Archive for ‘you know that we are living in a material world’

April 30, 2014

Tibial plateau fracture, or: Kate Moss for Topshop and a very badly injured knee

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It’s been a long, long while since I last wrote here. The reason I chose today for returning to this place was the commercial launch of the Kate Moss for Topshop collection. I am, with pride, the owner of the beautiful and chic black striped pajama-like ensemble.

It began when I received, a few days ago, a reminder from Net-a-Porter that they’d be selling the collection on their website. I’m not a wild Kate Moss fan–must say never quite understood the frenzy around her–but I figured, hey, Kate Moss wears maxis. I need maxi dresses and Topshop has them in affordable versions. I’ll check the collection out.

Turns out the maxis were not quite affordable (as in for their price I can get designs in which I’m more interested and that are not made of polyester) but the pajama-pantsuit was, and I fell in love with it. And I need pants, too, because I broke my leg, had two surgical interventions in my knee in the course of one month, and that resulted in three very large scars that are far from healed, as well as in a leg that has severely lost muscular mass due to the lack of walking (required for the bone to heal in the right position).

I don’t want to become self-conscious about my scars, although I am, a little; this is, however, a fight I’m willing to win. At the same time, my leg (left one) is healing and weak, the scars must be protected from the sun in order to become as invisible as possible, and this process of “aesthetic” recovery (which in the case of regaining muscles is even more important in terms of rehabilitating the leg for walking) will take a long time, a time during which I still want to feel comfortable and beautiful and not psyched about my scars being exposed to sunlight.

I even purchased make-up for the scars. There are many options and I chose strong concealers from M.A.C., which the saleslady assured me were used for hiding tattoos. They work well, except the powder they sold me to settle the concealer changes its color, and not wearing powder at all implies into having to retouch the concealer all the time. The concealer solution might be interesting at night, but for daylight, I’ll stick with pants and maxis. And tea-lengths. Those are O.K., too. Anyway, I wear a lot of sunscreen on my scars–fabric doesn’t necessarily block UV rays. There are also some interesting, effective treatments: Medgel smoothens the scars, while Accutape makes them more flexible, also improving their appearance. Anything much different then that should be a decision taken at least 8 months after the surgery. That’s the minimum amount of time required for evaluating how a scar will look when “settled,” so to speak.

I’m also very lucky that sneakers and flats couldn’t be more in season. I’m having to basically rebuild my shoe closet, shamefully packed with the highest possible heels, which I’d use every day to go to work. What was I doing with my back and knees, anyways?

A tibial plateau fracture–TPF for the acquainted–is a very serious injury. It hurts like hell and it must be treated by experts and with extreme caution. If you had one and fell upon my blog while researching the injury, my Schatzker classification was V (a bycondilar fracture–aka almost the worst possible shit that can happen to your knee). I had to do two surgeries because the first one, done in an emergency regimen right in the day of the accident, resulted in the shape of my leg being completely altered. The surgeon convinced us that was the best he could do: there was not enough bone material to keep the leg aligned, he said. The hospital was at the base of a packed-up ski resort and I had absolutely no reason to believe a traumatologist that performed surgeries in broken legs and knees for a living had simply done a poor job.

But he had. And when I got a second opinion about the surgery, the first thing the new orthopedist told me when he saw the shape of my leg was that it was simply absurd. He insisted I’d get a new surgery with a traumatologist he trusted. I hadn’t chosen the doctor who performed my first surgery. He was appointed by the hospital, and I simply trusted the system. As for this new orthopedist and the traumatologist he recommended, I made through research regarding their work, credentials, and satisfaction from their patients. I wanted my leg to be straight again, and the new traumatologist told me he could do it. I figured I had little to lose. And I was lucky to believe in him. He fixed my leg, the cost being the new scars, for he used a method that was different from the one adopted by the first surgeon. So here’s one thing that’s important: you need an excellent surgeon, and if the result of your surgery wasn’t excellent, look for someone else. I talked to the first surgeon about having a second surgery, and although he provided all the information I needed for the second surgery to be performed, he was of the opinion that truly, nothing more could be done for my leg. I’m just glad I didn’t hear him.

