Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Act II

Taking my writing turn today is a bit like hopping on stage after Mozart's grand masterpiece, only to bang out a harried and unpracticed rendition of Chopsticks. Thanks a lot Kate, you have created an act impossible to follow.

That said...

If you are not Curvy Girl's friend on Facebook, do so and do it now! Yesterday we posted THIS ARTICLE, which gracefully dissects body image and I think contains a nugget or two that will resonate with everyone.

For me, (seeing as I have already pushed my way through of few of those 12-steps of recovery -- including ditching running, gyms and p90x in favor of more yoga, more walking and more vegetables), it is the following:

3. Community: Careful! Community is not going to a weight-loss group where you “share” food obsessions and tricks to eat less. Bonding over your food and body struggles is safe. It might be hard to find people who want to be alive, not partners in crime, or even awkward to find something other than food, exercise or the scale to discuss. I know from 18 years of dieting that you have to find new interests. Embrace finding new peers as an adventure. In a nurturing group, you’ll find some of the best parts of yourself.

I have found myself, over the past year or two, gravitating away from self-deprecating people who want to complain about their bodies or hate on themselves for overeating -- with little else to say. There was a time when that's exactly who I was surrounded by (and the worst part was telling someone you thought they had a beautiful body only to have them reject what you are saying -- men: is this what we do to you?!?!?!?) and it's no good. It's hard enough to keep your own head above water sometimes, without being responsible for someone else's feeling about their bodies/lives/relationships/selves.

In fact, this desire to lift ourselves up is how this very blog was born. It's what we share, it's how we think. It's why we are here, and why we are so glad you are here. While we dabble in body struggles and dip our toes in recipes that will do your body good, it isn't the point. We want to live, we want to be better and we want to invite you into our hearts while we do it.

Don't forget to hop in line if you are interested in guest blogging -- we have spots available on Mondays and would love to put you in the rotation. Email us, drop us a line on Facebook and stay tuned for info about exciting giveaways and yummy recipes and more emotional breakdowns that we inflict on you like drill sergeants for your soul.

There, I have re-lowered the bar for future postings. Rebecca, you are welcome.

Dad Knows

Curvy girls start curving perhaps in puberty. My mom got more of hers after having her 10,000 kids. They come at different times for some people. Mine came in 3rd grade and there was nothing Marilyn about them.

This is me. Don't I not look like me in this picture?

It started with a pair of knickers my mom had made for me. I remember the ordeal. WHY am I having these made for me? (in luscious cords of course!) Let's go shop for them. By 7th grade I learned that clothes that fit me came from old lady golf stores. Yes. Truth. I tried on some of the neon yellow skirts and fern print pants. I had those pumpkin harvest sweater vests that make you laugh on my body and considered their purchase as they fit and little else did. I was an over weight child in a house with 4 growing boys, a size 2 mom, and a very understanding father.

Not trying to get too maudlin, but the tears of the clown comes from truth. I will make you laugh. It comes naturally to me. It is my armor- the shell upon my back that I turn quickly towards you, as my underside is thin skinned and vulnerable. I went as far as I could with my humor...smiling while holding my lunch tray aloft, looking, searching...where to sit.
Where to sit.
Where to sit.
Nowhere to sit.

My thighs rubbed together. My clothes, so few of them, were on a rotation. Scheduled as to prevent few repeats a week in the land of Benneton, thin, and plenty. I had to start wearing glasses that had cheek marks on them. Greasy half moons because my face was so large under the owl styled tortoise shell. And my hair was large. Bon Jovi-esque. Overbearing when the weather held humidity.
In short, I was fucked.
Can I say that here?
It is the truth.

I have mentioned in a previous post my father.
How he held me together and got me through my childhood, puberty, and everywhere up to my 25th bday. That was a remarkable ride. Herculean.
It would start with my teddy bear, Mary (now held tight in a sleep's embrace by my middle child. She needs her most.) Dad would come in my room, 11pmish, hearing my cries for the past hour and pick up Mary. Dad would look at the bear, and the bear at Dad and he would say, "Hello Mary. (He would make Mary wave back) Mary, what is going on with my girl?" And I would hold my breath. I would yell in my mind- Tell him about Sarah! Tell him what she does to me in the hallways. Tell him that I can't go back. That I am alone at lunch. Tell him that I need a note that says , "Please excuse Kate. She is fat and has no friends." Tell him that the nurse is trying to take away my lunch card. Tell him that they don't see me and they do see me. Tell him I love Peter Nebauer. Tell him that I must stay home....

