Friday, September 28, 2007

Does exercise make you thinner?

Meg sent me this article about studies showing that exercise doesn't really make you thinner. I like the article because it rings true for me impressionistically in addition to being well argued. Every time I have trained for a marathon, for example (which has been lots more times than I've actually gotten through the training and actually run a marathon), I've gained weight over those few months when I was training. Whether this was because I ate more because running made me hungry (or because I felt justified eating more when I was running more) or because I was gaining muscle, or some combination of the two, I don't know. But I didn't really care, because I knew I was getting in shape regardless of the number on the scale. And I also knew there were plenty of good reasons to keep up the running besides the (nonexistent) weight loss.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Are you drinking yourself fat?

That was the title of the link on CNN's front page that takes you to this article. When I first saw the title, I thought, "Perhaps..." so I clicked on it. But then I realized the article is actually about drinking *soda* (er, "pop" to my readers back east). OK, so maybe not. I stopped drinking soda probably ten years ago, and now I only have maybe 4 of them a year, max. I don't think those 4 per year are making me fat. And I can think of plenty of other fat people who drink very little soda.

I think the article is interesting and no doubt a lot of people gain weight from drinking soda, but I love how they're trying to make it out like the "obesity epidemic" reduces to a single cause, and if we just quit drinking soda then we'll all get thin. It reminds me of crap like the Atkins Diet, Zone Diet, Blood Type Diet, Carbohydrate Addicts' Diet, the anti-dairy stuff, and basically every fad diet that has ever come along and convinced people that if they just stop eating X, then they'll get thin. While it's true that soda has got to be worse for you than carbohydrates or dairy or any of those other unfairly demonized foods, this doesn't mean that "obesity" can be cured by cutting out soda. If it could, then hell, I'd start drinking that shit again, just so that I could quit and lose a bunch of weight as promised!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Um, ICK?

The other day, we were out to dinner at the Buffalo Inn and we overheard two guys at the next table saying something about "hot chicks with bad vaginas". We were driving down Arrow Highway not long afterwards and saw a huge billboard advertising "VAGINAL REJUVENATION" and "LASER VAGINOPLASTY". I must have been living under a rock for the last several years, because I had never heard of all this stuff, and yet if you google it, you'll find it all over the web. I think that is probably the funniest site I found, not only because of the name but because of the picture of the woman on the front page, which I have ripped off and posted here in case you're at work and don't want to visit in order to see it.

I am imagining that at the photo shoot, the photographer instructed this model to try and look shy, a little coy, innocent, but also seductive. Like A Virgin, you might say. I guess that's part of why this grosses me out -- doesn't having your vagina "rejuvenated" sound a lot like getting yourself a child's vagina? And apparently it's a lot like that. You get it "tightened" and "reinforced" so that it feels young again. And then there is vaginoplasty, labiaplasty, and hymen repair surgery. So if your lips are "enlarged" or "asymmetrical" (really?), or if you got your cherry popped but you want your new jealous boyfriend (or boyfriend with a virgin fetish) to be able to do it again for the first time, then you can get all that taken care of by the Labia Doctor. From what I understand, some of these procedures started out as remedies for real problems that people had, e.g. incontinence, severe deformities, etc. But I don't get why women with no real gynecological problems would do this to themselves (and if someone wants to explain it to me, I am all ears). Yes, I understand that it supposedly increases sexual pleasure. But labial reduction is just vanity. And vaginoplasty? Sounds gross. I know what it means, but when I hear the word, it still sounds like plastering your vagina. Like the walls are falling down and you hired a handyman to shore them up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Good piece by Paul Campos

My friend Meg tipped me off to this a nice, short article by Paul Campos where he reiterates part of the argument that he made in The Obesity Myth. This is good reading, and if you like it then I highly recommend the book.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Our house is now a home

Here is a picture of our new cat, Bunpote!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Walkable neighborhoods and you

Sorry for the lull this week -- it was the first week of classes, yadda yadda yadda, [insert more excuses here].

