Friday, January 29, 2010

It's not the FAT, it's YOU.

It amazes me that people get so upset when their doctors tell them "it's just your weight" instead of actually diagnosing the problem, yet, they don't seem to think past blaming all their issues in life on their weight.

They seem to think they must lose weight in order to get a better job, find a boyfriend, enjoy a vacation, be a good mother, etc. Hello, stop and think a minute. I know many skinny or normal sized people who hate their jobs, are single, don't go on vacation, and suck as parents. It's the not the FAT people, it's YOU.

All I need to remind myself of this is a shopping trip with my best friend. Finding clothes that fit and look nice is always an issue for us big girls out there, but my best friend is so lucky to be a normal size and can shop in regular stores and wear whatever she likes....right?


On a recent trip to find jeans she tried on nearly 10 different styles...and did successfully find 1 pair that "fit". How could this be? She's not fat...why can't she find jeans that fit. Ah because it's not the size that matters, it's not the jeans, it's YOU not wanting to take the time to find that right style that fits and flatters your body. It's easier to just give up and settle for ill fitting jeans or just wear stretch pants...and blame being too fat for not finding good jeans.

I'll be revisiting this topic...the reason it popped in my mind today is because I saw my PCP this morning about recent weight gain. My doctor is an angel, I knew I could actually talk with her about my concerns and wouldn't just be told to eat less and exercise more. Of course, part of the conversation was that I have been excercising more and my eating habits have not drastically changed from a time when I was maintaining my weight. It's frustrating. But my concern isn't neccesarily getting fatter, it's that there is something wrong. So despite my hesitation to dive back into the medical tests and surgeon appointments, that is what is needed.

I'm reminded of when my weight first concerned me and my hometown doctor told me yep, you're fat that's all your problem is...despite my legs looking like this...ah yeah that's fluid but it's there because of you weight. Guess what is was there because of lymphedema which needed treated...despite my weight...sure losing weight will help the treatment but losing weight was not the simple answer.

Just my weight? Not so much.

So stop blaming your weight for all your problems in life and also don't think being skinny will resolve all your issues. You'll just be smaller with the same issues.

Monday, January 25, 2010

That was BIG of me.

I went to my college homecoming this weekend. The same college where I worked several years as a student employee and a few months as a temporary employee.

Then I was fired because of my weight.

So guess who I see as I walk into the Alumni reception?

The man who had me fired. This was a huge surprise because he has long since retired from the university and moved to a new state.

As soon as I saw him I knew what I had to do.

No, this isn't the part where I go tell him off, there is no drama here.

I walked up to him, shook his hand and said "I want to thank you for what happened years ago"
He replied, "whether good or bad."

I said "what I thought was bad 10 years ago turned out to be very good for me. It gave me the momentum to improve my life."

Yes, I thanked him. I have actually had thoughts of sending him a thank you letter for years, but never took the time to locate his new address. Despite what the circumstances of what happened at the time, had I not been fired, had I not had my eyes opened to the reality of the toll my weight was having on my entire life, to the fact I had let my entire life revolved around the university, that I was more worried about making others happy than taking care of myself. Had what happened 10 years ago not had happened, who knows where I'd be today. Although funny enough, I'm currently unemployed having been laid off from a job. But now I have the confidence to know I will once again pull myself up and overcome this challenge, because I have overcome far worse in my past.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Thin Mints, Caramel Delights, Peanut Butter Patties...oh yes; it's Girl Scout Cookie time!

While the names may have changed over the years, your desire for these annual edibles has not.

Lucky for me, the troops in South Florida peddle their wares outside of Publix, so I don't have to order and wait for my Thin Mint fix. Now I know people who fear this time of year because these cookies are SO GOOD they can't control themselves and eat an entire sleeve of Thin Mints. I used to do that, eat an entire sleeve of Thin Mints, it's easy to do without even realizing you are doing it and of course today a sleeve doesn't have as many cookies as before.

So these cute little cookie pushers must be avoided at all costs. Right?

Or, we could find a little self control.

I often wonder which takes more self control: to completely restrict ourselves from foods we "love" or to learn to "love" the food in a better way?

I often hear people say "I don't even bring it into the house, because I don't want the temptation". That's all well and good but then what happens when someone brings some to work? Often they will give in and eat too many then BLAME the person who brought the evil into the office.

