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Monday, December 30, 2013

twenty from the back...

Wow. Two blog titles involving ellipses out of the last three.  That's some damn lazy writing right there.

Blog readers, this is one of those posts I owe you from like six weeks ago that I'm just getting around to now.  Any day now we'll be all caught up. Maybe. I'm just saying, if I wrote and published this six weeks ago when it first started germinating in my brain, the too many ellipses in too few days problem would have been null, okay?

So.  Six or seven weeks ago, right before the birthday on which I turned 51, I was at my friend M2's house, and talk turned to aging blah blah. M2 is approximately 18 years older than I am but she is not an Old Person.  Not saying that anyone would look at M2 and say "OMG! I thought she was 40!"  I mean M2 is thin and perky, but she's also wrinkled and gray-haired.  What makes her not an Old Person is her mind and her attitude. To illustrate, the reason that we know each other is that we went to massage school together. Since we started that endeavor in 2005, if you do the math you'll see that she started massage school after the age of sixty. Anyone who goes back to school at the age of 60 to learn a whole new line of work is not someone who is, or ever will be, an Old Person.  M2 has friends of many different ages. M2 has varied interests and is in tune with the cultural zeitgeist.  M2's grandchildren are happy to hang out with her and she didn't even flip out when her eldest granddaughter went to live in India.  (I'd kinda flip out if a child or grandchild of mine went to live in India. That episode of Seinfeld is burnt into my brain, yo.)


I told M2 she is in fact one of my aging role models.  If she's almost twenty years older than I am and she's not an Old Person, then I have hope for myself. Because I don't want to be an Old Person.  I don't want to be stodgy, stuck in my ways, conservative, and disapproving. (Failing on that last one already. You should have heard the rant I went on after I was stuck on the commuter rail with a bunch of drunken 20-somethings coming back from the Kanye West show. OMG, all those girls in skirts that barely cover their asses and 5 inch heels they can't walk in.  No, honey, you do NOT look sexeh and klassy, you look like a streetwalker. Just stop.  See?  That's an Old Person rant right there.)

M2 was flattered and tickled that I consider her a role model.  And somewhere in that conversation she said something about how you just didn't want to be one of those women who look good from the back but cause you to cringe in surprise and semi-horror when they turn around. "OMG! OMG!" I said. "I have a name for that phenomenon: twenty from the back, sixty from the front!"  You see it not-totally-infrequently in the oh-so-very-klassy environs where I live.  A skinny woman in very tight jeans from the juniors department, usually sporting long bleached blond hair and accessorized with a Dunkin Donuts coffee cup and a cigarette, who looks like she just might be a hottie until she turns around and...oh. She's 30 years older than you thought she was and those thirty years have not been particularly kind.

I worry about reaching that corner. Well, without the shopping at Forever 21, the cigs, and the blond hair. I'm standing at the precipice and looking down.  I wear jeans and hoodies. My hair is below my shoulders and three weeks outta any given month, you can't see my grays.  And because I work out a lot, my body doesn't look like what most people assume a 50 year old woman's body is going to look like.  But if some 25 year old guy is checking out my butt in the Dunkin Donuts line, unless he's got a serious GILF fetish boy's gonna be pretty damn disappointed when I turn around.  I hate the thought of that happening. I mean, not that I'm interested in picking up children.  See: drunken-Kanye-fans rant.  I just hate the thought that someone would think I'm trying to look 20 and failing horribly.  I keep feeling like I need to telegraph my middle-agedness (haha) more obviously.  The last time I talked about that in here (the George Thorogood post) someone who has a stake in it told me vehemently that NO, I should not cut my hair, that it's pretty. And I'm kinda not ready to go gray until it's all gray.

So I should probably change how I dress.  Sadly, M2 cannot be my role model in this.  She dresses in a very casual, outdoorsy style, all fleeces and cargo pants or jeans with, like, Keens. Picture a perky 60-something year old in a Patagonia catalog. Totally appropriate, right? Not too stodgy, not matronly, but not too young.  But not me. At least, not me all the time, or me head-to-toe.  Sometimes I can and will do what I think of as "massage therapist drag" but sometimes I have the need to tuck my jeans into boots and wear some kind of Anthropologie boho nutjob top.  Sometimes I leave the house in yoga pants and UGGs. Sometimes I wear tight little cardigans with my jeans.  And sometimes I wear a fake leopard fuzzy coat that makes me look like someone's crazy Aunt Matilda.  M2 may have varied interests, but I have varied sartorial tastes and they're not all sane or probably, strictly speaking, appropriate.  It's times like these that I need a teenaged daughter to tell me when I really look like a douchebag.

Though I have to say, the other day a young woman in the CVS parking lot opened her car door to tell me how cute my UGG cardy boots are, so maybe a teenaged daughter would just encourage my worst instincts. I dunno.

Being the dear friend that she is, after that conversation M2 sent me a birthday card saying that I'm still twenty from the back, twenty from the front.  Your friends will lie to you, y'know?

Readers: tell me. What should a woman in her 50s be wearing if she can't carry off Full Patagonia Catalog

xoxo


Sunday, December 29, 2013

a book i didn't hate!

I know, I know, I generally only review books I loathe so you guys can listen to me froth and snark and bitch and eye-roll.  But since I've actually recommended this one to other people and it's kinda sorta blog-topical, I'm going to break with tradition and write a positive review.

Oh, Andrea, what the hell book are we talking about?  This one, kids:


Disclaimer: I love this pop science shiz, but I'm well aware when reading it that the author could be citing all the studies that support his thesis and ignoring the ones that don't and that if you're not in the field yourself you'd have no idea.  Mr Epstein, however, seems pretty good about presenting conflicting opinions and data and saying hey, there are only a few experts in the world studying x and they disagree with each other, so I was lulled into believing what he told me.  You all can read and judge as you want.

The most fascinating part of this book for me were the tidbits sprinkled throughout about what physical attributes make a person world-class at any given sport or athletic activity. It's not always what you'd think. For instance, do you know what trait all major league hitters have in common that sets them apart from the general populace?  I'm a huge lifelong baseball fan and it never occurred to me. Hint: it's not anything that can be improved with HGH or any other performance-enhancing drug.  Likewise, what kind of body do you need to succeed in the NBA? If you're sitting at your computer saying, "you need to be 7 feet tall, Andrea, duh," you'd be only half right. Yes, most NBA players are freakishly tall, but more than that, they have freakishly long wingspans.  Even for very very tall people, they have longer arms than normal.***  According to the book, this helps explain the racial disparity in pro basketball. Black people, as a general rule, have longer limbs compared to their torsos than do white people as a general rule.  As one of the scientists quoted in the book said puckishly, it's not so much that white men can't jump, it's that white men can't reach.

I guess I should mention that, yes, the book delves into why certain racial and ethnic groups seem to excel at certain sports and acknowledges that that conversation is uncomfortable for a lot of people.  You can't really deny it out of some kind of misguided political correctness. There are a lot of blond Scandinavian people, but not all Scandinavian people are blond. There are a lot of short-limbed Eastern European people, but not all Eastern European people have stubby legs compared to their torsos like yours truly. Those who do, however, are optimized for the sport of weightlifting and this is part of why Eastern Europeans kickass in international oly lifting. There are physical, genetic differences between people of West African and East African ancestry which explain why Ethiopians win all those marathons but the greatest sprinters in the world are Jamaican.  Actually, the Jamaican sprinter thing is fascinating and the book has a whole chapter exploring the controversy about why Jamaica? and particularly why a very small area of Jamaica?

