If thinking stupid thoughts about strangers was a crime we’d all be arrested by the morality police. From judging parents based on the ill behavior of their children to judging drivers based on their obnoxious bumper stickers (true story: My brand-new reader tested out his cool new skill by announcing loudly to the rest of the car “Look mom – that person’s in the army! It says ‘My girlfriend’s husband fights for your freedom!’ ” #facepalm) to the ubiquitous judging of strangers by the way they’re dressed, people watching is an international pastime. The problem for me isn’t that people judge others unfairly – who hasn’t done that? – but that the advent of the Internet has given all of these dumb thoughts a voice. A loud one.
All I see is beauty and strength. Also, how bad do I want this tennis dress?!
Travesty: Taylor Townsend, the number one ranked junior girls’ tennis player in the world, the reigning Australian Open singles champion and the junior Wimbledon doubles champion, and last Thursday she won two matches at the U.S. Open’s junior tournament, was recently forced to pay her own way to a tournament because “her coaches had declined to finance any tournament appearances until she lost weight.” Even though she was performing at a consistently high level they not only refused to pay her expenses but demanded that she drop out of the girls’ nationals competition earlier this summer and “embark on a more strenuous fitness program” to focus on losing weight. She withdrew. Ultimately the USTA cited health concerns saying their priorities are Townsend’s “long-term health, number one, and her long-term development as a player.” But is her health really in jeopardy?
According to new research, the answer is pretty definitively no. But Townsend’s case highlights the disconnect between what we think we know to be true about diet, exercise and weight and what the research is actually telling us. Three research studies over the past few weeks dispute the conventional wisdom and previous research and have basically made gray matter explode in scientific brains all over the country.
I never wanted to have to write this post. In fact, I wasn’t going to write it. Even though I’m living it. But then I talked to Gym Buddy Allison and she gave me a reality check – in her gentle, totally rational way that I love her for – that life is messy and you guys don’t expect mine to be any less so. The problem started, as it so often does with me, with weighing myself.
I know. I can feel the eyes rolling and the hands being thrown up in the air. When will I learn?
But I was doing so good with all of it lately! I think it made me feel a little cocky? And I’ve taken to posting on my birthday about how my Great Intuitive Eating Experiment is going and to do that I need to weigh myself. I really really wanted to be able to post and tell you guys that I’m still within a pound of what I weighed two years ago and isn’t Intuitive Eating wonderful and unicorns and rainbows and pooping marshmallows and all that? This year I didn’t expect a huge shock – I had to weigh myself for the Lifetime Fitness testing two months ago so I figured I’d still be pretty close to that – but I was so shocked when I stepped on the scale I almost passed out.
Seriously, there are no words for how much I used to love the parachute in gym class! Although it probably had a lot to do with the fact I got to hide and no one threw balls at me…
“Plus-Size friendly!” vs “No skinny people allowed!” is the difference between a market niche and an exclusionary tactic but either way you say it, according to the NY Daily News (I know, I know), it’s a strategy more and more gyms are embracing. But is separating the cream from the whey a good idea when it comes to fitness?
The Body Exchange in Vancouver, Canada, is one example of the newest wave in specialty gyms. They tout a “strict policy that only allows plus-size women to join” in order to create “a safe haven” for people of size who want to avoid “normal” gyms. CEO Louise Green explains that these types of gyms supply a vital need as “[overweight] people are often too fearful to become active. There wasn’t a model [in traditional gyms] that offered camaraderie.”
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.
Fact: 70-75% of how you experience flavor is due to your sense of smell.
Anecdote: A friend told me about a friend (isn’t this how all good anecdotes start?) who had lost his sense of smell in an accident and consequently lost 20 pounds easy-peasey because, in my friend’s words, “Everything pretty much tasted the same. Brownies tasted like whole wheat bread so why not just eat the bread then?”
At the time my eating disorder – one of several, is there such a thing as multiple personality disorder for EDs? – was in full swing and I fantasized about losing my sense of smell. Wouldn’t that be awesome?! I’d never have to struggle with my weight again! Of course I’d never be able to luxuriate in the smell of my baby’s hair fresh out of a bath or inhale a lilac so hard the petals shoot up my nose. And what’s Christmas without my homemade orange-cinnamon potpourri? Then I realized that while I really wouldn’t miss brownies much – they’re just kind of meh for me – I’d definitely miss being able to appreciate a fragrant curry or an almond sugar cookie.
“I like weights. You know where you stand with them. Well, sometimes you’re lying under them, trying not to let them crush you, but you see, you know they’d crush you if they could. There’s honesty.” – One of my all-time favorite quotes about fitness (truly, nothing is more honest than weight lifting!) from my Shape.com slideshow The Smartest Things Ever Said About Fitness.
One of the best things about my job, even better than getting to interview celebs like Allison Sweeney and Tony Horton, is getting to talk to all kinds of people and see how fitness has changed their lives. Sure weight loss comes up a lot – usually in the context of “What’s the fastest way to lose weight?” I like Oprah’s reply: “There is no easy solution. If there was I would have bought it and it would be one of my favorite things.” – but the most common benefits people see from exercise have to do more with how they feel than how they look. Recently I asked people on my Facebook what their fave fitness perk is. Confidence, a brighter mood, fewer meds and even a better sex life were just a few of the amazing stories shared.
This is a real book. The subtitle: “Naughty hypnosis to rocket your pulling power.” Egads, so many double entendres! My head might explode! It’s almost as if they can read my… Actually this has “unintended consequences” written ALL over it.
“If you could live longer as an obese person verses a thin person, how many years would have to be added to your life to make you choose obesity?” Gym Buddy Krista came up with this one-question survey for her final project for a graduate school course on overcoming weight bias. Go take her survey – take you 2 seconds! – and then come back here and tell me if you are surprised by the results. I sure was. But perhaps I shouldn’t have been. Unless you’re an alien invader (in which case, welcome, my kids have been expecting you) then you already know our society is weird about weight. You’re too fat. You’re too skinny. You’re never ever just right.
So it makes sense that in an effort to lose weight, people are willing to try almost anything. Some things like diet pills, diuretic teas, the latest cure-all book and tapeworms may make me cringe but at least I can understand them. Other things however, I don’t understand but I’m learning that some of these so-called alternative therapies work better than most people might think.
Fever dream or best idea ever for a Great Fitness Experiment? Admit it: she’s getting an awesome workout. (Click through to see the above video if it doesn’t show up in your e-mail or reader.)
Lying feverish and delusional in bed makes you think funny things. At first it was just stuff like “Can I be totally sweat-soaked and still be freezing?” and “I wonder if that noise means the children have emptied every cereal box in the house into a big pile and are jumping into it like leaves?” Answers: sadly, yes and even more sadly, yes. But as I got sicker, my brain got so much more fun. First it compelled me to watch every episode of Surviving the Cut thinking I might come up with some good ideas for future Great Fitness Experiments. (Let me ask the Gym Buddies how they feel about having their hands and feet bound and then thrown into a pool for “drown proofing” and I’ll get back to you.) Then it made me not only watch all the episodes of the first season of The Dollhouse but made me so consumed by it that it’s all I’ve been able to think about for three days.