First, don't blame others for your actions. I was once blamed for someone eating an entire jar of peanut butter, because I had posted about this great natural flavor. The person loved it so much they finished a jar in 2 days and this was somehow MY fault. While I on the other hand also LOVED the peanut butter but was able to enjoy it with an occasional apple...not eat the entire jar with a spoon.

So back to the cookies. I feel stronger knowing I can keep an entire box of Thin Mints in my freezer (because we all know that is the BEST way to eat them) and eat them 2-4 at a time (4 is a serving) with a glass of skim milk. I'm sure some will argue that cookies are not good for you regardless of whether you can control your portion or not. True, I could find a better dessert or snack option. But avoiding the temptation Girl Scout cookies is nearly impossible and enjoying the occasional treat lessens the possibility of an all out gorge.

Also, I like to have my cake and eat it the longer I can make a box last, the longer I get to enjoy the cookies.

In the spirit of full disclosure I must state I was a Girl Scout for 8 years.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Does More Butt And Thigh Fat Make You Healthier?

Interesting that there is no mention of Lipedemic fat. Lipedema is the abnormal accumalation of adipose tissue (fat) in the hips, thighs, buttocks and sometimes upper arms. Primarily affects women. Now if your body is just producing excess fat on it's own, not fat as a result of poor eating habits then it would be "healthy" fat. Perhaps an e-mail to the researchers is needed.

Studies Find That Having More Weight in Lower Body May Be a Good Thing
ABC News Medical Unit
Jan. 12, 2010

Public health officials have harped on actively taking steps to reduce obesity, but it seems for some genetically lucky individuals, reducing their body fat isn't as important.
Research shows that a big bottom is healthier than a big stomach.A new review published by researchers at the University of Oxford and Churchill Hospital in the United Kingdom suggests that people who carry their body fat in their thighs and backside aren't just carrying extra weight, but also some extra protection against diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with obesity.

"It is the protective role of lower body, that is [thigh and backside] fat, that is striking. The protective properties of the lower body fat depot have been confirmed in many studies conducted in subjects with a wide range of age, BMI and co-morbidities," the researchers write in the most recent issue of the Journal of Obesity.

"If you're going to have fat, you're definitely better off if you've got some fat in the lower body," said Dr. Michael Jensen, director of endocrine research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "If you look at people who have primarily the pear shape, they're healthy in all the ways that this fat behaves. It's not just less heart attacks or less diabetes, it's all these ways we think about fat as an important organ for our health."

For years, researchers have looked into the idea that not all fat is created equal. People who carry their fat in their stomachs, also known as "apple-shaped" people, are said to have more problems from obesity than those who carry their fat in their hips.
People who carry their fat in their thighs and backsides -- otherwise known as their gluteofemoral region -- appear to be in a similar class to those with fat in their hips.

"There's a lot of evidence that shows that the fat depots are not the same in the body," said Dr. Robert Kushner, a professor medicine specializing in obesity at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

He explained that the fat stored in the stomach is harmful because "it is more metabolically active," sending fatty contents and messages throughout the body, whereas fat in the lower regions of the body tends to be more stable and release fewer cytokines, which have been implicated in the insulin resistance that can lead to diabetes.

"There's a whole range of these hormonal markers that seem to be more preferentially released from the belly," said Kushner.

Getting More Back

But it is unclear if the fat in the thighs and backside are better for you than simply being thin, experts say.

But while lower body fat may be healthier than upper body fat, at this point people have little control over where their body chooses to store its fat, with spot-toning a myth and the only options coming from pharmaceutical side effects.

"You can't direct or drive the fat in one part of your body versus another," said Kushner. "For the average person on the street, it's determined by genetics."

He noted, however, that "One can develop, perhaps, medication to deposit in one area," a possibility noted by the authors of the review who point out that it is one effect of some existing diabetes drugs.

Different Fat, But Better Fat?

While the review seems to indicate that having fat lower down can be a good thing, not all experts are convinced.

"I think that the article makes a fairly compelling point that there are likely differences between these two fat stores," said Floyd Chilton, a professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. "But I think it certainly falls short in making a convincing argument that one is protective and the other is the major source of the problem."

Some of the measurements, he explained, were not performed in a way that would allow for a conclusive judgment. For example, he said a number of studies cited by the researchers used hip circumference to determine where fat was being stored.

Chilton noted that many of the diseases discussed by researchers of the study -- including heart disease and diabetes -- have been connected to inflammation in the body.

