Biggie Size it! The Upsizing Lie of Clothing
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Biggie Size it! The Upsizing Lie of Clothing

I went shopping for some comfy clothes a size larger when I was sick last month. Fibro makes everything hurt, so binding clothes were not enticing to me. I went to the local discount store since I didn't want to spend much on clothes I didn't plan to wear for long. Some shorts on clearance  would do the job. When I took a pair off the rack in my size and held it up to me, what a shock! They "Biggie Sized" ladies' clothing--again. "Hummph", I grumbled. So I took the next size smaller to the fitting room. "Boy, did they "Biggie Size" these," I thought. Maybe they would shrink in the wash. They did a little bit. What's the deal with "Biggie Size" clothing? We ladies don't like the truth.

The clothing industry isn't stupid. They know we don't want to admit we've put on a few pounds. I worked in a discount store as a young adult. You have no idea how many seams were ripped, buttons pulled off, and zippers damaged from ladies stuffing themselves into clothes two sizes too small. The clothing companies know women don't want to view themselves as "fat", so they have accommodated our broadening backsides, muffin tops, and other bulges. In the picture to the right, are (your left) size 10 Lee jeans I bought at a yard sale in the mid-80s before "Biggie Sizing" hit. Then there are these (your right) size 4 Old Navy jeans I bought more recently. If you notice, the Lee jeans were designed for women with waists. The Old Navy jeans are mid-rise and allow space for a muffin top. I usually have to take the waist in on all my pants! Would we stop buying clothes if they were sized like they were in the 1980s? Maybe they just need to size them like men's clothes.

What Gives?
In reality, most women don't feel like they have a choice with their weight and size. It seriously takes two incomes in a household to survive. In the 1980s, the Superwoman Model came into being. A woman could have a career, a family, a beautiful clean home, and all the trimmings. Most full-time hourly jobs were 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. Workers got over time for more than 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. There was time left in the day to spend with family. Now, companies "own" employees, workers have to piece jobs together to pay for Obama Care and basic living expenses. Overtime is a rare thing unless you work in a factory where it is mandatory most of the time. With no time and little energy, women struggle to find time to work out or pack a decent lunch-- if they get to eat lunch at work.This paradigm shift has cost us more what we ever dreamed.

Another factor is stress. Stress levels are through the roof for men and women alike. Not only is it costing us our hair, it is costing us our health. God never designed us to live in a state of high stress for long periods of time. We can't fight it out, nor can we do what comes to our minds because we would be in huge trouble! The term, "Going postal" comes from this phenomena where people act out their thoughts and feelings due to high stress with a heaping dose of frustration. It's not socially or legally acceptable, so we drown our stress in food. Cortisol levels peak our weight gain and keep it up. This extra is a reserve for our fight or flight response to continued stress. We need healthy outlets for stress to protect our health and gain our bodies back.

What now?
Most of us know what we ought to do and the truth about the status of our health. The dilemma is how do we make what ought to be a reality in our own lives? There are no quick and easy solutions. Secular health and wellness groups attempt to give us answers through Zen-based, New Age practices such as meditation and relaxation.  These only offer superficial relief for a much deeper issue. Resconnecting with God and His goodness is the beginning of freedom. The problem with New Age offerings is they miss the actual part of us that truly communes with God. By connecting deeply with our God of Comfort, our Protector, Provider, Sustainer, we know He is taking charge of what we cannot. We also know what He does not protect us from He uses to grow us in our faith and character. Prayer and time spent in reflective reading of God's word should be our outlet for stress relief. See Lectio Divina: Meditation.

The other part is what principles we base our life's decisions upon. Each religious viewpoint has basic tenets people use to decide how to respond, whether it be dealing with conflict or staying late at work instead of going home to spend quality time with family. Our global society attempts to separate us from valuable relationships, chaining us to the corporate grind. For us as Christians, balancing our work time and family time is a high priority. We may work for Company X, but our real boss is God Almighty. It's not an easy balance, but it is an important one.

The "Biggie Sizing" in our clothing is simply a symptom of a behemoth-sized problem in our global society. Choosing to make valuable changes in our lifestyles is important, not only to our waistlines, but to our total health. Come join us to learn how in our Healthy Lifestyles groups.

May God bless you!

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