Researching TPF, I discovered many things that helped me in my own healing process. The first one was that it’s great to be able to keep up good spirits. Most of the (useful) information available on the net about TPFs is hidden in forums dedicated to the subject, and it’s sad–almost contagious–to see how people get depressed about their injury, even if they’re getting amazing results from physiotherapy. Just don’t be depressed. Really. Focus on enjoying the time you’re taking off your daily routine to meditate, read, and most importantly, work your ass off towards healing. Spend many hours of your day exercising your range of movement while you still not allowed partial weight bearing. Exercise your abdomen, your arms and back as well. Try as much as you can to keep your thigh alive. Move your ankles like there’s no tomorrow. Elongate yourself like a mad person. And bend that knee. Defy your pain within your limits, and BEND THAT KNEE.

My first surgeon–who apparently did everything wrong–also kept my leg practically immobilized, and didn’t place any emphasis in me bending my knee. The second doctor I saw was horrified by the fact that almost a month after the surgery, I still wasn’t bending my knee. After the second surgery, I was bending 90 degrees three days after getting back home, and recovering full range of motion became an obsession. One that was well worth it: in three months I’ve already gotten there, and if you do your research, you’ll know that’s rare even after years have passed by. I’m talking FULL range of motion, heels touching my butt range of motion.

Yoga helps if you’ve been into it for a long time. It helped me a lot. I am now into my second week of weight bearing, and yoga has been helping me regain balance and strength, as well as aspects of flexibility that are not easily worked with physiotherapy. Don’t even think of going there if you have no experience with it.

Start physiotherapy as soon as you can. I had at first the idea that I could recover all by myself, but I hired a physiotherapist anyway to see what he could do differently. IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE IF YOU FIND A GOOD ONE. My physiotherapist was able to massage my scars, ankles, calf and thigh muscles and knee in a way that turned my work towards regaining range of motion far more fruitful. There’s lots of loosening up to do in such a severely injured leg and a pro will help you a lot. Hidrotherapy has been really nice, too, and especially now that I’m weight bearing: there are exercises I can do in the water that I still can’t do outside, and those (such as climbing steps) are very effective towards strengthening the injured leg. Again, finding a great professional matters. And if you’ve hired a therapist that’s not making a difference, look for someone else. Don’t give in. You’ve just not found the right person. But always remember: YOUR work is the most important. Think at least four hours a day dedicated to working out, at least 3 of them focusing on your leg.

You can’t gain weight anymore, so don’t lose it as you stay sitting on your ass at home all day. What I did was a lean protein and vegetable based diet. Dark greens like kale, spinach and broccoli are great sources of things you need when healing bones, and lean protein is, well, lean. This should at least help you with not putting on weight. I wouldn’t be optimistic about being able to lose weight during the first three to four months, though, unless you find the strength to dive into a really strict diet. After that time you’ll slowly be able to exercise normally again, so if you think you need to get rid of some fat, start working more strongly on it when you are a couple of weeks into weight bearing.

It may be that you won’t be able to not work for a period of time as long as 3 to 4 months. If this is true, the first advice I give you is: be extremely cautious about your comings and goings. Don’t put yourself in a position that might lead you to be bumped on, for instance, or lose balance. If possible, rent a wheelchair. The second advice is: don’t leave your healing to time and chance. The most important thing you have to do is recover your body. So if you have to work, you have to exercise your leg too. You MUST do both. If possible, think of ways of doing some exercise at work, like bending the knee as much as you can while sitting on your desk.

There will be a lot of swelling in the beginning, and a physiotherapist may help you with that too. Movement is paramount for stopping the swelling, particularly moving the ankles. Did I say already “move your ankles like there’s no tomorrow?” Do it. It’s good for your whole body. Seriously. The ankles are THAT responsible for your wellbeing.