"Many of them are increasing in incidence at a very similar rate to the dramatic increase in obesity," he said.

Getting the Skinny on Fat

While he is not yet sure that lower body fat can be said to be protective, Chilton said that recent years have shown that biomarkers have helped give a more nuanced picture of how the body regulates itself -- and how conditions like obesity really affect the body.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Fat Woman's Reply to The ModernMan's 15 Reasons Why Men Don't Find Fat Women Attractive

ModernMan? More like ModernAsshole.

First, I have to ask all the REAL men out there: Are you going to let this guy speak for you on this topic?

Second, to my female readers I ask that IF you click and watch the video, in exchange for giving this asshole more views, please send his site an e-mail with your thoughts on the matter. Especially, since he sells dating advice to men. Seriously????? -

15 Reasons Why Men Don't Find Fat Women Attractive

Here is the quick list of reasons for those who couldn't stand to watch the entire video.

1. A fat woman isn’t the entire package that we’re looking for in a woman.
2. A fat woman looks like ‘used goods’.
3. A fat woman makes unattractive sounds during sex.
4. A fat woman lowers a man’s status.
5. A fat woman attracts less-favorable treatment in society.
6. A fat woman’s true physical appearance is hidden.
7. A fat woman is unhealthy.
8. A fat woman will likely pass on her bad habits to the children.
9. A fat woman is missing the most attractive element.
10. A fat woman is ‘heavy-lifting’ in the bedroom.
11. A fat woman requires more food.
12. A fat woman doesn’t have a natural, female form.
13. A fat woman is usually lazy.
14. A fat woman usually has psychological issues.
15. A fat woman looks older than she is.

While I could take each point and provide a rebuttal, his ignorance really isn't worth my time. I just want to assure fat women out there and the men who find fat women attractive, that's it's o.k. to be who you are and to like what you like.

I see it like this, most everyone has a favorite flavor of ice cream. Many people like chocolate ice cream, some strawberry, and even others like vanilla. While still others, like me, I like orange sherbet. And yet, there are still people who do not like ice cream at all. Some people are lactose intolerant.

It's the same for people. Some men like blondes, some like brunettes, others redheads. Tall or short, funny or shy, fat or skinny; men's taste in women is as diverse as the various types of women out there.

And then there are men who don't like any type of woman, because they are gay. But I guess since Mr. ModernMan is trying to make a buck selling dating advice he's not concerned with gay men.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I see you baby...shakin' that thang!

And I have a lot to shake.

Tonight I registered for an 8-week Adult Modern Dance/Ballet class at the YMCA. Other than Tumbleweeds as a toddler, I've never been in any type of dance or gymnastics. A tiny part of me wanted to audition for show choir and musicals in high school but I never got up enough courage. I was in regular choir for a year, and helped out backstage but I've wanted DANCE for many years. Oh wait, I just remembered the dance segment in high school gym. Well, perhaps it's better if we didn't remember.

So here I on another adventure. Perhaps I should video my final progress.

Surgeon General: Being Fit is Not About a Dress Size

We have a new Surgeon General of the United States and her credibility is being questioned because of her weight??? What is wrong with people? Perhaps we need to write our BP, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels on our forheads to prove we are healthy. As she states, she struggles with her weight just as 67% of Americans do, being fit is not about a dress size.

I know a wealth of information about proper diet and nutrition, but I'm fat so I guess no one should listen to me...whatever. I can remember workplace lunches where the topic of fitness and nutrition began and the smokers and regular drinkers would try to chime in on anything I contributed. So just because their BMI is normal, they are healthier than I am??? What about the fact I too workout and don't smoke or drink weekly. In 30 years, I'm more likely NOT to have lung cancer and/or psorosis of the liver.

