Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Fat Isn't Frugal

Just bumping this article up for Mommylife readers. I didn't realize Barbara was going to link to this post.

The joy of pregnancy is, for me, tempered by sciatica and varicose veins. I willingly accept discomfort, but it would be nice to make it through Kroger without crying the whole way home. My doctor is kind enough to write me a prescription for compression stockings. I trek through four supply houses in search of the right combination of insurance billing and price ($120 per pair!). Finally I arrive at the surgical superstore. While they complete the paperwork, I wander through the showroom. There is a mind boggling array of scooters, lift chairs, and toilets designed to withstand 500+ pounds of obesity.

The saleswoman escorts me to a fitting room. She measures my ankles. Medium. She measures my calf. Medium. She measures the circumference of my thigh. Hmmm. Her brow furrows. She checks the size chart on the "large" box. Apparently my thighs are too fat for any of the stockings they sell. Any of the stockings available at a store that features industrial strength toilets. I burst into tears. Surely I'm not the fattest woman who's come through these doors? What do other people do?

She shrugs. They have to have their compression stockings custom made. Even my good insurance won't cover that. I pass the Krispy Kreme shop on my walk back to the car. I don't even smell the sugar. Between sobs, I raise my fist in the air with a Scarlett-O'Hara-style "Never again!" For the first time in my apathetic lifestyle, the consequences of extra fat have hit home.

As soon as this baby is born, I am taking whatever steps necessary to fit in a medium-sized wardrobe. I will give away my maternity clothes so their soft elastic will not fool me. If I get pregnant again, I can always buy more. I will hand my baby to the nearest adult when she hits six weeks and pull on a pair of running shoes. I will apply my budgeting skills to the counting of calories and carbs.

I'm learning the hard way that fat isn't frugal. The special sizes, the roomier car, recipes for four that end up feeding two--they come at a high cost to both budget and health.

Not to mention the price of one's dignity.

15 comments:

Donna said...

I also know the hard way that "fat isn't frugal." I'm sorry you had a tough day.

mothersong said...

Ah, I had this same epiphany today! I had my last child (who turns 4 today!!) when I was almost 43. I can't tell you what havoc those pregnancy and nursing hormones wreaked on my middle aged body, but suffice to say that I am 40 lbs over my fattest weight ever here 4 years later. I can't find nice clothing at thrift shops or tag sales because I now need a larger size. I can't fit into many of the nice clothes I already owned. I have gone from "fluffy" to fat, pure and simple.

Don't sweat the weight thing now, enjoy your pregnancy and be healthy and happy. But I fully support your 6 week goal, and look forward to learning along with you after your sweet baby is born.

By the way, I recently read Eat To Live and I think I'm going to try that. I know a few women online who are following that diet while nursing. I don't know if you'd be interested, it's mostly veggies and fruits, very low carb, no meat. I got mine from the library.

lady laura said...

{Meredith}

I am not pregnant... but I can relate. I have gained weight over the winter and very few of my summer clothes fit right. I have had a few good cries over the state of my wardrobe, but moreso over the state of the apathy that let me get here.

The thought of having to spend money on new clothes... well, I am not going to. I know what needs to be done, and I WILL do it. I will. And so will you.

Maybe you can find one of those cool running strollers (at a thrift store, of course) and take the kiddos.

stephanie said...

((((Meredith)))) I am so right there with you ... and you are speaking my heart in your words.

Anonymous said...

Oh I so totally understand you! Our girl is just about 2 1/2 and I haven't lost ANY of the weight from being pregnant with her. I was working on it, but then I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism ... and my weight loss just stopped ... and turned into weight gain. Now that my thyroid is normal again (after a year of struggling), I'm working on losing this weight again. I'm bound and determined to drop all of this excess and get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight again -- FINALLY.

((((((((((((((( Meredith ))))))))))))

As an unrelated sidenote, I changed my blog ... dunno if you got the new addy before I deleted the old blog, so I included it below.

Brandy
http://wanderinghomemaker.lifewithchrist.org

Elly said...

Oh sweetheart...hang in there. I never suffered (by His grace) from the vericose vein issue, nor the swollen ankles. But sciatica...oh yeah. I'm in my mid-40's soon...and with my 'emotional see-saw' and wacky 'monthlies'...may be in peri-menopause. OH THE JOY for us gals here on Earth!! I'm lifting you up in prayer and will check in frequently. BTW, you are in my sidebar (but not under DIRE PRAYER LIST- LOL). God's peace.