Finally, accept ALL the help. You may even find ways of not needing it, but it will make your life so much better. It was nice to have help with lunch, house cleaning, showering (you don’t want to slip). It was nice to have massages being offered and family to make sure I had everything I needed, because it is difficult to carry things around when both your hands are in charge of moving your body. And when you wake up at night for whatever reason and you’re dizzy and still familiarizing with the crutches, you just feel safer to have someone by your side.

If you have any questions about TPF, you’re welcome to leave them in the comments box. However, if you’d like to know how I liked my Kate Moss for Topshop ensemble, I’ll let you know in a few days. 🙂

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April 26, 2013

Dress for the part. But what’s the part anyway?

Miu Miu ciré pencil skirt — can it be worn at work?

My favorite fashion shopping website is Net-a-Porter — I think by miles it’s the most functional, appealing and the one with the finest curatorship of clothing among all.

Net-a-Porter used to have a workwear section, dedicated to clothes and looks fit for the office, but that should do no wrong in a fashionista’s eyes. Plenty of Roland Mouret and Victoria Beckham there, a bit of McQueen and Stella — tailored stuff mostly, structured totes and pumps. I looked for the section now, and it’s gone, they only have now vacation and wedding “shop by occasion” sections. But the existence of the section is unimportant; what matters is… what is adequate workwear after all?

Can those McQueen cropped metallic honeycomb-lace pants be taken to the office?

Here’s why I’m saying this: where I work, people dress very badly. If they wear suits — men or women alike — those suits are usually very plain and sometimes, straightforward cheap. Cufflinks for guys are unthinkable — we have meetings with customers or suppliers from different companies and they always come to those wearing what seems to be their finest, while our representatives have the practical simple plastic buttons doing the job of keeping their pulses covered. Should I come to work decked out in VB in such a scenario?

I don’t posess anything designed by Posh Spice, but I do own a burgundy silk pencil skirt by Lanvin that is perfectly office-friendly according to Net-a-Porter’s workwear rules and cost me only a 100 USD (thank you Century 21! I love you!), and I wear it to work like nothing else mattered. And it doesn’t to me, but to my colleagues, it’s like I’m the idiot who really dresses up for work, or at least that’s how I feel. Maybe they’re thinking “oh my good, she looks so chic” as they stare at me. I don’t know.

What is it to look professional, and more: how much of yourself should you compromise in that task? Because it’s not just about the type of fabrics and cuts and shapes that are allowed, there’s a quality issue there and a taste factor that are both very subtle, counterintuitive even — you can’t be really too tasteful at work, you can’t colorblock even if it’s Roksanda Ilincic who’s doing it for you, and God forbid you’ll wear tailored beehive McQueen pants, even though they’re basically black with a dash of gold.  Is it even good to be noticed at work by your impeccable, somewhat sartorial tastes in fashion, and anyway — should you care?

April 8, 2013

A woman’s farewell to the Iron Lady

Margaret Thatcher, the most important woman of the 1980’s — I dare say, at least in politics, the most important woman there ever was in the XXth century — has left the building.

Do you have mixed feelings about her (do you even know who she is? I mean, I am young, or at least I think the status should apply to anyone under 30, but apparently people are even younger nowadays)? I do.

On one hand, a woman who knew how to be authoritative without emulating a man; she would often wear a double string of pearls as homage to her twins (a girl and a boy) and work a very nicely done hair and make-up, at least after she became Prime Minister. With a Queen and an Iron Lady, a leading woman by birthright and another by the will of the people, the UK in the 80’s was pure girl power. Right?

The politics of Thatcher was pretty much the politics of the conservative men of her time. Sometimes, it felt like she wanted to be the toughest one in the room — except the room was full of gentlemen and that was still a time in which an analogy between the nuclear arms race and boys measuring up their genitals against each other in the boy’s room felt particularly convincing. As a woman who perhaps had done too much to fight for her place and as far I know, never raised any feminist flags — I believe that actually makes sense if her obsession with liberalism is considered, and that she probably felt that anyone, men or women, should make do with the opportunities presented to them instead of whine about the status quo (not that I agree with that) — Thatcher just played the same game that was being played by everyone else, and everyone else meant the fellas.

