Questions about being 400lbs?

Do you have questions you’ve been thinking of asking?   Ask here.  Some answers may turn into posts of their own, or will be answered here.  =)

33 thoughts on “Questions about being 400lbs?

  1. Do you have any problems with your legs or feet swelling if you are seated for long periods of time and/or if you go without shoes for a few hours? My doctor tells me this issue is probably a result of my weight, but he says that about everything, including the side effects from my BP meds, so I am not inclined to believe him.

    • Fantine – your legs sewlling may be a symptom of varicose veins. My legs swelled when I was fat and they swelled when I was thin (although not quite as much).

      Since I have had my varicise veins stripped – poof! – no more swelling!

    • Yes, if I am seated for long periods of time, my feet and lower calves start to swell. Also my knees can be a bit “locked” when I try to get up. It’s also affected by the seat I’m in (some unpadded seats and arm supports seem designed to cut off circulation).

      Particular bugaboos: long car trips, air flights, and longish stretches of Puzzle Pirates :)

      I find getting up and moving around, or at least wiggling my feet, helps prevent this. Also changing positions occasionally (if I can). On car trips I angle for the back seat so I can move more.

  2. This sounds like a joke in bad taste but I really need to know – how do you manage personal hygiene (i.e. toileting)? I’m not 400 pounds but am over 300. I have a very, very difficult time reaching to wipe properly. I figure another 10-15 pounds and I won’t be able to reach at all. No one knows, not even my spouse, and it’s humiliating. I believe in FA – in all body acceptance – but want to lose weight anyway because there are things I just can’t do that I could do at 275 or 285, and other things that get more difficult as I get larger. How do you manage?

    • This is a delicate topic, but I doubt that Amplestuff and others would sell mobility aids specifically aimed at it if there weren’t a need.

      To clarify, wiping the front area is not an issue for me. I can even manage that in an airplane restroom. It’s wiping the back that requires more space, for me.

      What I do: I spread my legs, bend forward, and reach back between my legs. My knees need to go fairly wide to give my belly a place to go. Away from home I mostly use the largest (disabled) stall, but I often can manage in smaller stalls with more twisting.

      The few times I’ve misjudged a stall as being “wide enough” when it wasn’t I managed by getting off the seat, standing sideways in the stall, and then squatting down. Standing sideways gave my knees room to maneuver.

      As for airplane restrooms? I don’t fly often, and tend to have flights under 4 hours, so as to keep the need to have BMs to a minimum. I also carry extra-long pads, so that if I absolutely must have a BM in an airplane restroom it’s the pad absorbing anything left, not my clothing. Once I land I can change pads and clean up in a normal restroom.

      • Might I also suggest flushable wipes?

        Seriously, these things work so much better than toilet paper anyway—one will usually do the job, regardless of, um, output—but are also especially helpful when I don’t have much room to manoeuver. They are gentler on our delicate parts, too, and don’t ‘pill’.

        You can find them in the baby section of the grocery store, and the generic or store brand ones are usually really cheap—not as cheap as toilet paper, maybe, but you use less.

  3. One thing I have been wondering about, as a fellow 400 pounder who’s gearing up to re-enter the workforce, is if or how you deal with size discrimination? What kinds of challenges have you faced at your size in getting a job/promotion/etc, if any?

    Maybe I’ve missed a post on this subject, but I rarely see posts about the way others (especially those who are in a position of power) interact with you. Are there people in your day to day life who treat you differently because of you size? I’m well aware of the occasional rude comments and glares out there from society as a whole (believe me), but what about people you work with and family/friends?

    I, for one, would appreciate your views and insight on this topic….for many reasons (the most pressing being my fears of interviewing again for professional work after being out of it so long).

    • This is a topic in which I’m very interested. Up until recently I would never have thought that I ever experienced any sort of size discrimination or even different treatment at all. I’ve certainly never experienced the sort of horrible overt crap I’ve seen people larger than me take, but now honestly I’m not so sure that there hasn’t been an undercurrent there all along.

      Recently, I had some health issues that caused me to lose weight (more specifically, the meds for them and adjustments to other meds actually caused the weight loss). I lost about 50 pounds going from what most people visually id’ed as ‘fat’ to more of an inbetweenie sort of body. And lo… the skies opened and people started being… weird.

