Tangential learnings (even from corsets and waist training), and their benefits

What? Two blog posts in one day? I’m inspired by today’s Alexander Technique class to post this blog just after posting one this morning that muses about why we are often hesitant to try new things like corset waist training.

About four months ago I sure jumped into the “new thing” of weekly Alexander Technique classes. Raven, my web assistant, happened to send me the name of this alternate therapy because she knew at the time that I suffered fairly strong low back and neck pain.

My classes are taught one-on-one by my neighborhood AT teacher, Elyse Shafarman of the Body Project in San Francisco. Elyse teaches me in her home studio, but also regularly teaches acting students at the American Conservatory Theater downtown San Francisco. For me, Elyse was the right person at the right time in my life. Sometimes it happens that way.

Elyse has made or helped me to make substantial changes in my health over the past months  — but also she has made changes in my psyche and in my life. This includes how I relate not only to my physical self and bodily feelings on a given day, but also how I relate to others in my life, as well as to some possibly new beginnings I’m thinking about implementing in the coming New Year of 2018. I’ll bet you have even given some thought to New Year’s Resolutions or goals (as I like to call them), haven’t you? Or you soon will!

Perhaps one of them might be to try an initial Alexander Technique lesson to see what’s it all about and if it might hold some benefits for you? To start, if you feel stress in your daily or weekly life, and are ready to minimize it because you are committed to your improved health and well being, then the best way to start to see if AT might work for you, is viewing the youtube video of actor William Hurt taking a lesson from a well-known AT teacher.

Some, like me, may be coming off of a physical injury that might include damaged muscles in your back (from a low back spasm, gratefully with no disc involvement) and neck (from chiropractic manipulation).  Some may suffer pain from scoliosis or perhaps, fibromialgia. Some may just be old-fashioned stressed out!

Many folks have found relief by wearing corsets to brace weak or injured backs, and even by corset waist training before resorting to surgery or even to pills. Those real life cases are well set forth in Lucy William’s great book, Solaced (available on Amazon.com). I highly recommend that you survey the extremely wide and beneficial reasons that some of us corset enthusiasts wear the garment.

Of course, there are also more nuanced psychological benefits from wearing corsets, or from adhering to the discipline of health-conscious, moderate waist training. The structure of the corset itself, coupled with the structure in waist training, of a regular, anticipated schedule of daily (six days a week is recommended) corset wear, certain new eating habits and foods, and certain waist-targeted exercises, can be quite comforting in an otherwise chaotic, hard-driving lifestyle or world.

Likewise over the past three months I have found nuanced psychological benefits from pursuing my weekly Alexander Technique classes, benefits I did not expect at first. I can now see how taking AT classes while doing waist training, could really boost one’s progress forward toward better overall health.

I first went to have Elyse try to resolve some of the low back pain from the back spasm and worse upper neck pain that occurred last November. I’ve blogged a few times about the relief I have experienced from the classes and thereafter as I implemented both the physical postural changes I learned, as well as proper self-messaging regarding pain and posture. That continues; on most occasions I can immediately identify when I begin to hunch my shoulders, and let go, know when I am holding my breath, and let go, identify more readily when I have locked my knees and legs, and relax. I can immediately take the proper and effective counter move to correct problems that have led to too many muscles being utilized in daily activities, or the wrong ones being engaged.

I have also learned how to breathe more effectively and fully. Sounds funny, right? Has my corseting limited that in the past? Perhaps or perhaps not.

Corseting of course, means that you learn to breathe higher in your chest and not in the lower belly. What I’ve learned most of all about breathing in AT, is how to fill up and move outward my back ribs and move the breath upward under my armpits — areas not encompassed or restricted by an underbust waist-training corset that I tend to wear (I almost never wear overbust styles).