I like the idea of having a real life person who struggles with her weight lead an initiave against obesity. As she said: she knows the struggles. I'm tired of being told what to eat and what not to eat by stick thin nutritionists who have never been overweight, let alone obese, or morbidly obese. Granted, many of these nutritionists were very nice, there was just something that didn't click. Like getting semi-truck driving lessons from someone who's only driven a compact car.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dating website drops some weight

By: J.A. Laraque

In this online age we all know we can find a website for just about everything. This also applies to the dating world. You have general sites like and eHarmony that cater to just about everyone, but you also have specific sites based on race, religion and yes, even size.
CNN first reported that a dating site that markets itself as an elite community for beautiful people with a "strict ban on ugly people" has axed about 5,000 members for packing on the pounds during the holiday season.
How the site works is you create a profile and it is voted on and “judged” by approved members for 48 hours. If you get enough votes you are in, but you must keep your profile updated. After the holiday season many members uploaded new photos showing “extra pudge” and in turn several members were angry feeling they no longer deserved to be on the site.
"As a business, we mourn the loss of any member, but the fact remains that our members demand the high standard of beauty be upheld," said Robert Hintze, founder of "Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which was founded."
The members who gained weight were flagged and sent e-mails telling them they could re-register once the added weight was gone.
"We responded to complaints by moving the newly chubby members back to the rating stage. This is the same as having them re-apply," Greg Hodge, managing director of, said in a statement.
Some of the people expelled tried to re-register right away hoping others may vote them back in, but in the in only a few hundred were allowed back out of over 5,000.
"Is it elitist? Yes, it is, because our members want it to be," Hodge said when the company started out in 2005. "Is it lookist? Yes, it is, because our members want it to be. Is it PC? No, it's not, but it's honest."
It seems Mr. Hodge also has strong opinions about the Western cultures habit of over indulging during the holidays.
"Every year we see that some of our members from Western cultures eat and drink to excess over the holidays, and clearly their looks suffer," he said in a statement. "The U.S.A. has been grossly over-indulging since Thanksgiving. It's no wonder that so many members have been expelled from the network. We hope they will be back after shedding the festive pounds."
The company said it "expelled" 1,520 users from the U.S., 832 from the U.K., 533 from Canada, 510 from Poland, 425 from Germany, 402 from Italy, 323 from France, 220 from Denmark, 176 from Turkey and 88 people from Russia. In the e-mail, it gave users suggestions for boot camps and workout facilities to get themselves back in shape.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fat on Fat Hate

I accept that I'm fat, but I typically don't like the fat acceptance movement. Probably because there is a difference between being fat and healthy, and being fat and in denial.

I was in denial for many years. I KNEW I was fat, but I was trying to "hide" my fatness from others. I became very well accustomed to accomadating my size and limitations as so others didn't notice. In 3rd grade, age 8, I planned out my 3 flight climb from the playground back to my classroom. Either be first in line or last. First meant I set the pace for the entire line, and last meant I could lag behind if needed. In middle school and high school it meant figuring out which desks I fit in and make sure I got to class in time to move the desk to my assigned spot if needed.

Throughout my life I was trying to prove that I could do anything despite my size. I was in the band, went to prom, went to college. At my jobs I would stay late, take extra shifts, and rarely ask for a break. Breaks are for lazy people. No matter how bad my feet hurt from supporting 400+ lbs, I wouldn't let them seem me "be lazy".

And it worked. Well sorta. I've heard from someone who saw me working before we became friends years later, and she told me she had never seen someone so fat move so much. Ah, success. Or perhaps not, my denial eventually caught up with me. I was fat, others knew it and others (some not all) judged me on it.

Nothing stung as bad as being fired because of my weight. When asked why my boss was forced to fire me I was told "some people equate fat with being lazy, it's not right, but they do". It was a temporary job so there was no fighting the decision. I loved working there, I had given many hours, many ideas, made an impact. And they broke up with me because I was fat.

From this I learned that proving myself wasn't needed. I had tried so hard for people to like me, and many did, but not everyone and so in the end I wasted many hours that I should have spent on myself. I liked me, but I never made ME a priority. I'm not a mind changer.

Another thing that made me realize I need to stop proving to others that fat people can do normal things is the Fat on Fat hate I've experienced. You would think all us fat people should understand the challenges we face and support each other. Yeah, we're no different than other groups...there are haters among us.

