Fit & Active October: Redefining Healthy Event Tomorrow

As we focus on being fit and active this month, there’s one thing I’m trying to steer clear of: using  “healthy” as a euphemism for losing weight. So when my friend Keila Tyner told me she was presenting at tomorrow’s Redefining Healthy event, I was excited not only for the chance to hear her in action, but also for the opportunity to explore the ways we engage in discussions of health. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll join me! Otherwise, look for insights from this workshop in future posts.

Best Breasts Forward ~ Keep Your Head Up

Last week I discussed the effects a worn out bra had on my running. Besides getting a new bra, I knew it was necessary to check my running posture. As with yoga, when I am running I have to keep my posture in check. With such a large bust, running with improper posture can weigh down my run and wreck havoc on my neck, shoulders and back.

When it comes to running posture, there are some differences of opinion but here are 10 tips for improving your running form that most agree on:

1. Keep your chin up while running; do not look down at your feet.

2. Keep your abs tight.

3. Keep your upper body relaxed and quiet with minimal side-to-side movement while you run.

4. Keep your shoulders and arms relaxed, and swing your arms back and forth with your hands passing pocket level.

5. Keep your chest up high and your shoulders back. This will help you breathe properly while running.

6. Keep your hips aligned with each other at all times. Your hips must form a straight line from left to right as you run. Try not to drop your hips as you go through the gait cycle. If you tend to drop your hips, you need to strengthen your adductors, that is, the muscles on the outside of your hips.

7. Land on the balls of your feet (forefoot or midfoot) instead of your heels.

8. Do not straighten your front leg as you land on your front leg. Your knee must be bent and your foot must be pointing slightly downwards and not flexed towards the sky.

9. Lift the back leg with your hamstrings and bring it as high as possible to your butt. Then let gravity take over and let it drop.

10. Lean slightly forward when running. Do not lean forward or backward too much while running. There must an imaginary straight line running from your head down through your center of gravity to your hips and legs.

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It’s strange that some of the smallest things can effect my running posture. I noticed that when I lost my armband that holds my phone and had to carry it in my hand, I’d look down at it so often that by the end if my run the base of my neck hurt. I was violating tip #1. If I’m stressed when I begin my run, I tend to tense up a lot in my shoulders, violating tip #4. To keep my shoulders and arms loose, I shake them out periodically while running. If I’m on a hilly course, I use the downhills as a time to “shake out”.

I think being so busty has helped in correcting my running posture. Sounds strange, huh? The reason I say this is because when something is “off” with my form, it quickly effects my body. The size and weight of my breasts cannot be improperly carried for miles without pain. I usually feel it around mile 2 and make adjustments before any damage is done. Thank you, boobs!

Full Bust Finds ~ Bra:30 Review

I told you that my only goal this month is to be wearing a bra by 9:00 AM every day, but my latest purchase has changed all that. My new Bra:30 tank top is the first thing I want to put on in the morning.

I’m as surprised as you are! Despite repeated broken promises from clothing companies (remember the Aah Bra?), after I placed my order online, I got my hopes up, fully expecting them to be be dashed. The clever packaging raised them even more.

big bust support bra30 packaging

Inside was a very ordinary-looking ribbed tank top that I could barely squeeze over my head. Once I got it past my chest and down to my waist, however, I was pretty impressed at the effect of the 10% Spandex content.

big bust support bra30 spandex content

The photo on the right shows the inside of the tank top as I stretch it. You can see the sheen of the Spandex between the ribbing. This doesn’t show from the outside.

I could actually scoop and swoop my boobs to the desired height on my torso, and the elastic held them there! Would they stay there over time? Not really, but as you can see from the images below, they never descended all the way to my waist, and they never went completely East-West.

big bust support bra30 front views

On the left is how the top looked immediately after scooping and swooping at 9:00 AM. In the middle is how the top looked by 10:16 AM after working at the computer. Afterwards, I changed into street clothes and later that evening back to the tank top to cook dinner, empty the dishwasher and watch television. On the right is how the top looked by the time I was ready for bed.

big bust support bra30 side profile

Same left-to-right time sequence as above.

Initially, I was extremely conscious of the compression and wasn’t sure it felt any more comfortable than an underwire. After the first half hour, however, I became less aware of it, and on subsequent days that I’ve worn it, I’ve only noticed the compression to appreciate

  • the way it helps center my boobs, and
  • the lack of bounce as I walk around the house, including up and down stairs.

