Tag: weight

Seven Things I Love (7-5-2021)

  1. 1. This Announcement that Pinterest Has Banned Weight-loss Ads – Pinterest is the first (and only) “major” social media network to ban weight-loss ads. Why is this a big deal? Not only does it end the constant promotion of the messed up theory that people (women primarily) can only be attractive if they are “thin.” But for people with eating disorders, it is removing a significant trigger that has lead them to have body dysmorphia. More social media networks need to follow suit.

[Found via The Lily]

In fact, the entire dieting industry should be investigated. Samantha Bee did a two-part story on her show a few weeks ago about how the weight lost industry is in overdrive now that the pandemic is being deemed “over,” focusing their ads on how people need to lose the weight gained over the past year and a half. As Samantha points out, we just survived a pandemic, that was STRESSFUL. If you happened to put on a few pounds and don’t look like you did in 2019 – so the fuck what?!?!

In part two she talks with a doctor who even says that dieting has been shown to do the opposite – it can cause people to put ON weight. I can attest to that. After a lifetime of chronic dieting all I’ve done is put on much more weight than I’ve lost. (If you haven’t heard about the ‘Set Point Theory‘ you should read about it.)

2. The New Statue Honoring Princess Diana – I think it’s lovely. But it’s being ripped to shreds by art critics and people who reported on Diana and basically, anyone who has a strong feeling and/or opinion about Diana.

I like what this woman tweeted…

3. This Woman, Kataluna Enriquez, Who is the First Openly Trans Miss USA Contestant – clearly she’s beautiful.

4. This Video Showing that the Problem at the USPS is NOT the Employees – I’ve always known this. Though I will say in MY neighborhood, it is the USPS delivery person who is also part of the problem. But that is a fluke.

5. This Early 19th Century Painting by Marie-Denise Villers – Originally thought to have been painted by David, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has rejected that attribution and determined it was painted by Villers. It looks like Marie, the model, is doing some sketching – I imagine she’s looking out the window. Do you think she’s drawing the couple across the way?

“Marie Joséphine Charlotte du Val d’Ognes,” by Marie-Denise Villers, 1801. (Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Public domain)

6. This Camera Man – Not only did he outrun all the sprinters but he did it carrying an 8-1/2 pound camera and dressed in street clothing. Here’s a video.

[Found on My Modern Met]

7. This SNL Skit – A friend of mine reminded me about this a few weeks ago (thanks Jeanne!) I laugh every time I watch it. And not just the ha ha kind of laughing but the belly laugh kind with a few snorts tossed in for good measure.

Word of the Day

Quote of the Day

India – Day Five & Six: Udaipur

Next, the City of Lakes, sometimes also called the White City (because of all the white marble palaces.)

I have always wanted to go to Udaipur for YEARS because there are many, MANY movies and miniseries which have been filmed here. I’m planning on making a list of my favorite films shot/about in India when I get home, but for now a few are Heat and Dust (1983), The Jewel in the Crown (1984), and the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011.

Our guide, Rohit, lives in Udaipur so we had a special treat. He had been invited to a wedding on the first evening we arrived and arranged for us to attend with him. My first Indian wedding – so exciting!

And it turns out, as I mentioned previously, February is a very popular month to get married, and the 10th, the day we arrived, was an extremely auspicious date apparently (we think because it was a full moon) because we saw a LOT of wedding activity and at least two other weddings that we counted in addition to the one that we were attending.

As we drove into town we saw a horse being carted to one of the weddings.
This is the horse which a groom would be riding in on.

Then we had to stop for a bit on a bridge because there was a wedding party passing. I shot a video as best as I could. Fabulous!

I took a bunch of photos too but most of them were blurry because they were jumping up and down with the music. (Or was i the one moving up and down to the music?)

We arrived at our hotel when it was dark. Still, you could see how gorgeous it was. I took a ton of photos but I won’t post all of them. Even the key was a work of art.

My room, fit for a Queen!

This photo (the one right above) is the view out my WINDOW! If you look at the photo before that you can see the benches in front of the window – this is the view they look out onto. The only bad thing is that the windows were a bit low for me. If I had sat on that bench I would have needed a fork lift to get back up. And I am also a tallish person, so I had to hunch over a bit to look out. Still, at night I pulled the chair over from the desk and gazed out for a bit before drawing the curtains.

The only other thing that was not great about the room is that I had to go up three steps to get to the bathroom, and as usual there was no railing. Thankfully I didn’t have to make any middle of the night dash to the loo (I was worried I might break my neck!)

The wedding was S-P-E-C-T-A-C-U-L-A-R! It was everything you would expect. So colorful, lots of food. Everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming.

This dashing man is the Father of the Groom (or was it the Bride?) He was a friend of Rohit’s. There were separate seating areas for men and for women and they sat us at the edge of the men’s section (because we are westerners I was told, not sure if that was true or not.) Our host came over and saw that we didn’t have drinks and immediately made sure we had a choice of beer, water, soda, or Indian rum.

I’ve been trying to stick to water and masala chai on this trip since Indian food already has so many spices that are anti-inflammatory. For a person who is on blood thinners you want to make sure you don’t come over here and eat a bunch of Indian food AND drink a bunch of alcohol. Or, if you are going to do that, eat a lot of cooked spinach.

