fitness

“Beychella”—another not recommended fad diet

I just read that to get ready for her Coachella concert–now viewable in the Netflix doc Homecoming–Beyonce went on a super restrictive diet.

From the Queen Bee herself: “In order for me to meet my goals, I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol – and I’m hungry.”

Of course you’re hungry, honey. That is a lot to say “no” to. A lot. Especially considering the physically demanding nature of the work.

She acknowledges it involved sacrifice. And that’s Beyonce. A woman with a team of people helping her meet her goals. Now, I’ve seen the documentary and yes, she looks amazing. Strong and gorgeous. But bear in mind that it’s one night. It’s her job. She has help. She has a lot going for her genetically and aesthetically speaking to begin with.

The truth of the matter is that a diet involving that much deprivation is simply not sustainable.

We blog a lot about fad diets and diets in general. Most of our messaging is negative because most people do not manage to lose weight and keep it off for any reasonable length of time. It can be done. There are some weight loss unicorns. They mostly have had to make significant permanent changes and commit to a life of intensive activity. Even then, it is no guarantee because metabolic damage is a known side-effect of repeated dieting and the under-eating restrictive diets often prescribe.

Fad diets that take out whole food groups are tempting because yes, of course you’ll likely lose weight if you stop eating most of the things you regularly enjoy. But if it’s not sustainable as a permanent change (and the Beychella diet is not) then the rebound effect of gaining it back is extremely likely.

Instead of another fad diet, consider process changes that get you making healthy activity and food choices (like Sam’s ten fruits and veggies thing). These sorts of tweaks are sustainable and good for you regardless of whether you lose weight or don’t. You won’t be deprived. Instead of punishing yourself or trying to whip yourself into shape, process changes can actually be acts of self love.

This is not to deny the awesomeness of Beyonce or the real sacrifice she had to make to be “show ready.” But like fitness models (see “She May Look Healthy But…Why Fitness Models aren’t Models if Health”), the required prep regime is not a long term solution and isn’t even particularly good for you (or for Beyonce).

If you haven’t seen Homecoming, here’s a link to the trailer and you can catch the film on Netflix:

https://youtu.be/fB8qvx0HOlI

fitness

Sam tries for ten

It’s in the news again: EAT MORE VEGETABLES!!!!

Actually, what it says is, “Eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day to live longer.”

According to researchers at Imperial College London, eating up to 10 portions of fruit and veggies a day will reduce the chance of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death.

I don’t do so well with restrictive eating goals. They can make me anxious and I can feel deprived. Positive ones don’t have the same negative effect. For example, for years, as a vegetarian, I’ve tracked protein.

I’m heading home from a conference to a very busy few weeks of work ahead. I’m starting to ride more and I need to make sure I get enough good things to eat. If I don’t manage to track anything else I think I’ll try to count servings of fruits and vegetables.

Wish me luck!

How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat each day?

Image description: A bowl of colourful vegetables. Photo from Unsplash
fitness · habits

More on movement rituals

For those of us who observe various forms of the Christian calendar, today is Easter Sunday. I’m a church lady, so the week of Easter is always busy for me every year. I buy pita and baba ganoush and lamejuns (Armenian sort-of pizzas; a recipe is here) and all kinds of yummy foods for my church’s Maundy Thursday dinner; I live around the corner from a great Armenian bakery and food store, so it is my happy errand to do.

Then comes Good Friday service, and on Saturday I help with brass and silver polishing in the morning, followed by helping get the church set up with lilies for Easter Vigil that evening. I rush home, then rush back for the service that evening. We have a little reception with bubbly beverages and nibblies, then I go home after 9pm.

Sunday morning is the main event, with a full court press of children in pastels running around, lots of sweets at the festive coffee hour, and the church filled with sights and sounds and folks I haven’t seen since Christmas. It’s one of my yearly rituals.

You can tell from my story that I like rituals. They are comfortable– familiar and predictable and soothing. Okay, maybe they can get monotonous, but I don’t usually mind monotony (at least in this context). There is also evidence that rituals (religious, personal, etc.) can provide provide us with feelings of more self-control over our behaviors.

Feelings of more self-control over our behaviors… Doesn’t that sound great?

This spring has been more than usually hectic for me– I took on an extra course for teaching, I’m serving on my university’s tenure committee, and recently became one of the wardens (yes, that’s the term) of my church. This is, in short:

TOO MUCH
too much. way too much.

I’ve noticed that, as my workload has increased and my stress level along with it, I’ve turned to some rituals in my movement. I do a gentle or restorative yoga ritual (well, youtube video, but ritual sounds nicer) every evening before bed. I make sure to move and walk and seek out stairs in my day.

I’ve also paid attention to a couple rituals for self-care lately. I have been turning off the light in my bedroom by 11:30pm. I have made time for a quiet coffee in the morning, even when I’ve faced a very long day. That’s what I’ve been managing.

The ritual of Easter weekend is almost over. I like immersing myself in it, but I don’t mind when it’s over. The rituals I engage in every day and every week (movement-wise, spirituality-wise, self-care-wise), support me day in and day out. I’d like to develop a few more.

Dear readers, what are your rituals or special habits that are soothing, or grounding, or motivating, or pleasing? Movement, self-care, whatever– we’d love to hear from you.

