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

Pursuing An Agenda

Earlier today, Melissa McEwan tweeted:

So, in response to the accusations that I have an agenda, yes -- yes I do. And that's what it is.

Scrolling back, I saw Melissa’s prior tweet was regarding Dylan Farrow: “I am speaking about this because it is wrong; I am speaking in solidarity with Dylan Farrow; I am speaking in defense of my own survival.”

This blew me away.

In retrospect it seems silly — of course people often have their own agendas on the internet! — but we often want to stay neutral and avoid “taking sides.”   Especially in matters of activism, we want to be one of the good guys, to avoid self-interest.  It’s not that I’m getting something out of this, it’s that it’s the right thing to do.

Self-interest is not necessarily wrong.  Yet people often try to put it aside, to derive credibility from their neutrality.  I’m one of them.

I’ve been accused of ignoring research that shows an increased risk of death among people with my BMI.  I don’t ignore it. I just don’t see how it changes the research showing that diets don’t result in long-term weight loss for the overwhelming majority of people.  Or that in the long term, weight loss efforts often result in regain (or net gain), loss of self-esteem, and are ultimately a waste of time.

Yes, I have an agenda in my choice to live life at my current weight instead of trying, yet again, to win the weight-loss lottery.  Yes, when I discuss weight-loss scams, it’s because I consider selling such frauds to be unethical, unhealthy, and wrong.  Yes, rejecting the decade-plus I spent dieting has done wonders for my mental and physical health.

So yes, if you’ve wondered what my agenda is in writing about weight — there it is.

This Shouldn’t Give Me A Headache

But it’s trying.

Dear,

My name is Lisa. I have been following your blog  from quite some time now and thoroughly enjoy every post of yours.

Well, after reading through your blog, I think you would be interested in having a look at our recently launched infographic America’s Battle With Obesity([link to typical FEAR The Obesity Epidemic Because We Said So FEAR Booga Booga removed - Ed]). If you find it helpful, then please consider it for sharing with your readers.

Thanks, and I hope to hear from you soon!
Best Wishes,
Lisa

My reply:

Dear Lisa,

I really don’t see how anyone who’s read my blog would think that graphic would be of any interest to the my readers.

Regards.

- LFP

In other goings-on, NPR reports “Hating On Fat People Just Makes Them Fatter”.   Of course they still do, as this eloquent tumblr post from The Mighty If points out.

Marianne Kirby wrote about working in plus-size retail in college, and how huge being able to buy clothing can be.  This is even harder for supersize or extended-size people.  I usually shop online because my brick-and-mortar store options are so limited.

[S]o many fat people lacked any experience of being treated with dignity and respect in a retail setting. It wasn’t just me. And if it wasn’t just me, then maybe I didn’t deserve to be mocked and harassed and made fun off. Maybe I didn’t deserve to be treated badly just because of my body.

And neither did anyone else.

And yet the lack of respect for fat people is constant.

Medical Equipment Size Limits

This article focuses on the weight limits of air ambulances, but it’s depressing anyway. The overall message of the piece is to lose weight (which we all know works so well! And immediately!)

Now, yes, most fat people aren’t very fat; most cutoffs are 300 or 350lbs; air ambulances appear to have lower-than-typical requirements.

But what can you do? Some ideas:

  1. Ask your local hospital about their equipment. 
  2. Ask you local doctor about their equipment.
  3. Ask local fat friends about their experiences.
  4. Research what is available and ask for it to be considered when new purchases are made.
  5. If there is an organization that fundraises for your local hospital, consider joining. 

I wouldn’t expect any of these to have an immediate effect, and some are long-term commitments.  These are also biased toward people who have the  time, money, education, and (possibly) public speaking skills to succeed.

Finally, you can move to an area with more choices.  This is definitely a long-term choice, and one that may also be impossible. But it may work for some.

Other thoughts?

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.

Things To Read

From Dani Kelley’s “The body I have”:

I stopped eating in the eighth grade.

People complimented me on how much weight I was losing, how much prettier I looked, how much better I was.

They didn’t know something was wrong until I started passing out. And when my eating disorder finally came to light, it was largely seen as me going through a phase to be popular or noticed, much like with my cutting and suicide attempts.

Because, you know, depression and suicide and self-harm and eating disorders are only a phase.

