Monthly Archives: January 2018

Africa joining the obese crowd

When I updated my original waist-training book in fall, 2016, I listed a few European nations who had seen the rise of obesity during the past decade or so. I recently blogged on how it has reached into Latin America. On Sunday’s NY Times I read that Africa has now succumbed, for a number of complex reasons, not the least of which is an improving economy and the presence of junk food (see Africa’s Gains Come with an Alarming Byproduct: Obesity” by Jeffrey Gettleman).

The increase in obesity is going much faster than “just about anywhere else in the world” says Gettleman. Eight of the 20 nations with the fastest-rising rates of adult obesity are in Africa.

Problematic in Africa, as compared to other perhaps more industrialized nations, is childhood malnutrition when young, which leads to  putting on more weight as adults. And, African health systems combat other diseases like HIV, and not diabetes, and not many can afford doctors to being with. Plus, there is a social push message that “the bigger the tummy, the better you are doing.”

All of which point out that any problem is usually not simple but multi-caused, and thus, not easy to solve. Bringing to bear many strategies both institutional and personal, is the only rational way to go.

Corset waist training, even belt training and tight clothing, is just one way with which I’m familiar, but it certainly fits the panoply of strategies out there for many Americans with some economic means. However, we should not focus on one answer, but explore many to find the combination that works for each of us, to stay healthy and fit over our lifetimes!



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Isn’t it funny how we have the answers we need, but often don’t listen?

I had to laugh to read my latest AARP The Magazine and the last feature on Henry Winkler who is now 72. He was asked “the worst thing about aging?” and he responded, “Convincing my knees to straighten after a long sit.”

This parroted almost the same thing a good friend told me recently, about a struggle with a new back issue he was having. He said something to the effect, “Boy, I find I just can’t sit and watch tv so long any more, or my back hurts!”

Well, duh!!!! to both my friend and Henry Winkler.

How come I can see, but neither of these men can see, that the solution to avoid creakiness and back issues, is simply NOT TO SIT FOR SUCH A LONG TIME?

Just because our bodies and tolerances change (both mental and physical) with age, does not excuse us from being conscious of what is going on! We have to look for answers to our aches and pains, our disappointments and health issues, our blue moods and crankiness. The answer is nearly always there, just below the surface of our self-delusion or the oblivion that may envelop us.

Being aware of our bodies is a task that is harder for men than women, in my experience. Perhaps these two men are like the majority, and don’t like to face up to change or  matters that signify a possibly diminishing physicality. It won’t make them the lesser to become more conscious, and it could make them a lot more rational and better at taking care of themselves over the coming years!

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Yet another study on importance of waist circumference! from Denmark this time

“…. researchers found that higher levels of fitness were associated with a smaller waist circumference and a lower degree of inflammation independently of BMI. The researchers acknowledge that there are possible limitations that may affect the findings of the study, but overall the results suggest that increased fitness has the potential to reduce abdominal fat mass and inflammation which may improve metabolic health irrespective of BMI.

‘We found that fitness is inversely associated with both abdominal adiposity and low-grade inflammation independent of BMI,” says Wedell-Neergaard. “These results suggest that, regardless of BMI, high fitness levels lead to a reduction in abdominal fat mass and low-grade inflammation.'”

So say Danish researchers in this January publication:

What’s interesting to me, is that this finding is independent of the BMI, recently reported by our so-called president’s doctor, after examining our 237-lb leader. Apparently this doc left his tape measure at home and ignored the waistline. Just one more bit of proof that corset waist training is addressing a truly significant health indicator of risk to health and life! And it’s a heckofa lot more fun than going on (yet another) diet!

The absence of tape measures is not unusual. Most doctors never measure our waistlines! I’ve read that before, and I personally know that to be true.

What is wrong with doctors today, and medical schools that fail to teach med students to keep a tape measure in their office desk, or better–draped around their shoulders like the stethoscope we always see?


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How do we know anything? (and how knowing relates to corset waist training)

Today after my Alexander Technique class, a thought popped into my head as I drove home.

“How do I know something?”

There have been some real eureka moments I’ve experienced during my AT classes or just after  class when writing in my AT journal the past four months, but how does the “eureka” occur?

I came up with this:

1. To know something, you have to notice.
2. To notice, you have to stop what you are doing to become aware.
3. To become aware, you have to see, hear, smell, and feel.
4. To see you have to look, to hear you have to listen, to smell you have to inhale, to feel you have to let go.