Here's a couple of my fav hater moments:

I'm at the gym on a weight machine. I have my iPod on jamming to some tunes. This woman and her kids are talking to her husband who's on another machine. The woman waves at me like she knows me, then starts to walk towards me. I'm thinking she knows me from somewhere, but I don't recognize her. I take my headphones off and she says "Hi, are you having or did you have surgery"...o.k. "surgery" to fat people automatically means bariatric surgery, just like the "the pill" refers to birth control. Annoyed I reply, "I've had it". She continues and asked me when. Seriously? I'm at the GYM, exercising. Leave me alone. But I'm nice like that I tell her 2003. She then lets me know she works for a doctor who can do a revision. Wow. Then like to make it better she tells me she's had weight loss surgery. Yeah, no it doesn't mean we're WLSisters. You're rude. Would it be o.k. to walk up to a stranger and say "oh I know a doctor who can fix your nose". No, it wouldn't. Now I know some people will say "oh she was just trying to help, because she herself knows how it feels to be obese and wanted to spread the saving word of surgery". Let me repeat, we can only save ourselves, not others. Now if in the course of conversation surgery comes up and she mentions she had it and I ask her more about, blah blah blah. That's a bit different. But for the love of pasta people, it's never ever ok to approach a stranger on such a private matter.

The second incident happened the same week. No lie.

After I left the gym I went to the grocery store. I had used the whirlpool after working out so I wasn't wearing my compression garments. My legs are discolored, swollen, not pretty but they are much better than they were 7 years ago so I don't give it a second thought to show them in public. So as I'm picking up some lunchmeat this women in a store scooter passes by with her friend walking next to her, as they pass I hear the woman in the scooter say "Wow, check out them cankles" then she and her friend both laugh. Wow. Really? You're in a scooter and yet have the nerve to make fun of my "cankles". You know I could have had several come backs like "at least these cankles can walk this fatass around the store", etc.

But it wasn't worth wasting my time. She obviously makes herself feel better by putting others down. And I have the pleasure of making myself feel better by the things I've accomplished in my life, and knowing others may try but they will never knock me down.

When the Aliens come, they will eat the fatties first – U.K. Gym warns

By: J.A. Laraque

If you have seen the movie Zombieland you will notice the main character talks about rules for surviving. One of his rules is cardio. He states that you have to be able to run from the zombies, jumping and ducking to escape and you can’t do that if you’re out of shape.
It seems a U.K. gym has a similar idea with their new campaign. First reported on the Telegraph, one of the largest independent health clubs in the U.K. launched an advertisement which featured a green alien that read: "Advance health warning! When the aliens come, they will eat the fatties first."
Unfortunately, the advert, meant to encourage people to make a new year’s resolution to lose weight sparked anger and outrage. Many residents said the sign was offensive to those struggling to lose weight.
Vicky Palmer contacted the health club to complain after seeing an advert similar to the sign in a local newspaper. Mrs. Palmer, who had an eating disorder as a teen, said the sign and adverts should be removed.
"I am not overweight yet I still find this extremely offensive and patronizing, but how much more so to someone genuinely overweight?" she said.
She and many others are calling for the ads to be pulled. However so far it looks as if the signs will remain. The manager at the health club, Jason Eaton said: "The alien campaign has been developed as a tongue in cheek look at the fact that people, generally, over the Christmas period do put on a little weight.
"We do not intend to cause any offence to anyone."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Who is this strange man?

…posting on my blog?

You may have noticed that we’re not alone. I have given author privileges to my boyfriend. He’s me. And he’s funny, like me…well I’m funnier.

Damn, I’m fatter too.

Ah, well I’m not worried. He likes my “baby got back”, although I’m told it doesn’t rank as high compared to some of my other features, like my “pretty face”.

So I thought his added male perspective would be good and at times I might have to piggyback some of his commentary with my own.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Five ways to request a seatbelt extender