Unlike other bra-free lounge options, when I’m wearing this tank top, I don’t feel sloppy. I like that I look as good as I feel when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I would definitely answer the door and take out the trash in it, and I might even walk to the corner store for milk in it. If I felt too self-conscious to walk to the store, it’d be easy to throw a layer over it instead of having to undress and put on a bra.

You may wonder if this is simply a basic ribbed tank top re-packaged for the gullible. I certainly did! I haven’t searched for other 10% Spandex tees to compare, but here are three technical features that make me glad I purchased this top:

  1. The front is slightly longer than the back. I discovered this when I lay it flat to dry after the first time that I washed it. I wondered if I’d accidentally stretched it out, but a quick call to the Bra:30 office confirmed that the designer had intentionally made the front longer to accommodate breasts.
  2. The back has full coverage almost up to the neck. I’m probably reading too much into this, but I believe this adds to the support. It also keeps my skin from sticking to the back of my office chair. (It still has the racerback style armholes in back.)
  3. It isn’t necessary to size up. Although it can be a struggle to get the size medium on at first, that’s actually a good thing once it’s on because the compression can do its work of holding me in. I also tried the top in size large, and the more relaxed fit definitely meant more relaxed boob placement. That being said, if you wear an H+ cup, you may want to try one size up from your waist size in dresses because the scooped-out armholes mean less boob containment.

Of course this top isn’t perfect, and here are the drawbacks you may notice if you buy one:

  • There will be under- and between-boob sweat. It doesn’t really bother me right now, but it would be a factor in the summer. (I post a photo of the sweat effect below.)
  • The colors aren’t as saturated in person as they are on-line. I ordered the hot pink and ocean blue. The latter seemed more washed out than a sophisticated pale, and the hot pink is a nice pink, but it isn’t what I would consider “hot”.
  • Even though the colors seem slightly faded, they still run in cold water–at least for the first wash (see picture below). Despite the color run, the pink still looked nice after drying.
  • There is some riding up and clinging at the waist.  However, I don’t notice it as much after a few wears, and I like that this top shows off my waist (no tent effect).
  • If this were a bra, it wouldn’t  necessarily be a “perfect” fit because the sides don’t contain all breast tissue, and I imagine this is more significant in the larger cup sizes.
  • Yes, there’s monoboob. This doesn’t bother me, but you can see that it exists.

By the time I could order this tank top after first seeing it at Curve in February 2013, my enthusiasm had waned and I almost didn’t bother, but I’m so glad I did. My Bra:30 tank top is quickly becoming an essential part of my big bust wardrobe, and I can tell that the cost per wear is going to be excellent.

bra30 sweat marks

Sweat marks at the end of my first evening of wearing this top. However, what you DON’T see are any stretched out spaces where my boobs used to be. Impressive.

bra30 wash

So glad I took the precaution of hand washing it separately. Even though the care instructions say “tumble dry low”, I’m not going to shorten the lifespan of the elasticity by putting it in the dryer.

 

Corporate Curves Report: Pepperberry Full Skirt Coat

After Trinny and Susannah got me to see grey in a new light a few weeks ago, I finally purchased the Pepperberry Full Skirt Coat from the sale. Before this I always needed to buy a size 16RC in their coats despite fitting 14SC in their dresses, but since there was no 16RC left, I took a chance and ordered the 14SC. Thankfully I did as it’s a perfect fit! With my Fustra regime (which I will write about in my final post next week), I’ve managed to tone up enough to fit my shoulders in size 14, which makes me super happy!

Pepperberry full bust coat 1

The coat is a beautiful pearl grey with a blue-ish tone to it. It’s also well tailored and keeps its shape extremely well. With the full lining, it doesn’t itch even if wearing a short-sleeved dress under it–I’ve had to do that a lot as it’s actually a very warm coat even by my Nordic standards. It’s much warmer than my blue full skirt trench coat from Pepperberry.

pepperberry full bust coat 4

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I haven’t bought much from Pepperberry in ages as a lot of their patterns are too flowery or ditsy for my personal taste. But one thing I do always buy from them is trench coats! There is just no way I could ever fit a high street one as trenches are so tailored.

This technically isn’t a classic trench as the buttons are hidden under the concealing panel. Also there’s no belt so this coat does kind of need to be a good fit.

All and all I love the coat. I’ve been wearing it almost every day. It makes it easy to look put together when running errands no matter what dress I throw under it, as it’s a beautiful, classic, tailored piece. I would recommend this as value for money! Thumbs up definitely.

pepperberry full bust coat 3