Allow Me to Clarify:

 

(A preamble to my preamble:
I’ve had a lot of fitness blog visitors (hey, there!) recently,
and I noticed that several of them tend to slide into the guilt/shame/smug trifecta
that is unfortunately common in our current culture.
This is a clarification of why I do what I do.)

 

I do not work out because I want a perfect body.
Ain’t no such thing.
I do not work out because I feel guilty about eating a piece of candy.
I do not berate myself for eating bread.
Bread is delicious, motherfucker.

Or it is a delicious motherfucker.

Take your pick.
 

I do not and will not restrict my eating for anything other than an allergy.
I will not call foods “bad” or call my behavior “bad” if I choose to eat a piece of pie.
It is a choice, and that is all.

I do not make “guilt-free” foods.

I do not go on juice fasts to “detox” my body–what the holy hell is that,
I can’t even.

Demonizing entire food groups is foolish and unbalanced,
and if you’re wondering why so many women have eating disorders,
in large part, it’s because we are shamed about *everything* we put in our mouths.
(Even salad! “Oh. Salad. You know, that type of lettuce has like, no macronutrients.”)

I will not take part in this.

I do not and will not weigh-in.
(Seriously. You don’t want to get me started.)

I do not work out because I need to fit into my wedding dress.
My wedding dress will fit *me*, not the other way around.

I do not work out because I’m a bad person if I don’t.

I do not work out because my body fat percentage isn’t where it “should” be.

I do not run on a daily basis because I hate running.
It makes me miserable.
My cardiovascular fitness will benefit just as much from sprints and walking.

I do not work out because it’s the thing to do.

 

I work out because it makes me strong.
I work out because it lifts my mood.
I work out because I get to spend time with my chosen family.
I work out because I’m doing the Zombie 5K in a couple of weeks.
I work out because growing stronger keeps my eating disorder at bay.
I work out because I have a desk job, and purely sedentary living hurts my body.
I work out because I can change water jugs at the office.
I work out because functional fitness is awesome.
I work out because it is satisfying to pound out a set of burpees.
I work out because I refuse to give in to fragility.
I work out because it makes me better at my crazy circus classes.

I work out because I enjoy it.

 

Guilt only creates resentment.
Delight will last for a lifetime.
We need to delight in our bodies and their abilities.
No more shaming.
Not yourself.
Not someone else.
Our bodies are incredible.
Now go celebrate that shit, however you like best.

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The Problem with Carrots:

 

Everyone knows that you’re eating them.

Along with Puffins cereal and celery,
carrots are some of The Loudest Food Known to Man.

Maybe that’s why I like bread so much–
it’s stealthy.

You’d never see a ninja eating carrots.

On the Difficulties of Restriction:

 

Which sounds way more hoity-toity than it actually is.

I went to a follow up appointment with my doctor,
and found out that nothing is Actually Wrong with Me.

My body is just being a dick.

All of my blood tests came back completely normal,
with a little bit of, “oh, you need more vitamin D,
and should probably take fish oil”.

So the being sick after eating at any restaurant,
the violent reaction to soy,
the struggling to keep salad down?

Ain’t no thing.

SO.
ANNOYING.

Consequently,
my doctor recommended that I go gluten-free for six months.

I’m currently trying it out for two weeks.

 

‘Coz here’s the bitch about eliminating an entire (and large!)
food group from my diet:

I’m recovering from a ten year eating disorder.
Restricting is a really bad plan.

And because,
hello,
my brain is broken when it comes to food,
my first reaction upon being told to go gluten-free
was to feel guilty about the food that I’ve been eating.

If I had been good,
I wouldn’t be sick.

If I had been eating less,
I wouldn’t be sick.

If I had stuck to a handful of almonds and a piece of fruit in the morning,
I wouldn’t be sick.

If I weren’t eating things like whole-grain english muffins,
I would be skinny.

In my brain,
she was telling me this because
I am a bad person.

(Welcome to the eating disordered mind, people.)

