My girl Rachel Cosgrove – author of The Female Body Breakthrough which was one of my top 3 favorite Great Fitness Experiments ever – is back with her hotly anticipated follow-up book. And because she was kind enough to send me a review copy the Gym Buddies and I have been testing it out. We’ve been lifting. We’ve been sweating. We’ve been foam rolling. (Lie: I still don’t feel anything when I foam roll. I try it half-heartedly about every third workout.) And it’s been…
Okay, this is awkward.
I don’t know how else to say this other than I’m kind of disappointed. I didn’t want to be. I kinda feel like a traitor. I love Rachel, you guys. I adored her first book. It was life-changing for me. Between the FBB and The New Rules of Lifting For Women (her weight-lifting collaboration with her husband), I learned to love lifting heavy and embrace building muscle as a training goal as opposed to losing weight. She bucked the conventional wisdom and created new, challenging and creative workouts. Her new book? Well, I think this anecdote sums it up:
Watermelon is my favorite food. I love it like a love song, baby.
Several years ago a doctor friend asked me an interesting question. “What is emotional eating?”
I raised an eyebrow and wondered what kind of cyborg has to ask that question. I mean, who hasn’t tasted the sweet, sweet love of a warm cinnamon bun with cream cheese frosting and toasted walnuts and felt the same thrill as the first time a boy ran his thumb over the back of your hand? (Just me?? Awkward.) But before I bit his head off it occurred to me that I have a weird relationship with food, always have, and maybe there are other people out there who really don’t have any emotional attachments to food. Just because I’ve never met any doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Plus my doctor friend is kind and good-hearted, even if his asceticism sometimes impedes his rapport with the majority of us fallible humans.
So I answered with no snark, “Well I suppose it’s defined as eating for any reason other than physical hunger, primarily to fill an un-met psychological need.”
Confession #1: I once wrote a review about Paula Druckerman’s much-maligned parenting book Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (aff) after having skimmed it in a hour.
I was on a super tight deadline and because of some snow storm my overnight-ed copy didn’t come overnight and… oh, enough excuses. While I gave it a favorable review I’ve always felt a little bad that I didn’t, you know, read-read it. Like, pay attention read it. So the other day when I came across it again I picked it up. And couldn’t put it down until I finished it. I looooved it! Since this isn’t a parenting blog – and you’re about to get an overload of pics of my kids anyhow – I’ll skip the nitty gritty and just say that Druckerman’s parenting philosophy a la française is totally how I parent, the only difference being that I’ve always felt guilty about it. (Oh and I’ve spent exactly one day in France.)
College is a gauntlet of growing up in so many ways – the day I discovered the horror of the overdraft fee stands out in vivid memory – but for many it’s also a time of growing, er, out. As in the Freshman 15. Over the holidays I had a chance to chat with a girl I used to teach in church who was home from college for Christmas and her first question for me was “I know you’re a fitness writer! Tell me how to lose the XX pounds I’ve gained so far this year!” I could feel the desperation. And I sympathized – I remember that angst rather too well. So I gave her a few generic tips like “cut out the junk food” and “find an exercise you love.” I know, I kinda want to smack me too; while those things are good and true they also weren’t necessarily what she was looking for. Not only did she want/need more detail but she needed to know she wasn’t alone and that there was a way out of her struggle. She replied, “What if you wrote a book about helping college girls lose weight? And I could be your subject??”
I had a panic attack last week. A full-fledged hyperventilating, heart pounding, must do deep yogic breathing to remedy it, panic attack. What brought this on? A death in the family? Another discipline note sent home from the school? Actual pictures of Demi Moore with a can of Redi-Whip up her nose?? Nope. A friend surprised me by taking my 3rd son (a.k.a. the one who has been insanely obnoxious ever since his sister has been born…2 years ago) for a playdate. Seeing as the eldest two were in school and Jelly Bean was napping, that left me with… no kids! For TWO HOURS.
My mind reeled at this unexpected gift. Do you know how much I can do in two hours without anyone clinging to my leg and peeing down my sock (true story)? This is when the panic set in. Do I write? Blog? Pay bills? Mop the floors? Read a book? What if I make the WRONG choice and WASTE this precious gift?! Oh the hysteria!