Moving away from world class athletes to the rest of us, another fascinating study the book references took a bunch of normal people of varying ages and fitness levels and put them on a highly-controlled aerobic training program aimed at increasing their VO2 max for x weeks.  Some people made huge gains. Others made...none.  And it didn't correlate with how good you were to start with.  Some people with great VO2 maxes made huge progress. Some made little. Some people with crap VO2 maxes improved a lot, some didn't.  (And--this killed me--there were/are some people walking around in everyday life who never trained a day in their existence, who basically can and do sit on the sofa eating Pringles and playing World of Warcraft and when you measure their VO2 max, it's extraordinarily good. We hate these people, right? I mean, just a little. C'mon now.)  There was also a similar study done with strength training that showed similar results: put a varied bunch of regular people through the same training program and some gained a whole bunch of strength and muscle and others, not so much. What gave me pause with that is, they controlled the training but they didn't control the nutrition (or at least didn't report controlling the nutrition). So, from my perspective, it's entirely possible that the people who didn't make gainz just weren't eating enough calories and/or protein while the people who did were. Eat to grow! It makes me wonder if there's some similar confounding factor in the VO2 max study that affected the people who didn't improve and I myself just don't know enough about running/aerobic training to know what it could be.

Anyway, I could go on all day talking about interesting shit I read in this book, but instead I'll just suggest you buy and read it yourself.

BTW?  What all major league hitters have in common?  Better than 20/20 vision. You need extreme visual acuity to pick up the ball the second it leaves the pitcher's hand, register its position, and the position of the seams on it, etc, to then unconsciously draw on the database in your head built up from many many years of practice and study to almost instantaneously figure out where that ball's gonna be when it reaches the plate. All the practice, study, and lightning-quick reflexes in the world ain't gonna do shit for you if you can't see the minute details on that baseball when it's 90 feet away.

xoxo

***The takeaway being, if you as a parent are trying to decide what sport to nudge your offspring towards and they're always outgrowing their sleeves before anything else, buy them a hoop and a ball and in 15 years maybe they'll be buying you a Mercedes and a new house. It's worth a shot, eh?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

...and your food looks like chit...

Feliz Navidad, kids! Hope whatever holidays you do or do not celebrate, the end of December is treating you well.


Now that the seasonal pleasantries are out of the way, let me ask all y'all a question.  Did you know there are entire forums on the internet devoted to mocking, snarking on, and generally critiquing other people's blogs?  I was sorta, kinda vaguely aware of this in the way I'm aware there are Christian dating sites or places on the interwebs where you can* go to hire a hitman.  I'd heard of it but never really felt compelled to visit, y'know?  

But fairly recently, I rectified that lapse in internet completism. Well, as far as the blog-snarking boards, not the Christian personals.  (And as far as the hitman-hiring goes, I'm staying mum. That doesn't mean some people shouldn't watch their backs. Ahem.)  Do you know what is prime capital for internet blog-snarking? "Healthy Living"/fitness blogs.  Like this one, I guess, though I have never ever claimed to have good health habits or to be some kind of model of clean living.  Having to regularly use the Fourth Macro (alcohol, duh) when logging one's food kinda craps all over that possible claim, amirite?  But if you were going to slot MMINAE into a category, that's where you'd probably stick it, the category of mildly-amusing-sarcasm-and-mouth-frothing-rants-with-sucky-underwear-pics-of-old-women being a little too overly specific.



I won't even tell you what the google image search was that returned that^^^ but I had to use it even though it's completely irrelevant to anything in this blog post.  Cat in a babushka, c'mon now.  

Where was I? Oh, yeah.  Healthy Living blogs=endless source of mockery fodder.  And one of the greatest generators of lulz is what healthy living bloggers eat and, oh yeah, post recipes for and pictures of.  Any of y'all who've been around the block a few times will recognize the clean eating staples. Kale, oats, quinoa, egg whites, chicken breast.  Cauliflower "pasta".  Protein powder and Quest bars.  (Shut up.)  Bloggers who eat these things are routinely accused of having eating disorders (and to be fair if that's *all* you eat, yeah, you may have, at best, orthorexia) and their pictures of the above are often responded to with a cute little vomiting emoticon and comments that their food looks like shit.

Oh, so many feels.  You guys know that along with the wine and the fudge-covered Ritz crackers, I have been known to eat--frequently--concoctions fondly referred to as proats and sludge, even though I rarely subject you to photos of the same.  Yes, mixing protein powder into other foods or using it to bake with may sound gross. It may well be gross. I don't do it for the taste, that's for sure.  But what the people mocking it may not understand is that if you lift weights semi-seriously to seriously, you need more protein than the average person (.8-1g/lb of bodyweight or, for me personally at least 92g protein a day) and unless you're willing to eat way more chicken breast and egg whites than I am plus forego the wine and beer calories, it's hard to meet that macro and stay at maintenance or below calories without resorting to adding protein to other non-protein foods.  When I'm bulking, yeah, I can eat waffles for breakfast knowing I have plenty of calories left to fit all my protein in later in the day.  When I'm dieting, not so much.  I gotta eat those proats for breakfast instead. If I'm gonna "waste" 300 calories by 9am, they've gotta have the 25-30g of protein in 'em. Is that disordered?  I dunno.  I kinda think it's eating for your sport, much in the same way endurance athletes need to eat lots and lots of carbs.  But no one's gonna mock them for eating waffles for breakfast on a day they run because...waffles!  Believe me, I wish simple carbs were all I needed to eat to build muscle but sadly that's not how the human body works.

Now, saying that proats look vomit-worthy? Well, um, yeah. Is there any way to photograph any kind of oatmeal and make it look delish? I mean, I personally think oatmeal *is* delish, but it's gruel. It looks like gruel no matter what you do to it.  Just because it doesn't look pretty doesn't mean it's not awesome. It's got a great personality, all y'all.  I mean, yes, I guess I understand mocking the posting of pictures of gruel and/or mocking fawning blog commenters who say ZOMG, that looks mouthwatering! to pictures of said gruel.  But just because food isn't gorgeous-looking doesn't mean it doesn't taste good or isn't nutritionally worthwhile.  

Does this all sound crazily defensive?  I'm not saying that there are not a lot of people in the fitness blogosphere who are disordered as hell.  I'm not saying there isn't a crapload of mock-worthy behavior out there, my own included. (The fact that I go months weighing and logging just about every morsel of food that goes in my mouth? Totally mock-worthy and borderline disordered.  The only thing that makes it not completely disordered in my opinion is that, sweet baby Jesus, I can and do take a break from it periodically and I'm rolling my eyes at myself every time I put something on that goddamn food scale.)  I'm just saying that there are good reasons some people eat shiz that may look and sound to you like it's OMG groce. WILL NO ONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN MY MUSCLES????????  



You think that shiz^^^ grows itself? God.

xoxo

*allegedly, allegedly


Saturday, November 30, 2013

did you know...

there are limited edition fudge-covered Ritz crackers? And you can buy them at Target? And if you go to Target after the gym to buy a gift card for a charity gift drive and some socks, you *will* buy them, because your blood sugar is low and your sense of entitlement is high?



Okay, maybe that last part is just me. But, seriously, kids? I know it might sound vaguely disgusting but, much like with chocolate-covered pretzels, the combination of sweet+salty+carbs is just hnnngggggg. Someone should have invented the damn things back when it was physically possible for me to have PMS.



Before the whole Thanksgiving week/limited edition Ritz thing went down, though, I've been dieting for the last month. Some of my pants were getting a little tight and it was time to put the brakes on. I think I lost about six pounds in four weeks. Which seems like a paltry amount of weight loss for the amount of suffering I've gone through, but a.) I'm a whiny baby and b.) there is no b, I'm just a little bitch.  And now that I've taken a break, I'm having a really hard time returning to the diet despite the fact that I'd like to lose a couple more pounds.  Plus there are so many leftovers in this house.  First world problems, yo.