A grocer’s daughter who fought for her place in the sun, she felt everyone should fight for their goals instead of having them handed to them by the government. War against Argentina, privatizations, and a fierce defense of capitalism, in its neoliberal form to be more precise, have made Thatcher quite the dubious political figure — if not one of the most important in the XXth century, coming right after some important dudes like her colleague Prime Minister Churchill, FDR and Charles de Gaulle, and also some more well liked and equally relevant guys such as Nelson Mandela and Gandhi. I’m not sure Ronald Reagan was more important than her (although he did engage into some wicked economics who pretty much ruined everyone else’s during that decade, while her thing had a more restrictive damage. Tough medicine, they say). Their symbiotic behavior was, however, quite emblematic of a time to establish Capitalism’s hegemony or kill us all trying.

Can we separate the Iron Lady from the woman who almost as if unaware of her gender disadvantage in her battlefield of choice has come to be a legend of willpower in politics? Can the deeds be admired without agreement with the ideology behind them? Should gender issues be altogether forgotten as women, homosexuals and every cross or multi-gendered individual (and to be quite precise — is it even possible that anyone isn’t in some degree with a foot in each gender anyway) go about their struggles, as apparently they were for  Mrs. Thatcher at each time she passionately fought for every of her beliefs? Is it time for difference to be forgotten, because it is so obvious and at the same time, so repeatedly proven meaningless, or is it still not, and fight still must be fought for us women to gain our places in the sun without having to play the games of the men who are in power?

February 21, 2013

Midway

This is a beautiful narrative of the sad story of the side effects of the consumption age. We need conscience — of our existence as part of a much larger whole upon which we depend — to start playing an immense part of our daily lives and habits right now, and this movie might just take us a step closer to that place.

I think a key reflection in our times is about the cyclical nature of infinity. I believe the abolishment of ends — of our youths, of our lives, of our love, of our things — has been the basic human obsession since those times when Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra began resounding in our species’ ears.  However, as far as our intellect can reach, the key element to permanence is impermanence — cycles that transform matter into energy into different matter, transformation. The parts must have a finite existence for the whole to continue healthily being. And while the broader spiritual point — to find peace in our short lives by understanding ourselves as temporary forms and consciences, parts of the Universe that were cut in the shape of us for a while — is relevant and should somehow be taken, the case here asks for a specific question: should we continue depending so hardly upon products that have such unnatural degrading cycles?

Let us all go throwing bones up again and see if we can take our history towards different solutions.

November 9, 2012

Virtual shelves and our propensity to buy expensive clothes

This scene wouldn´t have happened in our days — Vivian would have had net-a-porter

I have recently developed a theory about designer e-commerce and our propensity to buy expensive clothes: I think the internet makes us more comfortable purchasing items from tried and true, high-quality brands than we would should we follow our “normal”, physical world inclinations to such indulgences.

Firstly, the internet is far less intimidating than fancy, shiny stores with tons of security and two huge guys in black suits and sunglasses suggesting you might be regarded as a delinquent as you may or may not be allowed to enter the whimsical insides of a Prada store — and if you do, you also may or may not receive the approving nod of the salespersons in place, a doubt that provokes great fear of reliving the dreadful experience Julia Roberts had on her first day shopping on her movie Pretty Woman — without having Richard Gere on hand for a next day redemption splurge.

Secondly, and I think this is my most interesting breakthrough, the internet does not provide the sense of cut, quality and detail one achieves by physically experimenting with many options, online, realtime, pun intended. Thus, a respected, though expensive brand offers a guarantee that what you see is what you get: I definitely feel more safe about how a purchase will fit me and about the quality and detail of the fabric if the item in question is Stella McCartney and its measurements correspond to mine, then if I buy from a fast-fashion shop, even though I do buy a lot of stuff from the latter — if in a real store, not a virtual one. There is a reason why they are cheaper: not only that they copy designs and use materials of (usually) lesser quality, but also the fact their cuts are much more industrial and less supervised and their finish idem.

