Monday, November 28, 2011

Waistland Part 3- Weight Loss

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I wanted to make a three part series (Health, Beauty and Bras, Weight Loss and Skin) about waistlines.  If I get really ambitious I might write a forth post about history, but we'll see. ;) 


Weight loss


What does it mean to lose an inch from your waist?  To answer that question you'd have to know how many inches your waist is already.  The larger your waist the more fat you'll need to lose to lose an inch (unfair, right?).
Calculations to figure out inch/weight relation


For instance, going from a 33" to 32" (assuming 5" height between your underbust and natural waist) requires a loss of 0.856 lb's of fat whereas going from a 30" to 29" waist requires 0.779lb's of fat.  That might seem like an insignificant difference but if you're starting at a waist size of 40" and want to go to a 30" waist then you'd have to lose 9lbs.  That doesn't sounds like a lot but considering that you can't choose where your body loses fat AND we're a lot bigger than 5" tall, well, it adds up.

Another concern that I hear often is that weight lifting will cause you to bulk up.  Let's look at how much muscle it would take to gain an inch (density of 1.06 g/cm^3 vs. 0.9g/cm^3 for fat). If you have mathematica you can check out a worksheet

that I made that allows you to make these calculations.  However, it ends up being a gain of 0.959lbs of muscle  would cause you to gain an inch around your waist.  That doesn't sound like much until you consider that AT MOST (eating an extremely clean diet and lifting HEAVY) a woman can gain only 0.5-1lbs of muscle/month with a maximum of about 20-25lbs total for her lifetime (assume a steriod-free woman) see here.  You also have to consider if you're lifting weight it's most likely focused more on your arms/shoulders/back/legs and the vast majority is going to go there (probably most specifically legs for women).  The point is, it would be really, really hard to gain 1lb of muscle on your waist and make it an inch wider.  Add to that, how many women lift weights on their core?  Especially enough that would cause a serious gain of muscle mass there?

Skin

I have to admit, I don't have much to say here.  Yep, weight loss can cause loose skin.  Yep, stretch marks never really go away (but they do fade).  It sucks, I know.  That being said, I like my body a hell of a lot more now than I did when I was well over 200lbs.  I feel better and I have more self-confidence so for me it's a no-brainer.  Shapewear can do wonders and any partner that really can't deal with your battle scars probably isn't worth your time in the long run either.    I even wear a bikini (ok it's a high-waisted one but nevertheless it's a bikini and some of my stretch marks peek out the top) and nobody has gone blind yet from seeing me in it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My ideal shirt

13 comments:
After Darlene's recent post about designing new clothes with large busts in mind rather than revamping current designs, I've been thinking a lot about why types of clothes I'd like to see for my body.  If I were to come up with a working design, buy the material, and talk to my seamstress, it might not be that unrealistic for me to actually get some of these clothes made (thanks to how cheap it is to get clothes made here in Brazil).  Obviously, I won't do this until I hit my goal weight but it's still a fun idea.

So first I wanted to narrow my biggest issues when it comes to clothes (let's talk about tops first):

  1. Not enough room in the bust
  2. Not enough room in the upper arms, or short sleeves tend to emphasize my large upper arms
  3. I'd like to be able to show off my shoulders more
  4. By the time I fit my bust the waist is too big
  5. Clothes made for larger busts tend to be stretchy, which by the end of the day lose their shape
  6. Designers normally include a lot of spandex to make sure clothes can be pulled over the bust
  7. Top are cut WAY too low
  8. Shirts are not long enough
  9. Designers like to assume we're all Disney Princesses and have nipped in natural waists and large ribcages even if the measurements of Bust/Waist match my own
  10. Shirts that are fitted around the waist are also fitted around the lower belly, not something that's good for my flabby stomach!
  11. Buttons are evil
  12. Empire waist tops can make you look pregnant
Ok, so basically I have a lot of problems finding tops I love and I have yet to find one that first exactly the way I would like.   Now let's figure out how to fix these problems. Here's a sketch of my ideal shirt and below explains why it fixes the probelms:



I'll come back to 1. later, but for 2. I really like thick tank tops, not spaghetti straps (I really don't want to have to wear a strapless bra if not necessary!) but also ones that cover my whole shoulder are covering up my best feature, so thick tank tops, preferably ones that are gathered at the shoulder.

4.-6.&9.  Could be solved by using different materials in the shirt itself and a zipper.  My ideal top would have a zipper on the side that runs from the top of the armpit down to the natural waist.  The material in the bust would be stretchy wheres the back and the under bust-natural waist would not be.

8.&10. Would be solved by having a long, lose fitting, flowy bottom to the shirt attached at the natural waistline.

7. I've been throwing around some ideas about having an adjustable neckline, maybe some sort of ribbon that you could tie to pull the neckline up or down depending on bust size

9.  Going off of 7. I was thinking it would be nice to have  tie at the natural waist too. Then the shirt could be adjusted if you have a Disney Princess waist vs. The Mom.

12.  This is precisely why I want the wide band here.  Thankfully my stomach has flattened out a lot with the last 10lbs or so but even recently I've been asked if I was pregnant, arg!  Even thick, underbust belts don't really solve this either because they move around so much or they are just not quite thick enough.  The band would have to be around 5" tall (at least from measuring my own underbust to natural waist... 

1.  I actually like the idea of folds that could stretch out more for larger busts but not look too bumpy for smaller busts.  Obviously, it wouldn't be able to fit everyone but it could fit a larger range at least.  Something almost like the infinity dress shown here (specifically the one on the far right...):




If it was cold you could add long sleeves but I personally like the sleeveless look (also because it's HOT here at the moment!!!).

