Mothers, Jeans and Self-Esteem

Welcome to another week, folks, and a new theme. Always a pleasure to be here and share with you! Thanks so much for stopping in 🙂

mothers day flowers 2014   Mother’s Day Flowers from all my men–I’m too short to get a good image if vase is on table, lol.

Joanna n baby boys  I’m thinking my boys were one and three (?) in this image. Now the big one is the little one, and the little one is the big one. Where did the time go?

Joanna n Niconus 05-11-2014  Older son and his ma on Mother’s Day–the other guy goes camera shy. 

joanna n hubby Mothers Day 2014   Hubby and me on  Mother’s Day :). Now why didn’t I insist on a photo with both my boys????

So last week I shared about jeans, finding that elusive, “perfect-fitting” pair (I’m sure I’ll look for a loooong time, lol) and some encouraging news on that topic via Charlotte Hilton Anderson’s blog, The Great Fitness Experiment. (Among the reasons I’ve always liked Jennifer Lopez too. In many ways, she put those of us whose back ends like to uh…hang out more than others on the map. She also very kindly helped designed a line of  jeans made to fit said folks. Thanks, J-Lo! )

Rather than drag y’all through a longer-winded post than usual last time, I figured I’d pick up with a related topic today. (I promise, people, I’m working on keeping these shorter. )

Much as I love jeans, I hate shopping for them. (I’m to the point where I’m NEVER in the mood to shop for anything—eh, maybe shoes every once in a while. I always seem to gravitate toward the same colors and styles anyway. Seriously, how many red jackets or purses can one person have?)

A couple of years ago, I was killing some time on a Saturday morning. Strolled into the local TJ Maxx and wandered over to the jeans rack. I wound up trying a tan pair of skinnies just for the heck of it, in a brand that tends to fit me better than others.

Danged pair actually fit okay, even in the trouble spots. Long story short, I didn’t like them enough to buy them. I did, however, feel encouraged b/c a pair of “skinnies” almost fit well enough to be a choice.

Met up with my mom later that day. Feeling good, I told her about the jeans. Her automatic (paraphrased) response? The jeans fit because they weren’t cut right and/or had stretched.

No way on the planet—in her brain—I could have lost a pound or two, or have walked and exercised my way into that cut.  Then I wonder why shopping for clothing is more distasteful than it should be, lol.

So go figure, a few weeks ago, Mama actually complimented me in a pair of skinny jeans. I believe she phrased it something like, “I don’t know if you lost weight or it’s the pants, but those look good.”

Whaaaat???????

Mama almost knocked me out. (Feel free to go a little LL Cool J here.  What can I say? My latest TV addiction is NCIS Los Angeles.)

Joanna n mom Mothers Day 2014   Okay. We’ll let Mamma have a spot on the blog b/c she said I looked nice in my jeans. 

So, my blogger-friends, shall we go there? Shall we talk about how our self-esteem relative to clothing all comes back to Mom, lol? If that’s the case, what helped you get past it? (For me, a single book changed a lifetime of perspective. This related blog post tells that story.)

Here’s the link to the post that got me started on this blogging jag. (It’s over at Charlotte’s blog.) I also came across this assortment of seemingly simple exercises  Charlotte authored for Shape magazine. I hope to have checked them out more closely by the time this post airs.

Have a great week, everyone!

Joanna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rockin’ Jeans and The Great Fitness Experiment

Welcome to the second full week of May, folks. Hope all of you are well.

Poor hubby should be in recovery by now. The anniversary/wife’s birthday/Mother’s Day annual event is over again. Every year the poor guy gets slammed.

Back to business: I subscribe to more blogs than I can keep up with, but I do try to hit on each every now and again. This one absolutely made my day. It proved I’m not out of my mind—okay, maybe just a touch less than I thought.

I always enjoy posts by Charlotte Hilton Anderson, author of The Great Fitness Experiment (book and blog that go by the same name). I’m sure she is far fitter and way more fitness-savvy than I’ll ever be, but she also tends to be very real. A post she aired about two weeks ago caught my attention big time.