Anonymous said...

meredith,
guys deal with this issue too as you know. Try living in Italy!!
seriously, don't stress about it.

your brother

Terri said...

Oh, Meredith! {{{hugs}}}
I understand. My youngest daughter is 13 and I am just now working on losing the weight I gained with her - I'm sad to say. You're right - being fat is not only unhealthy and ungodly, it's expensive! I'll be praying for you!

Mom2fur said...

You poor thing. Sciatica is just so painful. I hope it is only for the pregnancy and not a permanent condition. Would you be able to use heat pads? Thermacares are expensive, but there's a brand called Beyond Bodiheat that runs about $4 for a pack of 3--and they last 12 hours each. (Thermacares only last 8 hours and cost more.) If your doctor says it is safe to use them during your pregnancy, you could just use them for when you know you are going to be doing a lot of walking.

TulipGirl said...

Your Easter photo looks beautiful. *hug* Truly beautiful.

A friend showed me a neato website that has been a good motivator as I babystep towards healthier eating and living.
Sparkpeople.com

Mich said...

First time visitor, got here via the Festival of Frugality.

I was dismayed by the saleswoman's reaction. It seems rather insensitive to shrug at a customer in distress.

I wish you the best of luck on your fitness and nutrition journey, and here are two links (from non-commercial sites) you might find helpful:
1. an article about postpartum fitness from Krista Scott Dixon's site.
2. the resource list at Maggie Wang's site.

Hope that helps.

barbara curtis said...

Hi Meredith - Once again, I'm going to send my readers your way. This is such a great post. Since I began my Last Diet (43 pounds lost so far of the 90 I need to lose) I have been coming out of denial and seeing all the fatness around me with such mixed feelings. I feel compassion, but I also want to shake people and say, "Free yourself from this bondage! It's just not worth it!" When yous ee people struggling into airplane or theater seats and spilling over onto their neighbor's space - well, that's all I need to keep me on track!
Don't be hard on yourself while you're pregnant, though. Just be sensible and stick with your plan for after the baby. Like Terri, I had my last birth child 13 years ago. And I continued to gain weight after that - because of my writing, I would tell you. No excuses anymore. I thank God I won't need those super-sized products in my old age. Thanks for sharing those imamges - powerful. And I will be praying that you will be more comfortable. I had problems with varicose veins, too.

smarshmallow said...

I am so sorry sweetie!! That had to be an awful day!! That was terrible of the sales woman to be so rude to a fellow woman in distress. Please enjoy your pregnancy while staying healthy and really worry about losing weight AFTER you have your precious baby!

Love,
Candi

Wenchypoo said...

Sciatica, compression hose, and pregnancy aside, here's how I make fat frugal for us:

Hubby and I can now share jeans, sweats, and t-shirts.

Dietary restrictions for medical reasons are shared between us both--now we eat the same foods.

Read books on aging and your body--we women are SUPPOSED to get fat, because we store estrogen in it for menopause. If you'll notice, skinny women have the worst time with hot flashes because they don't have enough stored reserves to get them through to age 70 like we do. Men have a similar predicament, and store hormomnes to defend against deficiencies in late life as well. Eat the right fats and accept the fact that we're meant to get larger as we age.

The trick with fat is to keep it under control so you don't ever get into the "one ton club" or even the "half ton club." To become skinny is to give in to societal pressure to appear photogenic, and I for one was already ugly to begin with--losing 50 lbs. or so isn't going to make me any prettier, just more acceptible to society.

Other than being overweight, we're as healthy as horses, and have the doctor completely baffled as to why we're not diabetic, don't have heart disease, no hypertension, not in danger of having a stroke, etc.

I'll tell you why: we aimed for health, not social acceptance. We eat right, but get little exercise due to physical disability. We control our portions and what comes home in the shoppiong cart. Wise selection of supplements also plays a role in it.

Aim for health first--if weight is going to come off, then let it. Otherwise, just focus on getting 100% healthy and staying there. Photogenic society be damned!

Anonymous said...

Just passing through, but wanted to say TulipGirl's right -- SparkPeople is an inspiring community for weight loss. I'm on it, too.