Tuesday, July 31, 2007

another blogger shake

Why doesn't this crazy thing show my posts?!? "Curse you, AquaScum!"


I've found a few interesting (not perfect, but interesting) and moderately empowering things promoting size acceptance lately. Let me tell you, this is no easy feat in a world flooded with the likes of Fat March, Shaq's Big Challenge, The Biggest Loser, Big Medicine, Inside Brookhaven Obesity Clinic, and on and on and on.

Here's an article about teaching children not to be rude to large people. Who'da thunk? Not elaborate or detailed, but it gets the general idea across.

Kate Harding is a wonderful blogger who addresses fat hatred with a vengeance in her Shapely Prose blog. A recent post written by a guest blogger drives home the point that the misguided comments of doctors can often lead to terrible consequences for fat people. Incredibly sad, but unfortunately, not difficult to believe.

PBS aired a show called "Fat: What No One is Telling You." I had high hopes for this show, but discovered that PBS too falls victim to the same unfortunate groupspeak on most aspects of fat. That is, everyone is telling us about weight loss surgery. And everyone is praising the hard work of current weight loss successes. And everyone is making the sole assumption that the only cause of larger body size is the combination of overeating and underexercising.

There were a few choice quotes that I found close to liberating, although I was so frustrated that they were wrapped in the standard fat-is-bad propaganda.

"This isn't simple. This is not a simple balance of energy in and energy out. If it were, we would have solved the problem a long time ago. We have a very, very rich and accurate physiological system that keeps our energy in balance. And all that system has to do is get disrupted by a tiny percent -- just a 1% mismatch in that system -- can lead to a 130-140 pound weight gain over your adult life.

"...The subtleties of what's going on (with obesity) in the brain that can lead to massive obesity are such that it's going to take a lot of very, very careful analysis to figure out what's going on. We know that there are 20 or 30 thousand genes in the human genome. At least 400 of them are involved in energy regulation and weight regulation. So right there, you've got 400 genes, and that doesn't even take into account all of the environmental factors. So, when you put all those things together, you have a very complex system."

- Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD; Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School

At one point, the narrator reminds us of this important fact:

"A study of people who entered weight loss programs done in 1958 concluded:

* Of those who enter obesity treatment, most will drop out.
* Of those who stay in treatment, most will not lose weight.
* Of those who do lose weight, most will regain it.

"Fifty years later, the picture remains the same. Despite the millions and millions of dollars in scientific research, fifty years of hard work, thousands of failed weight loss schemes, no one has been able to improve those odds."

I would contend that it's because our bodies are hardwired to be what they are. Tall people are hardwired to be tall. Blue-eyed people are hardwired to have blue eyes. Thin people are hardwired to be thin. In my opinion, the defining factor in fat prejudice is the fact that bodies can be temporarily changed by altering food intake and physical activity (I can't overemphasize temporarily... 95% of people who lose weight gain all of it back plus a little more within five years). That gets blended with the confusion of correlation and causation, and people become convinced that the only possible way to be fat is to eat too much and exercise too little. Plus, "millions of dollars" in research over fifty years is no match for U.S. diet industry's $50 BILLION dollars per year.

Dr. Kaplan returns with even more compelling information.

"When the brain wants to control weight, which it wants to do almost all the time, it exerts extraordinarily powerful influences. It decides that we ought to have a certain amount of body fat so we have energy in reserve. And if we don't have that much body fat, it will do everything in its power to cause us to behave to get more energy.

"At the same time, it will put into place a program that conserves energy, so that we don't waste a lot of energy, so we don't burn off our calories, so that our body cools down just a little bit, so that everything is done to conserve energy on the output side and to get more energy on the input side. And of course, then we gain a little bit of weight.

"And so our typical response is to 'well, ok, if that's the case, we'll just eat less.' And we exercise more and our body loses some weight because that's what naturally is going to occur. But what ends up happening is that you create, in that situation, a fight between your willful brain and your subconscious brain. And when you create that kind of battle between willpower and your subconscious brain, what you end up doing is you end up creating an unwinnable situation. It's an unwinnable situation. If you have that conflict, your subconscious brain will always win.

"And an example of that is, try running up six flights of stairs and breathing slow. You can do it for a few seconds. You can force yourself to breathe at whatever rate you want to breathe at. But when your body decides it needs more oxygen, within a few seconds, it will force you to breathe faster. And there's no amount of willpower that anyone has that will slow that process down."

Emphasis mine

I contend that even this doctor (who seems to be less of a fatphobe) undermines his explanation of the subconscious brain being in total control by calling fat both a "problem" and a "disease." Harumph. I don't consider my fat a problem, and it certainly is not a disease.

