Indecisions of Greatness

 

I don’t think I’m alone in hating decisions. They’re hard. They suck up your life energy.  Before I make a decision, I feel like my stomach is going to fall through my asshole.  Immediately afterwards, I feel like a wet rag and my brain hurts.

I’m working on getting better at making decisions. I’m meditating, thinking, and trying my best to generally chill the fuck out.

But until then, I’ll be making indecisions. Specifically, indecisions of greatness.

Indecisions of greatness happen when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, but at least you’re doing something that’s good for yourself. Or at least less bad for yourself than something you might otherwise do.

Example 1. I’m stressed about something that comes up with work.   I don’t know what to do. Normally, I might procrastinate and eat a delicious bagel filled with all of my favorite things. Today, I’ll procrastinate by going for 10 minute walk.

Why is this good?: I’m still procrastinating, so I suck. But maybe by channeling my procrastination in a slightly better way, I’ll feel slightly better about myself in general, therefore slightly less anxious, and therefore slightly less likely to continue procrastinating. I’ll probably continue to procrastinate, but at least I’ve improved my odds.

Example 2. I don’t know what’s going on with my life, and I’m sad. Sundays in particular make me sad.  I really want to light up a bowl and become one with my couch.  Instead, I will make an indecision of greatness. Maybe I’ll still light up a bowl, but I’ll tune into a Continuing Legal Education course instead of succumbing to another season of Hoarders.  And maybe I’ll take notes. And maybe I won’t light up that bowl after all.

Why is this good?: I’m still self-medicating and sloppy, but at least I’m not watching Hoarders. I’ll become a better lawyer (and arguably BETTER at being lazy).  Maybe that course will help me get better at helping someone else someday. Maybe I’ll forget the whole thing.  But if I’m using my sloppy Sunday for even .001% self-improvement, I’m making an indecision of greatness. And that is OK.

Indecisions are not good. But indecisions of greatness are better than indecisions of sorrow. They might not be a step forward, but at least they are not a step backward.

You can’t always be on the ball. Because the ball is round, legs are not good at standing on balls, and learning balance takes practice.

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Passing Over the Good Stuff

I’m Jewish. So … tonight we celebrate something weird.

First, we celebrate our emancipation from slavery in Egypt.  Not so weird.

Second, we celebrate that time when God decided to kill all of the first born sons of Egypt, sparing all the Jews. To tell us apart, God advises us Hebrews (and Shebrews) to spread blood all over our doors with a lamb shank. Then God goes on a GTA style killing spree, “Passing Over” the first born Jewish boys and killing only the gentiles. How nice.

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Herman’s face when I told him God only spared the Jewish puppies.

Let’s Talk About Food

…Yada yada yada… God is weird, and here we are countless years later commanded to dine on salty eggs, horseradish, and flavorless crackers the size of large plates.  Score one for God in the WTF department.

No matter what we’re commemorating, the story eventually gets lost as culture and tradition (AKA FOOD) take the spotlight.

…At some point God killed all the Egyptian babies and then we spent some years wandering in the dessert. Is it so wrong to suggest that God’s killing spree and the act of eating chocolate matzoh until your stomach explodes are tenuosly connected, at best?

Passover versus Passover

Holidays are a nice time to eat together with family and friends. They can also derail your weight loss efforts, or provide a convenient excuse for days of overeating.  For many, there is the added pressure of relatives who insist you “have a little more.”

Passover, in particular, is not known for the delicious food. Due to the many food restrictions  that apply during this seven day period, we eat many specialized foods that are only available during this time of year. We might even justify eating vast quantities of “Kosher for Passover” desserts even if we don’t normally eat desserts, and even if those desserts don’t taste very good. We’re only human, and the “limited time only” aspect gets us. Every time.

But ultimately, the choice is yours! There are TWO WAYS you can use the word “Passover” at feast tonight.

