Clothing Review

Today I’m doing something a little different.  I’m going to review a top I ordered and received from B&lu.

Specifically, this top: http://www.bandlu.com/product.asp?item=carl

The top was on sale, so I can’t sent it back.  And believe me, if I could send it back, I would. 

Where the description says that it is “slightly sheer” it is misleading.  The only way I can wear this top will be to put something underneath it, unless I am planning on going to jail for indecent exposure.  Luckily, I already own one or three black shells.

The second problem with this top is the description calls it an empire waist.  Empire waists are supposed to fall right under the breasts, and is a style that looks very good on me.  Unfortunately, this style is far from an empire waist.  The elastic band falls about one inch above my waist. 

Now, I understand that I am a short woman, standing only 5’2″ tall, but this garment reminds me of trying to find clothing when I was a fat teenager in the early 80′s.  When I found something that was fun, it was always 12″ too long for me.  Even the petite sizes were 6″ too long. 

Finally, there’s something funky about the sleeves.  They bind under the arms in a way they shouldn’t.  When I tried it on after getting it, I realized I’m going to have to take apart the seam on the underneath of the sleeve to get the range of motion I need without the garment binding my arm.  When I told my mother-in-law that, she said, “You shouldn’t have to remake a brand new top!  Send it back!”

And that’s where I stand on this.  If it wasn’t on sale, it would be going back to B&lu.  Fortunately, it was only $15, so I didn’t waste too much on this.  If I’d bought it for the full price of $42, I’d be demanding my money back.

This was my first time buying from B&lu.  I think it will be my last.

Meme-age and diet

I was reading my daily round of blogs today, and a friend had one with meme-age from a new meme blog (http://wednesdayweird.blogspot.com/).  I looked at the questions, and found one from only two weeks ago that was all about diets.

It’s sad when dieting is so endemic to our culture, that a meme blog that’s in it’s infancy (it’s only 22 weeks old now) has a post devoted to it. 

I’m posting and answering the questions, because I think my answers may be a change from what they normally get.  Or, maybe not.  After all, there was that one article that said statistics are showing less people dieting now.

Wednesday Weirdness #20: Weight Watchers

1. Are you happy with how much you weigh? Why or Why not?
I am absolutely happy with how much I weigh.  My weight is not an indicator of anything being morally wrong with me (ie, I’m not lazy, stupid, have low self-esteem).  I am told often that I am beautiful by my husband and other people.  I have been working on getting a fabulous wardrobe that flatters me (rather than old baggy clothing).  For the first time in a very long time, I’ve got an hourglass figure, and I’m playing it up.   My health is not suffering for my weight, neither is my activity level.  Now that my knee is healed from surgery due to an injury 8 years ago, I’m even able to enjoy rock climbing and walking and mountain hiking again.

2. Have you ever been at a weight you are happy with?
Now. :)  And for the record, I weigh 220 lbs and stand 5’2″ tall. 

3. Are you currently on a diet now? If yes, describe.
By diet, you of course mean restricting calories, only eating “good foods” and never ever feeling full, right?  Ummm no.  I will never again diet.  Instead, I eat when I’m hungry, eat until I’m full, and eat what I want.  If I want a cookie right now, I’ll have it.  Or a scoop of ice cream.  This morning’s breakfast was 1/2 sandwich of vealwurst with mayonnaise on bakery rye, and a couple handfuls of snap peas and a cup of chai tea latte.  Weird breakfast, I know, but it was what I wanted.  And it was good.  And I don’t care if it was “good” for me or not.

4. What is the craziest thing you have ever done to lose weight?
I have:  Been put on a starvation diet by my parents from the time I was 8 til I was 14;  gone on a “vegetarian” diet that was only frozen mixed vegetables, one meal a day because I didn’t understand vegetarianism;  taken laxatives for months;  eaten only 500 calories a day for months;  exercised for 2 hours per day;  cut out all grains;  cut out all sugars;  gone on the Candida diet plan (which cuts out all wheat, corn, yeast, dairy and sugar);  eaten only one meal a day;  eaten 1/2 what was on my plate (and wasted the other half)…  Oh yeah, and went to Weight Watchers, did all the stupid diets like Atkins, Grapefruit, etc etc etc trying to lose weight.  None of them worked.  ALL of them had ravenous and left me with no energy.