So I did what any rational person would do (that’s my new hobby: copying what rational people do in the hopes that someday I will become one) – I posted my quandary on Facebook. Immediately all of my friends replied: Take a nap!
Thanks to Turbo Jennie (who got it from Leah? Or Sara?) for the vid! Totally safe for work. In fact, this video should become the theme for your next office party. Awesome. Click through to see the video if you get this via e-mail or RSS.
Relaxation is such a personal thing. Some people get pedicures, others watch a show, still others crawl into the butt-end of a Dope Zebra and get all Party Rocker up in their backyard. Me? I read stuff. Not even fun stuff but non-fiction science-y stuff. I love it. But not everyone has the time or interest to read it all so here’s my book report. And in the interest of efficiency – I have a tendency to write reallly looong pooosts – I’m doing each report in three sentences. Enjoy! Or just enjoy the dope zebra. Whatever boot scoots your boogie.
Why yes, I DID end up with a tread-mark right across my crotch! Also, the Gym Buddies tried to leave me stranded on the big tire that randomly appeared in the Y since I couldn’t get down on my own. Ha ha ha.
One of the questions I get asked the most – and am probably the least qualified to answer, right after “Can I catch a yeast infection from the spin bikes??” – is “What workout should I try?” And because I love talking about workouts I’ll do my best to help them. (After warning them I’m not a doctor, fitness professional or even all that sane, naturally.) I start by asking four questions:
1. What are your goals? No sense in giving someone a weight-lifting only program if their fondest desire is to win a ballroom competition. (And who wouldn’t want that?!)
2. What do you enjoy? I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: If you hate running, don’t run. Period. You can be perfectly healthy and never run a step. There is a way to move your body that you will enjoy. We just have to find it.
If we’re sincere in our desire to “just be healthy” that may mean embracing more fat – both in our diets and on our bodies. Psst, Adele – LOVE you. Lose the cigs!!
“Get ripped in the new year!” “Have the lean body of your dreams!” “Six-pack abs in 6 weeks!” “Burn fat up to 400 times faster!” Thanks to the advent of Resolution-Making Season (also known as the fitness industry’s Santa) and an e-mail address that seems to be on every marketer’s PR list, I’ve been getting a slew of “get shredded” pitches every day. The products are wildly variable – everything from mushroom pills to different exercise equipment to books – but the end goal is always the same: to help women get as lean as possible. Inevitably these pitches are all illustrated with pictures of 18-year-olds with perfectly sculpted abs. I don’t even need to describe them further because you already know exactly what I’m talking about. They’re in every magazine and on every website, everywhere.
Um… what is a yob?? No seriously, I have no idea.
“Nooooo!” Jelly Bean shrieked, ripping her sock off for the twentieth time that morning. As I watched her carefully select another sock and pull it on – only to be frustrated yet again when the seam in the toe didn’t line up exactly how she likes it to – it brought up some powerful emotions in me. Where others may see a typical 2-year-old tantrum (and perhaps it is?), I saw myself reflected in her intense expression, tongue peeking out as she tried, again, to bend the sock to her will. A small thing becomes an enormous thing: The story of my life.
“Mom! I need food now! My little legs are so weak!!” My 7-year-old son eats like his dad (and is dramatic like his mom) so I wasn’t surprised when he came barging in the door after school as if he were auditioning for Oliver! He then proceeded to eat half the kitchen and only quit when he realized the spaghetti he was chewing on was the plastic pile that came with Jelly Bean’s play kitchen. The next morning at breakfast I prepared his usual feast only to have him shrug and say, “I’m not hungry this morning” and wander off to put Legos down his Captain America costume (I don’t question it as long as they’re dressed in something).
Now compare that with this recent conversation:
Friend: You want to go get something to eat?
Me: I dunno. Are you hungry?
Friend: Eh. I could eat. Are you?
Me: Maybe. What were you thinking?
Friend: I dunno. I’m kind of munchy.
Me: It’s okay, watching the 24/7 news coverage of Kim Kardashian’s Fairytale Divorce does that to a lot of people.