Not long ago I had to undergo a complex diagnostic procedure (with excellent results by the way!), not at all pleasant and certainly scary because of certain risks. While I was waiting for my doctor and anestheologist and lying on the gurney under warm  blankets.  I practiced the deep breathing techniques that Elyse has taught me, and I was able to relax and almost endure the wait, then not be totally freaked out when they came to roll me into the procedure room. I’m not sure I could have gone thru all that, without this breathing exercise to sustain me!

As I have continued swimming three times a week and walking 1.5 miles five days a week over the past year, plus sometimes wearing my cincher and a soft collar, the addition of the Alexander Technique classes has led to me being overall more relaxed in my life. My pain level has gone from about a 6-7 daily, to a 1-3, with no pain at all on some days and only minimal discomfort toward the end of the day. I can now stand an entire day without having to lie down, tho’ I often love to take a 30 min. to one-hour lie-down in the late afternoons to rejuvenate myself for the evening.

I now seem to be better able to focus on the task at hand, I am more content with how my days go by, I have even made a few good new friends, am reaching out more to neighbors, and I have faced a few tough personal relationship issues with more equanimity and better results than ever before in my past.

Sure, when we are in our 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, many of us are hard-driving in our quest for a decent, acquisitive lifestyle and perhaps, our own career advancement and family well being. That makes sense; we need to push forward! Then in our 60s and 70s and beyond, we reach a slow-down stage and learn to work smarter, not harder, or we enter retirement, or we face a disabling health challenge that puts us down for the count. It is then that we come to think hard about how we are spending our time, what action results in real improvement, what truly gives us pleasure, and how much effort we want to put forth to achieve the results of goals we have set.

What has happened to me is somewhat mysterious.  Elyse’s gentle guidance and gentle laying on of hands while I stand, or lie on her massage table,  has minimized my pain to the point on most days of muscles feeling like I “overdid” exercise but with no sharp or nagging pain. Her classes and teachings have given me a more patient approach to my life.  I’ve learned and am still learning how to be patient with myself and my slow progress toward being as fully functional and as pain-free as I can be, with no particular time table. I’ve learned not to be so driven as I have been in my former life when I opened a retail shop for eight years, transferred to the web, went around the country to national exhibits to sell corsets or lecture on waist training for six or seven years, wrote two books, and worried greatly about the future of my business and business model. As one consequence, I’ve weaned off of heavy pain-control pills, to take none on a daily basis over the past three months.

In the 27 years I’ve owned ROMANTASY, I’ve met or corresponded with maybe 20,000 people or more, those interested some, or a lot, in corsets. I have often been surprised and concerned when we get to more personal conversations, to learn how many people are taking anti-depressants, Or anti-anxiety meds. Why is that?

Are doctors pill-pushing quick fixes on us? Is it just more convenient and easy to pop a pill than to work on a relationship or go ask the boss for a raise? Is some transition we are working on–be it divorce, changing from male to female, being fired and having to look for a new job, or rehabbing from a bad accident–sufficient reason to take pills to calm down and be able to face our days, and our choices?

Since the Alexander Technique has minimized my pain substantially, and has minimized the stress I feel in my life overall, I see it as a possibly beneficial alternative to pills or doctors for most folks, even if they don’t have physical pain. Sadly enough, my Kaiser plan does not offer it and my primary care doctor knew nothing about it–so I bear the cost (it’s not cheap but it’s also not expensive!).  I recently called this program to the attention of the No. Calif Kaiser Medical Director and staff.

Here is my point: if you are suffering from the stress of a tight budget, a demanding job or family, an upcoming physical relocation or house purchase, a nasty boss or coworker, overwork and tight deadlines, or any other stress-causer — AT classes might be just the right investment of your time and money, at least for a few weeks, if not for a few months, or even occasionally over the coming years in a kind of “tune up” when needed.