What I like about this shirt is that you'd order based on your underbust size.  That way if you did have a smaller natural waist you could always cinch up the middle some.  If you have a larger natural waist you would just not do that.  You'd also avoid the puffy back look (something that seems to always happen on my T-shirts by the time I find a bust size that fits) and it would hopefully cover up my soft lower belly without making me look pregnant in the process.  Plus, the shirt should hold it's form by the end of the day but also give you a little space at the bottom if you had a big lunch.

I have to admit that my ideal shirt is also quite close to Moje szycie's 
The big difference being that I'd like the bottom more flared, two separate panels for each breast, adjustable ties, and two different types of fabric. :) 


What do you think?  Am I missing anything here?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Medical and Health Update- Round 2

9 comments:
I have bad luck with doctors here, really bad luck. I've never had this happen in the States nor in Germany (and I'm counting the German Ob/Gyn who looked at me once and said "wow, you sure gained a lot of weight, wow!").  Today, it took all my will-power not to start crying in the doctor's office.

I went in today for a follow-up visit on my knee and to ask about my hand/ellbow/back pain.  The visit immediately started off on the wrong foot because there had been a confusion with the scheduling and it wasn't with the doctor I had gone to previously.  My husband had called it in for me because phones calls are hard enough in Portuguese when I know the person on the other end but nearly impossible when it's someone I'm unfamiliar with.  He didn't remember the doctor's name and just told the receptionist it was a follow-up appointment.

I didn't know all this so when the doctor asked why I was there I just explained that my husband had made the appointment and there was some mix-up.  He then proceedeed to give me this HUGE lecture about how I was supposed to learn the doctor's name and how I was always supposed to see the same doctor and how that other doctor ordered specific exams so I should've seen the other doctor (now after hearing about my visit my husband told me I should've just said "fine, I'll go schedule a visit for the other guy" and I could have left... oh, how I wish I would have thought of that!).  He basically made sure I felt like an idiot from the get go. 

He then asked me to describe the problem while constantly interrupting me to tell me how stupid I was for not scheduling an appointment with the other doctor.  After that and before giving me my results, he then interrogating me about my past work history in the states and Germany?  I really got the impression that he thought I was a stay at home mom who couldn't do anything for herself and was entirely dependent on her husband from the tone of voice and the way he treated me (and seriously so what if I was a stay at home mom?  being a working mom does not reflect on my intelligence, arg!).  The worst thing?  I know if my husband would've been there he would have NOT treated me this way..

Then finally after all that he tells me I have scoliosis, tennis elbow, and my hamstrings are too weak. Ok, all that I can believe so no problem there.  He then proceeds to tell me that I'll never be able to lift ANY weight EVER again in my life and that essentially the only exercise I'll ever be able to do again is swimming. Wait... WHAT!!?!?!??!?!  I try and ask him about specific exercises  and he dismisses my questions and tells me he doesn't know about any "new-fangled exercise machines that they keep coming out with" without even paying attention to the movement that I was describing (when I try to describe an elliptical machine to see if that will aggravate my issues). 

I know I'm a foreigner and Portuguese isn't my first language (or even my second for that matter).  It can make conversations tough but I've seen a lot of doctors on my own and most do quite well.  There might be a bit of confusion but normally with some patience we get through the conversation. This guy?  It was like pulling teeth.  

Oh, and are you ready for the icing on the cake?  I told him that I was in the process of losing weight and I wanted to exercise.  His response?  He just pointed at his mouth.  I was utterly baffled by this and then he responded that I need to "stop eating".  Gee thanks Sherlock.  What a great diet book that would be! STOP EATING, wow, that would be really cheap to print! Thanks for the advice!

I meanthis guy is supposed to be a physical therapist!  Wouldn't a physical therapist know that when you lose weight you can also lose muscle if you don't lift?  Wouldn't a physical therapist know about being skinny fat and how exercise is great at preventing excess visceral fat?  After just a quick google search I was able to find out that exercises that are against gravity aggravate scoliosis (so the dumbbell press) whereas exercises like the bench press would not cause problems AND that exercise can help strengthen your back to prevent problems due to scoliosis!

Ok, when it came to the doctor that printed off the BMI chart for me, I was bemused.  This time?  I'm enraged.  My husband wants to call the insurance company tomorrow and make a formal complaint.  He thought it was probably because I was a female and wants to prevent anyone else having to deal with this doctor.  What annoys me so much is that the first doctor I met there was great! Really nice, explained things to me clearly and listened to my questions.  However, now there's no way I'll ever go back to that practice because I don't want any chance of running into the evil doctor...  We're definitely planning on getting a second opinion.  I don't think his diagnoses were off but, wow, everything else really was...

Oh... and after leaving the office I had to wait awhile for the bus while I held back tears.  Then I looked down and realized I was standing in an ant pile... while wearing flip flops!  Fun times..

Waistland Part 2- Beauty and Bras

16 comments:
I wanted to make a three part series (Health, Beauty and Bras, Weight Loss and Skin) about waistlines.  If I get really ambitious I might write a forth post about history, but we'll see. ;)

Beauty

I've noticed three different waistlines: The Disney Princess, The Tube, and The Mom.  Guess which one I am. ;) By the way, please forgive the names... it's just what came to my mind first.

The Disney Princess:  Underbust>Natural Waist and it forms a V-shape.  Basically, your all around desired "nipped-in waist". 


The Tube:  Underbust~Natural Waist.  Pretty common look for athletes and I'm picking on the lovely Hope Solo in the picture below.  When I was at my low weight in high school and college, I was in this category.