I don't know what Mary actually told him every week. He would lean in close and listen to her. He would then lean back, looking in to her eye (the other eye was a victim of the red wiffle ball bat) and say, slowly, like he heard it and believed it,"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh." And then he would look at me and say, "Kitty Kat." and I would let go of the breath and cry again.

He heard it all. This man who grew up mercilessly teased for being over 6 ft. For having a hunchback. For being 90lbs. For wearing the thick, overwhelming glasses like mine and having the acne that was about to sprout upon my own face. He heard it all. He knew it all. He hated what I knew. And I looked at him and hated what he knew. And he would say, from experience! he would say, "Kate, this will make you a better person. This will make you the person you should be." And though I was a child, I did believe him. I did. There was no other purpose in this life if that were not true.

I love my dad.

(Picture posed by my dad)

I am close with my mom, but she will never know the side that I share with my dad. The pain. The rejection. The character. The words. The growth. The perspective.
And there are days I am with him and look into his eyes....and they are losing the memories. And perhaps they are also losing the words. But I know that we shared them. I know no matter where he retreats within himself with age that we have this, together. That he got me through grade school. That he guilted me through high school. That he danced when my acceptance letter arrived from Mount Holyoke. Danced. On the driveway. On the train platform when he would pick me up from break. In my dorm room when he would visit.
He guided me through it all with love.

(Da and Colleen. Da is telling her that she matters. She always listens to her Da.)

He has written letters to my children, making sure that they understood that on the day they were born he was happy they were in the world. Like a sigh of relief that they were here! That the world can now be the better place for their existence. I can't even read those letters for the aching they cause. It is like my father makes it ok for one to exist. It is so big for me. And he praises me for my raising of his grandchildren. For my guiding them through life's winding and hilly road. I have just begun this journey with them.

All the self worth I have ever felt, came from his voice within me. And though he couldn't manage to make my size unimportant, he made it so that I was more important than it was. That I was everything to him. And if I could be that for him, I was that for myself by default.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Meeting of the Minds

From now on here at Curvy Girl, Monday will be the day when we welcome guest bloggers. Today's post comes from our friend Liz and we think you'll enjoy hat she has to say! Thanks for chiming in, Liz :-)
"Love your body."

Three simple words used more and more frequently these days to boost the self esteem of women everywhere. And after years of idolizing supermodels and skinny Hollywood types, it's about time a movement was made to accept ourselves. After all, we don't have access to a beauty crew and airbrushing, nor can we afford a personal trainer. And we don't always have time to exercise or plan perfectly balanced meals for a houseful of picky eaters. But we do our best because we love our bodies, and when you love something, you want it taken care

I saw a poster recently that said, "Health is the relationship between you and your body." Well, I happen to love myself quite a bit and this is the only body I have, so I should probably take great care of it and make sure we have a good relationship. Seems like a simple thought, except for 20+ years I neglected to maintain any kind of relationship with it. I fed it whatever tasted good at the time without regard to clogged arteries and family histories of cancer and diabetes. I put off exercise until I could "find the time", except when you're raising a family, you don't get extra hours in a day for you to just find.

I waited until the fear of chronic disease struck me to mend my relationship with my body. I decided I would not allow a disease to take over my life if I could help it. I've read in various places that 60-85% of all diseases are caused by lifestyle choices. Well, I would be a fool to gamble with my life. And now, seven weeks later, I have a healthy, happy, functioning relationship with my body. It works better than ever, it looks better than it has in the last two years, and all because I am giving it the care and love it deserves. Now this body, with it's big thighs and wide ankles and stretch marks that moves and breathes and has curves throughout...I love this body, as evident by how I treat it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Foodie Friday!!

I love food.
We three at Curvy have decided we are going to throw some recipes in the mix for anyone to try and enjoy. I believe the idea behind it is to enjoy healthier meals to keep our gorgeousness running on the good stuffs. (As a Kate, I cannot promise that I won't have TREATY TREAT TREAST!!! in here every now and then.)

SO! I give you stolen and used, abused and loved recipes for Foodie Friday!!!!


Serves 6. Published July 15, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.

