The Naked Truth?

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I spotted this post by Claire Brummell in her Facebook Group, Feminine1st, of which I’m a member.  I was captivated by her transparent assessment of her reactions to her own physicality on her first experience at a hot springs and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

So, what was my naked truth?

So last week, I Claire Brummell, author of this post, began to share my naked truth…prompted by a trip to the hot springs out here in San Francisco….and today I reveal all (pun intended) about my experience…

When I first arrived at the hot springs I was very aware of how naked everyone was. Walking into a co-ed dressing room with numerous other people…both some that I knew and some that I didn’t, I realised how conscious I was of it.

…and how much I didn’t want to acknowledge or look at anyone’s bodies…including my own.

For the first hour or so at the springs I felt like a floating head. I was totally avoiding acknowledging anything that existed from the neck down. It wasn’t that I had any particular issue with it…it was just such an unusual experience that it took a bit of adjusting.

Then one of the friends that I was with suggested that we do ‘the hot and cold pools’.

Now, the hot and cold pools at Harbin are VERY VERY hot and VERY VERY cold. The idea is for you to first submerge yourself in the very very hot pool…then when you feel it’s time to get out submerge yourself in the very very cold pool…to stimulate the blood flow to the whole body….and repeat this process 7 times.

It sounded good to me, so I thought let’s give it a go.

Now, I’ve always struggled a bit with extremes of temperature…so it would have been reasonable to believe that this could have presented a challenge for me. …and it did.

I was advised before we entered the pools that the trick with the hot pool is to move very, very slowly…and with the cold pool to get your shoulders under the water as quickly as possible.

No problem.

Or so I thought.

When I started descending the steps to the hot pool, at first it seemed fine. Step one was OK…step 2 was quite warm…and step 3 felt like my feet were on fire.

Just walk slowly I kept reminding myself.

It was quite an unusual experience and by the time I got fully into the pool I could feel my skin prickling.

I’ve no idea how long I stayed in that first time, but I doubt it was longer than a minute.

So with the time in the hot pool done, it was time for the cold plunge pool.

and it was COLD.

If you know me well, you’ll know that I’m normally on the chilly side (to put it mildly!) so the idea of submerging myself in extremely cold water didn’t exactly appeal…but I knew it was all part of the process so I gave it a go.

Wow.

I don’t think I’ve ever known what cold was before!

After the hot pool the cold pool felt like it was only a few degrees above freezing (I believe it’s actually in the low 60s)…and it was a real shock to the body.

But sure enough, once shoulders were in and I began to relax into it…it began to feel very refreshing. My skin was tingling and I felt incredibly alive.

…and then very cold again…so it was time to revisit the hot.

I’m not sure exactly where in the 7 cycles through the hot and cold pools the change happened…but it was sudden, and it was powerful.

I went through a period of time where it no longer felt like my body and mind were connected. My body was going through the process in the water but my mind felt like it was floating somewhere else….and then it happened.

I was in the hot pool when I suddenly felt the culmination of all of the hot and cold plunges together and my skin felt like it was buzzing. As I came out of the water I felt like some sort of mythical goddess emerging from the heat…(I think that the heat might have gone to my head!)

As much as this might sound a little ‘la la’ or ‘hippy happy clappy’ to coin a term that I affectionately use for experiences that are a little outside of the norm, one thing was very clear.


I felt very empowered and totally connected to my body.

Not only that but I felt very comfortable with my body…and appreciative of it. I felt proud of it.

Every hint of resistance regarding being naked in public had gone, and I allowed myself to just enjoy the experience.

Shortly after completing our hot and cold experience we decided to indulge in the steam room with a sugar scrub…and got chatting to a couple of the other people in there.

At that point I saw just how natural it was for everyone else at the springs. I realised that since I’d arrived, not once had I felt leered at or uncomfortable with anyone there.

We all chatted in the same way we would if we’d all been in there fully clothed (although we’d have all been significantly warmer!)

The rest of the day was a real eye-opening experience….literally.

I started looking at the bodies around me…including my own. It was plain to see that every single body in there had something about it that was beautiful….and every single body had something that could be seen as a flaw, or an area that could be improved in some small way.

