Blog Archives

It’s that time again…

This week, repeat-offender Newsweek can’t report on David Cameron’s handling of the Murdoch Scandal without calling him fat. Twice.

“And when I look upon the slightly chubby, shapeless, ruddy face of British Prime Minister David Cameron, I can see Orwell’s prescience once again.” [emphasis added]

Let’s not even get into the fact that “David Cameron is fat” is total news to me. What do the words “slightly chubby,” “shapeless,” and “ruddy” add to this sentence (besides perhaps indirectly calling George Orwell’s looks into question as well)? What is the message here? Clearly, fat begets ugly begets political incompetence.

“The political right remains frustrated because Cameron simply doesn’t have the fire in his flab for demonizing asylum seekers or welfare cheats.” [emphasis added]

I love alliteration as well (also consonance – see what I did with the l’s at the start of this sentence?) but changing the phrase “fire in his belly” – which, being well-known, reads as “chutzpah” or “will” – to “fire in his flab” only serves to remind us that the author thinks David Cameron is fat.

To be absolutely clear: my response to this article has nothing to do with the politics of David Cameron – just like the repeated mentions of his perceived physical imperfections have nothing to do with the politics of David Cameron.

Apparently chubby, shapeless, ruddy flab (ew!) rather than knowledge and experience are the real measure of a leader.


Fat in the Media

There’s one thing I notice when reading the news that jars me more than dropping the Oxford comma or using non-words like “irregardless” – superfluous mentions of body size. The first flaw can be chalked up to lazy copyediting. The latter is more insidious. I find myself saving pieces to read aloud to my friends and family; holding up pieces of journalism and making sure I’m not the only ones who sees these jabs for cheap filler or non-news. It’s become an obsession.

With that, I bring you a new series:

Each week, I will bring you a new needless, fat-phobic comment from the news. Get excited!

For starters, Newsweek. Now, this is old news by now, but Wills and Kate got married. I know you care/don’t care/have moved on to Kim Kardashian’s epic nuptials, but comments from the Newsweek coverage of said wedding still irk me. Let’s examine:

Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, … is now on his about-to-be third wife and looked almost as relaxed and cheerfully overweight as Elton John. [emphasis added]

Mmkay, so we start off ragging on Earl Spencer for being almost-trice married. Perhaps matrimony’s not his bag. Don’t know, don’t care. What makes my teeth hurt is the end of that sentence where his weight is – rather needlessly – thrown in and we manage to rope in an insult to the Crocodile Rock-er. Well played, Newsweek.

“Cheerfully overweight” tells me nothing about Earl Spencer. Granted, I don’t care to know much about him, but his body size has absolutely zero relevance in the story – especially given that any space given to describing the Earl Spencer’s physical being is space not devoted to our new pretty, pretty Princess.

To the extent I care to read about something like the Royal Wedding in a news magazine (read: very little), I’d prefer to learn the facts and related sociopolitical ramifications. Reporting on the body size tells me more about the reporter than the reported.

Body Image Boost

On Friday, my office held a Health and Fitness Fair. A team of nurses and clinicians set up in a conference room and – at prescheduled intervals – employees could go and get a Health Screening. I was a little nervous that this screening would focus on body fat percentage and leave me feeling bummed. Again.

I was wrong. I ROCKED the Health Screening.

Blood pressure? Low. Glucose level? Lowish (I’d just eaten). Cholesterol levels? In the “good” category (despite having just eaten!). Body fat percentage? In the healthy range. The nurses cooed that I must eat well and get a lot of cardio. I let this praise go straight to my head.

The standout Health Screening superstar? Bone density. I have pretty dense bones, turns out. I’ll be tucking this knowledge away for the next time numbers on the scale threaten to get me down as it’s now been scientifically proven that do inded have big bones. 

OK, it’s likely genetic. I have lactose issues so I’m hardly the ideal model for one of those chirpy “Got Milk?” ads. Whatever. I’m still celebrating my Viking Skeleton.

Plus, the Health Screening ended with a free massage.

On Sleep

{Sweet lofts by Suzie Beezie; Richard Leo Johnson, Photographer}

Most of us have heard it before – getting the proper amount of sleep leads to all manner of riches: better health, improved mood, increased memory. (For the uninitiated, check out Arianna Huffington’s TED Talk: How to Succeed? Get more Sleep). While the benefits are undeniable, knowing doesn’t always translate into doing. I say I’m going to get more sleep… but instead, I read, I watch movies, I clean. I can always find something else (and seemingly more important) to do. The feeling that there aren’t enough hours in the day may be trite, but it’s true.

I’ve read articles about what to do to get more sleep, and I’m succeeding at the small stuff:

  1. Make sure your bedroom is dark. Check! I wear a face mask as needed.
  2.  Exercise most days. Check! This has more of an energizing effect for me, but it’s on every sleep-list, so I may as well acknowledge my compliance.
  3. No caffeine after XPM. I’ve read everything from 3PM to 7PM – here’s where everyone’s body and caffeine tolerance comes into play. While I feel I’m less affected by the occasional Diet Coke, my intake tends to be primarily in the morning.

There are, of course, some areas for improvement:

  1. Keep your bedroom cool. Generally, I do well here. I’m part polar bear and would keep the place just warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing were I left to my own devices. However, as we transition to Spring (or the Chicago version thereof) I suppose I could relinquish my beloved duvet and use a lighter, more weather-appropriate covering. Before the onset of Summer, we are replacing the ceiling fan in the bedroom as the current one died (and was heinous, so no big loss).
  2. Reduce screen time an hour before bed. No TVs, no computers, no Blackberries, no phones. Limiting TV isn’t a problem (as we don’t have one) but I do spend quite a bit of time in front of a computer. Time to switch to a book prior to bedtime. I’ll also need to kick my habit of checking my work email before bed. I like to check in to ensure things are humming along smoothly. However, I’d be willing to make the sacrifice in the name of better shut-eye.

These improvement areas will be my goals for May as I focus on better health and mindset.

Yes, I did just publicly declare that my goals for the month are to put the duvet into storage and read books after 10PM. Baby steps.