Yes, you can learn quickly in a few lessons what to do and think. But really feeling the hands-on of the teacher showing you gently how to relax and let go, giving her the chance to really observe you more than once to come to some conclusions about how you might re-balance your body, learning the most beneficial self-messaging, getting feedback and original ideas that fit your unique body and psyche, and having the chance to engage your mind and discuss with your qualified teacher the theory of AT and how and why things work the way they do in our bodies and minds — those things have been of enormous benefit and use to me in all aspects of my life, personal and professional.

As we all think about possible New Year’s resolutions for 2018, I hope better health and continued good health are your top priorities!

 

 

 

 

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Trying New Things is Easy — on January 1, but afterwards????

Trying new things—usually a diet of some kind—is easy on January 1. Maybe on January 2 it’s easy to start one or go to the gym, or even do so thru the end of the month.

But sticking to it? That’s another matter. Yet it’s first things first, we say. And that is just to try.

But trying new things is “so hard to do” says New York Times article writer Sendhil Mullainathan in the Business Section of the Dec. 3 issue.

This applies to countless folks who have emailed me over the years that I’ve been advising, coaching or writing about corset waist training (some 15-plus years by now, since I first coached a student in our three-month process of shaving inches off the waistline and losing pounds, if the latter is also desired as a goal. Our latest student, Ms. K, is shown here after coaching, with amazing improvement of posture even with moderate weight and inch-loss!).

The great majority of those inquiring about or expressing interest in the process, do not follow thru to enroll in my program or buy my book (the 2016 version is only $14.95 for a full-length, detailed “how to” book), or they never contact me after I answer their initial questions and provide encouragement. Thus, I never really know if they move forward based on some other source of information or on their own. Most likely most do not move forward at all to try the process.

Mullainathan posits some five or six reasons we hesitate to try something new: habits are powerful, he says, to start with!

Then, trying something new can be painful (you might not like the process or the results), you have to forgo something to try something new, the cost is immediate while the benefits are remote at a future time that feels abstract, we are overconfident in our negative assessment of the cost and potential benefits, and we engage in automatic behavior doing the same thing we have always done and making the same comfortable choices.

There is simply an “automatic bias in favor of the status quo” Mullainanthan concludes.

January 1 provides us with the impetus to once more try to overturn our status quo. That’s true for this coming New Year of 2018, as it has been in all the other new years of our past. Why not take the chance this New Year to try something new?– if you have been curious about corset waist training but not yet dipped your toe in the pond?

Just contact us (inquiry@romantasy.com or call 415 587-3863) and I’ll happily chat with you about how others have gone about the process, what my students have found difficult or easy, and the results they experienced.

Even better, you can view amazing moving gifs such as this one of full-figure student Ashlee, or this one of of transwoman client Amy,  accurate  images as far as Raven, my web assistant, can make them. The images show “before” and “after” three-months of coaching, with substantial to dramatic posture and figure changes.

Or just visit our waist training pages, the page showing results of those who generally follow the program I recommend, as well as results for those who have formally trained in our coaching program.

I once had a person reply to my general announcement about availability of the ROMANTASY coaching program, to the effect of “why do I need your coaching program–or anyone’s help for a fee–when I can simply go on social media groups and get all the information I need?” It’s a valid question in one aspect; perhaps you don’t! There is a lot of free information out there these days about how to waist train and you might be the type who is self-motivated and determined to reach your goals.

But–are your goals reasonable? And what happens when you hit a bump in the road and there’s no  individualized, medically-sound or verifiable answer to be found?

As in the past, the amount of information out there on the web and in chat rooms does not one-to-one translate to accurate information or helpful information for you! One is tempted to mention the old saying of “the halt leading the blind.” Sometimes that can be true, and more often than you might think.

There are nuances to waist training; everyone is individual in their response to waist training, and no single piece of advice or formula works for all. A qualified coach can listen to your individual concerns, discomforts, and physical and emotional challenges, think about prior long experience in the field, and help you figure out how to best deal with them so you can reach your goal without giving up midstream. An experienced coach has other resources to consult regarding specific questions you may have (we have two doctors on call) and can offer you additional help as we do, such as assigning a former successful student to be an additional peer coach during your training program. These resources beyond what your coach can offer, can be valuable to provide other perspectives as you move forward.

