Friday, October 30, 2009

Girls at "Weight Extremes" Less Likely to Practice Safer Sex

Oh, dear, although this does make sense considering our current cultural climate. Apparently, girls at "weight extremes" in other words overweight and underweight girls who are sexually active are LESS likely to engage in safer sex practices, specifically to demand condom usage, than "normal weight" sexually active girls.

The study (found HERE) finds that sexual risk taking is predictive by actual or perceived weight. Some of the findings include:

  • Caucasian girls who believed that they were underweight, whether accurate or not, were more likely to have had sex and to have had four or more sexual partners. Overweight Caucasian girls were less likely to use condoms.
  • Underweight African-American girls also were less likely to use condoms while overweight African-American girls reported four or more sexual partners.
  • Latina girls of all weights were more likely to engage in a wide variety of sexual risk behaviors -- lack of condom or oral contraception use, sex before age 13, greater than four sexual partners and use of alcohol.
Dr. Akers, the lead researcher, noted: "This study will contribute to sexual health education prevention efforts, which can be tailored to address how cultural norms regarding body size may influence adolescent sexual decision making. Knowing how a girl perceives her weight may be just as important as knowing her actual weight."

Weight and self-esteem are linked, this we know. Self-esteem is crucial for women and girls to insist on safer sex practices and to advocate for their own reproductive health as well as pregnancy planning and prevention. Some might take this study and say "yet another fallout of the obesity crisis" but that's bunk. The answer isn't more pressure to conform to a perfect size (for both the skinnier than average girls and the over weight girls), but to stress self-esteem development, accurate and sensible comprehensive sex education that includes life-planning skills--nothing can destroy a girls educational or economic prospects like an unplanned pregnancy and teen motherhood (less than 3% go on to finish a 4 year college degree by age 30 and only around 33% graduate from High School--teen motherhood is a recipe for poverty).

Of course comprehensive sex education is crucial for both boys and girls, but it is important to remember that girls carry (literally and figurative) most of the burden of unplanned pregnancy and that often the fathers of teen girls children are adult males, men typically five years older than their teenage baby-mamma. So, yes, a very specific kind of sex education that relates to body image needs to be used with girls. I think that separating the sexes in High School for some portions of a sex ed curriculum could be useful when discussing these gender specific anxieties and problems. And after the gang rape of that poor 15 year old girl by 10 boys in Richmond, California (with up to ten more witnesses who did NOTHING), I think that a rape and domestic violence prevention program is necessary in our schools written specifically for males. I'm not saying that the teacher will call all of your precious, darling boy children rapists (which is often the outcry one hears from parents of boys when they hear "rape prevention education" but that rape culture and "boys will be boys" memes should be discussed with young males to help them call out the everyday misogyny their experience/participate in.

Any who--lets hope that this study will help comprehensive sex educators better teach their subjects and that science based sex ed becomes the norm once again. I feel so sorry for those kids today who will (are) facing greater teen pregnancy levels and STD/STI rates due to the ABSOLUTE failure of Abstinence Only Education that had factual errors and lies at its core. Of course I don't want kids to have sex before they are able to handle a healthy sexuality (that means mutual pleasure and respect) as well as STD/STI prevention and pregnancy prevention--and generally I think that is possible after age 18 or so, and Comprehensive Sex Education should cover that (it doesn't mean that Liberals think Kindgarteners should start having origies like some of the Abstinence only people have implied). But most of all, it needs to be accurate and health oriented.

Quit Makin' Things Up

So, the Obama for America Foundation has a pithy little internet spot up about Palin's lies regarding healthcare reform. Each lie they "call out" is marked by Palin's refrain from her resignation speech, "Quit Makin' Things Up." I agree, quit making things up, Ms. Palin.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

October: Vegetarian Awarness Month, Who Knew?

So, apparently October is Vegetarian Awareness Month--who knew? Well, the month is almost over and I would have liked to have posted healthy and yummy vegetarian recipes each week in celebration. Instead, I elect November Flexitarian Month at FFFB and I'll post at least one Flexitarian recipe per week (Flexitarian simply means that you integrate meat/fish into your diet, but you try to limit the amount and you try to use non-meat based proteins in your general diet).

Healthy Food: What's That Again?

So, yesterday I had fast food for every meal--no joke. I've been incredibly busy and I just returned from a long road trip in which I took my eldest niece to visit the cutest college ever (good trip, bad eating). I don't even like fast food that much and I certainly don't feel nourished.

I'm back to faithful food blogging as soon as my camera cord (ordered off ebay) arrives. But in order to get back into the groove of healthy eating/exercise I'll do a written accounting of food/exercise until it comes.

This AM: oatmeal and water. Lunch will be an Amy's original and I'll go to the gym right after work. I need to drink lots of water today to rehydrate. I have hummus and laughing cow in the work fridge, but no veggies or apples to smear it on :( so I'll have to figure out a snack (maybe a granola bar from the campus bookstore? They have some healthy ones over there). Next week, I'll make my meals and bring salad mixings so that they are cut and prepared, but not already put into a finished salad (thus sogginess).

Chaos has abated since the fire, but I don't quite feel "back to normal" yet.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Taylor Lautner's Shirtless Pics: A Hollywood Double Standard?