From The Nearsighted Owl comes remakes of diet ads  with fat-accepting messages:

Courtesy of The Nearsighted Owl

Courtesy of The Nearsighted Owl

And Closetpuritan has a thoughtful discussion of whether fat acceptance is a “denialist” movement.

Fat Acceptance proponents range from those who think that the link between fat and “obesity-related” diseases is overhyped and not looked at critically enough, to those who flat-out say that fat does not cause any diseases. (One problem with the latter statement is that just as correlation does not prove causation, it doesn’t disprove causation either; saying we don’t know for sure that fat causes* something does not mean that we know for sure it doesn’t cause something.)

You may guess from her parenthetical, and my including the parenthetical here, that I happen to agree that the link between fat and health is overhyped and not looked at critically enough.  I also think that links between fat and health are questionable at lower sizes of fat (which are most fat people).

I do probably face greater health risks than someone of “normal weight”.  

However: I do not think those risks make weight loss any easier or any more likely to last.  There’s no proof that maintaining weight loss improves health in general (unlike quitting smoking or starting to exercise).  And, finally, the pursuit of health is not an obligation we owe to the world for existing.

Update: Closetpuritan has posted another post on this topic, exploring “denialism” and “skepticism” regarding Fat Acceptance/Fat Liberation and HAES. 

What If You’re Too Big For Lane Bryant?

Ah, the eternal question.  What if you’re too big for plus size stores?   In the US, LB is one of the most common plus size stores, going up to a US size 28.  I’m too big for most of their clothes.

Today I’m going to not just talk about places I can buy clothes. I’m going for places that someone larger than I can buy clothes.  I’m going to skip the stores where I’m at the top of the size range and highlight ones that offer a few sizes larger than mine. I also welcome reviews and suggestions in the comments. 

In Myles Ahead sizes, I’m a 2 or 3x.  Their sizes go up to 5x.  They also have items in more conventional sizes up to 10X.  Mostly casual and dressy clothes, along with some accessories.

Plus Woman goes from 1X-10X, with fairly conventional sizing for most things.  At 4 or 5X, I’m in the middle of their range.  They’re located in North Carolina and make a LOT of things to order and so you can customize size, fabric, and colors quite a bit.  It can be more expensive.

I’m a 3x or 4x in Big on Batik clothes. Most of their clothing is available to 6x but some are 7X+,  including swimsuits.

And, of course, there’s Making It Big.  I’ve been buying their stuff for over a decade now.  There’s casual, dressy, activewear, swimwear, outerwear …. and none of it is cheap, but it’s consistent and much of it is American-made.   I’m a G/H (or 4X/5X) in their sizing, and they run up to size L (8X).   As I type this Wednesday night I’m wearing a pair of brown size H corduroy pants I got from MIB years ago with a red “simple tee” in size G; yesterday I wore size H black relaxed knit pants with a purple “perfect tee” in size H; Monday I wore the same brown cords with a top from, gasp, a different company.   No, they don’t pay me to advertise, and yes, I’ve paid for all my MIB stuff (some secondhand on eBay).  (And if they don’t come out with the cords again I may need to clone the ones I’m wearing, damn it.)

So there is it — the list of stores that I know carries at least 2 sizes larger than my size.  What have I missed?  Got any warnings or reviews?  Have at it.

Update: Ghastly G. Rotto reminds me through Twitter that Woman Within goes up to 7X in some things. I’m a 4X or 5X in their clothes, so Woman Within also fits the “2 sizes larger than I” rule even if they do use thin models.

Superfat Fears

I’ve written before that I can’t always count on finding clothing in local, physical stores in my size.

Last night’s dream?  I was hours from home and somehow didn’t have my pants.  I had bra, panties, and a top – but no bottoms.

And no stores had my size*.   In the dream I was in strip-mall hell and didn’t even see any clothing stores.  There was a Rite Aid, which had some basic tops and bottoms, but not in my size.   Target?   Fred Meyer? Ditto.

Eventually dream-me went into an alterations shop to ask if I could buy a few yards of fabric to make a sarong.  And then my car was stolen and … well, it was a dream.

Needless to say, this was a bit of a twist on the “no pants dream” trope.

*Depending on cut and the manufacturer, I wear between size 28 and 36.

