Things to Read

I liked this article on solitude vs loneliness.   I lived alone, or with a cat, for most of 9 years.  I learned a lot about self-reliance during that time, and also about how often the difference between solitude and loneliness is attitude.   I worked on alleviating loneliness with friends, my cat, and activities — and enjoyed the solitude.

Now I don’t live alone.  Avoiding loneliness is easier…but I still seek solitude.


I haven’t seen much South Park, but I know enough about Cartman to enjoy Tom Smith’s parody of the song “Bitch”.  It could be interpreted as making fun of him for being fat, but when I’m on the treadmill it’s like “Fat Pride”:

Son of a bitch, I am Cartman, and I am a work of art,
Give me Cheezy Poofs galore, I am BEEFCAKE, hear me roar!
I’m a child of the Nineties, I’ll kick your little hinies,
And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

It’s on the walking playlist I’ve been using lately and it tends to give me enough “umph” to keep going for another 10-15-20 minutes ;)


You probably saw this article on how a bit of extra weight (“but not too much”) is good for you.  Sandy Szwarc over at Junkfood Science bought a copy of the actual study and has some interesting notes on what isn’t in the press release:

  • [The only risk with a tenable association to mortality was age.] At age 65, the relative risks of dying rose to44.35 times compared to age 25; and by age 75, relative risks are 119-fold.
  • Being overweight (BMI 25 up to 30) was associated with a 25% lower risk of dying
  • Being obese (BMI 30 up to 35, which includes about 80% of all obese people) was associated with a 12% lower risk of dying.
  • And the risks associated with the most ‘morbidly obese’ (BMIs 35+) — the uppermost 3% of this Canadian cohort— were statistically the same as those with ‘normal’ BMIs. [RR=1.09 (0.86-1.39, 95% CI) versus RR=1.0.]
  • The most significant relative risk they found was among underweight men (BMI less than 18.5) associated with a 2.5 relative risk of mortality….

Sandy is careful to point out that all the varying risks among the different weight classes are small enough (yes, even the 2.5 relative risk for underweight men compared to normal-weight men) to be attributable to random chance or unknown factors.  Why, it’s almost like body size alone doesn’t dictate mortality!

6 thoughts on “Things to Read

  1. Actually, we do know the mortality rate and know it rather exactly.

    100% for every living thing.

    I feel like part of our issue is a deep non-acceptance of this very basic little fact.

  2. Ah, Cartman . . . I would love to see what kind of adult he becomes . . . from a certain distance. . . that song does rock, though.

    When I was running, the songs I listened to were angry and defiant so I could force myself to go on.

    Now that I’m walking for the joy of it, my playlist is more Monkee (or Smash Mouth) than Godsmack—or it was until my MP3 player died. . .

  3. That article on solitude v. lonliness is dead on, though I had a problem with one particular line….”Loneliness is imposed on you by others.” I think that this is not always true. I think we can choose to resist the advances of others and choose to be lonely. Sort of along the lines of feeling sorry for oneself….wanting to be miserable and “play the victim” so to speak. I’ve had this conversation with one of my sister’s, who complains about being lonely, though she never makes the effort or expresses this to people who can help alleviate that for her. Im sure most of us have known someone like this from time to time. It is maddening to watch.

    As for solitude…..ah, solitude. I grew up with 6 siblings and two parents. The house was always abuzz with noise, chatter, activity, etc. I am comfortable in those types of environments because it is familiar to me. Sometimes I even crave the noise of a big family. But….as a child, I often found myself wandering by myself to escape the noise. Fortunately, we lived in the country surrounded by acres and acres of farmland, an old cemetery, creeks, barns, and groves of trees. Most summers I spent my entire days wandering aimlessly and exploring these venues. They were my moments of solitude that helped me figure out who I was, pretend and act out feelings, and just plain restore my soul from the chaos and dysfunction of my family life. I learned so much about ME during those times and find that I am at peace the most when I have the chance to be in solitude.

    Thanks for a great reminder that solitude is a good thing, restorative thing.

  4. Noel, I agree completely.

    Regina T, I get lonely under two conditions. If either of these conditions applies, I will feel lonely whether or not I am around other people.

    1. I am tired. (I was happy when I figured that one out. If only everything were fixable by having a good sleep!)

    2. I am depressed. In which case it might seem from the outside that I am choosing to be lonely, because I tend to act cranky and cynical, which drives people away. But I am not choosing. One way that depression manifests itself for me is that I have a lot fewer behavior choices.

    Next time you are maddened by someone who seems to be bringing loneliness on themselves, ask yourself if they might have a health condition that is contributing to it. You might feel less frustrated.

  5. Thanks for clarifying things for me Stef. Rereading my post, I realize I came across as callous and unempathetic….and that is entirely not who I am at all. To rephrase, the maddening part for me is that feeling of helplessness I feel when I have done everything I can to help others through their struggles. It is entirely my nature and profession (though not being paid right now for it) as a Social Worker to problem solve. The hardest part for me to accept is that sometimes all you can do is watch…and that, to me, is maddening.

    Being raised by a bipolar mother who had long bouts of depression in which she would hole herself up in her room, unshowered, shades drawn, dressed in her night clothes for days, I think I have a very keen sense about depression. Even though bipolar depression is one of the most extreme forms of depression, I am very sensitive to depression as a whole, and work hard to ward it off myself whenever possible (though not always successfully). It’s maddening to watch because I want SO MUCH for myself and others to be in a better place.

    As a child, I watched helplessly as my mother battled her depression, trying to will my energy into her and give her the power to overcome. I am sure some of those same feels are triggered when I engage with others battling their own depression.

    Thank you for pointing out my shortcomings in my post. I sometimes fall short when it comes to expressing myself in this genre. :)

  6. So how come this study says that those with a higher BMI have a “lower” risk of dying? Why doesn’t it say that those with a “normal” BMI have a higher risk of dying? Wow, I’d like to see THAT headline in The Daily Mail!

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