Cash in on curvy before the bubble pops!

Listen! Did you hear that? It was the floopy sound of body fat peaking as a social issue. In about ten social media minutes (which is the equivalent of forty dog years. Unless they are dogs who know how to surf. Then it about evens out), not even grad students blogging in pale yellow letters with a black background are going to want to talk about fatness anymore. Quick, while it’s still a tiny bit trendy, let’s cash in and corner that curvy market.

Okay, maybe it’s a rounded corner. Which is every bit as beautiful as right angles. Every. Bit.

Here are my ideas, and you can have ’em:

Curvy Spirituality I don’t know what it is, but it will make a million dollars. The gift pack comes encased in a pink naugahyde binder with a little inflation valve so you can Plus Size Your Blessings™. Other possibilities: a Biblical cookbook expansion pack. From Eden’s Fruit to Ezekiel’s Poop Cakes: Salivating Your Way Through Salvation History. Something something milk and honey. I dunno, this needs some work. You’re smart, you’ll figure it out.

Beach Towel Bellio. It’s like a little patio for your belly, see? You want to lie down on your side on the beach like all the normals, but your belly floops over the edge of the towel and gets all gritty in the sand because you just had to listen to your husband and get a tankini, which does come with high-waisted bottoms but which is not magic. No bueno!

Well, no más. Just affix the terry cloth Bellio (believe it or not, that name has not been trademarked yet. I checked) to your beach towel with the velcro tabs (included), spread out your accommodating new Bellio, and your tummy stays comfy and dry, at least until someone accidentally steps on it. Bellio is not responsible for stepped-on bellies.

BMI Bechdel Test. I guess this could be an app or something. If you want to bring in that coveted demographic of females size 18-32, your movie must include at least one woman with pants size in double digits, and, if she is in a relationship with a man, his attitude toward her pants size must not be featured as a major part of his character development. Seriously, he doesn’t get any medals for being in the same room with the gal sporting a bra extender.

Also he can’t be gay. Nice try, loopholers.

Curvy Music. Again, I don’t know what it is, but I know people would buy it. If there’s a market for German Reggae and Horror Country, then there’s a market for Curvy . . .

You know what, just stop everything and listen to this German Reggae.

Is . . . is that a dulcimer?

Curvy Barbies. Oh, wait, we already have these. Everyone was very enthusiastic about them last year, because these dolls were going to Fix Our Daughters. Right after they were done being fixed by playing with dolls that shriek, “STEM is cool!” every time you pat them on the ass.

So I was at the Walmart yesterday with some time to kill, and what did I see on the clearance rack? Rank upon rank of Curvy Barbies, all proudly hippy, all sporting thighs that were physically capable of supporting a torso, all tarted up just as whorishly as their rail-thin sisters, all beaming mindlessly into the stratosphere . . . and all unsold.

Dammit, I think I missed the wave. Hold me! Comfort me! No, not like that! Bring me some sour cream, you fool.

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Image: decal on Amazon. Please do not buy this decal.

I kinda look pregnant, and I kinda don’t care.

Warning: Lady essay ahead.

Today, while we were running, I asked my husband, “Okay. Do I look pregnant?”

He got that blissful expression on his face that husbands get when their wives ask neutral and in-no-way-dangerous questions like this. I added, to ease up on the poor guy a bit, “Sometimes. In some clothes. Do I?” And he said, “Yes.”

Message me for our address, so you can mail him his medal for courage.

And then he told me how beautiful I am, and how much progress I’ve made since we started running. Which is true, and which I expected him to say. The thing that surprised me was how little it hurt to hear him say that I look pregnant.

I gave birth to our tenth child almost two and a half years ago. I had a bad year last year and gained a bunch of weight, and now I’m working on losing some of it. I’m running several times a week, eating less, and correcting a lot of bad habits and bad attitudes surrounding food. But I have this solid, poochy belly. I see people glancing at it, wondering if I’m pregnant again, and I don’t blame them.

I guess I have diastasis recti, or separated abdominal muscles. All those little unborn savages weren’t content to eat all my nutrients, suck the calcium out of my teeth, permanently jack up my hips, and turn my brain into gruel; they had to tear apart my muscles from the inside, too! The ingrates! And now they want a ride to the library!

There are special exercises you can do to heal your diastasis recti. They’re not terribly hard. I’m already in the habit of exercising, so it wouldn’t be that difficult to do some abdomen work. But I just, deep in the heart of me, don’t feel like it. I don’t feel like I need to be “healed” of having a poochy abdomen. It’s not that I’m proud of my belly. I’m not big into that “Yeah, bay-bee, I EARNED these tiger stripes and if you don’t say my stretch marks are BEAUTIFUL than you are RAPING MY SELF WORTH and I WON’T LET THAT HAPPEN DO YOU HEAR ME?” stuff.

