Tag Archives: losing weight

Why I hate the “Real Women Have Curves” Movement

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Author: Kara Adamo.

We have a problem, ladies…and it’s not the men.

There is an idea that has been leaching its way through computer screens, tablets and phone browsers that has gone unchecked for far too long.

Looking back, I suppose I can pin-point the first signs of it easily. It began in my parent’s generation: the 1970’s-1980’s period where “Thin was In” and people began going to insane extremes to get there.

We’re all familiar with it: the stories of women and men wasting away with any number or combination of eating disorders that left them emaciated and filled with a nearly incurable self-hatred that was then passed on to my own generation.

Even now, after all of the published personal stories and all of the attention aneorexia and its bretheren have gotten from the media, people are still starving themselves with this evasive idealist perfection in mind.

Celebrities probably get it the worst. They’re in the public eye and, as with every moment that lapses from the perfection we like to associate them with, that public eye zooms in and judges loftily from its self-imposed moral high-ground. We find our strength in numbers because these people lead lives that the “average Joe” could only ever dream of.

We’re really just jealous and resentful, but they’re the minority, so we can shrug it off and shoot them a “you asked for it” glare.

It makes us feel good about it for five seconds and is, in all honesty, a sign of our collective ethical degradation.

We all do it and they probably do, too.

Forever struggling with pressures from the media to maintain a perfectly composed, perfectly thin, perfectly groomed image, these celebrities starve themselves in the hopes that the negative publicity will cease.

And then, when we see them getting thinner, we copy them.

Men do this a bit, but it’s no secret that women are the worst. We like to point fingers at guys and scream to the high-heavens that it’s their judgmental pickiness that drives us to do it, but for the most part we’re full of it.

We do it.

We’ve always done it. There is a reason the movie “Mean Girls” did so well: it speaks to all of us because it’s based, on some level, in an unfortunate truth about our society.

Girls are, well, mean.

Now, my long-winded griping about anorexia and the “Thin is In” motif that pervasively plagues our culture has done nothing to warm me to the other equally evil notion, this piece’s title phrase: “Real Women Have Curves.”

You see, when I was in high school, I graduated at 149 pounds.

This seems fine, except that I am a tiny little pixie of a thing. At 27 years old, I measure a full 4-feet, 10-1/4 inches tall.

That’s it.

So, when you spread 149 pounds throughout that small of a frame, you can get a rough mental image of what I looked like: I wasn’t huge, but I was certainly “big boned.”

I did a lot of stupid things to lose the weight. I starved myself, resulting in the aggravation of a then-dormant condition called Diabetic Hypoglycemia which now affects me severely every single day.

I hated myself. Looking back on all of the pictures, I realize that, while the weight wasn’t healthy, I didn’t look anywhere near as bad as I thought I did. But you could have never told 17-year-old Kara that.

Then I started skim-boarding and I managed to lose twenty pounds in a four month period. I started eating again and then continued to lose weight until I was 21.

A number of issues that year resulted in my falling below 93 pounds. I couldn’t tell you what the final weight was because I stopped checking. It was too painful to find out. Nothing fit me and I was too ashamed of my financial situation to ask for help. I had bruises on the skin over my rib cage from sleeping on my stomach and my skin had very little color.

Because I wasn’t being honest about things, people thought that I was starving myself again—but this time successfully.

Six years later, I am at a healthy—albeit still unknown—weight. I run on a near-regular basis and I survive on fresh fish and veggies. I’m no longer nauseous after I eat and I finally feel good about my image.

I’m sharing this because I need people to realize that I have actually been on both sides of the track: I have been heavier and ridiculed for it and I’ve been called “anorexic” and a “skinny-mini,” too.

And I’m going to clear something up right here…right now: both suck.

I actually discussed this with a girlfriend of mine yesterday over coffee.

This girl is stunning. She has beautiful dark blonde hair, piercing catlike blue eyes, and long legs I would kill for. She’s that pretty, slender-but-athletic build that healthy-minded models would dream of and the wardrobe to match.

At any moment, this girl looks like she stepped out of a high-fashion magazine.

And yet, this girl has body image issues…just like the rest of us.