For me as a AT student, it has been becoming  Aware, and Letting Go, that have had the most beneficial consequences to my overall recovery from the year-ago whiplash and remaining neck tenderness I’ve been rehabbing.

Today (as usual) during the last half of the class, I was relaxing on the table listening to my San Francisco teacher, Elyse (Body Project) teach, or perhaps occasionally I brought up some thought that popped into my head. As usual and at the same time, I was feeling her magical hands under my shoulder blades coaxing that last tense neck muscle to let go, or under my hip coaxing that left sciatica soreness to let go and the muscles to melt into the table. I think it feels a bit like slippery butter melting or pudding liquifying, as we said today, and we both laughed at the images!

In fact, before AT I’ve never felt like a pancake  not during or after massage, hot tubs, yoga, PT, acupuncture, meditation, stretching, traction, walking, sex (well, maybe sex!), or other. Only AT has allowed me to feel like a pancake: totally and completely flat.

That’s the only way I can explain it: flat, flat flat, one with the horizontal, one with the table, a thin line of a self that is completely at ease and weightless. I can only recommend the blissful feeling to you (esp. if you are a type A person or suffering a lot of stress in your life). AT gets me there.

But on the table today, let go my muscles did. Elyse, too, always feels that process when I let go in one area of my body–something that is still hard for me to believe. That’s because movement seems so subtle from my viewpoint, yet she says it is quite obvious. I know she notices, because typically she comments immediately after I let go in a big or small way. Magic! She’s clearly noticing and being aware, and so am I.

Letting go for me is all about noticing and being aware. It’s only when I bring my attention to the body part that Elyse is touching and communicating with (yup, it’s a type of communication for sure!), that the muscles can and will relax, or it can happen when I give myself suggestions that Elyse has taught me to use when I’m going about my daily life. I have to pay attention and remember those suggestions, and note how my shoulders or left hip, or neck feel — or very little happens, other than my body behaves as it has all of these 74 years. It falls too easily into routine, habitual, familiar postures, stances, and tensions.

I mused out loud that it has taken me soooooo long to develop those postures, stances, and tensions. that I realize that will take a lifetime to re-learn how to let go. A feeling of discouragement wafted by, but I put it out of my mind and went back to being aware of what Elyse was doing and saying to me, and being aware of what thoughts popped into my mind and what “let gos” were happening. Elyse reassured me that it does take some time to change ones nervous and muscular responses, but that practicing and re-practicing and re-practicing works, and changing happens more quickly after a keen “notice” or something we don’t like or feel comfy with in our body. I find that to be true at this present point in my learning of the Technique. But sometimes I find I also turn my head to look over my shoulder at discouragement coming on from time to time.

Becoming distracted or letting in negative thoughts wastes my money and time, and hers as well. I’m on a mission to get really well and healthy this year and am pulling out all the stops!

Awareness is something I try to incorporate and teach to my students during coaching programs in corset waist-training. It is only when we take smaller bites (unlike the person pictured!), count each bite 30 times (of ice cream, too), and thus, slow down the eating process in that and a few other effective ways, that we become aware of our habits. Only then can we really see, smell, and taste food, and begin to let go of destructive choices of food and eating habits.

The corset is merely one tool that forces most of us to slow down when eating (and dressing and moving fast), especially later during training when the corset becomes slowly a bit tighter and then tighter, and we wear it longer and longer without loosening it up for the occasional over-indulgence in food, and resulting discomfort we feel. Or we rush around too fast and become slightly out of breath. The corset forces us to notice how we feel, to slow down, and to become aware of the body by bringing our attention to it.

I’ve noted that noticing is an easier process for my women students than for my men students. Many men have a socially-conditioned limited self knowledge when it comes to bodily feelings as well as emotions. I’m not sure they identify stress as easily as women do, so how can they give it up if that is true? They have first, to notice and become aware that they are stressed out, or that their bodies are tight and tense, before they can let go.

The strategies and steps I’ve developed as a coach in corset waist-training (described in detail in my book of the same topic) are designed to bring my student’s attention back to the body and to the moment or hour that they must remain in the corset according to our agreed-upon schedule and training contract. Reporting to me every other day, writing in their journal, and communicating with a Training Buddy that I assign them (a former student), all help to bring awareness into their daily lives so that they more easily can reach their reasonable waist-training or weight-loss goals.

I’ve yet to find a corset enthusiast who also has trained in the Alexander Technique, but I’m hopeful someone will reach out to me so we can share our experiences. Might that be you?

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