I did work out six times this past week, though, which is more than I did the entire month of October so, y'know, that's something.  Getting back on track.  Including with the blogging. Pinky swear.

xoxo

delightful cartoon above from http://laughingredhead.me/








Wednesday, November 27, 2013

i hate people

...and other Thanksgiving-appropriate sentiments.



Oh, hai. Long time no write. I owe y'all so many posts. My excuse is that I just finished working 12 days straight. Including my birthday. For someone who has been known to brag about how lazee she is, that's just...wrong.

Be that as it may, I had a fabulous night at the massage job last Friday. I can't go into details here in a public forum lest the HIPAA police come after me, but I took over a client from another therapist who was AWOL and said client, who had certain special needs, left me a freaking $60 gratuity. And all my other clients left cash tips too, such that I left with almost $100 in my pocket and a smile on my face.  Made it through two more days of work, one at the hospital, the other at the massage spa, and Monday morning with the prospect of three whole days off (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thanksgiving) on the horizon, I was unreasonably perky and made it to the gym before I had to head off for my 12th straight (but last!) work day in a row. Had a fabulous workout. Felt great. Went back down to the locker room and found that apparently I had failed to secure my locker properly and all the cash was gone out of my wallet.

Yup, my $60 tip, the rest of Friday's tips, and some other money too. $116 in all, which is way more money than I usually carry around with me. So ka-CHING, locker room thief. I was unreasonably depressed about this all of yesterday afternoon and evening. I'm not working all those extra hours because I don't need money, y'know?

But today I decided to put my bitterness behind me and enjoy my first of three days off. I went back to the gym, even. And I did NOT leave a post-it note on locker #117 that said, "Dear person who stole my cash out of this locker on 11/25, happy Thanksgiving and bless you. You must really have needed the money to do something so low!" But I thought about it.

The scary thing? You know who's in the Y locker room at noon on a Monday? The 75 year old pool ladies. Do senior citizens steal?  God.

Less complaining about the gym and more actual content tomorrow. My holiday present to YOU, readers.

xoxo


Monday, October 28, 2013

a brief interlude

I will write and publish "part the second" at some point but meanwhile I want to explain the private joke in part the first *and* brighten your Monday with pictures of a hot guy. Because, y'know, full service blog n' all. Okay, if you are one of my hetero male or gay female readers, maybe pictures of a hot guy aren't going to make your Monday any sunnier. Semi full service blog. God.

Mikey Lowell.  Who is Mikey Lowell? Well, he's the former Red Sox third baseman known to the rest of the world as Mike Lowell.  And though I always think of, and refer to him, as Cuban, the unimpeachable sorce of all knowledge which is wikipedia informs me that though his parents were from Cuba, Mr Lowell himself was born in Puerto Rico and has always considered himself as Puerto Rican. That's me told, then.

A few years ago, a friend of mine was discussing some new seats the Red Sox were putting in on the third base side of the park and the exorbitant price they were going to charge for said seats.  Being me, I said, "Pffft. I would only pay that for baseball tickets if they included Mike Lowell performing cunnilingus on me in-between innings" and a private joke was born. Let me make clear, before that conversation I had no particular sexual fantasies about Mr Lowell. He was one of my favorite Sox players and a good-looking gentleman, but he only got drawn into my little sex joke because those seats were on the third base side and so was he.  (Imagine if the seats had been in right field. I could have made that joke about J.D. "Nancy" Drew. It's too horrible to contemplate.)  As time went on, however, and the joking reference was perpetuated amongst certain of my friends,  I indeed started thinking of Mikey with lustful intent and he became one of my celebrity boyfriends.  (Oh, hush. You know you have a list of celebs you would do, no questions asked, if the chance arose.) I also started calling him Mikey for reasons that are unclear. Lulz.

Anyway, here are some pictures so you can see what we're dealing with here.


Smirking.


Bro hug of happiness.


Holding a trophy.


Glamor shot.


Admit it, you'd do him.


Oh, alright, here's his beautiful wife. Fine.

And just to prove that some things improve with age like fine wine:


Young Mikey Lowell was kinda geeky looking. He needed the salt-and-pepper goatee to fully come into his shmexiness.  (Hetero male readers, is that cheering YOU up? Ahem.)

xoxo

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"i just wanna hit shiz. and possibly people." part the first

Big doings in the malevolent andrea/Bitty Bro world, kids.  No secret I haven't been getting to the gym much of late.  Part of this is that I've mostly been working six days a week at two different jobs, both with horrible to semi-horrible commutes, for the past almost-three months.  Excuses, excuses, right?  Time was, I'd have made it to the gym even so. But I seemed to have lost my mojo.

Being an analytical sort, I carefully sat down the other day and considered just why that might be.  Part of it is that my gym (which was extremely conveniently located to my OLD job) is now in the opposite direction of my two new jobs. I'm simply never in the neighborhood anymore and if I have to go past my house to get there after a 12 hour day, you know I'ma end up on the couch, not the weight floor.  Secondly, there's the fact that after my surgery last year, I was never able to completely get all my strength back.  Oh, I got back to my previous weights on some lifts and close on others, but I certainly wasn't smashing PRs.  Since what I enjoy most about lifting is/was feeling strong and badass, this took some of the joy out of it.  Thirdly, the new gym management that started busting me for squatting barefoot and otherwise enforcing other heretofore not-enforced petty gym rules also took some of the joy out of it.  Time was, that ghetto Y felt like home to me. Then suddenly it didn't.

With all these extremely important insights (lulz) in mind, I made two decisions. First, that I just have to find someplace closer to my two new jobs to work out and, second, that I have to find something that's a new challenge, something that's gonna reignite my passion. (Because you know I think working out is supposed to be fun, not some grim chore you grit your teeth through.)  And thus I started googling.





My first thought was crossfit. Now, in some circles in which I hang, crossfit is roundly mocked. Sometimes for good or semi-good reasons: kipping, Paleo diet cultism, cultism in general, badly coached Oly lifts leading to spinal injury, etc.  Sometimes for no good reason: "we're just better than you are, nyah nyah."  I was willing to look past the kipping and the Paleo diet. Besides, one of my online weightlifting pals switched to crossfit and she still looks awesome and is strong as boool.  Mr Google found me a crossfit "box" walking distance from one of my jobs and a stone's throw from Fenway Park.  It costs $270 A MONTH. See, kids, that's two weeks worth of groceries or a freaking car payment or, in laymen's terms, more fuckin' money than anyone should pay to go to the gym EVAH unless it includes Mikey Lowell showing up nekkid to "coach" you. Next!  (There were more reasonably priced, if still expensive, crossfit boxes on google, but none of them were convenient enough in location to make them irresistible.  So, next!)

What else have you always wanted to do, Andrea? I asked myself. What other fitness endeavor would a.) make you feel strong and badass and b.) is something that you would have been too shy, unsure of yourself, and intimidated to try when you were a young woman?

Well, kids, as I expressed it to my friends...I just wanna hit shiz. And possibly people.

I googled some martial arts type places, but I knew, from my son having taken kenpo karate for several years as a kid, that that wasn't exactly what I was looking for. The whole belt system...taking tests, being judged and graded...just not what I wanted in my workout.  I respect that and I think it's awesome in instilling discipline etc etc in kids (or other people that have a problem in that area) but my whole life is awash in self-discipline.  I know all about hard work, delayed gratification, working towards a goal, blah blah fucking blah. I don't need that in my gym life. I just wanna hit shiz. And possibly people.

