Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wretched in a Winter Wonderland

For years and years and years, I was sure that I could somehow camouflage the fact that I was overweight.  I'm sure you've seen this happen in nature- people wearing t-shirts in the pool or constantly putting on baggy sweatshirts or only dressing in black in an attempt to look slimmer.   All of these tricks were in my repertoire, but my biggest illusion only took place in winter.

I refused to wear a winter coat.  Yes, you read that right.  I live in Chicago where the average winter temperature is -78 degrees, but I had convinced myself that winter coats were much too bulky.  If I wore one, I was certain my weight would be instantly obvious, like a big sign flashing over my head.  This is where the camouflage came in.  In my mind, the only winter wear that was slimming was a black pea coat.  This is the only picture I have of me in my winter wear of old:


This was taken as I ran my first marathon in 2006. Oh, and that is my beautiful goddaughter/best buddy Jamie, by the way.  I can't believe I haven't mentioned her on this thing yet because she is the greatest.  And yes, I know, the hair is awful.  I have no idea why I thought blond was a good idea.

Anyway, that was as winter-ready as I got, and trust me, one layer of wool doesn't protect you in February in the Windy City.  I refused to wear a hat, scarf, or gloves and I often walked the dog in six inches of snow in a pair of clogs I called my dog walkin' shoes.  My family and friends were often too horrified to be seen in public with me.  I'm very happy Clinton and Stacy never showed up at my door because HOT DAMN would they have had some footage!

Other days, I'd refuse to even wear the pea coat.  I'd instead just wear a hoodie.  Yes, a sweatshirt, outdoors, in subzero temperatures.  Again, somehow this look was very slimming on me, in my own little mind.


You can barely see me I'm so thin and whispy in that picture due to the fact that I am wearing a sweatshirt and not a jacket!  And once again, impressive hair.  I really missed out on that whole grunge look era because I could certainly have pulled it off.

So I've written before that I hate winter.  I get pretty bad seasonal depression and basically want to hibernate and never leave the house.  This year, I deduced that maybe the fact that I let myself freeze half to death every time I step outside might have something to do with all of this.  To the internet I went, Batman, and I ordered myself some real winter gear, bulkiness be damned.

Now I have a hat, scarves, gloves, long underwear, a waterproof insulated jacket and even snow pants.   I also have snazzy red boots. 


I will admit that wearing all of this has definitely improved winter a bit.  I walk the dog three times a day (although I am still wistfully googling "how to toilet train dog" several times a week but Coop is very stubborn) and it is definitely more pleasant to not turn into an icicle each time.

So have I magically turned into an orca whale now that I am seasonably appropriate?  Well, once I realized I was warmish when I was outside, I really stopped caring.  Most people are rushing around here quickly in order to get out of the misery so I doubt very many people are judging my attire.  I am beginning to see that the whole bulky outerwear phobia was yet another case of my brain playing delightful little tricks on me.  Progress?  Maybe the warmth of my hat is making my synapses fire more rapidly?  Who knows?

But there's one thing I know with absolute certainty:  Snow is only pretty 1.) in a snow globe, 2.) on Christmas Eve/Day or 3). on the news if you're watching from the beaches of Hawaii.  Other than that, winter is for the birds.  Well, at least for the penguins.


  1. Don't you just hate it when you realize your mother was right???