Fat Attitudes vs. Fat Mouths

With everything I’ve been doing lately, (school, work at the bookshop, training, and trying to keep myself in decent shape) I haven’t had much time to blog, but I wanted to sneak this one in.

There has been a constant head-to-head battle in our entire world between the skinnies and the fatties.  There are people who chastise others for being too skinny, it’s unhealthy, it’s unsexy, etc.  Then there’s the other people who chastise the opposite group for being too fat, unhealthy, unsexy, etc.  So which side is right?
Neither.  There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to an individual molecular make-up.  While there are extremes, and it’s obvious which ones are not natural for the human body, that’s a different topic altogether.

It happens to me on a daily basis, so I know the awful, self-esteem crushing impact of weight bullying.  While I could always use a little extra exercise and probably a lot less junk in my diet, I am at what I call a happy medium.  Not fat, not skinny.  However, I will have women balk at me when I voice concerns about my poor diet, which has NOTHING to do with my weight, strictly the nutrients I’m getting.  They say I’m too thin to concern myself with such things.  It makes you realize why we have so many “fat” skinny people walking around, completely clueless as to the fact that there cardiovascular system is shot, because they’re lead to believe that as long as they’re skinny, they don’t need to pay attention to their diet.

I also have days where people blatantly ask me if I’ve gained weight, or point out the fact that my jeans are probably a size too small.  Yes, I have put on weight since I was 18.  No, I have not spent the money to go out and buy new pants.  Yes, I truly believe that I will get back into the shape of my life.  No, I’m not delusional.

I call this weight bullying.  People do it without even realizing it.  Your best friend, you mother, a complete stranger.  I’m sure it’s happened to everyone at least once.  A tiny comment that leaves your head reeling, wondering why you went out and bought a bagel for lunch instead of eating your salad and apple.

Anyone who truly wants to help someone who is obviously having trouble with their weight, and is concerned with their body image, should avoid making direct comments about another’s body.  People will often point out their biggest body concerns, simply so others know they are aware of their flaws, and that way avoid them being pointed out.

A way to help someone else is to take in what they’re telling you, and try to help them work towards feeling better about whatever it is that concerns them.  If you constantly hear a friend whose overweight complaining about needing to lose some pounds, offer to start working out together.  A friend who is trying to better their diet, suggest cooking together once a week and trying new recipes.  Pointing out their flaws will only confirm in their minds what they have been thinking all along: “Everyone thinks I’m fat”, “Everyone is staring”.

If it happens to be you who needs the boost, and you feel uncomfortable asking for help from a friend or family member, turn to a complete stranger.  It sounds hilarious, but there are tons of sites, blogs, and pages with people just out there trying to help others.  No fees, no strings attached.

Posted in Exercise & Fitness, Nutrition | Leave a comment

Migraines & The Runner

I have long suffered with headaches, ever since I was a child.  In recent years these headaches have developed into excruciating migraines.  I’m sure someone knows the ones, and can relate.  Nothing seems to help, no amount of pills, ice packs, dark rooms, hot baths.  Nothing.  All you can do is sleep it off, and even then sometimes you wake up with still with a hint of it lingering.  However, if I can catch it early enough, and have the time, I can usually keep them at bay.

Which brings me to the running bit.  It’s the only tried and true practice I have found for headaches that actually works.  It’s obvious to anyone who knows even the tiniest bit of human anatomy why it helps.  Increased blood flow to the brain, endorphins, and then release of tension all nip it in the bud before a full blown migraine has time to develop.  I guess the real point of this post is this: Am I missing something?  I know there must be a load of people who suffer from migraines, but how do they get on with their days?  Unfortunately for me, when a migraine hits, I’m usually not in the most convenient of places to just suit up and skip out for a quick run.  Lovely as that life would be!  Some days I don’t even have time to go out for a run when I feel great.  So…

How does everyone else cope with headaches and migraines?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Slim Pickins

To elaborate further on yesterday’s post, https://fitfatfrail.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/fat-chance/, what’s the opposite of someone who claims they “can’t” lose weight?  Well, their counterpart is the person who claims they can’t gain weight, and that working out is bad for them because they are thin…

Screw that.  Has anybody ever heard of protein?  Muscles perhaps?  Maybe they have even heard that muscle development means gaining weight, and healthy weight at that?  Once again, therein lies the biggest problem: misinformation and ignorance.  Just like you cannot expect to lose weight by sitting on the couch and eating Pringles, you also can’t expect to gain weight and tone up that way.