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.   :)

My fat eats cellphones

I lost my phone.  I thought  it was next to me on the couch.  Or maybe in the couch.  The couch doesn’t have separate cushions, but there is an opening in the fabric in the back near the support that my cell loves to dive for and it’s difficult to get out of…..  Anyway.  I couldn’t find my phone.

So the man of the house tried to call my phone.

Silence.

Tried again.  Still silence.

Had it fallen out of my pocket on the way home from work?  No, I’d texted a friend earlier.   I stood up to move the couch and … my phone falls off my lap to the floor. We hadn’t heard it because it was insulated between my corduroy-covered belly and thigh.

(Yes, we laughed.)

Things I Would Like To Not Care About

I would like to not worry about:

  • Whether a medical professional will consider my symptoms before making a diagnosis.
  • Whether a job interviewer will not hire me because I’m fat.
  • Whether the friend talking about her diet is doing so as a way of passive-aggressively commenting on my body size, eating habits, or perceived dieting status.
  • Whether I will be seen as an equal partner in my friendships and family relationships, or seen as “stuck” with whoever will have me.
  • Whether a bathroom stall will be wide enough for me bend over and wipe everything, or if I’ll end up squatting “sideways” in the stall.
  • Whether the person who keeps looking at me while I eat is actually engaging in voyeurism without my consent.

I’d like…

  • I’d like my breathing hard walking uphill to be seen as a function of exertion, not fatness.
  • I’d like my periodic wheezing to be seen as a symptom of asthma, not fatness.
  • I’d like the fact that I’m married to not be a shocker.
  • I’d like the fact that I have sex to not be a shocker.
  • I’d like people to treat my exercising as about function and pleasure, not as “a major life choice deserving of applause” OR about weight loss OR as a reason to shout insults at me.
  • I’d like my food choices to be about nourishing my body, about helping my body function well, and about pleasure — not about weight OR being a “bad fatty” OR being a “good fatty”.

I sometimes joke about having “dieting PTSD” from my teenage years, but really, a lot of these buttons were installed by my family (which is not at all uncommon).   I am trying to decouple weight from food and exercise.  I’m trying to decouple health from weight.  I’m not perfect, but I’m working on it.  Most of the time hearing other people talk about diets isn’t a problem, per se — it may be uninteresting, but doesn’t always and automatically start a round of self-recriminations or a visit from The Ghost of Failed Diets Past, and I consider that a win.

I also realize that some of these buttons — like someone commenting on my food choices — are going to get pressed, simply by living in this society, so I’m trying to “disconnect” them.  (This would be easier if there were an actual wire leading from the “button” to my brain that I could reroute or disconnect!)  Again, I’m not always successful, but I’m working on it.

Some of these, like how employers perceive fat applicants or how medical professionals’ biases harm fat patients, do affect my life in very real ways.  I can advocate for myself, I can overdress to seem “more professional than thou”, but all I can do is the best I can.

What about you?  Does this strike a chord for you, or not?

Gowns and Gowns

A couple random thoughts:

The hospital gowns at the doctor’s office are always too small.  I know I could buy my own, but that seems like overkill.  Today, though, I was just going in for a pap smear, so I wore a dress that could easily hiked up and just removed my panties and shoes.  Yay for simplicity.

Realized why many fashion shots seem so strange to me: they look like kids playing dress up.  I mean, yes, young teens can and do have fresh, lovely faces, but if the designs are aimed squarely at women in the 30s and 40s or older (which they often are, since that’s who can afford them) then the models are far too young for the clothes, and … yeah.  Toss in teens trying to look “serious” and it’s a wee bit too close to hysterical for me.

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.

A year or two ago …

Two years ago, I wrote 2 of the most-read posts of this blog: on stress incontinence and jock itch.   I worked hard on both of those posts. I was a bit embarrassed to admit they were problems I deal with, but I also felt that writing a bad post on either would be worse than not writing them at all.  Take of that what you will…. ;)

Also I posted about an interesting glimpse “behind the scenes” at how the CDC lowered the weight at which people are considered “overweight or “obese”, courtesy of the book Health At Every Size.

When You Get Used To People Not Having Your Size…

…you don’t expect them to have your size.  It’s like, I don’t know, logic. As Red No 3 put it (emphasis added):

See, what’s going on here [at Saks] is a bit of product testing. This is only being launched in one location. They see how it goes, and then decide how to expand. Its like Old Navy a few years ago when they expanded plus-sizes in their stores. Anyone remember how that turned out?

