Shopping With Big Girls

You slim girls are so lucky when it comes to shopping for clothes! Don’t think I’m “hating on you” because I’m not. I would simply like you to understand what plus-size women go through when we want new clothes. We bigger girls are frequently disappointed and frustrated. My daughter and I have left stores empty handed more times that I would like to remember.

My friend and I (you remember Laura, I’m sure) took Ysabela shopping Saturday. We had the whole day reserved for the trip because finding the right clothes in the right sizes can sometimes take an entire day! We checked out the belts at Orscheln while picking up a few other items. The bling belts went from small to extra large. I didn’t expect to find belts in our sizes there anyway. (Maybe you’re sensing that we have low expectations for clothes shopping.) Orscheln is a farm supply store that I love to visit—just typically not for clothes. We did get lucky and find a few plus-size shirts we liked. I considered that a victory.

Belts in my size?  No.

We went to my favorite store in the mall—-Maurice’s. It is my favorite because I know going in that we have a better-than-average chance of finding our sizes in stock. Before I tell more, I must say that I have not been paid or otherwise compensated for this article. This article is based on my experience with the Maurice’s store at the Platte River Mall.

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For those of you who do not know, Maurice’s is a store that caters to larger women and has sizes up to 4X. The sizes are labeled as 0-4. I think that’s a very smart move because many times big girls are shamed by the numbers. Asking for a size 3 is much less embarrassing than asking for a size 46 (or whatever), especially in a crowded store. The clothes are trendy and chic, but I can always find dressy outfits that are cool and tasteful for a “woman of my age.” The warehouse sends a very limited number of size 4 items, so if you need that size and find it, BUY IT RIGHT AWAY!

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As soon as we entered the store, I saw our favorite “personal shopping assistant,” Emily, an assistant manager. She always greets us like old friends, and she is the reason Ysabela and I shop there now. (Emily has an eye for style and a knack for making people feel comfortable.) Laura and I explained our mission: to find nice clothes and document our adventure for my blog posts. Emily and the manager enthusiastically helped Ysabela (and me) pick trendy clothes from the racks. We noticed some patterns that wouldn’t be flattering for our size, but there were quite a few things that fit our “requirements.” Oh, I haven’t told you those yet, have I? We were looking for clothes that flatter our curvy figures and make us feel pretty. It’s not as easy as it sounds, believe me!

Beladoor

While Ysabela tried on clothes provided by Emily, I took a minute to catch my breath. Anytime Bela has a good shopping day, I rejoice. She hates to shop for clothes. I think it’s because she has been disappointed so many times in so many stores. I am thrilled to find a store that caters to plus-size ladies. A lot of retailers are missing out—we have money to spend on clothes and few places to buy them!

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Ysabela cooperated for a few pictures before going “on strike.” I was taking my turn trying on clothes when I heard the alarm go off at the front of the store. Nobody was trying to steal anything. Laura was after a perfect shot of Ysabela in front of Maurice’s.

I prefer being behind the camera lens rather than in front of it, but Laura managed to get me anyway. Emily even found Bela a pair of boots on clearance for $10! All in all, it was a SUCCESS!

EmilyBela
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Bela

http://www.maurices.com/home/index.jsp

Curvy Women

What’s the first thing you think of when you see a curvy, plus-size female? Is your first thought: Whoa, girl, lay off the ice cream? Rest assured, you are not alone. Is the solution for being overweight that easy? Nope!

Since my daughter has been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, a disorder that shuts the thyroid down completely, I have learned a lot. The first doctor that she saw had only one bit of advice: Less food, more exercise. I took Bela to the doctor again two weeks later. In those two weeks, she had gained 30 pounds! We received the same advice as before. What???? After I got entirely fed up with that “expert,” I started researching on my own. I may not be a doctor, but I know my child best, and I am college educated. I can surely read and learn. I’m sorry so many doctors do not keep current on research. I consider that an obligation in whatever profession you choose.

I switched her doctor and took advantage of the endocrinologist who came to the office three or four times a year. I trusted the endocrinologist to know better. He did not. All I kept hearing was that Ysabela’s blood levels of TSH (http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/tsh-why-its-useless/) were “in the normal range.” Sorry, doc, but you struck out. Another change was in order. These doctors refused to listen to the patient (and parent). That’s a cardinal sin in my book. Doctors should never discount what a patient says.

Bela’s symptoms included hair loss (more than normal when showering and brushing), extreme fatigue, cold skin, low body temperature, constipation, unexplained weight gain and pale, dry skin. Thyroid problems run in our family. My mom and I have hypothyroidism, and Bela’s sister has hyperthyroidism. Even some cousins struggle with it. The bottom line was that Ysabela was not sitting around eating all day. After completing a food diary, the nutritionist said she was in the acceptable range of calories consumed daily.

Most doctors prefer to use only the TSH test, and research has shown that is not a complete picture of the situation. I finally found a doctor who listened to us! She didn’t bat an eye when I asked for a group of tests. She ordered them without a fight! I was so relieved that I cried. Finally, someone was listening. Our doctor got Ysabela an appointment at the Colorado Children’s Hospital in Aurora. The doctors there are professional and kind. Ysabela’s meds were changed, and her weight has pretty much stabilized. No more 30-pound gains! I realize we are not finished. Until her symptoms are gone, I will not be satisfied.

The next time you feel compelled to judge a plus-size woman, don’t. Many times, things are more complicated than you think.

For more information about thyroid disorders, visit http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/ and http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hashimotos-disease/basics/symptoms/con-20030293.

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