Option one: Passover the [Insert food item here]

In this case, you want to consume a comestible, but it is across the table. Examples include:

  • “Hey you – Passover the macaroons”
  • “Grandma, could you Passover the salt please?”
  • “Would anyone mind Passing over that flourless dessert?”

Option two: Passing over [insert poor food choice here].

In this case, you pass over a second helping, or even a first helping of a most likely gross tasting Passover dessert. Examples include:

  • “Eh – I’ve already had enough tsimis. I’ll pass over that second helping.”
  • “Oh, thank you. But I’ll pass on the chocolate matzoh.  Look at all this yummy fruit.”

_____________

All of this is just a long-winded way of getting to a few fairly obvious points.

  1. Eventually, everything turns into an excuse to eat food. If you don’t have an excuse to eat more than you should, you will find one.
  2. That’s OK – it’s our human nature to feast. Humans like feasting, and that’s OK. You can let go every once in a while on a holiday. No one gets fat because of one Passover meal.
  3. On the other hand, the choice is yours. If you don’t want to make the hard sacrifices that fitness often requires, that’s fine. But recognize that the choice is yours. Don’t say “oh today’s not a good day to diet – it’s Passover.” You can make good choices at Passover, or you can make bad choices at Passover. No one is holding you down to the chair and force-feeding you lamb shanks. Unless of course, someone is holding you down to the chair and force-feeding you lamb shanks.
  4. You can politely decline. Jewish people want to feed you. But you are in control of what goes in your mouth. It’s nice if you try a little bit of things that people cook, and show some appreciation. But it’s also nice for people to respect your choices. You can politely decline whatever you don’t want to eat, and that won’t make you a heathen. If it offends people, oh well. That’s their problem – unless you make it your problem.

To me, most Passover food tastes as weird as its origin story. So I’d rather not overeat at the Passover table.

I don’t think God likes gluttony, and I don’t think it’s important to him that you overeat. I  believe that God favors those who take steps towards their own self-actualization and happiness.

Is a little overeating on a holiday OK? Sure.
Is a lot of overeating on a holiday OK? Sure.

Everything is OK, provided that you are making the choice that YOU want to make.

As for me? I’ll be “passing over” some things, and taking second second helpings of others.

Happy Feasting.

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For All the H8ers

I’d like to do a quick “real talk” piece.

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For the past 2 years, I have worked immensely hard to undo the amount of weight I managed to put on by being careless with myself and my needs. Recently, I have been able to “normalize” my life for the most part but the first year was hardly an awesome time. I gave up my social life 100%, focusing entirely on my goal. When I wasn’t working, I was working out, planning my meals for the week or getting a healthy nights sleep. I wasn’t going out to eat or for drinks with friends, because that meant taking in calories and wasting valuable workout time which would set me back or delay my progress. For a 27 year old girl, this made me a true lame-ass.

During the course of that lame time, I lost 100 lbs. While I still feel I have a long road ahead of me in terms of toning up and getting in shape, I do commend myself as the loss of general mass is now behind me. I have been committed to working out, trying new exercises and eating right to be the healthiest and fittest version of myself. (Of course, there is now the occasional evening reserved for wine and Chinese food, too.)

Now, I get it, when you look at my before and after pictures (which I will save for another day) you will think: “Wow, she is completely different!” And thats a good thing! Thanks for thinking that! I DO feel completely different: I am mentally and physically improved! Hooray! Right? Yes! BUT! (and there is always a “but-clause” to good things, isn’t there?) I can’t tell you how many people have been throwing madd shade my way in the form of implications and quite obvious accusations that I am a success story because I used some kind of crutch or have developed some kind of eating disorder. Many have asked in an accusing tone: “What did you take or do to lose that? There is NO WAY you did that all THAT FAST through just diet and exercise.”

Now here’s the weird part: I actually did!