“Experimentation is an act of humility, an acknowledgement that there is simply no way of knowing without trying something different” says the New York Times writer.

Why not experiment with corset waist training in the New Year? It’s fun, it’s fashionable, and it’s amazingly successful if you set reasonable goals and are dedicated to a moderate health-conscious process for a short period of months.

Then maintaining your success is another matter for another blog, and another book that I’m working on. More on that challenge for later!

 

 

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Our Relationship to Our Bodies, and Corseting

More than one person during my personal and professional love of, commitment to, and relationship with corseting and waist training, has asked if it has to do with some psychological need or lack in my life. Perhaps.

Certainly, I’ve been and am subject as are all women, to lifelong constant social, cultural, overt, covert, impersonal, and personal bombardments regarding my body: what’s right for it’s size, its shape, its too muchs and too littles. For women that also converts into social messages about youth and age, and the latter ain’t pretty!

Such daily messages drill down into one’s consciousness for better or worse. It’s well known that women suffer more body dysmorphia than men, perhaps in all of western culture, but certainly in the United States.

The most recent reminder was occasioned by the death of Hugh Hefner of Playboy infamy, the man who proceeded our so-called president as the classic mysogenist spewing out hateful, wrong-headed messages about the female as victim and her “desireable no. 10” status as object and property of powerful men to do as they wish. (Then of course, some women further victimize ourselves and can inadvertently aid our oppressors first, by not speaking up or out, and second, by voting for an oppressor to sully the highest office of our country or the highest court of our land; a particular Supreme Court Justice and a particular so-called president come to mind).

Many of us women are, indeed, alienated from our bodies. Clearly, it’s not limited to women, but our alienation takes on a unique complexion and adds a special burden to our lives.

The concept of alienation was brought to mind by a small article published in the New York Times Magazine last Sunday, “New Sentences” by Sam Anderson, who said:

        “The little man (in my conscience) is a perfect metaphor for our alienation from our own bodies. We are our bodies, of course, and yet we do not speak the same language. They speak to us in urgent codes: swelling, cramping, twitching. We contain whole ecosystems of resistance to ourselves.”

One of my conclusions about the possible value of wearing corsets and waist training, relates to body alienation and learning how to deal with negative resistance. It was reached many years ago and sparked by reading the seminal work by Professor David Kunzle on corseting–

     — corsets actually put us “in touch” with our bodies and our spirits in a positive way.–

The sweet hug of corset-on-skin, the slightly unbearable pressure in lacing down or staying tightly corseted a half hour longer than pleasant in order to test one’s limits, tends to bring one’s consciousness right back into the present moment with nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. We can no longer ignore our noble or ignoble bodily urges and feelings: we have to pay attention. We have to feel life in the moment.

For me, that is one of the great pleasures I experience in corseting: feeling the moment.

It is a strategy I have adopted since trying on my first corset in 1989, in order to learn to live even more in the moment, to appreciate the fleeting of time, and to put my daily troubles into perspective.

To me, that’s a positive reason to corset, and has nothing to do with body dysmorphia.

Perhaps Mr. Anderson might find comfort in the same strategy one day?

(Copper leather-lace-and-rhinestone corset, and smile!!!– by BR Creations for ROMANTASY)

 

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The Mac-sizing of the world continues…

In my Dec. 2016 book on corset waist training, I survey a few countries that, like the US, have suffered from growing obesity. Sadly, the other day I saw a news article that there is now a line of plus-sized children’s clothing. I guess that’s a good thing, but reflects a sad direction in our children’s health.

