Sunday, May 29, 2016

Screw the Aging Process

Nailed it:
People tend to resort to the “sexy” fitness and diet trends because they promise quick results that not only go against the science of strength training and nutrition but also are not sustainable. The “unsexy” takes some effort and planning; it’s so much easier to take a diet pill, make a shake, or follow a juice cleanse (even if it doesn’t work in the long run!) instead of to prepare a healthy meal with real foods and follow a regular exercise routine that includes strength training and some high intensity interval conditioning. People say they “don’t have time,” and don’t want to put forth the effort.
I encourage you to avoid focusing on the pictures of this super-fit woman, which are irrelevant to the actual content of the post. Sure, she looks amazing, but the whole point is that she's healthy as fuck - which is entirely achievable for all of us.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Biggest Loser Baloney

Kelly Coffey writes amazing things.

You should read them all.

Here's a good one to start with:

I believe I've touted her before, but if not that's my monstrous oversight...go immerse yourself in the wonder that is she:

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Evolution of YOU

I just finished reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, which I highly recommend. Delightful explanations of all things scienc-y, from impossibly small molecules to the impossibly large universe, and everything in between. It's 478 devourable pages, I promise you.

I marked two passages for preservation, rereading, and reinforcement.

For the first, some perspective on how fleeting your life is:

If you imagine the 4,500-billion-odd years of Earth's history compressed into a normal earthly day, then life begins very early, about 4 a.m., with the rise of the first simple, single-celled organisms, but then advances no further for the next sixteen hours. Not until almost 8:30 in the evening, with the day five-sixths over, has Earth anything to show the universe but a restless skin of microbes. Then, finally, the first sea plants appear, followed twenty minutes later by the first jellyfish and the enigmatic Ediacaran fauna first seen by Reginald Sprigg in Australia. At 9:04 p.m. trilobites swim onto the scene, followed more or less immediately by the shapely creatures of the Burgess Shale. Just before 10 p.m. plants begin to pop up on the land. Soon after, with less than two hours left in the day, the first land creatures follow.
Thanks to ten minutes or so of balmy weather, by 10:24 the Earth is covered in the great carboniferous forests whose residues give us all our coal, and the first winged insects are evident. Dinosaurs plod onto the scene just before 11 p.m. and hold sway for about three-quarters of an hour. At twenty-one minutes to midnight they vanish and the age of mammals begins. Humans emerge one minutes and seventeen seconds before midnight. The whole of our recorded history, on this scale, would be no more than a few seconds, a single human lifetime barely an instant. Throughout this greatly speeded-up day continents slide about and bang together at a clip that seems positively reckless. Mountains rise and melt away, ocean basins come and go, ice sheets advance and withdraw. And throughout the whole, about three times every minute, somewhere on the planet there is a flash-bulb pop of light marking the impact of a Manson-sized meteor or one even larger. It's a wonder that anything at all can survive in such a pummeled and unsettled environment. In fact, not many things do for long.

And the second, an illustration of how incredibly rare you are:
Go back just eight generations to about the time that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born, and already there are over 250 people on whose timely couplings your existence depends. Continue further, to the time of Shakespeare and the Mayflower Pilgrims, and you have no fewer than 16,384 ancestors earnestly exchanging genetic material in a way that would, eventually and miraculously, result in you.
At twenty generations ago, the number of people procreating on your behalf has risen to 1,048,576. Five generations before that, and there are no fewer than 35,554,432 men and women on whose devoted couplings your existence depends. By thirty generations, your total number of forebears - remember, these aren't cousins and aunts and other incidental relatives but only parents and parents of parents in a line leading ineluctably to you - is over one billion (1,073,741,824 to be precise).

You, my sweet pea, are one in a billion, for real.

Do not let those years of creating you be wasted. You have only the briefest of moments on this planet, and you are obligated to your past to do one thing: life the life YOU want to live.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


This TEDx Talk by Beth Clayton was deeply penetrating for me.

I don't have a specific childhood memory that smashed me flat, but I most certainly can pull up numerous tiny deaths that chipped away at my self-esteem & confidence, and I can instantly feel all the feels today, despite 30 years between them & me.

Take 11 minutes to see if you connect as well:

After watching it, I wanted to spend a retreat weekend thinking about the things I want, and how badly, and how to get them. And so I did, solo, in my home, constantly running through thoughts as I went about my chores, my reading, my journaling.

