Friday, February 20, 2009

The Right Foundation

Building a great foundation:

Ideas about foundation garments, as well as styles, have certainly through the ages. Just in the last century and a half, we've seen the highly corseted Victorian woman with the incredibly tiny waist, the flapper with her body bound in almost a boyish silhouette, the buxom 50's to early 60's woman who wore girdles and waist cinchers to the tiny, support-free foundation garments of the late 60's and 70's.

Certainly, there have been eras when corseting and cinching were too tight to promote good health. It has been proposed that one reason why our great-great-grandmothers were in need of fainting couches and smelling salts were that they could hardly breathe for the tight boning across their lungs. Sometimes, internal organs were even pushed to unnatural positions by these undergarments.

On the other hand, there came about an idea during the time that the huge generation of Baby Boomers were in their bloom that very little was needed in the way of support for the figure. Tight and toned muscles were the preferred over body-bracing garments. Unmentionables were worn mainly for decorative and sanitary reasons, and, thus, most women had only the barest underthings in their lingerie drawer.

Baby Boomers are no longer in their bloom. Diet and exercise all they will, it's difficult for them to keep their figures in perfect support merely through toned muscles. At some point, most in this generation look in the mirror and realize that nature needs a little help. Ladies of other ages, as well, are finding that some support in undergarments helps outer clothing look smoother.

Today, manufacturers have created more comfortable shape wear than was offered in the past. It's possible to find an array of lingerie from various types of helpful bras to control slips and control camisoles t0 various lengths of control briefs, etc. Items like these range from lightest support to heavier support. Spanx is one of the more popular shapewear companies right now, but there are many other companies that offer similar items.

Other than bras, which are worth an investment, foundation garments don't have to be expensive. You can find some in outlet stores or stores like T. J. Maxx, Target, Wal-Mart, and Burlington.

It's probably a good idea to be fitted for a bra at least once a year. Statistics say that most of us do not measure ourselves correctly. Also, our bodies change due to weight gain and loss, having babies, hormonal stages, and simply age. We may be almost the same weight, but the bra that fit us last year may not be the best one for us now. This article outlines ten mistakes that women often make when selecting a brassiere.

One wonderful comeback is the slip. This once essential lingerie item all but disappeared there for a while. Yet, most dresses and skirts really do hang and look better with the correct slip underneath.

What items should be in your wardrobe of underthings? It depends on your age, size, and lifestyle. For her birthday, a friend of mine received a humorous card. The cover was a drawing of two women shopping in the lingerie department. A perky young woman was oohing over delicate, lacy items, while a woman of a certain age was sighing over the wall of -- shall we say --more substantial garments. However, even thin and young women who are in great shape would do well to have some supportive garments in their drawer.

A bare-bones minimum wardrobe of unmentionables might be:

1) Two everyday wear bras in black, white, or nude; rinse one out every night and wear the other the next day. At least one of the bras should work under white or light blouses and tops. A good bra is worth a little investment if you can work it into your budget.
2) One sport bra if you do workout
3) One slip or half-slip plus a floor-length slip if you have an occasion to wear a long dress.
4) Undies for a week
5) A control top camisole
6) A control top garment that is about the shape of an old-fashioned girdle or modern biking shorts
7) Hosiery according to your preference.

To this basic list, you can add any items that you might need or enjoy. Remember that some of the prettiest lingerie items do not work under lightweight or light colored clothing. Items like lace and ribbon and catch or bunch underneath some materials. However, it's fun to have a few very frilly things, and you can wear them under garments where they won't show. Even for your more practical lingerie items, you can find things that are pretty and feminine.

Discard any items in your wardrobe that are stretched out, dingy, or otherwise no longer serve their purpose. Evaluate your wardrobe of undergarments twice a year, just as you evaluate your wardrobe of clothing.

You may think that your unmentionables don't matter in the scheme of things as only you or you and your spouse see them. However, well-fitting ones do make such a difference in how your clothing fits. Not only that, but it's nice to know that you are wearing something lovely underneath, even if it is only for you and your spouse.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stretches at your Desk -- so relaxing!