This was the Father of the Bride (I think.) I couldn’t hear very well, I was on the other side of the group. Plus, I was completely enamored by his moustache! Isn’t it wonderful?!?
I felt like everyone looked like they stepped right out of a movie.

We stayed later than originally planned. We had thought we would only stay an hour but stayed well over two. I think we left around 11:00? And the Bride & Groom hadn’t even arrived yet! Rohit stayed until right before midnight and I think either they had just arrived or they were just about to arrive. Those Indians really know how to party!

The next day I stayed at the hotel for a few hours in the morning with Regine (our American guide) while the rest of the group went to tour the Fort. There have been a few places along the way where I have stayed behind because Regine felt it would be too difficult for me either because it had tons of stairs or might be too cramped or narrow, that sort of thing. Since I am here for three-and-a-half weeks I certainly don’t want to overdo it, so I am okay with staying back.

This is the lock on my door. You already saw how big the key was in my hand earlier, so the should give you an idea of how substantial this lock is. Took me a few tries to get it to work.
Believe it or not, this is the window of my bathroom! Course, it’s not this beautiful on the inside. In fact, they have curtains over it so you can’t even really enjoy the stained class.
This was across from the hotel office. I don’t know where it went but I wanted to go up these stairs and snoop.
My view at breakfast. I am hooked on masala omelettes and masala chai.

Regine and I took a TukTuk to meet up with the rest of the group for lunch. We dined at the Royal Repast.

You don’t often see women driving scooters.

The Royal Repast is a lovely restaurant which has been by the Bedla family, in their ancestral home, for over 85 years. They have had the honor of serving many famous people there including Queen Elizabeth, Jacqueline Kennedy, the Shah of Iran, Indira Gandhi, and Jawarlal Nehru.

The Royal Repast
Lovely art on the walls

After lunch we took another TukTuk to the City Palace where we were able to take a boat tour of the lake. If I understood Rohit correctly, there used to be tours from all over – in fact our hotel had a dock, but now there are only two places (I think it was only two) where people are allowed to launch boats. It’s a bummer, because it would have been so convenient to go from our hotel, but I’m sure that it must have been madness to have boats going from everywhere.

One of the women went back to the hotel in one of the TukTuks so four of them piled into this one, just like real Indians!
Another guide from Travel Scope (our Indian tour company.)
I wish men in America wore Nehru collared vests.
You may recognize this, it has been in several movies/miniseries –
this is the Lake Palace Hotel.
Scaffolding on a building being renovated
This is a 150-year-old Gangaur Boat (Gangaur is a Rajasthani festival.) If you have ever seen the movie ‘Octopussy’ you may recognize it.
I took pictures of this from a distance but the close up is much more impressive. This is another architectural accomplishment by Shah Jahan,
who you all know to be the man who was responsible for the Taj Mahal.
Street scenes are my favorite photos.
And the street art is a close second… (My friend Meta would go nuts here!)
I don’t have a clue what this is – there appears to be phone numbers, it could be an advertisement for a plumber, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.

We didn’t have a dinner planned with the group so I scheduled a massage and an oil-drip for when I returned to the hotel. They had an authentic Ayurvedic spa and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

I chose a one-hour massage and a one-hour oil drip. I really didn’t know what to expect.

I have weekly massages back home, have been having them for years, decades really, but the truth is, I have never had a massage from a man. And I didn’t actually think that my first one would be in India of all places.

I had brought a robe with me because I’ve been in enough spas in my lifetime where they haven’t had a robe that fit me. Turns out I didn’t need one because guess what, they don’t use them. Oh no, they don’t, just a towel. And a standard sized towel. NO SHEET! So not only was I worrying about side boob, but I was worrying about side thigh and side stomach and side everything!

If you’ve never had an Ayurvedic massage, they are a little more intense than a normal massage. I certainly wouldn’t want to have them on a regular basis but I just kept telling myself – this is good for me. As I heard my masseuse becoming quite winded while he kneaded away – this is good for you, this is good for you, this is good for you.

When he reached under the towel and started doing my stomach I realized I was truly in a different world and my anxiety level shot through the ceiling. I’m not sure how people are supposed to relax when getting a massage like this – maybe they aren’t supposed to.

I think there may actually have been a shift change about three-quarters of the way through my massage because all of a sudden the man said he had to go and the owner came in and finished. He was very nice, told me I needed to stop using Stevia (he warned me, even if it says it is pure Stevia, it isn’t.) There was a woman who kept coming in to check on me and every time she would see me she’d say in the most lovely, sing-songy voice, “Good morning!” (Even though it was after 7 in the evening.) She was very sweet.

After I finished with my massage they covered me up with a bunch of towels (where were these towels earlier?!?) and they removed a part of the top section of the massage table. There was a hole cut into the table where a bowl could be placed. And then there was a hole cut into the bottom of the bowl. That is where the oil ran out into a container on the floor. I placed my head over the bowl and then they set up this contraption over my head where they could pour a bunch of oil into a device that allowed them to release the oil in various streams. The oil was warm and it felt good but it was a very long hour. I thought it was going to be more steady and not so much at one time.

When I left they told me not to shower that night so the oil could soak in. I had several Indian friends in college, women with long, beautiful, thick hair. I know that they put oil on it at night so I thought I should try it. They also told me to only take a hot shower the next day and not to use soap. I followed that advice.

Next time I would not do the oil drip. It took me about three days of showering to get my hair to look normal again. I would definitely get another Ayurvedic massage but would want it done by a woman.