5. What is your favorite thing about your body?
How it moves, how it does everything I ask it to, how flexible it is, how strong it is.

6. What is your least favorite thing about your body?
The fact that, as I get older, when I lose the stamina (like when I couldn’t do anything after the surgery), it seems to take a lot longer to regain it than when I was a child. 

Yeah, y’all didn’t think I was going to put something physical down, did you? :)

A little more on why Alton Brown’s comments irritate me so much.

The other day, when I was upset about Alton Brown’s comments (http://www.ecorazzi.com/2008/09/10/food-star-alton-brown-talks-sustainability/), one of the things I said was that he sells food.

What I meant by that is he sells the concept of food.  His main show on Food Network is called Good Eats.  In that show, he talks about the science behind making food taste good while being nutritious.  He’s selling the concept of nutritious food, home cooked food, and, if you understand the science, then also good tasting food that’s not going to give you salmonella.

That’s why I call him a hypocrite.  His whole life is about selling the concept of food to everybody who will watch his shows and/or buy his books.  And he has the audacity to ridicule people for buying what he’s selling.  He has the audacity to humiliate people for buying into the concept of “good eats”.  That it can be nutritious and good.

There are many episodes where he’s making *whatever*, and at the end of the show, he has a big bowl of *whatever he cooked* and one eating utensil and acts like he’s going to eat it all.  Yes, I know that’s hyperbole to sell the product (recipe).   But how can he sit there, in an article talking about sustainability in food, and ridicule fat people when he’s not only selling the concept of food, but he’s suggesting overeating in his shows? 

Yanno, I really did like Alton Brown.  I liked that he was a nerd (Mr. Science for food) and that he made a good living from being a food nerd.  His shows were entertaining, and I usually learned a lot of things from Good Eats.  But I cannot support a person who makes his living from rampart hypocrisy.

If he really feels like he seems to, then he should get out of the food business.  There’s many other areas he could put his geekiness and knowledge to ‘good’ work.  You know, like the diet industry.  I’m sure they’d love to have him as their spokesperson, explaining in scientific ways how eating this or that thing, or combination of things, works to help one lose weight.  Yeah, maybe he could start a show all about dieting and have food anthropologists explaining how people dieted through the ages and how it was all healthy.

You know, like the “healthy” way of eating a tapeworm.  No, really, people did that.  Or the new “healthy” way of starving ourselves. 

Or, how about some real history which shows that at certain times, being fat was considered sexy and desirable, because only rich people could afford to be fat (both by having an abundance of food as well as having an abundance of leisure time).  Now that an abundance of food is relatively normal (and I say relatively because I know about the starving poor people in every country, including my own), the new sexy and desirable is to not eat so much and the new leisure activity is to work oneself into exhaustion.

Oh, wait, that concept would never sell, would it?

And it’s back to normal…

Yesterday I blogged about the article in the NYT about eating for satisfaction, remember?

Well, today it’s back to business as usual.  In the NYT fitness section, they have an article about walking on treadmills while working in a cubicle farm (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/18/health/nutrition/18fitness.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1221934394-R2cpbb8FZ6koGXiFYCfADA).  The quote I find most disturbing?  “After a while, your legs do get kind of tired,” said Mr. Rhoads, 40, who started exercising in March, when doctors advised him to lose weight after open-heart surgery.   Umm, you’re working for 8 hours, probably only taking a half hour lunch break and two fifteen minute breaks.  You’re on your feet, standing and walking, for 7 hours a day, and you say “after a while your legs get tired”?

Another quote from the article: Without breaking a sweat, the so-called work-walker can burn an estimated 100 to 130 calories an hour at speeds slower than two miles an hour, Mayo research shows.