I eat when I am hungry, I don’t when I am not. I am thoughtful in what I choose to eat. I developed a healthy relationship with food. We like each other now, and help each other out. I am diligent in being active and challenging/pushing the limits of my body constantly, and therefore, constantly impressed with how strong my body can be if I allow it the opportunity to work for me. YET, in way too many casual chit-chat situations, people have made comments that throw me back to the horrific and awkward days of middle and high school: days I praised the higher powers that be that they were over with: days when peers would make comments, some more pronounced than others, about how I was about to purge my McNuggets. And simply put, purging a ‘nug just ain’t my thing.

I thought in adult life you get past these comments and judgements, but I guess not. I find myself cautiously eating my delightful cobb salad knowing that taking too few bites could lead them to believe I’m anorexic and taking too many bites means I am bulimic and plotting my direct route to the porcelain throne.

This is distressing. We are all adults here.

I remember reading an article about an interview with a Victorias Secret model during the Victorias Secret Fashion show this year. The reporter asked the model what food she is eager to gorge on once the show is over. Insulted, the model pointed out that she doesn’t live by starving herself only to binge eat later when she no longer has to look beautiful for an audience. It was powerful, as the reporter, a beautiful woman herself, probably realized that she also feels the pressure of having to be “on” all the time in her job and how invasive questions about each persons journey to achieve and maintain health and wellness can be pretty negative and, well, judg-ey.

So listen here, folks – here is my story and I am sticking to it: I launched into obesity, just so happened to notice it and ever since have been working my ass off to ensure I never slide into bad habits again. Maybe you feel you are complimenting me when you say I am “too thin” but as a 125 lb, female at 5’6″, I am not in the danger zone and you’re just making me feel weird.

Let’s reel this all in because you are probably now all like, “What the hell is she rambling on and on about?” Here’s the short answer: These comments hurt and they’re just terribly rude. I have far from taken the “easy way out.” And, rather than honor my work, or throw some positive vibes my way, I constantly encounter people who have has just a little too much hater-ade.

Relax everyone! We are all here to support each other and lift each other up – especially us women. Come on, we are better than that!

Lastly, if you do see someone who is actually struggling with an eating disorder, what good do comments do anyway? This is a person who really needs help and support, not comments. Comments is likely what got them to where they are in the first place. Realize that body image issues are real, everyone, even the fittest most beautiful woman in all the land feels self conscious at times. We need to respect each other and ourselves in order to success and promote the success of others.

Be kind everyone,

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KEFIR!

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jw;ildjas;od;aksd;lk!!! I love Kefir.

I just bought Kefir for the first time in about a million years, and I want to slap myself in the face for every minute of my life that I wasted not drinking it.

For those unfamiliar with Kefir, it’s a fermented drink made with “kefir grains.”  Kefir is full of gut-heathy probiotics, and milk kefir tastes like sour milk in the best possible way.

Fun fact: Traditionally, kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway. The bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed. #AncientEfficiency

Benefits of Milk Kefir:

Ideally, you can make your own Kefir using kefir grains or a starter kit. That, my friends, is some next level shit.  And as a next level person, I plan on trying that soon.

For now, I’ll continue to fulfill my lazy destiny by purchasing this brand (the only brand) at my local grocery store.  Check out all the Live! Active! Cultures!

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This drink has more culture than I do.

Unlike most probiotic foods that I force down my gullet (ahem ahem Kimchi), I actually enjoy Kefir because it tastes awesome and I feel good drinking it.

Drink on!

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Losing weight is hard. Maintaining it should not be.

People say that losing weight is easy, while maintaining weight loss is hard. Well, people say a lot of things. And since I’m a person, I’m going to say a thing also.

Losing weight is hard. Maintaining it should not be.  And if maintaining weight loss is hard, it probably means that you’re eating the wrong things.

Why is losing weight hard?

I can’t imagine how losing weight can be easy. I lost weight slowly over a period of two years. I had a goal in mind, and I never faltered. I’m still not 100% there, but I am closer every day.

And guess what. It was HARD as hell. It remains hard. Because in order to lose weight, no matter how you do it, you are starving in some sense. You need your body to use what it has by not giving it what it wants. And that’s hard.

