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Functional Girl CJ LEGARE

Functional Girl: A column

Q. If you could pick only one beauty product, what would it be? — Julie A.

A. Dear Julie: This is an easy one. If I could have only one beauty product it would be petroleum jelly. Talk about a budget-conscious, all-in-one product. It’s extremely concentrated, so a little bit goes a long way, and almost anyone can use it because there are no perfumes or chemicals.

You can use it as an all-over protective and soothing moisturizer. It’s particularly effective on lips, hands and feet. This versatile tub of goo can be the make-up and the remover, and even hair pomade. Rub it into your hairline when dyeing to prevent skin stain, or around your nail beds for quick clean up when polishing. Use it on extracted blemishes to prevent infection and to keep the healing skin supple.

My friend Annette told me that you can use it to extend the life of your perfume by dabbing some on your pulse points before you spritz. The key to using petroleum jelly effectively is to use the proper amount. Begin sparingly. You can always build a thicker layer wherever you need additional moisture and protection.

And if you think the personal-care uses for petroleum jelly are plentiful, do a quick Google search to learn some of its practical household applications as well, like removing water rings from wood furniture.

Q.: Over the last year I’ve gained about 25 pounds, and I don’t know why. My routine hasn’t changed, and my doctor says I’m fine. About a month ago, my boyfriend of two years broke up with me because he wasn’t attracted to me anymore. I miss him so much, and don’t know what to do. Please help. — Broken Hearted

A.: Dear Broken Hearted: First, I want to tell you how sorry I am that you’re going through such a rough time. Ending a relationship is never an easy thing, especially when other areas of your life are in transition. That being said, if your boyfriend left you because he cannot appreciate your new shape, then he’s not the man for you. I know that’s probably the last thing you want to hear, but it’s the truth.

I want you and every other woman out there to embrace this one idea: Never settle for a man who doesn’t adore every inch of you. End of story. Despite what the fashion, entertainment and diet industries would have you believe, there are men out there who prefer plus-size women. It’s not that looks don’t matter to them. They’re not just “okay” with your weight. They genuinely love some serious curves on their women. Ladies, I promise you, they’re out there. When I met my husband I weighed 270 pounds, and he told me that I was the most beautiful girl in the world. Each and every one of you deserves that, so don’t settle for anything less.

But let’s talk about this curvy new body that you need to make peace with, and learn to embrace. As I mentioned before, an array of monolithic industries rake in billions of dollars making us feel bad about ourselves. We buy fashion magazines that don’t feature models who look like us, and when they do, the stories are about hiding our so-called “figure flaws.” We go to see movies with leading men falling for actresses who have had every ounce of femininity stripped away by personal trainers and tragically restrictive diets. We watch TV shows where women who dare to be larger than a size 6 are demeaned, marginalized and portrayed in the most unattractive manner possible. We buy quick-fix diet pills and potions in the hopes that we too can look the way they tell us we’re “supposed” to look.

My little sister Sam made a brilliant observation the other day when we were discussing this very topic. She said, “It’s like paying your boyfriend to beat you up.”

Why do we let complete strangers, who only want our money, control how we feel about ourselves? Why do we let their propaganda dictate how our daughters, sisters, mothers and friends treat themselves—and each other? Why do we watch, silently resigned, as women die trying to emulate the dangerous imagery being pumped into our culture?

It’s time to reclaim what it means to be a woman. Despite what you have been made to believe, beauty is not a size. Healthy is not a size. And loving yourself must not be dependent upon your size.

To you, Broken Hearted, and every other woman who reads this, I wish for you the courage to embrace, celebrate and honor the body you’ve been given. You don’t need anyone’s permission to dance naked, and to feel damn sexy doing it. Discover the joy and freedom of living life happy in your own skin. Oscar Wilde once wrote, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” Hear, hear, Mr. Wilde.

Functional Girl CJ Legare lives in Kyle with her husband, Joshua, and is addicted to 2 percent organic milk. If you’ve got a question or comment for Functional Girl, email her here. She blogs at

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