Beset with Vanity
Get skinny, take up less space and shrink every body part. Aim for visible collarbones and Blake Lively legs. When I thought about ambition, these are ambitions. I wanted a Halle Berry body without doing any of the work – and without any of the resources.
Maintaining a poor body image and consuming neurotic thoughts about vanity can be mentally exhausting. I thought I should be practically burning extra calories because my body anxieties weighed down so heavily on my confidence and self-worth.
Since college, I managed to keep up with my excessive eating and drinking habits by regularly taking spinning classes. I also had this theory that if I concentrated hard enough and mentally went to a place where unicorns run free and trees are made of glitter and happy thoughts, then the calorie fairy will come and collect the exorbitant amounts of calories that I just consumed. Alas, I’m smart enough to know that trying to look like Halle Berry and believing in a calorie fairy with a magic skinny wand warrant an emotional transformation.
Last year I started hiking, which over the months has lead to running and yoga. I started to focus on facing fears, such as running, accomplishing goals and trying new ways of staying active – rather than listening to incessant self-talk on how I need to start disciplining myself and eliminate eating. Who knew that you need to eat to live?! But I’m human. I’m not immune from agonizing over a big meal, worrying that my jeans fit too tight or checking myself out from the side. I do it; however, maintaining an active lifestyle is more enjoyable and satisfying when skinny is no longer the end result that I strive for. Energy and building stamina, endurance, muscle tone and improving performance are more fun and exciting goals to have.
Zooey Deschanel told Self magazine, “A lot of people work out to be skinny. That’s so boring, and it seems like a depressing goal for a modern woman.” She adds, “I work out to be healthy and because I like it. I do sports or classes, things that engage my mind. If you’re active, fitness will follow — and probably a good figure too.”
Karve Studio: Arizona’s Original Ballet Barre Fitness Method
My latest fitness endeavor is Karve Studio, which is an exercise method that sculpts bodies by combining the most effective strength training, yoga and pilates techniques by using free weights and the ballet barre. Karve fuses an intense yet effective mix of ballet-inspired conditioning and stretching movements that stem from the Lotte Berk Method and Callanetics. It works the entire body and targets specific areas that are typical trouble spots for women. Fusing high repetition and controlled movements, the goal of Karve is to burn fat, strengthen muscles and create the long and lean body of a dancer. Although I’ve accepted my boxy shape, sure, I wouldn’t mind a trimmer waist and more shapely thighs.
Trying to maintain the Karve “tuck” with each exercise, I got through my first class realizing that core strengthening is my weakness and my flexibility needs major improvement. At the ballet barre, my legs shook. I had to rest more than I like. I felt the physical effects of my first three classes despite being a cardio-lover who thinks that an effective work out only means breaking out into a hard sweat. I liked how the class was fast-paced with modern and upbeat music. The studio is a positive and friendly environment. Judging by the ladies who are Karve loyalists, you will achieve a healthy-looking and lean dancer’s body. After one week, Karve has been refreshing. My physical exhaustion and soreness are feelings of promised effectiveness. Week one of Karve has re-inspired by decision to choose a life that focuses on vitality – a lifestyle that is strong, active, energetic and present.