Mr Google provided me a boxing gym.  A boxing gym with something like 40% female members and testimonials from Shawn Thornton, the Phantom Gourmet guy, and a few Red Sox wives.  Including Mrs Mikey Lowell. (Who, obvs, must be a former, not current, member since they live in Florida now, but how is that not fate?  Apart from the fact that I'm a few years too late to punch her in the head and yell "I want your hot Cuban husband, bitch!"  Kidding, kidding.  I'm willing to share.)  Where was I?  Oh, yeah, said gym is also a little over a mile walking distance from one of my jobs and a reasonable T ride from the other.  My only sticking point was the fact that nowhere on their beautifully designed website was there any indication of how much it cost.  I could only imagine that it might be even more than the $270 crossfit place. After all, Shawn Thornton, Mrs Mikey Lowell, and the Phantom Gourmet guy aren't exactly the kind of clientele one runs into at the Ghetto Y. Nevertheless, I signed up for my free introductory lesson...

TO BE CONTINUED




Tuesday, October 8, 2013

donut? blunt object or not?

Oh, hi. Still alive.  Have had things to say but no time to say them, and then when I do have time, I've forgotten what I was all excited and/or irritated about. Today, however, my irritation is fresh in mind and thanks to the miracle of free wifi on the MBTA commuter rail, you get to hear about it.  Say "thank you, MBTA!"  Note: if you live in Boston, that will probably be the first, last, and only time you utter that sentence. Ahem.

I'm kind of stumped on a title here. I'd like to go with Oh, Fuck You, but y'know, I hate to show up with blatant profanity when nice people have me in their blog rolls. So we'll see what shows up up top by the time I press "publish."

What's got you pissed off THIS time, Andrea? you ask. Well, kids, here's the thing.  In the last couple days I've read more than one person saying, either of their own volition, or in repeating what their coach or trainer has told them, or what some well known fitness model/figure competitor has said in an interview that "a bulk is no excuse to get fat or eat whatever crap you want."  My gut reaction to that? See profanity above. But, no. To put a finer point on it, my reaction is no one needs an excuse to get fat.  Getting fat is not a crime, a faux pas, a lapse in etiquette or judgment, a moral failing, whatever. It doesn't need to be excused. One doesn't need forgiveness or permission.  Having more adipose on one's body than these fitness models, trainers, or gym rats think is acceptable is not your problem.  You wanna gain 25lbs on your bulk, that's your business, kids. And whether you choose to take off some of that adipose with a diet afterwards or not, and how aggressively you do or do not do that, well, that's your business too, kids.

We won't even go into what I think about people deciding what you have their permission to eat or not?  Hint: if you're not my mother and I'm not under the age of 12, shut the fuck up about it.  Or I'll throw a donut at you.   A stale one, so it hurts.



Those don't look stale, they look effin' awesome.  Just saying.

xoxo

Friday, September 13, 2013

don't believe your eyes + a NEW gym complaint

First of all, an oldie but a goodie.

Next time you get depressed because you're comparing yourself to the people in the supplement ads/fitspo or because you've been working out faithfully for 8 whole weeks yet you don't look like those success stories you see online or in the infomercials or because you've been taking progress pictures in your underwear with your cell phone camera in your poorly lit bedroom and you just look at them and go "meh", think of this video and realize real life and bullshit are two different things.



Now, on to gym complaining.


Those, people, are gym towels.  At my gym, you ask the nice person at the front desk for one and they'll happily hand one over.  Once you have this rectangle of white terrycloth in your possession, you can do several things with it. You can put it on a bench or machine you are using to absorb your sweat. That's a good thing.  You can lay it down on the mat you are stretching on, because lord knows how often the gym cleans those things.  That is also a good thing.

Or you can use it for its most traditional function: you can use it to dry yourself off after going in the pool or taking a shower.  Why, yes, it will soak up the H2O clinging to your body. There's no need to walk about the bathroom area of the locker room letting yourself air dry and leaving quarter inch deep puddles of water on the floors of the stalls or in front of the sinks for other people to step in and for the gym employees to have to wipe up.  Grrrrrr.  Dry your goddamn feet and legs off, bitches, and don't drip everywhere. Do you do that in your bathroom at home?  I doubt it.

Okay, I feel better now. Venting about rude people is so therapeutic.

xoxo

Saturday, September 7, 2013

the gospel according to Bitty Bro

In our last installment, I said "I have this issue where I will initially believe whoever the latest internet guru is, then start questioning why their advice is any better than any of the past internet gurus' (contradictory) advice, then I just end up doing what the fuck ever I want to do anyway."  (Quoting oneself--first sign of being a douche?)

This got me thinking. I do however have a few firm beliefs about diet/exercise/the human body that I have stuck with for at least a few years and from which I cannot be swayed, evidence or not to the contrary. Want to know what they are?

1.) Stretching your fascia is much more important than stretching your muscles. Think about it. Your muscles are shrink-wrapped in fascia. You can stretch them all you like, but if the fascia around them is restricted, they ain't going anywhere. This is why I am such a big proponent of stuff like myofascial massage, yin yoga, and foam rolling. Happy fascia means a more pain-free body.

2.) As topical anti-inflammatories go, arnica is the shiz.

3.) NEAT--or rather lack thereof--is why Americans are fat.  I have a friend, a powerlifter, who has a physical job that requires a great deal of walking.  She usually records over 20,000 steps a day on her bodymedia fit and has hit 30,000.  (The average American takes around 5000 a day.)  She also requires well over 3000 calories a day to maintain her weight.  Her always-dieting friends drool with jealousy when she posts up pictures of the, like, entire pizzas she eats, but the fact is, if we were all taking 20,000+ steps a day, we could be eating a lot more calories without weight gain or health consequences.  Unfortunately, a lot of people by necessity or choice or a combination of both live lives where they drive to work, sit at their desks for 8 or 10 hours, drive home, then collapse in exhaustion in front of the tv or computer, lives where they don't have the opportunity to walk for transportation, or would never think of it. Meanwhile, they live in an environment where there is delicious, high-calorie food everywhere. So they are either miserably dieting all the time or they are putting on weight. A lot of public health campaigning seems to hinge on eliminating or resisting the delicious high calorie food. Fuck that. Delicious food (and beer) is delicious. We'd all be better off, physically and mentally, if we were burning enough calories a day that we could eat delicious food unscathed. It's not food that's the enemy, it's the sedentary lifestyles we are either forced into or choose.

4.) However, since most Americans are sedentary, the easiest way to lose weight is to cut the hell out of your carbs.  Carbs are not the devil. When you work out a lot, carbs are actually really necessary and helpful. But if you don't need them to fuel your workouts, you can cut out all/most of the grain-type carbs and lose weight pretty painlessly. Hell, if you actually go keto, you won't even be hungry. And if you're sedentary, fat, and insulin-resistant, it'll even be good for you.

5.) Whatever you do for exercise/fitness is better than doing nothing. You will never see me sneering at "cardio bunnies."  I have mad respect for the 70-something aqua aerobics ladies and the little old guys at the Y who sit on the exercise bikes occasionally pedalling but mostly talking.  I don't mock crossfitters and their kipping.  Run, jog, walk, hike, bike, swim, play soccer, play tennis, play basketball, do Jillian Michaels vids, go to Pilates, go to vinyasa yoga, do Bikram, do MMA...whether or not it's anything I do or would ever do, if you are a physically active person, I respect your efforts to take care of your body in ways that give *you* pleasure.  Anyone who thinks their way is the only way needs to bite me.

And thus spake Bitty Bro.




xoxo



Sunday, September 1, 2013

fitness blog frauding

I counted yesterday.  I worked out a whole nine times the month of August and twelve the month of July. This is contrasted with my normal average of eighteen times a month--which only includes weight training, which I track. At times that I've been really working on my fitness, there are sometimes cardio-only or yoga days along with those eighteen weight sessions. Needless to say, neither of those things happened this July or August.  I don't think I've actually been to a yoga class since March and I can't remember the last time I went to the gym for an extra cardio day.