It's also incredibly sad that -- even on the supposedly objective PBS -- the show is sponsored by Glaxo Smith Klein. That would be the pharmaceutical company that has a vested interested in selling its hot new over-the-counter fat-blocking/pants-pooping drug, Alli.

I have to get going. It's late. I need sleep. And there are too many things to do in preparation for our massive life change for me to be blogging. Regular posts should resume sometime in September. That's my guess. Until then, l'chaim!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

mmm... donuts!

When I first heard that there was going to be a "Simpsons" movie, I was fairly indifferent about it. I'd watched the show once in a while in its early days and would occasionally run across it thereafter, but I never made it a point to watch it regularly. Oddly enough, one of my favorite quotes is from the show (whenever I'm impatient with slow technology, I conjure up Homer heating up a hot dog in a microwave and loudly bemoaning, "Isn't there anything faster than a microwave?").

In the last couple weeks, I've seen several trailers for the movie, and I admit, I really want to see it now! I'm looking forward to "Spider Pig." This morning, I discovered this website, and now I'm really excited. I created my own Simpsons avatar (see left). Pretty good resemblance, don't you think? Well, except that I only ever wear skirts (there was only one option for pants).

There's a definite trend in my avatars. First, my blog profile picture. Then my Meez character. And now Kelly Cox Simpson. Although I must say, this is the first time I've been able to endow my avatar with Rubenesque proportions -- something I've been frustratingly unable to do before now.

By the way, did I mention that I'm going to have Nick Arrojo cut my hair again? I must be insane! This will be the last time, really. After this, I would have to travel 250 miles to get to Arrojo Studio. Too far!

All right, I have a boatload of things to do today. Only 34 days until everything in our life is completely different. Details to follow. Someday.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

blogger shake

I posted something a couple days ago, but for some reason, I can't see it on the blog. So, I'm adding a little, informationless post to see if it urges the other one out into the light. Let's see what happens.

"Come out, come out, wherever you are!"

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

are you kidding me? (part ii)

I don't have any particular inclination toward Keith Olbermann. It's just that he usually says -- quite clearly -- that which I believe is the closest thing to the truth.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

cleaning out

I'm still struggling with the mess that is almost eight years of accumulation that needs to be sorted and, uh, managed one way or another. Time is running short, so I must hop to it. In today's New York Times, my favorite writer tackles a similar problem in his "Rural Life" column. I can relate... kind of.

My favorite lines are, "This means allowing myself to feel a sudden hatred for objects I’ve been moving around for years. I spend the day muttering."

Barn Cleaning
by Verlyn Klinkenborg

I begin with the premise that the barn will never be clean. It has a dirt floor, and hay is always sifting down from the loft. Swallows have nested over the light fixtures, the chipmunks are everywhere and someone has dug a very proud hole under the wall near the horse tank. I can’t make it clean, but I can recover some territory. I’m not a real farmer, but I have a real farmer’s hoarding instinct — the belief that the thing I’m about to throw out will be just the thing I need down the road. Right now I’m trying to keep myself from throwing out a rubber feed pan that one of the horses has pawed a hole in. I have no idea what I would ever use it for, but that isn’t really the point. It isn’t a matter of knowing, looking forward. It’s a matter of not regretting, looking back.

But what I regret right now is all this junk, and so I’m cleaning the barn. This means allowing myself to feel a sudden hatred for objects I’ve been moving around for years. I spend the day muttering. I tear apart an old tool bench I have loathed all this time. I throw out the previous owner’s electric waterers and the 8-foot yard hydrant with the bend in the middle and the plastic tarps that are full of holes. I see with some clarity the limits of my character and, in a sense, the limits of my life. I love the gratification of fixing what is broken, but it takes a certain kind of breaking for me to be able to do any good. I am never going to be able to weld in a hay barn.

I stop sometimes to watch the swallows fly through the barn or to admire the fact that all the sockets are now in one place. I pretend that I will know in a week where I put everything today. I spend a moment or two admiring the dried up litter of immature mice I found in a drawer. And I finally admit to myself that a half-decomposed box of books that has lived in the barn for a decade has lost its place in civilization. So I load the books one by one — Derrida’s “Of Grammatology,” Frye’s “The Great Code,” even my old copy of Heidegger’s “Being and Time” — into the tractor bucket with a great wad of used baling twine. The burn pile or the Dumpster? That is an easy question. The books flutter down from the bucket on high onto an old hayrack on the floor of the Dumpster. I try to decide if I will have to answer for this someday.

Now, back into the piles in my own little barn. *mutter*

Monday, July 02, 2007

if meme roth were dead...

... she'd be rolling over in her grave. If she thinks Jordin Sparks is a bad example, just check out these four fabulous women.