So the commentary is Miley Cyrus backless in Vanity Fair versus Taylor Lautner shirtless facing forward in Twilight.

Remember the huge uproar in April 2008, when 15-year-old Miley Cyrus appeared in "Vanity Fair" wrapped in a sheet, with her right shoulder and the top of her back visible, implying that, under the sheet, she wasn't wearing a shirt?

Now, with the premiere of his movie, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," less than a month away, magazines, websites, and TV are blanketed with images of 17-year-old star Taylor Lautner, shirtless and showing off the body he trained for months to perfect for the role. And yet, none of the cultural critics who turned Miley's photos into a full-blown "scandal" have said a word about the sexualization of Taylor, who, at 17, is just two years older than Miley was during her "scandal" and is also a minor. So, does Hollywood have a double standard?

Well in my opinion all children need clothes on at all time and when need to stop over sexualizing children for "art", because every day neighborhood children are being exploited to full-fill the fantasies created by "art".

Also, teens don't need to be tempted to kill themselves with steriods and eating disorders to try to look like Miley Cyrus and Taylor Lautner. In real life you don't need to be underweight or 'cut' to go to Homecoming or to Chemistry class.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tiana Arrives at Disney World

Princess Tiana from Disney's upcoming film The Princess and the Frog arrived via horse drawn carriage to the Magic Kingdom's Castle this weekend. The movie opens in December and features Disney's first Black Princess, a needed addition to the pantheon of Disney characters.

Now, I think that this princessification of young girls lives is a bit dodgy and fairly essentialist, but regardless I think that little girls of all races and ethnic groups should have media characters who are heroic, spunky, and smart to look up to in age-appropriate films and TV shows. Mulan saves a nation, Pocohontus bridges the divide between two peoples, Cinderella & the Little Mermaid take charge of their lives by disobeying authority (okay, I'm hard pressed to find anything redeeming in Sleeping Beauty or Snow White's stories), Belle sees beyond a monster's mask to glimpse a man striving for redemption. Tiana, it seems from the trailer, will go on an adventure and will be an active participant in the storyline, not a passive Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. So, dear reader, planning to see the movie?

Check out the trailer:

Octo-Mom: How I Lost 145 Pounds!

Nine months after giving birth to octuplets, single mom Nadya Suleman is back into her pre-baby jeans after losing a staggering 145 pounds -- without the help of a trainer or plastic surgery.

There, she fits in thrice-weekly midnight workouts (while a nanny watches over her sleeping children) with strength training but no cardio. "I get enough of that with the kids," Suleman, who gets by on three hours of sleep, tells Us.But don't think workouts alone got the 5-foot-7 mom down to 125 lbs. -- Suleman maintains a strict diet, too.

Five protein-packed meals or snacks a day normally consist of "anything the kids are eating." Food staples in the Suleman household? Oatmeal, sushi, turkey, and even homemade baby food. "As long as it's nutritious, it's good to eat," the busy mom explains.

Of all the people in Hollywood. She is the only person I think does enough daily activity to lose baby weight that fast. Durning most photos she is carrying 3 babies at a time.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fat Girl: A True Story

Fat Girl: A True Story by Judith Moore is a book you can pass on by.

Here is the Amazon Review
Judith Moore's breathtakingly frank memoir, Fat Girl, is not for the faint of heart. It packs more emotional punch in its slight 196 pages than any doorstopper confessional. But the author warns us in her introduction of what's to come, and she consistently delivers. "Narrators of first-person claptrap like this often greet the reader at the door with moist hugs and complaisant kisses," Moore advises us bluntly. "I won't. I will not endear myself. I won't put on airs. I am not that pleasant. The older I get the less pleasant I am. I mistrust real-life stories that conclude on a triumphant note.... This is a story about an unhappy fat girl who became a fat woman who was happy and unhappy." With that, Moore unflinchingly leads us backward into a heartbreaking childhood marked by obesity, parental abuse, sexual assault, and the expected schoolyard bullying. What makes Fat Girl especially harrowing, though, is Moore's obvious self-loathing and her eagerness to share it with us. "I have been taking a hard look at myself in the dressing room's three-way mirror. Who am I kidding? My curly hair forms a corona around my round scarlet face, from the chin of which fat has begun to droop. My swollen feet in their black Mary Janes show from beneath the bottom hem of the ridiculous swaying skirt. The dressing room smells of my beefy stench. I should cry but I don't. I am used to this. I am inured." Moore's audaciousness in describing her apparently awful self ensures that her reader is never hardened to the horrors of food obsession and obesity. And while it is at times excruciatingly difficult bearing witness to Moore's merciless self-portraits, the reader cannot help but be floored by her candor. With Fat Girl, Moore has raised the stakes for autobiography while reminding us that our often thoughtless appraisals of others based on appearances can inflict genuine harm. It's a painful lesson well worth remembering.
--Kim Hughes

In my opinion the root of the author's problems is that she is crazy and not that she is fat. The author seems to never have gotten over the childish notion that "you are the center of the universe and every thing happens because of you". Even for the 196 pages that are the story, I would have had a better perspective on the thoughts of a fat person by reading Vogue Magazine.

