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Thanks to wendyrg for this week’s FCB … or should I say Vendredi chat blogs ;).

Oh happy day for Good Eats fans! Alton Brown is back with Cook Smart, a new YouTube video series! Here are the first two videos:



I recently came across Marge Piercy’s 1997 poem What Are Big Girls Made Of? The whole poem is well worth the read, but I found the conclusion particularly compelling:

If only we could like each other raw.
If only we could love ourselves
like healthy babies burbling in our arms.
If only we were not programmed and reprogrammed
to need what is sold us.
Why should we want to live inside ads?
Why should we want to scourge our softness
to straight lines like a Mondrian painting?
Why should we punish each other with scorn
as if to have a large ass
were worse than being greedy or mean?

When will women not be compelled
to view their bodies as science projects,
gardens to be weeded,
dogs to be trained?
When will a woman cease
to be made of pain?

FCB

compassion-hug-yourself-fuzzy-bear-4

Paleo for Women’s Stefani Ruper makes a good case that love is the new skinny:

“Strong is the new skinny,” is what everyone says these days. No longer do you have to look like a runway model! No longer do you have to starve yourself! Wow! Everyone is ecstatic.

Except not everyone is. Who isn’t? I am not. That’s because I know that “strong” means you still have to starve yourself (or at least be restrictive). And build eight pack abs on top of that. “Strong” sets an even higher standard that’s even harder to achieve. It’s unrealistic. It calls for amount of willpower. It demands an egregious amount of your time. …

If we are going to change our standards of beauty away from “skinny,” we may as well do it right and go all the way. … Maybe it’s about a future in which the best, most admired, and most desired people are those with the biggest hearts.

Stefani is looking for “a steady stream of ‘love is the new skinny’ memes.” So head over to her post if you’d like to contribute.

My favorite scene from the movie The Help … and not a bad mantra!

Canadian obesity doc/researcher/professor Dr. Arya Sharma has the results of a new meta-analysis of 37 RCTs looking at behavioral interventions and weight loss. The result? Not exactly promising … ~5 pounds weight lost over 12 months.

On calorie counting:

[T]here is enough evidence in the literature to show that most “successful” dieters develop a somewhat obsessive relationship to accounting for every bite they put in their mouths – measuring, counting, adding, journaling, avoiding and restricting become part of their daily routine. For some it becomes so automatic a behaviour, that they are no longer even conscious of doing it (nor do many stop to realise just how “abnormal” such a behaviour actual is).

If this helps them better manage their weight – good for them. As a strategy for the population – or in other words when measured in terms of “effectiveness” – such an approach is bound to fail. This is because most people are simply not going to live their lives that way (and who can blame them?).

On behavioral interventions and weight loss (emphasis mine):

This is not to say that behavioural interventions in obese individuals (including physical activity) are not beneficial – they are, just not for weight loss.

As I have said before (and restate every time I get a chance) – improving health behaviours can certainly lead to a healthier you – whether that you is leaner or not is an entirely different (and less important?) question.

It turns out that getting your cortex to run your hypothalamus is far more difficult that you may think.

While I’m not sure I’m on board with all of Dr. Sharma’s approaches to obesity (he’s not opposed to interventions like weight loss surgery or prescription drugs), I think the point about looking at this at a population level is important. Not everyone is ready or able to do a VLF or VLC diet and/or avoid grains or dairy or meat and/or turn into Michael Pollan and start cooking every meal and/or do weight loss surgery.

IMO, that’s what makes it a cultural or societal issue.

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