Pitiful.

OTOH, there's something to be said for being a bad example.  Or at least an imperfect one.   Just as I think it does some kind of a service for me to post pictures that make plain that I do *not* look like one of those twenty year old girls with their fitspo tumblrs and perfect cellulite-free asses, it may be a service to say, hey, I value my fitness and I love working out, but sometimes life gets in the way...AND THAT'S OKAY. Working out only 21 times in two months hasn't led to losing all mah gainz.  Working out only 21 times in two months hasn't made my muscles fall off and I can still sprint to catch a bus. (If I'm not wearing flipflops. Damn flipflops.)  Perfect is the enemy of good. Etc etc.  

That's not to say I don't feel better (bettah!) when I'm getting to the gym more often, but that's as much a function of getting to the gym more often equating with more free time and less stress as it is with the actual benefits of exercise.  I think.  Did I just commit heresy?



You know what I'm like.

Meanwhile, I just starting reading (okay, skimming) this book.  I think it's gonna fix all the problems with my body, except, y'know, I don't really want to follow his advice. Lulz.  I don't want to squat without pointing my feet out.  I don't want to refrain from crossing my feet and bending my knees when I do pullups and dips. Waaahhhhhh. It's too hard, mommy.  Anyway, I'm gonna read it all and then I'm gonna see if I can implement at least some of it.  With my documented problems with authority, I have this issue where I will initially believe whoever the latest internet guru is, then start questioning why their advice is any better than any of the past internet gurus' (contradictory) advice, then I just end up doing what the fuck ever I want to do anyway. Which is probably why my hip is killing me on and off lately.  Whatever.  I've made it to the ripe old age of 50 without any knee problems and, despite that previously unrecognized congenital abnormality of the spine that was noted incidentally on my abdominal CT scan last year, no major low back problems, so my pointing-out-y feet can't possibly be fucking me up that badly, can they?  Sigh.

If anyone's actually read and put into practice Supple Leopard yet and/or followed the website, please give me your feedback in comments.  Have you really fixed all your aches and pains and stiffness, and improved your athletic performance?

xoxo

Saturday, August 24, 2013

let's talk about old people!

Oh, age. One of my favorite topics to rant about discuss.  I saw a birthday card yesterday (did not buy, because all the birthday cards I buy have either wiseass jokes or cute animals [or both] on them) that posited the question "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?"  Oooo, deep.  See why I didn't purchase it?  Where's the sarcasm value in that?  N E Way, the answer in my case would be, like, 33.  I sorta kinda refuse to believe that I am any older than my mid-30s, all evidence to the contrary.  It's a mild shock every time I look in the mirror and see a tired old lady looking back at me or put my old-lady hands on a younger person's skin and observe the difference.

Mired in self-deception as I am, I am also brought up short when same-age friends actually think of themselves as old. A very good friend recently had to buy a new washer and dryer. The decision was fraught with drama for her because a.) money is tight and b.) she's not good with big purchases anyway. So she was asking me all kinds of questions about whether I was happy with the washer and dryer I bought back in, oh, 2006.  She was particularly interested in whether I liked my front loading washer.  She was a little leery of them...because, maybe, it would be hard to bend over to load and unload as she got older. Wut?  Luckily, she's a very good friend so I didn't have to pull any punches.  Dude, WTF? I asked.  You're buying this washer/dryer in 2013, so that sucker is not gonna last 30 years, and if you're worrying about being able to bend over to unload it ten years from now when you're 61, maybe your efforts would be better expended making sure you stay in shape enough to bend over to unload a washing machine rather than buying appliances that will be easier to use when you're decrepit.  I felt the same way I feel when I see people in their 50s or 60s in online home improvement forums (shut up, it's a vice) who refuse to buy houses or condos with two floors because they don't want to have to go up and down stairs as they get older.  Fuck that.  If I move out of this house, which has three floors including the unfinished basement, I swear I will buy a condo that has more than one story, just so I make sure I'm going up and down flights of stairs every single day of my life till I'm 95 or dead.  Use it or lose it! What do people not understand about that?

You'll be happy to know my friend saw my POV. She admitted that maybe she was overly influenced by all her elderly neighbors in her condo complex and that she probably ought to talk to younger people more often, hahaha.



^^^ That's the face I see when I look in the mirror these days, but damn, I can unload my washing machine and run up the freaking stairs.

Meanwhile in another online forum, someone made a tangential remark that BMI was actually well-correlated with health in younger women but not older women.  Tell me more! I said. But the commenter did not come back. Another poster took it upon herself to look it up for us, and apparently, in women over 60, BMIs over 25 are actually recommended.  Further research seemed to indicate that fatter old women are less likely to break a hip.  BRB, I said, on ten year bulk...  But it led to an interesting discussion.  Okay, maybe you're less likely to break a hip if you're overweight, but what about the health consequences of abdominal fat, which post-menopausal women are more likely to have?  And can it possibly be good to suddenly put on a bunch of weight in your late 50s/early 60s just to get over that BMI 25 mark, if you've been sitting at 20 or 22 before that?  And how does having more muscle mass and a superior body composition to the average over-60 sedentary person effect any of this?  That last question seems crucial to me.  What is the population of the women in these studies?  I'm betting they draw more from the pool who are afraid to bend over to get their pants out of the laundry than the minority who are still running up the stairs.

In summary, blah blah blah.  Wear your sunscreen and use eye cream every day, kids, or you'll look like me and lolcat.  And remember to keep the door of your front loader open so it doesn't get stinky in there.

xoxo

Saturday, August 17, 2013

oh, look! a post!

I know, I know.  Content has been sparse, but your blog hostess has been having a very busy, stressful month.  

Being as how I love you all and want to keep entertaining you but am too braindead to actually, y'know, write anything intelligent or amusing, I thought I would post up a little pictorial evidence of how lifting ze weights changes ze body.  I have a set of pictures of me in the same dress and shoes, taken in front of the same wall, three years in a row.  They're interesting, I think.   


2011, approximately 113 lbs, just starting bulk #1:



2012, also approximately 113 lbs, in the middle of a cut, post (aborted) bulk #2:



2013, approximately 118, during bulk #4:



Obviously the dress fits me best in the 2012 photo.  But I'm kinda thinking I like the current version of my body, with the extra weight on, a bit better.  Maybe.  In any case, please just note my ass is two inches higher than it used to be.  They don't call it squat booty for no reason.  (Take that, gravity!)  I wish I had a comparable set of pictures that showed my shoulder/trap evolution, because that's pretty dramatic as well.

I highly recommend doing this experiment if you're training even in the slightest way for aesthetics.  Take some pictures in the same clothes, in the same place, in the same pose, six months or more months apart.  You will see differences and changes that you might not appreciate in the mirror.  Try it!

xoxo


Thursday, August 1, 2013

walking...walking...walking...

One of the best (and worst) things about the internet is the ability to "meet" people from all over the world who share your own particular interests and obsessions, which is especially cool when those people turn out to be quite different from you in ways other than your shared interest and you'd have never crossed paths in any other fashion.

Thus it is that your blog hostess, a city girl so bone-urban that she can tell you how to get anywhere on the T and who is deeply uncomfortable when there's not a CVS in walking distance and who thinks that living far enough from one's neighbors that they wouldn't hear you scream if an ax-wielding maniac broke in is deeply unwise, has become online friends with a lovely weightlifting lady who lives on a farm in Texas and recently asked if she'd ever tried "uneven farmers walks."  Not yet! your blog hostess replied, but they're on the list after reading this article.  Come to find out, Actual Weightlifting Farmer didn't know uneven farmers walks were actually "a thing."  She's only forced to do them when feeding her pigs, because she's carrying a bucket of grain and a bucket of milk and the milk invariably weighs more. Her degree of difficulty is added to by the random cows and chickens that get in her way, attempting to hijack her buckets.  Which is probably more charming than the clueless teenage bros who step right in front of one while farmers walking in the Y.  But I say that as a clueless city girl. Maybe cows and teenagers are equal in their ability to be annoying.