Little reading nook in the office of the hotel.
One last photo of the lake before we go…

Goodbye to Udaipur.


Before Christmas I binge watched a few things. I don’t actually like to binge watch shows.

For decades when I heard the word “binge” I would, as I’m sure most people did before the 2010s, associate it with food and something that was shameful. Those who were “binge eaters” would do at night, in private, alone. Certainly it wasn’t something you talked about. I’m not a binge eater, but as an overweight person I’ve spent the majority of my life trying not to have eating disorders and my name come up in the same conversation.

These days, when you see or hear the word “binge” most everyone associates it with binge watching hours of television. Curiously though, people also do this at night (or on weekends) in the privacy of their homes. They also still tend to do it alone or with a trusted partner or friend but unlike with food, people do NOT keep it to themselves.

This will probably not be a big surprise to anyone who knows me, but I have a relatively addictive personality. The truth is, I’ve always wished we didn’t actually need food to live. It’d be so much easier to just not eat anything. With my current health situation I need to eat about 1000 calories or less a day to lose any weight. That is not easy. It would be a lot easier to just not eat anything. I mean, I quit smoking cold turkey. Okay, I had to quit twice (THAT’S a long story) but the second time it worked – 11 years and 8 months and counting!

Back to binge-watching, I don’t like it because I have a difficult time turning off the damned television. When I get absorbed by a show I will keep going until I can barely keep my eyes open. I keep justifying to myself how one more episode won’t hurt and before I know it, it’s 3 in the morning. And then my entire next day is messed up.

Also, I don’t know about you, but after watching hours and hours and hours of a show I find myself thinking about nothing else, especially if the show is intense. Sometimes it’ll be to the point of obsessing about it. And how could it not? Because if you’ve just spent 8 or 10 or 12 or 16 hours binge watching something over a day or two, well, you have basically lived in that world, it’s in your head. Think about how long it takes for you to adjust when you travel someplace and you get accustomed to a new place – not very long, does it?

Still, sometimes you just gotta do it. Binge watch that is. Because there is so much more than any of us ever could ever possibly have enough time to watch.

I didn’t intend for this to happen but there ended up being a bit of a theme to my binge watching. First I started with the movie “Late Night” starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kahling (on Amazon Prime).

I read that Emma Thompson was nominated for a Golden Globe for ‘Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy.’ She definitely deserves the nomination. I think that Mindy Kahling should have been nominated as well (she also wrote the screenplay.) That was an oversight. The film was directed by a female director – Nisha Ganatra – but we already know that awards shows in general don’t do well in recognizing females in categories that don’t have the word ‘Actress’ or ‘Female’ in them.

The film is about a woman (Katherine Newbury played by Thompson the Magnificent) who has succeeded in a man’s world – late night television. In fact she’s the ONLY woman who has succeeded in this particular man’s world. Of course it’s complete fiction – in reality there hasn’t actually been a woman who has succeeded in this world yet. (Sorry Lilly Singh, as the reviewers have said, there is ‘room to improve.’ You haven’t quite found your beat yet.)

The thing about women who succeed in the corporate/business/management world (basically any place that tends to be an old boys club) is that they can often become ‘masculine’ in their demeanor – or what is commonly perceived as masculine – aggressive, harsh, unemotional, rigged, steely. Things of that nature. I suppose it’s a survival mechanism. Or maybe it’s simply learned? Anyway, god forbid anyone see them with any qualities that could be deemed “feminine” or “soft.”

Newbury has been at the top of her game for years, decades, but the movie shows her having become, well, frankly a brute. She fires someone for simply asking for a raise. Her staff (all white men by the way) run around terrified of her, and there is pretty much only one person who is willing to speak with her frankly, though even he does so with kid gloves for fear that he may create a tsunami that can’t be controlled.

It turns out too, she hasn’t been as much at the top of the game as she had thought. She’s a bit too highbrow, only willing to interview guests of a certain calibre, and unbeknownst to her, it has been costing her.

In a desperate attempt to seem less all-the-bad-things-her-boss-said-about-her, she instructs her second-in-command to replace the writer she fired with a woman.

Enter Molly Patel, played by the beautiful and talented Mindy Kaling. Molly gets hired solely because she’s a woman (the person-of-color thing is an added bonus) and the other writers aren’t too pleased about it. The thing is, she doesn’t know this was the reason she was hired. She actually thinks she was hired on merit, even though she has no experience and has been working in a factory. “It’s not a factory”, it’s a chemical plant, she continuously informs her co-workers when they point out that she was a factory worker. They don’t really care about the distinction.

Molly ends up being extremely talented, which is no surprise and starts to pull Katherine’s butt out of the mire until something from Katherine’s past, a mistake she made, comes back to bite her.

Mindy Kaling was amazing at getting through some difficult things like bullying from coworkers and being wooed by a colleague who is a complete womanizer – doing her Mindy Kaling thing of, in the face of adversity, remaining cheerful and strong and “watch out world, here I come.”

There were also some other tough scenes between Thompson’s character and her husband, played by John Lithgow, who in the film has Parkinson’s. Ever since my own Mom went through dying from Lewy Body Dementia, I am extremely emotional whenever anyone is facing a neurological disease. So that part was heart-wrenching for me.

Being labeled a “comedy,” the movie ended up happily and I was perfectly fine with that. In fact, I actually need that. Wish I had watched it second.