It was also clear to me in that moment how what those areas of beauty or improvement are is completely subjective. What I might think of as an area that could be changed or improved, could be the very area that someone else might see as beautiful and perfect….and vice versa.

One of the friends I was at the hot springs with described them as walking talking works of art…which I think summed it up beautifully.

I got to experience the elements…sun, water, wind and earth first hand…without any compromise or restriction…and it was great.

Some time to just be.

No masks, no costumes, nothing to hide behind.

All of me.

Complete. Whole. Perfectly Imperfect.

My naked truth was that I realise now that I was quite disassociated from my body, and I wasn’t really comfortable owning it in public.

My experience at the hot springs really provided the perfect opportunity to embrace every single part of it. Allowing me to love and appreciate every single curve, just the way that it is.

So this week I invite you to explore your own naked truth. See where it is now, and where you might like it to be.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you need to whip your kit off at the nearest public venue (depending on your location the authorities may have something to say about that!)…but I do invite you to see what experiences might help you to connect deeper with your own body…and to accept it more completely, just the way that it is.

Because as with everyone at the hot springs…all bodies are beautiful, all bodies are flawed, and that’s what makes them perfectly imperfect.

Stay Fabulous (whether you’re naked or fully clothed!)

CREDITS FOR THIS ARTICLE:
AUTHOR:  Claire Brummell
FROM WEBSITE:  Feminine 1st
DIRECT LINK:  http://www.feminine1st.com/so-what-was-my-naked-truth/

Because It’s MY Body

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Ragen Chastain, the author of this article, is one of my MOST FAVE Size Acceptance advocates and after reading this, you will probably agree!

 

Because It’s My Body!

I was recently asked why we don’t weigh people like luggage to determine the cost of their airline ticket. Sure, particularly muscular and/or tall people would likely flip out since they would assume that this wasn’t meant for them but was rather was a punitive means of punishing fat people.  And obviously you can’t tell whether or not someone will fit in a seat by their weight.  But those aren’t the real reason that it’s not ok.

The real reason is that it’s not luggageIt’s my body.

It’s not a representation of greed or capitalism.  It’s my body.

It’s not a picture without a head to accompany yet another OMGDEATHFAT article.  It’s my body

It’s not a stand-in for my true health and well being.  It’s my body.

It’s not for you to judge. It’s my body

Do you get it?  It’s my body. So back off.

My body is far too valuable to be treated like a car whose worth is lowered because of some wear and tear.  It’s far too astounding to be a metaphor or a political statement.  It’s far too complicated to run on the same formula used to fuel a lawn mower. It is far too profound to be reduced to a ratio of weight and height.  And it is far too amazing to be judged by anyone.

Because it’s my body.

Ragen Chastain

CREDITS FOR THIS ARTICLE:
AUTHOR:  Ragen Chastain
FROM WEBSITE:  Dances With Fat
DIRECT LINK:  http://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/because-its-my-body/

Love Yourself!

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This message is going to be on the shorter side.

Because . . . .

What I’m hearing is just to tell you a few things about …

Boosting Self-Awareness and Self Acceptance

Like . . .

You MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the world by your presence.

You are ENOUGH just as you are.

You are AWESOME.

You are SPECIAL.

You are VALUABLE.

You are NEEDED.

You are WANTED.

You are CARED ABOUT.

You are LOVED.

You are BEAUTIFUL.

Now . . . .

Your mission this week, should you choose to accept it . . . 

Is . . . 

To . . . 

 

BELIEVE IT!

YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS . . .

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Love Yourself MORE!

You MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the world by your presence.

 You are ENOUGH just as you are.

 You are AWESOME.

 You are SPECIAL.

 You are VALUABLE.

 You are NEEDED.

 You are WANTED.

 You are CARED ABOUT.

 You are LOVED.

 You are BEAUTIFUL.

Now . . . .

Your mission, should you choose to accept it . . . 

Is . . . 

To . . . 

  BELIEVE IT!

SO YOU ARE NOT FLAWLESS! NOW WHAT?