Last, but not least, it is rather rare to see a big red lettering outside a Gucci store shouting “SALE – 80% off” — not so much on net-a-porter. So why not spend a few extra bucks — a few, maybe not so much — and instead of buying three items of lesser quality, get a great pair of shoes for about 150 bucks? I often subscribe to that sentiment.

So how do you feel? Do you think you are actually more inclined to purchase designer clothes on the internet than in actual stores made of brick and stuff? Are your reasons similar to those I have exposed here?

November 7, 2012

On elections

Elections are over and Obama will be ruling a very important part of the world for quite a while. And even though there was a lot of talk about the Americans being rather torn between him and Romney, I just never really got where exactly those so many Romnatics were supposed to be — I don´t think I even met any, although I do know they exist somewhere. Anyway, that shouldn´t exactly be an excellent point considering the fact I am not American, nor live in America, but then again, taking into consideration the rather comfortable win that kept Mr. O. exactly where he is for another four years, I guess it was an excellent point anyway.

As a citizen of a world that still largely depend on the US for its stability and wellbeing, I did keep my eye on the American presidential elections. My point today is to remind everyone that blissfully, the US conserves many characteristics intrinsic to democratic republics and one of those is the fact the President is not all powerful and much of what you vote for is for coherence and ideals, as well as the action that is promised. So patience is required if (a) the President cannot live up to all his promises in one term, but does show coherence in his pursuits and (b) overall, considering how things were when the President got there, things did get better. To me, it comes to a matter of balancing the candidate´s intentions and competence, not simply to making a checklist of what has and has not been achieved among everything that has been promised — promises are a reference of intention, as achievement is a reference of competence.

Having said that, I will now have tea.

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August 16, 2012

Bullying pretty ladies

Love her? Hate her? Just wish she was a bitch?

I have recently come accross this interesting post by Lesley Kinzel at xoJane, acutely titled An Open Letter to the Guy Who Helpfully Announced “Daaaaamn Bitch, You Fat!” to Me in the Target Parking Lot this Morning — there´s really no need for additional explanation regarding what could be the contents of her text. I myself was a little overweight when I was a child, and was rather bullyied about it by skinny girly girls who did not enjoy my quiet vibe and my preference for the boy´s company and who found in my body a path to revenge for whatever pain my lack of interest in their interests might have caused them.

Fast forward and about two decades later and I have overcome all that angst of my early youth: self-esteem issues concerning my body image, anger management and socialization difficulties due to having suffered gratuitous aggression from groups of little evil barbies, plus a long term despise for most things feminine which ended rather recently, if a few years ago qualifies as such.

So, I take care of myself and I am happy and I believe it shows. I have grown from grunge teenager with oversized clothes to pretty lady who lunches, a well manicured girl with some academic and professional achievements which are not extraordinary, but make me proud enough for the time being. Silly me, I thought I´d never be bullied again, but that was just me thinking bullying had to do just with me being fragile in the eyes of others, when the fact of the matter is that it´s precisely the contrary.

To me, one of the points Lesley is trying to convey is that people who go out of their way to destroy someone else´s day are in fact themselves unhappy and embarrassed by their own lack of self-esteem. They look at a woman who is overweight and going about her own business with peace of mind and just find unbearable her capacity of living with herself. They can´t live with people who can, especially if they do it regardless of what others might be thinking of them. They must let others learn what they think of them; in fact, we learn what they think of themselves.

So bullying is not about the supposedly deviational behavior or physical aspect of the victim, but the moral frailty of the perpetrator; in considering so, whatever can be perceived as normality, or worse, as outstanding, is also motive for aggression; pretty ladies suffer their quota of bullying too.