As a fellow fat person, who is on a Weight Watchers to not be fat I can identify with fat discrimination. Yet this woman really wasn't experiencing fat discrimination most of the time. She was experience child abuse and that had nothing to do with fat and everything to do with the lack of parenting skills.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Being A Woman: I Am Not a Pre-Existing Condition Campaign

Check out the video above which is trying to call attention to the fact that simply by being a woman often means being charged up to 84% more for basic healthcare WITHOUT maternity coverage included. Healthcare reform is a woman's issue and it is a human rights issue. Check out the campaign and contact your representatives regarding the necessity of the Public Option.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

House Fire: Remember to Check Your Fire Alarms!

So, readers might remember my brother who ran/walked the Mid Summer's Night Run with me in August? Well, his house burned down. They are alive and well and that's the important thing, but I want readers to check your fire alarm battery sometime this week--it might save your life!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fat Talk Free Week

Fat Talk Free® Week (Oct 19 – 23, 2009) is an international, 5-day body activism campaign that draws attention to body image issues and the damaging impact of the thin ideal on women in society. This annual public awareness effort was borne from Tri Delta’s award-winning body image education and eating disorders prevention program, Reflections: Body Image Program™.

Check out a video on the topic Here.

What Healthy Habits Do You Enjoy?

An apple a day? Flossing after every meal? Taking the stairs at work? What healthy habits do you enjoy the most? Or, at least do the most regularly? Let us know in the comments!

Dr. Spaceman's Medical Advice--Don't Do Any of This At Home!!!

Three Deaths at the NYC Marathon

CNN mentioned last night that there were three deaths associated with this year's NYC marathon. Bloomberg says two HERE and they mention that there were three other cardiac arrests at the event. These were the first reported deaths associated with the famous run since 1994.

This sad for all involved and my condolences to their families and friends.

In an earlier post I noted a study showing that the after-effects of running a marathon (according to blood panels) looks a lot like a heart-attack. A marathon is a serious undertaking and there are risk as well as rewards. As with any exercise regime, its important to check with your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough to engage in the activity.

Marathon and triathlon competitions seem to be gaining more of a mainstream focus, as our general activity and fitness levels drop overall. It seems to be another symptom of the extremes American culture is predisposed to. I think that setting fitness goals (and sometimes using a race is helpful in that endeavor) can be a good thing, but running a marathon at the peril of your life is not worth it.

So, dear reader, let's set reasonable fitness goals for this week. I'm going to the gym Monday & Thursday and I'll walk Friday and do Pilates Saturday. If I get home in time, I might do a bonus Pilates workout Tuesday (business trip that day and Wednesday I teach until 9:00 p.m.).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

BlackFace French VOGUE Cover: High Fashion or Racist?

In the October issue of French Vogue, which is dedicated to "Supermodels," there are no black models. No Naomi Campbell, no Tyra Banks, no Iman, no Alek Wek, no Liya Kebede, no Chanel Iman. Instead, Dutch model Lara Stone appeared in a 14-page editorial in blackface.

I personally think this was done to drag away attention to the weight issue in the modeling industry.

I personally thought the pictures look nice. I thought it was high fashion. The model didn't look stereotypical even in blackface. Should it have been done maybe not.

Yet, since it was French Vogue and not American Vogue. I will give this topic a passing comment instead of a boycott call. Since I know very little about French History and Culture. Maybe they don't have the same offensive history with blackface that we have in America. If you check out the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University. You can see why American get so upset with blackface.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sarah Haskins is a Genius, That is All

Best Line evar: "So don't worry if you can't afford Botox, cosmetic surgery, dermabrasion, or a personal trainer. Just because you're not wealthy doesn't mean you can't get five easy installments." Yep, pretty much nailed it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Photoshop of RIDICULOUS

Just as an update to LisaD's post regarding Ralph Lauren's firing of Filippa Hamilton for being "too fat," I'd like to post the crazy photoshopped images of her (above) and another model (below) which are completely non-human looking. So, now Barbie Doll images aren't enough, you have to be a Bratz Doll? With freakishly large heads and stick-thin figures? Great, what's next? It is Halloween season, maybe let's go for the full-fledged skelton-chic? The thing about these images is that they are SOOOOO poorly photoshopped that you can tell how ridiculous and non-representative they are, but the majority of photoshopped images that are marketed to women and teens are a bit more subtle and therefore even more insidiously dangerous to our collective psyches regarding beauty industry standards and reality based beauty (or normalacy). Ralph Lauren will not get a dime from me--not that I could afford or fit into his clothes, but he does household goods (towels, shower curtains) and paint. So, dear reader, if you are fed up by the tryanny of the photoshop wand, consider avoiding RL products or drop them a line HERE.

Size 4 Model Fired for Being Too Fat

A 5'10", 120-pound model is claming she was canned by Ralph Lauren because she was deemed too large.

"They said I couldn't fit in their clothes anymore," Filippa Hamilton, a size 4, said on the Today show Wednesday.

Filippa Hamilton may haven't been fired for being to fat. She is not. I am fat. She is under weight.

But I feel that having a sample size under a size 6 is a crazy trend and uncalled for. I think the industry needs to changes, so people don't have to risk there health to keep a job. Just like we protect other people in other industries. We need to protect her.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Exercise & Self-Esteem

Great news, a new study shows that no matter your fitness level, engaging in a fitness routine helps to boost your self-esteem!

