Mammogram Monday

My friend Carrie had a lumpectomy today, and I just received word that everything went smoothly.  How fitting that her day for surgery coincided with my annual mammogram and ultrasound. When she told me she was having her lump removed on December 8, there was no way I was cancelling my appointment for the same day!

mammogram prep 32FF

Carrie found her lump because she followed her doctor’s instructions to have another mammogram in six months. They’d seen something earlier this year, but it didn’t look serious enough for a biopsy at that point. For the past month, however, she’s been congratulated by every new doctor she meets because she followed up. It turns out that not every patient does.

Our family knows this from experience. My husband’s sister found a lump this past spring, and the doctor wanted to operate immediately. She refused. Instead, she started drinking “green drinks” (kale, spinach, etc.). Supposedly, the lump has disappeared. If I were in her shoes, I’d be pounding down the door for an ultrasound every month!

You’ll notice I said ultrasound. That’s because, as I discovered and shared with you last year, mammograms are almost useless for women with dense breasts. Today’s appointment confirmed this. My mammogram showed nothing. My ultrasound, on the other hand, showed a few almond-shaped places that they’re going to compare against last year’s ultrasound. After the comparison, they’ll either tell me to come in for a biopsy, suggest I return in six months, or tell me there’s nothing to be concerned about. If they tell me to return in six months, you can bet I’ll be there!

Our health is nothing to fool around with, ladies, and as I prepared for today’s post, I found an important reminder in this post that I published five years ago. I highly recommend reading it again for the inspiring lesson to trust your instincts and appreciate your value.

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As an aside, here’s something interesting that I learned about breast density at this morning’s appointment. Since my breasts are a lot less full on top after losing weight, I wondered if my tissue was less dense. Not so. I still have dense breasts. Evidently weight doesn’t have a lot to do with breast tissue density. Also, it turns out that although women’s breasts become less dense with age, the change is usually only slight rather than dramatic.

Corporate Curves Report: Fit & Active with Fustra

It seems like only yesterday that Tina began sharing her corporate perspective on Hourglassy, but we’ve been reading her weekly reports for more than two years! Along the way, she’s shared her feeling of “being ok with a bigger curvy body in the corporate world”, and she’s shown us that it really is possible to dress professionally without getting stuck in a suit rut. Our only Finnish writer, she’s helped us examine cultural differences surrounding large breasts, and she’s given us invaluable cold weather dressing advice gleaned from Scandinavian winters. All the while, she’s been working 10-12 hour days as she climbs the corporate ladder.

Being busty is just one part of Tina’s very full life, and I am so thankful that she has paused each week to reflect on it for us. As Tina’s ambitions and responsibilities have grown, however, so has the challenge of focusing on this one facet of her physique. You probably got a hint of this from her “Part of Me” post a few weeks back. Because of this, today’s post will be Tina’s final regular Corporate Curves Report. I know it will leave you wishing for more.

The Fustra Method is a training method based on Fusion Functional Training, which is used to balance the body’s muscles, improve body control, and improve your posture and mobility.

  • The training method emphasizes good posture, correct breathing technique, and increased core strength by performing the exercises with the correct technique.
  • Fustra was originally developed for professional athletes to increase the muscle balance, but the method is especially suitable for individuals with neck, shoulder and back pain.
  • Modern day society automatically makes individuals focus on their minus muscles (front side). The FUSTRA method instead activates the plus muscles (back side), especially in the center of body, which is the core.
  • The over-activation of the minus muscles causes people to suffer neck, shoulder and back pain.
  • Fustra was founded in Sweden in 2005 and developed by Finnish personal trainer Jarkko Kortelainen.

Basically in every single exercise you need to have a straight back so the skill of tilting your pelvis front is essential. You soon learn to understand when your posture is straight, and slowly but surely you start thinking about your posture in your everyday life!

