Day 111: Shopaholic

For some time I have been promising to compare and contrast plant based dieting and veganism.  Many people incorrectly use the two terms interchangeably.  Now, having studied both of these animals closely, I am ready to dissect them and explain how their different organs function.  However, as a vegan, I am unable to use that analogy and besides, I’d much rather talk about clothes today.

People that know me just spit coffee all over their laptops and iPhones.  For those of you that don’t know me well enough to spit beverages on electronics, I will try to explain the surprise.

I am to fashion, what school lunch is to fixing the national health crisis.  I consider red shirts and pink shorts a perfect fit.  Flip flops go with anything.  Holes in clothes are “hip and with it”.  Boxer briefs are so similar to shorts that they can be worn in public.  My daughters have many more examples they encouraged me to add here, but they are both grounded now and wont be talking to anyone for a while.

I blame my lack of fashion sense on my hatred of clothes.  When healthy people with normal body shapes go shopping for clothes, they look for stylish garments that show off their healthy midsections and accentuate their lightly muscled limbs.  Then they add accessories that add to the look.  With very little effort they cover their bodies in clothes that help tell the story of who they are or who they want to seem to be that day: seductive temptress, professional man about town, hipster with attitude, or even jaunty pirate.

Large people, and by large I mean fat, generally do not like clothes.  Sure, we wear them but not because we want to show off our svelte bodies.  We want to hide them.  I hate to speak for a third of the US population, but since they are all busy in the Taco Bell drive-through line waiting for Fifth Meal, I’ll tell it to you straight.  Clothes shopping for the health impaired sucks.

For one thing, most stores don’t carry enough Xs for us.  When I needed 4X shirts, I had to go on a quest to find a store carrying something so big.  I was essentially shopping for the least muu-muu like garment I could find, preferably something without giant pockets or florescent hibiscus print.  The real test was to try the brightly colored tent on and then raise both arms in the air.  If my big, pasty-white belly was exposed, the shirt was worthless and the painful search for a “shirt” continued.

Pants, underwear, winter clothes and suits are equally hard to buy.  When my brother from another mother was preparing to interview for a spectacular new job he was forced to go suit shopping.  While complaining about the cost to a thin friend of his, the tiny guy said, “What’s the big deal? You can get a suit at J C Penny’s for 89 bucks!”

Rather than choking him or explaining the painful reality about big guy suit shopping, he called me so we could laugh at the little guy’s naivete.  Normal sized people have no idea what it is like for the other third of the US Population.  J C Penny’s biggest suits were still 75-100 pounds away for guys like us.  Instead we have to go to the Big and Tall Clothes Store which should be called the Expensive and Shameful Clothes Store where you need to wait for a BOGO sale because they need to combine two suits to make one for us.

So imagine my surprise last week when I walked into Target and located a sale with racks full of clothes that I can wear.  I attacked the racks like I used to attack a breakfast buffet.  First I got one of everything, then I went back for seconds and thirds of my favorites.  The clothes were very cheap and not covered in a gaudy flower pattern.   I was giddy to be surrounded by affordable clothes that fit.  It was such a refreshing change of events that I think I may finally understand the allure of shopping.

I filled up my red shopping cart with more clothes than I’d bought myself in the last 10 years.  When I got the giant plastic bags home I held a mini fashion show and pranced around the house in most of my new duds.  I didn’t even get to show all of them off yet, but I plan to do so as soon as I upload this blog post.  I just wish my daughters were allowed to join the festivities.


About jasongillett

I'm Jason Gillett, 2 year VEGAN, and a 41 year old family man. My wife & I teach in a FL school. I am using a blog to chronicle our family's new life. View all posts by jasongillett

22 responses to “Day 111: Shopaholic

  • Jenn

    I don’t think my IT guy is going to be pleased when I take my keyboard in to be cleaned.

    I am so excited that you have this new outlook on your body and a basket full of new clothes!

  • Sheree

    Yay for clothes on sale and being able to fit into them!! Yay for being vegan!! lol!

    Think of the all the fabric we could save if everyone went to a smaller size? An angle I never thought about, ha~~we could clothe the entire world with the extra fabric we’d have on hand!

    • jasongillett

      Wow! I didn’t think of that either- fields of cotton could be turned to fields of melons and squash. Think of all the innocent polyester that wont need to be harvested!

      Of course, if I keep buying 4 shirts for every one that I donate to Goodwill, we may need to leave the cotton fields alone. And I somehow forgot to mention that I can wear jeans again- for the first time in years- we might need to plant more.

      Yay for awesome people like YOU!

  • Liz

    Food and shopping?! I’m in heaven.

    It is very difficult for us fluffy folk to find comfortable clothes that fit well and doesn’t look like we wrapped ourselves in discount floral curtains. I’m so glad you found something that you feel good in, because I truly think that when you feel good in what you wear that it has a major impact on your mood and what you eat. It totally boosts your confidence, because we all know that having pride in how you look isn’t always easy. When you feel good you make better choices.

    Oh, and yay for Target!

