Fit & Active October: What Motivates You?

When my normal exercise schedule got disrupted last week, I didn’t want to do boot camp two days in a row–that would be a surefire path to burnout for me. Thankfully, comments to last week’s Fit & Active post alerted me to the world of YouTube exercise videos. In live cardio-dance classes, it’s hard for me to follow the choreography, but I hoped the pause button on my TV would help me master the steps enough to have fun and raise my heart rate.

It didn’t–it’s going to take a lot more than a single video session to turn me into a Rockette. Thinking it may have been my choice of video, I browsed a little more and discovered this Jillian Michaels workout. The comments say it’s really good, and I may try it some day, but Leah’s latest Project Runway rant was too fresh in my mind to be able to get past Jillian’s introduction of the women helping her:

I think you can tell by the shape of their bodies, they are the absolute best in the business. I want to have the best always because they help elevate what I do, my work, and they’re aspirational for you and me. I mean, look at these girls. Who doesn’t want to look like that? The idea being, that if you stick with this 45 minute workout diligently and consistently, we’re all gonna look like this in no time. I don’t think anything could be more inspirational.

They DO look AMAZING, don’t they?

jillian michaels and girls 3

jillian michaels and girls 4

But it doesn’t matter how many times I do this workout video, I’m never going to look like them. Of course there’s the obvious difference in bra size, but even if I get a reduction, I’m never going to have their bodies. And that’s fine because I don’t want to have their bodies. I’m happy with my body. I’m not working out so that I can look like someone else.

Jillian Michaels needs to sell her videos, and the Project Runway designers need to sell their clothes. To do so, they believe they must appeal to the most popular conceptions of fitness and beauty. And this is why I am oh so thankful for the internet.  Because of the internet, we’re not trapped by images from the traditional media that lead us to believe we should only want to look one way.

On the internet, there’s room for individuality, risk and authenticity, as I discovered when I continued my search and found this homemade exercise video. The Pinterest caption where I found it states that “[t]his video was created for [. . . ] inspirational purposes only. [. . . ] There are no professional dancers in this video.” I am so much more inspired by the women in this video than I am by Jillian Michaels’ team.  Because I relate physically to the two women on the left (they’re probably wearing sports bras under those tee shirts!), I’m even inspired to believe that I may someday be able to dance as gracefully as they do to this song.

all body types can be in shape and graceful

Here’s another video from the same group. The participants include a grey-haired woman and a young lady who may have Down’s Syndrome. This video makes me want to have as much fun with my exercise as they do!

Here’s what currently motivates me to be fit and active:

  • the good feeling that comes after exercise
  • clearing away lethargy
  • meeting the instructors’ challenges and seeing improvement in my stamina as a result
  • feeling my biceps
  • lower cholesterol and blood pressure

I know myself enough to realize that these won’t always get me out of the house and to the gym. A few weeks of travel or a simple cold are enough to disrupt my commitment and sideline me. However, when I’m ready to start again, it won’t be someone else’s physically perfect body that gets me going.

What gets you going?

 

 

 

Best Breasts Forward ~ Becoming the Swan with Carol Hartley of Big Ballet

Watching this series and reading Mia’s interview today will make you want to be a part of Big Ballet. We do that every time we model the same passion for life and self acceptance that these dancers demonstrate, but we can do even more by donating to their costume fund for their August performance of highlights of The Nutcracker Story. Carol’s description on the Go Fund Me page makes you realize that this is not some slickly packaged corporate marketing campaign. Instead, these are real dancers with full time day jobs who are turning a dream into a reality, and it’s exciting that we can join them in this dream from the very beginning!

I must admit I was a bit skeptical about the UK series Big Ballet when I first learned of it.  I worried that they would make just another silly reality show and not truly focus on the women and dancing.  However, after watching the show and interviewing Carol Hartley, one of the 18 dancers in the series, my mind was completely changed.  It was wonderful to see Carol, a large-busted woman, dancing her heart out, and learning about her journey was a pleasure.

Carol-Hartley-by-Care-Johnson

Carol, a married mother of a 12 year old son, was always a dancer, but she didn’t join our busty sisterhood until she got pregnant with her son.  It is always interesting to me to hear how other women with large breasts reacted when they started realizing their boobs were continuing to grow above “average size”.  For me, it was something along the lines of “You’ve got to be bleeping kidding me!”  Mine grew at a steady pace after I hit puberty and just didn’t stop growing.  Carol, on the other hand, grew from a 34B before pregnancy to a 40H after.  Before Big Ballet she was a 38F and is now a 36G.  Certainly not something she predicted.

I am sure that many of us have had difficulty loving our bodies, big bust and all.  For Carol, connecting with dancing again, working with, not around, her body boosted her confidence.  Big Ballet made sure that the women had costumes that accented their assets.  Dresses were designed with high backs and wide shoulders so that bras could be worn but were adorned with all of the feathers and bling that you’d expect from a professional production of Swan Lake.  And professional it was!  You’ve got to watch the final episode to see the proof that these women worked their butts off!  Carol’s solo is a highlight.

