Who Knew This Was A Problem?

Does It Buckle?

Who knew that seat belts really should be bigger.   A seat belt is something I had never really given any consideration to before I gained 150 pounds. You sat in the car, put your seat belt on, and off you went.

That was when I was a standard size. Unfortunately, once I married, I wasn’t a standard size for long. Once my weight ballooned up and over 300 pounds I had a lot of struggles with those pesky fabric seat belts.  Like everyone else who has been morbidly obese, when I weighed in that range, I still needed to use a seat belt, but sometimes that wasn’t possible.  This sounds harsh to say, but as big as I looked when I was standing up, when I sat down things really got wide.  Everything seemed to spread around me, and I looked bigger than I really was.  Unfortunately, even though I avoided looking at myself from the side when sitting, there were times when my sitting down width became undeniable and embarrassing. After all, with a waist size of 55 and hips in the 60’s, it had becoming increasingly difficult to perform normal day-to-day activities. 

Walking was more difficult, standing for long periods of time was torture for my knees and back.  And who knew this would happen – but riding in vehicles became somewhat of an issue as well! 

One time a friend and I were going to the children’s museum with our kids.  I had a minivan back then, which seems so tiny when I compare it to the 12 passenger van I drive now, and I never had a problem buckling my seat belt properly. However, on that day, after we had we opened up her trunk and loaded strollers, coolers and diaper bags, the next step was to transferred my kid’s car seats to her car, along with little squirming children.  After what seemed like an eternity, we got in the car and prepared to leave. 

She  put on her seat belt,  and I reached behind me to grab mine.  I grabbed the seat belt, pulled it diagonally across my body and whoops!  No go.  Being very technologically savvy, I released the seat belt all the way back into its holder, and tried again.  Double no go.  The seat belt reached about to my left hip, but was a good 4″ short of reaching the buckle thingy.  I gently released the seat belt one more time and looked at her.  She said, “Is it broken?”  I said, “No, it’s too small.”  She wanted to change to my car, but I didn’t want to go through the embarrassment of unloading 5 children and all their paraphernalia.  I insisted it would be fine to go the short distance to the museum without being buckled, but I felt incredibly guilty and said prayed the whole time she was driving that we wouldn’t crash. 

Obviously we made it safely there and back, but my self esteem had taken another major nose dive. 

I wish that that incident had spurred me into action, but just like all the other embarrassing moments, it sent me through the McDonald’s drive-thru. I still remember asking the older two kids if they’d like some french fries on the way home that day. They were happy to share a small fry, and I was content for a moment with my large fry, large diet coke, and large chocolate shake. Content until I got home that is.

I write this not so you will feel sorry for me, but so you will know that no matter what your weight issues/challenges are – I’ve been there. I know how these kinds of incidences can beat us down and make us feel bad. But I also know that looking back I feel powerful that I was able to finally break free of that life and move forward – both to the joy and happiness of myself and my family.  Do you feel powerful?  Diane 


38 thoughts on “Who Knew This Was A Problem?

  1. Michelle@Eatingjourney says:

    I remember when I couldn’t fit on the rides at the fair. It wouldn’t close unless I sucked my stomach in the whole time.

    Not being able to ride a horse cause I was too heavy.

    Maxing out the pant sizes at Old Navy in the mens section.

    Losing weight is a funny thing. It’s empowering. However, at times I’ve struggled with releasing the pressures of looking prefect as I’ve gotten thinner.
    .-= Michelle@Eatingjourney´s last blog ..How’s Your Relationship with Food? =-.

  2. Diane says:

    Back before my first weight loss attempt, seat belts were a problem, but losing 110 pounds made that a thing of the past. However, when my son was at his highest weight, not only the seat belt issue but the size of the back seat compartment became a HUGE issue. The seat belts would not click comfortably and there was not enough room for his legs , head or much of anything else. Being Autistic on top of this and having real issues with textures, sounds, motion sensation and more made any outing a complete nightmare. Between the two, we simply did not go many places. Happily , for him the answer was the right course of supplementation followed by a strict food and exercise regiment, and things changed drastically. Seat belts, theater seats and booths are much less of a problem now. We are not there yet, but some days I think there might be a Volkswagen Beetle or a Prius in our future as a family car because fit is no longer an issue.
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Save room for desert ! =-.