After I finished “Late Night,” I moved on to some real binge watching. I began “The Morning Show” starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carrell (on Apple TV+.)


“The Morning Show” is in its first season and has ten episodes, each lasting around an hour. The obvious similarities between “The Morning Show” (TMS) and “Late Night” -they both are about the television industry; they both are about older women who were incredibly popular but now that they have moved into their 50s, the studios are considering putting them out to pasture because they aren’t relevant/likable/relatable anymore (strange how that doesn’t happen to men in their 50s…) and they both are about really toxic work places.

However that is pretty much where the similarities end. TMS is intense, super intense, because the primary subject it deals with is rape and sexual harassment. That is on top of Jennifer Aniston’s character trying to deal with becoming obsolete and her guilt for a multitude of things. Reese Witherspoon’s character is dealing with her rage, which most likely stems from her incredibly dysfunctional family. Everyone else is in such an astonishingly toxic work environment it makes me wonder why any of them keep showing up for work.

And yet, I couldn’t stop watching because even though for about the middle four episodes there was hardly a single person that I found sympathetic or likable, I wanted to find out where this train wreck was going and man, am I glad I stayed aboard because it was a doozy! I cannot wait until season two – so I can binge watch some more.

Oh, I also binge watched The Mandalorian. Which doesn’t go with my ‘theme’ but aw man, all the hype about Baby Yoda is true!!!


The Fat Lady Ain’t Singing

A few weeks ago I was at a meeting. When it finished we were given a tour of the library where the meeting was held. It was a lovely library and a very interesting tour. (Side note: As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m a librarian and I’m notorious for taking busman’s holidays, or at the very least finding one library along the way to visit.) Still, I decided to pass on the very last part of this tour, which was going up to the roof.

There were a couple reasons for this. The first – I am never sure whether my knees can manage the climb (I had both knees replaced in the past couple years and they still aren’t 100%). The second – I am never sure about whether I will end up being embarrassed because I may not fit into a particular space (for example a smaller door frame, an antique chair, an old-fashioned carriage, particularly anything from when people were of a smaller stature). “Normal” sized people never have to think of these sort of things – I have to think about stuff like this pretty much every day of my life.

I waited on the upper level for everyone to return, plopping down in a chair near the top of the stairs. A man, balding and middle aged, made his way up the steps, not too quickly but not too slowly either. He had on a backpack and was huffing and puffing a little.

As soon as he reached the top he said, “I feel like a fat lady.” It was then that he noticed me. I felt my cheeks flush. His face fell as his brain registered that I had heard what was now obviously an insult. He began to backpedal. “A really, really, really big person,” he corrected, sort of sputtering. He turned and walked very quickly toward the stacks.

The thing is, he actually made it worse. Later he came over to where I was sitting. He bent over near me in a way that wasn’t particularly natural, but in doing so I could see his face, and he smiled at me as if to say – hi, see, I’m a nice person, I’m not a jerk. He picked something up but I couldn’t see what it was. I’m not sure whether he actually needed to come over to where I was sitting or if he was doing so just to smile at me. I smiled back and he turned around and walked away.

I’m hopeful that he learned a lesson, but I doubt it will stay with him. He’ll probably be thoughtful about not making similar statements for a few months or weeks or even days and then go back to his old ways. Because let’s face it, despite Bill Maher’s delusional belief that fat shaming went away, it most certainly has not. Most times it is like this, accidental or unintentional, other times it is not.

I’ve been itching to bring up James Corden’s response to Bill Maher. There were so many things wrong with what Maher said. And there were a few things that I felt were omitted from Corden’s response. So I thought I’d go through both clips and write up my thoughts or rebuttals on some of the statements that were made.

Even though I would rather not, let’s start with Mr. Maher’s extremely ignorant rant about how fat shaming needs to “come back.” (Full disclosure, I have never been a fan of Bill Maher. I think he is all about shock value just like Howard Stern or Alex Jones and I don’t believe his phony liberalism.)

I thought I’d pull out some of the worst lines from his rant:

“Americans eat shit and too much of it.”

This is actually the only line that is accurate, but unfortunately he missed an opportunity to gripe about something legitimate. The American diet is crap but there are reasons for this more than simply people have no will power.

One major culprit is the loosening of regulations. Hell, just a few weeks ago the USDA announced they are basically allowing the pork industry to go to a mostly self-regulating process. SELF-REGULATING. They are doing this despite the fact that there has been a significant increase in the number of food recalls in the past ten years. They are doing this despite the fact that the chief veterinarian with the USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Services (FSIS), Pat Basu, refused to “sign off on the new pork system because of concerns about safety for consumers and livestock.” (Pork industry soon will have more power over meat inspections by Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post, April 3, 2019)

About a week after Basu left, the USDA sent the proposed regulations to the Federal register and they were made official less than a month later. Hmmmmm.

Again, full disclosure, the FSIS wrote a response to the WashPo article. They claim that Dr. Basu was not part of the clearance process and that his signature was not required nor requested. Of course that doesn’t mean that the normal procedure hasn’t always been for him to to sign-off on it. It may not have been required but it may have been the norm. As to the request, well, I suspect that if you are doing something that you think ethical people might disapprove of then yes, you wouldn’t ask someone to review your proposal. There is more, if you would like to read it you can find it here. I’ll leave it up to you to determine who has more to lose and more to gain.