At the same time, every cell in my body, every corner of my soul utterly lacks the motivation to make it appear that I haven’t had ten children. I don’t enjoy being a fatty. But there are so many worse things I could be. I could hate my body, or be filled with self-loathing, or feel that I don’t deserve love because I’m a size 18. And I don’t do any of that. I’m taking care of myself, and I feel pretty good.

This is by no means a condemnation of women who are working hard to get back into pre-baby shape. I think you ladies are amazing. I will freely admit I’m mostly just too lazy to even look up the exercises, much less do them faithfully. I don’t think there’s anything morally superior about leaving my tired muscles alone, and I don’t think that losing belly fat is a sign of self-hatred. For some women, taking on the challenge of getting back to pre-baby shape is the right thing for their mental health, maybe even for their spiritual growth. Maybe they just want to look nicer. Yay, ladies! I’m sincerely impressed!

But for me, at age 42, married almost twenty years, sending the first two kids off to college . . . I’m moving on to the next stage of my life. Where I am, it just doesn’t seem important to erase all evidence of the previous stage of my life. I had a bunch of babies; I look like I had a bunch of babies. So what? I’ll buy brighter lipstick and go out anyway.

Check back with me in a couple of weeks, and I’ll probably be all teary and desperately scrolling through shape wear reviews. Right now, though, I feel kind of like a moderately strong, moderately attractive, moderately confident woman who doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about belly fat. It feels pretty good.

I’m sharing this because maybe you don’t have anyone in your life telling you that it’s not the end of the world to be fat. So here I am telling you: It’s not!

Couch to 5K lives up to the hype

Here’s an entire post about the Couch to 5K running training program. You’ve been warned! If you don’t want to read the whole thing, here’s the short version:

I was just about ready to lie down and die, but now I feel much better, physically, mentally, and emotionally, and you can, too.

How it works: We downloaded the free app onto our phones. You go out three times a week, and it tells you exactly what to do, on the screen and out loud. Like: “Begin warm-up! Walk for five minutes.” “*BONG!*Start running now!” “You are half way!” “*BONG!*Start walking now.” And so on. It begins and ends with a five-minute walk, and alternates walking and running for varying lengths of time, increasing the total running time week by week. By the time you get through the whole program, you can run five kilometers, which is just over three miles.

You can upgrade the app to play music, keep track of calories, and other stuff, but the free version is fine.

Why we started: As with the beginning of so many great things, I was sitting on the bed crying because I’m disgusting and nothing will ever change and it’s just all so horrible. So my husband goes, “Let’s do that Couch to 5K thing.” And I sniffled, “Okay,” because it sounded better than sitting on the bed crying. I probably would have agreed to go away to Organic Rollercoaster Engineer school at that point.

We both used to run many, many years ago, but now we are both 42.  I have done various kinds of workouts over the years, but it’s been harder and harder to do anything consistently. We were both feeling very much like it was the beginning of the end, and like every aspect of our lives would just get harder and cruddier and more pathetic, steadily and inexorably, until we were dead. So, this was our way to fight back and see if we could do something else, instead.

In the beginning, I was terrified. I was so sure that I was going to embarrass myself, let my husband down, and just be pathetic and gross in some way, and end up feeling even worse because I had failed one more thing. This is not commensurate with reality. I’m actually fairly accomplished in a lot of different areas, and have done all kinds of difficult and frightening things, and am surrounded by supportive, appreciative people. But my stupid rat brain was pretty persuasive about me being a repulsive loser blob.

How it’s going:  It’s going great! It has been hard every week; it has gotten easier every week. Every week, we’ve been very conscious of getting stronger, which is incredibly encouraging and motivating.

We repeated a few days when we felt like we just barely got through them. One week, we peeked ahead and freaked out at how hard the next week looked, so we repeated the same week until we got a little stronger and more confident.

And that is fine. We intend to run a 5K eventually, but we’re not in a huge rush. As long as we don’t lose ground, it’s fine.

So now, six weeks later, we’re starting week four, which is a 31-minute workout. It’s a brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog for three minutes, walk for ninety seconds, jog for five minutes, walk for 2.5 minutes, jog three minutes, walk ninety seconds, and jog five minutes, and then walk another five minutes to cool down. We talk and laugh while we jog.

There is no way I could have done this a month ago. Nooooooo way. I would have thrown up and collapsed and spent the rest of the day laughing at that that alien species of people who waste their lives moving their limbs around like idiots, rather than enjoying life like I was *sob*.

But I’ve gotten stronger, my stamina is much better, and most of all, I have more confidence. I woke up this morning feeling awful, with a sinus headache, a stuffy nose, and a heavy, congested chest. But rather than looking for a reason to skip, I decided that I would at least try and see what I could do. Nobody pushed me into it; I just decided on my own to try.

This . . . is kind of a big deal for me. I find that I’m spending less time looking for excuses not to do things, and more time looking for reasons to make things possible, or at least to give it a shot. Not just running, but all kinds of things. All kinds of things just seem more possible. I feel more capable. I’m looking forward to the future.

