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Follow our journey as we build Puristics, a new brand of anti-aging skin care without harsh chemicals. For us, the past 3 years have been filled with "aha" moments as we educate consumers about label literacy - knowing the ingredients in your beauty products, since harsh chemicals can end up on your skin. We welcome you to learn from our experiences both as businesswomen and busy moms, and please share your own stories, too!

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What Do You Really Look Like? the inspiration came from the Dove “Campaign for Real Beauty" (very smart campaign; not sure why/how Dove dropped the ball on that one).  I just discovered a website called My Body Gallery:  What Real Women Look Like.  The site offers a tool that’s so cool that I almost posted a photo. Relax.  I said I almost posted a photo.  You put in your height, weight and body shape and the site returns pictures of real women with approximately the same stats.

Like virtually every woman I know, when I look down at the scale, I don’t see digits.  I see letters: F-A-T.  Well, maybe that’s overly harsh. What I mean is that I always have this idea that the numbers on the scale are embarrassingly high, regardless of what size clothing I wear, how fit I am or how I look in a swim suit.  It seems impossible to ever see myself objectively (I think that’s an oxymoron anyhow).  And yet, I work really hard to make sure that my teenage girls have positive body images. I've known so many women with eating disorders, that I'm acutely aware of the dangers of negative body images, particular among teenagers. 

When I put my stats into the Body Gallery tool, it returned pictures of women who were basically shaped like me.  I know . . . duh.  The real surprise is that I didn't think they looked that bad.  Somehow, I was able to see them as they actually are, something I'm not able to do when I look in the mirror.   I was fully expecting to see much heavier looking women because of my warped view that the numbers on my scale were embarrassingly high.  I think this is a better outcome than if the search engine had returned pictures of heavy women or stick thin super models.  It reminded me that I feel better about virtually everything in my life when I'm dealing with clear facts viewed through an objective lens. 

Body issues seem to be a never-ending competition among women even if we don’t speak about them.  We might go on a secret diet because we’re afraid that our efforts will trigger the competitive instinct in our friends or we might fall off the wagon and be judged harshly.  I never tell my (overly thin) mother when I'm making an extra effort to shed a few pounds because I fear either a knowing nod or subtle sabotage.  Nuts, right?  Why do we do this to each other?  As an athletic teen with a pretty good metabolism, I didn’t think much about dieting.  But metabolisms change and 4 children change things even more. I'm so focused on my healthy lifestyle that I feel that the perfect shape should just be an added benefit.  It seems hypocritical to think of vanity rather than or above health.  But sometimes I do. 

So, I continue to focus on good health and "compressing morbidity" (thanks Dr. Weil).  And the “My Body Gallery” site will help me to keep my focus on health.  Sure, I’d like to lose 10 lbs (who wouldn’t), but I can now see that there are others out there with my height and weight proportions who not only look like me, they look pretty good.

Please click here if you are not redirected within a few seconds.

It’s interesting that I stumbled across this tool the same week the world was passing judgment on the physiques of fit women like Cameron Diaz and Serena Williams. Maybe it’s time to take a step back and acknowledge that each and every one of us is a real woman.  We need to support each other so that we can, someday, live comfortably in our bodies, whatever their shape.  With type 2 diabetes rates soaring, we need support each other to be healthy and strong and to focus on what “normal” looks like. How do your clothes fit? Do you eat “clean”? Do you feel strong and healthy?  If you use these as your guides, I can promise that you’ll be a great, real woman.  In the meantime, I may just put my proportions minus 10 pounds into the Body Gallery tool . . . just to see.

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