Movement Ritual
fitness

On Ritual, or Moving Religiously

FIT IS A FEMINIST ISSUE

Today is Easter Sunday. For many Protestants and Catholics, that means attending religious services—on Saturday night, at sunrise on Sunday, but mostly on Sunday morning in churches jam-packed with folks who attend Christmas and Easter services but not other times of the year. There’s even a term for them: chreasters.

With attendance dropping and congregations aging, some churches will go to great lengths to attract and keep these twice-a-year attendees coming after the holidays are over. One pastor used a live lion and lamb in his Easter sermon (it’s true; check out the picture here).  But, according to many sources (like here and here), lots of self-identified Christians just don’t prioritize the ritual of regular church attendance. So today the pews will be packed with suited and hatted and patent-leather-shoed folks.

easter church

Next Sunday, those people will return to their newspapers, computers, kid soccer games, brunches, and other activities…

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accessibility · aging · fitness · yoga

Sam has become “that person” in the fitness class!

Years ago I remember watching a woman in a yoga class at the Y who seemed to be just doing her own thing.

The instructor would tell us what to do and sometimes free spirit lady followed along and at other times not. I was puzzled. Why even come to class if you’re not going to do the thing the instructor is doing? What’s that even about?

Zoom ahead twenty years and OMG I’ve become that woman in yoga class. I was at bike-yoga at the university. The instructor kept demonstrating postures I can’t manage. Some are ones I’m positively told not to do. Instead whenever the pose was one of the forbidden/impossible ones I did my own thing.

My knees were happy. I was having a good workout. But some of the university students looked at me in a funny way. I think they thought I didn’t hear or see what I was supposed to be doing. And then it dawned on. I was free spirit yoga lady.

I’m okay with that. I’m with Cate that knowing your body and what it needs and doing that is one of the joys of aging.

How about you? In group fitness classes do you ever do your own thing? How does it feel?


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
fitness

Getting my workout gear on the go

By MarthaFitat55

I have written previously about the lamentable lack of attractive, fashionable workout gear for plus size fitfemmes. When I first started learning how to strength train, I was content with my not-quite-ancient yoga pants and one of my four classic grey tees for a very long while.

I graduated to plain black leggings and the odd coloured tee eventually when I realized I was in this powerlifting zone for the long haul. I realized I missed fun and bright amidst all the black and grey weights and machines.

I should say I missed fun and bright for me. We get awfully grey winters here on the east coast of Newfoundland, usually presaged by somewhat gloomy falls and followed by an equally dispirited spring. Pops of colour are a great way to beat the blahs, especially for someone like me who believes in basic fire engine red for pretty much any item of clothing.

Sadly, fun and colourful are not readily available in my size in the stores near to me. So when a friend posted pictures of her new leggings, I was intrigued. She connected me with her friend who sold these wonderful objects, and I bought two pairs: one a gorgeous floral and one in navy (can’t let go of some old ideas quite yet). I have since acquired a bunch more of these fun leggings including holiday-themed, Nordic influenced, and my latest is multi coloured polka dots.

I wear these leggings to the gym, I wear them to the grocery store, and I wear them when I want to stay home and chill with my book and latte. I wear them because they are fun and they give me a great boost. I wear them because lots of times I am tired of wearing my business clothes even though many of the items I own for that purpose are plenty colourful.

As a size 18, I know I am not going to be invisible in the gym regardless of what I wear. Also, when I want to be especially effective in a training session, I find dressing in something that pops gives me the mental kick in the pants I need to embrace the bar and the weight with extra energy.

I also like knowing I have clothing that has been created for active people. I like the security of knowing I have good gear that won’t fail at a crucial moment, or become see through when I execute certain exercises.

Since the advent of these fabulous leggings, I have tackled the swimsuit situation. I love my swim suit but after two years of fairly regular use, it was time to replace it. Sadly cherry red is not a colour they make available in any size, but I did find polka dots. Who knows? Perhaps in two years’ time when I need a new one, a cherry red suit will have found its way to the pool for me.

— MarthaFitat55 lives in Newfoundland.

fitness

Running without Gadgets: Look Mom, No Data! #tbt

Yesterday Cate mentioned that she’s been running “free” this week, meaning without gadgets. She’s just been running and getting into the moment of each run. Since I’ve been off running since the beginning of the month with that back injury (getting better!), I’ve of course started to think about how I might ease back into it when I’m ready, and gadget-free running is at the top of my list (along with very easy, very short and gentle forays outside, like way less than feels like a “workout.” So I dug into the archives for this #tbt abot running without gadgets.

Do you like to run free ever? How does it feel?

FIT IS A FEMINIST ISSUE

garmin-forerunner-310xt-in-depth-review-15-thumbWe live in an era of gadgets and devices.  On cold or rainy mornings when I take the bus to campus instead of walking or riding my bike, at least 50% of the other passengers are texting or checking Facebook, listening to music, doing something with their smart phones.

My latest gadget is my Garmin Forerunner 310XT GPS watch. When I’m out running, it tells me when to walk, when to run, what my pace is, how far I’ve traveled, how much time has elapsed. If I’m wearing the heart rate monitor, it reports my heart rate too.

When I get back, it shares the information with my Garmin connect account. I can see the map of my route and it tells me the distance. It lets me compare that with my performance on previous runs.

One night I got twitchy and irritated because I made the mistake of telling…

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