"This is an important study because it shows that doing virtually any type of exercise, on a regular basis, can help people feel better about their bodies," said Kathleen Martin Ginis, a kinesiology professor at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. "With such a large segment of the population dissatisfied with their physiques, it's encouraging to know that even short, frequent bouts of lower intensity exercise can improve body image."

I know that this is true for me--the act of exercise produces feel good neurotransmitters, but it also helps remind you that you do have the ability to alter or improve your body--you do have some control.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Drew Barrymore: Body Fuzion

Drew Barrymore hosted SNL this past weekend, but none of the skits were quite as funny as this "Body Fuzion" homage to 1980's exercise classics. Enjoy!

Splitsville: Madonna and Tracy Anderson

Former BFF's, Madonna and her controversial trainer, Tracy Anderson

So, apparently Madonna and her controversial personal trainer, Tracy Anderson have parted ways. The break-up comes after criticism of the pop icon's highly muscled arms and charges that she has become obsessed with exercise, working out 4-6 hours per day at times. It is also rumored that Madonna was not pleased with the Philippe van den Bossche, former director of her Raising Malawi Charity, leaving the post to join Anderson in New York as her new boyfriend.

Following the break-up, Anderson is now being sued by a former partner, Glynn Barbar, for $1 million dollars. He alleges that she swindled him our of $1 million in initial investments in her business and despite her evident success, she has not returned any of the venture funds to him. In the NY Post article, his English seemed a bit broken, so I hope he has contracts and documentation to back up his claims.

I'm not celebrating the demise of Ms. Anderson's business--and of course she still has her #2 client, Gwyneth Paltrow, at least two studios, and a DVD business. In previous FFFB posts, I've pointed out that Ms. Anderson claims that anybody can look like Madonna, which is patently false and which dismisses the value of body diversity. We've also called Ms. Anderson out for her size 0 perfection worship and the promotion of fitness routines that might fall in the exercise-bulimia category. Its crucial to remember that sometimes these media empires, particularly those that are predicated on flash-in-the-pan exercise fads are sometimes a house of cards. Ms. Anderson's fame and fortune seems to be just that. So, instead of trying to find the right exercise guru to fix our problems, let's all make a commitment to do something reasonable today. Thursday I went to the gym and got on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes (after having taken a mile walk as part of a campus Wellness activity), Friday and Saturday I helped a family member move (that's cardio and toning!), Monday I took a 50 minute walk outdoors, today I take another walk and I'll do a Pilates DVD (its Fall break, so I should be able to squeeze both in).

Reminder: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Do you remember to do your monthly breast-exams in the shower after your cycle? I don't--well, I seem to during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and then again, I remember in July near my birthday. Well, two out of twelve months isn't good enough! This year I'll remember to do it at least every-other month. How about you, let me know how superior you are to me in the comments!

Also, check out the Susan G. Komen Foundation for information about local Breast Cancer Awareness activities near you!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What is your shape?

Above is a graphic of the different body shapes. The above shapes are also known by other names such as:
  • Apple (triangle downward)
  • Banana or straight (rectangular)
  • Pear or spoon or bell (triangle upward)
  • Hourglass shape (triangles opposing, facing in)
What is your shape? Let is know in the comment section. I am a Spoon. My exact measurements are 47.5 -42- 51.5.
Here is a link about how to dress these body types when they are also plus sized.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Call Me Fat!

Thank you Funny or Die! So, apparently Nicole Eggert of Baywatch fame has been hounded by the tabloid media for gaining a few pounds over the past fifteen years and instead of doing a celebrity diet endorsement deal or developing an eating disorder, Ms. Eggert worked with the people over at Funny or Die to produce this pretty hilarious video. It starts out with the lame premise that two regular dudes want to get kissed by a hot female lifeguard, so they fake drowing and Ms. Eggert runs out to them (in her bikini) but they are SOOOO offended by her "still way thinner than regular woman body" that they shoe her away, only to drown in reality. They do all the gratuitious hot woman running on the beach shots of her abs, butt, and boobs and they have the Baywatch theme music in the background--its really kind of hard to accept that she's supposed to be "fat." The humor really comes out in the douchebags (two very not-hot "regular slubs") judging her. Anyway, its worth a peak.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Results Not Typical" No Longer Allowed in Diet Program Ads?

So, apparently, the Federal Trade Commission has decided that the warning "Results Not Typical" will no longer be allowed to be used in diet industry program advertisements.

Does this mean that Valerie Bertinelli and her cohorts will lose their sweet (pun intended) diet endorsement deals? I'm not hating on Valerie here--and that picture above of her in her bikini IS NOT TYPICAL of Jenny Craig clients. It may mean that diet programs will have to specify exactly what their celebrity endorsers did to attain their "not typical" results--like working out at the gym six days a week for four hours with a personal trainer in addition to their products/system. Or, might it mean doing more endorsement deals like Queen Latifah did with Weight Watchers where she lost her 10% and is therefore "less fat" but by no means a skinny-minny? That success seems more typical to me.

Obesity Benefits Penalty?

