Thursday, July 31, 2014

Skins!

I often get complimented on how soft my skin is and what my secret is to baby soft skin. Ha! Literally, it's baby lotion. Simple, cheap and a quick daily routine. I put Johnson & Johnson Baby Lotion on every morning and every night. It's the only moisturizer I use. Some people worry about "smelling like a baby" but I have found that after it dries it doesn't have that lingering "baby smell." Another pro-tip: use your sunscreen! The sun causes most skin damage and over time will dry out your skin causing it to lose elasticity and feel leathery. Simple, easy, cheap!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Coffee!

The first time I ever had coffee was at a Model UN Conference in Philadelphia. Yes, I was Captain Nerd Pants and was Secretary-General of our Model UN Club at Juniata. I was in a session in a ballroom at the hotel where the conference was being held and it was FREEZING. I felt like I was in Antarctica. I had my coat on and had borrowed someone else's coat to cover my lap. The lead moderator of the session must have noticed how freezing I was because he snuck out of the room and brought me a steaming hot cup of black coffee. It was such a kind gesture that I didn't want to turn it down even though the hot liquid was bitter and strange in my mouth. It helped warm me up so I sipped away bit by bit trying to conceal my initial reactions.

I didn't become a coffee drinker then. It was years before I drank coffee again. I can't actually remember when I became a regular coffee drinker. Maybe it started with a $4 fancy Frappuccino and moved on from there? At some point I bought a cheap coffee pot for my house and would occasionally think to drink coffee.

Over the years I've developed a much more refined palette and my love for coffee has grown. I drink a cup or two a day -- never more because it makes me feel icky if I drink too much! I prefer a dark, bold roast. The more like mud the better :) I can't stand restaurant coffee generally speaking because they usually use light roasts with very little coffee. Like dirty water pretty much.

Just bought this coffee this weekend. It is DELICIOUS. Like a party in my mouth. I don't usually buy pre-ground coffee -- I prefer to grind at home to have the most fresh and oily coffee possible. But this coffee is so delicious I might have to stock up on some of this limited edition coffee!



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Miss Rain

http://darkroom-cdn.s3.amazonaws.com/2013/05/AFP_Getty-519905378.jpg

Never in the history of ever did I think I would ever say I miss rain. Don't get me wrong; I love sun. I love warmth. I love living in NorCal. But every once in a while, a nice thunderstorm or a heavy rain would be nice. The worst part of living in one of the sunniest places on earth (no, for real - Chico is halfway between Redding & Sacramento) is that without even looking at the weather forecast, I know that it isn't going to rain tomorrow. Or next week. Or even next month. In fact, it probably won't rain until December. Months to go. Sometimes when you're feeling like a day off from sun, or want to sit around listening to sad music, or just want to lounge and watch the rain...you know it won't be happening here. Terrible problem to have, right? Too much sun! Ha! Most days I'm totally fine with this...just every once in a while I would like a summer rainstorm.

Don't even think I'll say I miss snow, because that will NEVER happen. I'll take 365 days of sun over snow. Brrr.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Today's Reason to Be In Love With Her...

Me: I have icky cramps and feel like crap. Wish you were cuddling me.
Her: Me too! I would love to be taking care of you right now...hugs and dry kisses ;)
Me: Dry kisses?!?! God you're the best.
Her: Just in case you are feeling extra germy too ;)

She so gets me. And never makes me feel like a weirdo :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fun Fact Friday: ...but Fat is SCARY!

Here's some stats for you to chew on from the hosts of Fat Talk Free Week:
  • 54% of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat
  • More than 90% of girls ages 15 to 17, want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the highest
  • 81% of ten year olds are afraid of being fat
  • 1 out of 8 adolescent girls reported starving themselves to lose weight
  • 67% of women 15-64 withdraw from life-engaging activities like giving an opinion, going to school and going to the doctor because they feel badly about their looks
  • 40% of moms tell their adolescent daughters to diet; 45% of these are of average weight
  • 70 million people worldwide struggle with eating disorders
  • In the US, as many as 10 million are suffering from anorexia or bulimia; that's more than are suffering from breast cancer
Why are we SO afraid of fat? So afraid that we would rather be hit by a truck rather than be fat?? Or engage in life-threatening disordered eating patterns to avoid being fat???

This is a harder question to answer. I can tell you where all the messages of body and fat hate are coming from, what incorrect facts they state, the ways in which fat bodies are punished for being fat, and how hard it is to keep a brave face in the midst of it all...but WHY everyone is so scared of fat is much harder to grasp.