(Side note: my family owned a meat packing company for nearly 65 years. As of the above announcement I became a pescetarian (wild fish only by the way). I’m so sorry Gramps. I had already reduced the amount of beef and pork I had been eating for health reasons. And I wasn’t eating lamb (my favorite) that often, mostly on special occasions, but that will be the most difficult thing to give up. Now chicken, which actually may be one of the worse culprit, that’s verboten. Of course unless I am in the EU, then I can go crazy!

But back to deregulation. Deregulation by the current administration is leading to bad practices, mostly by BigAg. It also creates confusion for already befuddled consumers. Small, family-owned farm owners (mostly organic) are actually pushing back though.

This leads me to the second reason Americans eat like crap – they can’t AFFORD to eat healthfully. According to 2017 estimates, nearly 40 million (39.7 million to be exact) Americans are living in poverty. Besides the fact that they have to opt for cheaper, unhealthy food choices, junk food may be the only indulgence that they can afford.

The third reason are product size and marketing. Too many companies, especially fast food companies, are creating oversized menu options and ridiculous menu combinations (I’m looking at you Taco Bell). I remember about ten years ago writing to McDonalds asking them if they could possibly offer some more healthy breakfast options and suggested that they have turkey sausage on a McMuffin or something with only egg-whites. I was told that they didn’t have the demand for it so thanks for the suggestion but no thanks. Wow. And don’t even get me started on Dunkin Donuts (I’ve never been but I have a few stories.)

Here is a fascinating article about food advertising. It looks at two studies, one done at Yale and the other at the University of Liverpool. They both came up with interesting results. They show how advertisers are able to manipulate viewers into craving foods. The second study also showed that children are more susceptible than adults, thus the increase in childhood obesity as commercials during their cartoons have turned from showing toys to showing food.

“Being fat isn’t a birth defect.”

Actually it is genetic and it is a defect.

Back in April the results of two coordinated studies were published in the journal Cell. According to the first study (the largest done to date, a half million people aged 40 to 69) completed at the University of Cambridge, it is easier for thin people to stay thin. They discovered a genetic alteration that makes people less interested in food. In other words, they really only eat when their body needs energy.

The second study, using the data from the first study, developed a method for predicting obesity, starting as early as childhood. Fascinating!

The study of the appetite-dulling mutation was led by Dr. Sadaf Farooqi, professor of metabolism and medicine at the University of Cambridge, and Nick Wareham, an epidemiologist at the university.

The study drew on Dr. Farooqi’s research into a gene, MC4R. She has probed it for 20 years, but for the opposite reason: to understand why some people are overweight, not why some are thin.

People with MC4R mutations tend to be obese. Researchers have recorded as many as 300 mutations in this gene, and they are the most common single-gene cause of obesity. Mutations in the gene account for 6 percent of children with severe obesity.

The mutations destroy satiety, the feeling of fullness after a meal, Dr. Farooqi and her colleagues have found.

Normally, when people eat a meal, the gene is switched on and sends a signal telling people they are full. Then the gene turns itself off. But some people carry a rare mutation in MC4R that prevents the gene from working.

As a result, their bodies never get the signal that they have eaten enough. They always feel hungry and often are overweight. Their risk of diabetes and heart disease is 50 percent higher than those without the mutation.

In the new study, Dr. Farooqi and her colleagues found that in some thin people, the MC4R gene is always turned on, instead of always off, because of different mutations involving a previously unknown metabolic pathway.

From ” This Genetic Mutation Makes People Feel Full — All the Time” by Gina Kolata, New York Times, April 18, 2019

Of course genetics alone can’t cause obesity, but add that to other factors:

  • Antibiotics in foods/being over prescribed
  • Additives in foods, cosmetics, flame retardants and other items people use daily
  • Stress/Anxiety, sleep issues, society’s fixation on being thin
  • Lifestyle changes – people are walking less (especially in the US and in suburbs), kids are playing outdoors less (safety factors are part of that), jobs are more automated
  • Things I mentioned above – poverty, deregulation, product size/marketing

Those are just a few things off the top of my head. Well, all of those things make it a hell of a lot more difficult to keep the weight off when you are genetically disposed to putting on weight. I’ll be discussing this more in-depth in a future post.

Maher cites the article Our Food is Killing Too Many of Us: Improving American nutrition would make the biggest impact on our health care by Dariush Mozaffarian and Dan Glickman, New York Times, August 26, 2019.

I had to go read the actual article right away. Shame on Maher and I wonder, did he even read it? He left out so many important things that the article suggested as ways to actually help (and I’ll tell you, NONE of them were fat shaming):

  1. ACTIVELY teaching people about nutrition through insurers and medical providers
  2. In addition to taxing some of the bad foods (such as sugary beverages and junk food) provide subsidies for healthy foods – this goes along with what I mentioned above about how low income people can’t AFFORD food that is good for them.
  3. Nutrition standards in school (and no, this isn’t a violation of anyone’s constitutional rights)
  4. This one was interesting, though personally I think it is a pipe dream: “The private sector can also play a key role. Changes in shareholder criteria (e.g., B-Corps, in which a corporation can balance profit versus purpose with high social and environmental standards) and new investor coalitions should financially reward companies for tackling obesity, diabetes and other diet-related illness. Public-private partnerships should emphasize research and development on best agricultural and food-processing practices. All work sites should demand healthy food when negotiating with cafeteria vendors and include incentives for healthy eating in their wellness benefits.” (‘Our Food is Killing Us’, NYT, Aug. 26, 2019)
  5. Creating something like the “National Institute of Nutrition” (LOVE IT!)
  6. And of course the government needs to step up and start doing something. You know, when Michelle Obama made it her campaign to help kids eat more healthfully and exercise more, well, it was awful that she got push back on it. Look where we are now.