So these people are walking between 7 to 14 miles a day, 5 days a week.  My question here is, has anybody thought of the long term ramifications of putting that much stress on their joints?  Even the normal sized people.  Ask any nurse, beat cop (do they still have beat cops in big cities) or anybody who stands and walks all the time as a requirement of the job about the dangers of being on your feet so much.

Or, ask the 10 year old girl who was going to PT when I was going to PT last spring about the dangers of high impact/massive stress on joints.  The girl who had no cartilage left in her joints because she was trying to become an Olympic gymnast.

So, in order to minimize outcomes which are not even caused by teh fatz, people are putting themselves at risk for problems we know are associated with certain behaviors (like bad joints, fallen arches for people who have to be walking all day, every day).  Yeah, that’s certainly healthy.

Wow

An article in the NYT, about eating to enjoy, rather than dieting.  One that’s NOT condemning of people who eat what they want.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/17/dining/17diet.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

The final quote:

Marion Nestle, the New York University nutritionist whose book “What To Eat” (North Point Press, 2006) focuses on sensible eating, said she thinks people view food as the enemy, when the real problem is that they have forgotten how to enjoy food in a healthful way.

“If you’re eating something you really like, maybe you won’t feel like you need to eat so much of it,” she said. “If you want a muffin, then eat a gorgeous muffin with marvelous blueberries that’s moist and crispy on the outside with a little sugar on it. Yum.”

There’s no condemnation of foods like avocado, walnut, peanut butter.  They are even talked about as being “healthy” in this article.  The only quibble I have with the whole article is the part where it says people should eat more plant based foods.  Not everybody can be a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian.  I’ve tried being a vegetarian and it didn’t work for me.

But yeah.  An article.  In the NYT, not condemning people for eating for pleasure and nutrition.

Hopefully, this is the start of a very long trend.

“Just find another doctor”

Yesterday, while eating dinner with my husband and mother-in-law, Oprah was on the TV.  The show was about health.  One segment (the first) was about a woman who had a 140 pound tumor in her stomach, and how she finally was able to get it removed after 20 years.

Now, Oprah had a doctor on the show, Dr. Oz (and you know he was a doctor because he was dressed in scrubs and had a stethoscope draped around his neck), who questioned the woman as to why she let the condition go on as long as she did.  She said when she first was feeling sick, all those years ago, she went to her family doctor.  His diagnosis was that she was fat, and if she just lost weight, she’d feel so much better. 

Okay, how many of you reading along expected that one?  Right?

The thing I didn’t expect to hear, was Oprah’s pet doctor then scolding this woman on national television telling her to “just find another doctor” if she was so sure something was wrong.  And then he went on to say that, at over 300 pounds (remember, she had a 140 pound tumor) it was very hard to diagnose her correctly anyways because she couldn’t fit into the scanners. 

Excuse me?  Blame the victim much here?  How about a side dish of humiliation on top of that?

We, as a nation, are raised to treat doctors like gods.  We, as a nation, are taught (by our parents, grandparents, the doctors) that we don’t know anything about our bodies, and they, the Almighty Doctor, knows everything.  If we get told by a doctor “it’s nothing, you’re just fat, lose weight and everything will be fine”, then, by golly, we just need to suck it up and lose the weight.  Because, obviously, we’ll be so much better if we do.

And when we can’t lose weight, for whatever reason (140 pound tumor continueing to grow, there’s no way that lady could EVER have lost that weight without surgery), we’re told that we just don’t want it bad enough (and for it, substitute whatever the supposed goal is — better health, ability to have children, not being tired all the time, etc).

But back to the point here:  Oprah’s pet doctor told a woman, who was conditioned all her life to do whatever the doctor said, to “just find another doctor”.  Yeah.  Have you TRIED finding another doctor?  One that will actually look at what your symptoms are and not just presume that your being fat causes every problem you have?  It’s extremely hard to do so. 

One of the problems that a person facees, in trying to find that perfect doctor that will diagnose the real problem and not be lazy (because just blaming every symptom on a person being “fat” is very definately lazy) is that a person gets the reputation for “doctor shopping”.  “Oh, s/he’s only looking for somebody to tell them what they want to hear.”  I got that myself, from my own mother-in-law last year, after being diagnosed fat for a knee injury last year.

