How trying to find “active wear” pushed me over the proverbial edge

I won’t lie – I’m overweight.  I inherited the short, curvy genes of my Irish and Italian ancestors.  And possibly the sluggish thyroid as well (mental note, get thyroid checked.)  Oh, and some comfort eating tendencies.  Join all that with my anti-athleticness and yeah, hi there 50 lbs to lose.

Last month, the husband and I hit the “Okay, no more farting around, it’s time to really truly do something” point.  We bought an elliptical, because to be honest with myself, I am not motivated enough to go to the gym.  I am motivated enough to watch episodes of “Supernatural” on the tv while I’m on the elliptical at home.  I’ve been looking into how to cut out processed foods (thank you 100 Days of Real Food, my new best friend.)  We’re back to logging in our stuff on our My Fitness Pal accounts (oh, hi there accountability.)

All positive changes, all positive attitudes (or at least okay attitudes with some whining and groaning.)

And then I made a terrible mistake.

I thought I could buy athletic wear.

All I wanted was an all-weather jacket.  Something sensible and waterproof that maybe actually looked decent on me.  Something I could wear out while walking the dog, or going on that proverbial hike that my husband keeps threatening me with suggesting.  Something that will keep me from getting soaked, that can get all mucky and dirty, that I can then throw in the washer.  I have a couple lovely coats and jackets, but I don’t want to ruin them with the Great Outdoors.

Josh tagged along with me on this trip.  We started at REI, because I was pretty certain nothing would fit me there, but was hoping to be surprised.  And they were having a sale.

I learned at REI that not even the XL’s would fit me.  Or if I did get them to zip up, it was like wearing a boa constrictor.  Which isn’t fun, and not that flattering either. I tried on several different brands, proving that I couldn’t fit into any of their XL’s.  Despite the fact that the Old Navy wool coat I wore into the store was an XL.   There was no XXL in the women’s section.  Because women who shop at REI don’t need an XXL.

Fine.  Whatever.  I hate you anyway REI, with your overpriced gear catering to the already fit.

I suggested we try Eddie Bauer, because I have shirts and sweaters from the store, that fit.  And I knew they carried an XXL, which I might need to get a looser fit and be able to layer.

They were having a sale, which is always nice.  Josh and I started scouring the racks, finally finding an XL. I tried it on.  It was too snug.  I tried on a different style.  It was also too snug.  Josh suggested trying on a men’s jacket, and while it fit, the sleeves were about 8 inches too long, which while kind of cute on a 3 yr old, long flapping sleeves looks a bit ridiculous on a grown woman.  I went back to scouring the women’s side, and came up with nothing.

Now, I weigh myself pretty regularly.  I’m aware of my size.  I’m not trying to fit into a medium.  I wore XL clothing into the store, yet Xl jackets weren’t fitting.  The store had a limited selection, so we went home, me feeling ever so slightly fat and depressed.  I checked online, because I thought maybe they didn’t make an XXL jacket.

They do.  But the sale price (which was 30-50% off in the store, depending on jacket) wasn’t available online for the jackets I wanted.

So the next day, when we were in the car, Josh asked what I wanted to do, and I uttered the fatal words of “Let’s go to the other Eddie Bauer, see if they have the jacket.”

Stupid stupid idea.

We get there, they have tons of items there, lots of jackets, and yet…no XXL.  At this point, I’m feeling a bit self-conscious about my size – which shouldn’t be THAT big, really! – and I am not about to ask the perky little store workers if they have a size big enough for me.  Josh does ask, and the first perky little store bee says “Oh, we only get a couple XXL’s in, they must be sold out.  But you can take this to the counter and they can call other stores, or order it through our online site to get the discount.”

Great.  Now I get to tell another stranger I need the XXL.  Fine.  Whatever.  I want that 50% off.

We wait in line.  We get to the counter.  We explain I need the XXL.  The girl at the register goes “Oh, we don’t carry the XXL in the store, it’s only available online.  But if you go to the kiosk, I can send the manager over and she can put in the code.”



We go to the kiosk.  I find the coat online.  The manager comes over.  She explains that no, the coat isn’t stocked in stores in an XXL and the sale is only good for stuff in the store.  Not online.  She can’t change the price for me, because it’s only for in store stuff.  And they don’t carry the XXL jackets in stores for women.

They do for men.  But men are allowed to be bigger.  Not women.

At this point,  I don’t want the fecking coat anymore.  I’ve hit my done point, I’m feeling fat and ashamed for being at my weight, and I just want to leave except she keeps talking…

…and suggests that I try The North Face.

I laughed bitterly and said “I can’t fit into their sizes either.”

The (actually very nice) manager finally finished her apologetic spiel and I walked out of the store as quickly as possible, announcing that I just wanted to go home.  Or shove a cookie in my face.  Except cookies got me into this situation, so we should just go home.

And then I cried in the car all the way home and made my husband promise that if I even thought about trying on clothes before losing 20 lbs, to slap me and lock me in a closet or something.

And then I got on Facebook and got completely irrational with some lovely friends about weight and body issues (and because they are lovely friends, they were the ones apologizing when I was being the crazy one.  Again, I am sorry about that.)

And then I ate dinner and didn’t shove my face in a bag of chocolate chips and stayed off of social media until I could contain my crazy a bit more.  Self-control for the win!

A day or so later, I found myself in Target, and thought “Now I’ve bought yoga pants from here before…they carry short leg sizes.  Maybe I can try here.”

Stupid stupid woman doesn’t learn.

They had jackets.  They had an XL jacket in their Active Wear section.  I went to try it on.  I could at least zip up the Eddie Bauer ones.  The Target one, I couldn’t even get the zipper to meet.  I uttered quiet curses at the jacket as I hung it back up.

Then I tried the pants section of Active Wear.  And I’ve learned things have changed.  For instance, while I can still fit into the XL yoga pants of a certain brand from 3 years ago, the ones of current in the same brand, I’ll now need an XXL.  And if you need an XXL, their looser fit pants have legs the size of tree trunks.  And while they’re “short” legged, the rest of it is designed for the taller gal, so if I wear it two inches below the waist, as the tag states, the crotch is near my knees.  Or to get a well-fitting crotch, I can just wear these pants as a onsie.

The yoga pants got thrown back onto the shelf a bit angrily as I officially gave up.

I’m trying really hard not to salute all active wear makers with my middle finger, though it would be a heartfelt salute.  I’ve realized that active wear is meant for the already active, the already fit, the runners and yoga-ers and young moms with strollers.  It’s not meant for a forty year old who is trying to regain her own fitness, who inherited the short curvy figure of her ancestors, who has spent the past ten years living in a haze of child rearing only to remember to take care of herself.  It’s not meant for those who need an XXL but still want to look nice as they try to get back into shape.  It’s not meant for me.

So for now, I will deal with my slightly unflattering but actually fits me XL yoga pants, Old Navy tees, and the all-weather jacket Josh brought home for me yesterday.  It’s not fabulous, it’s not even stylish.  But it’s waterproof and fits and was bought with love and support.

By the way, Eddie Bauer?  Your tag line of “Live your Adventure”?  I will be doing that.  Just not in any of  your jackets.