I believe the example that best illustrates my point is the eternal quest for celebrity scandal. I can only imagine how much it would sell a story uncovering the truth about Angelina Jolie´s adopted children: she just did it for the press, someone would finally prove, because yes, of course, that´s the sort of thing rich and beautiful people do to get attention, they adopt a lot of african kids just to piss of Jennifer Aniston. Questioning a celebrity´s character is, apparently, a sacred right of the press and their fans, justified by the fact that their success arises from publicity and for that reason, their entire lives — not just their work — should be subject to scrutiny and worse: speculation. Regular people, however, suffer bullying too. “She thinks she is so perfect, I´m going to screw that bitch” (and then they actually do, or at least try to do it) — no, you think I am perfect and you think I think I am perfect and because you feel deeply all your flaws, real and imaginary ones.

Where does the pleasure in finding, amplifying or inventing flaws on people actually come from? I do think there is a strong component of their success and beauty being somewhat unbearable; that fascination brings a sense of despair in the face of what seems to be utter perfection in the eyes of those who feel deeply unsatisfied with themselves. “Why is their life so easy if in the end, they´re just as good as I am or even more messed up?” is the other side to the question “Why should those losers be happy if I´m not and I´m better than them?”, both provoking the same reactions directed at destroying the bully´s victim self esteem.

May 30, 2012

The vintage invasion

Such a fabulous synthesis of all matters developed in this post: the 60´s aesthetics, its consumerist and alienated vibe, and MIB III

The Men in Black movies have gained the hearts of audiences around the globe due to having developed its own kind of let’s-contain-a-wicked-alien-invasion sense of humor. However, in addition to a new threat from outer-space, the third picture of the brand also represents the strength of another kind of invasion taking place in the real world: that of all things vintage, and particularly, those that evoke the 60´s.

In fashion, it is not uncommon to relive past decades and styles (the 20´s and the early 90´s are also having their moments right now: see geometric flapper dresses and crop tops with high-wasted bottoms). Nor it is unusual for the entertainment industry to indulge in thematic manias — see the on-off thing that goes on with vampires or the recent obsession with fairy tales, with its noticeable and strange Snow White sub-branch. However, the 60´s are everywhere, not just here, or just there. Mad Men. Pan-Am — I had never noticed before that those two series actually can produce a poor quality rhyme. Marilyn Monroe. Kitchen appliances: big and small, from refrigerator to blender. And now, they have invaded a sci-fi blockbuster. Sci-fi, friends. Why do we so badly want to relive the 60´s?

Maybe the 60´s represent a time of prosperity we all kind of miss in our days of global financial crisis, environmental pressures, situations of such complexity that leave to us — to me — a strange feeling of not knowing exactly what our share of effort should be in trying to make the world a better, safer place. By then, the surge of consumerism was a symptom of good things – it had already been a while since the end of WWII, Europe was getting back in shape and America was getting heaps of money from it – and having the extra nickel for the superfluous desires was cause for celebration, while the possibility of alienation was a breath of fresh air.

Other than that, who doesn´t want to look and feel like Joan Harris or Don Draper? Let us just please contain our excitement and refrain from excessive drinking while at work; also, when out on a picnic in the park, let´s not forget to collect the trash afterwards.

Betty Draper shakes the leftovers off the picnic towel… and onto the grass

Let´s finish this post off with this blog´s picks of objects and looks, straight from this season´s take on the time tunnel:

For work…

…for lunch with the girls…

…and for your vintage kitchen.

May 14, 2012

Envy the penis no more – the cultural answer to the coveted ability of peeing while standing

It hit me the last time I went to the ladies´room: we have no reason to envy man´s ability to urinate while standing. Yes, although we do not share in this extremely practical possibility — at least not without some stretching and some strong thighs — we have culturally made up for this biological disbalance, and I now believe we have in fact an important advantage in the excrementing area at large.