Before your body starts losing weight, you need to burn through: 1) the glucose in your blood; 2) the glycogen in your muscles; and then and only then will it begin on fat reserves.

Sure, there are harder things than losing weight. And sure, there are things you can do to make it less hard. But it’s hard nonetheless, and I have no doubt that some days you will just want to give up.

Why Maintaining Weight Should Be Easy

How did you get heavy in the first place?

Chances are you ate too much crap. But that doesn’t mean it was entirely your fault. Yes, you made bad choices.  You probably either made:

  • very bad choices over a short period of time, OR
  • slightly bad choices over an extended period of time

But in any event, you were under the influence of the food industry, and also of silly FDA guidelines which don’t make much sense. You were getting unfit in an unfit world. And that’s OK.

Sure – it make sense, from the standpoint of biological fitness, for many of us to overeat when food is abundant. Who knows – you might even be genetically or culturally pre-disposed to this issue. And that sucks.

But pre-dispostion won’t keep a mindful and well-informed person fat. Because your fitness level is based more than anything on:

  • the foods you eat; AND
  • the habits you maintain.

The foods you eat are based on availability and your habits. And if you’ve been overweight, then the chances are the you probably formed some bad eating habits. And that’s OK. It’s hard to form fit habits in an unfit world.

But now that you’ve lost the weight, you’ve had the chance to build good habits! Or one would hope.

If you’ve truly build good habits – you can relax a little. All you need to do is maintain those good habits and you should maintain your loss. Of course old ways can come creeping back. So stay mindful.

But if you haven’t built good habits – you need to keep working. Not at losing weight, but at building those good habits. Because good habits are what you need to maintain your weight without suffering. Eating well needs to be your preference! And it can be.

FAQ’s

Are there factors other than good habits that might make maintenance hard? Sure. You might have sleeping issues, or hormonal issues. Or you might be largely sedentary due to a medical condition. But habits are important. You cannot stay fit without good habits.

Will your metabolism slow with age? Yes. You’ll need to make adjustments for all sorts of reasons: age, varying activity levels, etc. But now all you need to do is fill your body with good stuff, and you will stay at a healthy weight.

Take Notice

Maybe this all seems obvious, or easier said than done.

But it’s important to take notice of the power of habit. And it’s important for you to be able to look at yourself and figure out whether you’ve TRULY formed good habits – or whether, on the other hand, those habits are superficially or weakly engrained.

Because if you think maintaining your weight is hard, then it’s likely that your good habits aren’t strongly engrained in your mind.  In this case, it might be helpful for you to think about ways that you can further strengthen your habits. For more on habits, check out my post Why Emotional Eating is Actually Habitual Eating.

Until you ACTUALLY PREFER eating and living well, your weight might always be a struggle. So learning to hack that preference by delving into habit formation might just make your life awesome.

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Body Shaming Boys: Wentworth Miller

When we think of body shaming, we usually think of lady-victims. But apparently, the internet knows no gender-limitations. Because the internet is a douche.

I don’t know who Wentworth Miller is, but apparently he’s British. He’s also an actor in a show called Prison Break. Whatever that is, it’s not The Walking Dead. And whoever he is, he’s not Rick Grimes. So immediately, my attention is lost.

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The only man I’ll ever love. 

In any event,  as if the indignity of not being Rick Grimes is not enough, Mr. Miller was recently the subject of a not-very-nice meme. It was about his weight, and Prison Break, and McDonalds. He came back with an epic response:

The Problem of the Internet

Sure, this IS an instance of body shaming. But it’s also a joke.

..It’s a joke at someone else’s expense. Which is never nice. But jokes are often mean. That’s why we make them. Jokes are aggressive. Should we expect the world stop making them?

I’m reminded of an episode of SpongeBob called “Squirrel Jokes.” Spongebob makes a killing telling jokes at Sandy the Squirrel’s expense. Sandy is sad, but Spongebob convinces her it’s no big deal. She concedes, until people (fish) begin treating her differently as a result of Spongebob’s act. Ultimately, she nearly kills Spongebob by purposely acting in a manner consistent with his caricature of her. Lesson learned!