This is kind of a big deal for me.

Physical changes: I don’t own a scale, so I’m not sure if I’m losing weight. When I’m getting regular exercise, I find it much easier to eat reasonably, both in what and how much I eat. I’m focusing on just eating when I’m hungry no more than five times a day, stopping when I’m no longer hungry, and trying to get plants and protein and avoid sugar; so I know I’m healthier than I was six weeks ago. My days are less centered around hunting and gathering. The gin, however, stays in the picture.

I feel a lot less shame about my body. Even when I look in the mirror and see a body I’m not happy with, I see it as a working body, a trying body, and not the body of a loser. It’s not that fat people are losers, or that women who look like they’ve borne children are losers. But my body was, objectively, the body of someone who had given up. I had stopped trying to feel better, and that was no good, no matter how I looked to outsiders.

I’m definitely getting more toned. My belly is a little flatter, my hips are less blobby, and my legs and arms have more definition. I’m still fat. I will probably always be fat. This does not seem terrible to me (or to my husband, which helps a lot!).

And I’m sleeping better.
And I have more energy during the day.
I can be active longer without strain, and I can stay awake and alert for longer in the day.
And I’m setting a good example for the kids, who are thinking of doing the program themselves when school lets out.
Any my back doesn’t hurt all the time.
I think maybe my skin is clearer?
My mood is better, especially on running days.
And my posture is better. It’s easier, and it feels more natural, to sit up straight.
I’m looking forward to the summer, thinking about hiking and swimming and running around with the kids, rather than dreading feeling guilty about wasting the warm weather but feeling so draaaaaaained all the time.

I no longer look at running as some kind of alien, unreachable thing that people who are very, very different from me do. The program is really well designed, not pushing too hard or too fast, so you not only get your body in shape, but you gradually come around mentally, too, and start to think of running differently. I really admire the way it’s set up, with a good understanding of human psychology.

Things that help: We drive a little distance and then run in a secluded country road, where there is almost no traffic and it’s mostly level. This pic is from April 5. There’s less snow today!

We use the treadmill when the weather makes outdoor running actually dangerous (like when the road is covered with a sheet of wet ice), but the treadmill adds a whole level of difficulty and unpleasantness. Fresh air, room to move, and something to look at make a huge difference.

It would be harder to stick with this on my own. My husband and I encourage and motivate each other, and keep each other on track. Talking and laughing while we run also makes the time go by so much faster.

Music and distractions like Facebook help a ton on the treadmill. I prefer talking to my husband and listening to the birds and streams when we’re outside, but it helps a lot to have a song in my head, to keep to the beat.

General running tips that I remember from long ago. Correct me if I’m wrong about these!: keep your movements as smooth and gliding as possible; use your whole body, rather than just trotting with your legs; roll from heel to the ball of your foot when you step; try to extend each stride, rather than running faster; tip your chin up to keep your chest up and shoulders back, so you can get more air in your lungs; keep your hands low and your fingers and arms loose, rather than tightening them up around your chest like a fricking dinosaur; breathe in through your nose and out through your pursed lips, to keep the oxygen in your body as long as possible. Don’t forget to stretch before and after. Drink water!

My friends, I was circling the drain, but I’m fighting back! If I can do it, you can, too. (It doesn’t have to be Couch to 5K. It could be any firm decision to get moving and keep it up indefinitely.) I’m not special. I’m not radically reorganizing my life. I’m just ready to stop feeling terrible about everything all the time.

 

Hup!

Today, I am super so far behind on stuff I absolutely need to do, so here is something I wrote four years ago on this day. I’m even fatter now than I was then, but my back is all better, and I bet I could kick Jane Fonda’s titanium ass.

Look, this is us smiling after running (well, running and walking) for half an hour this morning!

Sheesh, I need to do something about my teeth, though. Oh well.

1.  I don’t know how successfully I’ve hidden this in the few photos of myself that I’ve put online, but I am 5’5″ and in the last fifteen years, I’ve put on average of seven pounds of permanent weight for each baby.  This is what happens when all you do is sit down.

2.  I was having stabbing pain, excruciating burning from my lower back down to my toes, tingling, numbness, and general unpredictable sciatic misery, which finally sent me to the doctor, because I couldn’t believe that I could become that debilitated just from doing nothing.  The x-ray revealed that I have “mild to moderate degeneration” between the discs of my spine, brought on by age, weight gain, and inactivity, or, in layman’s terms, being a loser.  I am adding that phrase,  “mild to moderate degeneration,” to my list of possible new names for the new blog I’ll never start.  Other possibilities I’ve gathered over the years include what Mark Shea called me one time (“History’s Greatest Monster”), what an outraged reader told my editor (“Fisher Is Unrepentant!”), and what my mechanic wrote about the van (“Misfires Badly Under Any Significant Load”).