She doesn’t have big breasts or a curvy bottom: she’s taller than she wants to be and she sometimes wishes her complexion was clearer.

She’s confident, but she’s a woman: and that means that, no matter what, she will manage to find fault with herself.

Now to be clear on this: men love her.

And they love me—we’ve actually dated the same guy before (at different times, of course)—and we look completely opposite of one another.

This is important: the issue, overall, isn’t men. My weight fluctuates just as much as the next girl and I can always manage to find a date or someone to flirt with. I’ve dated when thin and when heavier and I was called beautiful regardless.

The issue is women.

This friend—we’ll call her Lucy—made an amazing point that I think needs to be addressed on a larger social scale: real women don’t have to have curves.

Lucy is a real woman. I was a real woman when I was scrawny.

Real women have vaginas. That’s what they have.

Some have curves…some have thin waists. Some are short and some are tall.

The issue is not that we are opening the door to social acceptance when it comes to curvier and even heavier women. I’m all for that.

The issue is that we are shutting that door on other women—thinner women—who have feelings and who are just as beautiful. And the reason we’re doing it is the same reason we ridicule celebrities: many of us are jealous and many of us have this misplaced misconception that thinner women have it easier.

To be honest, after having been thin and big and everything in between, I would venture to say that it was harder to be underweight and the reason behind that claim actually has virtually nothing to do with physical size.

It has to do with the emotional support I had from women.

When I was larger, I was told by my friends that I was pretty. I was encouraged to feel good about myself and I was told that my inner beauty was what mattered, anyway.

But when I was thin, that went away. I was scolded for having eating disorders I actually didn’t have and I was called “gaunt” and “thin” with a derogatory tone.

And that, pardon my French, is bullshit.

Lucy said it best at coffee: “All women are real women…women need love from women!”

And she’s 100% right.

We need to lift one another up. And we’re not doing it. We’re failing miserably.

It speaks poorly of our self-image (both internal and external) when the most popular weight-based slogan involves lifting up one group at the expense of another.

We don’t need to imply an exclusion to a group that has historically been complimented in photography and in the media. We just need to include everyone else.

Real women have skin. They have tears and they have humor and they generally have people in their lives that wouldn’t change them for the world…thin or heavy…short or tall.

This idea that we have to cut one another down to lift ourselves up is just as lethal as the notion that you have to starve yourself to be pretty. Some girls won’t ever put on weight. They’ll have to buy breasts if they ever want to fill an A cup and they’ll never have “dat base” everyone keeps singing at (to the peril of my eardrums.)

They’re just as “real” as the girl who fills a larger pant size and who can’t seem to drop the pounds. And we need to love both of them.

It’s a hate campaign disguised as a message of love and acceptance…and that’s what I can’t stand about it. Words mean things and they affect everyone.

So, the next time that you blurt out, “Real Women Have Curves,” think about the sweet girl off to your left that feels awkward about her thin frame and feels like she’s treated like a little kid by people who should be building her up. Think about how you feel whenever someone makes you feel bad about yourself.

And then shut-up.

Turn the phrase around in your head, and change it. Because what you really mean is that curvier girls and heavier girls are pretty too.

So just say that. It includes us all and it builds us up. We need each other, ladies. If we were nicer to one another, maybe we would all stop hurting ourselves to fulfill this unobtainable image of perfection we seem to perpetuate.

And, for the love of god, eat a cupcake. No matter what weight you are, cupcakes rule.

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Staying Fit During My Quarter-Life Crisis

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Author: Kara Mae Adamo. 

I’ve spent a great deal of time at the bar over the last couple of months–and eating au gratin potatoes at work (I’m a vegetarian working in a fine dining steak house…they feed us…but most of it previously had a face…you see how my options are a bit limited)

I have, however, been maintaining an active lifestyle. I’ve been switching it up a bit: I have gone rock climbing recently (my friends go a lot, so I really have no excuse outside of my insane schedule not to go), and I’ve started hitting the gym more, too.

