Step 3 – Maintaining the Hourglass

This is the final post in the ‘Welcome’ series on our new blog! From here on in expect interviews, news & reviews of anything hourglass worthy. For now though we come down to maintaining the hourglass. Every hourglass has her own identity and wants to look after her shape! How?

Starvation – NO!

This is definitely not the way to go, we all know when we look at our best but being emaciated surely isn’t it. Being healthy with ‘a little of what you fancy’ and a semi-active lifestyle usually works best.

My favourite e-mail! Nigella – a little of what you fancy seems to reap good results!

In the 50’s the food was all fruit and veg, but it was also home baking and ‘bread and dripping’ (or fat on toast basically!). The key was portion control – there was a limit on food to an extent after the war so this came naturally, and women were more active! No gyms in sight – but women had to be more active in their housework.

Exercise – YES!

Today modern gadgets like washing machines, dishwashers, hoovers and even floor cleaners take a lot of exertion out of these chores. It seems we are just too busy today and convenience is the way forward. Gyms have their place but other good options are subtle changes – walking to work or the kids to school, getting the bus and getting off one stop early to walk taking the stairs, going for walks at the weekend. And then there’s the fun stuff…

Finding time for dancing can be hard but it sure is fun!

Zumba! Belly dance! Salsa! Foxtrot! Sound exciting? All of these dance forms have taken a revival in recent years. A fun way to exercise, and all of these have one thing in common – use of the hips! Most dance forms which exercise the hips usually encourage waist movement and therefore a more defined waist. So what are they all about?

Zumba – a relatively modern dance enjoying huge popularity at the moment, and even celebrity endorsement from will.i.am. It’s a fusion of many dance styles, simplified and set to latin-american music. Good fun and available in class and on dvd.

Belly dance – A personal favourite! A huge history and many different varieties in todays modern world, there’s something to suit everyone. As the dance is based on isolation techniques (moving one half of the body independently of the other half) it’s great for defining the waist. And with the initial stance of a slightly bent knee it’s much kinder to your joints, making it a choice that transcends generations.

Salsa – The sexy dance! Great music and moves that start from simple steps upto flourishes, spins and a rose lodged in your pout! Again moves are sourced from the hips so great for the waist.

Foxtrot – The odd one out it seems, but traditional dances stick with the same formula. This means once you’ve learnt it – you’ve got it, and you can vary the pace according to the music you choose. Very romantic, and a chance to dress up! There’s a reason why Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice have been so popular!

Extra help – MAYBE

As you may know, there are supplements out there and procedures which can make you more into that hourglass. But how effective are they, and are they safe?

It completely depends – you have one end of the scale – small dietary changes and supplements, to artificial enhancement. What are the pros and cons?

Soya beans and their end product - which we are more used to seeing!

Dietary changes – Quite a safe way to help make the most of your figure. There are many rumours floating around about which foods can enhance a feminine physique. Is there any truth to them? The jury is still out on supposed ‘cliché’ foods but some may actually have some grounding. Take two examples.

Cliché – Chocolate – Some believe the fat in chocolate, combined with the feel-good emotional element helps your body to store the fat in ‘all the right places’. We do crave it at our time of the month but there’s no scientific evidence to support the theory.

Grounding – Soya – The soya bean has been used for many thousands of years but only relatively recently to a large scale in the West. We can now have soya milk, soya yogurt, and even meat alternatives made from soya protein. But despite being a natural food, soya has some surprising attributes. One of them is oestrogen. Naturally occurring, yes, but when consumed in large amounts can make a difference. This is why soya is not recommended for children. For us however, it can make us feel good, and oestrogen the female hormone is the one that helps contribute to our feminine assets!!

Then there are supplements. The most common being, you’ve guessed it – the pill! Extremely popular since the late 60’s when it was introduced the pill helps prevent falling pregnant but it takes many forms and has many pros and cons. People also react differently to them – hence all the variations. Some make you hungry, tired, sleepy, depressed, gain weight – yet others cure acne, help you feel great, make your boobs grow (!) and even lose weight! It’s always good to do research before starting on the pill, links with breast cancer and blood clots have hovered around it, and there are many different formulations. If you are considering it, visit your doctor for more advice.

Model of a pill c.1970 (courtesy of The Science Museum)

Procedures. There is such a diverse set of opinions when it comes to surgery. Like many I feel natural is best but there are definitely exceptions.  For example, I think for women who want it after a mastectomy or accident, reconstructive breast surgery is incredible. Having bra fitted for a major department store in the UK for a number of years, I remember meeting a few mastectomy patients. These are amazing women and I’m so glad there is now this provision for them.

There are also medical reasons – I had a breast reduction not because I was unhappy with the size of my breasts but for health reasons – back problems and a risk of early osteoporosis. I’m not going to lie, for me it was a dreadful experience (I was unlucky) but I am grateful now and pleased with the result. Then there a psychological issues – people who are just so unhappy with themselves or an element of their body and although it’s sad, they should not be judged.

What is hard to swallow is the invasive trend for surgery like your buying a new lipstick, just for looks. Surgery is not trivial but rather a huge thing to consider and not something that should be rushed into, though it has been around for many years. Marilyn Monroe even famously had a small ‘nose job’ (and I love her!).

Marilyn before and after an early rhinoplasty operation

The important thing is not to feel pressured or let the world squeeze you into it’s mould. You are you, and in every woman there is beauty! It’s your choice what you do with your body but if you can enjoy your natural beauty, good health to you!

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