Exercising for Strength

[Please avoid if references to calorie counting, restriction, or binge eating is a problem. This also goes for most of the links.]

Lately I’ve been reading two very different blogs for their exercise content.

One is Shaunta Grimes’ Tumblr, where she’s discussing her “100 Day Experiment” with Health At Every Size®.  Shaunta had begun her weight-accepting journey years before, but still counted calories and tried not go above 1800. Unfortunately she’d end up binging periodically.  During the 100 Day Experiement, Shaunta began eating at least what her body needs,  getting enough sleep, and exercising in slowly increasing amounts.  Shaunta began with exercising 10 minutes a day and has since added swimming & weight lifting.  Shaunta is thrilled to have more energy, be sleeping better, have less edema, and be stronger. She also hasn’t been binging. She has lost a small amount of weight but remains above 350lbs.

The other is 300 Pounds Down. Holly, the author, had weight-loss surgery in 2011 at 417lbs.  She’s lost 200lbs at the moment and intends to lose more (hence the name of the blog).  Holly began exercising for 30 seconds, increasing 30 seconds a day, working up to walking 5 miles a day.  An injury sidelined her walking, and then she began lifting weights with Crossfit.

Obviously these are two very different narratives.  But: both women began exercising while weighing over 350lbs. (Kinda like me.) Both began very gradually and increased slowly but steadily. (Yup.) Both women are getting stronger — and delighting in that fact! (Yup…)  Both have more energy.  Both are happier.  And both are encouraging me to continue my own exercise efforts.

I support bodily autonomy, including the right for each person to decide whether to exercise. I choose to exercise for my own selfish reasons. I support others in making their own choices. Both of these blogs have helped me to reflect on my own experiences with exercise and on my own victories, like “lifting 40lb boxes” and “better at carrying things upstairs”.

(And yes, I’m aware that Shaunta & Holly have very different blogs!!!  Shaunta, like myself, is a HAES proponent;  Holly has weight loss as a primary goal.  Shaunta is  deliberately eating more than she had before; Holly is deliberately eating much less & differently than before.)

Norwescon Panel Discussions

Like many fan conventions, Norwescon has lots of panel discussions.  There are many areas of focus, including not just sci fi & fantasy but science, space, writing, art, movies, indie filmmaking, gaming, costuming, music, and the culture of fandom.  This year, some of the panels included were:

  • Feminism in Fandom
  • Size Acceptance is for Every Body
  • Health At Every Size
  • Cosplaying while Fat
  •  The Bechdel Test
  • Escher Girls and The Hawkeye Initiative
  • Cosplay is Not Consent

I did not make it to all of these, but I do mention them as a sampling of things you might not think would land in a scifi convention.  The truth is that cons vary. If there’s interest, a con may include it.  Wiscon is a consciously feminist convention, but it’s not the only one to address these sorts of topics. Norwescon has been blessed the last few years to have the creator of Polimicks.com organizing the fannish culture panels.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding can  help others improve their lives, like:

It also creates neat things – some I’ve contributed to have created things like recording “Release The Cello” or


(….and pretty much The Doublclicks’ next year.…)

Another interesting campaign right now is Fattitude: A Body Positive Documentary.

Are there other campaigns you’re supporting now?

I wrote more about crowdfunding – with references on how to make it work – here.

Milestones

So I threw this on twitter, but I’m repeating it here: I’m 48 years old & it’s been over a year since my last period.

I’m OK with the first.  I’m HAPPY about the second — and yes, it means I’m “officially” considered menopausal.  I had a few years of skipping periods in the fall & winter, then getting returning to regularity each summer.

Goodbye mood swings, goodbye cramps! Goodbye bloodstains in my pants!!

I wasn’t entirely sure I was in perimenopause, at first, despite the irregular periods.  I would sometimes feel suddenly warm and turn on a fan or ditch my cardigan, but not often.  I had problems sleeping and sometimes use ambien, but that was during some major life changes and I didn’t think much of it.  After I skipped 6 months I was pretty sure it was the start of menopause — and then I started having periods again. For a few months.  And… yeah.

Regularity?  What’s that?

I had my first period at age 10.  It’s been nearly 40 years.  I’m fine with being done.

Anybody watch the Bill Cunningham show?

This came in as a comment:

CW network national daytime talk show is looking for BIG people with BIG personalities who are fighting with a family member and need the insults to stop! Must be in conflict with a family member/partner and be available April 30th-May 1st!!! If selected you will receive an ALL EXPENSE PAID TRIP TO NEW YORK CITY!!!!