Check out this post over at Pandagon by Pam. Apparently, the state workers in North Carolina will soon get differing benefits for their healthcare policies dependent upon their BMI. Currently, all state workers are in an 80/20 plan, meaning the policy pays 80% of medical costs and the employee pays out of pocket 20%. Next year, individuals with a BMI of 40 or above will have to pay more out of pocket than lower BMI employees. The NEXT year, the BMI requirement shifts down to 35--so everyone with a 35 BMI or higher will have to pay more out of pocket for their healthcare expenses (even those unrelated to obesity).

There are several problems with this--its discriminatory for starters, but lets take all the justice issues out of the equation for a sec and just talk about efficiency. Is this program really designed to encourage people to get healthier or is it a punishment for the super popular whipping boy/girl, the fatties? I think the later rather than the former. For starters, reducing the income of the obese is not likely to help them (us) to afford the gym memberships, the fresh fruits and veggies and lean proteins, or the time (have to get a second job to cover the added expenses) to exercise and engage in a stress-reduction regime. Its a punishment and if you check out some of the message boards and blogs that are talking about this issue in North Carolina that Pam cites, the outright glee and sense of self-righteousness on the part of the fattie haters is evident. The "personal responsibility" troupe is brought out time and time again. But the truth of the matter is, there are a number of reasons someone might be obese or overweight (medication interaction, underlying conditions, disabilities, the shifting BMI standards, etc.) yet in spite of all that, obseity is also a collective, public health issue that has grown more and more common by our structural decisions as well as social customs. That is to say, the city and small town planning decisions that make the USA extremely car reliant directly impact our activity levels. The Agriculture Bill (which industry insiders like to call the Farm Bill, but its not about family farms, but factory farming and industrial, fossil fuel dependent agriculture) essentially has the American tax payer subsidizing the fast food and convenience food industries at the expense of our own health and interests. Labor laws did wonderful things in the 20th Century to improve the health and safety of industrial workers, but in the 21st Century we need more integrated exercise into the information and white collar, sendentary work life for our health and safety. Today, I work at a University, we had a Wellness Program sponsored mile walk. Many of the Dean's as well as support staff attended the event and it was to count as work time. It was nice--I got a free pedometer and a chance to take a walk. But once a year this does little to encourage administrators freeing employees to exercise. If they allowed hourly employees (and salaried, but still stuck to the desk employees) the freedom to take a mile walk 2-3 times a week without having to stay after the general working hours to do it, we would probably be MORE productive. Certainly happier and healthier. Integrated exercise into the workday will be key in the 21st Century, but it probably won't be commonplace unless we work to make it so. As a supervisor, you have to ask yourself: do I care about productivity and the health of my employees or following a set clock schedule (during which 1/2 of everyone screws off probably 2 hours a day surfing the net anyway)?

One thing that I find ironic about the NC state workers obesity punishment plan is that many of the people enjoying calling the fatties "fatties" or "irresponsible" or "lazy" or "ignorant" is that once the BMI punishment level shifts down to 35, many of fattie haters will then be enjoying the fruits of fattyland themselves (and whose to say it won't eventually fall to 25, which is the cut-off for normal/overweight?) Incentive programs work better than punishments, but you know what really works? A social committment to helping all individuals seek out the best health goals they can achieve. As a nation we are overworked, under-nourished, yet over-fed and seriously lacking in the kind of daily activity (like walking to the post office or fruit stand) that our healthier (yes, thinner) and more content European and Japanese counterparts.

Delta Style: Eve Wasn't a Size 6 and Neither Am I

I just finished reading Delta Burke's book Delta Style: Eve Wasn't a Size 6 and Neither Am I . I loved the book. It was very pro-self versus pro-plus size. She talks about how childhood experiences and how the Hollywood life made her do crazy things to be thin. She tells how age, experience, and therapy helped her come to love herself and apperciate her life and body more.

Here is a clip of Delta Burke as Susan Sugarbaker on Designing Women addressing her weight.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

30 Rock: My Favorite Show

This seriously has nothing to do with the mission or vision of this blog, its just a shameless plug for my favorite show 30 Rock. Above you'll find an extended sneak-peak at the season to come!

The Young Invincibles

Above you'll find a video sponsored by The Young Invincibles

The mission of this organization is to get 18-34 year olds (those who often go without health insurance because of a variety of reasons such as low paying or non-paying entry level jobs or internships, aging out of parental health insurance coverage, and of course the sense that they (we--I'm still in that demographic for the interim) are INVINCIBLE) involved in the healthcare debate.

I was starting to feel seriously depressed about how far down the crazy hole this debate (and the horrible media coverage accompanying it) got. I'm starting to feel an upswing.

Check out this MSNBC video in which Betsey McCaughey is taken to task by the host for her blatant disregard for answering questions (Jon Stewart on the Daily Show also called her out for outright lying about the text of the bills by bringing out a printed copy and asking her to read from the sections she cites as evidence for "Death Panels"). These take-downs are crucial, but they also beg the question: why are outright liars and loons given media attention in the first place?

Weight Watcher's Fast Food Recomendations

Below are is a sampling of WW points for some fast food favorites. Please note that when you are on Weight Watchers maintenance you get about 18-20 points a day. Therefore, eating fast food and staying skinny are hard to do.