3.  A sad little drama recently played out in a shopping plaza nearby.  First there was nothing but a Curves Gym.  Then Five Guys Burger and Fries moved in next door.  Curves held out for a while, but one day the windows went dark, and they packed up and moved away, presumably shaking their chubby fists in rage, with an embarrassing amount of flappy movement around the upper arm area, as they went.  And then, in the space where Curves used to be, Rick’s Gourmet Ice Cream moved in.

4.  This is not going to become one of those tedious blogs that does nothing but record how many reps or grams or kilos or whatever (wait, I think I’m talking about cocaine now) of cardio I accomplished and which variety of kale I like to add to my puke smoothie.  (Sorry, I just friggin hate the whole smoothie thing.  You still have teeth, people.  Use ’em.)  I will try not to make a big deal out of it unless I think it would be genuinely interesting to someone besides myself and my doctor.

5.  I picked out an exercise DVD that looked like a reasonable place to start.  Today, I did it for the first time, and had two shocks:  one is that it’s designed for senior citizens; and two, it wasn’t easy to keep up.  Argh.  Yep, ol’ Jane Fonda is going on and on about her titanium hip and how great it is that we’re doing so much to combat memory loss, and I’m screaming on the inside “ISN’T TWENTY MINUTES UP YET, YOU HOLLOW CHEEKED BITCH?”

6.  I used to be able to run five miles.  Cursing the whole way, but still, I used to be able to do it.  Now, I can’t even curse for five miles straight, running or not.  I don’t even have profanity stamina anymore.

7.  In the week that has passed since I wrote #1-6, I have put off reading what Pope Francis said about people who complain about 73 distinct times. Because look,  I got the flu, which meant that I was too weak and feverish to do my back exercises, which meant that I couldn’t sleep because of back pain, which meant that the baby decided this would be a fine time to give up sleeping.  Like, just quit, flat out.  She goes to bed at the normal time, but wakes up at 1:30, ready to play.  The next two hours are spent with constructive thoughts like, “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME” and “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FUNCTION” and “I THINK I HAVE TWO FRIENDS NAMED LYDIA BUT MAYBE ONLY ONE I’M NOT SURE ABOUT THAT BECAUSE THERE IS THAT ONE LYDIA BUT THEN THERE IS THAT OTHER ONE ALSO AND THAT MAKES TWO BUT ON THE OTHER HAND I’M NOT SURE HOW MANY FRIENDS I HAVE NAMED LYDIA.”  (See, fever.)  Then I went to throw up, but my back hurt too much to reach the toilet.  Also, I took a shower and it turned out the soap had a bug on it, and I was washing myself with bug.

And THAT’S why I say sometimes it’s okay to just go through your medicine chest and see what you can find.  Because, sheesh.

What’s for Supper? Vol. 8: Pan Roasted Woodchuck with Autumnal Vengeance

whats for supper

Question of the week:

What’s your “Yay, It’s Finally Fall Weather!” dish? Something that you only cook or bake or eat at this time of year. It’s okay if it’s some kind of pumpkin spice bullshit. This is a safe space. Here’s what our week in food looked like:

SATURDAY Cheeseburgers; homemade fries; salad; cookies

Today it’s raining, and we’ve had a few frosts already, and have turned on the heat for the year. Love that cozy smell of toasted dust. But last Saturday, it was still warm, and Mr. Husband cooked the burgers outside:food blog burgers grillAbout a month ago, Aldi had this American cheese on sale for ten cents a package, so I bought an armful. Check it out: it has pictures on it. Not only that, but it looks like this one one side:food blog cheese 2and this on the other side:food blog cheese 1THESE ARE THE SAME TWO PIECES OF CHEESE, FOLKS. God bless America. I made fries using this cold oil method I just heard about. It’s supposed to be easier, less smoky, and just less hassle all around.food blog fries cookingThe first batch definitely was less hassle; but then I had to make about five more batches, and the oil was already hot, so no more newfangled cold oil method for me. But they were good! And I never would have taken the plunge if I hadn’t thought the recipe would make things easier, so I’m glad.food blog friesSome of the kids sprinkled vinegar on their hot fries. Here I am, dealing with one of the slightly overdone ones:food blog burning fryIf you squint, it looks almost liturgical.

