What’s to Blame–the Bra, the Bust, or Something Else?

Our friends shared their U.S. Open tickets with us on Monday night, and if I had realized who was playing, I would have been even more excited than I already was. No, I wasn’t excited about Maria Sharipova’s return to Grand Slam tennis. I was excited when I found out her rival was Simona Halep, the player who had had a breast reduction in 2009 and supposedly went from a 34DD . . .


. . . to a 34C.

simona halep smallerMr. Campbell told me about her a couple of years ago, saying she had blamed her lack of success on her large chest but that the surgery hadn’t made a difference. Maybe it did because she is now No. 2 seed!

As you know, at Hourglassy we don’t judge anyone for getting a reduction. How you decide to live with your chest is up to you. We’re just here to help women who want to live large with a large chest.

With that being said, now that I’ve raised the subject, I’m almost tempted to follow with, “Nothing to see here, folks,” because in interviews Halep insists she hated her large breasts in regular daily living and would have had a reduction whether or not she played professional tennis. That’s nothing new, is it?

But it’s such a high profile reduction that I can’t help musing about it here. Here are my thoughts and questions on the subject, and I’d love to hear yours:

1.Thank God for Serena Williams. If the top female tennis player in the world had also had a reduction, just think of the message to all the young women out there who love playing sports but are beginning to develop larger breasts than their peers. Instead, Serena found a sports bra that worked for her. (We still haven’t tried Berlei.)

Serena Williams of the US hits a return against Venus Williams of the US during the women's singles final on day 13 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 28, 2017. / AFP / PAUL CROCK / IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE (Photo credit should read PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images

2. Between the two of them, the message is more nuanced: do what works for your body and your goals with the best information available to you. I have never seen Williams or Halep side by side, so chime in if you have, but my impression is that Williams’ build is more muscular than Halep’s, and her cup size slightly smaller. Halep complained about the weight of her breasts, and this may be why. (Of course, Williams may not have complained about the weight because she’d found a sports bra that worked for her.)

3. Halep had her reduction in 2009. The Panache sports bra hadn’t even been invented yet. There were only a few of us blogging about living with a large bust. Department stores still labeled anything above a C cup as full-figured. Today I continue to meet women who think a DD is enormous, so imagine the dearth of information available to Halep when she was 17. (The media continues to perpetuate the Double-D’s-are-Enormous myth. Some sources say Halep’s waist measures 26 inches and Williams’ waist measures 28 inches, yet they both presumably wear 34 bands.)

5. While most of us can only imagine the pressure facing a professional athlete in her teens, we all know how it feels to want to shed any possible distraction in pursuit of “the zone”, to be perfectly present and focused on the task at hand. An extra bounce at the bust as you walk into your boss’s office or a bulge at your buttons when you stand up for a presentation can throw off your game. That’s why we rave about great bras and clothes for big busts on this blog (and why I make my shirts). If only every full-busted woman could experience the carefree confidence that comes from clothes that fit.

Simona Halep, of Romania hits against Mari Sharapova during the opening round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) Simona Halep, of Romania hits against Mari Sharapova during the opening round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

And if only the right clothes or a routine surgery were all anyone ever needed to reach her goals. Halep is known for letting opportunities slip through her fingers, and I witnessed this several times on Monday night. That’s going to take more than the right sports bra or a reduction to fix. That’s going to take a lot of hard internal work, something else we can all relate to.

Less Fit & Less Active October

This is not the month I envisioned when I set up our editorial calendar. That month was more of a “Rah rah! I can do it, and you can, too!” kind of month. Instead, it’s turned into a standing-at-the-fork-in-the-road kind of month where I keep venturing a few steps down one path, turning around and doing the same thing down the other.

Needless to say, spending time at the crossroads has led to a lot of reflection. I can’t be smug and say, “This is what I have learned this month,” but I can share what I’m learning.

Changing Seasons, Changing Priorities

In an early meeting with my nutritionist last year, I told her, “It’s a good thing I’m not too busy because I can concentrate on planning my meals and getting to the gym.” She looked at me like, “Huh? What’s the big deal?” and I wondered if I was exaggerating the requirements for a lifestyle change.

Now I know I wasn’t. That’s because other things have become a priority for me this fall. It’s super difficult to tear myself away from my sewing machine so that I can change into workout clothes and walk a mile to the YMCA in time for class. And as dinner time approaches, I keep hoping a balanced and delicious combination of protein and carbs will assemble itself without me so that I can keep blogging. That power walk I said I’d take at the beginning of the month? I meandered along the beach with my 9- and 6-year-old niece and nephew instead.

Each day has a limited set of hours, and sometimes I just don’t want to spend any of them exercising or creating nutritious meals.