I also bought myself some roller blades. I can’t decide if this last one has anything to do with my sudden mid-twenties freak-out, but I have also been looking into buying a ninja 250. It suffices to say that I may or may not be experiencing a quarter-life crisis…but either way I bought the blades. I also went skateboarding for the first time in my life. Granted, I was drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette at 4 o’clock in the morning when I was on said skateboard, but it actually didn’t go too bad…aside from when I ended up on someone’s driveway while on my friend Alex’s long-board. As it turns out, going down-hill is completely different than going straight or up-hill. The board shot out from under me and I fell right on my tailbone.

It was still fun.

And, honestly, why shouldn’t I go skateboarding or rollerblading? Why? Because I’m a grown woman? Meh. I’m the size of a ten year old, and I feel that somehow earns me the right to play like one. I’m not hurting anyone but myself most of the time, anyway.

Perhaps it will keep me young. I’ve sworn off plastic surgery and face-lifts. Perhaps if I keep that youthful glow that comes from climbing trees and making mud-pies, I will never have to consider these things. (Just kidding on the mud-pies…sort of).
I actually am developing a school of thought surrounding this. So what if I want to do all of these things? I didn’t do them that much as a teenager and, well, I’m a grown-ass adult. I pay my bills and work 60+ hours a week. I do my own taxes, clean my own house and own my own car. So if I want to get grass stains all over my jeans by falling down because I haven’t figured out how to stop on my new roller blades then who’s to stop me?!

No one; that’s who.

I’ve also taken to buying more food from the grocery store. I feel as though this is key. I tend to eat healthier when I’m, well, not at the bar. Tonight, for instance, I sauteed some asparagus with some carrots and a touch of soy sauce. I also let a vegan grilled “chicken breast” simmer in some ginger dressing and a little claret. I topped both of these with a bit of caprino cheese and had a small side salad of mixed greens, radishes (an excellent blood purifier, btw) and ginger dressing. In lieu of a beer, I had a glass of juice (a combo of two of my favorite V8 fruit blends).

Honestly, I feel better already.

I’m trying to get myself in shape so that, when I take off over seas a year and a half from now, I’ll be in tip-top condition for the training regimen.

This has helped get my mind off of a few upsetting things and, honestly, it’s how I usually live. I’ve been in a rut for a while and I feel like I’m finally climbing out of it. This makes for a happy Kara–and it also gives me an excuse to shop for cute clothes this spring 🙂

Yogi Munchkin

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Author: Kara Mae Adamo.

So I decided to do some yoga today.

I used to do a little yoga every day for about half an hour (actually, exactly half an hour. I follow a Jillian Michaels dvd when I do it) but ever since I moved to this apartment I’ve managed to put it off. It’s actually not a lazy thing…at least not entirely. Kira and I were actually really good about going to the gym for a while there.

Over the last month and a half I’ve perfected the sloth position.

It’s great–you should try it–you just veg out until you can’t take it anymore.

Alas, that does nothing for my flexibility, waistline, or muscle tone, though. So today I decided to revisit Jillian Michaels.

This woman is a beast. She’s in great shape and a little scary, but you can tell she knows her stuff. She combines classic yoga poses with a bit of cardio and you’re sweating within fifteen minutes.

I actually really enjoy the routine. It pumps your metabolism and calms you down all at the same time. I also love that you’re relying on your own body during the workout. It’s just you out there–you and everything you’ve got. And when you start to stabilize and you start getting more flexible, that’s all you, too. There’s really something to be said for that. When I’m doing the routine, I actually imagine what it was like thousands of years ago, when people really didn’t “workout”…they just existed and moved and bent and lived and managed to be healthy and toned and had energy without the use of a 24-hour fitness center. I can’t help but feel like that is probably how we’re supposed to be. Ever-active, with energy flowing in and out of us in a natural, vaguely cosmic sort of way.

Yoga rocks.

You even kind of get into the cheesy way they talk during the routines. “Seal it in mountain pose…melt your heart to the sky…” that sort of thing. You actually do feel waves of energy shooting up and down your body and it feels amazing.

I’m not gonna lie, today I was not the yoga guru I have been in the past. I was on the beginner’s video (I’m always on the beginner’s video), and I was shaking like a mo-fo about ten minutes in. But you know what? My muscle memory is pretty decent. I know that if I managed to squeeze in a routine before I head to work tomorrow, I’m going to be a lot more confident and stable throughout the workout…and that alone is enough to keep me going.