By: J.A. Laraque

Let’s face it; if you are overweight you have to have a sense of humor. Everyday can present a challenge in one way or another and if you cannot smile or laugh it away you will go crazy. One real challenge for overweight individuals is flying. We have all seen reports from airlines about restrictions for overweight passengers. Some airlines are charging people for two seats and even denying them from flying.
For me personally I feared to fly once I got over the 350lb mark. I was scared I would not fit in the seat. I was scared I would be kicked off the plane, but most of all I feared being embarrassed in front of everyone.
When I began losing weight I believed all that fear was behind me, but when I flew to California I discovered I still had more weight to lose before it would be a good fit (pun intended) for me. While I did fit fine in the seat I still needed a seatbelt extended. The flight attendant was very nice and discrete about it which made the experience painless.
Since then I have flown a number of times and I still use an extender mainly because it is much more comfortable. With that I have come up with a few ways to ask for a seatbelt extender.
The Call-ahead reservation
You ever wonder how people get a kosher meal on an airplane, they call ahead. If you call the customer service for your airline you can request ahead of time for them to leave the extender in your seat. Now lately I have been told some airlines no longer do this, but many still do so you will need to call in and ask. This makes it the easiest because you do not have to say anything or draw attention to yourself.
The Walk by Wink and Point
This doesn’t always work, but if you have ever had someone give you the eye or stare a bit too long at you just because you are overweight you will understand. I used this to my advantage on airlines. When boarding the plane I would give the greeting flight attendant a wink and point to my stomach. Most of the time they knew exactly what I meant and they would bring an extender to my seat shortly afterwards.
WARNING: For the men out there this can be kind of dangerous because if the flight attendant is female and you wink a little too hard and point a little too low you could find yourself thrown off the plane charged with sexual harassment charges.
The Whisper Request
This works when heading toward your seat or if you have already sat down. You can whisper to the flight attendant, extender please, and that should be enough to get you one. However, this can also go wrong and the attendant can either not hear you correctly or repeat loudly what you just said. There is also a slight chance he or she might be mad you whispered in his or her ear so be careful people.
The Charade or Wrestling Belt motion
So you sat down and thought the belt would fit, but it didn’t or it’s so tight you feel your lunch contents being pushed back out. In this case you can use the whisper request, just ask normally or try this trick.
Ever watch the WWE or any other wrestling programs? When they want the title belt they will make a hand gesture of a belt near their waste. I have found this works well to signal to the flight attendant that you need an extender. Again, this doesn’t always work, but it is less likely to be mistaken for something else, unless there are wrestlers on the plane.
The captured animal
This is the least used technique I would suggest because it relies way to heavily on the flight attendants sense of compassion. I am not saying they are not smart, helpful, attentive and friendly, but we are all human beings and we all know that everyone can have a bad day at work and miss something.
Pretty much this works the same way as seeing a deer caught in a bear trap would work. You force the belt closed and squirm in pain until the flight attended sees you struggling and brings you an extender.
I personally would not recommend this, but I mention it because it happened to me once. The flight attendant saw how uncomfortable I was and brought me an extender without me asking for it. Obviously this will not always happen. Many times they are busy and will not notice or they don’t want to assume you need one out of fear of embarrassing you. So just keep this one in mind, but don’t really try it unless you are going for a laugh.
Just keep smiling
I wrote this because all these things I have done, but really if you ask for an extender 99% of the time the flight attendant will quietly bring one to you. I have even had some hide it in a pillow or blanket so nobody will see. Most people understand it is not easy to fly even when smaller in size and the flight attendants are sensitive to this. So keep a smile on your face, be polite and keep saying to yourself, it will all soon be over.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Frog legs and butt cracks.

Note to self: Jump test.

The pretty blue Land's End bathing suit fits, I swear it does. But my "baby got back" needs extra coverage when jumping is involved. I walked around in it just fine, but bring on the jumping in water and it's weggie time. So next time I'll be sure to wear a different bathing suit...I have more than one...I umm have more than five.

Next time.

Why yes, next time. This was the class I've been looking for, great workout, fun instructor, and did I mention great workout. Despite what the dumbass at Bally's on 163rd Street in Miami said (which was that I could get a better workout than water aerobics, saying this in reply to my question does your club have water aerobics...the answer was no, but hey let's diss her choice while we're at it) water exercises are an excellent workout option for all. And according to the YMCA 45 minutes of walking in water is equivalent to 3 hours on land. It also puts less pressure on your joints. And hands down I can do more "things", positions, stretches, crunches, in the water than I can do on land.

And as a bonus for me, unlike land excersises than can strain my lymphatic system, water exercises are beneficial for lymphedema patients. The depth of the water creates compression, and the motion of the water against my legs works like gentle massage.

No wonder I gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now at the end of class.

Bathing Beauty

I'm sitting here in my bathing suit.


Because I'm about to head to an aqua aerobics class. Yes, that's right I'm wearing a bathing suit AND going out in public. It's a nightmare scenario for many. Even the non-obese have this fear of bathing suits. I live in Miami, there are beautiful people everywhere...real and fake. I actually asked myself if I was "pretty enough" to move to Miami five years ago. Afterall not only couldn't I fit into a bikini, my legs are too bit to fit into rollerblades. Crazy, am I? You know you think the same self-defeating thoughts. But really have you ever looked at others, it's not the body, it's the suit. Either you have a cute well fitting suit or you don't. I've been on cruises, to busy waterparks and to the beach. I've seen many bodies, young and old, fat and skinny, male and female, in bathing suits. Skinny doesn't equal cute, confidence equals find you a nice bathing suit and strut your stuff.