The Mom:  Natural Waist>Underbust.  You might have a stomach that sticks out a bit and is more rounded.  Yep, this is me...


All three have different dressing difficulties.  As I discussed some in my AJ Rumina Review, having a rounded waist has made it difficult for me to find flattering fitted T-shirts because while they might fit well from my natural waist up, it ends up showing off my bulge from the natural waist down.  It also makes finding jeans tricky due to the issue of having a muffin top. The best solution that I've found thus far is empire waist tops and wrap dresses (I'm planning on making a post soon on what my dream top would look like...).  Basically, anything that brings the waist close to the underbust, which is the smallest part of the mid-section. For instance, I have a feeling I'll look awesome in this (I'm thinking of ordering from BiuBiu soon, maybe once I get down a few more pounds...)




The rule of putting the waist of shirts at the smallest part of the mid-section works well on all three types.  Tubes would look awesome in the AJ Rumina shirts because they have such a long torsos.  Or wearing a belt at their hips could really show off how long and lean their torsos are:

Disney Princess would then want to emphasize their natural waist.  Baggy tops wouldn't be ideal (or even empire waist tops for that matter) because it would cover up the smallest part of their midsection.  Instead, the waist line on their shirts and dresses should be right at their natural waist line. 


Now, obviously, these are general guidelines and you have to dress your individual body.  IF you like something WEAR IT.  If you disagree with me that's ok, it's much more important for you to feel happy in your clothes than for you to wear what I tell you to wear. :)

Bras

It never occurred to me before having bras that even came remotely close to my ideal bra size that the size of your natural waist vs. underbust would affect how you wear a bra.  But it does.

I think the Tube has it the easiest (although I'm completely OK with someone proving me wrong here!).  Because their natural waist and underbust are about the same, then if the back size on a bra is slightly too big or too small it's not as likely that the bra would migrate either up or down to find the smaller part on that person's body.  In general, getting bras on or off shouldn't be too bad either because if you fasten your bra in the front you have plenty of room to turn it around.

The Disney Princess may have some difficult if her band is too tight.  The band might actually try to migrate downwards toward the smallest part of her body.  If the band is too loose then it creeps up and the cups creep down. Getting on a well-fitting bra shouldn't be a problem because it could be easily turned around her small waist.

The Mom might have some difficulties putting on a tight band, especially if her natural waist is quite a bit bigger than her underbust (speaking from personal experience here!).  I've never mastered hooking my bra in the back and have always needed to hook in the front and then turn it around.  That's not easy if your natural waist is 2" bigger than your underbust!  I've found that on the tightest hooks that I can actually get on, I always have a slight rise in the back due to me not being able to get something tighter around my waist.

Assumptions from the fashion industry

I  have to say this bugs me a lot.  Maybe it's only in Brazil but if you look at the way many fitted dresses are designed, it's very much with the Disney Princess in mind.  Most of them leave quite a bit more room in the ribcage than they do at the natural waist.  The assumption being that women have wide ribcages, smallish breasts and narrow waists.  Certainly, there are women who fit that ideal but speaking as someone who has a small ribcage, large breasts, and a largish waist, it's nearly impossible to find a good dress!  Even when I match up perfectly to the measurements listed, the dresses are cut way too large in the back and too small upfront.

I have to wonder if this is a symptom of the plus-4 illness?  Is the clothing industry falsely assuming that because women typically buy 36C/36D bras that they actually have that wide of  ribcages?

After Darlene's recent post about thinking up new designs for large busts rather than revamping old ones I've been slinging a few ideas through my head on how that could be done and hope to post about it soon..

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My fantasy...

2 comments:
I have to admit that I day dream sometimes about stealing Butterfly Collection's idea and starting my own online bra shop here in Brazil.  Being that I'm currently procrastinating doing some work that I really needs to get done....  I even made a logo already.

My idea would be to offer bra fittings at my apartment if someone lived called ahead and made an appointment.  I also would offer free bra fittings at some of the local malls to try and get more awareness out there. 

Realistically, I'd probably have a fairly small collection to start off with.  I'd want to be able to offer some really basic bras in a few different brands (T-shirt bras, sports bras, soft cup bras, plunges, nursing bras, bikinis, and handful of fancier lace ones).  For brands I'd definitely want my favorite Ewa Michalak and then the other standards Fanstasie, Freya, Panache, Curvy Kate, and Elomi (I'd want to make sure to have a plus size range too!).  I wouldn't seem myself offering too many choices at first because I'd rather focus on havings a wide range in sizes (and shapes i.e. narrow vs. wide wires) vs. a wide range in styles. 

The major uphill battle would be getting the word out.  I know of some good places to advertise within the expat community but beyond that it would be challenging.  I was thinking of also trying to have a day (or more) where I offered fittings at the local universities to college student along with a discount on a bra if they bought it that day. 

Unfortunately, all this is for naught because I'm not allowed to own a business on the side due to the nature of my job.  I'm also not even allowed to work a second job.  Since I'm not planning on quitting my job, well, this only gets to happen in my head. Bummer.

That being said I'd love somebody to steal my idea... and please tell me about it so then I can buy bras from you!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Waistland Part 1- Types of fat

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I wanted to make a three part series (Health, Beauty and Bras, Weight Loss and Skin) about waistlines.  If I get really ambitious I might write a forth post about history, but we'll see. ;)

Health 

One of the main focal points when it comes to weight loss is our waist lines.  Right now the news is all a buzz that our waist lines have gotten bigger and that there's a big connection between our waist size and our health (apparently you need to have a waist-to-hip ratio under 0.8 and your waistline should be underneath 35" or better yet 32").  Apparently researchers have finally been clued in that focusing on BMI alone is a pretty faulty measurement because it overlooks muscle mass, eating habits, genetics, frame size etc and are now looking at new measurements to focus on.  Why they haven't handed doctors a pair of calipers and told them to get measuring or better yet work on more effective ways to measure body fat %, I just cannot understand, although it is true that breaking out the tape measurer is probably easier.