For 4 POINTS values
-Blimpie Chef Salad (without dressing)
-Subway Roast Beef, Turkey or Ham Sandwich

For 5 POINTS values
-Large Au Bon Pain Split Pea Soup Six-inch Subway Turkey Breast Sub
-Taco Bell Soft Beef Taco or a Tostada

For 6 POINTS values
-Arby's Light Roast Turkey Deluxe Sandwich and a side salad with 1 packet reduced-calorie Buttermilk dressing
-Au Bon Pain Ham & Cheese Croissant
-One Hardee's fried chicken leg and a small serving of mashed potatoes
-A KFC Extra Crispy Chicken Drumstick with Skin plus 1 small piece corn on the cob and a serving of green beans

For 7 POINTS values
-Wendy's Jr Hamburger with a side salad and half a packet of fat-free French dressing
-McDonald's Grilled Chicken California Cobb Salad with 1 1/2 oz Newman's Own Lighten Up! Low Fat Family Recipe Italian Dressing

For 8 POINTS values
-Hardee's Regular Roast Beef Sandwich Dairy Queen Homestyle Cheeseburger
-1 pizza Little Caesar's Pizza Baby Pan! Pan!

For 9 POINTS values
-Burger King TenderGrill Chicken Sandwich with Honey Mustard
-Chick-Fil-A Chicken Caesar Cool Wrap McDonald's Filet-O-Fish

For 10 POINTS values
-One serving each of Boston Market's skinless rotisserie turkey breast, savory stuffing, new potatoes and green beans
-Hardee's Hot Ham 'N' Cheese Sandwich

For 11 POINTS values
-Long John Silver's 1 serving breaded clams and a regular fries -McDonald's Hamburger and a small serving of fries

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sherri Shepherd Still Has Jiggly Thighs

Sherri Shepherd is quoted as saying:

"I'm a real woman. I still have my jiggly arms and jiggly thighs that could start a fire," The View co-host, 42, said at the New York Film Festival screening of her movie Precious, which opens nationally Nov. 6. "I'm not trying to look like Kim Kardashian, unless I can get a Lamar Odom like Khloe," she joked.

So far she has some perspective about her weight loss. Hopefully she stays that way. Sometimes losing weight can send you into an eating disorder. I am happy for her. Showing the health-based wait loss doesn't always equal a bikini. Note: she wore a one piece on The View.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Mo'Nique Show: 2009: Update

Mo'Nique has a new talk show primering tonight 11/10 Central on BET. Here is the link to the official show site. Below is a clip about her weight loss being about living a long life versus vanity.

Well I watched the first show. It was a positive show. Yet it was erratic. Maybe it will grow on me.

My favorite part of the show were her plus size opening dancers.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Alternet has one of their ubiquitous conspiracy theory style stories up regarding the "obesity epidemic" and endocrine disruptors. Its a general overview of recent research regarding chemical interactions (from our common household products like shampoo, make-up, cleaners, plastic containers, pesticides, etc.) with the human body (or many many rat bodies, really) and the increase in obesity. Some of the research was preliminary and mainly dealt with animal populations, but one strong statement from the Endocrine Society I would like to take seriously here said:

In June, the Endocrine Society, a nearly century-old international association of endocrinologists, issued a statement in which its position was clear. In a 50-page paper, the first scientific statement issued by the society, authors wrote: "We present evidence that endocrine disruptors have effects on male and female reproduction, breast development and cancer, prostate cancer, neuroendocrinology, thyroid, metabolism and obesity and cardiovascular endocrinology. Results from animal models, human clinical observations and epidemiology studies converge to implicate EDCs as a significant concern to public health.

I do think that we need to be more critical of the chemicals we use (for the Earth's health as well as our own) and I think studies should be well-funded and peer-reviewed. Due to industry pressures, many of these studies remain fringe, but as an individual who values good science I will not make blanket statements about their influence on our lives, health or weight. There's a couple things I want to mention in relation to this article: 1. the tone was so tabloidy for the most part it was hard to take seriously. 2. She mentions lifestyle conditions, like lack of exercise and fast food behind much of the obesity increases in recent years, but then does the whole "its not your fault its the chemicals" ploy, which to me is very diet of the week in Women's World or Redbook.

The fact is, its really complicated. Except for a few cities (hey, NYC) most people rely on cars for transportation for the simple daily tasks of life instead of walking. Senditary, desk work--with few breaks for exercise or sunlight--is the norm. The fast food culture isn't just that of McDonald's, but also sit-down restaurants and boxed family meals for at-home heat-up. Real food is rare. We get too little sleep, not enough exercise, and we eat crap. And some people are still thin, amazing (those people have metabolisms that astound me). Also, lets not forget the BMI's changed a while back making more people officially fat when they were considered fine before and we have a messed up beauty industry that promotes 100lbs, 5'10'' glamazons who take drugs to be that thin on every magazine cover and advertisement (including fast food advertisements). So, yes, these Obesogens (its a new word one of the researchers coined if you want to read the whole article) may very well contribute to our problems, but we got MANY PROBLEMS.