I came across this video of relaxing Pilates stretches. The stretches are designed to be done at your desk. I tend to carry a lot of tension in my shoulder and neck area as I have disk problems and tend to tighten the muscles there as I work -- either at my desk or when sewing or cooking or whatever. I did this video at the end of an exercise session, and now I feel both relaxed and ready to go.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Vitamin routine

Well, I don't know yet if recent changes in my vitamin routine is improving my overall health or not. Nor, can I tell if it's doing anything for my hair, which is one of my goals. It's a little too soon to tell. However, I do think it's making my nails grow faster and, perhaps, stronger too. I'm not sure if it's my imagination, but I also think the nail bed color is healthier looking, too -- not that I had a problem before.

I am hard on my nails, though. I really must remember to wear gloves in the kitchen, when cleaning bathrooms, and when gardening! The people I know who have the prettiest nails do protect their hands when doing these kinds of chores.

Here's an article that probably tells you more than you ever want to know about your fingernails.
Here's a slide show about how to have pretty nails.
Here's an article from the Mayo clinic about how to have healthy nails.

The article from Mayo states, among other things, not to let a manicure technician clip away the cuticle, as this can open the area around the fingernail to infection.

I adore getting the occasional manicure and pedicure. However, I do think that I've come away with two little annoying foot problems from a pedicure. I learned the hard way not to let a technician buff your feet with too much pressure and also not to assume that the tools they are using are sanitary.

Some nail salons dedicate a set of tools to each regular customer. If you don't go often enough for that or your salon doesn't provide that service, you can bring a set of your own tools just to make sure they are clean.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

vitamin routine, quote, and asthma

Yesterday and today, ballet stretches.
Yesterday -- hair vitamin -- GNC's Ultra Nourish Hair
Today -- woman's vitamin pack, Oil of Evening primrose, Fish oil.

I'm experimenting with alternating vitamins. Please don't base your vitamin routine on mine. Whether to take vitamins and, if so, what to take is something you should discuss with your physician and work out for yourself. Some experts feel that if you eat an adequate diet, you really don't need vitamins; others think that in today's world of irregular diets, we do need vitamins. My personal thought is that people survived for thousands of years without vitamin supplementation, and I think that it's drastic to say everyone needs them. I have a suspicion that many healthy people take expensive vitamins that they don't need and their bodies end up flushing the water soluble ones out. However, I have taken vitamins off and on throughout my entire life and do think they can be useful. It's probably a personal thing.

My endocrinologist does want me to take Vitamin D and calcium, as well as fish oil. In the past, I have been low in iron and have needed some supplementation. The Ultra Nourish Hair is an experiment.

Here's some food for thought:

"While we never want to give primary focus to our exterior apperance, especially to the neglect of our inner selves, we must remember that our bodies belong to God, and to our spourse....Let our demise and delcine come about due to the inevitable passage of time, not becauswe of our neglect. For the glory of God, for the sake of living a long and sueful life, and for the happiness of our wives and the enchancement of our love lives, let's take care of ourselves!" From the Five Senses of Romantic Love. (This paragraph was written to men, but is something for us, as women, to think about as well.)

Here's a bit from Wikipedia about asthma, another of my chronic challenges:

"Asthma is a very common chronic disease involving the respiratory system in which the airways constrict, become inflamed, and are lined with excessive amounts of mucus, often in response to one or more triggers.[1] These episodes may be triggered by such things as exposure to an environmental stimulant such as an allergen, environmental tobacco smoke, cold or warm air, perfume, pet dander, moist air, exercise or exertion, or emotional stress. In children, the most common triggers are viral illnesses such as those that cause the common cold.[2] This airway narrowing causes symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. The airway constriction responds to bronchodilators. Between episodes, most patients feel well but can have mild symptoms and they may remain short of breath after exercise for longer periods of time than the unaffected individual. The symptoms of asthma, which can range from mild to life threatening, can usually be controlled with a combination of drugs and environmental changes."

Monday, February 2, 2009

thyroid problems, continuing on with my regimen

A common health problem for women is some type of thyroid disorder. I happen to have a mild case of hypothyroid disorder, which is probably a result of an autoimmune disease. While my case is mild, it has caused problems that are both health related and, to a lesser degree, cosmetic in nature.

