Next time you glance at a magazine and secretly desire to look like the cover model… think again…

These days even some of the most beautiful women in the world have to be digitally altered to look thinner (abnormally thin, something that doesn’t even look natural).

Case in point, stunning Jessica Alba had to be airbrushed the 2009 Campari calendar.

You probably heard about this.

In fact, touch-ups removed flesh from her already slim thighs, slimmed her waist, her curves are gone and bust more defined (see photos here)

Is the ‘after’ photo better?

Is it inhumanly good?

Personally, I think the ‘before’ is way better. More real. More natural.  Softer and still gorgeous.

There’s a point where ‘skinnier’ doesn’t mean better.

What’s worse, these airbrushed photos pose standards and expectations that are simply unrealistic and impossible to attain.

I mean, it’s natural to desire to look and feel your best. Yet some days it seems like… you can’t be skinny enough… young enough… perfect enough!

It’s like your body is under constant public scrutiny (and for celebrities, I guess they’re expected to look flawless 24/7).

Whoever poisoned people’s minds with the “if you’re not thin you’re fat!”

Has the media distorted our idea of “What’s Average”?

Take for example, Jessica Simpson’s recent case…

Last month the singer steps out to perform in Florida in a fuller figure… and, get this… it sparked headlines like “Is Jessica fat or just curvy?” and a seriously overweight cartoons of her in The New York Post.

Seriously, is this what people consider ‘overweight’?!

(image courtesy of Yahoo OMG!)

(for more on this read this excellent blog post by Melissa McEwan

There’s countless examples just like that (see my previous pot for some interesting ‘digital imagery magic’ samples).

Plus, I bet you’re noticing that tabloid trend.

Even more, some of us are getting caught up in this.

Snappy Snaps, the English photo specialist, have been reporting a 550% increase in ‘photo retouching’ requests.

These are requests by non-celebs, every day men and women. I guess it’s a bit like digital plastic surgery with instant results (reference).

Another blog post by Lara Oliver confirms this:

“I’ve already seen a huge spike in the amount of girls who edit their profile pictures on the Internet in hopes of smoothing out skin, enlarging and/or shrinking areas of their body or changing colors in order to seem more appealing. And it makes me really sad. Not only is it lying, but it also demonstrates a severe lack of self-esteem on the part of most young women today.”

Lara hits the nail on the head when she says:

“So, if female celebrities aren’t even attractive enough anymore to grace magazines, movie covers and other print outlets without major editing, how are regular women supposed to feel?”

What about you?

Are you feeling the pressure?

Do you simply ignore it and set your own goals?

How do you handle this when it seems that… in the lens of the media… none of us are ‘good enough’ (not even naturally beautiful celebrities!)?

Dedicated to looking and feeling your best,

M. Jamal

I stopped chewing my breakfast and took a step closer to the TV…

I noticed something intriguing about the silver medalist that had just stepped onto the podium.

Something that both reminded me of my last blog post ( At 41 She’s As Toned As Swimmers Half Her Age…)… and… further cemented that “No Excuse” mentality that I want you to get a feel for (and probably give it a try if you’re not doing so already).

What am I talking about?

Who was on the podium?Slender Lady Canoe Ride

Well, for starters imagine paddling for 500 meters… (just over quarter of a mile, 0.310 miles to be exact)… in under 2 minutes?

You gott’a be in great shape and super fit, right?

Next, picture yourself lining up against eight top athletes who are dead-serious about getting past you in this race.

(We’re talking Olympic medals).

One athlete is the 2004, Athen’s Olympic bronze medalist and 18 years your junior (plus, other athletes who are 11, 13 & 14 years younger).

Most folks would stake the odds against you.

Most would outright believe it impossible (just like those moments when you put up all kind of excuses: why you can’t get slim, slender and lean).

Yet one lady managed to beat the odds.

That’s Italian canoer Josefa Idem Guerrini who, at age 43, squeezed her way into the silver medal in Beijing’s Olympics this past Saturday.

Josefa believes that…

“A long sports career studded with great results is like climbing a mountain and reaching the summit. At the top there is an incomparable view.”

And… with a total 5 Olympics medals (one gold, two silver and two bronze), plus some 35 international medals during her career… that’s proof she’s still at her prime.

Surely it takes immense preparation (both mental and physical) to win Olympic medals.

Surely there’s a special “Sacrifice And Dedication To Achieve Your Goals” aspect to reach such elite levels.

I hope this inspires you to get up and get moving.

I hope this inspires you to take on new habits that’ll have you seeing a lean, slender figure sooner than you thought possible.

Best wishes,

M. Jamal

P.S. You can check out the Olympic podium photos for that even by clicking here.

Most of the videos I found about Josefa are in Italian. So here’s a feel for the energy and physical endurance that goes into such a race; from the 2007 World Championships. (Notice, Josefa didn’t even make it to the top 3 in this race. Yet she came back to steal an Olympic medal a year later)

OK, here’s another one if you wann’a see Josefa in ‘close up action’. It’s Athen’s 2004 Olympics semifinals. She went on to grab a sliver medal.