There is a fundamental flaw in the test marketing of plus-size clothes by retailers who’ve never offered them.  [...]  Without promotion, why would a size 24 woman have been in Old Navy to discover their plus-sizes?
[...]
So, while its awesome that Saks will offer clothing in larger sizes, I worry that the intended clientele will never be stepping foot into Saks to discover this. And really, why should they?

Why should they, indeed?  I didn’t know Eileen Fisher offered plus sizes until I was helping a size 12-14 friend buy a suit.  Eileen Fisher had a shirt in the window that we thought would look good with her suit, so in we went.  It was a surprise to me to find they went to 3x, and even more so to find  that their 3x dresses might actually fit me.

Recently a friend was chatting with Marian Call at a show about clothes, and Marian noted she was just in New York City, which is terrific for clothes shopping.  Friend turns to me and asks, “Why didn’t you tell me New York was great for shopping?”   It didn’t occur to me to shop for clothes in New York. I went to NY for a business conference in December ’96.  I made one foray into Bloomingdale’s looking for tshirts* and found nothing in 26/28 or 30/32, so I ended up getting a 3-pack of v-necks at Rochester Big & Tall.  That was my one experience trying to find clothes in New York.  During my subsequent vacations there I didn’t even bother looking for clothing.  Maybe if I wore a size 20 or 22 I’d have tried, but ye gods, why would I waste time in NYC looking for something as hard to find as clothing in women’s size 28+?  Hello?

In my case, it means I often don’t go to plus-size stores where I haven’t found supersizes in the past.  Sure, sometimes a 24 fits me, but it’s rare enough that I don’t count on it.  If Lane Bryant or Avenue started carrying supersizes, I might find out from the Fatshionista Livejournal community…but then again I might not.

I live near a major mall and I regard the clothing stores as almost negative space — places to walk by on my way to the stores I’m actually interested in, or scenery to walk by when I’m just there for a walk.  I don’t shop for clothes at the mall because I’ve given up on anything fitting me.

And when you’re out of the habit of looking for clothes in stores, well … lots less impulse shopping, you know?

*It was December, so I’d brought warm clothes, and discovered all the NY buildings I entered were much warmer than I’m used to.  I’m not used to sweating to death inside.  In December.

On not buying clothes

I mentioned in my last post that I haven’t bought clothes in a while.

My previous clothing purchase was a Sounders green item to wear to Sounders games, bought at my husband’s urging.  I bought bras in February.  In September 2009 I replaced 3 worn-out pairs of knit pants and some bras.  July 2009 I bought two knit tops that were thinner and cooler than others I owned.

That’s what I bought in the year that ended in June.  It’s a lot less than I would usually buy.  It also wasn’t an accident.

I quit buying clothes because the man of the house was concerned about our budget. He was between jobs at the time, so we had less income.  That ended last fall, but I continued the not-buying-clothes experiment.

I quit buying clothes because I have a lot of clothes already. Partly because I’ve worn the same sizes for over 10 years.  Yes, I have clothes that are over 10 years old.  I do get rid of the clothing that’s worn out, but a lot of it—especially the special-occasion stuff—hasn’t worn out.

I quit buying clothes because I didn’t feel like there was all that much I could buy that was better than what I already have. I sometimes feel like I already had one of everything, or one of everything I’d probably want to wear. This is partly a comment on the state of supersize women’s clothing and partly a statement on me.  Check out the “Extended Sizes” clothing at Silhouettes:

  • Knit tees.
  • Knit tunics.
  • Knit elastic-waist pants.
  • Knit elastic-waist skirts.
  • Jeans.
  • Big shirts.
  • Sweaters
  • Hoodies.
  • Tent dresses.
  • Maybe a blazer or mother-of-the-bride dress.

That is not atypical.  Yes, I realize I have a hard to fit body.  (My waist size varies by 8 inches depending on whether I’m sitting or standing, yeah, that’s hard.)   Yes, I like knits and elastic waists and v-neck tees.

But guess what else?

I already HAVE those clothes.