The result? Spongebob doesn’t stop making fun of Sandy. Instead, he starts making fun of everyone. No one feels like the sole victim, and everyone is happy.

The problem of the internet is that unlike Spongebob and Sandy, Miller and whoever made this meme are not friends. The meme-maker is anonymous, and to him Miller is just a face – he doesn’t know anything about his personal struggle.

At the same time, Miller is a public figure, and he made himself that way.

Kudos to Miller for speaking out. He took this negative comment, and turned it into a platform to talk about depression and suicide. He OWNED this situation – and that’s the best you can do.

But at the same time, the internet is calling this body shaming.

..And I have to wonder – is this really comparable to the body shaming that women experience on the daily? Isn’t this more comparable to the telling of a not nice joke? It’s rude, and it’s hurtful. But is it really the same issue?

  • Body shaming, as it applies to AVERAGE sized women is generally perpetuated by the media, not by a random person on their computer.
  • While men are also expected to fit into certain standards, I can’t imagine anyone on the street looking at Miller in that state and calling him fat
  • If anything, it’s in the contrast – the before photo is so thin

It’s About Being Nice

Anonymous people on the internet will take any opportunity to make a joke, forgetting (or not caring) that the subject of their joke is a real human being who might be affected by it.

I don’t think this is necessarily about body shaming. I think it’s about living in a very weird and interesting time where people have a platform to comment on anything, and often use that platform in a mean way. So really it’s about a bigger message.

Who knows – Miller could have been perfectly thin and picking his nose. Maybe there would have been a different meme.

Most people who “liked” or shared this meme probably thought nothing of it. It was just a tiny moment in their day.

But this is a great reminder of a basic courtesy – don’t say things about other people that you wouldn’t want said about you. Because when it comes to the internet, there IS someone on the other side.

..And don’t “like” or share those things either. (Unless of course it’s REALLY funny).

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Before and After

Oh jeez…this is one I REALLY don’t want to share.

Since we started Fat Girls Fitness a few months back, I’ve been looking for a good “before” photo of me at my heaviest.

The problem is I avoided cameras at the time soooo…. I had to do a bit of searching.  And even so, I’m not sure this reflects my fattest moment of all. But I suppose it’s awful enough.

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Height: 5’2”

Before: August, 2013 190 ish pounds? (this is a guess)
After: January, 2016. 137 pounds

Thoughts:

  • My triangle arms are on point, regardless of the fact that I clearly ate a semi-trailer.
  • In my first picture, I am 25 years old. It’s incredibly sad to think that’s how I spent my 25th year. I should have been having fun and partying. Instead, I was having fun and partying, but I was also extremely depressed, sweaty, and uncomfortable.

While I feel happy that the weight is gone, I can’t help but look at this with a whole lot of sadness. Apparently I was too busy dining on small villages to care about my own happiness and well-being, and that pisses me off. At myself.

I find it extremely hard to forgive myself, and I’m not sure I ever will.

But – in any event, if I can do it, you can do it. …Because really I don’t have any special iron will or skills. I’m just a regular fatass who got tired of being a fatass and said “enough.” And you are not alone.

At times it was tough, but it would have been so much tougher to continue down that road.

It seems like a long journey, but the only thing you need to do today is take the first step. And there is no long term goal. You don’t have to get skinny. You just need to be better today than you were yesterday.

PLEASE, I AM BEGGING YOU!! Don’t put yourself on hold for as long as I did.

You can do it 🙂

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Deprivation Works. And Doesn’t.

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Of course deprivation works!

What does it mean to lose fat? It means to burn fat because:

  • you are starving to death, and
  • you are not giving your body enough fuel to do the functions it needs to do

If you ARE getting enough fuel, then you’re NOT going to burn fat. There’s no magic. You’re just NOT going to burn fat without depriving your body of what it needs – fuel.

..And that’s why losing weight feels shitty. No matter how you do it.

