Thursday, March 29, 2007


Battle of the Bulge

"I don't ever want to hear you whine about your weight ever again. You look MAHVELOUS, Dahling! Not everyone can wear spandex with that kind of flair!" (Rootietoot in the comments section of my last post)

No, I'm not whining!! Or whingeing!! (which is how we whine in Australia...)... I have in fact been admiring my slightly slimmer body this week. "Look! Look!" I say to anyone in the family who will listen, and showing them the space between my waist and my waist band. "My pants are looser! I've lost weight! Haven't I?!!"
Truth is, though, that some photos are more flattering than others! Me and the camera don't have a good relationship, usually. Somehow that one in the last post got me at a 'good' angle!!! This, for instance, is not so flattering! (I guess it was earlier on in the week!) I guess I am just vain enough not to want to see any bulges.

My battle has been (and still is) to lose a mere 10kg... Which compared to many is chicken feed, I know, yet still I have a need to lose it to bring me back within my healthy weight range. (And carrying 10kg less in any exercise you do has got to be easier! - try lugging around a 10kg weight in a backpack and you'll tire pretty easily!)

Trying on clothes in a shop fitting room is usually a pretty good way to cause many women to get into a funk about their weight. And, peversely, buying bike clothes is as well. Despite compliments to the contrary (like Rootie's above), it's actually been bloody hard for me to buy "spandex" to fit so that I am not self conscious. Many of the styles are very close fitting and have elastic in the waist, which definitely accentuate the bulges.

I just fit into a size 16 (the largest size) nix from Netti (in Women's, it is their largest size). And with shirts, again, I can only fit in the largest size that is a 'looser fit' style. I got all keen a few months ago to buy me some cool jerseys online from Team Estrogen. This was a company that sourced bike clothes specifically for women, so I thought they'd surely cater to all shapes and sizes. I measured myself, and perused the size charts for all the jerseys I liked. It was an exercise destined to reduce me to tears as I found that in many brands, the largest size would not go anywhere near fitting me.

In a pms-induced funk, I emailed them giving them a serve about how it doesn't encourage women to get out and cycling! The President and founder of the company wrote me back a sympathetic email (which to my shame I haven't answered yet).. acknowledging the difficulties she has getting stuff from companies (it's a supply/demand thing)... (and pointing out that her measurements were quite similar to mine) but directing me to suggestions of jerseys she thought would fit. Some of these were in the 'plus' sizes section!! Plus sizes! I don't even need to shop for PLUS sizes for my normal clothes!

Now, while I appreciated the effort- and even by trying to ignore the size labelling as just irrelevant numbers/letters - the upshot was that the selection I had for my size wasn't very wide, and I didn't really like any of them. They just don't make the cool styles in plus sizes. (Not cool enough to warrant the overseas postage.) Simple as that. Lucky for Netti (Oz company) and their 'looser' fit styles. Though I lashed out at the end of the Big Ride and bought an elastic waisted Big Ride 2007 jersey which seemed just 'ok' because I think I'd lost some weight (or toned some muscle - or both.) I have yet to wear it on the bike, or be photographed in it, so the jury is still out.

So it is very hard not to whinge or whine, or feel bad about the little bit of extra weight I am carrying when I struggle to find appropriate bike clothing to fit me. And, seriously, I know that I am really not THAT big. I feel sorry for women who are bigger, but who want to get out and seriously exercise. It is not made easy for us at all.

And before you roll your eyes and question the need for lycra on a bike, it's not just an image thing. It's a bike-riding comfort thing, and certainly I couldn't stand to go back to riding a bike in normal shorts, or indeed a normal t-shirt.

In a way it all relates to the fashion image thing. I have always managed to ignore it with normal fashion, simply because I dress for comfort. (I know what shops to avoid, and I buy most of my clothes these days in one shop where they have sensible sizing and very helpful assistants.) But when the fashion/sizing thing encroaches into my sport, then it's very difficult not to let your "bit of a weight issue" get to you.

So the only thing to really do about it is to keep riding (and exercising!) and keep losing. Only then will I really be a winner! (And not a whiner!)

I'll still take any compliments I can get. Sometimes a woman needs a good support network, and I seem to have found mine here in cyberspace. Just don't build me up too much, because when people tell me I'm 'looking good' I tend to eat as some sort of celebration. The battle of the bulge is, in many ways, the battle of what you put in your mouth!

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Trace, I don't know much about cycling wear so this might sound really dumb... are there any differences between male and female cycle tops? (I imagine there might be in the shorts and nix) does male wear come in bigger sizes? (or a looser fit might be a better way to describe what I mean) is it taboo to wear boys stuff if you're a girl?
PS you look fit and healthy, a good way to be! celebrate with a diet coke maybe cheers x
It is impossible to look anything but large and lumpy in a change room mirror.

People with large breasts will never find a top to fit in anything other than plus sizes and forget about buying anything with buttons down the front. They always spread!

I'm rather enjoying wearing lycra to the gym. My legs are good so I can overlook the tummy.

*grin* Maybe I've just reached the age where I no longer care.

List 5 women you know who are happy with their weight and how they appear in photos??
I think you look maahvelous, dahlink.

And my relationship with a camera is with me BEHIND it. Always.

You do look maahvelous, dahlink. Truly. Go you!
Hi shish.. I guess there are differences in cut with the mens/womens jerseys... and most of the mens ones come with that elastic. It's funny that it's ok for mens jerseys to have a much bigger range of sizes though - as if it is just more acceptable for men to be fatter, but still get on a bike.
The jersey I purchased as a souvenir of the ride is a mens or unisex one, so I will let you know the fit and comfort factor when I actually ride on it.

E - I read somewhere that in a tilted mirror you look a bit thinner.. don't know if that's a furphy, but coincidentally the mirror I use in our bedroom is one that used to live on top of a dressing table, and it is propped up against the wall. The lighting is also very subdued! I swear I always look ok in that, so when I then go out and get a photo, or end up in a fitting room, I am doubly distressed!!

You are right with your suggested statistics though.. I would probably struggle to find 5 women happy with how they look in a photo!

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