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One of the most damaging ways we muck up our inner peace is playing the comparison game.  The image below says it all pretty clearly!
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Frankly, we’re just silly when we look at a picture in a magazine, or a model in a TV ad and then look down at our very human, non-air-brushed, non-photoshopped bodies and call ourselves ugly, fat, or whatever!

Trust me!  No matter how pretty that model may be, s/he didn’t get out of bed looking THAT good!!!  And, even if she did (NOT), that’s not to say that when SHE looks in the mirror, she sees herself as FLAWLESS!

Demi Moore, the well-known and acclaimed actress, was recently quoted in a magazine about how uncomfortable she feels about her looks — even after appearing in movies where she played a stripper and a military officer!  Even HAVING a flawless body, doesn’t mean you FEEL GOOD or BELIEVE your body is beautiful!

So where does that leave us?


Actually in a really cool place!

IN CHARGE OF OUR OWN MINDS AND BELIEFS!

Yes!  YOU HAVE THE POWER!  Not the frickin media!  You get to decide what’s beautiful to you.  And when you do . . . I highly suggest you do it through the eyes of your heart and not your Inner Critic!

Your heart, your Divine Self, only has the capacity to see GORGEOUSNESS!  And EVERYTHING is gorgeous through its eyes.  Yes, even the flab, the cellulite, the dark circles under your eyes, the not-right hair or WHATEVER!

Divine Spirit doesn’t see any of that — and you have the power and the choice AND THE RESPONSIBILITY to choose what you see also!

So DO IT THIS WEEK!  Ok??

OK!!

I’m 100% certain you will feel better about your body if you do!
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P.S. COMMENT BELOW and share your GORGEOUSNESS revealed after reading this post. :)

What Size Are You REALLY??

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The Truth Behind Vanity Sizing In Fashion

[Ed. Note:  I found this article very enlightening though it does not directly reference “plus” sizing and look forward to your comments!]

by Lisa Marsh,   www.YouBeauty.com 

Like most new moms, Erin Correale wants to whip her wardrobe back into shape.  Correale has it easier than most. At 38, she’s within 10 pounds of the weight she’s been since her teenage years. But her clothing size isn’t.

“I wear a size two in Ann Taylor, a four in Banana Republic, a six in Old Navy, a four at Coldwater Creek and a friend told me about Chico’s, but told me I would have to look at a size zero,” she says. “I never like size zero-it’s encouraging people to be waifs. That doesn’t make me feel good.”

Sizes zero, two, four and six all for one woman? Is Correale lost in the looking glass, growing and shrinking at every turn like Alice, or is there something seriously askew with the sizing of clothing? It’s no mistake. The American apparel industry has created an intentional system of “Vanity Sizing.” The increasing use of the smaller sizes-a size 12 in 1970 is now in the size four-six-eight range-is meant to make consumers feel better about buying clothing.

Standards-or Lack Thereof

When it comes to sizing, there are no universal standards. A woman with a traditional hourglass figure with 36-24-36 measurements can wear anything from a size zero to a size ten, depending on the brand and whether it’s sold at the designer, contemporary, junior, bridge or mass level. The only standard that does exist is to con the buyer into believing she’s smaller. Over time, sizes are getting roomier, allowing women to believe they can still squeeze into a more desirable size two, four, six or even eight.

“At this point, sizes are meaningless. They’re more relative than anything else,” Bill Ivers, chief operating officer of MSA Models told YouBeauty. His agency specializes in providing fit models for designers and brands.  “Sizes are not standard by design,” he explained. “It helps brands be unique and offer an edge over the competition. Brands are looking for brand loyalty and if last season you were an eight and this season you’re a size six, that’s a sales tool. We all look to apparel to make us look good, feel comfortable and confident.”

Even celebrities fall victim to the need for vanity sizing.

One actress cold-called Robert Verdi, style director at FirstComesFashion.com and a celebrity stylist who regularly works with stars like Eva Longoria and Kathy Griffin, and asked him to wardrobe her for multiple appearances during an awards season. Her publicist said the actress was a size 12, and because they were working on a quick turnaround of less than three weeks, Verdi couldn’t ask designers to make anything custom, so had to rely on pieces designers had in stock.