Anyway! I've been farmers walking like it was the key to besting ax-wielding maniacs, kids.  I started a couple years ago when Liz suggested it as a grip enhancer. I continued because it was fun.  I ramped it up after surgery when, as documented, any kind of deadlift movement was off the plate because of my ab weakness and I was looking for ways to add direct trap work.  Heavy farmers walks blast my upper traps in such a way that I swear they are more responsible for my liking how my shoulders look these days than anything else.  My basic move is akin to this guy:


Then, in my quest to build my core strength back up, I discovered the waiters carry:


And then a friend, knowing how enamored I am with the above, sent me that T-Nation article I linked y'all to and since then it's been ALL OVER. I'm doing the one-armed variations.  I've tried the uneven farmers walk (as vouched for by actual farmers, yo!)  And after I reported one of my workouts in number of steps and another friend said she at first misread that as my having farmers-walked up stairs, I've been experimenting with that too.  Yesterday? Up and down a (13 step) flight of stairs ten times while carrying two 25lb kettlebells. Objectively speaking, I gotta say I'm impressed with my bad self for carrying 50lbs up and down 10 flights of stairs without, y'know, having to die afterwards.  I also impressed myself last week when I realized that 4 laps around the perimeter of my gym while carrying the 35lb kbs lasts about minute more than White Wedding, a 4:11 song.  Walking for five minutes straight while carrying 70lbs?  When you weigh 118 pounds yourself?  NOT BAD.  That's not even humble bragging, kids, it's straight up bragging. Deal.

Also? Do farmers walks. They really will help make you strong and fit.

xoxo

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

randomosity

As longtime readers and friends know, sometimes your blog hostess doesn't have (and cannot successfully fake) enough coherent thoughts about one topic to fill up an entire post, so she is forced to throw together a bunch of unrelated crap and pretend it kinda goes together.

Admit it. Deep in your heart, you look forward to this.


By the way? Before we move on from that Game of Thrones meme, how awesome/disgusting/awesome are these?  If I had any baking talent whatsoever, I'd make some.


Courtesy of Not Your Momma's Cookie

Where was I? Oh yeah.

First order of business, only very very loosely related to this blog's topic: the royal OB/GYNs.  Read a little blurb this morning that the two gentlemen who delivered the heir to the throne of Great Britain yesterday consisted of a.) the Queen's gynecologist and b.) the doc who did Camilla's hysterectomy.  How weird would it be to be the Queen's gynecologist?  Does she have to change into a drafty paper gown like the rest of us? Do you think she is still holding onto her little purse when she's in the stirrups?  (Did I just make you picture the Queen in stirrups? Did it then make you imagine your own little old grandmother in stirrups? I've got some brain bleach I can sell you...***)  Secondly, I dunno, but the knowledge that Camilla had her lady parts yanked out makes me feel a weird sense of solidarity with her I never thought I'd have.

Secondly, this post was linked to on Already Pretty yesterday.  I hadn't particularly heard of the Fuck Flattering movement/project/whatever before, but I will say that being 5'2, I have always had a fairly jaundiced attitude towards fashion articles suggesting I wear x to look taller and avoid y so as not to appear stumpy.  Who says I want to look taller?  I have never had any problem with being, like a candy bar, "fun size."  (Well, okay, I do bitch about not being able to reach the top cabinet shelves and, before the T was uniformly air conditioned, having my nose at other people's pit level during summer rush hours was fairly unpleasant, but those are practical, not aesthetic, concerns.)  Furthermore, ain't none of those styling tricks fooling anyone anyways.  Put me in 4 inch heels and I don't look 5'6, I look like a short woman in big shoes. Sometimes I wanna look like a short woman in big shoes, but that doesn't mean I think I look tall.  So I'm pretty simpatico with the "fuck flattery" thing. Wear what you like because dressing to camouflage what your body actually looks like is fruitless and silly.

However. That linked post made me sad.  Those of you who are regular readers will know this, but let me restate it to be plain: unlike a lot of "fitness" people, I do not demonize overweight people.  I don't think being fat is a sin.  I don't think being fat equates, necessarily, to being unhealthy.  I think there are some extremely attractive fat people, just as there are some extremely attractive muscular people, and extremely attractive skinny people, and extremely attractive average-sized people.  I push back hard against the idea that there's such a thing as a bikini body, that anyone should have to look a certain way in order to be entitled to wear a bathing suit at the pool, a shmexy dress at the club, or a pair of tight yoga pants in the gym. Fuck all that. Nevertheless that post made me sad, because it was plain as day to me that that young woman, despite her bravado, really does not feel positive about her body and appearance.  For god's sake, she calls herself ugly.  Now maybe she's reacting to other people having called her ugly at some point in her life. Maybe she's taking back the word.  I dunno. I do know that the whole tone of that blog post reeks of deep insecurity. The subtext is not that she's wearing a crop top because, shit, she thinks crop tops are so cute and fun and she thinks she looks adorable in it.  She's wearing it to say "I know you think I'm ugly, so I'ma wear what's gonna accentuate that *to you*, to look even uglier in your eyes, just to prove I don't give a fuck." Which proves she does give a fuck.  I can't see it as truly holding up a positive body image.  And I say that with great empathy as someone who's struggled with her own body image at many points in her life.

Finally, and we won't even pretend this is on topic (except that it is for people who like to run, walk, or bike outdoors!) meet my latest favorite thing:  wundermap.  OMG, you guys, I can look at real time radar down to the street level.  This just saved me from heading out for a walk to the CVS an hour ago when, though it wasn't raining and it actually looked like the sun was poking through, there was a huge patch of heavy rain heading right for me.  I do this all the time now.  If the weather says scattered thunderstorms or 50% chance of rain or whatever and I want to take a walk, I pull up wundermaps and see if there is in fact any rain coming towards me and how far away it is. Brilliant!  Stops me from inadvertently getting soaked and/or deciding to stay home when in fact it *isn't* gonna rain in my vicinity any time soon.

That's all I got!

xoxo

***actually, I saw my own grandmother's hooha quite a bit during her last year of life. Didn't really require brain bleach, 'cause face it, without it, I wouldn't be here, capice?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

what i've been up to

Oh, like YOU care. Too bad. I'ma tell you anyway.

I started a new part time massage job at a place I will not name, but which I fondly (so far) refer to as the Evil Empire. That is to say, it's at one of those chain-type places that are driving the lil guys outta business (like a more zen WalMart) and driving down the wages for massage therapists in general.  Leading me to digression #1: if you get a really cheap massage (or any kind of personal service, really: facial, waxing, etc) either because it's at a franchise kinda place or because it's a groupon, PLEASE tip generously if your experience is in any way satisfactory. Um, and in cash if at all possible.  The reason it's cheap is not because the owners aren't trying to make lotsa money or because they're skimping on the amenities***, it's because they're paying the people performing the service crap.

Why work for crap pay?  Two part answer. One, that's where the jobs are, especially the more entry-level jobs. Two, because that's where the customers are. I'm not sure people who haven't worked in the spa business are aware--I certainly never thought of it before massage school--but your MT or esthetician is only paid when they're actually performing a treatment/service.  So, $15 + gratuity per massage hr for 4 or 5 hours a shift is preferable to making $40 + gratuity per massage hour if you're only getting one client a shift and spending the rest of the time sitting around unpaid, waiting for business.  Well, Andrea, you say, if you get $15/hr and then a $15 tip, that's $30/hr. That's not gonna make anyone rich, but it's a living wage. Um, well, yeah, except NO ONE can physically do 40 hours of massage a week. 20-25 hours of massage a week is a pretty heavy schedule. So divide that $30 in half and your therapist is back to making about $15/hr.  Just some things to think about if you or your child is considering massage school.  On the plus side, it can be very emotionally rewarding. That's better than eating, right?