But hey, no problem, just find another doctor.

The lady on Oprah got “lucky”.  She became really ill right before Easter, and went to her doctor, thinking she had a flu.  Something in her exam wasn’t right, and she went to the hospital, where another doctor thought to put her in a scanner and found the huge tumor.  They took her in for surgery right away, and she’s recovering. 

But yeah, she really should have “just found another doctor.”

Alton Brown, you should be ashamed.

But not for what you think you should be ashamed for.

 ”I’ve struggled with weight all my life, and probably always will. But I was on my most recent book tour I was shocked by the number of overweight families,” he says. “People would come up to me and say, ‘Oh, we love the Food Network.’ Well, no (expletive); did you eat the TV? There’s only four of you and you can’t ride in an elevator together. I’ll probably make fat people angry, but we need, as a culture, to be ashamed. It’s not “… healthy.”  http://www.ecorazzi.com/2008/09/10/food-star-alton-brown-talks-sustainability/

You’ll probably make fat people angry?  To quote you verbatim:  Well, no shit!

You make your money by selling FOOD to people, fat and skinny alike.  You don’t care who pays for your books or watches your TV programs because it adds to your fortune, a fortune people like me, FAT people like me, are contributing to.  And then you have the audacity to say in an interview, “Did you eat the TV?”

You HYPOCRITE!  You have the unmitigated gall to verbally humiliate fat people, the people who pay your salary, both directly and indirectly?

You don’t like yourself when you are fat?  Fine.  Do something about it.  But to make your money on people like me and then to publically ridicule us?

Yeah, your bosses will be getting a letter from me.  And hopefully, from a LOT of fat people.  This isn’t the first time you’ve talked smack about fat people.  At least the other time you seemed to be polite about it (from what I heard, not having seen the interview itself, I can’t attest to that from first hand knowledge).  But now? 

You are on my shit list.  And no, the expletive isn’t deleted.

How is health food any healthier?

This is something I’ve been asking for a while.  How is health food really any healthier than regular food?

Hear me out here.

Yesterday, I went to the local Safeway (grocery store in the southwest of the USA) and picked up a  couple bags of ‘snap pea crisps’.  They are fried snap peas, fried in corn oil and have some rice flour dusted on them.  They are really good, and one of my snacks of choice when I’m in the mood for a ‘chip’. 

However, this bag of snap pea crisps is the exact same bag of snap pea crisps I can get at the health food store (I know, because that’s where I first found them) for about $1.50 US more than what I purchased them for at Safeway.  The same brand, the same size, the same everything.

So, how is that any healthier?

I know people are going to say that sometimes there are the same things or types of things in regular grocery stores and health food stores, and that this is just one of a small list of things that make more sense to get at a regular grocery store. 

Okay, lets compare apples to apples — or in this case, snap pea crisps to potato chips.  While I was at Safeway, I was picking up some potato chips for my mother-in-law.  And decided to do a comparison.  Both the snap peas and the potato chips have the same suggested serving size; one ounce.  Both the snap peas and the potato chips have the same calories per serving; 150.  The potato chips get 10 more calories per serving from fat than the potato chips do.  And the ingredients of both included corn oil for frying (and no other oils).

So, honestly, can you tell me what the difference is?  Why, when I’m eating the snap pea crisps, am I (or anybody) automatically considered to be having a ‘good’ snack, but when I’m eating potato chips,  I’m giving in and eating junk food?  And yes, on the snap pea crisps bag it does claim to be a healthy alternative to junk food.

I admit that there are a lot of reasons to buy food at a health food store.  Lower antibiotics in the meat and dairy, possibly fresher fruits and vegetables (especially if the health food store purchases their produce from local markets), usually a wider variety of oils, and generally the ability to find hard to find food items.  Add to all that the generally large selection of herbs and vitamins, and there are many reasons to support the local health food store.

To say that buying your food from the health food store makes it more healthy, which is then equated to losing weight for fat people?  From where I see it, not so much.

