Weekend Randomness – Jan. 21

So obviously if you were anywhere near the Internet or television last week, you invariably heard about Paula Deen and the controversy surrounding her admission that she has been diagnosed with Type II diabetes.  People seem to have fallen into two camps: hyper-judge-y and hyper-defensive.

I personally think it sucks that she’s choosing to team up with Big Pharma when she could very easily use this as an opportunity to start developing recipes that are healthier and could be eaten by people who share her condition, but you know what I really think sucks?   That she’s apparently lifted a page from the Sarah Palin Playbook of Aggressive Folksiness and attacked her critics as “elitist.”  I descend into ragestroke territory when things like healthy eating and education are framed as the sole provenance of the well-to-do.  I recognize that there are structural obstacles that make obtaining these things more difficult for people without means, but let’s not add to it with attitudes like this.

Holy shit, I had no idea I had so much to say on the topic of Paula Deen. Anyway, Erika at A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss has my favorite take on this subject.  And now, moving on…

Fitness blogger extraordinaire Charlotte Anderson has compiled a list of horrible celebrity health tips for Shape.com.  Yet more proof as to why the trend of celebrity-as-expert is ridiculous and needs to stop.  Charlotte expands on this at her blog, where she asks her readers where they get their advice from (and also the worst celebrity fitness advice they’ve ever heard – I maintain that nothing will ever surpass Tracy Anderson’s belief that women should never lift more than three pounds in terms of sheer heinousness.)

Sad news: champion skier Sarah Burke has died from injuries she sustained after a crash on a superpipe in Park City, Utah.  Her family is now dealing with a lot of debt and is accepting donations to help offset it.  If you’ve got a few spare bucks to kick their way, you can do so through this site.

More sad news:  A local girls basketball coach and marathoner died after he became trapped while bench-pressing 300 pounds in his garage.  It’s a horrible story, and also a good reminder of just how critical it is to have a spotter when trying to lift heavy.

And even more sad news:  deaths are on the rise among pedestrians who wear headphones.  I wear earbuds when I run – but never when I cycle – and I always make sure to keep the volume low enough so I can be aware of my surroundings.  Please consider doing the same.  I don’t want to read about you in the local paper.

Have you seen that graphic circulating around Facebook that asks when skinny women became hotter than fuller-figured bodies?  I have, and it always bothers me because it pits one type of body against another, and frankly, I’ve about had it up to here with that.  However, Renee at Womanist Musings has a really thoughtful take on it that I like.  Definitely worth a read.

Olympic weightlifters Sarah and Jessica over at Pretty Strong – and remind me one of these days to write a post about how fucking rad I think Oly lifting is – have a very comprehensive post about athletes and (bad) body image.   It can be easy to assume that simply being an athlete is enough to defeat bad body image, but as S&J show, that’s not the case.

Don’t you just love the idea of the scholar-athlete?  It’s so very classical to me.  One of my favorite parts about Switzer’s “Marathon Woman” was how she tried to model herself after that ancient Greek ideal.  That’s something I try to pursue in my own life as well.  Here’s a profile of marathoner Amanda Scott, who found time to train for the Olympic Marathon Trials while working toward a PhD in chemical engineering.  Now, don’t we all feel like slackers after reading that?

Forbes.com, of all places, has an interesting article about the psychology of endurance athletes.  I’m not quite to the point where I would characterize myself as an “endurance athlete,” but I do recognize much of myself in this article.

I was annoyed a few days ago by a discussion on Active.com’s facebook page, in which several ladies decried competition as “unhealthy.”  (Really?)  My annoyance vanished when I read this article about the kindness shown by the athletes at the Olympic Marathon Trial.  It’s such a refreshing change of pace from the deliberate brutality that characterizes a lot of other professional sports.

Elfity at Persephone Magazine questions the focus on a narrow definition of fitness when it comes to recovering from eating disorders.  Check out this line:

Anyone who has picked up one of the popular “women’s health” magazines while standing in line at the grocery store probably gets the feeling that “health and fitness” tends to be little more than a patriarchal dog whistle for “hot and thin-but-not-too-thin.”

“Patriarchal dog whistle” is about right, I think.  She’s right to point out that the fitness industry promotes a specific, difficult-to-attain beauty standard, just as much as the fashion industry does.

Lianne McTish (aka Feminist Figure Girl aka one of the funniest women in the fitblogosphere – yes I just made that word up) writes about fertility and bodybuilding for the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.  (OMG such a place exists!)  I completely understand when she writes about periods as something that is simultaneously dreaded and desired.

I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, but Sally McGraw at Already Pretty is helping produce a podcast called Strong, Sexy and Stylish.   In it, she teams up with a wellness coach and a sex therapist to guide women towards a more loving view of themselves.  I think it sounds great, and I can’t wait to listen to it.

I completely nerded out over Autumn’s series on nutricosmetics at The Beheld.  I blame the fact that I have been reading a lot of Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle these days.

Over at the Running Thriver, Jenny writes about post-traumatic growth, and how the most traumatic experiences of our lives can often lead to powerful, lasting personal growth.  It can be hard to see that when you are in the thick of coping with trauma, but if you can keep that in mind, you’ll have yet another tool to help you persevere.

I have about two dozen other great links I came across in the past week or so, but I had to stop.  There were just way too many good ones.  I’m considering starting up a Facebook fan page for this blog so I can have a place to post all of those links as I come across them.  What do you all think?  Should I do it?  Let me know.

P.S.  I signed up for an exercise nutrition class!  I’m all excited and stuff.

P.P.S.  I’m doing my first duathlon in two weeks!  I’m all excited about that too and stuff.  It’s good to be excited about things, don’t you think?

10 responses to “Weekend Randomness – Jan. 21

  1. Thanks for the wealth of interesting links here. I think the balance between striving for fitness and maintaining body image is really hard to maintain and there’s lots I’m looking forward to reading.

    Good luck for your duathlon. I did a 10k race today (the same as the final section of the triathlon I’m aiming at although hopefully not as hilly & muddy) and it’s made the triathlon look positively terrifying!

    • Congrats on doing your 10K! Yeah, whenever I think about the actual distances involved in an Olympic triathlon I feel a bit woozy but, hey, that’s what training is for, right?

      Glad you find the links interesting. I agree that it’s very easy to teeter over the line from caring for your body to becoming consumed by beauty standards. I’ve found that it’s gotten easier as I’ve stopped reading magazines aimed at women. Those things are candy-flavored poison.

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