I’d also like to point out that I did this in the comfort and, most importantly, PRIVACY of my own home. There is no way in hell that I am jumping back into yoga in the not-so-spiffy shape that I’m in right now in front of people. If you want to do it and you feel you need the support-group, by all means, go for it. I’ve thought about joining a class after I get a little more secure and a little less chunky-monkey-ish. I’m betting it would be a lot of fun. But right now I think I’ll stick to the DVD until I’m confident enough to go for the advanced workout…then we’ll talk peer pressure and socializing.

I’m also all healthy-feeling now, so I’m downing water left and right and even eating a healthy meal for lunch. Yoga kinda does that to you: brings about that feeling of positive energy, cleansing and change.

It really couldn’t have come at a better time, either. If you’ve never tried it, I encourage you to go ahead and do it. Stop with the “I’m not flexible” bullshit, too, because the beginners stuff is less about flexibility and more about stability. The flexible stuff comes later. You work your way up…and it comes about faster than you’d think.

Well, that’s all for now. Happy holidays, everyone 🙂

Nameste
🙂

Jiggly Puff

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So I finally peeled my lazy ass out from underneath all of the Reeses and Kit Kat wrappers, put down the milk shake, and walked the whole twenty feet to my apartment’s gym.

I felt accomplished the moment I laced up my Reeboks…which I then had to fight because the last three times I did that, I figured it was enough to put the shoes on and sat down to watch another episode of Secret Circle.

This can’t be good.

There was a time when I out ran the boys and pushed 200 lbs on leg presses—I did yoga—I did P90x, damnit!! I even ate vegan cheese!   I now think about my inhaler when I go up the stairs…and I’m not sure, but I think my ass might qualify for a separate zip code.

My 21 year old self would hang her head in shame.

And so, it appears that I have a decision to make…as Patton Oswalt says, I have two options: I can either do something about it or I have to start becoming fascinated by what is happening to me physically.   Since I’m supposed to be in my prime, I have decided to do go with the first one.

I’m a vegetarian, so while I’m slender, I’m soft and squishy and I have a looming fear that those are not new dimples on my upper thighs (you’re welcome for the visual). I am aging, and I am not happy about it. When did I authorize this? I don’t recall signing any contracts saying that I’m allowed to sprout gray…we’ll call it “tinsel” in the name of the holiday season (look, mom, I’m festive.)…from my head or that I am to start getting all worried about gravity!! I swear, I’ll sue.

My idle legal threats aside, I’ve decided that, since lately I’ve been so terrible about sticking to my blogs, I’m going to force myself to keep a workout journal online. I figure, why not—at least this way if I allow myself to indulge in my much-needed chocolate martini’s the rest of you can kick my ass about it later when I don’t post something.

That’s right. The pressure is now on you—see how I did that?

The truth is, I’ve been in kind of a funk lately and I need the endorphins and the confidence boost. If not, I’ll wallow in my own self pity in a dark and secluded corner surrounded by popcorn and whatever the hell that minty chocolatey frozen wonderment is that Kira’s mom left in the freezer for us when she visited this weekend. And, trust me, we don’t want that.  It’s not a pretty sight.

So back to the basics, then. No more Ramen noodles because I’m too lazy to make something else…no more desserts without cardio to burn it off. It’s time to get back into shape so I can emotionally shop instead of emotionally eat. Shoes have been convenient because they always fit—but being frumpy with awesome shoes is never in style.

Today I didn’t do anything crazy—no cardio—just some free weight routines and worked on my legs and abs a little. I know, I know—you’re supposed to exercise in muscle groups—but I don’t pretend to care about that…I just want to be toned and doing it my way does always seem to work for me.

I do already feel a little better, which is always good.  Working out has always been a good way to temper my innate craziness, and with a 24-hour gym right outside my door I really don’t have an excuse.   So, yeah, working out again…perhaps I’ll do some yoga tomorrow :).

**Just as an update…not five minutes after I originally posted this, Kira the Enabler served me a cup full of said minty chocolatey frozen wonderment. All of my efforts are in vain.**