So let's talk about our waistlines.   Currently the average waist measurements for females is between 34-37" (depending on race).  So that puts most women "at risk" according to the studies above.  However, to understand those studies you have to understand why they're focusing on our waistlines.  In order to do that, we need to first talk about the difference between two types of adipose tissue: visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. 

Subcutaneous Fat.  This is the fat right underneath your skin.  It can be measured with a pair of calipers and it's that lovely jiggly stuff that most people hate.









Visceral Fat. This is the fat that pads your organs.  It contributes to belly fat but because it's actually surrounding your organs, it's anchored down.  You know how guys get those huge, very solid beer bellies?  That's thanks to visceral fat.  Visceral fat is needed to some extent, you're never going to get rid of it completely BUT an excess of visceral fat can give you a lot of problems



From this blog that discusses a number of studies on visceral vs. subcutaneous fat

Visceral fat is composed of several adipose depots which may contribute insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia, hypertension and coronary artery disease (NIH). Several studies have linked visceral fat to elevated triglycerides levels (Wirth et al, 1996).
Considering that coronary artery disease is a condition that in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries and the plaque comprises fat, cholesterol and calcium that may lead atherosclerosis; visceral fat should get more attention.
So the idea behind measuring your waist to predict your health is that larger waist line=more visceral fat.

Now, the problem to this is that we really need to be able to distinguish between subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.  Right now my waist is 32" but I can guarantee you it's pretty much all subcutaneous fat because of how soft and jiggly my belly is!  My husband, on the other hand, also is in the process of losing weight and still has a decent sized belly.  His is hard as a rock.  They're currently working on trying to find ways to distinguish visceral fat from subcutaneous fat (clearly calipers fall short here) so that does seem like a step in the right direction.

Clearly scientists recognize that there's a difference between the two but because excess abdominal fat tends to be visceral fat that's why waist measurements are a sign of health. If you're talking about a study of a large number of people and you want to separate out who is most at risk for problems due to visceral fat, it's a fairly decent measure.  On an individual basis?  Well, there are a lot of other issues that go into it.  Because subcutaneous fat can be measured with calipers I almost wonder if there would be a way to compare waist measurements, BMI, frame size, and caliper measurements and somehow make an estimate of visceral fat using all of those?  I'm no expert on the subject but it's fun to postulate.  You can seem more of a discussion here


What can you do about visceral fat?  EXERCISE.  Regardless if you want to lose weight or not, you can never go wrong exercising (now obviously some people have their own limitations due to illness and disability so if that applies to you please see your doctor first when it comes to what is appropriate or not).  However, exercise can make a huge different even if you aren't actively trying to lose weight.  According to that study even light exercise at the very least can prevent a gain in visceral fat whereas vigorous exercise can decrease visceral fat.  Maybe it sounds like an obvious statement but considering there's been a number of studies out there that continue to point out that exercise doesn't necessarily help with weight loss (and may at times cause an increase in weight due to subjects overeating after exercise), it's important to discuss the benefits of even moderate exercise. 

Just to be clear.  I'm not trying to guilt trip anybody here.  I led a way too sedentary lifestyle for years.  It's freaking hard when you're a working mom.  I get that.  But I do think that ever little bit counts.  I also think that you have to make time for yourself.  Whether that means using your toddler as a weight while doing squats or bench presses, getting a walking desk at work, or getting your partner or a friend to watch your kid for 20 minutes while you get a run it, it all helps.  I don't think everyone needs to lose weight, that's a very individual choice, but I do think if you can move, if you don't have a physical impairment that's preventing you from getting out and getting active, then you should.

BUT- What about the studies in the news that say that overweight individuals might be healthier?  Alright, that's a really interesting question.   Again it comes to the type of fat.  Subcutaneous fat appears to have a good affect on humans and actually can possibly decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.  Visceral fat, not so much.  So what is probably happening in those studies is that they're looking at active overweight individuals who eat a relatively clean diet.  That study linked above also looked at if there was an effect on where the fat was stored (they transported both visceral and subcutaneous fat to different body parts in mice) and found that it doesn't make a difference.  The underlying point is, is that it's still important to be active and eat a well-rounded diet  but it doesn't mean that you have to look like a model in the process.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I need some new goals...

6 comments:
While my ticker on the right-hand side of this blog says 140lbs, my goal weight has always been between 140-155lbs. I definitely want to get into the healthy BMI range for a number of reasons (not necessarily because I believe it's some holy grail of health but more because I just don't want to hear from doctors about my weight anymore, plus, I have bad joints and weighing less will help) but beyond that I had a lot of other goals in mind on how to determine where to stop:

- I wanted to fit into a size 8 or below
- I wanted to get to these measurements or below (40/28/40)
- I also have a number of fitness goals but those don't have to happen before I hit maintenance.

But here's the thing. My Levi Supreme Curve Jeans were size 8 and being that I recently just lost another inch off of my hips they're too big for me (I can now pull them off without unbuttoning them).   Being that I just lost another inch off of my bust this week, I already have a 40" bust and 40" hips too! My waist is not even remotely there but I've heard that sometimes your waist catches up later on down the road while maintaining the same weight... I'm guessing due to skin firming up, fat cells releasing water, and weight lifting? So, I'm not sure if reaching my goal of a 28" waist has to happen before I hit maintenance either, you know?