Small Choices are Still Choices

I tend to be all-or-nothing about things, but thankfully, our options in life aren’t always either-or. For example, I’ve only been going to the gym once a week this month, but guess what? I’ve been going to the gym once a week this month! I haven’t stopped!

And I finally made an appointment with my nutritionist for her next available opening–October 31, the final day of Fit & Active October. I’ve also set up a physical with my doctor the week before Thanksgiving. The plan is for the impending blood test to scare me straight from saturated fats (and not be hanging over my head as I sit down for Thanksgiving dinner).

My fitness routine has become a bit rigid, so I’d like to introduce a little variety . . . gentle yoga instead of spinning, for instance, or weight machines instead of a formal class–I don’t have to push myself or raise my heart rate every time I go to the gym. And we’re taking the Lehigh Gorge bike train next month. Just making that plan was its own small victory.

Even though I’m not at the top of my physical game this month, I’m glad we have Fit & Active October. Taking care of health requires intention, and sometimes I need (or want) to divert my focus to other priorities. Having this month in our editorial calendar makes me more likely to find ways to stay fit and active for the rest of the year.


This means that we’ll have more sports bra and active wear reviews for you throughout the year, but if you’re looking for a new sports bra right now, I highly recommend Sweets’ recent Enell review and Curvy Wordy’s recent write-up about her Panache sports bra in a 34J.


Off the Rack ~ Reconciling Weight Loss & Body Acceptance

My husband and I recently decided we needed to make more of an effort to lead healthier lives. We set goals of eating better food (less pasta and meat, more veggies and fruits) and going to the gym twice a week (it’s located in our apartment building, so there’s really no excuse not to meet that bare minimum). It started about a month ago, so it was perfect timing for Hourglassy’s “Fit & Active October” series. And I was keeping up with that goal…until last week.

Unfortunately, a week ago, out of nowhere, my lower back was suddenly so debilitatingly painful that I could barely walk. Even now, sitting or standing for long periods is excruciating and it’s difficult (and painful again) to do much bending. For a few days, I actually had to have my husband help me dress because there was no way I could get socks on or tie my shoes.

I went to my primary care physician, and he thinks it’s a herniated disk. I have to go to more doctor appointments before anyone can really help me (physiatrist for an x-ray, then orthopedist for an MRI, then finally physical therapy if necessary), it takes several weeks to get each appointment, and I can only make each one if the previous doctor says I should. So it could be two months before I’m even able to start any course of therapy. The American health care system at its finest!

Anyway, the point is, my exercise regimen has been put on a major hold. I’m doing stretches every night and I’m on (non-narcotic) pain meds prescribed by the doctor, but I definitely don’t feel anywhere near ready to go back to the gym. So my contributions to this month’s theme may be a little slim.

However, there was one thing I was thinking about before my exercise plans went awry: How to reconcile positive body image with the desire to lose weight for health reasons.

I mentioned in a previous post that I’m currently the heaviest I’ve ever weighed, but also have the highest self-esteem I’ve ever had. On the other hand, after several months of hot weather and wearing nothing but dresses, I recently pulled on a pair of jeans that I hadn’t worn since the spring and discovered that I could barely close them. It was a bit of a wake-up call that even though I like my body, I could still stand to make better choices, and that includes losing just a few pounds—not enough to visibly change my shape, maybe 3 – 5 so my existing clothes will continue to fit properly.

Still, there’s something about the effort to lose weight that makes me feel like I’m giving in to societal pressure, or turning my back on body acceptance. I have to keep reminding myself that health is the most important thing, and I shouldn’t maintain bad habits just to be stubborn or in some misguided attempt to make a point.

It’s very frustrating. As a woman, I feel like we’re either told that we’re fat and disgusting, or if we try to make improvements then we’re vain and self-hating.

I guess I just need to tune out everything around me and do what’s best for myself no matter what!


Fit & Active October Begins . . . Tomorrow?

It’s time for Fit & Active October, and it couldn’t come soon enough. My enthusiasm for exercise has been dwindling, and last night on the way back to our condo (after a platter of fried seafood), we passed the “hot” sign at Krispy Kreme. Of course we U-turned and bought a dozen.

krispy kreme

I’m counting on Fit & Active October 2015 to get me back to the level of fitness that I enjoyed after Fit & Active October 2014. It’s time to make an appointment with my nutritionist for help combating the twin enemies of healthy eating: boredom and hunger. Also, sports bra review samples are on their way–just what I need to feel excited about going to the gym again.

However, two more Krispy Kremes for breakfast means October 1 wasn’t the fresh start I promised myself. But I did make it to the weight room. And tomorrow I plan to power walk on the beach.


Leah hurt her back this week, so her start to Fit & Active October is also delayed. Mia is busy with kids, work and training for the NYC marathon in November. I’m really hoping she’ll be able to squeeze in a post about the experience.