it, and I definitely didn’t want to take the time to plan meals ahead of time. Lately I’ve taken an idea from The Fat Nutritionist and set an alarm on my phone to remind me to eat lunch. (The man of the house usually puts dinner in front of me, and breakfast I more or less grab automatically.)

It seems both incredibly mundane and incredibly frustrating to me to realize that my life works better with structure. It feels like too much structure to me. I want to be free to do what I want, to be able to make evening plans on the spur of the moment instead of “Oh, dinner’s in the crockpot and will be overdone if I stop for dinner near work.”

But, y’know, I’m over 40. Maybe one of these days I should grow up or something.

Office Breakfast

The man of the house had picked up a variety pack of instant oatmeal for a trip.  We didn’t eat it then.  Monday I brought it into the office with me.

2 packets in a coffee cup + hot water = hot breakfast.   I don’t eat it every day, but when I was too rushed to eat at home it’s a nice option.

Usually with instant oatmeal I only get my favorite flavors, and even then, they’re often too strong.  Since I have a variety pack I’m mixing flavors – today was raisin & spice with maple & brown sugar.  I generally don’t like those flavors alone, but together they were fine.

Spoonful of oatmeal

Spoonful of oatmeal

“Light bladder leakage” and Hourglass Pads

Apparently Poise is thinking “light bladder leakage” sounds nicer than “incontinence”, and that framing its products as “feminine” will do better than as “geriatric”.   They are probably correct.

I do know I ran into one problem discussed in the industry. The New York Times quotes market researcher Rob Walker:

“[T]he biggest challenge for the industry is that vast numbers of sufferers are too embarrassed to raise the problem of incontinence with their health practitioner, or worse, even buy available products at a retail outlet.”

Or, in my case, to realize they existed. I initially assumed that if you leaked at all, you needed full-on diapers, which of course would not be available in my size.  It did not occur to me to even look for pads designed for stress incontinence.   I ran across Poise pads by accident one day when the local Rite Aid was reorganizing stock.

To address that, Mr. Walker added, “the commercial opportunity here is for the big international hygiene players to humanize (or even Viagra-ize) incontinence, making products as accessible, consumer-friendly and embarrassment-free as, for example, women’s sanitary protection.”

I first wrote about stress incontinence a few years ago in quite a bit of detail.   I haven’t been finding the “wings”, so I’ve been wearing “moderate” pads.  I will probably try the new “hourglass” shape.  FYI, Poise also has samples and coupons available at their site.

Thankful Thursday

[An occasional exercise in gratitude.]

At the moment I’m thankful for:

  1. My temp gig is continuing to go fairly well.
  2. My father is doing better.
  3. I got over my “but things can’t get better” thinking and saw my ARNP about my anxiety, insomnia, and depression symptoms.  My ARNP prescribed Celexa (for depression) and Ambien (for insomnia).
  4. Ambien does help me sleep.  Celexa does seem to help my depression.
  5. I am continuing to do other things to take care of myself.
  6. The man of the house loves me.
  7. Our friends are also supportive and helpful.

Overall: my life is not perfect. My life is not terrible.  I am coping — sometimes day by day, sometimes minute by minute, but coping.

How’s y’all?

Feeling Like A “Bad” Fatty

I haven’t been exercising.  I spent most of the weekend sitting or laying down. Sometimes I’d be breathing hard from the effort of sitting (compared to laying down).  Sunday I was so exhausted I literally laid down and cried.

I’ve got a cold, which does not combine well with asthma.  Plus I was helping run a small con, which meant quite a bit of adrenalin and the feeling that I “should” be walking around, checking in with our guests, seeing if other volunteers need help, and generally doing things.

You know the sort of “sick” where you feel fine as long as you don’t actually try to do things?  Yeah, that was me, most of the weekend — at least, once I had enough pills / etc that I could breathe regularly and stop coughing.

Yes, I took my preventative meds.  I also took time-release guaifenesin, supplemental antihistamines, and used my albuterol inhaler a lot.  I helped coordinate volunteers, I ran the tech equipment that the other volunteers don’t know or aren’t as skilled with, I helped keep guests organized.  I’m told a lot of folks didn’t realize I was sick.

And yet I feel I was a “bad fatty” because I spent a lot of time sitting.  Because I collapsed with my computer Monday instead of helping carry a bunch of equipment.  Because I didn’t get some borrowed equipment returned until Tuesday.  Because I should be performing feats of strength to prove I have worth, or that I’m capable despite being fat, or something.   Because only bad fats sit around all the time.

The idea that I should have to “prove” my body is okay is one I’d like to unlearn. My brain knows that attitude is insane.  Unfortunately I’m not there yet, and it bugs me.

Update: I did intend this post to be about “Gee, even though I’m legitimately sick, I keep feeling guilty for not doing enough and wondering if people think badly of me because I’m fat.  That’s screwed up.”   Sorry if that didn’t come through.

Working Wardrobes

During a phone interview today I ended up saying “No, this wouldn’t work” because their corporate dress code is Business Professional, defined as suits or suit-like combinations; ties for men; no athletic shoes allowed.   Refusing to dress up every day for work isn’t all that uncommon a stance for a software person to take in Seattle, but my reasons are a bit different.

You see, in the past 10 years I have found ONE standard Business Professional suit jacket that fits me.   It’s a medium “business” blue, which I pair with black slacks for interviews.  Size? 34W.

Do you know how common suits are in size 34W?  Heck, in anything bigger than size 28?  (Hint:  They’re not.)  I could get away some coordinating jackets and slacks.   Even if I’m just focusing on blazers, though, they’re hard to find.  Oh, and I usually need to go up a size in pants/skirt size than top/jacket, and 34W is really a ballpark; sometimes I can wear a 32W, sometimes I need a 36W.

So, it’s not just that I would have to buy a totally new wardrobe for this job. I have the money in savings, if I felt the job was worth the cost.  It’s that I would have to FIND the appropriate clothing IN MY SIZE for this job.

Yes, some catalogs carry suits in size 34W or 36W.  Making It Big has some suit-like separates, and Plus Woman will make a custom blazer (and skirt and pants to match).  That’s assuming the time lag of ordering, delivery, trying on, arranging alterations, and/or returning clothes that don’t fit doesn’t cause problems.

But what I’d actually want, for that sort of job would be this suit, or possibly this jacket or this one.  None of which are made in my size.  Possibly Rochester Big & Tall could make some serious alterations to a man’s suit … or I’d have to have suits made for me, either by Plus Woman or someone local.

Then there’s shoes.  I wear “walking shoes” because they’re comfortable and supportive.   I only own a couple pairs of dress shoes, and I don’t want to wear them daily.

Fortunately?  Most software jobs in Seattle are strongly influenced by Microsoft.  “Business casual” is often regarded as dressing up.   But if I weren’t in software? This could be a serious drawback to getting work.

Update: I had previously posted about what I usually wear to work here.