CALL OR TEXT THE SHOW’S PRODUCERS TODAY: 646-701-3207 OR 646-853-0549

***You must be in conflict with a family member/loved one due to weight***

Why do I think this is looking to turn into a family screaming / “intervention” and “Yes I will rededicate myself to becoming thin!!!” cryfest?

Music Monday

One of my favorite filk songs, “Uplift” by Andy Eigel, performed by Vixy & Tony.   Hopefully it’ll help you wake up today.

Also I’ve had emails about people who’ve become interested in Vixy & Tony after I posted about them. If that’s you, there’s an interview with them on YouTube. (Originally it was part of a longer interview that’s no longer there, but this short piece does include things like “Where did the name ‘Vixy’ come from?” and “How did you get into filk?” which is pretty nice.)

Quote of the Day

There are good questions about Fat Acceptance and Health At Every Size, such as the ones asked in the panels I attended at Norwescon.  (This led to me updating my FAQ, even.)

On the other hand, there’s the recent Thought Catalog article Carolyn Hall wrote on “6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement,” which really betrays a misunderstanding of what fat acceptance IS.  There’s been rebuttals to it published. But I’m going to quote from the rather more general response of Marianne Kirby on XOJane:

Hall’s article is about her own lack of fundamental understanding. But it’s also about her discomfort with a tool (that’d be fat acceptance) lots of fat people use to feel good about themselves — or even to just not hate themselves 24/7, which is — honestly and tragically — a very real challenge for many fat folks. She doesn’t understand it because she can’t conceive of fat people who don’t hate themselves. And she probably wishes we’d stop with the self-esteem and get back to loathing ourselves for our own good.  [...]

Hall has 6 points that she raises, and so many people have answered those points. But I only have one response: Fat acceptance does not have to be for Carolyn Hall. She does not have to understand it for it to have value. Her inability to process why fat people might need something to help them leave the house and go out in public doesn’t change that fat acceptance does help and it helps people of all sizes who are looking for a way to have some hope of loving themselves.

Not everything has to be for every person. And perhaps this movement simply isn’t for her at this point. That’s fine. I hope she’s very happy. But I am tired as anything of people who want me to be miserable in my own physical form. Her article is nothing new; it’s old and played out. Move along, Carolyn Hall. If you ever need it, fat acceptance will still be here. And you’ll be welcome then. But for now? There is nothing for you here.

…yeah.  I’m not sure why my existence really pisses people off, but it definitely does.

Back from Norwescon!

As mentioned on Twitter, I was at Norwescon this weekend! One of the most delightful parts was the interview session with special guest Seanan McGuire, who is also Mira Grant.  I don’t have that to share with you, but I do have this from her book tour last fall for her book Parasite (which IS about genetically engineered parasites, and yes, it’s touched on in the video).

Minute 7 – how having a genetically engineered tapeworm could affect weight loss.

Minute 9:45 – could write a very socially-shaming book along the lines of “now that my PCOS doesn’t prevent me from losing weight, you actually think I deserve decent medical care?”

Minute 11:50 – poop transfers & your personal biome

Minute 25 – on bacteria & how antibiotics are overused

Minute 29 – on how drugs are mislegislated and miscontrolled

Minute 39:55 – on morning person encountering a night person

Minute 42 – “Do you honestly think it’s better to be dead than autistic?”

Watch and enjoy ;)

It Came From The Search Terms

When you go to a page by searching Google (or whatev) it very nicely let your sites know what you searched on.  WordPress aggregates this for its users.  Some of them are fun.

how do morbidly obese people get dressed

Once you manage to buy the clothes it’s not all that different….

how some will look if they weighed 400 lbs at 6 foot 2 inches

Depends on the person, but see the photographic height/weight chart.

what it’s loke to be fat

The interesting thing about that one was that it wasn’t just a 1-time misspelling — 7 hits with that one phrase.

Wheezing Around the Block

One of the recent rants I moderated out of the comments included something* about how “wheezing around the block doesn’t count as exercise.”

Wheezing is a symptom of asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, and other illness. Deciding that wheezing is only due to weight and only will be treated by weight loss is DANGEROUS.

I do wheeze. I have asthma. Now that  it is properly treated I can exercise without wheezing. My treatment plan is greatly helped by insurance to cover the not-available-in-generic Advair & other meds. One of my asthma triggers is exercise itself. This means I need to medicate pre-exercise. I’m also affected by things like air pollution and pollen.

If you’re fat and wheezing while walking around the block, you may need to see a doctor about your wheezing. It’s not necessarily “just being fat.” Waiting til you’re thin? A, may not help, and B, YOU COULD DIE in the meantime.

The fat haters of the world would have you believe you only wheeze if you’re fat and should lose weight to cure it. The fat accepters think that if you’re sick, you should be treated for that without having to lose weight first. I’m on the fat accepting side.

