In Fatshionista on livejournal and in a few other places. discussions of the dreaded “chub rub” erupt from time to time. For the unaware, it’s that situation where a)parts of your body rub against themselves causing a rash or other discomfort or b)when parts of your body rub against your clothing, also creating chafing and discomfort.
Since I suffer from chronic urticaria, my chub rub can come with special prizes if I’m not careful. When I first became ill, a long walk down Nicollet Mall could leave me hobbling around in some weird imitation of day-long tire sprints. I generally resolved the issue by avoiding wearing skirts, or putting on bike shorts beneath them – especially since for a long time, anything with a compression element whether it was pantyhose or a shaper would also cause me to break out severely. I don’t believe in suffering for fashion, and certainly not to the degree I was experiencing for merely not getting arrested for public nudity.
While I’ve learned to prepare for these events, a new version of chub rub caught me by surprise in December.
While any weight I’ve lost in the past year is at best minimal, the time I’ve spent at the gym has caused my body shape to change. So my happy, perfect-fitting swimsuit, suddenly fits a little bit differently around my arms.
I first noticed a sudden stinging sensation as I waved my arms in the air after going through several back and forth motions. Yet when I checked myself in the mirror, I could see nothing. I went out for the evening, came home, and then my arm started burning again and lo – there was a rash alright, with a three dimensional element, little bumps and everything. My first thought was that I had the shingles (I later learned shingles do NOT erupt on that part of the body)!
The first doctor I went to thought I’d just caught a fungus amongus, gave me a steroid cream, and sent me on my way. But after a week of the cream and noticing a brand new eruption after ever water aerobics session, I went to a different doctor. After poking and prodding the rash for a moment or two, he concluded: “It’s an injury you’re reopening, not a fungus.”
After giving me a stronger cream, he advised me to find something that gets between me and the injury. I really don’t want to buy a new swimsuit – it’s a chlorine resistant beauty from Swimsuits for All and in fact another woman in my class wears exactly the same model without a problem.
Evidently even skinny swimmers have this problem, as I discovered entire lines of “rash resistant” swimwear meant to accent or sometimes replace traditional swimsuits. Fortunately, I found this rash guard top from Land’s End:
While most of the rash guard pieces I found touted protection from sunburn – definitely a rash of one type – it seems that most were in fact designed to help with friction burn, rather than sunburn. This one certainly does.
It seemed like a good idea to toss in this experience, as plus size exercise issues are limited in where they’re discussed. Certainly Fathletes covers some of it, and any addition to the collection of knowledge about the plus body and exercise will make life easier for us all!