Some people will point to the erroneous belief that fat means unhealthy means chronic disease and death, but even that is an incomplete picture. When people are degrading fat people in social situations it's rarely about their health. It's often about the prejudices, stereotypes and bigotry people hold towards fat bodies.


There are commonly held ideas that fat people are lazy, gross, lacking in willpower, dumb, ugly, awkward, survivors of trauma, and the list goes on and on. Social norms have led us to cement these stereotypes with fat bodies to the point that many of us forget that these are TOTALLY MADE UP and that we as a society created these labels and they do not actually reflect reality. There is no evidence that being fat means you're lazy. Or ugly. Or gross. However, this perception of this made up reality is important. Because once we start to believe this reality our brains will do anything it can to avoid being associated with these negative characteristics. Who want's to be called lazy, gross, dumb, etc.? No one! So step one to avoiding being called those names would be to get rid of the first "easy" association people have, e.g. a fat body. Now you might still be all of those things, but people won't be able to necessarily tell if you at least have a thin body!

People think (theoretically) that they can change their bodies, even if they can't change many other things about themselves. Anyone who has been discriminated against based on visual cues and information probably have wished at times they could change those visuals. I've heard countless friends of color express times in their lives where they wished they could wake up with white skin, even if just to experience blending in and not having to experience discrimination for one single day. Luckily, I have rad friends and they move past that or it's only a temporary thought, because they have been surrounded by communities of people that tell them it's ok to be black, Asian, Mexican, etc. Unfortunately we don't have that overwhelming source of body loving pride...YET. But that's why the fat acceptance and radical body loving communities that are emerging are so important. There will always be hate directed at people for their differences, but if we can continue to build communities that love and support ALL sizes and really embrace the belief that bodies not only come in different colors and abilities but also in a diverse representation of sizes we might start to win this war against bodies. The first step is disentangling these negative stereotypes about fat bodies that we hold. Fat people are no more likely to be lazy, stupid, gross or any other negative characteristic than a thin person. The only thing a fat person is more likely to be is fat. That's all. And there is NOTHING wrong with fat. It isn't poisonous. It doesn't make you dumb. It doesn't make you sick. We have to shift the focus away from bodies and how they look and start dealing with reality!

Next week I'll tell you why you're losing the battle against your body and plant the seed on why you should work on loving and accepting it instead!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fun Fact Friday: Fat Does Not Mean Unhealthy, Fat Means Fat

In this week's installment we're going to start the transition from LABELS to HEALTH. In the past two posts we've talked about the history of the BMI chart and the Great BMI Chart Scandal of 1998, but now it's time to focus on meaning and interpretation which is often glossed over by (some of) the medical community, the media, and just about everyone else. 

The popular conception is fat = high BMI = unhealthy = chronic health conditions. Everyone basically takes this to be a true correlation. But it is NOT. So let's break it down. 

What does a BMI chart measure? Oh that's right, a BMI chart is simply "a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women." Otherwise stated, it's a mathematical formula that takes two numbers to create a new one. Sort of like a multiplication table! In fact look at a BMI chart without the standard "judgement" labels put on it:


 Now look at a standard multiplication table:


 

Hmm...strikingly similar no? The BMI chart is simply a table of numbers that hold no inherent value. It is derived from taking your weight in lbs divided by you height in inches multiplied by 703. Just like a multiplication table is taking one number times another number. Simple math. If only we stopped there...but of course, we don't.

We decide to place value and judgment on those numbers so that we have a chart that looks like this:


So following our analogy we should look at our multiplication tables like this:


And even further, let's start making judgments about our multiplication table:

  •  4 times 20...you really should eat a cheeseburger. You're too small. Stop being so small. 
  • 11 times 4...if you would just work a LITTLE bit harder you could be green ya know. Join the gym and you'll get there. You can do it. 
  • 8 times 23...you're kind of gross. You should be ashamed of yourself. Really, how did you let yourself get that way?
  • 5 times 25...you're just flat out disgusting. You should pretty much just go away. Forever. No one should ever multiply 5 times 25. Gross. 
Sounds completely ridiculous right??? SO WHY DO WE SAY THESE THINGS TO PEOPLE?  Why do we do simple arithmetic and then trash people's sense of self and worth by assigning a label to their bodies and then allow all of society to use these labels to degrade and demean? 

"BUT IT'S ABOUT PEOPLE'S HEALTH! I'm just helping them live a long, healthy life! They may not know that their FAT is KILLING them!"

Bullshit. 

Complete and utter bullshit. 