The NYT on Sunday Sept 17 featured a stunning front page article on the above trend, stating that there are now more than 700 million obese people worldwide and 108 of them are children. It went on to feature the super-sizing of Brazilians (“How Big Business Got Brazil Hooked on Junk Food”). As incomes have increased in Brazil, so have food preferences for fast foods full of sugar and fat. In that country obesity has nearly doubled in 10 years to 20 percent, and overweight individuals have tripled to 58 percent.

Mere obesity is not the problem, malnourishment is.

One of the primary culprits is Swiss food giant Nestle. Nestle now markets (since establishing the basis of the program in 1976 as to integrate with the host country) door-to-door push-carts for low income neighborhoods (think Mary Kay or Tupperware, or from my childhood, the musical ice cream man trucks). The carts feature packaged sweets full of sugar. Sadly, cart sales help the cart owner to earn money to feed her family (most owners are women, apparently). The lady pictured in the article weighs over 2oo lbs. Meanwhile, Nestle markets itself as committed to health and wellness — two current catch words that are replacing the dread word “diet”.

The article mentions that big food is also attacking health in China, South Africa and Columbia, with growing political influence. The problem of growing waistlines and weight is no longer a US phenomenon.

I’m not sure where I am going with this astounding but not unexpected information, except to feel even more disturbed and saddened by the state of Big Food in corporate America. The US almost defeated Big Tobacco, but it took over 20years of consistent airtime on tv for public health announcements, and citizen’s speaking up — many of their stories frightening and tragic when the decimated victims of tobacco spoke in public against smoking. The story makes me sympathetic to the challenges that all of us face from irresponsible media messages, and re-committed to doing my best when and where I can to encourage anyone to reduce, and to just give up, white sugar, preservatives, dyes, and prepackaged food. At some point we have to behave like a nurturing adult to our adolescent urges to just give up and give in and follow the herd.

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July pill hits market to cause waistline inch loss — only one inch in six months????

Interesting article on DuPont’s pill, Howaru Shape. The weight-loss product is mainly a probiotic, but DuPont also provides a combo of probiotic and fiber. Apparently the probiotic along caused one inch waistline loss in six? months in the research group. I don’t want to mislead anyone and have not read other than a brief summary of the research;  there are obviously other details in the study. Note that one research group taking the dual-time pill lost over 4% in body fat and one waistline inch loss plus added muscle, so there are beneficial results to be sure.

But, what’s of interest is this:

Here’s our lovely Kiska pictured. She completed our formal corset waist training (three months of coaching) in early May. These show before and after pictures not altered in any way, one set corseted and one set natural. You can note that by the end of the three months Kiska could rather easily close the training corset and wear it up to 10 hrs a day.

Here’s another picture of her before and after posture without the corset. Amazing, no?

Importantly, Kiska dropped over two inches and 10 lbs in her waistline in three months–which leads me to ask:

Can’t DuPont’s pills do any better than one waistline inch loss in six months?

Hmmmmm……I’m wondering what six months of DuPont’s pills cost?

Our coaching program is $400 (plus another $100 is taken on deposit but returned to you if you successfully complete the full coaching program. If you do not for any reason, then we donate $100 to our battered women’s shelter, La Casa de las Madres. How the coaching program works is accurately described on our website.

I’ve occasionally read questions online as to why anyone would “need” a coach for waist training? Some do not and some do.

To be sure, there is a lot of information out there these days online by corset makers, many quite reputable and knowledgeable about corsets. Some have hundreds of clients, but none to my knowledge have formally coached 30 or more students since 1998 when we took on our first student (a man from London, P.H.)

In addition, there is a lot of sharing of information by those with little experience, and experience counts for a lot to help the newbie not waste time by re-inventing the training wheels, or panicking at any little twinge or tweak while corseting.

The more you know — the easier the go in corset waist training!

 

 

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The Most Perplexing Thing about Corset Waist Training

“You’ve got to give yourself two, three, four years of consistent behavioral changes (after maximum effort to lose weight/shape up). That is hard work. You’re building new habits. And that takes time,” Bellatti says.