“Everyone knows that obesity is linked to terrible conditions like diabetes, heart-disease and virginity [pause for laugh] …. not to mention cancer.”

It is true that being obese increases the risk of diabetes, heart-disease, and cancer. The virginity part only confirms he’s an ass.

“There is literally nothing that being overweight does not make worse: eyesight, memory, pain, fatigue, depression, you don’t poop right [pause for laugh]… it weakens your immune system.”

I’d like Maher’s sources for this statement because I call bullshit. Being overweight doesn’t necessarily cause these things. Having certain health problems may cause issues like these and the health problems may or may not be due to a person being overweight. For example, I have an autoimmune disease. When I was diagnosed with the disease, one of the first things my father said was it must be due to my weight (he thinks everything I have wrong with me is because of my weight so now I ask, every time, and you know what, more times than not is isn’t). I asked my doctor and it was not. My dad didn’t believe me but luckily I was able to tell him that Venus Williams had the same autoimmune disease.

And not pooping right? Besides the fact that he obviously put it in for laughs (Jeez Louise, I was a children’s librarian for 12 years, I know that using the word ‘poop’ in a storytime is guaranteed to get giggles) that is because people have a bad diet, not because they are obese. And not all obese people have bad diets. Just because someone is overweight, doesn’t mean they eat bad foods. NOT the same thing. And people who are thin can have a bad diet.

And frankly, there are a ton of factors that can affect people’s BMs.

“We scream at Congress to find a way to pay for our medical bills but it wouldn’t be nearly the issue it is if people just didn’t eat like assholes, who are killing not only themselves but the planet. The Amazon fires? are because farmers there are burning down the rain forest to make room for future hamburgers (and soybeans.)”

Oh yeah, let’s blame fat people for the Amazon fires. That’s brilliant.

It is true that the rain forest is on fire because farmers are making way for more cattle and more soybeans, which you might have noticed he threw in because someone called him out on it. But it is also for lumber (deforestation.) According to an article in EarthSky by Catesby Holmes, “Deforestation in the Amazon has spiked since the election last year of the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Arguing that federal conservation zones and hefty fines for cutting down trees hinder economic growth, Bolsonaro has slashed Brazil’s strict environmental regulations.” (Why the Amazon is burning: 4 reasons by Catesby Holmes, EarthSky, August 27, 2019)

Rachel Garrett, a Boston University professor who studies Brazilian land use, says there is no evidence to back up Bolsonaro’s claim. In fact she states the opposite is true. Since 2004, food production in Brazil has actually increased thanks to the environmental and sustainable regulations that have been put in place.

Read the article, it’s very interesting. And guess what, none of the reasons have to do with fat people. And I realize he was trying to say that fat people go to Mickey D’s and eat too many hamburgers and the rain forest is on fire because they’ve been clearing the rain forest for more cattle, but that’s only one of several reasons why the rain forest is burning. And one more thing, skinny people buy beef too.

“Because here in America we look at fried chicken and think, that’s a good start, now put it on a bun, and add bacon, and cheese, and something no one even thought to put on it. Make my mouth cum.”

Does he really think that regular Americans are coming up with such concoctions? Nope. It’s some clever team at a fast food company who are trying to get more people addicted to their products. Not only have there been studies showing that fast food and processed food contribute to the obesity crisis, there is also evidence that today’s diets have more sugar hidden the food than previous generations. It turns out that sugar is addictive. So companies will sneak sugar into foods and drinks to get people to want more/come back.

I have a nephew who works for a company that works with multiple fast food companies. He told me that Dunkin Donuts (okay, I said I didn’t want to get into this but I’ll be brief) puts sugar into all their coffees unless you specifically ask for no sugar or say you are diabetic. I was looking up the nutritional values of their drinks, if you order a large black coffee with mocha swirl but no added sugar you would think to yourself that it would be a fairly safe drink, right? I mean, how bad could a little flavoring be? How about 46 grams of sugar.

“Europe doesn’t look like this because Europe’s not always eating for two.”

Europe is experiencing an obesity crisis just like the US. According to the World Health Organization

  • The worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly doubled between 1980 and 2008. According to country estimates for 2008, over 50% of both men and women in the WHO European Region were overweight, and roughly 23% of women and 20% of men were obese.
  • Based on the latest estimates in European Union countries, overweight affects 30-70% and obesity affects 10-30% of adults.
  • Estimates of the number of overweight infants and children in the WHO European Region rose steadily from 1990 to 2008. Over 60% of children who are overweight before puberty will be overweight in early adulthood. Childhood obesity is strongly associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, orthopaedic problems, mental disorders, underachievement in school and lower self-esteem.

The European crisis seems to be not as severe as it is in the US (lucky for them) and if I were to guess why I would say it is because many people walk more, there is much more regulation when it comes to how food is processed and what is in it, and there’s a lot more education starting at a young age on how to eat properly.

If I had to point fingers and name what is causing the obesity crisis outside of the US I would say it is the export of American processed and fast food products combined with greed.