Only four hours of exersize a day?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26611180/ Go, read this first.

Okay, you back?

So, now, besides eating a starvation diet, I also have to exercise for four hours a day? Ummmm, in what universe is that really a viable solution?

Oh, wait, people who are rich can afford to be thin. People like Madonna or Oprah who do nothing all day long (okay, I know that’s not fair, Oprah is busy, but she also has people to see to pesky things like cooking and cleaning her mansion), can afford to take four hours a day to exercise.

So, yeah, I can either become fabulously rich (in my dreams), or join an insular christian sect and give up all modern life. Now, while I like dressing in “funny” clothing on the weekend and camping and such (will do so this weekend, matter of fact), and while I enjoy doing a lot of ‘old fashioned’ stuff like making soap and canning jellies and preserves and making cakes from scratch, there’s no way I could live in an Amish community. I know nothing about how to cook or bake on a fire/in a fire fueled oven. My sewin’ skills (what I do have) are predicated on a sewing machine, my hand sewing is terrible! And much as I love caring for animals, I have no actual clue about anything it would take to live on a real farm, doing things the hard way (meaning no modern luxuries in life).

And give up my computer and internet access???? Heavens forbid!

Okay, now that the snarkiness is out of my system, here’s the thing that most disturbs me about this article: They say that for 30% of the European descended population, there is a so-called fat gene. But then they try to make it sound reasonable that people with this fat gene should just exercise moderately for four hours a day.

Sometimes, I think the editors aren’t vetting the articles for, you know, common sense. Besides upper income people who can afford to hire personal trainers, get expensive gym memberships, and have the time and money to go to health food stores* and make everything from scratch, who really has the time, money, or energy at the end of a long day to exercise four hours a day? And still be able to sleep and have time with their families?

Many people today are working more than one job. It’s just a fact. The lower the pay scale is for any one job, the more likely that person is working two or three, especially if they have a family to support. Even when they aren’t working more than one job, a typical 8 hour workday, with commuting time makes 10 hours away from the home. Add in the 8 hours one is supposed to have for sleeping every night, and that gives you JUST enough time for the exercise (four hours) and two hours left over for … everything else. You know, like cooking those home cooked (and supposedly better for you) meals, spending time with the kids so they remember who mom or dad is, cleaning house, buying groceries, going to the doctor, oh yeah, and relaxing.

And here is the underlying message: We (society in general) just don’t care if you have health problems that make you gain weight, are on medicines which make you gain weight, or even if it’s genetic and you are at a disadvantage because it really is in your genes. We don’t like looking at you fat people. So it’s reasonable for us to tell you to exercise for 4 hours a day so you aren’t fat anymore. It really has NOTHING to do with health (which we fatties have known for a long time). It’s all about aesthetics. So, be a good little fatty, get with the program and either starve yourself or exercise and absurd amount of time every day, or have WLS. It doesn’t matter to us as long as you stop being fat at us.

Um. Yeah. This (four hours of exercise a day) is a totally realistic expectation for a person. Just like eating a very limited quantities of food for the rest of your life is totally realistic. Uhhuh. Totally. Or, you know, we could just give up modern life and go join the Amish…

*I have nothing against health food stores, and even shop there on occassion myself. The thing I DO have a problem with is how shopping at health food stores is almost always equated with better nutrition/better choices for fat people. I’m sorry, the whole oats that’s sold in Safeway is the same whole oats sold in the health food store. Some of the honeys and maple syrups are the exact same brand even (only at the health food store they are at least $1.00 more expensive). Yes, the local grocery store does have more junk food and such, but the health food stores have junk too (chocolate bars, ‘veggie’ chips, etc). While there may be benifits with less pesticides and less antibiotics fed to the animals before they are slautered and make it to the meat section, food from the health food store is not necessarily so much better for fatties than any other food. And if anybody were to overeat on the ‘veggie chips’ from the health food store, it would be just as possibly detrimental (a full bag of potato chips fried in oil or a full bag of veggie chips fried in oil, how is that any different, really).

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