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With the block the legs are kept apart far enough so that the pelvis stays straight when performing the different exercises. Some of the moves might look simple to do but just try to lift the stick with your back and butt glued to the wall and lift the stick up with just your shoulder blades! Not arms.

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Same with the side lifts. Sure I could lift heavier weights if I used my arms to lift them, but instead strengthening the shoulder blades is essential to balance the posture–especially for us busty women!

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This method suits my broken and tilted body extremely well as I can’t do any heavy impact sports with my broken ankles–Fustra has no jumping! There are aerobic portions as well. My Fustra personal trainer Maria and I selected the most Fustra looking exercises to showcase here.

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What I’ve achieved:

– my shoulder blades actually move. They didn’t at all when I started

– my pelvis was tilted and frozen in one positions, and I could only lift my left leg over the right when sitting. Now both ways work, and my pelvis is free to move, also gaining more balance though it’s still tilted.

– I’ve gotten my lower abs back from non existent. I still have a long way to go, but they are strong enough so that I could start riding horses again!

– my arms have far bigger movement ratio than in years!

– breathing is easier due to increased stability and movement ratio.

– I feel much stronger in general and I have converted several kgs of fat into muscle.

– I have gone down one clothing size.

Fustra training also includes a diet, personal goals, and regular InBody analysis. Each session is done with a personal trainer who makes sure you do the exercises correctly and safely. And motivates you to push on! Worth every single cent.

Best Breasts Forward ~ Inside Fitness

Mia and I didn’t coordinate this, but her post today is a fabulous answer to the question we’re asking you to answer for the Panache sports tank giveaway!

We are getting closer to the end of our month long focus on fitness, and I thought it was important to speak about not just the outside of what it takes for a busty gal to get fit but also the inside.

Having large breasts held me back from working out for decades. I was afraid and intimidated, thinking about being gawked at and judged because of my breasts’ size. It’s something I still struggle with and in some ways have not overcome.

I work out at home and run. Finding a sports bra that keeps my breasts from moving around and attracting attention, real or imagined, has allowed me run without thinking about my boobs. Being a member of a women only running group also helped me with that. When I work out at home I am alone. I often lock the door to be sure not even my husband or children can enter so I can focus on the task at hand.

It’s hard to ignore that little voice in your head. The one that is louder than those around you because it comes from within. So instead, I work towards making it a bit more quiet. I find bras that fit, I buy workout clothes that compliment my body, I choose environments where I feel comfortable moving and sweating freely.

I hope that there will come a time when I am completely comfortable in my own skin, but if I don’t, it will not keep me from working towards being healthy. I am not ashamed of my busty body. Being honest with myself about my feelings has allowed me to get closer every day to being mentally and physically fit.

Fit & Active October: Panache Sports Tank Review

Technically, I didn’t “need” anything when the Bare Necessities Friends & Family sale rolled around, but 25% off, combined with a $20 credit from American Express*, and I easily talked myself into the Panache sports tank. I knew some of you would also want one after reading my review, so I asked Panache if they’d like to offer a giveaway, and they said yes! Look for details on how you can win your own Panache Sports Tank on Wednesday.

I’m going to review my tank top from three angles: feel, function and fit.

FEEL

After reading Sweet Nothings’ excellent review of this top in July, her dissatisfaction with its clinginess almost convinced me not to buy it. Stepping into it and pulling it up does feel like putting on a swimsuit (I agree with the Herroom reviewer who says the fabric is like swimsuit material), so I fully expected to share Sweets’ self-consciousness.

Instead, I LOVED it! I have a fluffy back, but it probably helps that my tank top is black. And I like the front so much that I don’t even think about my back. I also find the length to be just right. For reference, I measure 15 inches from the back base of my neck to my waist. Since my hips are pretty narrow, I didn’t experience any riding up when I wore it to boot camp. It was pretty much a “put it on and forget about it” experience.

Except that for the first time in my life, I felt over-dressed at the gym!