You can lose weight:

  • Slowly, by eating SLIGHTLY LESS than you need over a long period of time;
  • Quickly, by eating FAR LESS than you need over a shorter period of time;  and/or
  • *Optional* by increasing your need for fuel by increasing your energy output (exercise) [slowly or quickly]

You can also:

  • Set yourself up for success by understanding habit formation;
  • Set yourself up for success by removing addictive foods from your diet and life (at least for a short period);
  • Set yourself up for success by understanding how willpower and motivation actually work.
  • Set yourself up for success by understanding the basics of appetite, and also becoming mindful of your appetite.
  • Set yourself up for success by understanding the basics of metabolism

Deprivation works to lose weight, NOT to maintain it.

I CAN’T lose weight slowly.  Healthy or not healthy – I just can’t do it. I spent 20+ years trying. I can’t deprive myself ‘slightly’ day after day for months, hoping to lose 1-2 pounds per week.  I can’t continue to eat a diet of processed foods, while counting calories. It just doesn’t work for me.  I can’t do it, and I won’t do it.

I CAN lose weight quickly through “RESPONSIBLE Deprivation.”  Here is what I CAN do:

  • lose weight (relatively) quickly in spurts, and *IMPORTANTLY* punctuate these periods with periods of maintenance.
  • use methods like intermittent fasting to lose weight
  • cut out processed foods that I find addicting for long periods of time during weight loss periods

I CAN’T maintain my weight through responsible deprivation. I CAN’T maintain my weight through:

  • counting calories,
  • cutting out food groups, and/or
  • dieting.

To me, that’s not a life – it’s too much deprivation. In the end, too much deprivation will cause me to gain weight.   To maintain my weight – I eat a mostly whole foods diet. Here is how I eat. My weight maintains itself:

  • mostly plants, most days (including starchy plants)
  • mostly whole foods, as little processed food as possible
  • watch my alcohol intake
  • never eat unless I’m hungry
  • lot’s of soups and salads

We need to separate “weight loss” from “maintenance.”

Weight loss is hard! Somewhere along the line, something got messed up and now you need to fix it. The only way to do that is by giving your body less fuel than it needs. And that’s fucking hard! Your body thinks it’s dying. So it’s best not to gain weight in the first place!  (duh!). 

..but once you do find yourself in a position where you need to lose weight, then forget the weight loss myths. Lose weight however you can, and forget the lies. Just be careful of the following:

  • don’t give yourself nutritional deficiencies
  • don’t give yourself electrolyte imbalances
  • don’t physically exert yourself while suddenly eating less
  • listen to your body

Weight maintenance should NOT be hard! 

Why? Because if weight maintenance is hard, you’ll gain the weight back. You can’t deprive yourself forever. You can only do it for short periods.

If maintaining weight is hard, that means you’re eating the wrong things. What are “wrong things”? “Wrong things” = foods meant to addict you aka processed foods.

Being Fit in an Unfit World

This post is largely an oversimplification.

But my point is this: many of the things you hear about weight loss are myths and fantasies.

When it comes to weight loss, do whatever you CAN do. Because weight loss is hard, and you need to fight this uphill battle in whatever way works for you. Just be careful not to hurt yourself, and be smart.

And once you lose weight, be mindful! You can’t deprive yourself forever, so you need a system for success.

My system is sticking (mostly) to foods that human beings are suppose to eat. This means avoiding things that come out of boxes, but enjoying these things in moderation to whatever extent I find reasonable.

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A Diet Pill State of Mind

Between the ages of 12 and 16, my friends and I use to hunt down 18 year old boys in the mall. And not because we wanted their AOL screen names. We needed someone with I.D. to buy us diet pills.

I suppose eighteen year old boys like prepubescent girls, because we scored plenty of pills. In all fairness, I got my first period by age 10, so by 13, I easily looked 45.

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me, aged 13

..Those poor chumps probably thought they were helping out some nice MILF or widow.