SUNDAY Beef stew; popovers; apple pie

Beef stew and apple pie are my “Yay, it’s Fall!” dishes. For stew, I use a pretty basic recipe: Cut beef into small chunks, and shake them up in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. In a heavy pot, fry up some crushed garlic in a little oil, then throw the floured meat in, plus the extra flour. Fry it up until it’s slightly browned. Add some combination of water, beef broth, and red wine*. Add in cubed potatoes, chopped onions and carrots, diced tomatoes with juice (canned is fine), and string beans (frozen is fine). Add a few bay leaves, and add more liquid if necessary; or, if it’s not thick enough, make a little roux (flour and butter paste) and stir that in. Cover and simmer for several hours. If you have mushrooms, add them in an hour or so before serving. Oh, here’s a tip for feeding hot foods to babies: mix in a few frozen vegetables. This cools the food without diluting it:food blog corrie stewTried this popover recipe for the first time. You make the batter in a blender. I ended up using the standing mixer with the whisk attachment, because a triple recipe of batter didn’t fit in the blender. Popovers are supposed to be light and airy, and they are supposed to puff up to great heights and then collapse when you pull them out of the oven. Mine were kind of dense and hearty, and just kind of sat there looking eggy. Everyone loved them anyway, and they sure were easy to throw together, so I will probably make them again, even if I don’t get the hang of it.food blog popoversI have now used that mini muffin pan exactly three times in six years: once to make mini quiches for a baby shower, once to make bacon roses for father’s day, and once for these popovers. I can’t use the spots in the middle, because I drilled holes in them to let out the grease for the bacon roses. I should have a TV cooking show called “The Stupid Kitchen.” So, pie! I had to make at least one pie before we ran out of apple orchard apples. I think Cortland apples are technically best for pie, since they are flavorful and keep their shape, but I love the taste of Mackintosh the best, so that’s what I use, even though they get mushy. I have plateaued in my pie crust-making skills, so I just bought some frozen ones and threw in a bunch of apple slices with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, a little flour, and some butter. Irene helped with the apple prep, but quickly discerned that there were too many damn applesfood blog irene applesand went to watch Spiderman. *Pinecroft. It’s crazy cheap – maybe $3 a bottle – and it tastes completely okay for all your okay-wine-drinking needs.

MONDAY One-pan roasted chicken thighs with fall vegetables

A new recipe for me from Damn Delicious. I had to buy Brussels sprouts, which are unreasonably expensive, because a woodchuck ate pretty much everything in my garden this year. I planted peas, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, radicchio, spinach, basil, pumpkins, cucumbers, and Brussels sprouts, and every time I went out to weed or water, something else would be gone. Just chewed into oblivion, everything except one pumpkin. It was infuriating.garden pumpkinNext year, I’m buying a gun, and I’ll share my recipe for pan roasted friggin woodchuck with the vegetables of vengeance. Anyway, this recipe was a big hit.  My family loves anything with a balsamic vinegar taste. I associate balsamic vinegar with light, summery, Italian dishes, but it went really well with this cozy, autumnal meal. It was a really good dish for putting together in the morning and then chucking in the oven in the evening. And it looked GORGEOUS. And it’s a smorgasbord of vitamins, too. I felt like sending a picture to my pediatrician with the heading, “SEE?”food blog fall vegOh, so butternut squash is much easier to peel if you cut the shaft off the round part, and peel them separately. I tried peeling the whole thing, and Benny thought it looked like a phone. I wanted to take a picture of her talking on the squash phone, but she wouldn’t let me, and insisted that she take a picture of me talking on the squash phone. So I let her, while thinking, “This is the kind of precious, overstaged nonsense that makes people hate mommy bloggers.”food blog squash phoneI’m posting it here because the dog intervened. Also, plus, real reason: look how skinny I look! This is a trick of perspective. I’m super fat right now. Hey, here’s some chicken:food blog chicken and veg

TUESDAY Taco Tuesday!

Just regular old tacos with ground beef and spice from a packet, nothing to write home about. I stopped taking pictures at this point in the week, because it was mainly me driving around for hours and hours, and then me lying down and playing Tokyo to Corrie’s Godzilla:food blog kids

And yes, that is a treadmill with clothes draped on it.

WEDNESDAY Penne with sausage, peppers, and cheese

Cooked up some sweet sausages, fried up some peppers and onions, added a few cans of diced tomatoes, and mixed it up with pasta, jarred sauce, shredded mozzarella, and grated parmesan, and heated the whole thing in a casserole dish. We ate this meal approximately 946 times after I had the baby, so I’ve shied away from it for a while, but I think it’s time to put it back in the rotation. Another good make-ahead dish.

THURSDAY Hot dogs and beans for the kids; bruschetta and calamari for the adults.

We went out on the spur of the moment. Three cheers for having four teenagers in the house!

FRIDAY Ricotta spinach pasta

This is what we’re having today. It’s a Budget Bytes recipe. Her recipes are really reliable — they turn out just as described, and are usually fairly easy to put together. The ricotta gets creamy and yummy, and it is cheap, and you can totally use frozen spinach. Phew. Made it through the week. What’s you eat this week? And don’t forget the question of the week, la di da: What’s your favorite fall dish?

Skirt season is chafing season. What’s a meaty girl to do?

One year, deep in the throes of some emotional complex about femininity, I wore dresses all summer. At the time, I had no car, and walked several miles a day. At the time, I also had (and still have) a rather meaty physique.  That, plus heat and humidity, plus all the walking, equaled one of the most foul, painful chronic rashes I have ever seen or suffered. Just horrible.

But they are making such nice dresses these days! What to do?  I was so pleased to discover that I’m not some kind of extra-damp freak of nature, and that lots of women have a hard time dealing with thigh chafing under those pretty skirts that everyone claims are so light and airy.