    • jasongillett

      Liz- you are 100% right- it is all about how we feel about ourselves. When I was getting larger and larger last time and I reached the 250 mark it was a sad moment and nothing fit right or looked good. This time I’ve dropped down to the very same place and instead of negative thoughts I am prancing around Target like a teenie bopper with a bag of Pixie Stix and Dad’s credit card. I hear Obi-Wan in my head again- Our focus determines our reality.

      And I am thoroughly enjoying your blog and find myself wanting to go to Japan- something I never yearned for before. Yay Bun bun!

  • Bridget

    The first time I went shopping after losing 80 pounds I naturally went to the “Big Girls” section and was perusing the dresses. The sales clerk came to me and said, “Honey, you’re in the wrong section–you need to go to ladies.” I cried.

    • jasongillett

      Schmidt- I just got sympathy/empathy tears- that has to be the sweetest memory: “Honey, you’re in the wrong section…” Chills and joy- why did that hit me so hard? We’ll need to drive up and discuss it further I think. Miss you and the ‘Wild crew!!

    • kindveggie

      I don’t even know you and that makes me all teary. I’m now for the first time in a loooooooooong time able to fit into the misses clothes and am continually shocked. I always look at the womens when I walk by, but I try on something from the misses section and I still can’t believe that not only can I get it on and zipped/buttoned up, but it fits and looks nice.

      Congrats to you and all your weight loss!!

  • Joshua E. Bigger

    You see, Jason, once you hook the innocent school kids on crack, you’ll have to deal with packs of rangy, rabid, wild-eyed wolves, snapping for more crack. If you spend too much time between blog posts, those wolves may come ravaging your flocks, huffing and puffing at your door.

    Fortunately for the village folk, you delivered the medicine just in time, and you do not disappoint. Thank you for another thoughtful, amusing, inspirational update.

    • jasongillett

      So my HS Guidance Counselor was right, eh? Selling crack to kids 🙂

      I did resolve to post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday- and I am on my second week of a Thursday only post- but if I am able to find the will power to avoid the bad foods I was addicted to, I can certainly keep a better posting schedule-

      Dark’s Daughter Hope update: I am almost at 80% and I love the kilncat, Cat- very protective and enduring. And for 4 bucks on the Kindle you are just giving these books away! I am enjoying reading it even more because I’m not used to having the author a Tweet away- I’ll be downloading the next one before March it seems~ peace @joshuabigger

      • Joshua E. Bigger

        Thank you, Jason. Cat is a lot of fun for me, too. Basically I try to have fun with all of them, and hope it works out for the best. ‘Dark’s Daughter, Hope’ is my first book, and though I really strive for excellence, I have much to learn. I appreciate you reading – it’s very encouraging.

  • Kelly P.

    Hooray for you!!! I look forward to the day I can happily shop for clothes again, or at least stop avoiding my own reflection. My dream is to have only one, permanent, and healthy size of clothes in my closet, not the “hoping I’ll fit into it again” section, the “fat” clothes, and the “OMG I never in a million years thought I would have to wear this size” section. One day a time, right?…. Thanks again for the inspiration.

    • jasongillett

      Kelly- that is EXACTLY my dream! How many people take their single sized wardrobe for granted? I have all those different sections too! I have a small collection of tiny clothes that I should be able to fit into that I have been carrying around since the early 90s. When I can finally wear them, I will probably give them each a day and then ship them off to Goodwill so I can buy something that isn’t so dated. As for my bigger clothes, I get rid of them as soon as I can- good riddance to bad fashion. Stay strong and before long we’ll have a single sized wardrobe and be using our extra closet space for shoes and storage!! I can’t wait!!

      • Kelly P.

        LOL….yes, my skinny section is from the early-mid 90s, too! Back then I averaged a size 8, but could fit into the occasional 6. I remember once being embarrassed to tell someone at work that I sometimes had to wear a 10. Oh, those were the days…

  • Annmarie

    Good for you!!! I understand of what you speak. As a person who is now the correct weight for my height..I understand the whole shopping experience. I’ve been at a good weight for about 5 years and I still can’t quite get over how different the shopping experience is.
    Keep up the good work and the good writing.

  • Brother-From-Another-Mother

    Woo-Hoo, I finally made it into your Blog!!! Now if I could only get into my pants.

    Love ya man. I’m SO Very proud of you, Brother. And while I do not think the Vegan thing is for me, you and your journey are truly inspiring.
    You are the wind beneath my wings .
    Can’t wait to see you guys and try out all the new Awesome Vegan recipes. Tell the girls I still have pictures of some of your better ensambles from High School and Camp. If their good during their grounding, I’ll post em.

  • jasongillett

    Broseph- You are the wind beneath MY wings! We can’t wait to share the plant based deliciousness with you. And if you have pictures of me in the 1980’s flower jams my mom sewed for me, I will give you 10 bucks a piece for the print and the negative. 20 bucks for prints of my styling tribal shirts.

  • the RA Vegan

    I can completely empathize. I was at school this week saying “Look at this shirt! This one! The one I’m wearing! It’s a size large from a NORMAL store!” All the years I’ve gone on diets, going vegan has simply changed me in many many ways. Congrats!!

  • jasongillett

    Thank you from a fellow (former) ESE teacher! A “normal store”- how cool is that? Plant power!!

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