Make sure that the cooked chicken is finely shredded, or the edges of large pieces will tear through the tortillas. Serve these enchiladas with lime wedges, low-fat sour cream, diced avocado, shredded lettuce, and hot sauce.



medium onion , chopped fine


teaspoon vegetable oil



medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)


tablespoons chili powder


teaspoons ground cumin


teaspoons sugar

2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce


cup water


pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts), trimmed of excess fat

Ground black pepper


ounces 50 percent light cheddar cheese , shredded (2 cups)

1 can (4 ounces) pickled jalapeƱos , drained and chopped


cup minced fresh cilantro


(6-inch) soft corn tortillas

Vegetable cooking spray


lime , cut into wedges (for serving)


  • 1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the onion, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • 2. Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the thickest part registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside to cool. Strain the sauce through a medium-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the onions to extract as much liquid as possible. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 3. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces. Toss together the shredded chicken, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup of the cheddar, the jalapeƱos, and cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 4. Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40 to 60 seconds. Spread the warm tortillas out over a clean work surface. Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them seam-side down in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
  • 5. Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with vegetable oil spray. Pour 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the enchiladas to coat them thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheddar down the center of the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • 6. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns, about 5 minutes longer. Serve, passing the remaining 1 cup sauce and the lime wedges separately.

What to serve on the side? Well....it ain't Mexican, but it is tasty- how about some asparagus? I
had some this week from Hannaford and it was tasty for the time of year. Put it on a cookie sheet or stoneware and add some olive oil, salt and pepper and slather (SLATHER) that all around. (Option 2, some already made Balsamic vinaigrette slathered) Pop it in your oven and broil for a few minutes. (linger, people- they can burn fast depending on their girth) and give it a flip/stir a few minutes in. When it comes out you can give it a quick spray of fresh lemon.

Now desert...
I see that Shaws had some strawberries on sale this week. That may end by today or tomorrow.
I don't shop there much so I don't know their switch over day. Anyhoooooo grab some strawberries from somewhere and melt some semi-sweet morsels in a microwave safe bowl of over some simmering water on the stove and dip dip dip. Berries are very healthy and the darker the chocolate, the more health benefits there.

Tuck in!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New and Improved

"Maybe it’s not always about trying to fix something broken. Maybe it’s about starting over and creating something better." – Unknown

Today, this quote resonated loudly within my soul. I had an awakening. Seriously, I did.

When did some of us start thinking of ourselves as “broken” per se? I mean, I have for other reasons thought of myself as less than “perfect” but I have always believed in myself as fully functioning - despite my flaws. I lost my hearing at the age of 4. I have never once considered myself as “broken” nor “handicapped” and I always sought to prove myself to the world as fully functioning as my peers despite.

However, today, I realized that I actually perceive my body as broken. I really, really do, even though I have never had that precise thought exactly.

  • Wake up call: I have spent years trying to “fix” many of the things I find wrong with my body.

  • I have hidden my many flabalanches.

  • I have spanx’d myself from shoulder to knee; and cut off my circulation for days.
    I have smooshed and smashed my gargantuan boobs under minimizers; and I now fluff and prop them as much as I can in cleavage enhancing blouses.

  • I have sucked in my gut until people compliment me on the color of my skin matching the deep blue of my eyes.

  • I have turned my body for a better angle in pictures to minimize my size; especially next to much smaller peers.

  • I have worn ankle rolling, arch killing sky high heels for the “appearance” of a long, lean physique.

  • I work out like a mad woman – not only for the physical health sake; but because I like to have people notice my bulging biceps versus the dangly underarm flabby thingy that makes me give friends just a half-wave.

  • I lunge and I squat for days on end for a firm, and yes, a rock hard ass. I dare you to test it yourself....but it’s definitely much larger than the average woman’s but it might just snap your wrist if you get too close.

Today, I realize that there are more of us trying to fix something we perceive as broken.
I want to gather our womankind, our women clan and yell STOP RIGHT THERE.

Let’s stop the excuses. Let’s stop the blame game:

  • Regardless of our girth or lack thereof....

  • Regardless of our big breasts, small breasts and everything in between.....

  • Regardless of our stretch marks, our battle scars, our zits, or limp hair.....

  • Regardless of what society tells us is beautiful, or sexy, or anything but....

  • Regardless of our current state of health, or illness.....

ONE thing is clear.

Let’s start over. Let’s create something better. We can ALWAYS be a better version of ourselves.

Let’s stop trying to be someone or something we are not. Let’s improve upon what we already are.