Specifically, I recall:

  • Stackers;
  • Stacker II’s; and
  • Slim Quick (aka “slim death.”)

The ingredient I sought most = ephedra. Especially when stacked with caffeine.

Even at that age, we knew that most diet pills were BS. We had experience, and we had the beginnings of the internet.

DNA helix inside pill capsules

“No snake oil pills for me, my friend. I have dial-up.” 

Stacker II (with ephedra) was my jam. It was the only real pill. You could tell by the involuntary hand tremors and headaches. And also by how quickly it was pulled of the market.

…No worries – you could still score travel size bottles of the original formula at unscrupulous news stands for about a year after it was pulled.

At some point during this time…

I’m in the car with my mom on a warm Spring day. We’re driving past the recreation center, and I’m telling her about these new chips I bought at CVS.  They’re called Lays WOW! Chips and they have so few calories that I’ll probably eat a few bags.

Mom tries one. They DO taste good. “Can you get me these if you see them at Sam’s Club?” I ask.

Lays Wow! Chips contained a magical ingredient called Olestra (aka Olean). Olestra is a fat substitute that adds zero calories to foods. Zero ! ZERO !!!!!!

 

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90’s Kids – do you remember these chips? 

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You might recognize them from the warning on the bag..

In exchange for zero calories, Olestra blocks essential vitamins and minerals from entering you. Essentially, eating these chips will give you malabsorption.

For optimists, this is excellent news. Why wait 30+ years to develop IBS, Chrohns, or bowel cancer? ..You can experience painful bloody stool within hours, no strings attached. In related news, here are Lays Wow! Chips topping off a list of Five Foods that Cause Anal Leakage. Arguably, this is not a list that any major food product should aspire to…

Let’s not miss the silver linings here. Low calories = good. Fatty taste = awesome. And while anal leakage sucks, it might contribute to even more weight loss!

A Diet Pill State of Mind

Why have I shared these two anecdotes together in one post? 

Well, riddle me this…

..In the epic quest for weight loss, does it really MATTER  whether you rely on death pills as opposed to POTATO CHIPS THAT OPENLY MAKE YOUR ASS BLEED?!

Really, these two stories are the same. They illustrate the 26 years I spent searching for a magical weight loss solution. And yet all of that time, beautiful, delicious, colorful whole foods were right under my nose.

The Diet Pill Mindset

These stories reflect what I call the “Diet Pill State of Mind.”
..And in my experience, it’s not a helpful mindset to have.

Does this mean that you absolutely MUST take a 100% whole foods based approach to weight loss? No! …It doesn’t mean anything.

I think you can lose weight fast, OR you can lose weight slow. You can lose weight:

  • doing paleo
  • doing weight watchers
  • drinking slim fast shakes
  • eating nothing but pickles
  • drinking your own urine
  • doing isogenix
  • eating nothing but three pretzels all day long for 17 days straight

I don’t know what the right thing is for you. Because:

  • I don’t know where you are starting,
  • I don’t know HOW you became overweight in the first place; AND
  • I don’t know what your goals are

I also believe that weight loss is very different from weight maintenance.

When it comes to weight loss, I say do what works for you. Who cares how crazy or stupid  it is, provided that:

  • it doesn’t give you nutritional deficiencies; and
  • it doesn’t give you an electrolyte imbalance ; and
  • it doesn’t kill you

BUT! When it comes to maintenance, you MUST get onto whole foods. You can’t waste your beautiful life dieting. You need to (mostly) eat foods that come from the earth.

Another Thing I know

As you can see, I don’t know much. But what I DO know is this: a diet pill state of mind was NOT helpful for me.

..I needed to get on to whole foods in order to experience what I believe humans beings are meant to experience when it comes to food and satiety.

Slowly ridding myself of processed foods was the ONLY thing that worked for me. And I hope you find what works for you.

Here are a few articles that might help:

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The A4 Challenge

If you’re heavy into fitness and/or beauty blogs, you’ve probably heard about the A4 challenge.