I’ve read about the facts covered in the above July article, that The Biggest (weight) Losers from the tv show of that name, gain most or all of their weight back — and some gain even more.Why?

I’ve read explanations that hormonal changes dictate this result, or that during strict dieting one’s metabolism slows down and remains down even when one starts to eat more after a diet ends.

The above article summarizes a position I’ve come to, that yes, there are genetic and complex metabolic processes going on that we cannot change, but that is not the be all and end all of maintaining a healthy waist size over the years. Behavior change and sound decision making are also important. I call it “acting like an adult and not letting your adolescent rule your eating choices and behavior.”

One aspect of behavior change that can have a positive effect on the figure and weight, involves fashion. Start wearing a corset!

Wearing a well-fitting, attractive, fashionable custom corset either as foundation wear or on the outside of clothing, is not only effective in controlling portions of food and encouraging better posture (especially holding in the lower belly), it is darned fun!

For women who often from childhood play around with clothing, fashion, style, and color, designing a corset then wearing it as a piece of sexy lingerie can be the opposite of what one might expect. Not only is that type of corset not painful — it’s comfortable and it quickly becomes easy to wear and to slowly lace down as inches drop off the waistline,  and even pounds drop off if you want that, too (each result requires a bit of a different approach to corseting).

Not long ago the Sunday Magazine of the NYT had an article authored by a curvy woman who had tried every conceivable diet and approach to weight loss, to improving her health, and to reducing long-term risk, except she failed to mention corseting (see recent blog comment). Clearly, she was unaware of common-sense corset waist training, or had set it aside as an option she would not try (nor did she try expensive, extreme bariatric surgery, thank goodness!).

To me, that’s the most perplexing thing about corset waist training. Not only is it not a diet, it’s not onerous, it’s not hard (tho it can be challenging as one gets used to a structured garment rather than sloppy t-shirts we are more accustomed to wearing these days), it doesn’t take all that long to see results — and — it’s darn right fun! (Did I say that before?) Just like wearing a lacy bra and panties, corset waist training can go on the rest of one’s life (after proper seasoning of a new corset and getting used to it).

One of my three-month waist-training program coaching students told me that each morning when she woke up, she absolutely delighted in rushing to put on her gorgeous waist-training corset. She used that motivation to stay in the corset the required number of hours scheduled for that day, and she found it not all that difficult to do even when the hours each day built up to 10 or more in the latter part of her program, and at tighter lacing-down levels.

We recommend you don’t opt for a readymade, dull, boring underbust corset in which to waist train. Go for fully custom, go for colors, fabrics, and designs that you believe to be artistic and attractive, add a bit of embellishment (some is fine even if the corset is worn under clothing), and get something you love and will be attracted to.

True, some fabrics are a bit more delicate and if the corset is worn under clothing, the fabric may “rub” and threads become loosened over time. There are possible fixes to that (installation of outer bone casings to reinforce fabric or as we did in one case, removed the polysilk front busk and replaced it with cotton twill leaving the polysilk corset otherwise intact). The ivory paisley polysilk and peach cotton-backed satin corset pictured here, is from Bettina, one of my favorite, serious corset enthusiast clients. It is just lovely — and functional, and some years later after a good bit of wear, is still intact!

 

I have always trained in a simple hourglass cotton-backed satin corset such as the black one pictured here, one usually made by Ruth Johnson/BR Corsets. My old corset is showing a bit of scuffing along the front busk. Sometimes the braid trim I’ve added to a corset will fray, but with this minor issue or with eventual scuffing, the structure remains sound.

With a beautiful corset attractive to you, you’ll enjoy the adventure of corset waist training, and most likely begin to see some results in a few months, as most of my dedicated clients and waist-training students have seen.

(Orange polysilk corset by Sue Nice on model Ana; Bettina’s corset by Jill Hoverman; black and paisley corset on model Jasmine, by Jill Hoverman).