Here are a few solutions people have recommended.  I haven’t bought anything yet, so I can’t personally vouch for any of these products, but they look promising. Note: these aren’t supposed to make you look skinnier — they’re just for cutting down on chafing.

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Here’s the most minimal. It comes in lace, but I’m leaning toward the plain ones: Bandalettes – about $12-$16

bandalettes

 

Most reviewers say they don’t slip around. This looks like the lightest option, as long as that thigh spot is the only spot that gets chafed.

Lots of VERY VERY BEAUTIFUL WOMEN manage to chafe in other spots, too, though. For that situation,

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Skimmies seem popular. About $20,  These are actual underwear — again, not for tummy control, but to prevent chafing. The waist sits just on or below the belly button.  Here is a version with moisture-wicking fabric, for those of us flowers who are extra dewey:

skimmies 2

A few commenters complained that, while these stay in place well, the crotch isn’t ventilated well enough. If you’re prone to yeastie beasties, this might not be a good option.

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Vermont Country Store offers mid-thigh cotton panties, about $23 -$27

vermont cotton panties

which would be more breathable, but probably won’t stay in place as well as the ones with lycra and such.  They appear to hit higher on the waist.

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Mainly because I’m a sucker for a clever name, here’s a company called Thigh Society(ha!), which sells nothing but anti-chafing panty shorts:

thigh society

They are $39 and are currently not in my size, which is “shut up I just had a baby,” but they look promising.

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One more option: Undersummers Shortlettes slip shorts, about $32:

undersummers

These appeal to me mainly because the model looks like she only does sit ups when she damn well feels like it.

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There are also dozens of variations made with more fabric — bloomer-style short pants, pettipants, divided slips, gaucho pants, etc. I, for one, am hoping to find something with as little material as possible, to preserve the impression that I’m just wearing underwear like a normal human being.

Whatcha got, chaferoos? Have you had any luck with any of these products, or with something else?

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(You’ll note that most of these links are to Amazon products. That’s because I’m an Amazon Associate. If you arrive at Amazon by using one of my links, then I get a percentage of the price of whatever you buy — even if it’s not something I originally linked to. These bits and pieces add up tremendously, and help us keeping our big family afloat!

Here is a general Amazon page with my code embedded. If you would care to bookmark it, you could use this link every time you shop at Amazon. Thanks!)

 

The bathing suit post that is not about modesty!

First of all, for that ^^, this

 

is for me.

Second of all, I agree wholeheartedly with every last word in this post in . . . the Huffington Post:

Moms, Put on That Swimsuit. The writer (who, in the picture, is not at all fat! But shefeels like she is, and that’s what counts) says:

I refuse to miss my children’s high-pitched, pool-induced giggles because of my insecurities.

I refuse to let other women’s judging eyes at the pool prevent me from exposing my kids’ eyes to the wonder of the sun glittering on the water.

I refuse to let my self-image influence my children’s.

I refuse to sacrifice memories with my children because of a soft tummy.

Because at the end of the day, it is not just about me.

It is about my kids.

I want them to remember twirling in the water with their mom.

I want them to remember splash fights together.

I want them to remember jumping off the edge of the pool into my arms.

I want them to remember that their mom was there, with them.

This resonates with me so much more than all of that “YES! YOU HAVE A BIKINI BODY! LOVE YOUR BODY, NO MATTER WHAT! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO BE BEAUTIFUL!”

More than once last year, I just felt too damn fat to put on a bathing suit. Just couldn’t do it. So I would go to the beach with the kids, and they would ask me to take them in the water and do that swishing thing, or catch them when they jump off the big rock — and I couldn’t, because I didn’t have a suit on.

They were crushed. It didn’t make any sense to them. Why would you not wear your swimsuit to the beach?  And they were right. Yeah, there are skinny, perky teenagers at the beach. Yeah, there are other moms who are frolicking around with their kids, and they’re wearing the same size bikinis as their toddlers. Not even with stretch marks! How do they even do that? And here I am, and I weigh more than I did when I was nine months pregnant with the youngest kid, who is now 2 1/2. How did I even dothat?

More to the point, who cares? Feel fat? Stay in the damn water. No one will see you, and you can feel light and graceful for once. Sitting on the sand getting gritty and trying to tug your shorts and tank top over your flabby bits while the kids beg you to jump in? That is a great way to have a lousy afternoon.  If you want to be attractive, have fun. Laugh and be happy. That’s beautiful, even when you’re fat.

Granted, it also helps a lot to have a suit that I don’t absolutely hate! Last year, I got the Catalina Shirred Halter Swimsuit from Walmart.com.

 

 

The fabric is a little bit chintzy, because it is a cheap suit, but the cut is so flattering, and so is the shirring. It has more support in the bust than any halter top I’ve seen; and it covers all the right spots without being a floppy swim tent.