Where was I? Oh, yeah, don't be a cheap bastard. Tip nicely if you are happy.

The upshot of the above is that what else Andrea is doing right now is attempting to find a second (well, third really) part time job not massaging people.  No one cares that I have my CPT, lemme tell you.  I shoulda been nicer, i.e. sucked up to that woman at my gym who yells at me for squatting barefoot 'cause she sure as hell wouldn't give me a job. But that's another in my long series of bad life decisions. I was never very good at sucking up to people (NO?!!??) and, believe me, I wish it were not so.  But anyways, things are in the works. Future updates will be available.

But to bring this back on-topic, my new massage job is three evenings per week and it is seriously screwing up both my workout schedule and my eating.  I get into work at 2:30 or 3:30 or 4:30, depending on the day, having eaten somewhere between 600-900 calories, which would be my usual at that point in the day, and then maybe depending on how my schedule goes, I get a 200 calorie snack in. Which means I'm home at 10 or 11 needing to eat another 1000 calories or so.  Which, obviously, I don't usually make it.  Being at work, and actually working, during what is my regular dinner time is screwing me all up.  I'm not hungry when I get to work, so I don't want to stuff more food in before I start, but I don't see another solution.  Suggestions from those of you with non-traditional work schedules happily accepted!  Right now, I'm just eating below maintenance on those days I work and making up (most of) the calories on days I don't.  If only I were trying to diet right now, this would totally be a dream****!

xoxo

***Actually, I had a groupon massage just last week at a local place where, um, the amenities? No chair in the room for the client, no place to put my clothes. No clock in the room for the therapist, so she had to keep checking her phone to see where we were at time-wise.  And a face cradle the therapist warned me was a little wonky.  Plus, they were right by the commuter rail tracks and it was rush hour, so the room shook a few times, lulz.

****Actually, when I graduated massage school and was working doing massage half-time, plus my non-massage job, I easily dropped 10 pounds over say three months for exactly the same reason. Which was fine, because massage school had made me, ahem, outgrow all my pants.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

i don't believe it for one tiny minute

Happy 4th of July, Americans! In order to celebrate the founding of my free nation, I'm going to use my precious constitutional right to free speech to call bullshit. Really, it's all about that, not the fact that I'm procrastinating putting on pants because I'm using the constitutional right to be lazy (which I'm sure Jefferson and Madison totally meant to put in there before they were overruled by George Wythe**, a known killjoy).

What are you calling bullshit on, Andrea? you ask.  Well, kids, yesterday I was at the salon being made, if not beautiful, as presentable as I'm gonna be, and while the magickal chemicals were turning my gray hairs back to my preferred reddish brown, I was perusing a People magazine a prior client had left where I was sitting.  It was apparently some sort of bikini-body issue (sigh) with an article of the (predictably stupid) fad diets/eating plans various celebrities follow with critique thereon by (less predictably but still stupid) mainstream nutritionists.  (Example: one sniffed about some IF***-ish plan that he didn't like that there's no breakfast.  Dear lord, it's 2013. Are we still sticking to that outdated canard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for everyone everywhere at all times against the abundant evidence that some people do just fine and feel much better not eating first thing?)

God, there's a lot of parenthetical asides in that paragraph. That's what happens when the writer isn't wearing pants, apparently.

But, anyway. What I really wanted to rant about was not that article, but the accompanying feature where four female--of course--celebrities shared their food diaries for a day. Did I find it surprising that some model-type claimed to eat 1100 calories a day? No. Was it unbelievable that some Real Housewife of Wherever ate 2600?  No, and bravo for your apparent honesty, Reality TV Person I Have No Knowledge Of.  No. What I call bullshit on is that Laila Ali, female boxer, daughter of Muhammad, eats 1330 calories a day.


Does that look like a woman who can/does/should subsist on 1300 calories a day?  Did she grow those muscles on, like, pixie dust and good genetics?  Granted she looks more like this now:


Apparently--and I didn't notice this till I just put those two photos side by side--a 1300 calorie a day diet lightens your skin tone by three shades as well as drops the pounds!

SMH. So much. People magazine, you suck.

Ms Ali's food diary was full of, like, salmon and veggies and a protein shake with coconut oil in it and all the other stereotypical Clean Eating faves. I have no issue with her claiming to eat that way.  Some people really do eat that healthily all the time, and bless them.  It's that calorie count I have an issue with.  I wouldn't even bat an eye, much, if she said, well, I have a 2 year old and I put on a bunch of pregnancy weight and now that I'm a media celeb, not a professional athlete, I had to go on a super hard cut and diet crazily in order to be in a bathing suit in a national publication.  It's the presenting that amount of food as what she eats, all the time, to maintain that body that I find a.) unbelievable and b.) toxic.  She's 5'10 and, at least when she was boxing, in the 160s.  I am sure Ms Ali can/does/should eat twice that amount to maintain the body above.  How refreshing would it be to read her saying, "Yeah, I'm a big girl**** and I work out hard and I eat 2500 calories every day to give my body the fuel it needs"?  Instead, she's just reinforcing all the mainstream media garbage that women need to starve to look good. Feh.

And, again, that skin lightening crap?  Double feh. Would your father have let them photoshop out his blackness, Ms Ali?  I don't think so.

xoxo

**I had to look up who was on the committee to write the constitution. I coulda guessed Jefferson and Madison and Paine and Adams, but I never freaking heard of George Wythe.  I blame my public ghetto high school.

Also, he probably wasn't a noted killjoy. Authorial license.

***intermittent fasting, if you're not up on the trendy nomenclature

****she refers to herself that way in the article, that's not my choice of words



Monday, July 1, 2013

cults and lifestyles and w.o.e.s, oh my!


Because there haven't been enough cat pictures in here lately or I think it's still 2008.  One of the two.

Oh, hi, kids.  Here's a question for you: do you have a lifestyle?  Or should I say, A Lifestyle?  Because apparently some people think that because they work out and pay attention to their nutrition, they do.  And ZOMG, not only are they living the Fitness Lifestyle, they're being persecuted for it!  People try to force them to eat cookies!  Their friends tell them they're boring!  When they bring a tupperware of chicken breast and broccoli to the movies (so they can eat during their anabolic window or some such shit), they don't get a second date!  No, seriously, that last one? My favorite internet message board thread of all time.  I think it's an example of Darwin's Law in action. If you think bringing a bro-meal in tupperware to a theater is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, it's probably best for the gene pool if you don't form a sexual/romantic partnership and, y'know, possibly breed.

So, yeah.  Every couple months or so, some super-enthusiastic newbie (usually) posts a whiny thread in one of the corners of the internet I hang around on*** about how they are so misunderstood and persecuted and how all their friends and family mock them for, or pressure them about, their eating and exercise habits.  To which the more experienced (or jaded, pick your term) among us usually respond, "Huh. Doesn't happen to me.  Maybe because I know to shut the fuck up about it when people's eyes start glazing over and I don't act like a weirdo in public."  My own response to a similar conversation this morning was that, um, I don't have a lifestyle and I don't remember joining a cult.  I'm just like all my other friends.  I just, y'know, spend more time at the Y. And look better in a tank top.  (Ha!)