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Body Acceptance, obesity, overweight, fitness, and risk to health

Body acceptance, including of any and all when it comes to race, culture, age, size and shape, has been much in the news and social media commentary during the past few years. Health and fitness have replaced the word “diet”. Today  I saw that Helen Mirren is featured on the  Sept. magazine cover of  Allure — which magazine has apparently eschewed forevermore the word “anti-aging.”

I’ve always supported the notion that curvy women look better in corsets and “take to” them easier than do slender folks. ROMANTASY features a full-figure gallery to encourage women of all sizes and shape to try a corset for any of a number of purposes. One of our clients pictured on that page had a bosom measurement of 54″ and a waistline measurement of up to 60″ is not all that abnormal over our 27 years in this corset business.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of the vast majority of my typical corset clients over the years. Marcia Venema (holding flowers), is one of our most loving supporters of all things corset and of my modest small business venture, with an amazing 16″ natural hip spring (waist vs hips). (Black and white, and magenta corset by Sue Nice, former team member; blue and brown corsets by Sheri; ).

In general, I agree with the body acceptance trend, but honestly, I have always had a vaguely discomfiting feeling that I have not been able to name, when it comes to that term, in conjunction wtih how to think about large waist sizes and weight.

Most of us know about Dr. Oz and many others in the medical fields who advise that a woman’s waist should not exceed 35″ and a man’s 40″, in order to minimize many health risks as we age. Now I’ve read that for us women, it might be 31″ for the waistline goal! (see below)

To me, the bottom line is that we each have to judge our own body size and shape as to whether we feel good and safe in them, healthy, and out of pain. But I continue to wonder if obesity is ever a good thing to support in the name of body acceptance?

As for Mirren as Allure’s Sept. Cover Woman (let’s dump forever the term “girl” as Mirren is surely not that!), one can only muse, “why now, and why not eons ago?” Betty Friedan mused along with me in 2006, but not eons ago, when she published a book I recommend to all, The Fountain of Age. Aging is not a trip to the garbage heap according to Friedan. But there’s a lot more research to be done with attention to men and women over 70, to fill in a huge gap in knowledge as Friedan points out.

And of course, there is a lot more research to be done on weight, waist size, hunger, eating habits, nutrition, and related health matters.

Lately The European Heart Journal reported on a new study from London designed to find a correlation between people who were fat but fit, and heart disease. 521.000 Europeans from 10 countries participated and were monitored for 15 years. It’s worth a read if like me, you are struggling with the concept of body image and how that relates to overall health and health risks.

The researchers noted individuals as being “unhealthy” if they were found to have at least three harmful metabolic markers such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and a larger waist size (37″ for men and 31″ for women). Meanwhile, those with a body mass index (BMI) of over 30 were considered “obese,” while participants with a BMI of 25-30 were viewed as overweight. Anyone with a BMI of 18.5-25 was listed as normal.

While participants who made the “unhealthy” list were more than twice as likely to suffer from coronary heart disease regardless of weight, people considered “healthy” under the formula who were overweight still had a 26 percent greater risk of battling the condition. Obese “healthy” participants were found to have a 28 percent increase risk.

More than 10,000 people served as a control group for the study and factors such as exercise level, smoking history, and socio-economic status were taken into account for the research.

The authors believe that “the excess weight itself may not be increasing the risk of heart disease directly, but rather indirectly through mechanisms such as increased blood pressure and high glucose.” They agree that stronger awareness and prevention measures, along with treatment of obesity, be offered by doctors so that those who “fat, but fit” don’t lose sight of losing weight.

“I think there is no longer this concept of healthy obese,” says Dr. Ioanna Tzoulaki, from Imperial’s School of Public Health. If anything, our study shows that people with excess weight who might be classed as ‘healthy’ haven’t yet developed an unhealthy metabolic profile. That comes later in the timeline, then they have an event, such as a heart attack.”

I’ll let that be the last word for now, but always welcome your thoughts on the matter!

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