We, the ladies, wear dresses and skirts. And while I recognize the fact that some men do occasionally wear skirts — and they may even do that without necessarily falling into the homosexual or exceedingly artistical varieties, as our vetust Prince Charles clearly demonstrates — most men do not, and will not. And that, my girlfriends, is a socio-cultural trait developed to our supreme advantage — particularly when it comes to the penis envying matter.

Although it is more comfortable for women to sit down to do their things — and let us be reminded of the fact that man do have to do it as well for you know, a portion of their excrementing activities — the skirts and dresses expedite immensely our time in the stools. No zippers or heavy jeans involved — only a feeble piece of undergarment on our ways. We do not need to concern ourselves with the cleanliness of the floors versus the pants dragging around our feet when we just lift up our skirts and keep our clothes away from the dirt — think public facilities in winter days: as clean as they might be, the blend of wet snow and shoe soles always results in muddled rooms (of course, in  days such as these you may not be bare legged as it should be cold as hell, but my point was to illustrate that restroom floors may also be dirty as a result of a process unrelated to the activities performed in there).

So there, there. We have constructed such amazing response to our supposed anatomic disadvantage and have not even noticed. Such a sense of modesty we ladies have. Free your genitals, my girls — surround them with flowy skirts and enjoy the amazing advantages of femininity.

P.S.: I promise I´ll give you a break on scatological remarks such as these for a long time — perhaps infinity. It’s just that this insight seemed too groundbreaking not to be shared solely due to its poor taste.

April 24, 2012

The reasons why you should start your Dukan Diet right now

Well, well, well, a blog claiming a new spin on femininity and right in the second post we begin speaking of losing weight. A cliché theme indeed, and even more so as I begin my work with the women of the world by assuming they all, like me, want — need — to get thinner.

Please do not take me as an expert on self-image (as I am sure you will not do), but I do believe this is a matter that consists in a far from uncomplicated relation between good sense, well-being, social concerns and one´s need to be in control of one´s own life.

There seems to be a new mediatic approach to the flattering female figure that praises supposedly curvy bodies: the absolutely gorgeous Christina Hendricks has been one of the most admired of these new (or in fact vintage) models of hottness, as well as the equally beautiful Kate Winslet and Scarlett Johansson. I believe this is very fine, but tell, me, truly: what if I really believe the person I want to be has a leaner body? What if I am crazy about fashion and want every crazy pair of pants on the planet to fit me like a glove? What if I find those glimpses of bones a beautiful, charming thing?

Now now, I said “glimpses” of bones — nobody here is defending anorexia or a skeleton-like figure, and this is where the good sense thing comes in place. What I mean here is, what you want for your body is entirely and exclusively of your concern and yours only. Arguments such as “men don´t like skinny women” are just as absurd as those in the lines of “you should be as thin as Keira Knightley or die”. Lets take as an example all that drama surrounding the Duchess of Cambridge: yes, she did lose a lot of weight, and some may claim she looks a little over her age, but to say she looks unhealthy is, in my opinion, quite a leap.

The fact is we all develop throughout our lives a vision of how we want ideally to look like. These may vary from Jessica Alba to Gwyneth Paltrow, from Heidi Klum to Giselle Bündchen, from Beyoncé to Rihanna. Beach babe, model, strong and fit, elegant and ethereal, crazy fashion forward with blue hair, bootylicious or whatever combination is possible between those categories: the options are endless, and the places our hearts can take each of us, unimaginable. I don´t mean this as a joke. For whatever reasons you may have constructed that ideal image for yourself, to actually achieve it is a matter of affirming control upon your life; even more importantly, of removing barriers we ourselves put in front of materializing so many of our greatest, but simple, dreams.