32ff panache sports tank at ymca boot camp

Not a very good picture, but the man in the background gives an idea of what everyone else wore that Saturday. And some day I will buy bottoms that do this top justice.

Until I wore my Panache tank to the gym, I’d only been wearing my purple JCP sports tee that I wrote about three years ago (maybe I DID need this new tank top after all!). All that time, I was so focused on the women in streamlined bra tops that I thought they were the norm and I was the exception. But when I wore my Panache tank top to my Saturday bootcamp, I was definitely the exception. Fortunately, I had thoroughly tested my top ahead of time, so I felt absolutely no self-consciousness when it came to jumping jacks and push-ups.

FUNCTION

After clinginess, my biggest fear in ordering this top was cleavage. One Bare Necessities reviewer wrote, “I originally got it hoping to use it while running, however I feel like it is a bit to [sic] low cut for such a jiggly activity. I am a 32G, so this could be part of the problem. I prefer to [sic] the Panache Maximum Control sports bras that come up a bit higher for running.”

Perhaps my boobs don’t begin as high up as the reviewer’s, but when I’m standing still in this top, I have absolutely no cleavage. However, the big test is what’s happening when I’m jumping. So I took pictures to show you.

jumping 32G panache sports tank

I’m wearing a 32G on the left and a 32FF on the right. Both pictures catch me mid-jump. Excuse the serious face–I didn’t crop my head out because my hair proves I’m jumping!

I decided I could live with the boobage that shows up below my collarbone when I’m jumping or running. Besides, the only way to get rid of this is to go back to wearing a tee shirt!

You know what else is great about this top? There is no boob peekaboo when I’m doing pushups, planks or downward dog. The top of the cups lies perfectly flat against my chest. (At the other end, however, I’m pretty sure there’s panty peekaboo during downward dog since it isn’t long enough to stay over my hips when I’m inverted.)

FIT

I’ve recently been sized into a 32FF in a regular Panache sports bra, so I ordered the same in the tank. Surprisingly, things I didn’t notice in a bra that I planned to wear under a tee shirt became much more of an issue when I planned to wear the bra as a top! Suddenly my little pockets of underarm flab were a BIG DEAL.

32FF panache tank front underrarm flab

Could it be my 32FF regular sports bra didn’t fit as well as I’d thought? Or perhaps the tank top fit smaller? As much as I loved this top, I knew I wouldn’t be happy unless I tried the 32G before committing. Thankfully, Bare Necessities expedited my second order in time to make my decision before going to the gym.

You can see from my jump pictures above that the 32G contained more of my breasts during movement. From the pictures below, you can see there is slightly less underarm flab in the 32G on the left.

panache sport tank fit comparison front

32G on the left, 32FF on the right.

From the side, you can also see that the 32G contains more of my breast tissue than the 32FF.

panache sports tank size compare right

32G on the left, 32FF on the right.

And yet I chose the 32FF because what you don’t see in these pictures is the extra room at the base of the cups in the 32G. Also, strangely, the 32FF felt tighter in the band, so I expect it to last longer . . . especially since my regular 32FF Panache sports bra felt tight when I began wearing it in September, and I am now on the middle hook.

I tend to over-think things, and trying something new puts my over-thinker on overdrive. I finally decided that what matters most to me is how I will feel staring at myself in the mirror during class, and I decided I’d feel pretty good in this 32FF! Much of what I’m over-analyzing about myself in this top are things I simply take for granted in my classmates–and even in my instructor!

instructor example

This is my favorite fitness instructor. When I told her I was trying to convince myself that little underarm bulges are normal, she showed me her own and a love handle to boot!

After wearing this top once, my schedule forced me to take a week off from the gym. Now I can’t wait to go back so that I can wear it again.

*Besides occasional offers like this, American Express holders can also get a complimentary ShopRunner membership, which means free two-day shipping and returns with Bare Necessities.