She talked about jeans, about how hard it is for those who work really hard at building and sculpting their thighs to buy jeans that fit them well and comfortably. Believe it or not, those with “musciliscious” thighs (which I’ll never have), experience problems with jeans very similar to those of us blessed with “ample” body parts and the so-called-healthy pear shape. Gapping waistline, “sausage legs” when fabric hugs thighs too tightly—those of us who love jeans know how elusive that perfect-fitting pair is to find.

She also mentioned a company named Barbell Apparel that is getting ready to launch a line of jeans that fit well-muscled folks. I figure, said company can only benefit the well-endowed crowd. (Here’s a Washington Post article that shares a tad more detailed, for those who are as excited about this as I am.)

Getting back to my questionable sanity, Charlotte helped me feel a lot better. I’ve recently gotten into some barre workouts. (Some related posts, including a link to my favorite video of same, are listed below.)

In the past month, since I added the barre workout(s), I’ve been feeling really good physically. As I commented on Charlotte’s post, however, I’ve also been noticing that my never-will-be-musciliscious-thighs seem to be growing despite the exercise efforts I’m putting in.

Perhaps they are, for once, maybe for the right reasons. Who knows for sure?

My weight has held now for about five years. Yes, it’s more than I want but still a good 25 pounds better than when I started making lifestyle changes.  The evening before I wrote this post, I nervously put on a pair of pants that had been sitting in a bag for two years—one of those pairs I had hoped to “get into” after losing 5-10 pounds.

I’ll be danged if I didn’t do just that–with my weight still where it was when I bought them, I’m pretty sure.

Joanna--04-26-2014 (Of course real estate between the waist and the knees is undercover–it’s all about illusion, right? 😉 )

Anyway, this is a big thanks to Charlotte for helping me realize that I’m not totally crazy—and for inspiring me to try on those pants. BTW, a pair of black jeans that fit awesome were in that bag too. Those just got hemmed at the tailors! Yay for jeans that fit well!

Rather than drag this one out, next week I’ll talk about Italian mothers and how they influence one’s self-esteem so well, lol.

So, where do you stand on this topic? Do you like jeans? Does fitness make you feel good or frustrate you? Did you ever consider that fitness had drawbacks?

Here are the links I mentioned above:

Sometimes It’s About the Littlest Things

Can One Book Change Your Life?

Healthy Snacks? I’m Thinking Not–Part 1

Newsflash: Blog-Hopping Can Result In Inspiration!

Newsflash: Blog-Hopping Can Result in Inspiration! (Part 2)

My (current) favorite ballet barre workout 🙂

Have a great week folks! Please don’t hesitate to SHARE should you like the content or feel moved to do so in any way!

Until next time,

Joanna

 

 

Far-Reaching Words: Impact and Resonance

Hope all of you had a wonderful weekend. (They’re never long enough :)) Thought I’d share some thoughts appropriate to a PEM (Positive Energy Monday) to start off the week!

Not too long ago, within the space of two days, at least two people told me how different things I said to each one resonated with them.

One person went so far as to tell me I’d “saved her life” when I told her she might feel a certain (negatively-perceived) way about a given situation for the rest of her days. She felt that freed her, as if those words gave her permission to feel the way she still does this many years after the inciting string of incidents.

Another person was dealing in anxiety over another situation and talked to me a bit about it. She also was very clear about ‘not feeling ready’ to address the issue directly by taking certain suggested steps she knew—from her own experience—would be helpful. She said I asked her, “What do you want for your daughter?” For whatever reason, that simple question worked at her end.

Funny. Flattered as I was by both people I couldn’t pinpoint either occasion. Of course I was very glad someone was moved or touched by something I said.

This also brings me back to something I know I’ve shared here before, and frequently quote, when chatting with others who hold back. This applies to writing, interactions with others, etc.

I attended a workshop where multi-published author Jane Porter spoke. Ironically enough, what resonated with me tied into this very topic of touching others. I was sitting in the front row, close enough to see her eyes suddenly appear glassy-wet. Her voice turned very passionate as she told us to never underestimate the power of our words and who we might reach by putting them out there.

