Monday, October 22, 2012

Is Curvespo the New Thinspo?

For a while now, it seems like the Internet was conspiring to make everyone skinny, even if that meant engaging in dangerous practices like starving or following dangerous diets. All over so-called fitness blogs you’d read the Kate Moss quote, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” and boy did people feel good about shedding the weight.

On Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram Thinspo journals, or pictures of extremely skinny women meant in inspire others to get equally skinny, popped up all over the web. But a growing number of people are starting to push back.

Perhaps it’s because many on the Thinspo blogs were attempting to attain an impossible goal (to be supermodel skinny), or because people wanted to encourage a healthier movement for women to embrace what they have, but these days Curvespo blogs are giving Thinspo blogs a run for their money.

So what’s Curvespo? Like it’s Thinspo counterpart, Curvespo serves as visual inspiration for those looking to live a healthier life. But instead of reaching some unreal goal of being rail-thin, Curvespo encourages women to appreciate their body and their inherent curves…no matter what the size label says.

Instead of declaring that nothing feels as good as being skinny, the Curvespo crew asserts that, “Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.” The focus on health rather than size makes the Curvespo movement a bit more accessible, and perhaps healthier, for women.

While many of the Curvespo bloggers seem to be praising the Healthy At Every Size/plus size movement, seeing a diverse crop of women with “average,” strong, and often times very healthy bodies can be much more appealing to women struggling to lose weight.

These days, although the average size of a supermodel is a two, the median size for women hovers around a 12 or 14. So while the media tells women that they need to be coat-hanger thin the be healthy and beautiful, medically, that isn’t quite true.

According to WebMD, when trying to figure out your “healthy weight” women should consider a few factors like body shape, waist size, and body fat percentage.

Dr. Pamela Peeke writes:
  1. Know your waist size. Take a tape measure to your waist, measuring across your belly button. Your goal is a waist circumference less than 35″. More than that is unhealthy because it’s associated with too much internal belly fat, and that’sassociated with heart disease and diabetes.
  1. Identify your shape. Pull out that mirror and embrace your hour glass, pear or apple shape. This is where genetics plays a significant role. Your job is to optimize your genetics. So long as your waist size is less than 35 inches, you’re OK. You apples need to be on red alert to rein that waist in for health’s sake. Pears should celebrate the fact that lower body fat is not usually associated with disease.
  1. Measure your body fat. You can buy a body fat scale or have a fitness professional perform a measurement at a health club. Average women should keep their body fat in the range of 20-29% until they become menopausal. After that time, body fat through age 60 can peak at about 32%. Too much body fat all over the body increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer. Too much inner abdominal fat leads to heart disease and diabetes.
  1. Calculate your BMI. Check out the BMI Calculator Plus on WebMD and plug in your weight and height for your BMI. It’s best to keep this in the range of 20- 25. If it’s greater, it’s associated with the consequences of overweight and obesity. If it’s less than that range, you may be too thin and headed for trouble. The only exceptions to the BMI rule are truly athletic and muscular people. That means their BMI may be higher than normal, but their body fat is usually lower than normal.
  1. Live a healthy lifestyle. If you’re eating a healthy diet and getting in at least 30 minutes of cardio activity 5 x week along with some form of strength training 2 x week, then you’re living an optimal lifestyle. No one’s perfect. The key is not to be sedentary all of the time, and eating trash 24/7. If you are, you’re living an unhealthy lifestyle fraught with increased disease risk. Also, you’ll never know your ideal clothing size or body shape unless you make better lifestyle choices. These healthy habits will correct the red zones you may be occupying right now in the other categories in this list.
  1. Note your clothing size. Whip out a piece of clothing (jeans) that fits you perfectly. That’s your current size. How do your other numbers look? If you find that you’re in an unhealthy range, you’ll need to shed some excess fat. Your clothing size will change with healthy lifestyle choices. Once you’re no longer in the red zone for health risk, look at your clothing size and that’s where you belong. The only way to continue to improve that size is to take it up a notch and add more intensity and exercise, while paring away excess calories.
While the Curvespo vs. Thinspo bloggers will continue to battle it out, women must figure out what works for our bodies instead of living up to ANYONE’S ideals.

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