Soo... I'm kind of wondering where I should go from here. I have 17lbs to lose still to reach a healthy BMI. I imagine I'll want some breathing room there so I'll probably want to get at least to the lower 150's but beyond that I'm just not sure? I hate having just a weight goal left. My body likes to go through spurts of not changing on the scale but losing inches (it's happening at the moment I lost 1" from my bust* and about 2" from my hips without a change in the scale in the past 3 weeks and it looks like I might not lose anything this month since my period is quickly approaching), so I need something to keep me motived with but I also don't want something unrealistic too. ARG!

When I think of a size 8, I think of the size 8 I was in high school. I was 140lbs then and very active. Granted, that was before having a kid and before lifting so I have a feeling I wouldn't look the same at 140lbs now. I really just wish I knew my measurements back then so I would have something to work towards now. Anybody know what the measurements for a size 8 were in the late 90's?????????????

It really is a good problem to have but I'm still trying to figure out where to go from here. 

* Oh, and I'm seriously freaking about about the loss on my bust because my second round of Ewa Michalak bras were shipped on Monday and I'm desperately hoping that they still fit!  I have to confess that I made another Frankenbra last night and will make a second tonight because my Panache Sienna is now gapping a lot at the top of the cups...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Medical and Health Update- Round 1

3 comments:
I like to think that I'm a healthy person.  Right now I'm 17lbs away from a healthy BMI and I have no major, life-threatening illnesses.  I can swim for an hour plus and shoulder press over 11kg on each arm.  I'm even trying to work my way up to doing a pull-up! 

That being said, I'd be kidding myself if I said a big part of my weight loss journey wasn't health related.  I have a lot of little annoying things.  Nothing that affects my quality of life too much, but enough that I've been seeing a lot of doctors lately.  So... here's the medical marvel (or not so much...) that is me:
Some of the things are merely annoying and I rarely think about (like the perfume allergy), others I'm constantly reminded of (my knees).  Here's what's going on with them:

Perfume Allergy- slightly annoying but I've never been a fan of perfume and I work in an almost entirely male-dominated environment so it's a non-issue.  Mostly it makes me sneeze a lot and lotions with perfumes can cause me to break out in a rash. 
Allergies, possibly Asthma-  I've needed Nasonex in the past but I figured it was a situational thing.  Guess not.  I've been sick almost non-stop the past few months.  I figured it was because of living in a new country where I was exposed to new viruses.  Guess not.  I saw the doctor today and he said it definitely looked like allergies, possibly asthma.  I now have a huge number of tests that he wants to run on me.  I'm hoping he's wrong about the asthma because that would mean both my husband and I have it and I really just don't want to have to deal with that too!
Back Pain- I was seeing a Chiropractor for awhile back in the states but here they are considered a lot of woo so they aren't covered by insurance (that being said homeopathy is covered...).  However, I have to say since I started altering my bras and now that my bras at least sort of fit it's gotten much, much better!
Lactose Intolerance- This has gotten a lot better over the years but I still try not to go too crazy on dairy even though I love it!
Missing Ovary- Before I had my daughter I started having some pain in my lower stomach.  It turned out that I had large cysts on both ovaries.  One went away, the other turned into a tumor (thankfully, benign) and had to be removed along with my ovary.  According to the doctor, I have about a 25-30% lower chance of conceiving each month compared to a woman with both ovaries but I was still able to have my daughter and get pregnant again (even though it ended in a miscarriage).  I had some problems with cysts again a few months ago but they appear to have disappeared after some time on birth control.  My body seems to have problems when I weigh over 180lbs. 
Metal Allergy- I can't wear my wedding ring anymore... sniff, sniff. 
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome- This is a new one.  I'm seeing a physical therapist for my knees and will discuss possibly getting a brace and exercises to help with this at my next appointment (per my General Practitioner's orders)
Bad Knees- We're not exactly sure what's going on here yet.  I got an X-Ray on Monday and now we have to schedule an MRI.  The doctor said he hopes that it's just over-training and that there's nothing more serious going on but we won't be able to say for sure until I get the MRI.  In the meantime absolutely no lower-body workouts (so just swimming and upper body lifting). 
Flat-footed- This possibly could be partially culprit in my knee problem.  Wearing heels definitely made things worse and I know I need to be wearing shoes with arch support (I recently ordered some Dansko's that I'll get at the beginning of Dec.).

Long story short, I'm working on it.  Losing weight certainly helps.  I haven't had any problems with cysts since I got under 180lbs.  I know when it comes to my joints (knees, feet etc) that losing weight is going to make a difference too.  Exercise is one of the best thing for asthma (my husband has managed to get off his inhaler thanks to running!) so I'm doing the right thing there. 

I actually got lectured a bit at the doctor's today about my weight.  I was mostly bemused by it since I had told the doctor that in the last 1.5 years I've lost over 50lbs AND that I'm already seeing a nutritionist about my food choices.  Yet he still felt the need to print off a piece of paper with a BMI chart and explain it to me like I was a Kindergartner. The irony wasn't lost on me either that the doctor probably could have used the same lecture himself...