      I asked a friend if the bad economy was suddenly making sales people friendlier or if anyone else had noticed a sudden uptick in chatting on mass transit. But no, it’s apparently just me. All my friends actually seem to think folks have gotten crankier recently. But I’ve apparently gone from being somehow “other” to being someone sales people chat up. This is not a sexual interest thing. I’m an old lady and not a particularly attractive one at that. That’s never bothered me and I’ve never once let it stop me from chatting and joking with anyone I do business with, including the spacey teenage boys at Walmart. It’s just that now they joke back and smile. God, the smiling. Frankly, it’s kinda creeping me out.

      Not that I’ve got anything against smiling, I just don’t quite grok what I’ve done to warrant all this smiling. A nurse actually had the gall, when I brought it up in conversation, to suggest that perhaps I was projecting a happier image because of the weight loss… stupid woman KNOWS I’m in pain and feel like crap 24/7. There is no way I’m being nicer. All I am is smaller. Feh.

      Sorry… didn’t mean to derail, but it’s just fascinating to me and I have a morbid curiosity as to whether others notice this sort of thing when their weight fluctuates.

  4. Virtually all of us swell at least a bit as the day goes on, particularly in hot, humid weather…hence the advice to go shoe-shopping in the afternoon. I have poor circulation in my left leg & foot (the side where I have cerebral palsy) & some blood vessels, etc., which were not properly connected by the so-called surgeon who operated on me when I was four, so my left foot & ankle have been constantly swollen at least a bit for years & can get very bad in the heat or after a long, busy day with much time on my feet. I also have arthritis now & I started taking glucosamine/chondroitin capsules about 6 weeks ago, which do seem to be helping a lot with the pain & stiffness, but it is absolutely necessary that I get some regular exercise & that during the day, I get up frequently & walk around, change positions, stretch, etc. This particular input is coming from someone who is around 200 pounds, & my personal hygiene problems, such as they are, come from having very short arms for my height & size, from stiffness & lack of flexibility; however, those issues are not serious for me so far & always manageable (I also like keeping wet wipes around, which I find help me much more than regular TP). I think that my own swelling issues are more age & disability-related than size-related, & certainly hereditary, since my mother always retained fluid a great deal.

  5. How do you/did you find dates? This can be a question for any overweight woman. I am 5’6, 212 pounds, 22 years old and have never been on a date.( I used to weigh 275 but lost over the past year and 1/2). I’ve never been hit on, never had a guy approach me, nothing. I’ve been told i have a pretty face by friends/family and I keep up with personal hygiene, wear decent clothes, etc. I’m kind of shy so this might be a problem too. It just seems like all guys my age care about is if a woman is thin. I recently signed up for online dating, and so many of the guys have things like “no fat chicks” etc in their profiles. Its heartbreaking, and frankly makes me feel suicidal.

    • In terms of meeting people, the short form is that I got more social in my real life: I spent time with friends, I went to scifi cons, meetups, and so forth. One friend I met through UseNet invited me to the party where I met my husband. I met other people I dated through friends, online meetups, and work (big company — we weren’t working together while dating).

      In terms of feeling attractive, part of that was finishing college and finding a job I was good at, making more friends, and getting my own apartment. Something about having a life I liked really helped my confidence.

    • Try checking out Dimensions and other forums that are geared towards size acceptance. Just be careful and use your head. There are skeezy guys everywhere but I find on Dims especially, it really helps to talk to guys and it helps with shyness.

      It’s a good site to interact with women who have been where you are and can help you on the way. There are men out there who love women your size, don’t worry one will come along.

    • I’ve always felt like, if people are waiting for a guy to hit on them, they are limiting their pool of choices a lot, because most guys I know are not the type to just hit on a woman or approach a woman they don’t know. And, it wouldn’t surprise me if the guys who do do that sort of thing are more appearance-conscious than most men are. But just because you aren’t the type of person who guys will approach out of nowhere, doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t find a relationship, or aren’t attractive to plenty of people.