The choice is YOURS. Stay tuned for the new and improved ME. (Version 4,545,989,678.003).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Perspective & Compassion

One of the exciting parts about being involved in this blog is the chance to have your voice heard – for we feel it’s a bit of unchartered territory and sometimes we don’t know how to navigate it.

There has been quite a bit of debate over the past month about the double-standard of calling out thin people and making it an “us vs. them” kind of thing. Some have expressed their concern that we intend to promote an anti-skinny girl mentality, and of course nothing could be farther from the truth. As we work out some of our demons, we hope you’ll be gentle with us.

We here at Curvy Girl want you to know that we welcome guest bloggers of all kinds, and if you feel you would like to contribute, it’s a done deal. Send us something, we’ll post it! We would love to include your well-written and intelligent (or even just good-humored) thoughts on issues of body image, self-care and fitness/nutrition. That’s what we’re here for.

Perhaps it will give everyone pause to consider, however, that we will not approach you. Why? Because it might hurt your feelings for us to say “Would you like to write for our Curvy Girl website?” but if someone approached you with the same offer for “Confessions of a Slender/Athletic/Slim/Size 4 Girl” it would be an insane compliment. You’d jump at the chance, would you not?! We totally would. So there is a double-standard and it’s real and we’ve been living with it our entire lives.

I guess my point is that we want you to celebrate being curvy, and we want it to be something worth celebrating. But we’re not there yet – we curvy girls carry a lot of baggage that our slimmer counterparts may not.

We’ve been teased in high school by the captain of the football team, we’ve wondered where to sit at lunch and whether eating in front of people would garner more or less attention than skipping a meal. At least two out of three of us curvy girls have eaten in the bathroom for fear of the high school cafeteria and its landmines of humiliation. We’ve endured the chiding of our siblings, the disappointment of our parents, the assumption that we are lazy or damaged. We are working hard at feeling ok with it, and we apologize if that comes across as a battle against the size 0s of the world. Sometime even the littlest things can put us back in those hallways, and a flippant accusation as we make ourselves vulnerable is the most damaging of aggressions.

In the end, you are right. It’s not ours to criticize and we need to keep our envy and jealousy in check, and we have to accept that you might take small pieces of our message out of context – especially the little bits that we laugh at as we consider the very act of laughing a small victory. That lifetime of ridicule and humiliation has changed us, and we know that not everyone is going to understand.

We might even have to accept that we carry some latent resentment we didn’t even know was there and dealing with criticism is just part of the process of becoming better. We want to be better.

Just please be patient as we get comfortable in our own skin. It’s been a long road, and we are finally reaching our destination. We’ll let you know when we’ve arrived, and we expect there to be unlimited sushi, wine and elliptical machines when we get there.

Size N/A

I think we often wonder what it is that makes one attractive to another. Through history we can see what is deemed attractive changes. Just look at the paintings, sculptures, photographs...It also depends on the continent on which one lives.

This era, the thinner body would appear to be in, though a change is coming, me thinks. "Apple bottoms" are embraced. Tooshies seem to be in (and boobs never went out, really. Nor should they!)

Americans seem to be getting larger in general. Evolution? Does it matter if it comes from
improper eating and lack of movement? Evolution is a
change in an organism, adapting to it's surroundings...and crap food is out there and easy...Anyone seen the movie Wall-E? Seems completely possible with the chairs and built in screens and the skeletons growing apart. All foods in a cup with a straw....(it all started with the damn coolata!)
But, I digress...

I asked a mix of people what it is they find attractive when it comes to women. Size, looks, coloring, etc. Men and women
alike agreed, regardless of their sexual orientation, that they like and desire a woman who is Confident and Comfortable with herself.

Confidence doesn't have a dress size.
Comfortable doesn't look fat in those pants.

I will call these women the Double Cs. Or....Dub Cs for short. (Done. Love me a good nickname)

The Dub Cs look damn good in bed, because they know who they are and what they like. They will ask for it.

The Dub Cs can pull off an outfit that someone thinner/taller/whatever can't because they feel they look great and exude it. They DO look great! I bet you never would have thought to have worn that!

The Dub Cs walk into a room and instantly own it because they are full on eye contact, have a strong walk, and move with a purpose.