I remember suit shopping in the 80′s! Boy, is it gratifying to have some choices for people who are neither Denise Austin nor Mother Superior. I also bought a Land’s End suit, but I actually like it less than the Walmart one.

Have you found a suit you’re happy with? Share it here!

The Dreadmill

That’s what my kids call my treadmill.  Today, the dreadmill and I discovered an unexpected advantage to living in an old house:  you can quickly, easily,unintentionally intensify your workout significantly by moving from the mostly-level living room into what turns out to be the ridiculously uphill dining room.

PIC calves burning

 

Yarr. I’ve had this treadmill for about a month now, and by gum, I am using it.  I don’t own a scale, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t lost weight; but that wasn’t my immediate goal (even though I am most certainly too fat, and not just in a “Oh, my wife says she’s fat” way but seriously, I’m a fatty). My immediate goal was to get off the damn couch, and get to a point where I don’t look terrible, feel terrible, feel like I look terrible, and look like I feel terrible all the time.

And I am there!  I do a half hour minimum, five days a week, 3.5 miles per hour minimum, and I “punch the invisible man,” as my kids call it, for at least part of the time.  (I know food is a big component of health and weight loss, and I’m making changes there, too.)

So, I have more energy, I think I’m less moody and more optimistic, I’m sleeping better, and I have bruises all over the back of my hands because I keep whacking them on the treadmill handrails.  Overall, net win.  There are plenty of other workouts I could be doing, but this is the one I am doing, and I don’t see why I would stop doing it.  As with so many other things in life, it’s working because I’m being consistent.  I’m hoping to be in good enough shape by spring to be exercising to the point of weight loss

Best workout album so far:  Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere. It’s not just the beat, which is pretty brisk on most songs; it’s the atmosphere of “let’s revel delightfully in this sweaty misery” which I find motivating.  What an amazing album. It should be written up as a case study of the intelligent, self-aware, artistic patient self-medicating for severe depression.  Boy, that doesn’t make it sound like much fun. But it is fun!

Looking for a good song to excerpt, I came across this live version of “Transformer.”  Holy wow, what a voice:

The Pogues are also pretty good for a strong beat and a sensation that we’re all just suffering bastards here, so why not get a little sweatier?

Also, I have tried all the ear buds in the house, which includes every brand from Dollar Tree to Mac, and they all fall out of my ears. Finally broke down and bought my own, which are JVC Gumy Inner Ear headphones, and they don’t fall out. The sound is fine.  I can barely hear what is going on around me, which is a little alarming, but if that’s what you want, these do a good job, and are cheap.

Mrs. Stupid is kind of enjoying her stupid exercise. Didn’t see that coming, did you?

Seven Fat Takes

Seven Reasons Why Being Fat May Be the Right Choice For You  . . . Today!

1.  You are so comfortable for the kids to snuzzle up with, especially in the winter.  AsMighty Mighty pointed out in the comments box of this post, kids always think bigger is better; and being nice and soft, with no bunchy muscles or anything, makes it even nicer.  Not only for the kids, either.

2.  Fashionwise, it’s a great time to be fat.  You have sartorial choices like never before.  Fifteen years ago, I remember our terrifyingly brilliant, consummately cultivated, frequently profound, secretly magnanimous, and very, very fat philosophy professor grumbling that, when he went shopping, he had a choice between a gigantic red polo shirt, or a gigantic red polo shirt with Tweety Bird embroidered on it.  This is a man who, when he had a fever, once stood at the podium and taught an entire phenomenology class in German without realizing it. (He’s not German.)  And everyone was too intimidated to say anything about it; we just took our notes, and liked it.

Oh, anyway, the point is that, nowadays, there are a lot more good clothes for fat people.  So  now, smart, fat people don’t have to wear Tweety Bird, unless they want to.

3.  So many American are  so much fatter than you.  If you’re feeling bad, just go the mall — you’ll feel like a slender reed in no time, because you’ll be in the minority of shoppers who don’t actually require the double door to get in.  Even when you’ve grown beyond bunchy, sailed past stout, and landed firmly in the land of lard, you will find that the hangers with your size on it are no longer the last one on the rack — there’s a whole new alphabet back there!  This is the age of the L-cup!  Boston just got a special ambulance for the obese! And look at you — you don’t even need an ambulance yet!  Have another Ring Ding — you can take it, slim.

4.  You get to discover that your husband is really, really in love with you, or else he’s a fantastic and indefatigable actor.  Just think, if I were still the proportions I was when he met me (36-24-38, just two inches away from being zoned as a brick house!), I would always wonder if he was sticking around all these years because of me, or my measurements.  Now that I’ve added the equivalent of a six-year-old child to my frame, I know it must be true love.

5.  I am so easy to buy presents for.  Look at the label of the item in question:  does it say either “nutrition information” or “XXL?”  If so, then it’s perfect for me.