I told my husband and he was pretty upset about it.  I don't know, I'm not upset.  I know I made bad choices in the past, I'm working on fixing that and am doing everything in my power to do so.  Sure, I'm not at a healthy weight yet but I'm getting there.  These things take time. I haven't been at a healthy BMI since, oh... probably, 2003, that's a long time!  I'm only 17lbs away from that magical number and I will get there.  I tend to think giving a lecture to a woman who has already come this far is pretty superfluous but then again he doesn't know me from Eve so he could think I'm exaggerating about my past loss (trust me, I'm not!).  I also have some strong opinions about the idea of shaming overweight/obese individuals into thinness but I'll leave those for another day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Levi's Supreme Curve Jeans Review

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Along with my new bras and tops, I ordered a pair of Levi's Supreme Curve Jeans.  These to be precise
which I found on sale on the Levi's website for $29.90.  Weird thing is, between the time I ordered them and the time that they came my butt/hips decided to lose 2" while my waist line stayed the same.  So what ended up happening is that they are somewhat loose in the butt/thighs but the fit around the stomach seems to be spot on.  If I would've know I would have opted instead for the Demi Curve but I'm still quite pleased with them.


 The talls were on sale so you can see that they're a bit too long for me but when wearing shoes it's not noticeable.  I could probably get them altered but at this point it's not really worth it to me.


The fit is noticeably different on the first day of wear vs. the second.  Normally on the first day I absolutely have to wear shapewear because of my lovely flabby stomach (it just doesn't handle waistbands well at all, unfortunately) but if I wear them a second day then it's not an issue.

The only thing that I would have preferred would have been to get these in mid-rise instead of low rise.  My stomach is weird and what seems to work best for it is if the sides are pulled up a bit more but the front is pulled down slightly, like this
So that's normally how I try and maneuver my pants on the morning.  I pull up the sides to cover my lovely love handles and pull down the front to avoid a muffin top.  I just wish I could find a pair of pants that actually stayed that way.  However, with the low-rise jeans there's just not a lot of room to do that with. 

When it comes to the quality of the materials I really have to give props to Levi's.  I've loved their jeans for awhile now and I've owned their jeans in plus-sized and now into the normal sizes.  They hold up well and are insanely comfortable.

I do have to say that you just need to ignore the size on the jeans. I ordered these in a 29 and I definitely don't have a 29" waist!!!  Right now my natural waist is 32" and I know the 30's had a lot of gapping in the back (and that was probably about 5lbs ago even..).  So if you're going into a store try on about 2-3 sizes smaller than what your actual waist measures in at.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Guest Post on Thin and Curvy!

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Check out my guest post on Thin and Curvy: Body Image Issues as a Foreigner!

Enjoy! 


What in the world is my body type?

14 comments:
I have some major issues with the known body types.  Normally you hear that you're either an apple, pear, hourglass or a banana.  There are certainly some women who fit quite obviously into these body types:

Hourglass.  Large upper/lower body (roughly equal) with a small waist.

Pear.  Larger bottom half, small upper half.  Although I can find a number of pics of her online where it looks like she's wearing the wrong bra size...

Banana.  Roughly equal measurements.
 Apple. Yes, I realize Britney is pregnant here but it was on purpose because I  wanted to show an extreme apple shape. I tend to think the apple shape is by far the most confusing of them all.

 The thing is, though, just because you have women that fit these body types doesn't mean that the body types themselves are at all common.  And then if you actually thinking about it you start getting really confused by what they mean. 

Basically, here's what's going through my mind:
  • Do you still get to call yourself an hourglass figure if your waist is small, both your butt/bust are large but you're either noticeably top heavy(ier) or bottom heavy(ier)?  What if you don't carry your weight in your hips (like Christina Hendricks show above) but in your butt (like moi!!)?  What if you butt or bust is one inch underneath the threshold of some holy ratio that was handed down from God itself, does that mean you need to immediately  start dressing like a banana or apple or pear instead?  
  • Shouldn't there be different types of pears?  A woman who has saddle bag thighs vs. a big butt are going to have very different needs in terms of clothes.  What about a woman who carries her weight in her lower belly but has relatively slim butt/thighs?  Or what about the women who carries her weight in her thighs but not so much her butt/hips?
  • And what in the world does it mean to be an apple?  Does it mean you have broad shoulders? Does it mean you have a wide rib cage?  Does it mean you have large breasts?  Does it mean you have an undefined natural waist?  What about if you have a large but defined natural waist?  Most women I know have some combination of the above traits but not necessarily all of them.  
  • And this isn't even getting into the width of your extremities.  How do you dress large upper arms and/or large calves?  
  • Why do all the charts say that athletes/actresses tend to be banana shape when in reality obesity can make you less curvy?  
Is it really wonder that so many women are confused when it comes to their body type?  Recently there was a study of British women and they asked them what type of body type they had.  Women responded as following:

27% Hourglass
21% Pear
21% Apple
16% Eggplant (large waist+hips, small bust)
15% Banana

However, according to researchers measurements they found the women were actually over 50% Apple shaped and only 8% of women have an hourglass shape (unfortunately, the linked articled didn't have the actual stats for the rest).  

Ok, nice story... BUT how many of those 13% of women who listed themselves as a Hourglass figure but weren't IDed by their measurements, were off by one or two inches?  How many felt they had a large bust because they never could find bras that fit them?  Or clothes that fit either for that matter (considering that tops that you buy in stores are made with a B cup in mind...).  What about women who were top heavy but had slim hips/butt/middle, where did they fit in here?  How did researchers decide on a magical ratio that delineated between the different body types?  

And another thing... yes, as a population we're getting fatter.  Trust me, I know, I was there.  However, shouldn't the body types matter compared to the average???  So if the average women had something like a 34DD bra size then a women with a 34H bra size is certainly going to have to dress with her breasts in mind regardless of how thick her waist is and how big her butt is. 
Clothing manufacturers try to adapt to what the average person in the population is buying (shoot, they have to in order to sell merchandise!).  That means if you buy a medium in Old Navy you're buying what the average customer there buys, not some predestined medium made from a mythical set of measurements (and I can guarantee you their size chart is WAY off but I'll get to that another day).  