I've never seen a BMI chart that looks like this:



Know why? It doesn't exist! Because body fat is not a measure of health! BMI simply "measures" body fat and actually doesn't say anything about your health!You cannot use a BMI chart to predict someone's health or longevity of life. Because that's not what it measures. It measures fat. Only. Pure and simple. Furthermore, even researchers and doctors that believe in using the BMI chart for body shaming when pressed will tell you there are not CAUSAL studies that predict people's health and life longevity. There are some correlational studies, but even those are often flawed and often later retracted as BAD science. And just because something is correlated, it doesn't mean it that one causes the other. Fat does not cause poor health. Poor health habits, genetics, and other unknown factors cause poor health. Fat causes fat. We accept this in all other areas of science yet we suddenly are rendered stupid when it comes to talking about weight and health.

Are some people who are fat unhealthy? Of course. Are some "healthy weight" people also unhealthy? YES. Do all fat people have chronic diseases? No. Do some "healthy weight" people have chronic diseases? Yes. Do some fat people die young? Yes. Do "healthy weight" people also die young? Yes. 

BMI charts can't predict your health or how long you are going to live. 

So why do we keep using them? We'll investigate that next week

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fun Fact Friday: The Great BMI Scandal of 1998

So last week I introduced you to the history of the BMI table & its usage and left you with the cliffhanger of the Great BMI Scandal of 1998, so without further ado, let's delve into some mind-blowing controversy.

Another introduction needs to be made: The National Institutes of Health is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research. Let me reiterate an "agency of the US government" that is "responsible for biomedical and health-related research." You would think this agency would be good stewards of health research for the good of US society, yes? Well you'd be wrong in this case...

In 1998, a so-called "expert panel" convened by the NIH decided that the current BMI chart was "too generous" and that in an effort to "inspire" the nation to be "healthier" they must shift the BMI chart rating scales down so that more people realize they are fat and therefore know that they will DIE of the evil FAT. Now of course they didn't phrase it this way and made it seem like it was all about your health using a few (flawed and sometimes bogus) studies linking weight to health outcomes. The result quantified? 29 MILLION people woke up the next day now being considered overweight when the day before they were considered to be a healthy body weight. They didn't gain a pound, they didn't eat 47 cupcakes before bed, they didn't do anything besides do normal life things and all of a sudden woke up with a giant shaming label placed upon their bodies. That's some deep shit yo.

As we know, medical advances and new knowledge occur every day. So maybe this shift was warranted based on new scientific findings? WRONG. Let's take a look at two powerful FACTS:

Fact 1:

  • The people in charge of making this shift at NIH perhaps maybe aren't your friends.
"Eight of the nine members of the National Institutes of Health task force on prevention and treatment of obesity have ties to the weight-loss industry, either as consultants to pharmaceutical companies, recipients of research money from them, or advisers to for-profit groups such as Weight Watchers."(Source)

Reaction:
  • SAY WHAT?!?! You mean people who stand to gain money (probably LOTS of it) from more people thinking they are fat and going to die and therefore need to do anything to lose that weight are the ones responsible for telling you that you are fat?!?  Well isn't that fucking convenient...for them! Let's give 29 million people new complexes about their bodies! YAY! They're all gonna run out and join gyms, diet programs, and diet pills and we'll be rich! And people who have nothing wrong with them will suffer.

Fact 2:
  • If this were really about HEALTH then we'd expect that to mean that people who are in the "normal" weight category to live the longest since long life = health in popular social terms. But guess what? Statistically speaking, the people who live the longest are people who measure in the "overweight" category of the BMI.
"Overall, people who were overweight but not obese were 6% less likely to die during the average study period than normal-weight people. That advantage held among both men and women, and did not appear to vary by age, smoking status, or region of the world." (Source)

Reaction:
  •  HOLD UP. I thought this was about health? I thought we wanted people to live long healthy lives? Now you're telling me that I can live longer if I am actually NOT following your advice to be "normal" and instead choose to be the evil "overweight?" Huh. What's a fat lady to do? Follow your "expert" advice and possibly not live to my fullest longevity or be stigmatized by the medical community and therefore the rest of society in the hopes I'll live the longest life possible? That's a fucked up choice to have to make. Now there are alllll sorts of apologists who are quick to explain why this data isn't GOOD data and why it may means all sorts of other things other than the NIH panel is a bunch of greedy liars, but I'd like to point out that the same critical eye isn't given to all the studies THEY used to convince of this farce in the first damn place. It's hypocritical and wrong and it's causing a lot of harm to a lot of people. 

Conclusion for today's Fun Fact Friday: don't believe the hype. Especially when the hype was created by people who stand to profit from you thinking there is something wrong with you when evidence to the contrary actually says something different.

Next week we'll turn this debate around and start to think about the popular belief that fat = unhealthy = health conditions. Stay tuned!