“We looked at pictures of this woman and I called her publicist back and asked her, is she really a size 12?” he told YouBeauty. “The publicist insisted she was a 12.”  When Verdi and his team packed the dresses up for the trip to Los Angeles, “we snuck in some 14s, 16s and even some 18s.”

Though Verdi told the actress that everything was a “size 12,” the actress “wasn’t happy,” he said. She ultimately wore several of his picks, but one of the dresses was altered to fit by making it six-to-eight inches shorter. The fabric was then added as a panel on the back of the dress so the “size 12″ would fit.

“She didn’t want to be bigger than that in her head. A number means so much to so many people,” he added. That’s really too bad since the numbers are pretty much meaningless and there are no standards in place.

This lack of sizing standards wasn’t always the case.

Until January 20, 1983, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards and Technology offered specifics for the sizing of apparel with body measurements for men, women, junior women, young men and children. These standards began in the late 1940s as a byproduct of the necessity for size-standardization in military uniforms during World War Two. Committees that included textile manufacturers, designers and retailers worked with the Department of Agriculture to determine these sizing standards and all adhered to it.

The program was discontinued in 1983. The measurements were not keeping up with the typical American body, which was changing due to better medicine and nutrition, along with an influx of new and varied ethnic groups. Sponsorship of these standards was assumed by private industry. That marked the start of sizing’s new Wild West, a lawless, volatile environment that continues today.

An End in Sight?

“Each designer has their own vision of what they imagine as the ideal person to wear their clothing,” explained Tanya Shaw to YouBeauty. “Designers will hold true to what they believe.”

Shaw is the founder and president of MyBestFit, a sizing system that scans your body for about 10 seconds and then provides you with sizing recommendations for styles from over 30 brands like the Gap, Old Navy, Talbots and J Brand.  “We help customers decode sizing and that makes shopping as simple as uniformity,” she explained. “We should find clothes that fit our bodies, not sizes we like to hear.”

The company currently operates one scanner at the King of Prussia Mall in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, but will be adding 45 more locations in fall 2011. Though a Personal Shopping Guide from MyBestFit in King of Prussia will only provide resources that are in that mall, you can enter your identifying code on the company’s web site to find what other sizes and brands will fit you when shopping at another location or online.

“When you cut the confusion out, consumers buy more,” Shaw said. “They have told us the conversion rate [from shopper to buyer] of 100 customers is normally 20 percent. With MyBestFit, in some cases, it’s as high as 90 percent. Imagine if you went into a fitting room and it all fit-your shopping time is more productive.”

Cricket Lee is taking it a step further and attempting to get standards back into the lexicon of apparel makers and designers. She founded Fitlogic, a patented sizing system that fits by body type and size. Though it is now accepting pre-orders online for fall shipments, Lee has spent five years struggling to bring it to market. Because each brand has its own sizing, designers and apparel manufacturers weren’t interested.

Her labeling categorizes women in three shape groups-circle, hourglass and triangle-and the Fitlogic label carries the traditional size plus a number for one of these categories. “The truth will set you free and if you know you’re a size four and shape three, you know a size 4.3 in FitLogic will fit you every time,” Lee explained. “Women don’t have the time to mess with trying on sizes. It is debilitating to walk into a fitting room with 10 pairs of pants and have nothing fit.”

“It’s progress and it will happen,” she added. “If this can reduce return by 75 percent, how can designers and retailers ignore it?”

MSA Models’ Ivers is skeptical that day will come. “There is no universal fit and I doubt that there ever will be. If five people take measurements of the same person, there will be five different measurements,” he said. “Consumers have to learn to adapt to the fact that today you’re a size zero and tomorrow, you’re a four.”

While new mom Correale admits she “loved being a size two at Ann Taylor, I didn’t really believe it.” Shopping certainly isn’t any easier. “I don’t know how to shop other than taking three sizes into the fitting room or having someone run back and forth for me. It never works.”

Shopping woes aside, maybe Lee is correct and the truth will set you free. If knowing that a number on a tag is meaningless will free you from getting hung up on sizes and allow you to focus on the best fit for you, maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all.

 

[Ed. Note: This article originally appeared at YouBeauty.com | Fashion – Thu, Aug 25, 2011 2:26 PM EDT]

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