So what's the solution?  A human body is made up of so many different parts that it's hard to shove it into one small body type.  Instead it makes more sense to look at individual body parts and dress those.  It sure makes things a lot more complicated, though!  When I'm looking for a shirt for myself all these things are swimming around in my head:

Arms- I have large upper arms to it's better for me to go with either a sleeveless shirt or 3/4 length or longer, nothing too tight that will cut off my circulation
Shoulders- I have broad, well-defined shoulders, will this shirt help me show them off?
Bust- I have a large bust, will my bust fit into this shirt?  Will it be flattering?  Will the neckline be too low/too-high?
Back- I have a small back, very few shirts off of the rack fit it when they have enough room in the bust.  Mostly I wonder how much it will cost for alterations.
Natural Waist- Compared to my bust my natural waist is well-defined and small.  It's something I'd like to show off but it's near to impossible to do that with clothes off the rack.
Belly Button/High Hip- A shirt that's tight here is going to need to be worn with shapewear.  It's basically a decision for me if that's going to be too hot or not.  

 Current pictures added for reference.

And I'm just one person!  How in the world could these simple body types tell me that?  This is a question that I'm hoping to explore more in some upcoming posts, stay tuned!  :D

Saturday, November 12, 2011

AJ Rumina Review Part 2 (Dress Shirt)

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Here's the continuation of my AJ Rumina review.  This time with their dress shirt.


Per their suggestion I ordered the Large F/G (see Part 1 in terms of my current measurements for reference).  I paid $44.99 for the top. Here are the pics:
  
When it comes from the frontal view, I'm really happy with the look.  There's very little gapping in the front and I like that the hips flare out at the bottom, which avoids my lower stomach problems that I had with the T-Shirts.  Actually, I'd say this shirt hides that pretty effectively!  

Now, from the side view I have two problems.  
  1. There's too much material in the back.  Now, some of this is my problem because I'm not their standard fit model for this shirt.  The Large F/G is made for a woman with a 34-37.5" waist and a 44-45.5" bust.  If I were making that shirt I'd assume about a 34-36 band with somewhere between a 34GG-HH and 36FF-36GG   cup.  Since I need a 30 band there's just too much space in the back.  I'll probably have this brought in soon.
  2. There is a spot with too much space right under my bust in the front.  You can even see that it bubbles out a bit between my natural waist and up to my bust.  Again, I'm going to see about taking this in. 
Ok, so I've saved the big problem for the end... the arms.  They're cut way too small.  No way would they have fit on me when I had a 34-37.5" waist. NO WAY.  As is they're pretty freaking tight!  My upper arm measures about 14" on non-lifting days (after lifting it can get up to almost 15").  I can't wear this shirt on lifting days. :(


 You can't see it so well in the picture but I have to make sure the sleeves are pulled down as close to the elbow as possible, otherwise they're too tight on me. 

So my basic opinion is that I really like the top.  I think it would probably fit spectacularly on someone who had the corresponding measurements.  My one big beef with it, though, is that the arms are too small.  I would've liked at least another 0.5-1" on the arm and considering that I'm smaller than the average women it was intended for, this could be a major issue.  What I would suggest doing is ordering up size if you do have larger arms because it would be easier to take in the back/waist than it would be to let out the arms. 

One other thing that's important to mention here.  The top is made of cotton, polyester and spandex.  Why I mention that is because by the end of the day the top does stretch out some.  On days that I've had an especially long day at work it can be noticeable. 

AJ Rumina Review Part 1 (T-Shirts)

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Ah, the long-awaited AJ Rumina post.  Sorry this has taken so long!

As a reminder, I bought these two shirts in Medium F/G:
 The price was $24.99 each.  I had specifically asked ahead of time what size to order because my natural waist is 32" (so a size medium) but my bust was measuring bigger at the time almost up to 44" (so a large F/G).  They suggested in the T-shirts to order a Medium F/G because it would stretch (and I was in the process of losing weight). 


So here are the shots of me in my two shirts (I'm wearing my Bond Girl bikini underneath because, unfortunately, I still don't have a T-Shirt bra that fits!)



As a comparison, my current measurements are:
Bust: 41"
Underbust: 30-31"
Natural Waist: 32"
Belly Button: 35"
High Hip: 37"

I've also worn these shirts on my "bloated days", which adds about an inch to my Natural Waist/Belly Button/High Hip. 


Alright so now for my comments...

Pros:
- I like the sleeve length a lot.  It's really flattering if you have larger upper arms but it's not so long that I'll be sweltering in the heat here.
- The material is definitely thick enough to make a good winter T-shirt for my readers in the N. Hemisphere. 
- I like the colors quite a bit. 
- Definitely stretchy!  I feel like the bust could even stretch a bit more in the Medium F/G.  Right now my bust measures at 41" but I think if you had a larger bust you could still make it work.
- The shirt is long! You can't see it in the pictures because I've found that it looks better on me scruntched up more at the bottom (due to my lower belly problem discussed below) but the shirt easily hits at my hips. 
- They are definitely fitted.  If you're looking for a T-shirt that's going to give ample room in the bust but allow for a small waist, here's your shirt.