      I met my husband when we were both 19, so I haven’t had a huge amount of dating experience, but I do know that fat people marry and have sex and have kids at the same rate as thing people (and possibly higher rates!). But it does seem like certain situations that are more commonly associated with meeting people–like being approached at a bar–are much harder if you don’t meet certain standards of conventional attractiveness. But, I think that’s okay, because most people don’t meet those standards, and honestly I’ve always felt that the kind of guy who would approach somebody just because she looked hot isn’t the kind of guy I’d necessarily want to be in a relationship with. Many people meet their partners in school or at work or at church or through mutual friends, or through a club or interest, or from starting out as friends, and I tend to think those things make a better beginning, anyway.

      And, last thing: the internet is a hotbed of fat hatred. The opinions of men on online dating sites, IMO, bear as much resemblance to the opinions of men in the world at large as the opinions of people who comment on online news articles represents the opinions of people at large. So I wouldn’t let that scare or discourage you.

    • @Tess: I’m an introvert who hated the bar scene and never went on a real date until I was 27. I met my husband through internet dating. I weighed around 275 the summer I turned 27, and got tons of dates. Some things I found that helped were:

      1. Looking for older men (35+), who are sometimes (not always) more mature and more accepting of different sized bodies.
      2. Dressing to flaunt my curves and cleavage and realizing that the cleavage is what was going to catch their interest (at least to begin with).
      3. Posting a full body picture so it was entirely clear that I was a woman of size, so the douchehounds would stay far away (which is where I prefer them).
      4. Writing introductory e-mails to lots and lots of guys, and fully expecting that maybe 10-15% of them were going to answer.
      5. Realizing that even after all those precautions were taken, some of my dates would still be douchehounds, and learning not to take that personally.
      6. Not being too picky. My husband is 18 years older than me, outside the age range I was initially looking for; he is shorter than average and he works as a janitor. None of that stuff ended up mattering. After nearly 6 years together, we could not be more in love.

      I found that once I started dressing to flaunt my curves instead of hide them, and once I had been on a few successful dates, my confidence started to attract more people. I started being asked for dates by guys who lived in my building, for example, who never seemed to have noticed me before. Man, I had some fun that summer! :c)

    • I don’t know what site you’re on. I was (and still have a profile) on OKCupid, and have never gotten a fat hating e-mail. I post full length pics, and mention my size (once) in my intro, and left it at that.

      Even though I’ve dated in the past, the more I found dates there, the more comfortable I became flirting and dating in “the real world”.

      And are you sure you’re not being subtly hit on? Guys may start flirting with you and shut down when they don’t get positive feedback.

    • This is the most infuriating advice I’ve ever gotten, but it’s the god’s honest truth. The times that I haven’t been thinking about guys at all has been the moments when I’m swimming in them. I even met my fiance when all I was thinking about was reconnecting with friends who’d just come back from abroad. Here’s some things that have worked for me in the past:
      1. Ask out your crush. All he can say is “No” or “Yes”. And getting the courage up to ask him is going to make you feel fantastic. Even if he says “No” you’ve done it and will probably do it again. He may misunderstand you and think it’s a friend thing. It’s ok, you’ve still done it and have gotten to spend time with him talking to boot! You may even find out you don’t like him like that anyway.
      2. Find something you love and do it with gusto. I wanted to see the American West, so I went and worked a summer in Yellowstone. It was amazing and I met a whole bunch of guys who thought I was too.
      3. Make friends with other girls, you’ll meet them while you’re doing that thing you love. They know people you don’t.
      4. If you do like a guy and are afraid to ask him out give him the opportunity to ask you! Smile and say “Hi” ask him how his day is; he’s a person, so treat him like one.
      5. Make friends with guys even if they aren’t ones you see yourself dating. They might be fantastic people and they have friends, too.

    • I’m the same weight as you, 4 inches shorter, 4 years older, and married. I think my shyness used to be more of a barrier to dating than my weight. Acting shy or withdrawn can be interpreted as “not interested”, especially if the other person is also a bit of an introvert. In one case, I found out later on that someone was interested in me but hadn’t given any overt signals because I wasn’t returning the subtle ones.

