Archive for the ‘rant’ Category

I’m Not Doing This For Your Benefit

Once again, I’m finding myself annoyed at fitness articles.  I don’t know why I even read some websites anymore, although the annoyance isn’t all the time.  The particular one that struck me today was this one at Blisstree.com.  And a little bit from this one at the Guardian.  I mean, it’s a common enough thing.  Rip on people who are confident enough that they probably don’t care that you’re ripping on them.  You get to vent and feel better about yourself, and you’re unlikely to hurt the egos of the people involved.

Thing is, not all of us “overachievers” are egotistical bitches who are showing off their flexibility.  Yeah, the examples in the Guardian article sound like people legitimately striving for an injury, but I hear plenty of other people complain about people who are just more flexible than they are.  A friend of mine in the gym actually stopped and told me “that’s not fair” while watching me stretch after my lifting workout.

What?  What’s not fair?  The fact that I’ve been doing some form of yoga for almost 15 years and happen to be pretty flexible?  The fact that, if I’m actually going to get a decent stretch after a tough workout, I have to stretch, well, further than you happen to be able to?  Deal with it.

It’s the same mindset as the article about clothing in the gym.  Sure, it might be distracting to see a girl in hot shorts and a near-see-through tank top, but there’s really a simple solution to the problem.

Focus on your own damn workout.  I can’t speak for everyone at the gym, but when I get up and dress for the gym, I’m focused on wearing clothing that won’t restrict or interfere with my movement.  Yeah, that means tighter pants and often a sports-bra-tank-top rather than a t-shirt.  I have my reasons.  They have nothing to do with trying to pick up men or put on a show.

Which brings me to another thing that gets to me:  the constant belittling of pole dancing as a fitness class.  No, Blisstree, it’s not “just-for-funsies.”  Have you ever taken a real pole-dancing class?  One where you have to actually perform spins on the pole?  Guess what you use to support your weight while you’re whirling around the pole:  You arm strength.  It’s hard.  And you wear skimpy clothes because cloth slides off the pole, not because you’re trying to put on a show for anyone.  Seriously, climbing the pole while wearing yoga pants is pretty much impossible.

So I’m going to repeat myself.  Your problem isn’t me; your problem is you’re not focusing on your own damn workout.  None of this is for your viewing pleasure.  I’m just here trying to get a workout, like everyone else, right?  Well, except you.  You’re too busy judging us all.

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Disordered Eating and Paleo versus Veg*nism

There’s been a lot of talk about “orthorexia,” starting a while back, specifically targeted at people who eliminate modern convenience “foods” like high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar/flour from their diets. There’s an idea that “any diet that eliminates a whole food group is too extreme” and you should eat “all things in moderation.” People think that people eating a traditional or paleo diet are disordered because they don’t eat (as many) grains, or sugar, or because they won’t just eat a sandwich for lunch.

I say, screw that.
As I’ve mentioned before, I am a recovering disordered eater. Guess what I found? Vegetarianism was the single best method of restricting my food that I found. And it’s not just because you’re limited in your food choices and you have a good reason to turn down food and claim that you’ll eat later. No, the main reason why vegetarianism made starving myself so simple was because it’s so darned socially accepted! No one immediately jumps to the conclusion that you’re out to deprive yourself if you go vegetarian. After all, there are two perfectly acceptable reasons to go: for social reasons, and for “health” reasons. I mean, everyone knows animal foods are bad for us, right? And everyone knows animals are fuzzy and adorable and only a monster would want to kill them, right?
Incidentally, I would ask if any of these “animals are fuzzy” types have ever been in close quarters with a chicken or a pig. Those buggers are nasty. A pig will eat a human if given the opportunity, and I don’t just know this from the movies; a friend of mine fell in the pig pen at the farm near our summer camp one year and got attacked. By a pig. Yeah, just like Wilbur or Babe.
So, now, you have a bunch of people who have a legitimate argument for why their way of eating is healthier, more natural, and possibly even more sustainable than a veg*n diet based on large-scale monoculture agriculture and industrial soy. They eat all sorts of foods that we’ve been eating for thousands of years as humans. But no, because we reject foods introduced in the last hundred years, we get labeled disordered.
And all the while, teeny weeny vegan girls get to say “Oh, I’m a vegan; I can’t eat that” and get away with real disordered eating.
Disclaimer: I’m writing this mostly from a personal point of view, and to show that it’s ridiculous to label real foodies disordered when other restrictive diets are so mainstream. I’m not at all trying to imply that all veg*ns are disordered. If you’re doing it and you’re healthy and you’re not basing your diet on processed fake food, more power to you. Also, “veg*n” is used as a catch-all term for vegetarian and vegan, and is not meant to imply that “vegan” is a dirty word.
This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.