Cons:
- as you can see from the pictures the yellow shirts absolutely needs to be worn with a T-Shirt bra that matches your skin town.  Obviously the Bond Girl Bikini doesn't work for me.
- I would've liked the shirt to be a bit more flared around the lower waist.  However, this has to do more with my body type than necessarily a flaw with the shirt.  I have a mom belly and have lost almost 70lbs of weight so my stomach isn't necessarily going to look like a always-fit, childless  20 year old's stomach.  My ideal shirt could actually come in a bit more underneath the bust (it's hard to see from the pictures but it's a bit loose there) and then have more room in the high hip area.
- These shirts are very fitted so they aren't the easiest to get on at times (like right out of the shower).  Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to put on my deodorant AFTER I put on these shirts  (definitely needed because of how fitted they are) because otherwise I always end up with deodorant stains on them! 

General comments:
- I've been wondering too if they can make shirts that go into even larger bust sizes, simply because it would be pretty hard to get that shirt over your bust!!! As is, it can be somewhat tricky to get this shirt over my bust (not horrible as long as I remember the deodorant problem above!) but if there was an even bigger difference between bust/waist? It would probably be hard... I wonder if it would make sense to add a zipper on the side or something? 
- Normally I wear these shirts with shapewear to smooth out my lumps and bumps.  Honestly, I think a good corset would do me wonders but I don't want to buy one until I hit my goal weight.  I'm hoping that with the next 5lbs or so that won't be an issue, right?  Please tell me that's the case. ;) 
- The range for the natural waist on the medium is 30-33.5".  I'd say this... you can see in my pictures that the waist is none-too-big on me and I measure in at 32" with occasionally being 33" if I have some bloat.  If you were right on the verge of one size or another and you were planning on losing weight then I'd say size up.  For me it made sense to buy something tighter because I'll get more use out of it (actually I have a feeling I'm going to get A LOT of use out of these shirts!).  Then again, like I said above, if you have a 32" waist but a flatter, tighter stomach, in general, then it might be a total non-issue for you. 

I'm off for a swim and will try to get the dress shirt post up tonight or tomorrow.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fantasie T-shirt bra Review

3 comments:
I've been dragging my feet to do this review.  It kind of makes me sad actually because I really, really love this bra but it's too big in both the cups and band.  I have to say, though, that I swear the designers of Fantasie had me in mind when they made this bra because it's:

1. Comfortable.  You really just don't even notice it on.

2. Works well underneath t-shirts.  That's an absolute must for this t-shirt and jeans type of gal!

3. Is supportive.  I like the shape and felt well-lifted in it too. 

Oh, and here are the pictures:



  
And the measurements are here.

It is rocking the whole triangular bra thing but I didn't find it nearly as annoying as on the Panache Sienna and I wonder if that's because the moulded cup gives it enough shape that I don't feel like my breasts are smashed? 

I really can't rave about this bra enough.  I rechecked my measurements with bratabase and it looks like I've lost 1.5 inches off of my breasts (now 13" vs. 14.5"), which certainly explains why all the cups on my bras are too big!  I know I'll need to go down to a 30 band and the question is now if I should go with a 30GG or 30H.  Hmm...


The one crappy thing is, though, that I missed the window of opportunity to return this bra so now I'll have to sell it (most likely at a loss since I paid full price).  It's really a problem because by the time I leave enough time to order the bras so whoever is visiting me can bring them, then I miss the return window. Ugh!!!!!  I'm going to see if I can sell it locally here but I'm not sure if I'll have any luck due to how crazy the sizing system is. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ewa Michalak Review- Part 3 (My bra drama never ends..)

3 comments:
Ok, so here's the update after the alterations on my bikini (see Part 1 and Part 2).

When I went into the seamstress she gave me the option of having the cups taken in at the top (so by the straps) or on the bottom at the middle.  I chose to have it taken in at the bottom, which felt more secure and you can see here the two seams she made on each cup.
The cost of alterations was R$15+$20 (for the suit)=$28.62 (R$49.81). 


As for the bikini bottoms you can see them here (she just sewed the top part of the second bikini on top)
Unfortunately, it's hard to see in the pictures but I'm really pleased with the bottoms.  They ended up coming just below my belly button and have a very retro look to them.  For about $5+R$10 (for alterations)=$10.75 (R$18.72) it was a great deal.

So the total cost of the suit was $39.33 (R$68).  Not bad for a custom fit suit. :D



I took the suit out for a test run and then did a face+palm.  I realized that when I had the cups fitted the seamstress just measured one cup and matched the other on her own.  Stupid move.  Like most women I have asymmetric breasts and that meant that one of the cups is still slightly too big!  Thankfully, it's not so bad that it's going to cause any accidents in the pool but it would've been nice to have that extra security.  I guess I know for the future now...

I did grumble a bit because I asked the seamstress to take in the back a bit (so I don't create another Frankenbra) and she told me to use it on its tightest hook and tighten the straps.  Sigh... I did my best to explain in not-that-fluent-Portuguese that when you have large breast you really need a tight band, no clue if anything got through to her, though. 

Ok, so now for the drama...

When you alter a bra it has certain... risks.  The wires are meant for the cups size they were intended for, not for a smaller cup size.  Well, I was wearing the bikini top as a bra yesterday (sadly I just have the Panache Sienna and this that I'm rotating back and forth on days that I'm not swimming) and a wire broke through!  I was able to push it back down and sewed the bra shut again but it's sad to see this on my one of two wearable bras.  My new order from EM needs to come ASAP (they're still making the bras so it's going to be awhile, unfortunately...)! 

Coming up...

Trust me, I haven't forgotten about the AJ Rumina reviews (and that of the Levi Curve ID jeans or my Fantasie T-Shirt bra..).  Things have been insane here and this has been my first chance to really sit down and collect my thoughts all week.  I do plan on getting to them, though. :D