Thursday, August 29, 2019

When You Really Don't Get It But Pretend You Do

We are constantly and relentlessly bombarded with messages about how we should look and what we should weigh. I'm sure some people mean well, but if underneath your "healthy eating" plans, your body acceptance, your "stop binging now!" promotions, and all your promises of getting to the root issues, you're still pushing weight loss, you 100 percent don't get the damage you are potentially causing.

Many people, and I agree, argue that promoting weight loss violates dietetic clinical ethics. Read that again so it sinks in. There's a good chance that promoting weight loss does a lot more overall harm than good. Any dietitian, coach, or nutritionist who constantly shoves weight loss tips in your face is more concerned with self-promotion than your health, and this kind of gimmicky ploy to get you to buy the program or book is a pretty shitty thing for anyone who puts himself or herself in a position of authority to do. These kinds of people reinforce outdated ideas around health and beauty. Maybe, instead of looking at whether or not you need to lose weight, eat healthier, or exercise more, you should question the motives of individuals who push weight-loss rhetoric.

I used to follow a dietitian on social media but lost respect for her and stopped when she posted a few unsettling comments that reinforced diet culture. One of many comments was subtle, a joke about eating during the holiday season that promoted the idea that you need to earn your food, but it was enough to put a sour taste in my mouth. I may have mentioned this before.

Every now and then I check back, hoping this woman would finally understand how potentially damaging her constant weight-loss plugs are and how unnecessary her focus on posting images of her every meal is. She hasn't. What often starts out as something sensible with her, a suggestion that you look at what's underneath the urge to binge or encouragement that you accept your body, always, always comes back to weight loss and being lean. This kind of obsession is unhealthy and reflects both her own insecurities and those generally adopted by society.

The hook is telling you that she has the answers to your happiness, and of course this ultimately means losing weight. At every turn, that's really the main goal. Keep in mind that this is all about aesthetics. There's no real evidence that being thin over having a healthy lifestyle is better. Quality of life isn't really about looking lean; it's about feeling good and being healthy, both physically and mentally, and on the surface, it sometimes looks like that's what she's promoting, until she circles around once again to land on weight loss.

What's scary is that so many people refuse to acknowledge that weight loss doesn't necessarily translate into being healthier, and fat doesn't necessarily mean unhealthy. Weight loss doesn't mean more successful, and weight should never be a determining factor of self-worth or value, yet the prize is always that, to be thinner.

I stumbled upon this article recently and thought it fit right in with this blog post: "Science just clapped back at people who say body acceptance contributes to obesity" Actually, fat shaming contributes to it more than body acceptance:

Fat shaming can be done in subtle ways with constant low-grade prodding to lose weight and offers of gimmicks, diets, and plans to lose weight instead of anything that encourages true body acceptance. See, if you really support body acceptance, you wouldn't have to whisper, "and once you do that, you can lose weight!", and if you really believe in the harm fat shaming causes, you wouldn't have to say, "that's when the weight comes off!" in the middle of a conversation about healthy eating. Your desire to see everyone thin is your issue, and people keep inflicting their issues onto others. No wonder so many people are obsessed with being thin, and all these warped ideas about health and body get passed to children and those around us.

This goes for any age, really. People who constantly promote weight loss, suggest being thin is a main goal, and talk about being lean over being healthy are really just promoting toxic beauty culture and set the stage for an increase in the development of eating disorders.

Kids learn by example, so if you spend your days working out, documenting every meal by photo and by log, and using schemes to lose or control weight, your child will be aware of your behavior, even if you try to hide it. Kids are very intuitive that way. I've already bitched about people who feel the need to share their insecurities by obsessively posting every morsel they consume during the day on social media and brag about their daily workout sessions that take several hours, so I won't rehash these topics here. Suffice to say that this is not helpful and promotes unhealthy comparisons. Nobody needs to see that shit.