Big Ballet

Even though I was paying close attention to clothing and bra fit, I was more interested in their journey.  Something that I struggle with as a big busted mother is making sure that my daughter doesn’t see or hear me criticize my own body.  I know from past experience that all it takes is frowning at my reflection in the mirror for her to notice my reaction to what I see.  I applaud Carol and the other Big Ballet dancers for putting themselves out there and not holding back the emotional side of it.  Everyone around Carol, including her husband and coworkers, noticed a certain poise and confidence creep into her step.  Watching them go from being a little unsteady on their feet and unsure of themselves to dancing across that stage, heads held high, was inspiring.  Swans, indeed!

Big Ballet

We are always being looked at and judged by just a glance.  People see our large busts and immediately make assumptions about our personalities or physical capabilities.  I kept myself from certain physical activities because I fed into it.  Sometimes we have to prove to ourselves we can do it before we can prove it to others.  Now I say to those surprised that a 32J is running half marathons, “Don’t judge me by what my body looks like, judge me by what my body can DO.”

Big Ballet changed the dancers and in turn is changing public opinion.   Carol said that “Since the program has aired in the UK, a few dancewear shops have picked up on the gap in the market and are now selling leotards for bigger bodies and boobs!”  Carol is not finished yet.  “Eleven of the original group are now working with ex-soloist of the English National Ballet, Daniel Jones, and he is training us and choreographing an exciting performance in London in August! Follow our continuing journey on Twitter and Facebook. We’re called Big Ballet UK!”

Bravo!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Best Breasts Forward ~ Are they here to stay? The Sequel

I had the opportunity to speak to 10 large-busted runners after my half marathon, and 15 Hourglassy readers shared your experiences with bust size in relation to weight loss.  I was actually surprised that the majority of the women who joined in the discussion did not lose any, or only a very small amount of, cup size when they lost weight. I thought that I was one of the few, not the many.  Once again I’ve found comfort in our busty sisterhood.

I love my readers!  I can always count on y’all to come through for me whenever I ask for input.  One thing I’ve noticed is that there is something missing from my sports bra/weight loss posts.  I’m primarily a runner, and although I do weight train on occasion (not as much as I should), that’s the extent of my current fitness routine.  It would be great to get a wider range of experiences.  It’d be interesting to learn how having a larger bust size affects swimmers, bikers, those of us that ride horses or those that do Crossfit.  I know that you all have a depth of knowledge to share.  Who knows? You may inspire others to try a new activity.

While we are on the subject of trying new things, I’m happy to report that Hourglassy has made contact with Carol Hartley, the dancer in the third Big Ballet photo that Darlene posted yesterday.  This is a wonderful opportunity for us to get input from a large-busted dancer!  I will be interviewing her for an upcoming column and hope you will flood the comment section with anything you’d like me to ask her!

Corporate Curves Report: Breaking the Pattern

First of all I hope everyone was safe from Sandy and the storm is over. I’m flying to New York on Friday so I guess I’ll see what damage it unfortunately has caused.  But on to this week’s post where I reveal my latest obsession to you: patterns. I just can’t get enough of them after having discovered Wallis and Desigual.

I’m not a floral pattern woman at all, nor into any ditsy prints. Those are just not me while they do suit many women. I usually have added patterns to solid color outfits with accessories, but I am now loving the simplicity of throwing on a patterned dress and just adding plain tights and boots and off to work. Also my new dresses have made people smile and ask where I’m getting these from. Hurah for webstores – no more local limitations!

But there is a learning curve for dressing patterns for my curves. I like the look of these color-blocked dresses, but the one on the right, oh no no no.

Now looking at this asymmetrical Wallis dress and wondering if it might work? The Wallis dress on the right – with the slimming effect on the skirt part and widening at the top. Huge mistake!

I’ve discovered that with my fairly slim hips I can take size 14 UK (my normal size if it weren’t for the bust), but there absolutely can not be any extra stretch around the bust. But with these patterns, any extra stretch doesn’t make it look odd.  I also tried a size 16 UK, but it was a bit baggy around the hips and arms.

These stretchy Wallis dresses with the tightening option around the waist make them ideal for hourglassy women and flatter my straighter shape as well.

Desigual, keep an eye on all of their clothing but as a dress lover especially their dresses. There might even be flowers on the patterns, but I don’t really mind that as these patterns have umph and attitude 🙂

Desigual dresses I want to try on soon!

My inspiration for patterned dresses started when I saw this amazing picture of a UK size 12-14 model Hayley Morley. I surely do not have her figure, but we have some similarities size-wise.

Model Hayley Morley in an Alexander McQueen dress.

To compare, this is me wearing a scoop back NewLook dress in size 14. (I probably would be a size 16 at the moment, but I am slowly but surely getting a bit fitter.)

Corporate Curves in a New Look size 14 scoop back dress.

Patterns have sure lifted my autumnal spirits and finding new places to shop is always a bit of a rush for me, the shopaholic that I am. Thankfully I’m a bit more sensible these days as as I now only shop for and keep what I know for sure I’ll wear more than once. Otherwise I’d spend far too much of my income on clothes!