Like many disturbing selfie trends, it started in China – land of the once bound feet!

Marie Clare calls it a “disturbing new fitness trend pressurising girls worldwide into extreme weight loss.” I call it inevitable. I also admire Marie Clare’s use of the word “pressurising.”

Of course, the challenge has a hashtag: #A4Waist

“The tiny waist has a long tradition in China, going back at least to King Ling of Chu, who ruled from 540 to 529 B.C. Many in China know the passage from the Book of Han, the history of the Western Han dynasty: “The King of Chu loved a narrow waist. Many people at court starved to death.” – The New York Times

The premise is this:

Step one: Take a selfie standing behind a single sheet of A4 sized paper, held vertically.
Step two: If the paper is bigger than your waist, you win. If not, shame on you!

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Yikes! this means my worth = zero cents

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But wait! I almost make it sideways! 

What I Find Interesting

Most of the articles/bloggers covering this topic seem to have a derisive tone, as if to:

  • blame the girls who are doing this challenge; or
  • express loathing and hatred towards the challenge itself

“Whatever,” I say! “Don’t blame the messengers. Or at least don’t be too harsh on them.”

Humans are only humans. They do what they can for attention. This goes double for young girls who KNOW (based on the sad reality) that a foolproof way to get power is to physically embody the ideal woman.

Challenges like these only reflect what’s already there. And sure, they amplify it too.

There are all sorts of reasons why we value thinness, especially when it comes to the waist.  The reasons are rooted in biology, and then (like many traits) are fetishized in culture. What is “culture” anyway if not the fetishization of all things?

Instead of blaming the messengers, or suppressing the message, let’s try to understand it. And then let’s try to modify it, gently.

Why We Value a Thin Waist

Blah blah blah. I’m so sick of hearing about all the reasons why the patriarchy is destroying the world.

Blame biology!  A preference for a thin waist is rooted in our DNA.

  • It connotes youth and virginity.
  • It might also indicate child-bearing hips.

Things that indicate youth, virginity, and a sizable birth canal are attractive. Sorry, it’s just true. If your goal is to impregnate someone with your man seed, it’s kind of a drag if they’re already pregnant or if they die during childbirth. So we look to cues. We’re just human.

But there’s more! Blame the fashion industry. Ok, but a thin waist is not necessarily an A4 waist. So what’s going on?

Enter the FETISH aspect. If a little bit of a good thing is a good thing, then a lot of a good thing must be a great thing. Right? …Well – probably not as far as health outcomes are concerned. But certainly as far as sales are concerned. 

Think about it. Your job is to hire a model. Good looking people have power. Insanely great looking people have more power. And insanely great looking people are just good looking people whose good features are exaggerated. Often beyond the point of a healthy balance.

So, are you going to hire the good looking person? Or the insanely great looking person?

I suppose the real question is – how many purses/lipsticks/panties do you want to sell?

“Fetishization” describes this race to the bottom. Everyone wants to get closer to the ideal, but no one is alone in this world. As you get closer, someone else gets even closer. There is always someone with a smaller waist than you.

If you want to sell the most things, have the most boyfriends, or get the most IG likes – then you need to have the smallest waist of all.

..At some point, the year 2016 comes around. Inevitably, some random person in China decides your waist needs to be the size of a sheet of paper. Awesome China, thanks a lot. But why couldn’t you have thought of this BEFORE inventing lo mein?

In any event – all of this because we like to take biological shortcuts. Even when it comes to strangers from the internet.

The strangers who follow your Instagram? They are JUST DYING for more information about your fertility than they can possibly know just by seeing your photo. Aren’t people the weirdest? 

A Compromise

Maybe the A4 challenge reflects a compromise. Perhaps a spontaneous social compact?

Maybe what the A4 challenge really says is “I’m hungry!! So let’s all agree – A4 is small enough. Can we please stop competing now?”

But I doubt that. Some other crazy challenge is coming soon. It’s only human nature.

…Perhaps the “Post-It Note Challenge?”

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