Getting skinny will solve all our problems, right? We will be unconditionally loved by all, be able to run marathons in under three hours and, of course, be able to wear bikinis and heels to any occasion, including black tie events. As one does. At least that’s what all the diet ads say. But a new study says that not only does losing weight not make people happier, it can actually increase their risk of depression two fold.
Well this is uncomfortable. Confession: Even though I no longer diet or exercise with weight loss as a goal and I eat intuitively and exercise gently and I love and accept my body way more than I ever have in my entire life — even with all that, I still believe with all my heart that if I weighed 15 pounds less I’d be happier. I hate that thought still lives in my brain. I don’t act on it but it’s still definitely there.
This is so so true for me.
Colorado is a desert. A high plains desert, but a desert nonetheless. So why are we having this geography discussion (on a holiday, no less)? Not because I doubt your eremological skillz but because apparently I forgot where I live. It turns out deserts are known for being dry places and for the past year that I’ve lived here, while I’ve been slathering on lotion and chapstick to sooth my dry skin, it seems I’ve neglected my dry innards.
Let me back up: To the bathroom. (All good stories start or end in a bathroom.) Friday I started drinking. Not booze – I’m still a Mormon – but water. Lots and lots and lots of water. I’d noticed that the previous day I’d only drank about 8 ounces of water the whole day even though I’d worked out – and that wasn’t an unusual day for me. I just never feel thirsty. Yet eight measly ounces seemed a little nuts even for me so I Googled how much water someone of my height/weight/activity level should be consuming and ended up with the nice round number of 100 ounces, or about 3 liters a day. So I sucked it down. (Not all at once. That’s dangerous. More on that later.)
Leave it to Jimmy Kimmel and late night TV to be the harbinger of the next big thing in dietary science. I mean, he is the guy famous for the “I ate all your Halloween candy” videos after all. So when I read a new study about gluten sensitivity (or lack thereof, as you shall soon see), the first thing I thought of was his “What is gluten anyhow?” sketch a couple weeks ago where he asked people on a gluten-free diet what it is they’re hiding from. Jimmy makes all the science fun: (click through to see video if it doesn’t show up in your reader)
“I live in LA, eating gluten is akin to satanism.” [Truest sciencey science ever]
Gluten is a combination of two proteins found wheat, barley and rye. You’ll never be dumb again. You’re welcome.
Forget GMO’s (although did you see Vermont voted GMO labeling into law?), food additives and the Trix Rabbit – the scariest thing to affect our food is now something more global than a single ingredient or process. A LOT more global actually: climate change. According to a new report from the Harvard School of Public Health, the same juggernaut that’s killing rainforests and marooning polar bears on itty bitty ‘bergs is now striking even closer to home by changing our food. The scientists found that increasing levels of CO2 in the air are making plants – particularly grain crops – grow bigger, faster. Yippeee! But there’s a big downside. The plants have less nutrients in them, causing the researchers to predict a growing epidemic of malnutrition – even when there are sufficient calories. “You get big plants but nothing to eat,” they wrote.
Jelly Bean (r) and friends know they are working it.
90210 wasn’t really my jam. (Sure Luke Perry was cute and all but Jordan Catalano stole my flannel-shirt-wrapped heart on My So-Called Life. I’m a monogamous TV dater.) So Tori Spelling has never been one of those actresses I’ve had strong feelings about one way or the other. There was a brief moment when she had four kids close together while I had four kids close together that I got a little squishy feeling for her but that evaporated in a sea of tabloid covers. Yet she confessed something recently that’s been on my mind ever since:
In her latest book, Spelling It Like It Is, Tori actually admitted to lying to Us for a post-baby bikini body story to make her version of events more palatable. To lose weight after her fourth kid she said she went on the “Just Keep Your F*cking Mouth Shut and Eat Air diet.” But she knew that starvation wouldn’t make her relatable to new mothers struggling with their weight.
Face down on my yoga mat is my least favorite position. Mostly because I never remember to wash the thing and it does a really good job as a “sticky mat” as evidenced by all the little flakes of my skin all over it. (Side note: If I ever go missing, use my yoga mat for DNA evidence. It’s a gold mine.) As I lay there, I felt the heaviness on my chest — and not just the weight of my body pressing down on it. Sometimes with a heart break, it feels like my heart is literally breaking. My chest was so tight I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My shoulders ached from tensing up. My stomach churned with worry. I hate feeling like that but the more I try to push it away, the heavier all those feelings get.
So I’ll admit it: I wasn’t really paying attention to my yoga teacher. I was too much in my own head. And also I was really digging the music she was playing. (She loves neo-gospel and hip hop; not your traditional namaste birds chirping but I gotta say there is something so satisfying about flowing to Bottom of the River.) Then something penetrated my mental fog. “Lift up your eyes first and then raise your arms and legs,” she was saying. Eh, I thought, I’ve done Locust Pose a hundred times. I don’t need directions. But then she added, “You have to look up to lift up.”
Growing up, “food fight” didn’t necessarily mean gleeful spaghetti slinging or flour flinging, like in the movies. (Although there was the time my sister rolled in a plate of Jell-O. She was one. Of course we still tease her about it.) Sometimes a food fight just meant that we were arguing because we were hungry – Hiltons don’t tolerate low blood sugar well. I don’t remember who first made the connection between hunger and anger (probably my mom, she’s a very smart nurse and also, well, our mom) but I can remember more than one time where my mom charged into a screaming match with a granola bar in each hand, waving them at us and telling us to just eat something already. Of course I was insulted that she thought an oatmeal cookie was going to fix my VERY SERIOUS THANK YOU teenage problems. Yet it worked more than I’d like to admit.
Don’t get mad at me, the scientists said it. (Plus, you know how I love a good pun!)
Eating animals has been one of the greatest existential problems of my life. Which either means I’ve had a pretty easy life or I’m prone to dramatics. Both? Seriously though, the decision whether or not to eat meat has caused me more agony than childbirth. Hahahaha no. Childbirth was like PTSD-level pain. But it’s definitely worse than watching all 27 (ish) seasons of Friends and being disappointed that Ross and Rachel ended up together. Or even that time I chopped jalapenos and then took my contacts out with my fingers.
Part of the problem is that it never quite seems resolved to me. I was a vegetarian for years, a vegan for a couple of years and then after getting pregnant and completely flunking out of veggie school (I made out with a Big Mac in my car), I gave it up for good. I was happy being vegetarian but I began having health problems (you can read all the gory details here if you like) and this see-sawing was a major cause of my orthorexia. I just decided that if any research said a food was bad then I wouldn’t eat it. Turns out there’s a lot of research. Which is how I ended up with five safe foods and not being able to eat anything else! When I started intuitive eating, I realized that body intuitively wanted to eat dead animal carcasses. There’s no pretty way to put it but there it is.