Personally, I'd like to take back my life--my 40 minute commute each way ain't helping me to exercise or sleep. I'd like to not be glued to a desk all day, but be paid for work, not time. I'd like fresh, organic fruits and veggies to get subsidies, not High Fructose Corn Syrup (which does get HUGE subsidies). I don't want to have to reach for the 100lbs glamazon "ideal" but for what is really healthy--thank goodness I've let that thing go. Right now, I wanna be less fat and more fit, but I want to be able to maintain, not stress about holding onto a weight I can't really do. To do this, I need to change the way I interact with the world. Take stock regarding what is really important. I'll update you all on some changes later in the week.



Friday, October 2, 2009

Plus Sized Models on Ellen

Check it out, a longer version is HERE

Discuss in the comments!

Food for Thought

Rio de Janiero Wins 2016 Olympics Behind Lula; Chicago Is Last
Chicago was eliminated in the first round when it got 18 votes, to Madrid’s 28, Rio’s 26 and Tokyo’s 22. In the second round, Rio got 46 votes, Madrid 29 and Tokyo 20, dropping out

Has anyone thought a reason the Olympic committee didn't think Chicago, USA was because to many Americans are overweight. When I think athletics I don't think USA.

Note: This is a just a personal thought shared out loud.

Don't Forget to Eat Your Veggies!

Just a friendly reminder from your neighborhood baby pigmy hippo:
Don't Forget to Eat Your Veggies!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Aftermath of a Marathon: Your Blood Panels Look Like You Just Had A Mild Heart Attack???

Okay, I'm not going to pretend to secretly hope to be one of those individuals who loses a ton of weight and then runs a marathon--an improved brisk walking pace on a 5k is more my goal (and the ability to do some more advanced yoga).

According to several recent studies:

Last year studies were conducted in Australia, Canada, and Germany measuring the effect running a marathon had on the hearts of elite to novice runners. Tests were given on the participants immediately before and after running a marathon. The end findings were similar across the board — the participants showed marked blood indicators of cardiac damage.

“We measure those same blood markers when someone comes in to the emergency room and we suspect a heart attack,” says Davinder S. Jassal, MD, an assistant professor of cardiology, radiology, and physiology at the University of Manitoba as told to the New York Times. Blood profiles like those displayed by the runners are similar to those in a very mild heart attack.”

The coverage of the study didn't say whether post-race day blood work was used to determine the long-term damage of marathon running. The myth behind the marathon includes the tidbit that the man who ran the 26 mile distance, Tippets, dropped dead after delivering his message in Athens of the Greek victory over the Persians--okay, to be fair, he had allegedly also run 140 miles in 36 hours to beg the Spartans for aid and then back again, then fought in the battle, and then run the last 26 miles after victory--so, the marathon distance alone was not the legendary culprit behind his death).

Regardless, with triathlons, ultra-triathlons (extreme long-distance events covering 320 mile distances) and other extreme sports out there today, its important to remember the human body has limits. Many runners might take offense at this studies results because it calls into question how "healthy" extreme demonstrations of "fitness" can be. I say, evidenced based scientific research is important and should be used to give individuals a good understanding of the risk and rewards of endurance training and race-day impacts on the body.

Challenge: do something for fitness this weekend that you haven't done in a while. I'll do the same.

This Again, S'riously?

So, eschewing my coffee in the AM all week and I'm back on a serious Diet Coke/Coke Zero/Cherry Coke (yes, I had a real, calorie laden Cherry Coke at lunch yesterday) binge. This was so not the plan and I'm even feeling a bit acidy--which might come from, you know, all the acid in soda. I think that, in my mind I was going to "get on the wagon" with a more planned and sensible eating and exercising regime this weekend, so this soda thing was only temporary. Were those conscious or unconscious thoughts? I can't quite tell--they were fleeting in and out of my consciousness, never trespassing too long. Regardless, they offered justification for a bender. I'm not beating myself up about this--certainly a diet coke addiction shouldn't be compared seriously to alcohol or drugs, but it hadn't done me any physical or financial favors.

I'm going to try a couple of these soda alternatives suggested at Mark's Daily Apple:

One of my favorite herbal teas is a Thai delicacy: iced lemongrass tea. Get a few stalks of lemongrass, trim and peel them, then cut and smash the stalks with the flat of knife blade to release the “juices.” Bring them to a boil in a pot of water and cover. Cut the flames and let it steep for twenty minutes. At this point, I’ll even add a touch of real sugar for some sweetness, but you can leave it out. I prefer this stuff chilled, but you can drink it hot. Optional: add fresh mint leaves.

Another tea I like to make is iced ginger root tea with lime. Depending on your tolerance for ginger, peel and grate a sizeable amount of ginger root. Boil it in a pot of water, then reduce the heat, cover it, and allow the concoction to simmer for twenty minutes. Add the juice from five limes and let it cool before drinking. Pour it over ice when it gets hot. Some claim ginger tea promotes digestion and fights cold symptoms; I just like it because it tastes great.

Kava root tea is another interesting one. Traditionally consumed throughout Polynesia, Vanuatu, and Melanesia, kava is a mild sedative that relaxes without disrupting your mental alacrity. You can find it at health food stores, and it actually tastes pretty foul, but it’s an incredibly relaxing way to spend an evening. Just be sure you strain out the actual root (you don’t want to gag; cheesecloth works best here, especially if you have kava powder) and you avoid steeping it over 140 degrees (which is the temperature at which the active ingredients are destroyed). It won’t win any taste tests, that’s for sure. There’s also some evidence that excessive amounts are hard on the liver, so be cautious, but a single glass won’t hurt you every once in awhile.

