Saturday, August 25, 2012

Exercise Bitchslap

I've been bad.

My butt has been on the couch using a side project as an excuse to not go for my daily run. Too busy is not a very good excuse, but it's so easy to trick yourself, so I did. And I'm totally paying for it.

I decided I needed to reprimand myself for slacking. That meant waking up at 7AM and heading to Bikram (hot) yoga. I do yoga just about everyday just to stretch, but I haven't done hot yoga in almost two years. I totally paid for that too. About 30 minutes into the 90 minute class I thought I was going to be sick. I was overheated and I knew if I drank water it would "come back to haunt me". At one point I almost ran from the room, but my teacher told me to wait. I spent 20 minutes trying to not be sick. Then  my inner drill sergeant shouted: "Stop being such a lazy [expletive] and start working you cry-baby!" I finished out the remaining half hour-ish doing every move and actually started feeling better toward the end. Though savasana (the pose where you just lay down) was the worst part. Just sitting in the heat was awful.

I've never been so happy to walk out into 80 degree weather. All I could think was "Ah, cool air."

On a side note: as a not-morning person, I didn't feel as good after my workout as I would have if it was in the afternoon. I'm glad I did it though, since I do have housework to do.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

And Then It Hit Me...

Yesterday I was talking with a friend who has two young children about the state of nutrition in America. I told him that this generation is in danger of having a shorter life expectancy due to poor nutrition, childhood obesity, the increased rate of diabetes, and other health problems that arise as a result of poor eating and inactivity. "Well, I don't care what happens to other kids," he said, "but my kids are eating well, so they'll live good and long."

And then it hit me...

I've known him and his kids for years. I see them all the time. We have lunches and dinners together. I've never once seen those kids eat something green (besides cupcake frosting). I've never seen them eat any fruit. Not one vegetable. In fact the only thing I've ever seen the kids eat are hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, french fries, and mac and cheese. No, not homemade macaroni with cheese on it. That chemically enriched stuff that has neon yellow cheese. I've never seen them drink water. Only soda. When they go over someone else's house, they bring food for the kids because they only eat junk. Just junk.

How can he say his kids are eating well? There's nothing balanced about what they're eating. It's all just garbage. And the worst part is that he doesn't see that it's garbage. He sees it as good food. "At least he's eating" my friend said to me once, when his oldest was much younger.

Eating's good. Eating right is better.

The only reason I can pinpoint for why he thinks his children are in good health is because they're not putting on weight. They're really active kids and they don't eat very much, but what they do eat is bad for them. This behavior is definitely going to catch up with them and it's going to be at the child's expense.

So how do we break down the myth that skinny = healthy?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I've been reading Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis during my "stay-cation". This book details the events leading up to the global financial crisis through interviews of experts in Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Germany, and the USA. In other words, this book is as far away from nutrition as you can possibly get.


In the chapter on the US, Michael Lewis interviews Dr. Peter Whybrow, a British neuroscientists at UCLA. Whybrow claims that the reasons behind our collective financial problems are the same as the reasons for the obesity epidemic. Evolutionarily, he postulates, we were not prepared to be American.

"The human brain evolved over hundres of thousands of years in an environment defined by scarcity.  It was not designed, at least originally, for an environment  of extreme abundance... '...our passions are still driven by the lizard core. We are set up to acquire as much as we can of things we perceive as scarce, particularly sex, safety, and food.' " (Page 203-204)

This same idea was brought up in the posts about HBO's show "The Weight of the Nation" where they explain the survival aspects of overeating and eating badly. Eating fat means storing fat, means storing energy. Our survival depended on having fat available to us. Of course, we've taken things to the extreme with ice cream sundaes equalling more than one's recommended daily caloric intake.


That's our national driver. I know I'm guilty of the same wants. Here I am, typing on a perfectly functional computer, and all I can think about is the newest version.

New. New. New.
More. More. More.

I can spend my time scrounging and wishing and hoping or I can be content. Content with my apartment that honestly doesn't have space to fit anything else. Content with my wardrobe, which has recently had the hole-y vestments purged. Content that I can sit here and preach about nutrition while I munch on a bunch of M&Ms. Content that I'm not starving. I have clean water. I have a home. I have a job. I have family and friends. My body will not be sold to traffickers. I can choose who I want to marry. I will not be imprisoned for having a dissenting opinion.

That's what America was supposed to be: freedom. Not this slavery to excess.