All of which makes just trying out gluten-free
a daunting task.

It’s not really because I think gluten-free bread tastes like a moldy paper cup.

It’s because I feel like I’ve been bad,
and if I hadn’t been,
I wouldn’t be dealing with this.

It sucks.

 

ps (And? No more saltines when I’m sick? *tears*)

Math ≠ Weight

 

Trigger Warning:

The following may make your head burst into flames.

…And I probably say bad words.

 
An old friend of mine posted something completely harmless
on her Facebook status,
But naturally, someone *had* to come along and get all offensive:

 

conversations with an idiot

Ignorance is no excuse for assholery.

(Forgive me for posting the whole exchange–it’s just amazing how bad it gets…)

 
 

First off, you’re an asshole.

Let’s just get that out of the way.

A preachy, “this worked for me, so just try harder, fatties!” condescending, misogynistic asshole.
Don’t you love how the way he uses the word “girls” in order to place himself in a position of authority and completely demean the women who disagreed with him?

And I love the whole “nobody gets force-fed” thing—
because, actually?
There are people who do—
folks on the island of Mauritania have been force-feeding their daughters for centuries.

For someone who claims to like things that are precise, he sure ain’t in his “arguments”.
 

Here’s truth:
Many folks gain weight from eating too much and/or having a sedentary lifestyle.
Staying healthy is hard work.

He’s not wrong about that.

That said, the point that R misses entirely is that T wasn’t referring to this AT ALL.
She was referring to those who struggle with weight no matter what they do. She’s referring to the fact that the only acceptable form of prejudice in our current society is that against overweight people.

I wish I hadn’t read this whole thing because, my God, have I been struggling with the ED triggers this week—simply because of an arrogant prick who can’t get his head around the fact that calorie restriction + exercise ≠ weight loss.

It is NOT a Truth Universally Recognized that a Single Body in Possession of Fat Ass Cheeks Must be in Want of Portion Control.

If that were true, I would have been hospitalized years ago.
I’m not skinny. I don’t look “fit”—whateverthefuck that means.

But?

I can kick almost anyone’s ass in dance endurance.

 
Want some more truth?
 

The way someone looks rarely has anything to do
with their actual health.

I’m a very, very good dancer.

But I don’t look like one.

Don’t you love the bit where he tells me that I don’t understand science or debate?
Because, clearly, I’m the one making circumstantial ad hominem attacks. Oh, and setting up Straw Man arguments…but that might be okay if the Straw Men in question are skinny.

So let’s actually get all accurate and scientific-y and run over a few diseases that can cause inexplicable weight gain, shall we?

 
 
Cancer

Cushing’s Syndrome

PCOS

Kidney, Heart, Liver Disease

Hypothyroidism

Celiac Disease (not common)

Preeclampsia

Low Metabolism
 
 

Oh,
could there be other instances of weight gain
that are not, in fact, caused by overeating?

Why yes, there are!

 
SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drugs–
Prozac, Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft

Prednisone

Hormone Replacement Therapy

 
Allow me to quote:
 

From http://www.netnutritionist.com/fa12.htm
by Gay Riley, MS, RD, CCN:

“Anticonvulsants/Mood Stabilizers

These drugs were initially used only for seizure disorders. The following anticonvulsants are now prescribed frequently in the treatment of bipolar disorder and other selected forms of depression:

* Carbamazepine (Tegretol®)
* Divalproex (Depakote®)
* Gabapentin (Neurontin®)
* Lamotrigine (Lamictal®)
* Topiramate (Topamax®)

Anticonvulsants tend to cause hyperinsulinemia (elevated insulin in the blood) and increased appetite leading to weight gain. Hyperinsulinemia also results in increased testosterone, which causes a risk to women on these medications for development of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (POS). Polycystic ovary syndrome can cause weight gain, male pattern baldness, increased facial hair, skin tags, acne, infertility, high blood pressure, abnormal lipid levels, and heart disease.