*Paraphrased to remove profanity & improve readability.

Saturday Ramblings

1am is still Saturday if you haven’t gone to bed yet, right?

Note to self: The expensive twice-daily asthma med works best if the evening dose is 12 hours after the morning dose, not 18 or 20. You carry it with you. Set an alarm on your phone & use it. Don’t just turn it off.

Kath posted about a current fat acceptance tag on twitter, if you haven’t seen it already. Also the HAES blog has a piece on activist burnout.

I started watching the first season of Mad Men on Netflix.  Is it weird that I’m describing it as “a grown-up Bewitched”?

Music Monday

Kathy Mar

Kathy Mar (image from Last.fm)

Kathy Mar has been making folk and filk music longer than a lot of people have been around.  She was a professional folksinger and street performer in Denver before she discovered filk, the music of science fiction & fantasy fandom.  She’s gone on to record several filk albums and won awards in filk music.

And yes, she is a woman of size.

One of her songs from 1988 is still as timely as it was then.

We are surrounded by technology a flood that’s rising still
And we are praying we’ll survive it or we’re sure we never will
And all our speed and skill and reach will soon be taking us to space
It’s a great day in the morning for our funny human race
But we’re frightened of our future and we’re scared to move along
So we scream that our technology is dangerous and wrong
Back-to-nature cannot save us but the stars could be our crown
If we can drink up this river before we drown

Last.fm has a great version of “Drink Up The River” and other songs of Kathy’s.

A more recent image of Kathy (via Wikipedia).

A more recent image of Kathy (via Wikipedia).

QOTD: Workplace Wellness

Much criticism of “employer wellness programs” have been focused on privacy concerns and angering employees.  But now we’re seeing more practical concerns (also known as “does this even work?”).

Which leads me to this quote of the day, directed at CEOs:

Suppose a vendor made you this proposal: “Pay us to take your employees off the job for medical tests that the government specifically says are unnecessary, and then send them to the doctor (at your expense) even though the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says healthy adults don’t benefit from checkups. We also want you to bribe or even fine employees to drive participation. Despite this adverse morale impact and wasted time and money, we promise you’ll reduce your healthcare spending, mostly because we’ll make up the savings numbers.” [...]

Think you’d decline this proposal? If you have a wellness program built around screenings, doctor visits, and “incentives,” you’ve actually already accepted it. Because (in addition to free gym memberships and other possibly worthwhile perks) that’s what wellness is for tens of millions of Americans.

— Al Lewis and Vik Khanna

Gee — let me think.

Wednesday Trying to be Monday

image

Image from IGIGI

Good: Wearing nifty IGIGI dress from Gwynnie Bee.
Bad: Turned my left ankle and fell in my driveway this morning.
Good: Ankle feels okay.
Bad: Right hip & knee, which I actually fell on, are sore.
Good: Hubby brushed off dress. 
Bad: Headache.
Good: Five compliments on the dress at work today. And it has POCKETS.
Uncertain: What does this say about my “normal” clothing?

In other news, I seem to have determined that IGIGI 30/32 fits me. (This may be expensive news.)

TSA Travels

I don’t fly very often. This is likely why it I didn’t go through a full-body security scanner until Friday and, again, today.  I don’t have strong opinions about the type of scanning used, although I do consider much of the airport security approach to be security theater. So I did the scanner instead of other measures.

image

Image from Wikipedia

These were the millimeter wave scanners. The opening is narrower than the machine. I turned sideways to get in. Otherwise I fit fine. Each time the machine flagged me for pat downs afterward on my thighs, just above my knees.  The second time also included pat downs of my tummy, back and bottom. I was always patted down by a woman – no waiting.

Other posts on flying:

Flying While Fat
Buying Plane Tickets (more seats than passengers)
A mid-flight conversation on flying while fat

N Things Make a Post

Thanks to This Is Thin Privilege for the shout-out.

Image from the Rudd Center Image Gallery

Image from the Rudd Center Image Gallery.
Not the blogger.

Jeanette took on the “Obese women get only an hour of exercise a year” thing.

…as did This is Thin Privilege.

…as did Marilyn Wann and many commenters on Facebook (signin needed).

On a personal note, my allergies are bothering me much less since Sunday.  Why? I spent over 3 hours Saturday doing “soak, rinse, repeat until the water is clear” on the electrostatic air filters for our furnace. Then waited about 4 hours for them to dry. Fortunately we replaced the windows in a few years back to the inside temp only went down about 10 degrees (and I set the heat UP about 5 degrees before I turned off the furnace to take out the filters).

Also on a personal note, I’m back into the swing of getting allergy shots once a week after an attack of life around November.