I guess this sorta dovetails with the previous post. If you start bringing salads and lean meat to work instead of ordering out lunch with the gang, yeah, people will probably notice and maybe they might possibly make a stupid remark or three. But, honestly, they're not gonna make a big deal about it unless you make a big deal about it.  They're certainly not going to "persecute" you about it, unless you are so preachy and evangelical that you make people want to stuff cookies into your mouth just to make you shut up.







Okay, we're done with cat pictures now. I've got that out of my system.

xoxo

***I have this weird version of synaesthesia in which internet locations feel like physical places to me.  Many many years ago there were two boards on AOL (hahaha) that I read and when I left one to go to the one that was below it in the list of boards, I always thought of it/felt like I was going downstairs.  

Stop looking at me like that.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

sloth...sin or not?

No, no, no. That title has nothing to do with the lack of blogging up in here. Get that idea right out of your head.  




As anyone who has ever worked in an office can attest, people's co-workers see what they eat and don't eat and they all a.) seem to have an opinion on that and b.) mostly aren't shy about voicing it.  And as anyone who has ever worked in an office primarily composed of women can attest, the average (American, at least) woman is either overweight or thinks she is and starts a new diet and/or fitness plan on the average of every second Monday.  Put these two facts together and your average fit female office worker is going to get some interesting comments lobbed her way.  And thus a friend who has lifted heavy for four consistent years, regularly jogs part of the way to and from work, and tracks almost every morsel of food that goes into her mouth (and has a stunningly beautiful body to show for it) was told the other day that well, the reason she looks like she does is "good genetics."  O-kay.

In the discussion that developed in response to my friend telling us about this little wtf moment, I reflected that I was fortunate.  My former co-workers saw me lose 15-20lbs from diet alone and then start working out seriously and become fitter and fitter-looking in the process. They were completely aware of the amount of work and effort and self-discipline that went into it.  Someone meeting me today for the first time might be under the misapprehension that I'm naturally on the thinner side or that I've always been athletic and thus athletic-looking or that the reason that I'm not overweight is because I'm one of those people who doesn't like tasty food and beer, and thus might make wrongheaded and dismissive comments. My former co-workers, having lived through my bodily (I hate this word, but) "transformation" with me, absolutely didn't.

What they did say--all of them at least somewhat overweight and all of them not happy about it and continually (like I said above) starting a new diet on Monday that usually crashed and burned by Thursday--was "I couldn't do what you do, Andrea."  And they were correct. They couldn't. Because they just didn't care enough to. They didn't want to enough.  Which is IMO absolutely fine.  As I reflected the other day when we were discussing this, my own immersion in getting really fit occurred at a time when my elderly dad who I had been taking care of passed away suddenly, my son who had been really ill for some time had reached a point where he was no longer in crisis at all, and I went through the break up of a relationship. Put all those things together and I suddenly had lots of free Andrea Time to go to the gym. Could I have worked out as much as I do now when I was caretaking two other people, working five days a week, and trying to carry on a romantic relationship? Well, yeah, I could have been one of those people who gets up at 4:30am every day to be at the gym at 5.

I'm not one of those people.

Yes, strictly speaking, no matter how little time I had, I could have made time for the gym. I did, however, not have the energy or the will to do so. And I think that's just fine. I don't judge myself or anyone else who doesn't shoehorn six+ hours a week of working out into their schedule. Sometimes there are more important things in life than having a quote unquote good body. Sometimes those more important things include lying on the couch watching baseball.  No one should feel guilty if they put other priorities ahead of losing weight or gaining muscle or becoming the fastest or strongest 45 year old on their block.  People are allowed to decide for themselves how much effort they want to put in to their appearance and their physical fitness. I firmly believe in that.

On the other hand--you knew there was a "but" coming, right?  On the other hand, I have a real problem condoning people who are completely sedentary.  I won't judge you if you never step foot inside a gym. I won't judge you if you have thirty pounds to lose but you don't really care enough about it to pass up the cannolis. Because, shit, cannolis, man, they're fucking delicious.  I will judge you if you get in the car to drive two blocks. And it's not raining or below freezing, okay? I will judge you if you sit on the bench at the playground watching your kids run around. More than 50% of the time, okay?  I will judge you if you let yourself get so completely out of shape that sprinting a few yards to catch a train makes you feel like you're gonna die or you're so weak that (like a friend's mom who's not much older than I am) you can't carry your own vacuum cleaner up to the second floor. People with actual medical conditions excepted, okay?

There's not making your body a priority and then there's neglecting it such that your actual quality of life is affected.  Two different things.

Please feel free in comments to tell me how full of shit I am. In either direction!

xoxo

Sunday, June 16, 2013

a b c d e chromium

My history with taking vitamins and/or minerals is checkered.  Whatever they use to coat vitamin pills with generally makes me nauseated.  Taking them even on a full stomach has, historically, made me pukey.  I swear that a good 50% of my "morning sickness" was in fact a reaction to faithfully choking down those horrible horse-pill prenatals.  And then all those years that I was anemic or borderline anemic--long before my uterus actually tried to kill me, it was doing its best to cripple me, yo--and I was supposed to be taking iron supplements, I hardly ever did for more than a month or two running, because the nausea and world-class constipation they caused seemed actually worse than the weakness and dizziness and compulsion to chew ice (look it up!) that having no freaking red blood cells engendered.

Somewhere in my 40s, I discovered adult chewable vitamins and then adult gummies. For the first time in my life I could take a daily multivitamin without adverse effects. And they were yummy too.  Okay, it's a well known fact that I sorta have the palate of an 8 year old, other than the fact that 8 year olds don't like beer or Irish whiskey, but seriously. Gummy vitamins are delish. I am partial to these of late:


They're readably available at CVS and reasonably cheap, especially since they're frequently on sale and I always have xtrabucks.

Now, I know there have been studies recently suggesting that even taking vitamins is unhealthy and liable to lead to an early death.  I dunno.  I prefer the results of the recent study that said three cups of coffee a day are awesome for your health. I've got that one covered.  (Oh, hush, I never said this was a health blog. I drink alcohol, mainline caffeine, eat cake, am addicted to Quest bars, and still agree that kale tastes like "dirt and sadness". I just go to the gym and lift heavy shit a lot. It's a fitness blog. Also, a digression blog. Deal.) ANYWAY. Maybe I shouldn't even be taking vitamins, but I seriously am not convinced that they're doing me any harm and I feel marginally better when I think I'm making up for whatever's in kale that I'm missing out on.

To get to the point of this post, and there is one I swear to you, recently there was a thread on a message board I frequent asking what multivit everyone takes. A few of us were spreading the gummy vitamin luv.  I just checked back into the thread this evening after a few days to find there were a bunch of posts saying that gummy vitamins were crap and that you don't absorb the nutrients in them. (Which, if they're gonna kill me, that would be a good thing anyway, right?)  Furthermore, cheap vitamins are crap and you need to buy the expensive "quality" ones.  Further investigation proved this advice to come from, oh yeah, mainly supplement company reps whose employers sell expensive-ass "quality" multivitamins. Go figure.

But since I never let my natural cynicism get in the way of actually looking shit up, I googled "gummy vitamins inferior."  I got three pertinent results. One from what appeared to be a supplement company selling expensive vitamins.  One from a healthy living blog probably written by the sort of person who thinks kale tastes better than ice cream. And the third from a message board for people who've had weight loss surgery. Apparently these bariatric patients are at risk for malnutrition and thus must both take vitamin supplements every day and be frequently tested for vitamin deficiencies. All the people in that thread who took gummy vitamins testified that their blood test results were fine and that, no, they were not having any problems from taking gummy vitamins rather than pills.

Maybe it's just because they're telling me what I want to hear (coffee's better for you than kale even!) but I'm choosing to believe the bariatric patients over the supplement company shills.  Besides, I can't afford 45 dollar vitamins, I've got Quest bars to buy. God.

xoxo