Looking for inspiration? Maybe that ‘spark’ to get you motivated and stepping forward into the best shape of your life? Then listen to this…

She’s a mother of a two-year old yet looks as taut and toned as swimmers half her age.

Her Olympic career spans 24 years. Actually, she’s participated in a total 5 Olympics (1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, and 2008) – winning at least one medal in each of the five Olympics.

What’s more impressive, she seems to be Getting Better With Age:

  • She broke the American record for the 50 m freestyle (for the 9th time) setting it at 24.25 seconds…
  • She actually broke that record twice on the same day, 26 years after she first set the American record at age 15.
  • Last November she became one of only five women to swim the event in less than 24 seconds when she clocked 23.82 seconds in Germany.

Who am I talking about?

It’s swimming sensation, 3 time gold medalist Dara Torres. And, just yesterday… at age 41… she bagged a 3rd silver medal in Beijing’s Olympic Games on the final day of swimming at the Water Cube. That’s a career spanning a total 12 Olympics medals.

Impressive? Yes.

Inspiring? Well, listen to this message from Dara’s website:

“…My work is other people’s play. I am in a pool doing what I was meant to do, swim.
For anyone who feels stifled or stuck in their life, I say break down those barriers of indecision. Never let anyone set your personal or professional agenda.

Live every day with the passion of your last. If I can inspire both women and men in anything it would be that age is just a number, not a death sentence. Wake up every morning with a plan and a dream. If you do, like me, dreams do still come true in your 40s and beyond!”

I hope this adds a ‘spark’ to your day. Even more, let your desire turn into reality. Note down at least one action… one habit… one change… you’d like to ‘Make Happen’ over the coming 2 weeks.

M. Jamal

P.S. Do you have an inspirational Olympics moment? Any Athletes that motivate you?

P.P.S. Check out this Dara Torres video

For more recent videos click here

Ever been from one store to the next trying on countless swimsuits… wishing you’d find something ‘acceptable’?custom lady swimwear

Then you’d start wishing for a perfect-fit swimsuit that fits like a glove, one that you could customize from neckline to leg line?

Sounds too good to be true?

Hold on…

I think I just stumbled onto something that’s worth a look…

I first read about this 45 year-old woman who was both self conscious… and… a little apprehensive about her beach vacation. Next she comments: “Last night I picked up my suit and I’m so pleased. I really think the suit is the most suited to my body of any suit I’ve owned.”

I kept noticing comments like this from Debbie:

“I immediately realized that I was not pulling and tugging on anything, anywhere. This was the first time I have had a swimsuit top actually fit. I wanted to say it fit like a glove, but actually it fit better than a glove, it fit me.”

That’s when I was convinced it’s worth posting something about it (in case you’re also in search for a ‘True Fit’ swimsuit).

I’ve posted a video that illustrates this concept (see below).

There’s 3 things worth noting:

  • A 3-D body scanner captures 140 body measurements in under a minute to create a swimwear line that flatters and fits your unique shape.
  • You’ve got a choice of over 40 basic styles and over a million combinations to create a made-to-order swimwear. Effectively you can choose the neckline, leg height, straps, lining, bra, fabric, hardware, color and more.
  • The fabric is 5 to 10 times more resistant to Chlorine… and resists sagging and bagging with normal wear… because of something called Xtra Life Lycra. So you can wear it longer.

Check out the video (below) for a preview… and you can click here to learn more about this.

M. Jamal

P.S. Seen this before? Maybe tried it? What you think… How does it compare to your current swimsuit?

Meet Christy. She hates the thought of slipping into swimwear. Frightened and terrified by the thought of getting a bathing suite on. Actually, she’d rather avoid that experience all together. Yet something’s changed…

She’s got a chance to feel and look fabulous on her summer cruise.

After all, she’s got some insider tips from the world’s first plus-size model.

Things like:

  • Why you ought to buy a swimming suite that’s one size higher?
  • A little trick to make your mid-section look slimmer.
  • What kind of swimwear makes your legs look longer.

Have a look… click Play.

Have a great summer,

M. Jamal

P.S. How’s your summer experience so far? Hope you’re getting the most out of it.

Here’s an interesting video by nutritionist Keri Glassman that’s worth a look

Do you skip meals… or would you rather snack? If you’re into healthy snacks… Did you notice the difference in energy levels and an improved figure?

M. Jamal

P.S. Here’s another one with some on-spot tips…

She’s been named one of the “50 Most Beautiful People” in People Magazine in 2004 (that’s the eight time she’d appeared on the list).

Did you know that today stunning actress Halle Berry scored the top spot in Yahoo searches?

Did you know you can get Halle’s 8 part workout video clips?

You can check out all videos by clicking here. Make sure you can see the animation, then click ‘Yes’ and select “Halle’s Workout” from the menu on the right.

Check out the simplicity of the abs workout. Give it a try. Focus, squeeze in a controlled motion.

Did you find this useful? How does it compare to your current workout?

M. Jamal