Anyhoo, I found this article on CNN today, which seems to be saying that living in a walkable neighborhood makes you less likely to be 'obese' (or to 'weigh less' -- the two are sort of conflated here). The conclusion is very interesting and makes a lot of sense intuitively, though I had a little trouble following the argument as it was made in this particular summary of the original research. The CNN article says there is no statistical difference among (self-identified?) 'exercisers' or among 'non-excercisers' based on whether or not they live in walkable neighborhoods, so this seems to contradict the point of the article -- but I think it is just poorly written, because this more in-depth article from Science News Magazine online does make a statistical connection. Maybe what's going on is that there are more 'exercisers' in walkable areas. Actually that would make sense given the discussion towards the end of the Science News article, where it is pointed out that maybe people who are naturally sedentary prefer to live in non-walkable neighborhoods since they prefer to drive everywhere anyway. So maybe there is actually more of a 'sorting' going on than a causal relationship between walkable cities and lower rates of 'obesity' (however they measured that -- probably BMI). But the Science News article goes on to draw what I think is a pretty reasonable conclusion based on the studies they describe, and that is that even if there is some sorting going on, people who live in walkable neighborhoods will do more walking even if they're not big fans of walking generally. So there is still a health benefit to living in a walkable neighborhood, and regardless of whether this leads to weight loss or not, it's a good thing. One researcher, an economist, is quoted in the Science News article as saying that the people drawing a connection between non-walkable cities and fat are just smart-growth proponents trying to 'hijack the obesity epidemic' to advance their agenda. As far as I'm concerned, the 'obesity epidemic' hysteria is so ridiculous and overblown that I don't mind if all that energy gets shifted to a more reasonable and productive purpose like convincing people that our neighborhoods need to be more walkable.

In other news, we are going to get a cat! Photos to follow...

Also, Michigan lost again this week. Or, I should say, they were humiliated. By Oregon. 39-7. At home. Life is good.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Awesome weekend

On Sunday a (Kenyan-)American, Bernard Lagat, won the world 5K championship in Osaka in 13:45.87 after winning the 1500 last week. Awesome! I ran in a 5K with my pals Anne and Brad that day too. I might have have run faster if I weren't tired from marching with the alumni band the day before (more on that below), but I was pleased with my 38:45 anyway, especially since I had not gone running at all for the previous three weeks because of being sick, going on vacation, and a variety of other excuses. The winner of our 5K, Rob Moore, finished in 17:22. Man, I was so close (to being halfway done when he finished), but he just outkicked me in the end. Despite my loss to Rob Moore, it was a beautiful day for a run and it was so much fun to hang out with my buddies.

In other news, how about those Buckeyes? Such a beautiful day for a football opener (and Buckeye victory), and marching with the alumni band was a blast. Even better, how about those Mountaineers?! For those who missed it, Michigan got beat by Appalachian State on Saturday. This is the first time in college football history that a ranked I-A team lost to a I-AA team. People are calling it possibly the greatest upset in the history of college football. I am calling it AWESOME!!! This was the scene at Ohio Stadium after our game had ended and they switched all the TV's under the stadium to the end of the Michigan game. My parents and I were there, but we were in a different part of the stadium from the band, so we were just in the middle of a ton of screaming fans jumping up and down.

As if this wasn't great enough, how about those Yellow Jackets? Wow, Notre Dame never had a prayer (ha). And Cal manhandled Tennessee, thanks in part to a totally sweet punt return by DeSean Jackson (who went to Admiral Seamus' high school, FYI). So all in all it was an outstanding weekend... on the way home from the OSU game, we heard a talk radio guy saying that because of the OSU and Michigan games and the fact that ND was in the process of losing, this could be the greatest day in the history of mankind. A slight exaggeration, perhaps, but I'm having trouble coming up with a better one offhand.