  • I have knit elastic-waist pants in black (4), red, blue, green, and brown.
  • I have corduroy elastic-waist pants in burgundy (2) and brown.  I have 2 pairs of jeans.
  • I have black, brown, and blue leggings.  I have skirts, most of them with pockets.
  • I have 9 or 10 tank and sleeveless tops for summer and layering.
  • I have a dozen pairs of  shorts for summer. All but the bike shorts have pockets.
  • I have a dozen sweaters and cardigans.
  • I have a navy blazer that fits me well.
  • I have lots of v-neck and jewel-neck tees and tunics in short and long sleeves, mostly in black and red with other colors mixed in.  I also have a few dressy blouses.
  • I have dresses.  Some I could wear for a funeral, some to a wedding, some to a formal occasion, some I could wear clubbing.
  • I have 4 swimsuits.

Longtime readers know I certainly don’t limit myself to shopping at Silhouettes or Lane Bryant or One Stop Plus.  Even then, I already have most of what I’ll actually wear.

Yes, I quit buying clothes because I have a rut.  It works for me.   Have I tried other looks?  Yup.  The “uniform” I have now was chosen consciously for looks, comfort, practicality, and ease of matching.   I have the clothing I need day-to-day, and I don’t need to slay a dragon or learn to sew just to find more.  My recent purchases were all of things I didn’t already have (capris) or to replace proven items in my wardrobe (I have a black knit top that’s similar to the blue one and I’ve been trying to find another for years; I’d worn out my previous pair of brown knit pants).

Finally, I quit buying clothes because I like myself. New clothes often come with the promise that they’ll make the wearer different in some way, or look better than before.  If the new item fits better or has a better color, this makes sense…but often this promise is unfulfilled.  Often I’ve bought clothes that looked great but were for someone else’s life.  Over time, I found that not worrying about new clothes meant I had a better acceptance and appreciation of myself as I am, instead of searching for the “slimming” new piece that would emphasize the approved parts of my body and downplay the rest.

So it was a bit interesting to see this article on “clothing diets”.  The main focus is on a challenge to wear only 6 pieces for a month (undies, shoes, accessories and duplicates don’t count by their rules).   I was surprised to find I didn’t want to try it…and that the main reason I wouldn’t want to try is to avoid the extra laundry involved.  I guess not buying (much) clothing isn’t deprivation for me, but having having to do laundry more than once a week is!  ;)

Seat Belt Extenders: Not just for airplanes

You know how you get used to your life and forget things other people take for granted?

Yeah.

Listening to Lesley & Marianne’s Fatcast I started thinking about how life is different for superfat folks than it is for those size 24 and below.  I shop in different catalogs, I have a seat belt extender for my car … wait, did I ever blog about my car’s seat belt extender?

Seat belt extender, detached.

I didn’t.  Oh.  Okay.  Well then.  I have a seat belt extender for my car – two, in fact.  I’m not sure everyone my weight would NEED one.  In my case, with my body shape, I need it.  I got them with the car, which was purchased new from Toyota* at the end of 2001.  Toyota provided them free of charge, but did insist on measuring me and the man of the house to make sure we a) needed them and b) got the “correct” size.

This extender is rather like the extenders on airplanes**, in that it buckles right onto the “normal” buckle.  As a result it’s removable (and in fact it’s recommended that we remove it for people who don’t need it.)  It ends up not just extending the reach of my seat belt, it also moves the “pivot point” for the shoulder belt over about 10″, which makes it fit better across my torso.

Seat belt extender, attached

Manufacturers vary in terms of how they handle seat belts that don’t fit their customers. Some will provide or sell extenders, others install longer seat belts.***  There are also aftermarket solutions, such as extra-long seat belts and the “universal seat belt extender“.

What I do without an extender?  It partly depends on the car.  In most cars I can just use the belt as a lap belt only, and put the shoulder portion behind me.  Yes, this is less safe.  It also is often the only way to make it fit, and I’m not willing to ride in a car without a seat belt fastened.

I have demanded larger rental cars when the first one’s seat belt didn’t fit at all.

Update:Amazon sells seatbelt extenders too.

 


*Yes, a Toyota Prius.  No, I’ve had no problems with the gas pedal.

** Living XL and Amplestuff both sell multiple types of airline seat belt extenders.  Different airlines standardize on different types.

***The site www.ifisher.com maintains information on getting extenders or longer seat belts for many types of cars.  Honda is the most notable manufacturer that doesn’t provide extenders.  The soc.support.fat-acceptance group FAQ includes some information about this and also on cars in general, but it is possibly out of date at this point.