I totally want to be a Dub C. Some days I am. A few days every month I am the epitome of the Dubs, and it has nothing to do with what I am wearing- though I dress better those days. It has nothing to do with what the scale told me. It is hormonal, granted, but it is all internal. I feel great in my center. My spine is strong and my lungs are full and the sun is shining in my eyes no matter the weather or time of day. That is far more exciting than fitting into my pre kid pants. It stayed with me when the pants did not! (screw you, pants!)

Channel your Dubs C!

Some quotes from the panel I addressed:

"I'm attracted to women who like their body. In my experience women who work at obtaining and maintaining that "hard body", "supermodel" physique are more sexually inhibited and don't really seem to love the body they work so hard for."

"If a woman's voice, body, mind and actions sync up, there is nothing better. Unattractive is when a woman forces a body type on herself, even though she wouldn't have had it(?) to comply with some standard that always changes."

"S'funny how those super models with the size zero - look like little boys...... Attractive only to little girls, and Catholic priests." (Still laughing at that one)

"As the father of a beautiful young lady, I worry about what she sees in the main stream media as "beauty" and have an open dialogue with her about her body" .

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Little Lost On the Prairie

As yet another high school classmate was diagnosed with a form of cancer last week - at the ripe "old" age of 39, I sat in anger and disbelief.

I struggle with dark news in the cancer world from time to time. Last week was one of those weeks, my mood soured, my neck and shoulder muscles hovered hunched up around my ears, and my tone was unusually snippy.

I was prepared to get up on my pedestal and preach LOUD and LONG and CLEAR (much to Mandy & Kate's dismay) - preach and shout in frustration, until I was blue in the face, and until you listened to me.

But today, my rational side is slowly creeping back in, and this rationality with a soft, yet firm hand is gently guiding my bristled and angry self back into my deep reserves.

As my family took the scenic route to soccer, we came across Flat Hill Farms with a sign stating, "Boiling Today". We promptly detoured down the country road and came upon the rustic looking maple sugar shack. The smoke vapors were pouring out of the roof and we ran in with wild eyes and a begging curiosity within. After a wonderful demonstration from some enthusiastic farmers, and a delicious tongue tantalizing sampling of the latest batch of light amber syrup, we walked out with a half-pint of the goodness of our trees here in New England.

I explained to my children the difference of the maple flavored, chemically processed "syrup" that we buy in our grocery stores, versus the pure and natural sweetness we had just purchased - a product created from nature's bounty. I became slightly disgusted that a bottle of Log Cabin or Aunt Jemima still lingered in my pantry.

We found ourselves further engaging our children in discussions about how we can make better choices right here locally.

Almost three years ago, we joined the local CSA (Stillman Farm) - a community supported agriculture program. Each year from early June through mid-October, we are blessed with sixteen weeks plus of earthly bounty for our recipes. We are fueling our bodies with nutrition that flows with the seasons. With each change of crops, we are afforded a variety of nutrients similar to what our ancestors would have harvested. The CSA also sustains the local economy and provides farmers with employment. Read more (and sign up) here: http://www.stillmansfarm.com/csa.htm.

Stillman Farm also offers a meat program from their own locally raised animals. Additionally, Open Meadow Farm also offers a wide range of locally raised meats supporting a wonderful, hard working family. They are known for being a small artisian farm specializing in locally produced Black Angus Beef, Beefalo, Pastured Pork, Chicken and Honey. Find out more at http://www.openmeadowfarm.com.

Maybe a better way for us to embrace health is to simply mimic the way our ancestors lived.

Stop and reflect for a moment - back to a day where fast food chains were not a staple on each city block. Ask your parents about their milk delivery, it likely came from the milkman and was quietly placed on your front steps in glass bottles; not a trace of BPA to be found.

I bet your grandparents can talk vividly about going to the butcher for fresh cut meats, then the baker for just baked (and hand kneaded) breads. Furthermore, they can attest to growing their own gardens or buying from a farmers market. You notice what the common thread is here as well - a lack of added hormones, a lack of chemically processed ingredients, a lack of pesticides....

Maybe, just maybe, the one stop shopping at the Mega-Super-Mart is hazardous to our health. Are we forsaking our bodies at the expense of convenience in our insanely fast-paced and over-filled lives?

Instead of sitting back idly, or instead of your habitual shopping at Mega-Super-Mart, consider making some SIMPLE changes in your life. Perhaps, by embracing a little bit of our inner Laura Ingalls Wilder - by providing better nutrition staples from our local bounties for your children, and for yourself, minus the frumpy frock, heavy bucket and prairie hardships.