Weight Loss with Curves: Part 2

Last month, June began this series by sharing the challenges of shopping with curves after weight loss.  Today, she writes about the challenge of realizing the need for weight loss with curves. Once again, she approaches a loaded subject with sensitivity and thoughtfulness.  You can find more of her body-affirming approach in her recent post on body positivity over at Braless in Brasil.  Fair warning, however–once you’re on her blog, you’re not going to want to leave!

This is a tough subject for me because there are people out there that have this crazy idea in their head that all overweight/obese individuals are in denial about their weight and it is their mission in life to point it out to them and shame them thin.  Not cool.  With a few exceptions, doctors are about the only ones who should broach this subject with an obese/overweight individual, and even then I’d say doctors should be better trained in measuring body fat, looking at the individual’s cholesterol/blood pressure, etc.,  and discussing appropriate weight loss methods (beyond just stop eating as much).  Trust me, some random stranger on the street telling you that you’re fat does not help.

What I do want to discuss, though, is my own denial of my weight.  During my pregnancy with my daughter I reached my highest weight ever–240 pounds.  After that I lost some but regained it quickly and got back up to 225 pounds and probably would have gone all the way back up to 240 pounds if I hadn’t had made some major changes in my life.  But it took me a long time to really recognize how large I was.  Sure, at 5’6″ I knew 200+ pounds was overweight. I was shopping at Lane Bryant, and my size 16’s were seriously tight on me, but somehow I kept telling myself I wasn’t “that big“.

I have to admit that my curves were somewhat to blame too.  I kept telling myself that I carried all my weight in my breasts/butt and so it was OK (looking back at pictures I was definitely carrying a lot of weight in my waist too but it was hard to see at the time).

 

Apparently that weight didn’t count?  😉  I remember even trying to subtract what I guessed the weight of my breasts came to and then recalculating my weight.  I was a bit crazy…

Now some may say that it’s not a problem, that I had a beautiful body even at my highest weight.  While that may be true, my health was not that great.  I had knee and back pain, and I’m prone to getting cysts at higher weights.  Add to that that I was really having a hard time keeping up with my toddler and I could feel how that weight and my food choices/lack of exercise were affecting me.  When I did start changing my habits, I noticed the difference almost instantaneously.  Maybe my body didn’t change overnight, but daily runs and cutting out sugar gave a huge boost to my energy levels and motivation.  The more I lost, the better I felt and eventually it dawned on me how much I had been kidding myself at my highest weight.

I had been kidding myself for a long time.  I’ve been at least 20+ pounds overweight for the past 8 years.  That was even after getting medical problems that improved with weight loss.  During that time, though,  I didn’t hate the way I looked.  As long as I was under 200 pounds I was able to dress in non-Plus-sized clothes simply due to the way I carried my weight.  It’s really only now that I’ve lost most of the weight that I can look back and see that my appearance allowed me to ignore the underlying medical issues.

The funny part too is that I never saw myself as my actual size even in pictures.  Awhile back I posted a picture of me at about 210 pounds.

I vividly remember seeing that picture of myself at the time and I never thought I looked “that big” in the picture.  Looking at it now and comparing it to the image I see looking back in the mirror, I see the difference much more.

Weight Loss with Curves, Part 1

Here is the first in a series about weight, curves and body image from June, the fearless blogger behind BralessinBrasil.  If weight loss is as loaded a subject for you as it is for me, please read my philosophy on it in the post immediately preceding this one.

First off, I want to thank Darlene for asking me to write this series of guest posts on body image with curves.  I’ve enjoyed reading her blog so much and it’s fun to find a kindred bra-soul.  🙂

I’ve been all over the place in terms of weight.  My highest adult weight put me just shy of morbidly obese whereas my lowest weight put me squarely in the healthy category.  In the past year and a half, I’ve lost over 55 pounds from my highest post-partum weight of 225 pounds.  However, no matter what my weight, I’ve always had a large bust in terms of the ratio between my waist and bust.  I’m quite a bit curvier now  than I ever was when I was pushing morbidly obese.

Let me tell you a dirty little secret that the folks on the biggest loser don’t want you to know. It was a lot easier for me to dress as a curvy girl when I was plus-sized. Yep, you heard it right. I could just waltz into Lane Bryant and find shirts that were cut quite generously in the bust. Many times they were made out of stretchy material so I could even grab my size and run without trying it on first–something that I can’t even conceive of nowadays! Part of it was that Lane Bryant and other plus-sized stores expect plus-sized women to have curves.  Basically they buy into the idea that plus-sized = curves and really push it to sell their clothes and make their customers feel better about their weight. Just look at a dress from their current catalog.  It looks quite generous in both the bust and the hips

 

Fifty-five pounds ago, I could even buy bras in stores.  Sure, the band size was about one size too big and the cups were slightly too small, but the bras were wearable, came in a wide variety of styles and were easily available.  Now that I wear a 30GG/H there’s no way in the world I could even dream of buying a bra that remotely fit me in a store.

However, one thing that is pushed so often in the weight loss industry is that once you reach your goal weight you can shop anywhere, and everything will look nice on you! Um, no.  Really, no. Not at all actually.  I’ve found that the closer I get to a healthy weight the harder it is to find clothes.  I wear about a US size 6-8 at the moment.  Pants aren’t too bad, just the gapping at the back of the waist, which can be fixed by relatively simple alterations, and pants appear to be going in the direction of providing different sizes according to your curve, which helps a lot.

Shirts and dresses are another story entirely.  It’s become infinitely clear to me relatively quickly that shirts are pretty shapeless and are being built with very small busts in mind.  You see a lot of baggy peasant T’s.  Sure, they can fit a wide range of body shapes due to their bagginess, but they can be extraordinarily unflattering on a large bust because the shirts hang straight down from your bust.  If you’re a 30GG then that can make your waist look up to 10″ larger!  Just imagine this shirt, for instance, on our pretend 30GG girl

As is, it makes the model’s waist look a lot bigger and it’s certainly not because she’s remotely overweight.

It was a hard pill for me to swallow when I realized that I wasn’t going to have my big shopping spree at the mall when I hit my goal weight.  Instead, I’ll have a lot of researching and ordering online.  While it’s fun to get new clothes, it’s not the same thrill as looking in the mirror at your favorite store and realizing that the size you’ve been coveting for years finally fits on your new body.