Friday, May 13, 2016

How to Be Immortal

I'm not yet 40, but damned if I'm not striving to reach the mindset early:
This recognition generally ruins culture for you, since culture is built around the game of a meaningful search for eternal truths, timeless values and changeless habits of prowess. And, it goes without saying, transcendence of the unpleasantly transient.
Time, of course, is the merciless slaughterer of all these infinitely qualified anchors of the meaning of life. Wait long enough, and every truth will crumble. Wait long enough, and every value will dissolve into moral ambiguity. Wait long enough, and every habit will decay, first into ritual, then into farce. Wait long enough, and every slain demon will rise again.
And then you will be free.

For bonus fun: thoughts conveyed with math!

Confession: I had trouble following parts of this, but maybe that's because I was trying to read it while waiting for accounting software to process my instructions. Switching from right to left and back is not so easy for some brains (mine). Anyway: still enjoyable.

Monday, May 9, 2016

One Size: Nonsense

As a not-fat, but also not-thin, woman myself, and one who doesn't "have curves in all the right places," I thoroughly enjoyed this article.

Thought-provoking stuff.
As consumers, we naturally know a good deal more of obesity as a narrative than we do of its actual scientific and social ramifications. Daily we're fed the message that "fat is bad," so it makes sense that we'd look at plus-sized people as bad too. Of course, it doesn't actually make sense if you take a step back and really think about it. But few are going to bother with true critical thought. And that apathy is the foundation upon which bias is built.
We know we're not supposed to be bullies though (another buzzword still bouncing around the zeitgeist) so we no longer point and laugh at the fat girl, at least not as willingly. Fat Monica for example, would never fly today because she's a cruel caricature defined only by her love of full-fat mayonnaise and inability to get laid. Mocking or rejecting a woman because of her size would be mean, and we're not mean. Now, we're concerned. She's not funny or gross — she's unhealthy

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Oh, Those Hormones

The battle between "only calories matter" and "only hormones matter" has gone on far too long.

As always, it's more complicated than either option.

Here's some good, simplified information to clarify it for you:

There is no denying a fundamental law: a calorie deficit needs to exist in order for your metabolism to dip into stored energy. But how you get there—how you create that deficit and how you play with your metabolism day after day to keep it from adapting and slowing down, not to mention manage cravings, energy, and appetite surges that can occur when you blindly cut calories—that has everything to do with hormones.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

You Cannot Be Quantified

This post is a moderated take on the "quantified self" trend.

We, as a society, are awash in data. In 2013, we as a collective whole had produced 90% of all of the data ever produced in the 2 years prior. I wouldn’t be surprised if that number is not at 99% with a bunch of trailing zeros.
Of course the health and fitness industry is aware of this and producing items to take advantage of the trend, allowing you the humble user to track all sorts of things, from steps per day to blood oxygen levels, and then compare them over days, weeks, and months. This is typically lumped under the banner of “quantified self.” Suddenly, it’s all about what we can measure and objectify.

I myself just got out of it a year or two ago. I was all over calorie tracking, both input & output, and seeking to measure every component of my health. For YEARS.

I have glorious spreadsheets planning and tracking and evaluating workouts, nutrition, sleep, time nature, averages, conditional formatting, you name it. I basically did, manually, what these magical little wearables can give you via the cloud in an instant.

In a word: exhausting.

Initially it was helpful stuff, giving me a whole-life viewpoint of places I needed to improve. I learned that time in nature is a HUGE factor for me. So is social time. So is complete downtime.

But eventually, it turned into seeking perfection, finding failures (which I can now see were "failures"), and unending spiral of frustration, until I simply walked away entirely, to save my sanity.

Now, what about you? If a device on your wrist or an app on your phone encourages you to move more, or rest more, or eat better, whichever nudge you need - then that's great! Use it!

But when it becomes a rabbit hole of obsession, tracking and measuring and evaluating and frustrating...knock it off. Throw it all out and just live. You can't keep increasing your steps and your sleep and perfecting your nutrition forever. You have to level off at a place that is easy, healthy, and sustainable, and simply stay there. And you'll get there by putting the proper habits into place.

These wearables are tools you can use to build healthy habits, but once you have the healthy habits in place, you simply don't need the tools any longer. Pass them along to someone who does.

Keep this perspective, and avoid the rabbit hole, my friend.