I've written a bit about fitness over at MsBehaved, and now that I'm studying public health full time, I'm thinking about it a lot. Precisely, how the stigmatization of the "obese" (I'm sorry, the word has been used in so many hateful ways that it sounds like a slur to me) and the need for improved fitness across the board. One thing that's kind of cool about Public Health is that although there is a general assumption that overweight=unhealthy across the discipline, there's also a strong acknowledgement that obesity may be caused by a wide variety of environmental (socio-economic, etc.) factors and not just a lack of "will power" perse.
I wanted to get into the groove of writing a series of articles about making fitness accessible for fat people this past winter/spring, but I was gripped by a sense of personal hypocrisy. The truth was, I wasn't working out. It was largely due to some truly horrible chronic respiratory illness. I am not kidding you when I said I was sick on and off for seven months straight, and I could never seem to get better. When antibiotics wouldn't work, the diagnosis across the board was that stress from my job, and allergies and environmental factors in my living situation were causing the illness. Every time the illness would abate, I would try to start exercising again, and every time it would trigger another bout of illness.
I felt pathetic. I felt guilty when my doctor guilted me about my weight, like my chronic illness was just an excuse for not exercising. I realize in hindsight that my doctor's guilt trip made me feel bad less because she was critical of my body, but more because I was felt I wasn't doing a good enough job with my fitness, or that I was lazy. Needless to say it was a shitty time in my life in that regard.
The hypothesis that my illness was rooted in my environment proved to be astonishingly true- as soon as I left my job and moved to Bloomington, my health improved dramatically. I'm ok now. And I've been working out (yoga, weights or cardio) almost every day since I've moved here, and walking or biking several miles a day. I've adopted a mostly-paleo diet because that's what works best for me as a person with hypoglycemia. And yes, I've been losing weight at a rate of about 2 pounds a week. (but still fall well within the BMI range of "obese.") I'm not trying to lose weight perse, but I don't feel like a sell-out for it either. I love my body at whatever weight it wants to be, and at my current activity level, my body wants to be smaller.
Do I feel like all these changes have happened because I'm a "better person" and am "trying harder." Actually, not really. They're largely environmental. I've always been motivated to exercise and eat well, but I was not able to in my previous situation. Now I have to walk a few miles to get to school and back every day (incidental exercise, which is really how people in most non-US countries get their exercise.) I have a gym in the building where I take most of my classes, a wide variety of group fitness available to me, and a yoga studio a short walk from my house. I have a farmer's market very close to my house, as well as an organic foods co-op. I don't have a ton of financial resources at my disposal, but I cook most of my food at home these days and I have the time to do so, so it doesn't matter. I get enough sleep everyday, and I'm doing things I enjoy, even if they are demanding, in a lovely town with lots of nice people and trees. I have air conditioning in my house. All these things are factors as to why I've been able to change my lifestyle in awesome ways. It was never ME that was the problem. It was my available resources.
I don't take these privileges for granted, and it really drives home the importance of public health measures like building community bike trails that make fitness more accessible for people. Accessibility is a huge part of the battle.
Friday, August 31, 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
EdenFantasys recently started carrying a lot of really nice plus-size lingerie, which of course makes me very happy. I generally steer clear of mass produced "corsets" because a lot of the time they are simply glorified bustiers that don't offer adequate shaping and support. I was willing to take a chance on the Sasha Corset however, and I am quite glad I did. I would rate this corset as being somewhere between a high end custom made corset and a "bustier-style" corset, and I think this would be a good "beginner" corset for that reason, and also because it's more affordable than a high-end corset at $65.99.
I was initially dubious of this piece because it's made by Leg Avenue, and I've found their "plus size" hosiery doesn't always fit me well. However, I trusted that the 3X/4X would fit me as a big busted woman who is 250#, 5'6" and generally wears a size 18 or 20. I was not disappointed- it fit me wonderfully!
Sasha is a strapless overbust (covers the breasts) corset that comes down to the hips (but does not fully cover them). It is made of black satin brocade with a shiny swirling floral pattern, with ruffled satin trim at the bust line and hem, and double satin ribbon closure at the cleavage that can be tied in a bow (very cute). It has a series of six metal busk closures in the front (flat metal closures that slide together and give better shape and support than hook and eye closures or snaps), plastic boning in front and back, and eight eyelet holes for laces.
The laces are thick and durable, pre-laced in a continuous configuration (one long lace with no loose ends) with loops at the middle eyelets which can be pulled to tighten the corset. This definitely makes lacing yourself much easier! It also has a "modesty panel," a flap of square fabric at that back that can be adjusted beneath the laces if you don't want your bare back or whatever you're wearing under the corset to be visible. Overall, I was very impressed by the thoughtful design of this corset relative the price point- it does not at all look like a cheap piece of lingerie.
If you are a corset beginner, I would suggest having someone help you put on the corset. First, loosen the laces until the corset fits comfortably around your natural figure, and fasten the busks at front. This can be tricky: you have to get them to all line up flat and slide them together, but once you have one or two fastened, the rest will go quickly. Then it's time to lace up the back: pulling the loops at center will cinch the waist, but you should also adjust the laces at top and bottom by pulling the spot where the laces cross from top and bottom towards the center until the corset fits snugly, with the most tension at your waist. I would not suggest lacing this corset very tightly- plastic boning is generally not strong enough to offer a lot of support, and you can see where my back fat still bulges a bit after self-lacing, a problem I don't have with my custom corsets:
This can be hidden to some extent by using the modesty panel, but I found it was difficult to adjust the modesty panel when putting on the corset by myself. I also had some trouble getting the bust fitted properly on my own, but I'm sure this would be easier with help from another person.
I generally prefer underbust corsets to overbust, since I have a large chest, but because this piece doesn't have fitted cups I found it adequately covered and supported my chest without a bra for private wear. If I were to wear this to a club or party I'd probably wear it with a bra and undershirt for added support and coverage.
I really like this corset and think it's a cute piece for wearing either as lingerie or to a goth club over a dress. It's beautiful, well made for the price, and flattering for curvy bodies (hello, cleavage!)
Get yours at Edenfantasys.com, and use code TZZ for 15% off!