  3. mangan says:

    I have just read your post and I can completely understand your problem with seat belts.I really like that you have shared your problem with us.I think no one should feel bad with their weight.Thanks..

  4. Hanlie says:

    You know, I really appreciate these posts, because a lot of people have no idea of the relentless embarrassment and shame the obese have to put up with – day in and day out. We can never be sure when we leave our homes that something embarrassing will not happen to us.
    .-= Hanlie´s last blog ..Going for it! =-.

  5. vickie says:

    I have a friend that yoyoed for years (and now unfortunately she just stays at her high end). She seemed to either weigh 150 or 350 with no in between. She was excellent at the loosing part – but could never maintain.

    And I vividly remember the ritual of getting her buckled in a car seat. We put the seat all the way back, she would hold her belly girth in/up and I would pull the seat belt over with one hand and then help her in/up belly process.

    This was in my car. I never asked but assumed she had extenders for her own – because she only had two hands and it took four and a lot of muscle to buckle her.

    We routinely had to search out seat options at movies and restaurants.

    I am conscious to this day – when we are in a waiting room NOT to take the wide chairs. Most every waiting room has some version of oversized, loveseat, armless chairs to accomodate larger bulks. And yes, if someone else was obliviously IN one and a a obese person came in and the oblivious person did not realize – I would intervene if the obese person was not able to be on their feet.

    Our ortho doctor not only has wide chair options – they also have high chair options for those with knee problems. I am always very aware there also.
    .-= vickie´s last blog ..Moles and other related ‘spots’. =-.

  6. Gigi says:

    I can still get the belt to buckle but I have to pull it out a lot farther than I used to. The power I feel these days comes from talking back to the negative talk in my head. I used to be a lot more self-confident and fearless but that had withered away in the past 10 years or so as the weight piled on. I’m going to start steering this boat now instead of letting my emotions do it.
    .-= Gigi´s last blog ..The King and I =-.

  7. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Diane, what a story & thank you for sharing…. it is interesting that these life things don’t spur us into action at all. And then one day, you get it & move out of this crazy zone. Emotions are huge factors in this & they either take us down to the pits OR we learn to face them, understand them & get past that eating to feed the emotional turmoil. I have not been where you have been but I understand the emotions!

  8. TLEstrogen says:

    Wow Diane, I can only imagine how horrible that must’ve felt. That’s never been an issue for me, but I’ve been asked when the baby’s due more than once when I wasn’t pregnant. That one really hurts too. Thank goodness you succeeding in your weight loss. You are such an inspiration to me as I try losing mine. I am really impressed with your ability to maintain your diet without yoyoing. WTG girl!
    .-= TLEstrogen´s last blog ..Eric Chopin: Confessions of a Reality Show Loser =-.

  9. Lori (Finding Radiance) says:

    The seatbelts on airplanes (not even going there about the seats themselves) always gave me fits. I would have it as far extended as possible and it just fit. I thought someday I was going to have to ask for the extender.

    Going to Disney (my favorite place) one year and I was worried about fitting on some of the rides.

    Funny how all that did was make me eat instead of doing something about it…..
    .-= Lori (Finding Radiance)´s last blog ..Snack bender =-.

  10. Anonymous Fat Girl says:

    I love that you share these stories with us. It must be incredibly difficult to do so, even though you are in a different place now. I bet it feels good to not have that problem anymore. 🙂

    To answer your question, I feel very powerful. I feel the most powerful ever when I can go to the gym and give it every thing I have and I know that things will be changing with my body.
    .-= Anonymous Fat Girl´s last blog ..I am a strong girl – just ask my trainer =-.

  11. Leah says:

    Oh, I’m sorry for you…and I can’t even imagine that. Now, I do know that when I was at my highest I’d prefer to ride in our mini van to the car because the seats were comfortable/bigger and I didn’t feel all squished inside.

    I’m feeling more powerful, yes. I will feel more powerful when I’ve broken 209…
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Coffee Joy =-.

  12. Tiffany says:

    This post was very timely for me- as I was examining myself yesterday I really began to question- is this actually possible? Is losing all of the weight that I need to actually attainable? Then I read posts like this that remind me that women who’s hips measure 60” + (like mine do) can make it because you did!