Seizure disorder studies showed that patients taking anticonvulsants who had either a normal or below normal body mass index had the most severe weight gain.”

 
 

In terms of arguing physics,
as R so flagrantly fails to do,
I’m going to refer to four arguments made by the wonderful Ragen of the Body Positive Dance Company:

“The first law [of Thermodynamics] states that in a thermodynamic process, the increment in the internal energy of a system is equal to the increment of heat supplied to the system, minus the increment of work done by the system on its surroundings. It is often simplified to “energy can neither be created nor destroyed”.

I do not disagree with the law. But, note the first four words “In a thermodynamic process..” What I disagree with is the gross misrepresentation of the human body as a perfect thermodynamic process.
I have four issues with this:

Issue 1: It assumes that there is no option for calories other than to be burned or stored

Issue 2: It asserts that Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is Easily Predictable and Stable

Issue 3: It requires that the body be a perfectly efficient calorie burning machine

Issue 4: If we wanted long term weight loss using this theory then we’d have to eventually turn to starvation

Bonus Issue: Your friend who eats everything in sight and never gains weight.

Everyone knows somebody like this. I have a number of friends who eat way more than I do, exercise less and stay rail thin. Why do these people get to credit their metabolism but I’m just fat lazy excuse-making slob if I suggest that my metabolism may be as slow as theirs is fast?

So next time somebody tells you that it’s just calories in/calories out, consider telling them that you’ll be happy to talk to them about it once they have recited the laws of thermodynamics, defined the Harris-Benedict Equation and discussed its specific limitations, and explained your friend who eats a ton and doesn’t gain weight.”

 
You should read the whole article
she makes all the points that I’ve been trying to make for years,
in a completely clear and scientific manner,
God bless her.

 

I don’t know if I can say it any more clearly than this:
 
 
I AM NOT OVERWEIGHT BECAUSE I EXERCISE TOO LITTLE AND INGEST TOO MANY CALORIES.

Am I making myself clear?
Am I making any of the hundreds of reasons
why exercise and diet just don’t make a damn bit of a difference
for so many, many people any clearer?

Because I’m sick of this shit.
I’m sick of having my health,
and the health of thousands of people who literally
and truly cannot help what they weigh,
called into question by complete buffoons,
and by the Modern Health System.

Ragen?
From the earlier quoted article?
She’s an athlete who wins dance competitions.
She is hella more flexible than I am,
probably stronger,
and she eats a healthy, balanced diet.

She also weighs over 200 pounds.

She has been denied health insurance because of this.

Our country has a seriously fucked up notion of what healthy means,
and what it looks like.

 
 

No matter how easy it seems,
food is NOT A FUCKING MATH PROBLEM.

I would love to stick that man,
or anyone who gets uppity about the “simplicity” of weight loss,
in my body for one Goddamned day just so they could have a glimmer of understanding of what it’s like to deal with disordered eating.

Food is so much more than calories. It shouldn’t be, but it IS.

I’m TIRED of being preached at, even inadvertently, by people who have no comprehension about how difficult weight loss and weight gain can be. People who refuse to acknowledge the existence of diseases like PCOS and hypothyroidism; disorders like binge eating and compulsive overeating. People who want to simplify everything into binary code, into easily solvable, easily explainable, tidy MATH.

This man has no clue about what it’s like to fluctuate ten pounds every month because of estrogen. He has no clue what it’s like to work and work and work and eat/not eat/eat/not eat and still never see the weight come off like it’s
“supposed to”, if weight WERE just a math problem.

I pity his wife and daughters.

 
I just wish there was more compassion in the world for all of us who struggle with weight–in all of the forms that those struggles take.

That’s all.

If you’re ignorant,
wise up.
If you’re being told that you are wrong,
and that your arguments can be disproved,
be an adult,
do your homework,
admit that the Laws of Thermodynamics are meant for closed systems,
and that they were never intended to be applied to the human body.

Be compassionate.
Learn.

That is simple.

 
 

(And? Using “LOL” in a serious discussion automatically makes you wrong.)