Once again I draw mostly from my own personal experiences, because I have been at both ends of the spectrum here.  I have sat idle, eating shit, and gained a hell of a lot of weight.  I have also sat idle, eaten even worse, and wasted away to a mere 90 pounds.  At this point in my health and fitness journey, I weigh somewhere in between, I have actual bicep muscles!!, I can see my abs, and I don’t feel lethargic and moody seven days of the week.  I eat well every day, I watch my caloric intake, I work out at least 5 times a week, and I still have the occasional movie & binge night.  The difference now is I don’t beat myself up over it, and I enjoy those nights so much more, because they are what they are: A TREAT!  Not a regular occurrence.

So what’s the skinny on, well, skinny?  Some people naturally have trouble holding onto weight.  Not every thin person is “anorexic” or “bulimic”.  You would never go up to an overweight friend and say “You look a little fat, have you gained weight?  Are you ok?”, so why would you approach a thin friend and say “You look skinny, are you ok?  Are you eating?”.  As humans, and living in a society that is highly influenced, many factors play into our weight, from stress to depression.  There are hundreds of reasons to gain or shed a pound, but it doesn’t mean you have to succumb to it getting out of control.

On that note, I have more information on weight control for both extremes.  If anyone has any specific questions or comments, I would love to hear them, and will do my best to find the answers.

Posted in Exercise & Fitness, Nutrition | Leave a comment

Fat Chance

One of my biggest annoyances is a person’s ability to ignore the fact that they have a problem.  No one person on this planet is perfect, but it doesn’t mean that we should sit back and accept the fact that there is something wrong.  The weight delusion we suffer with is probably on my top five.

This “big is beautiful” campaign that has been gathering momentum over the years has turned something that used to be about discipline and confidence, into an excuse to be unhealthy and overweight.  While body fat is necessary, and curvy women are sensual, obesity is an epidemic that is being justified by the fact that people are afraid to discriminate against the overweight population.

The word “fat” has gained a certain taboo about it similar to most racist or prejudiced words and sayings, when simply putting it, fat is what it is.  Being overweight is an excess of fat; around you heart and major organs, weighing you down, making you ill and fatigued, and drastically bringing down your quality of life.

Some people are born with a good metabolism, and no health related defects.  Other people, most people perhaps, are not so lucky.  There are problems ranging from simple willpower, to thyroid disorders, that can accumulate to damage a person’s self-esteem and confidence so bad, it actually leaves them believing they have no choice in the matter.  Fat is what they were born into, not a choice.

Not true.  These things are simply obstacles.  While unfair and difficult, they are not impossible to overcome.  Having an under active thyroid is not an excuse to balloon up.   I have had problems with willpower and self-control my entire life.  I still do.  Sometimes it’s so overwhelming, that sitting home devouring candy bar after candy bar, cookie after cookie, is just the fact of the matter.  It’s a set back, but it’s not who I am, or who I have to be.

I was born curvy, and short.  The only way to keep my weight in check and stay healthy is simple: a strict diet, and regular exercise.  It took me years to come to this realization.  I would work out twice a day, seven days a week, and wonder why I was gaining weight!?  I had heard somewhere that it doesn’t matter what you eat, as long as you work out enough.  False.  I would also eat nothing but low calorie foods, 800 calories a day maybe, and not work out.  Yes I would get thinner, but I would be flabby, and tired!  Neither one of these rituals were healthy or effective.  I still felt fat.

So, what’s the problem?  If you’re eating what you want and happy, where can you go wrong?  I thought this for a long time too.  As long as I was content, who cares if I gain a little weight.  Then it turned into more than a little weight.  At 5’1″ I was 135 lbs.  While this may seem miniscule to some people, it’s quite a bit of extra pounds to be carrying around on a very small frame.  I had never been over 115 lbs. in my life.  Wearing heels was excruciating because of the added weight my feet had to carry around.  My only choice was to stop making excuses for myself, such as I don’t have time, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the energy, etc., and actually get off my ass and do something, anything.

I’ve known many people who claim they can’t workout.  They even go as far as to claim they are “not allowed” to exercise, doctor’s orders.  I smell bullshit.  No doctor in his or her right mind, who actually went to med. school, spent tens of thousands of dollars on their degree, would ever tell you not to exercise, ever, that it is bad for you specifically.  While there are going to be limitations for people, such as high impact exercises on people with back and joint problems, there are still very effective workouts you can do daily.  Asking your doctor your limitations is the first step.  Giving up the excuses you make to yourself is the next.  Getting out there and being the change, that’s the hardest, and only option you have, if you want a change to happen.