“We weren’t always like this. Watching the footage of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, I was struck by how not-fat everyone in the crowd was. We looked like a completely different race of people. Now look at us, we wear shirts that our ancestors could have used as a sail.”

I shared this link earlier but he is right, people were skinnier. (And people were physically smaller in stature as well.)

“Can fat be beautiful? That’s in the eye of the beholder, but healthy? No, that’s science.”

It is true that there are many health risks that come with being overweight. Therefore an overweight person can’t be considered 100% healthy. But, an overweight person can have an excellent cholesterol level, good blood pressure, good resting heart rate, good blood work, etc. – in fact, an overweight person can have medical test results that come back even better than most thin people’s results if they are practicing a healthy lifestyle.

I wonder exactly what is the goal of saying that a fat person cannot be healthy? Should they just give up then? A person who is claiming to be fit & fat is most likely a person who exercises and/or who is eating right. They are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing and may not be losing weight. Maybe they aren’t dieting or exercising enough because of the multiple other factors that have been discussed previously. Are we saying they should stop? Seriously, Mr. Maher, I’d really like to know.

“Weight Watchers had to literally take the words ‘weight’ and ‘watchers,’ I’m not kidding, out of their name. It’s now WW, because merely the idea of watching your weight is now bullying. What’s next, banning scales? Hey liberals, you know how you hate it when conservatives won’t even let the CDC study gun violence as a public health issue? This is that. You are the NRA of mayonnaise.”

God, is he really this stupid? It was a BRANDING decision. Because in order for people to actually lose weight and keep it off, they need to make lifestyle changes.

And regarding the gun violence/NRA comparison – you aren’t comparing apples to apples. The mass shootings that are occurring are primarily killing our CHILDREN. In terms of threats to our children, a study done by the University of Michigan using CDC data shows that obesity doesn’t even show up on the list.

“Fat shame, no, we fit shame. Really, you hear it all the time. Someone sees a merely trim person, ‘you should eat something.’ No, you should not eat something.”

I’d like to point out that Bill Maher’s show is filmed in Los Angeles, the land of be-thin-or-leave. I don’t know about you but in the Midwest, well, I don’t hear people thin-shaming “all the time”. When Midwesterners see a “merely” trim person we usually don’t say much. For myself, if it’s an age appropriate guy I may check him out. If it’s a woman I might, well, check her out. If we see someone who is extremely thin someone might say something like, “wow are you thin.” Not as a criticism, simply as a statement of awe, almost in admiration possibly (or maybe a little concern.) Perhaps that is just a Midwest thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying thin shaming never happens, but to say that it occurs as often or MORE often than fat shaming is outrageous. And ultimately neither should be happening. The message should be simply this: body shaming of any kind is unacceptable.

“I should be more unhealthy so you can feel better about your fat ass.”

This is just an asinine statement. There is no more that needs to be said.

In August, 53 Americans died from mass shootings. Terrible, right? You know how many died from obesity? 40,000.

Again, throwing out a statistic like this without citing a source is bull. I am extremely skeptical that he could have found such a current statistic for obesity-related deaths that is accurate. WHO, for example, only has the 2017 statistics posted on its website because it takes time for stats to be submitted and calculated and compiled and put into reports. There is also the fact is that the CDC doesn’t list obesity as a cause of death, so it is impossible to know the actual number of obesity-related deaths.

But more importantly, what is the point of this comparison? Once again, it’s purely for shock value.

“Fat shaming doesn’t need to end, it needs to make a comeback. Some amount of shame is good. We shamed people out of smoking and into wearing seat belts, we shamed them out of littering and most of them out of racism. Shame is the first step in reform.”

Actually, shaming didn’t get people to stop smoking or to wear seat belts or to stop littering – LAWS got them to do those things.

Legislation and plenty of educational campaigns helped to get people to stop littering. Anyone who has watched movies and television prior to around the mid-1980s knows that was about the time seat-belt laws were starting to be enacted (and Hollywood helped promote them). And laws banning smoking from restaurants and other public places has grown dramatically since around 2000. That, combined with the educational campaign on the dangers of smoking, has caused people to quit (or to simply smoke at home or in their cars.)

Most importantly, shame actually is not the first step in reform. Shame will have the opposite effect. Shame causes people to feel badly and people who have emotional instability or addictive personalities will turn to whatever they use to make themselves feel comfort – for some people that can be a hobby, for others a sport, but for some it can be things like alcohol or gambling or overeating. Shame is never a solution. EVER.

Now, on to Mr. James Corden’s reponse.

To be honest, there is nothing that Mr. Corden said that has to be corrected.

I do have issue with one thing he did though I know why he did it.

I don’t think that making fat jokes, even when they are at his own expense, was the best tactic to take. If we are trying to get people to stop fat shaming (aka bullying), then we can’t do it to ourselves. This actually reminds me of what Hannah Gadsby said about her Nannette special in the NY Times: “‘I have built a career out of self-deprecating humor, and I don’t want to do that anymore,’ she says in the special. ‘Because do you understand what self-deprecation means when it comes from somebody who already exists in the margins? It’s not humility. It’s humiliation.'” (The Comedy-Destroying, Soul-Affirming Art of Hannah Gadsby by Melena Ryzik, New York Times, July 24, 2018)

And this was the best line from his response – “Fat shaming is just bullying.”

So BRAVO Mr. Corden and Thank you so much!!!

