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The Magic of good Posture

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned in a post that every time I saw pictures of myself, I’d get discouraged because I looked fat.  When I mentioned this to Anthony, he tilted his head, confused. “What do you mean?” he asked. “You just have bad posture — you’re sticking your stomach out.”

Oh.

Well, that makes sense. I suppose I should have listened to my choral teacher in high school when she said (over, and over and over again) that having good posture makes you thinner. If you’re trying to lose weight, and especially if you’re struggling with how you look in the mirror, changing your posture could make a huge difference.

What is good posture?

Good posture is not what I am doing right now — that is, leaned back in a chair, feet up on a windowsill. It may be comfy, but it’s not very good for me. So too, hunched over a desk or a classroom table is not good posture.

The thing is, there seems to be lots of theories on what good posture is and how we’re supposed to align our spine. When I started doing research for this post, I read about 8 different ways to stand up “straight.” I’m not really an expert on such things, so I would encourage you to do your own research and decide what you think is best.

Here are a couple examples:

From Wikipedia

From ClevelandClinic.org

Though there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer as to what is the best way to stand or sit, it does seem clear that hunching over is NOT a good idea.

Good posture can be a bitch, though. It requires you to work those atrophies back muscles, and, of course, they are going get sore. Additionally, changing your “relaxed” position of anything is going to take time. You have to develop a habit of working in that position, and that can be especially hard to do when you also have to work muscles to get into such a position. As a woman with large breasts, I find getting into and maintaining a good posture. Unlike my male counterparts, I have extra weight to hold up with my back muscles. Sometimes quite a bit more.

But here’s the thing. Not only is having a good posture going to be beneficial to you, your health, and your life, it will also  help you get a more accurate picture of your body. So, it’s worth the fuss, but it’s challenging to get right.

My reasons for a better posture

So, part of my 6-week challenge is to be able to maintain an upright posture for at least 2 hours a day. I’ve been working on this intermittently, and making some progress. I have found that getting my back muscles back in order is going to be the best step in that direction.

I have two reasons for wanting to have a better posture. The first, and (honestly) lesser of these is that I’ve had back pain for as long as I can remember. It got better my senior year of high school when I finally got a better mattress, but I have felt my back and shoulder pain creep up on my slowly in the intervening years. Because I have large breasts relative to my back and waist, it is going to be important for me to keep a good posture.

Yes, I did just sit up in my chair.

My second reason, honestly, is purely aesthetic. Here’s a picture of me in my usual posture.

Oooh... thrusted pelvis. Sexy.

Seriously. I stand like that all the time. Usually with my hands on my back like a pregnant lady. I sometimes wonder where I learned to stand like this.

Here’s what I look like when I’m standing up straight.

um, who is that skinny bitch? Can't be me... oh, wait, it is!

So, in this picture I am standing straight, with my hips tucked just slightly forward. My shoulders are up, and I feel like I am presenting my boobs to the world.  My abs are a little tight, but I am not sucking in.  And I look trim, fit, and confident. It is this persona and picture that I want to present to everyone who sees me. It is very easy to slump my shoulders, especially when I don’t have a supportive bra. But I would like to keep this posture as much as I can.

Lest I be accused of foul play, here is picture of me “super erect” and sucking my stomach in:

If I ever wanted to look underweight...

I have my body up as high as I can get it, my chest arched to an extreme, and my stomach tucked in so much that I could barely breathe. Even though I look even thinner in this picture, this posture is A) unsustainable and B) unrealistic. I am not that small. This “over posturing” looks insecure and weak to me. Not to mention that breathing is kind of important.

So I am seeking better posture largely for aesthetic reasons, and I’m okay with that. I’m not seeking something that is gonna be bad for my health, soooooo we’re all good.

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