      Sure, there were guys who weren’t attracted to me because of my weight – I almost never got hit on by a stranger on the basis of my appearance (and the one time I did, it was creepy). But there were also guys who were very interested in me – they were people who knew me and liked me, and were attracted to me as a whole person. Every person I dated was someone I had gotten to know through friends or hobbies.

      I haven’t personally tried online dating, but I know lots of people who have, with varying degrees of success. I’ve come to the conclusion that online dating can work out really well – but no matter who you are or what you look like, the guys on the internet who *aren’t* a good match for you will outnumber the guys who are, so be prepared to sift through them.

      My advice is to get out and meet people – new friends, as well as potential dates. Hobbies and volunteering are great for this, and you’ll have something in common right from the start. Talk to people, pay attention to them, and generally treat them like they’re interesting.

  6. I have a few questions mostly from a younger person to an older person:

    1. Does your family bug you about your size and how do you deal with it? Have you found anything that makes them stop?

    2. How was wedding planning and dress shopping for you? Did you have a big traditional wedding or run off to a court-house or something in between?

    3. How do you explain HAES and FA to your doctor and did s/he look at you like you had three heads?

    • 1) My parents did. I’ve written about how I handled that before in terms of setting boundaries and so forth. My mother passed away a few years ago and I’m currently not very close with my dad.

      2) Not a big traditional wedding. I had bought a cream lace dress for Easter one year, and ended up wearing that for my wedding. We were married in a public park we’d visited on our first date.

      (At the time there was a plus/extended-size boutique that did plus/extended -size bridal in Seattle, so I could have done a traditional wedding dress without too much fuss. I just didn’t want to invest that much time/money into a dress I would wear once.)

      3) With my previous nurse practioner I had presented FA as “I’ve dieted a lot and each time I lose weight I end up regaining more than I lost. I don’t want to yo-yo anymore.” If she asked whether I exercised or about eating vegetables I would answer honestly, depending on what was going on at the time, but I’d respond to “So do you want to talk about weight loss?” with “I don’t want to yo-yo anymore and I really don’t want to gain more weight.”

      My current nurse practioner has not brought up my weight. She does encourage me to exercise and drink 8 glasses of water and get enough calcium, so she’s asking about my behaviors, but not my weight. She also prescribed physical therapy instead of weight loss when I injured my knee exercising, for which I am VERY glad!

  7. I have a few questions, if you can answer them.

    1) If you shave, what all do you shave and how do you do it? And how long does the average shower take you? I’m asking this because I’m a bigger girl too and it usually takes me longer in the shower to completely shave (i shave all my body hair). I usually take about 45-hour in the shower every night.

    2) I think I remember seeing a post saying you were in your 30s to 40s.. but I don’t remember seeing anything about you having children. Do you have kids?

    3) Is your husband a large guy too, height and weight wise? How does he compare to you in size?

    I hope my questions weren’t too nosey. I’m just rather curious. Also, I’m a huge fan of your blog! Please keep up the hard work and thanks!

    • 1) I have a few hairs growing on my cheek that I shave off. Otherwise I don’t bother. Part of this is because the hair on my legs stayed blonde when the hair on my head darkened, so it’s not really visible anyway.

      2) I’m in my 40s. No kids. It wasn’t entirely a conscious choice but it’s not a tragedy either—more like having children wasn’t a major priority for us.

      3) My husband’s weight is in the mid-300lbs. He is a little shorter than I and has a LOT more muscles, which he occasionally demonstrates by picking me up.

  8. @Sara A- if you havent already, head over to axisoffat…Natalie just posted some tips based on her gorgeous wedding.

  9. Pingback: Monthly Roundup (Nov & Dec) « Living ~400lbs

  10. Hope it isn’t too late for a question:

    My questions are more about strength and mobility — larger people seem to have a high degree of strength, especially in the legs.

    1. If you are lying down on the floor how do you stand up and how hard do you find it?
    2. Do you/can you take stairs 2-at-a-time?

    • 1) I crouch with one knee on the ground and one knee in front of me, then stand up. It’s also out I get out of the tub.

      2) I haven’t tried it recently on standard stairs — I don’t think I’m up to that. I can do it on shallow steps (like 2-3″).

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