And of course, my old standbye--iced blueberry herbal tea with green tea and cranberry juice (and a splash of stevia) pre-brewed and brought in old water bottles.

Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat?

Eating disorder activists Claire Mysko and Magali Amadei's have written a new book, Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat?

The book deals with the anxieties and fears women have regarding pregnancy weight and the celebrity baby-bump watching phenomenon that is making these fears (and expectations of losing "baby-weight" two weeks after giving birth) more and more common.

Jezebel gives a good account of the research found in the book here. But reading Jezebel's comments kind of freaked me out more than the snippet of the book!

Here's a couple:

as a recovering anorexic that didn't tell her doctor about her ED past (because of insurance issues, but that's a whole other post!), i completely agree that pregnancy & the associated weight gain/loss
obsession can wreck havoc on you. i was pretty seriously underweight when i got pregnant and ended
up gaining 42 much-needed pounds. and of course, getting scolded by my doctor and nurses.

i became so fixated on the weight that i had a severe relapse. as in, i was back in my pre-pregnancy
clothes 2.5 weeks after giving birth because i simply didn't eat. and even my family, who knew about my
ED, were just so impressed and constantly cooing about "how quickly i lost the weight!". it wasn't until
months later that anyone realized i was back to being under 100lbs.

so please, if you know a friend of family member has/has had an ED, try to talk to them and make sure
they aren't absorbing these terrible messages.


I will admit that part of the reason why I don't want children is the weight gain and everything else it
does to your body.

I'm heavy, but short and shapely (think a shorter, much darker version of Joan). I'm finally at a place
where I'm mostly comfortable with my weight. I finally stopped weighing myself every other day, but
that's only because I found out that my scale is off by several pounds and haven't purchased another

I know this isn't realistic, but my goal is to simply stay the size I am now for the rest of my days.
Knowing that a pregnancy can alter my body and make it impossible to get back to my smallest size just
isn't acceptable for me. And my skin scars at the tiniest thing. So my future child would cause me to
become this great big whale with authentic markings and push me into the official "Plus Size" section,
preventing me from ever slipping into designer clothes.

I just made myself really depressed. And realize that I have serious body image issues. Damn

WOW! Seriously, wow! I really do want to send out healing energy to those two commenters--so in no way by quoting from them do I want that taken as criticism and I'm really glad that they shared regarding this issue. Birth and pregnancy is a major life-transformation as well as physical transformation and adding this crazy making celebrity obsessed standard of bikini body ready two weeks, a month, six weeks into the equation is cruel and dangerous. We've covered this issue before, but in times like these, where a Senator states in a committee meeting on CSPAN that maternity coverage isn't necessary in a health-care package, we really do need to take some stock in how birth and pregnancy are viewed, in pop-culture and in those important value statements, health-care budgets (yes, your country's budget is a statement of VALUE).

The anti-abortion advocates like to sweep under the rug the fact that serious complications from pregnancy can result in a woman's death or her overall health (think permanent blindness, diabetes, the diminishment of heart, kidney function, and liver health, let alone a host of other problems). This move to systematically hide the side-effects of a complicated pregnancy is political--only dirty sluts have abortions, afterall, goes the refrain. Coupled with celebrity baby-bump culture, healthy and wanted pregnancies (and the realities of birth, unaided by baby-nurses or nannies) can be quite shocking to new mothers (and supportive fathers). Healthy pregnancies, pregnancies that encounter complications--both are extremely hard on the body and sometimes spirit, but that has to be swept under the rug, hidden from view. Considering that a sitting male Senator doesn't see the necessity for maternity coverage to be included in mandates for healthcare policies, its little wonder that the realities of pregnancy and child-birth are so removed from the cultural framework.

The pressures for perfect baby-bumps (which I think means, stick thin arms/legs, perfect basketball like roundness about the abdomen--and if you gain too much weight, which most celebrity watchers thought Salma Hayek did, you get ridiculed)--are now considered standard for all women. Nothing ever goes wrong in pregnancy--those slutty feminists need to shut up already. And of course, healthcare policies don't need to cover a silly thing like maternity care, isn't that elective, like a nose job or breast enhancement anyway? Ugh, the stupid burns. I think that studies and books like "Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat?" are needed and whether or not you intend, or never intend, to become a biological or adoptive mother, think about checking out Mom's Rising
an advocacy group that seeks to enact progressive policies that support work/life and family balance--ideas that are good for single, child-free people as well as marrieds w/ children and single parents as well.

Scarlett Johansson Slams "Ridiculous" Articles About Her Weight

Scarlett Johansson is over endless speculation about her weight.

"There was this rumor mill cranking out stories that I had lost 14 pounds -- I could never lose 14 pounds," the actress, 25, tells the November issue of Glamour. "I hate seeing these ridiculous articles where [tabloids] guess someone's weight.

"I can't look at somebody who is 6 feet tall and 120 pounds and say, I'm going to get that body. That's just never going to happen," she admits.

I am not buying her commentary. She is either lying or there is a whole lot of airbrushing going on. Even in a previous blog we discuss how the director commented on her not eating to fit into her costume. So either she is on a crazy Hollywood diet or she is airbrushed often.