6.  If I see a cookie, I can just go, “Hey, I’m gonna eat that,” and then I do.  Simple!

7.  I’d like to add more, but I’m all out of breath from typing.  Check out the other 7 Quick Takes at Jen Fulwiler’s Conversion Diary.  See you on Monday, you skinny jerks.

Bless the Lord, O my sole

Guess what?  I’m fat.  About seven permanent pounds for each kid.  I usually manage to lose some between pregnancies, but after baby #8 was born, I just kept gaining.

My husband thinks I’m beautiful, but I don’t.  I hate wearing special sizes with labels like “Curvy Coordinates!”  “Luscious Lady Plus!”  “Gee, Your Ass Looks Enormous!”  Being fat feels bad, but knowing I’m still gaining feels horrible. The real misery is in feeling like I had no control.

Many and many a time I’ve tried to just snap out of my face-stuffing ways, and go back to the habits that have worked in the past:  counting calories, swearing off sugar, working out four times a week, etc.  These things always worked before.  But this time, I couldn’t even stick to them for a day.  I knew I was in trouble, I knew I was making myself unhappy, I knew what I wanted, and I knew it was achievable.  But for some reason, I failed and failed and failed like there wasn’t any such thing as not failing.

(Actually, I know the reason. It was so I would learn sympathy with other people who struggle.  Okay, Lord, I get it!  Now lay off.  And stay with me, reader:  I’m not just sobbing in public — there is a point to this post.)

Anyway, last week I decided to try something new:  I wasn’t going to have a goal. I was just going to make the teeniest, tiniest improvement I could manage, the slightest motion away from my emotional squalor, and try and do that for one day.  I was just going to try and get control for one stinking day.

Step one was just to take notice every time I ate something.  Just:  “Yep, I just put that piece of ham in my mouth.  That was me doing that.  Idiot.”

Step two was to admit that I was eating partially (sigh) to punish myself for being fat and weak.  (Yeah, that makes sense.)

Step three (a big one) was to realize that God doesn’t want me to treat anyone that way.  Mothers are so used to dealing out justice and compassion and punishment and rewards, we sometimes forget that we are somebody’s child, too.   I wouldn’t consciously treat someone I love with contempt and injustice.  I don’t love myself, but I know God does, so I’ll work with that.

Step four was to only eat things that I actually want to eat, either because I’m  hungry or because I think they’d taste good — and to try to enjoy them, because they taste good.

Step five was to decide, at least sometimes, only to eat something good if I’m also hungry.

And step six is to decide not to eat things even if I’m hungry, because I’m trying to lose weight, and I want that more than I want to feel full.  That’s the step I’m on right now.   Eventually, I’ll work my way up to a weight loss goal, and regular exercise, and meal plans — all the things that have worked before.  It’s humiliating to go so easy on myself.  It’s distressing to realize I need such gentle treatment.  But none of the drastic steps were helping, so what else can I do?

And why am I bringing this up?  Because, in all the comments that people have made in response to the Pope’s remarks about condoms, one phrase stuck in my head: conversion is incremental.  That’s how it is, whether it’s for me getting back into normal-sized pants, or for more dire lessons of the soul.  For the hypothetical male prostitute, the goal would be to renounce fornication and seek healing for his disordered sexual appetites.  But can he do that in a day?  Of course not.  You can’t just strip away every aspect of your old life in a single motion, and expect to live that way from now on.

But he does need a new life.  So how can he do it?   With tiny, pathetic steps in the right direction — by, for instance, at least desiring to protect his sexual partner from disease.  It’s not enough.  But it’s a small step that probably can’t be skipped.

Sometimes we get knocked off our horses, or experience a miraculous infusion of knowledge of the faith, or the angel has to come and break our bones for us.  Okay, then we’re converted.  But for most of us, we don’t go from sin to virtue, just like that.  It takes lots of time.  Some decent folks are outraged by what seems like mediocrity and dawdling:  All or nothing! they holler.  If a sinner isn’t willing to renounce his sin, then nothing of value is going on!  True conversion of the heart is a radical thing!  No man can serve two masters!  The Lord will vomit the lukewarm out of his mouth!  And so on.

But we’re not talking about being lukewarm here.  We’re not talking about beingsatisfied with halfway measures.  But we’re acknowledging that — well, at some point, you do have to be halfway.   That’s how you get places:  you have to spend some time in between before you arrive.   Not to say that there is no truth in a fiery conversion.   It’s just that, unless you’re on your deathbed, the fire is not sustainable.  It’s not even desirable, because stewing in your own weakness teaches you compassion.

As long as we’re talking about food:  you know how you get a nice, juicy roast?  First you sear it on the outside.  High temps for a short time seals the juices in.  But thenyou turn the temperature way, way down and let it stew for the rest of the day.  That’s how God makes us so tender and delicious by the Second Coming:  first He applies the heat, and then He turns it down and lets us stew.

Let’s be patient with ourselves, and with each other, and try not to lift the lid too often.  We’re not done yet.