    Thanks 🙂
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..Day #7: The Issue of Control… =-.

  13. Mia says:

    Today I am not feeling very powerful.

    Though I’m not in a bad place my mind is! I know this is just the post holiday let down, the January weather (currently a snowstorm outside), and lack of outdoor time! Happens every year! Like Gigi above, I have to watch that negative speak. And be patient. Spring WILL come!

    Stay warm Diane! I hear Florida is getting hit pretty hard with this cold spell.


  14. Marcelle says:

    I was spared that as well….never got that overweight…but reading this makes me think how awful it must be and on an aeroplanes…
    Its all opening our eyes to what some people live with daily.
    .-= Marcelle´s last blog ..First Full Day Home =-.

  15. Erin says:

    I feel very powerful, indeed. Actually, since my injury, that sense of strength is a bit diminished, but I know that once healed, I will be able to run again. Until then, my mind is strong, my heart is strong, and my body is still strong, even if it’s not quite 100%.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Mixed Messages =-.

  16. Sandi says:

    I had this happen a couple of times. Fortunately I was in the back seat and able to hold the seat belt so it looked like it was fastened. I’m not positive that I fooled anyone, but avoided any conversation about it anyway.
    My husband noticed that he had to readjust the drivers seat in the car every time he would drive my car after I lost 100 pounds. I’m four inches shorter than he, but my large backside was boosting me forward so I had the seat in the same position as he needed. For a lot of years I thought he was shrinking because when I would sit next to him I looked taller. I told him this one day when we were in the car after I lost the weight. We had a good laugh over the fact that I thought he was shrinking when it was actually my large backside boosting me up!

  17. Taryl says:

    Ooh, I remember one flight in particular where the belt was REALLY tight! It fit better when I www pregnant and flying than it did that day. I just narrowly missed needing an extension, which would have been SO mortifying, and I am pleased to say that on our last trip I had a good six inches of slack left over on that belt, maybe more. MUCH better feeling!

  18. Pam says:

    We had a GEO that when we went to look at it, I couldn’t even get behind the wheel! I was mortified and just said something about my back hurting and made hubby drive, but we all knew what was going on.
    I got to where I could drive it, but still couldn’t get the belt to fasten. I was thrilled when I finally heard that click one day, but it was still unmercifully tight.
    I wish we still had the car (it died last spring), because I would LOVE to get in it now and see where I stand!
    .-= Pam´s last blog ..Disspelling Florida Myths =-.

  19. Quix says:

    Ugh – at 265 I got into a friend’s corvette and could *justbarely* buckle it, and then that year on a plane I could *justbarely* get it buckled too. I just thought that they were small (just like XXL clothes had gotten smaller and seats got smaller… can you say denial?), so it wasn’t MY fault.

    No seat belt issues to report in the 150’s. 🙂
    .-= Quix´s last blog ..Baby Steps: How To Go From Fatass To Athlete in 3 Years =-.

  20. Kat says:

    I admire you so much for all that you have accomplished. Before I started losing weight I couldn’t buckle the seat belt on an airplane. I was mortified and had too much shame to ask for a seat belt extender. I am so pleased to be releasing the shame along with the weight…:-)
    .-= Kat´s last blog ..The Perfect 10 – Update #1 =-.

  21. The Chubby Girl Diaries says:

    I know what you mean.

    There are a lot of embarrassing and power-taking situations that I have been it at 300+ pounds. It’s like you worry about everything from being able to buckle your seat belt to wondering if you will fit in a booth at a restaurant. It’s disheartening.

    Thank you for sharing this with us!!

    .-= The Chubby Girl Diaries´s last blog ..Welcome to the *No-Deny* zone =-.

  22. Nicole Miller says:

    Diane, Thank you for sharing your story. I just came across your blog and I’m glad I did!! Your blog is very inspirational and I look forward to reading your blogs daily.

  23. Nicole says:

    I remember getting stuck in a baby swing as a kid…you know the ones with the holes for the legs to go through. My camp counselor had to flip the swing upside down and I slowly and painfully wiggled my way out. I had bruises on my thighs for WEEKS, and I’ll never forget it to this day. Definitely one of the defining moments leading up to my transformation. Great share, Diane…as always 🙂
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..The Drive -Thru Diet =-.

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