Mixed Feelings – Part I

Whenever I read or hear about how body or size acceptance has made so much progress, how society as a whole has finally started to recognize, okay, has sort of started to recognize? maybe is seemingly recognizing? that fat shaming* is not acceptable, I’m always torn.

You’re probably thinking, what in the hell is there to be torn about? How can you of all people think it is absolutely not a good thing? Are you a butthead? (The butthead part may just be me.)

Well, I’ll tell you, I’m torn because not only was I born the year Twiggy’s modeling career began, but I’ve lived through a few decades where people, doctors, and even scientists were extraordinarily ill-informed on diet and nutrition. Truly a double whammy.

And now that things seem to be coming ’round, well, frankly, it’s too late for me. Which SUCKS. I mean, it’s great for all the younger people who hopefully won’t have to go through what I did, but I’ve already lived the prime years of my life – I don’t get a do-over. And the things that have been done to my metabolism and to my gut, and to my self-confidence, well, some of it is irreversible. Selfish, yep, but I can’t help it, the feelings are there.

But that is why this blog has become so important to me. It is the way that I plan on getting through the rest of my life. It gives me motivation to learn about what I can do to improve the quality of my life and hopefully I will help others along the way.

Okay, jumping right in. For as long as I can remember I have either had a weight ‘problem’ and/or dieted. About 15 years ago my Mom was diagnosed with a neurological disease (it ended up being Lewy Body Dementia – I am sure I will talk about this at length in the future). My life changed rather dramatically very quickly. One thing I started to do was begin scanning all the family photo albums (a total of about 5000-6000 photos to date.) My Mom was declining fairly quickly and was also heavily medicated, she couldn’t even take care of herself. I was worried that the photos would end up being misplaced or worse, accidentally thrown out.

As I began to go through them, I saw photos of myself from grade school and high school and I thought, “well crap, I wasn’t all that fat” (at least not by today’s standards) or “damn, I would give anything to be that ‘fat’ now.”

It made me remember all the diets I had been on over the years, all with my parents encouragement and financing – Weight Loss Clinic, Weight Control Clinic, Nutrisystem, dozens of trendy diets I can’t remember the names of, things like the Grapefruit diet or the Cabbage Soup diet.

One of the very first attempts was to send me to fat camp. It lasted for seven weeks during the summer before I started high school. That year I weighed around 170 pounds and was 5 feet 9 inches tall.

Me the year before I went to fat camp, I weighed about the same the next summer.

People (including doctors) used a rule of thumb back then (they still do but it’s been modified a bit) to determine how much a person should weight. For women, and this only works if you are 5 feet or taller, you start by saying a 5 foot tall women should weight 100 pounds and then for every inch over that add 3 pounds. Fairly easy. According to this, I should have weighed 127 pounds.

Problem is, it didn’t take into account things like whether a person was an athlete or possibly a person who just had more muscle mass. Most people know that muscle weighs more than fat, (sidebar, this is why the BMI – Body Mass Index is such bullshit but I will discuss that another day) or other factors that could account for why a woman (or a man) might weight more or less and still be the right and healthy weight for their body.

Anyway, back to my story. For the seven weeks I was at the camp we had pretty much the same routine every day and I still remember it even though it was over 40 years ago. We would get up early and exercise, usually that involved calisthenics and a 3 mile run. This was followed by breakfast. The camp was at a university so we stayed in dorms. There was a sports facility about 2 miles away. After breakfast we would walk over to that facility and each of us would be allowed to choose one of several activities – ballet, gymnastics, track, or swimming. We would take the bus back to the dorms (I’m guessing because of time constraints) for lunch. After lunch it was back to the sports facility to do two more activities. Then walk back to the dorm where you would have an hour free time before dinner. After dinner there was a group activity, usually a team sport followed by calisthenics, another 3 mile run and a snack before bed.

Me (center) and my parents right after I returned from fat camp.

Here’s the thing. I did lose 30 pounds in those 7 weeks. Boy were my parents happy. I weighed 135 went I got home. I was still 8 pounds over the ideal weight but so much closer.

I also lost some of my hair. And I didn’t have a BM for the entire time I was there. There is no way I could have continued the amount of exercise that we had done at the camp on a daily basis, I had to go to school for one thing.

Not only that, I had been eating fairly well to keep myself fueled for all the exercise I was doing and I had gotten used to it. Surprise, surprise, I put the weight back on and then some. The same with all the other diets. On each one I would lose about 40 pounds, almost exactly, then I’d hit a plateau. I’d quit and I’d put the weight back on plus 10. Every time. And my weight tick-tick-ticked up.

You know, people still use that rule of thumb thing but guess what, it’s been modified. They don’t use 3 pounds per inch anymore (well, I had someone tell me that is “model weight.”) No, I’ve heard a few variations but the most common is that you should try to be ideally between 4-6 pounds per inch for an average frame. You can go to 8 pounds per inch for someone who is athletic or larger framed. That means for someone who is 5’9″ the weight could be anywhere between 127 (for a model) – 154 (average frame) – 172 (larger frame). What did I say I weighed before I was sent to fat camp?

I have often wondered to myself, if I had just been left alone, would I look like I look today? Of course that’s only part of the story. There’s also the genetic thing, the antibiotic thing, the additives thing, well, there’s a lot of other things – and I’m planning on talking about them all. But I’ll stop for today.

To be continued…