30 minutes of exercise is roughly 2 percent of your 24 hour day.  2 percent!  That’s barely anything.  It takes me more time to check my Facebook in the morning!  And as far as diet, that’s definitely a little more difficult, what with hidden calories and poor nutrition in everything these days, but there are plenty of resources out there to help.  My favourite website for finding out calories in foods I make is: http://caloriecount.about.com/
It’s very straightforward, and extremely helpful.  I still manage to shock myself daily with how many calories and how much fat are in certain foods I used to eat every day.

So let go of those excuses, give them up like a bad habit.  Unless both your legs are broken, you can do squats.  Unless you have doctor’s orders NOT to engage in aerobic activities, you can go for a run.  It’s supposed to hurt.  It’s supposed to burn.  You’re supposed to be out of breath.  That means you’re alive, and your body is doing its job.  Simple.

Posted in Exercise & Fitness, Nutrition | Leave a comment

Gardening, For Fitness & Fun

Fall is upon us, which means the pumpkins will soon be coming out.  Time to get one last gardening session in before it gets too cold.

Garden is a great form of exercise.  It’s also fun and very good for your mood and mental state.  I just planted my first real garden this year, and it was definitely worthwhile.  There’s nothing like eating peas fresh out of your garden, or watching an eggplant that you planted grow from a tiny pod; It’s also just a great excuse to get outside and enjoy a day of nice weather.  It’s a rewarding hobby that’s good for your health, what’s not to like?

So while it may be too late to get started on a garden this year, it’s something to think about for next spring.  Even a little patio garden of herbs and tomatoes is a good start.  You won’t be disappointed.

Being a newcomer to the whole gardening world, my green thumb could use some work.  I’m always looking for new tips and advice.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bicycle, Just A Quickie

Today I decided to ride my new bike to work.  It’s the first time I’ve ridden a bicycle in 6 years, so I was kind of nervous.  Then, just my luck, the chain fell off, and got so jammed I couldn’t put it back on for the life of me.  I had to walk to bike the rest of the way to work, and get a coworker to do it for me.  We were both COVERED in grease.  While a little funny, also very frustrating.  Maybe the ride to my second job this evening will prove to be a better experience.

So, anyone have any advice on bikes?  Or embarrassing bicycling stories of their own?

Here’s to hoping I don’t land on my ass this evening.

Posted in Slip-ups, Embarrassments, & Mistakes | Tagged , | Leave a comment

5 Zones of Maximum Heart Rate

Seeing as I won’t have time to post tomorrow, I thought I would elaborate further on heart rate and BPM tonight.  When it comes to aerobic activity, there are five zones for your heart rate.  I recently just learned this information, and made my own heart rate chart.

Typically the most basic way to determine your max. heart rate is 220 minus your age.  The following is how to use the five zones.

Zone 1: 50%-60% of your max. heart rate.  So for example, if your max heart rate is 190, it would be 190 times .5, and 190 times .6.  This should be very easy work, so fast paced walking, etc.

Zone 2: %60-%70 of your max. heart rate.  Calculate the same way.  This should be a little heavier exercise.  So a very light jog.  Here you are burning fat and calories.

Zone 3: %70-%80 of your max. heart rate.  This should be a moderately paced workout, a good jog.  Here is where you are optimal for burning fat and calories.

Zone 4: %80-%90 of your max. heart rate.  This is going to be a heavy paced workout.  So more towards a good run.  You will be burning a lot of calories.  You will want to throw in a few minutes of this zone at a time, but not spend your entire workout here.

Zone 5: %90-%100 of your max. heart rate.  This zone is a red zone.  You should not workout in this zone unless you are very well trained.  This is where you will work out for 60 seconds, and then take it back down.  This is also the zone where you are most prone to injury.  Very high calorie burn, but it gets harder to burn fat at this zone, because it is harder for your body to process your oxygen intake.

So the next time you workout, strap on your heart monitor and see what you can really do!  When you exercise using the principles of these zones, you should see very real results.  Please, let me know the improvements you see and whether or not these principles work for you.

Posted in Exercise & Fitness | Tagged , | Leave a comment