Here's a questionnaire to help you assess your risk factors for Hypothroidism. It is from a site called Thyroid-Info. Remember, it's dangerous to diagnose yourself from an internet site. There is even a new syndrome called "Internet Induced Hypochondria" or "Cyberchondria", in which people become fearful about their health after reading too much medically related information on the Internet. Also, remember that anyone with a computer can post something on the net, and people can present themselves as being "experts" when they may not really be so. There's some helpful information on the web, and there's a lot of misinformation, as well. It takes some discernment to filter the true from the false. While the Internet may help inform you, it's still always best to bounce thins off a qualified medical practitioner. I, myself, have been diagnosed by both an Internist and an endorcrinologist, so I do know that I have this problem. After reading the questionnaire below, don't jump to conclusions. If you do have some of the following symptoms, discuss them with a qualified medical practitioner, take sound medical advice, and refuse to worry about it. I have found through experience that worrying makes any number of health conditions worse.

Anyhow, here's the quiz:


___ My family (parent, sibling, child) has a history of thyroid disease
___ I've had a treated or untreated thyroid problem (i.e., hyperthyroidism, Graves' disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, post-partum thyroiditis, goiter, nodules, thyroid cancer) in the past
___ A member of my family or I have currently or in the past been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease
___ I am over 60
___ I am female
___ I am perimenopausal or menopausal
___ I have recently had a baby
___ I have a history of infertility or miscarriage
___ I am currently a smoker, or was a heavy smoker in the past
___ I am currently taking lithium, amiodarone (Cordarone), iodine, kelp, bladderwrack, bugleweed, or soy isoflavone supplements
___ I have had radiation treatment to my head, neck, chest, tonsil area, etc.
___ I had "Nasal Radium Therapy"
___ I consume substantial quantities of any of the following foods, frequently raw: brussels sprouts, rutabaga, turnips, kohlrabi, radishes, cauliflower, African cassava, millet, babassu, cabbage, kale, soy-protein supplements (i.e., protein powders)
___ I live, lived, work, worked or grew up near or at a nuclear plant
(My note: While it is true that certain foods in the broccoli family and also soy might have a harmful effect on the thyroid gland -- especially if consumed in large quantities -- they also have possible health benefits to the body. So, I wouldn't eliminate them from my diet without consulting a physician or a dietician. Let the physician help you weigh the risks/benefits of consuming these foods in your diet.)

___ I am gaining weight inappropriately or unable to lose weight
___ My "normal" body temperature is low, and/or I frequently feel cold
___ I feel fatigued, exhausted more than normal
___ I have a slow pulse, and/or low blood pressure
___ I have high cholesterol
___ My hair is rough, coarse dry, breaking, brittle, or falling out
___ My skin is rough, coarse, dry, scaly, itchy and thick
___ My nails have been dry, brittle, and break more easily
___ My voice has become hoarse, husky or gravelly
___ I have pains, aches, stiffness, tingling in joints, muscles, hands and/or feet
___ I have carpal tunnel syndrome, arm or leg tendonitis, or plantar's fascitis
___ I am having irregular menstrual cycles (longer, or heavier, or more frequent)
___ I am experiencing infertility, or have had one or more miscarriage
___ I feel depressed, restless, moody, sad
___ I have difficulty concentrating or remembering things
___ I have no or low sex drive
___ My eyes feel gritty, dry, light-sensitive
___ My neck or throat feels full, pressure, choking, lumpy, larger than usual, and/or I have difficulty swallowing
___ I have/may have sleep apnea
___ I have puffiness and swelling around the eyes, eyelids, face, feet, hands and feet

Hypothyrodism affects many hormonal and chemical processes within your body. It has been associated with unremitting fatigue, a tendency to gain weight, insulin problems, blood pressure problems, infertility and miscarriages, joint pain, and heart problems. It has also been linked to problems that are of a less serious nature, but that can be upsetting, nontheless: hair loss or thinnning hair, loss or thinning of outer eyelashes and eyebrows, and a puffy face. Hpothyroidism does not have a permanent cure as of date, but it is a highly treable condition. So, the good news is that if you have problems related to a failing thyroid, these can usually be reversed if you follow good medical care and take the right thyroid supplements for you. Internists and other physicians can treat you for this disease, but endrocrinologists usually have the most experience in treating a thyroid problem as it relates to your overall health.

The treatment of thyroid disease and any related complications is specific. However, it's also important to work on your general health. Improving factors such as diet, exercise, rest, and handling stress well gives your body a chance to function at its best, which can only help the treatments to be more effective.

What I've accomplished today;

Multi-vitamin and fish oil capsule.
ballet stretches, warm-up, plies, etc.