Makes me think too, of those occasions when I was on the receiving end of those types of comments. My favorite came from a playground mom whose daughters have frequently shared classes with both my sons since kindergarten.

We were talking about exercising and how to make time and/or stick to a routine. This woman stated her husband HAD to be out the door at six-thirty every morning or he wouldn’t make it to work on time. Since she was a stay-at-home mom whose husband worked long hours, she needed to get in her daily run in before he left for the day.

“I had to be back before my husband left for work. My shoes were next to the bed, and my feet were in them before my eyes were open.”

She told me that while we waited for our kids to exit school when our older ones were in third grade. That was six years ago and I think of her every time I’m not in the mood to reach for my sneakers. She motivated me to move then and still does. Whenever I get the chance, I remind her how her words impacted me.

The most powerful (and probably life-changing) thing someone said to me came from a coworker at my first job, someone close in age who is an occupational therapist too. He is Asian, brilliant and an excellent healthcare professional. During what was—to this day—the lowest time I ever experienced in a work setting, a time when I doubted every skill I ever had and was even asking for employment applications at the toll booth I drove through daily to get to my job site, this man saved my professional life.

That day, I was getting ready to change rotations and feeling as if I’d been demoted. Another co-worker and friend, who had only four months more experience than I was going from a first-level supervisory position to the next. Due to lack of confidence and resultant mistakes I made from being too nervous to even ask questions, I was lucky I had my job. (My director liked me.)

I was supposed to be giving report to this guy who would be taking over my outpatient cases. He waited until no one else was around and very quietly stated, “You have better skills. She just knows how to be organized and look better.”

I went into that new rotation with a different attitude. Very soon, I was in counseling and attended some groups where people with similar issues shared and networked. Within a few months I achieved a first-level supervisory position. Nine months after that, I left that hospital to take on a department of my own—a one-person show that I thoroughly enjoyed for the next five years. Interestingly enough, my first day in that new position I had to make a pair of splints that I’d goofed up terribly in my previous job—badly enough that my Asian friend was told to take over and make them for me.

In my new job, all I did was drape the material over the patient’s hands and let both those splints take shape on their own. First try was a perfect fit. Blew my mind how that skill was there; the right setting allowed it to simply flow. (Maybe a topic for another post?)

Your turn: how have you impacted someone and/or how have they impacted/inspired you?

Wishing everyone a wonderful day,

Joanna

PEM: Can One Book Change Your Life?

Hi all,

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I am so happy when I can keep content flowing–thrilled to be posting again! Here’s a follow-up to last Tuesday’s post.

As I stated in my previous post, I have never been ‘skinny.’ Chances are, I will never be ‘thin.’ My whole life I’ve yo-yoed anywhere from 20-40 pounds more than I ever needed and have probably been at the ‘ideal weight’ for my height and build twice (pre-kids, of course).

That doesn’t mean, however, I can’t take care of my body and feel good about the shape I’m in—by no means my best ever (that was pre-kids, too, lol) but maybe the best it’s been in a while. (And so far, I’m past the two-and-a-half-year mark for maintaining it—an absolute first for me! No secret methods, just regular exercise and walking while religiously wearing my shape-up shoes. Portion control and cutting back white flour and sugar products have made a huge difference too.)

Anyway, back to that ONE book that changed my perspective when it came to clothing: Style Is Not a Size: Looking Great and Feeling Great in the Body You Have by Hara Estroff Marano.

You see, I was raised by a mom whose pear shape I inherited, and whose one objective when it comes to dressing is and will always be: ‘hide that backside.’ That translates into this tiny woman—she may have hit the 5’0” mark and has long since lost ground—almost always wearing boxy shirts big enough to skim over hips, butt and thighs. These fill an awful lot of visual space. In the long run, she looks bigger, and to this day, if she could get me to wear the same types of shirts and pants, she would.

  Both these photos were taken the same day. 

