Comparison Shopping

I was in the store buying some suits for work the other week (once again, I’d prefer not to, but I really need some clothes at this point to tide me over).  I had already been in there the week before seeing if it was worthwhile to try and get some of them recut (it wasn’t) and ran into the same guy who helped me then.  He remembered me and my big clown suits so I explained to the him I was not looking for anything pricey as I was still hoping to lose a reasonable amount of weight.

He asked me how much more and I said 20-30 lbs more (lying actually since I know BMI says at least 40 more).  His response – ‘Really?  You look like you are in pretty good shape now.’  It left me a little stunned, since technically, I’m still just over the line into obese.  I mean, I would say I carry the weight well (as in I always looked pretty fat, but just not quite as fat as I was), and I am big boned (it’s why I have trouble picturing myself in pants any less than 34-36″), but that’s like covering maybe 5-10 pounds of the 40.

This guy wasn’t heavy himself either – he was a middle aged foreign born (significant accent) man who looked like he had been pretty fit younger, and maybe had lost a little of his edge to age, but not a lot.  So it wasn’t as if he was comparing me to himself or that he was just used to big people from living here all his life (that said, accent is no indicator of exactly how long he’s been here either).

But then I looked around the store, and sure enough, I had to be one of the skinniest customers in there.  The sales team was mostly on the light side but there were two other men and two women in there.  One guy was a little younger than me, a little shorter and definitely a bit heavier (and not afraid of tight pants either I can tell you), with his more or less equivalent girlfriend/wife.  The other man was a lot older, and probably had been thinner when younger, but definitely had sprouted a very large pot belly now.  The last woman I give a pass to since she was wasn’t in great shape, but she was pushing a stroller with a pretty youngish baby in there, and honestly she was in the best shape of the five of us considering.

When I’d been in there a few days earlier, I don’t recollect it quite as clearly, but I can recall a couple of pudgy guys in there getting fitted for tux’s.  So maybe working there had distorted his sense of who’s in good shape and who’s not.

(As a side note, he put me in a suit with 38″ waist pants – they needed to be loosened in alterations, probably to 40″ but still, woohoo again!)

Meanwhile, in the same strip mall, Casual Male XL, Big & Tall (a former store of mine) recently renovated to take over an additional store slot to get even bigger (and to get a new name – Destination XL!).  So I guess we know what stores are still doing well in an economic slump.

I think there was a larger point here about society enabling obesity by warping our sense of what’s normal, but I think I lost it thinking about my new pants.

About J.

40 year old IT guy on a health and fitness kick.

Posted on December 14, 2011, in Personal, Weight Loss and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. J … I can relate to that response. I know you know this. I do think people’s idea of what is big, fat, obese, or morbidly obese is OFF.

    My hubby is outside what is the norm BMI range, but he is mostly muscle. The weight chart has him needing to weight 185ish … he is 6’2″ and weighs about 216 or so. Neither of us want him to lose to what the charts say is healthy. He is in perfect health–no problems of any kind. He looks HOT right here to me (minus a touch of tummy that will fall off him once we can start riding again and I am cooking his meals instead of himself). He does not have big bones, but, somehow this is a great weight for him.

    If you don’t show your weight you may be like my father, who the docs said can’t lose to the BMI chart standards because then he would be unhealthy. So … we all have to evaluate what is good for us don’t we?

    Don’t you wish sometimes it could be cookie cutter for each of us? I know I do sometimes.

    • I carry it well as in when I was 285-290 people would have pegged me as 250-260, but still lard-butt. 🙂

      yep, bmi is imperfect, especially for people who have more than average muscle. honestly, the main reason I haven’t set a final goal is because it’ll be a judgement call of what seems right. it’ll be some combination of weight + body fat % rather than just weight alone and that’s probably what I’ll track in maint mode (i.e. + a couple of pounds might ok if the body fat % stays the same).

      I know 188 is achievable and that I wasn’t quite done at that weight, but what the right weight is we’ll see!

  2. Very good point. I think there is too much emphasis placed on how much one weighs rather than how fit and healthy someone is overall. I’ve seen many unfit “thin” people and have worked with fit yet larger clients. One’s BMI could never tell the whole tale.


  3. Conventional Wisdom versus Common Sense – It is tough not to rely on the charts and graphs people develop to show you where you “should be”. It all comes down to how you feel.


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