So if your ideal self is a little smaller on the waist than your present form, may I recommend the Dukan Diet (alas – we get to the core matter of this post). You may find a lot about it at DukanDiet.com, but it basically consists of eating low-fat protein – fish, chicken, some red meats, selected types of cheese, eggs, skimmed milk and yogurt – and no fat or carbs at all. Do just the protein (at will) for about 5 days and then alternate between protein days and protein + vegetable days. Forget pasta, rice (or any cereals or legumes) bread, potatoes and sugar altogether. Drink a lot of water – I mean, 2 liters a day at least – and if you feel the need for more fiber in your diet, do indulge daily in Dukan´s oat bran pancake recipe.

You will think – as I did the first time I read about it, long before deciding to give it a try – that this is just too hard. Atkins sounded a little insane with all the fat that was allowed on a daily basis, but at least it seemed to leave more options – plus it contained a small controlled portion of carbs, while this one aims to be as close to zero as possible. This one consists of radical decisions: you either drop on a food entirely, or eat it freely. Sounds like too much of a psychological effort, hey?

Well, my experience is: it´s the exact opposite. With the Dukan Diet, you are left with absolutely no decisions to make, and that is precisely his point. You are not in control of your food intake. If you were, you would not be overweight and you would not be seeking help to lose weight. So how can anyone expect you fat bastard (getting a little carried away) to make sensible decisions about your meals? The Dukan Diet is sort of a Hobbesian tale of dieting, in which each fat person in the world delegates sovereignty upon its daily feeding matters to this French doctors who in return, will offer advice that will slim their bodies really fast; the difference is when you achieve your goal weight, you regain your right to make your own decisions — except for a very desirable and useful catch.

And what is this catch? Well, after you achieve your dream body, you do not want to see it be taken away from you, and Dukan will teach you a trick to stabilize your weight forever without having to watch yourself as crazy on a daily basis: once a week, for as long as your lifetime spans out, you will exclusively feed on lean proteins. Also, on a daily basis, you shall have three spoons of oat bran. For. Ever. And. Ever. And that´s all.

I have lost 10 kilos in 3 months of dieting, and I am still on the road for the final 5. The amazing thing is the first 6 of them were lost in less than 5 weeks – an event that gave me quite the burst of self-confidence and hope. The rithym has slowed down for several reasons – not only the natural effect of prolonged dieting on the metabolism, but also a minor thyroid issue and a little travelling provoking me to cheat on the diet. What is interesting however is that after a while, your habits do, truly, change. I will tell you some inside information about how you deal with this diet as time goes by.

At first, I went mad. By at first I mean during the first two weeks. There was nothing else I could think of – the diet was an obsession and it controlled my life completely. I read Dukan´s book – Je ne sais pas maigrir, in the original, or: I don´t know how to lose weight (in English, the title was turned into simply The Dukan Diet) and I started following its advice to the letter. I was terrified by all the awful things he said would happen if even a single, tiny breach in the rules occurred. Dukan is a mean, mean doctor, and he is not afraid of calling you a loser because you were too weak not to jump on your mother´s shrimp risotto like there was no tomorrow. He´s also a very authoritarian person, who will tell you in your face that he knows more about dieting than you do and that what´s best for you is to obey him – at least in what relates to the matter of losing weight.

The sacrifice seemed too imense to be worth it. That feeling was due to the fact that when you drop some of your most important daily habits so suddenly – and of course I did not decide I had to lose 15 kilos and at the same time have been on a low carb, low-fat diet  – you just want MORE results from your efforts. You weight yourself every single day and you are convinced you deserved to have lost another entire kilo — on that day. Because you didn´t eat a single square of chocolate. Because you didn´t touch the cookies your grandmother brought you. But let me tell you, although those are touching displays of willpower, they will not reward you with a kilo less per day — think one every 5 or 6 days, in good weeks, and 1,5 to 2 weeks, as the diet continues on its second month and on. As you keep on doing what you have to do out of sheer terror and shame on declaring to the world (because everyone will know you are on a bizarre diet) you have given in, the 3rd week will finally bring you reward and relief, as you finally acknowledge you have lost 4 kilos and realize that is an amazing accomplishment in such a short amount of time.

That´s when a second magical effect comes into play: you hop on board of the Dukan boat.

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