Ms. Marano’s book confirmed and/or taught me techniques that helped me develop my style AND make me feel good about how I look. Skin-tight clothes are so not me, but nicely tailored, well-fitting pieces make me happy. I have a waistline, for goodness sake—how can not showing it off—to hide that backside again—make me look better?

  My thanks to my son, the photographer 🙂

Shirts and slacks that trace (and sometimes hug, given the right fabric and cut) draw attention to the positives instead of making me look like a box with arms and legs. BTW, tailored does not necessarily mean custom; I’m referring to clothing that has some shape and/or body shaping curves sewn into it (i.e., the opposite of a t-shirt). As per well-fitting, keep in mind that a pair of jeans that is too big can be every bit as unflattering as that pair that has to be zippered while lying flat on the bed and looks painful to wear. And let us not bother with ‘skinny jeans’ or ‘jeggings’—definitely not flattering on this less-perfectly-curved body.

Your turn: any particular book, movie and/or incident change your perspective by impacting your sense of self?

Have a great day and ttyl,

Joanna

Change my Self-Image? Uh…Yeah!

Hello friends,

Still recovering from last week’s change in family status, if you will, and working to get back on some kind of schedule. (Thanks so much to all of you who reached out. I posted a thank you yesterday.) This was meant to be a PEM post but we’ll put it up a day late and hope you enjoy it on a Totally Terrific Tuesday (TTT) instead.

Let’s get real, people: ‘skinny’ is something I’ll never be. It is, however, nice to have come to a new place in my life, one I sort of stumbled on by accident. (Seems I do that a lot. Something to be said for hindsight, I suppose.)

Anyway, having grown up overweight—and still there, though in a healthier place than two years ago—my mom never failed to look at something fashionable on a mannequin without stating, “That’s not for us. That’s for __________ (insert name of thinnest of my friends at the time).” Being pear-shaped has its supposed health benefits but isn’t fun when one is out looking for dresses or sets that are sold as a unit. (We pear-shaped girls tend to be a size bigger beginning at the waist and ending at the knees.) Over the years, I’ve learned how to spot styles that fit a little better, which makes for less frustrating shopping sprees. And recently, I walked out of the store with a dress fit for my favorite Fran Fine.  (An awesome day: perfect fit and absolutely no tailoring necessary!)

  I am so not model material, lol. Kept telling my son to make me laugh and look more natural but…oh well…

Okay, sidetracked as usual, but I’m soon to get to the point. Started exercising pretty regularly about two and a half years ago. Those small, consistent efforts have added up for my shoulders and down for the pear part, resulting in a more balanced overall figure. (For those interested, you can access that two-part article here and here.) Hey. The other day I actually saw some deltoid definition—imagine if I were REALLY consistent.

Post point? My body image has changed. I realized this during a recent casual exchange with some long-time male friends. I happened to be chatting with these guys while exiting a church function. (Quick backstory: these guys, who NEVER in all the years they’ve known me said a word about my weight had twice commented on me having lost some about a year prior.) While going down the stairs, I noticed some type of wire that spanned the width of one of the top steps and commented to the guys about how easily a woman’s spike-heeled shoe could get caught in that cord. Being male—and one in particular who prefers his ladies on the less-meat-on-the-bones-is-more type—they immediately goofed about how especially damaging this could be to the stairs should an overweight woman take a tumble.

Of course, I went into hands-on-hips stance coupled with THE LOOK. Their hands took on instant guard pose. “We didn’t mean you!”

“Didn’t think you meant me.”

Here’s the cool part: at that moment, I really got that they did not mean me. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that not only did they not see me as overweight, but for the first time ever yours truly did not see herself this way.

I still have those days when I wish God hadn’t mixed the top and bottom molds. But today, I have those moments when I feel like He didn’t. They took a long time coming, but they’re here. My consistent efforts will hopefully keep those good moments around.

How about you?  Has how you see yourself changed in a way you never expected? If so, when and what triggered your ah-ha moment?

Thanks again for all your support and have a great day,

Joanna