I recently visited an online "healthy eating" forum and instantly regretted it. There were people sharing every detail about their meals from the weight of the food to the number of grams of protein, carbs, sugars, and fat they consumed, and this was all encouraged by the moderator. How is this healthy or a productive use of anyone's time? This is a huge step away from those who take photos of very nicely prepared arrangements of food for viewing pleasure. I'm not addressing true foodie posts and have no problem with them.

It has become more widely accepted that focusing on weight loss isn't fixing anything, and switching this outdated way thinking to one that includes a focus on promoting general healthy habits is far more beneficial. Unfortunately, not everyone gets this. Those who continue to promote weight loss feed into society's fears, biases, and assumptions about weight and health. They perpetuate myths and weight stigma that have become embedded in our society and encourage unhealthy thinking around body and food.

Bombarding people with weight loss fantasies potentially increases discrimination against overweight individuals and ignores the true causes of poor health. And it puts in danger those susceptible to eating disorders. Focus on health over weight loss or body size. Promoting weight loss means the pusher is focused more on aesthetics and warped beauty standards, not true health.

I will end with this, from the National Eating Disorder Organization:

"Weight loss diets, fitness programs, and detox programs are abundant but most of them come with restrictive eating habits, a big dose of weight shaming and a level of obsession around food that is neither healthy nor sustainable."

Everyone wants to claim their method is the exception, but if the end goal comes down to "You can be thin!" it's really not a program that supports body acceptance and overall health and well-being.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Progress is Progress

This may be true, but trying to think about progress being progress when you're still slow as fuck isn't as exciting as it could be. Don't get me wrong, I'm really happy to be running at all, but of course there's a part of me that is disappointed to be running races at what used to be a slow jog pace. I look at the results of older women running any kind of national race, and I'm instantly embarrassed about my race pace. God, I would love to be a minute or more faster per mile than I am. At this point, I don't even know what's physically possible, 10 seconds? 15?

Complaints aside, I really love the Aids run in Denver. It's a very small race with the main focus on the walking event and Diva Dash that follow. The whole day is scheduled full of activities, so the 5K is down on the list of priorities, but it's still a great race. It rarely starts on time, but I like the low-key feel of it. Everyone is SOOOO nice, from volunteers to participants.

The course changes every year. It's the same basic route, just with slight variations, which some people hate, but I don't mind. This year we started on the opposite side from where I ran it last. Rather than immediately get in over my head, I tried to take the race in sections, easing off the pace here and there and then leaning into it again. It's less stressful, and I think I run better this way, though I'm still experimenting.

One positive thing is that I felt pretty good. Unlike a lot of races recently, I can look back and see that maybe I could have gone faster here and there had I been blessed with the kind of confidence I wish I had. I didn't feel wrecked at the end, just tired and sore from my uneven gait. A really nice gentleman who passed me toward the finish offered some words of encouragement, and that helped me dig a little deeper in the last stretch. When we congratulated each other after the race, he gave me a hug, and this friendly gesture touched me deeply.

My feet held up OK, but they were both a little sore after the race. I'm still landing wonky and not able to fully push off my left foot. As a result, my left side can get pretty sore, and my right side compensates by getting tight. I had some trouble on my cool down, so it's something I continually need to watch.

I don't know my official time. It looks like it might have been just under 22 minutes; I'm not sure. Whatever the case, I'm OK with it or trying to be. Found it later:  194 5k Lize B 50-59 F 1 5 21:57 7:04.

In other news, I thought about writing a blog post about the idiotic Weight Watchers app for kids, but I don't even want to give them any attention. I've said enough on Twitter, and there are plenty of other people who have already tackled that idiocy. The company is one big cesspool of fuckedupness. I hope the backlash they're receiving causes sales to perpetually plummet, and someone takes all their shitty food products and shoves them up the CEO's ass.

Saturday, August 10, 2019


I have no idea how that happened, but today I ran 20:18 for a new PB, post shit hitting the fan many years ago, of course.