I love the water, my mom would take me to water baby classes at the YMCA and that is where I'm headed in about 15 minutes, to the YMCA. I'm going to test drive their advanced aqua aerobics class. Yeah, I'm skipping ahead to advanced. I LOVE me some water exercises and they love me back unlike other exercises. I joined a gym back in July, and yes I actually WENT and worked out. I would do about 30 mins of cardio, and 30-45 mins of weight training. It felt great to accomplish so much. Then my lymphedema got worse, it doesn't like the strain, despite the fact I work compression garments. So I returned to my search for a decent aqua program. This one is about 20 mins away but hopefully worth the drive. Expect a full report. And look forward to my test drive of their belly dancing class on Saturday.

New Tech? or Fat Tagging?

I'm having flashbacks to the nature shows my dad would make me watch where they hunted down animal and tagged them in order to track their habits and activities.

This scares me, the assumption that fat people lie about their eating and activities.

Yes, we're fat, lazy and liars. Nice.
From AP:

Fight against fat goes high-tech with new devices

By ALICIA CHANG, AP Science Writer Alicia Chang, Ap Science Writer

ALHAMBRA, Calif. – The fight against fat is going high-tech. To get an inside look at eating and exercise habits, scientists are developing wearable wireless sensors to monitor overweight and obese people as they go about their daily lives.

The experimental devices are designed to keep track of how many minutes they work out, how much food they consume and even whether they are at a fast-food joint when they should be in the park. The goal is to cut down on self-reported answers that often cover up what's really happening.

In a lab in this Los Angeles suburb, two overweight teenagers help test the devices by taking turns sitting, standing, lying down, running on a treadmill and playing Wii. As music thumps in the background, wireless sensors on their chests record their heart rates, stress levels and amount of physical activity. The information is sent to a cell phone.

"I can't feel my legs," 15-year-old Amorette Castillo groans after her second treadmill run.

Traditional weight-loss interventions rely mainly on people's memory of what they ate for dinner and how many minutes they worked out. But researchers have long known that method can be unreliable since people often forget details or lie.

The new devices are being designed in labs or created with off-the-shelf parts. Some similar instruments are already on the market, including a model that tracks calories burned by measuring motion, sweat and heat with armbands.

But the devices in development aim to be more sophisticated by featuring more precise electronics and sometimes even video cameras. Many emerging systems also strive to provide instant feedback and personalized treatment for wearers.

At the University of Southern California lab, the teens alternated between being sedentary and active as researchers resolved the technical bugs. Later this year, some will wear the body sensors at home on weekends. If they get too lazy, they will get pinged with a text message.

"We'll be able to know real-time if they're inactive, if they're active," said Donna Spruijt-Metz, a USC child obesity expert in charge of the project.

The devices are made possible by advances in technology such as accelerometers that can measure the duration and intensity of a workout. They also use Bluetooth-enabled cell phones that can take pictures of meals and send information back.

Will all this wizardry lead to a slimmer society? Scientists say there's reason to hope. Getting an accurate picture of what people eat and how often they move around will help researchers develop personalized weight-loss advice.

Obesity is epidemic in the United States with two-thirds of adults either overweight or obese. It's a major health concern for children and adolescents, who are at higher risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as they grow older.

A federally funded pilot project by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana is exploring whether people can lose more weight when tracked by technology.

Participants carry around Blackberry Curves to snap pictures of their meals and leftovers. They also wear a quarter-sized device on their shoe that counts the number of steps they take.

Counselors pore over the incoming data and give individually tailored health advice through e-mail or telephone. Every month, the participants get their weight checked, and their progress is compared against a separate group that receives only generic health tips.

The study involves just seven people, but researchers eventually hope to have 40.

"It's highly personalized. You get feedback very quickly," said Corby Martin, who heads Pennington's Ingestive Behavior Laboratory.

By using technology to capture eating and exercise details, researchers hope to bypass self-reporting that can sometimes give an incomplete picture.

But some medical experts are concerned about ethical questions. Even if people agree to be tracked, researchers worry about intruding into the rest of their lives and the lives of those around them.

"As a researcher, I'm a professional voyeur, and I like to find out whatever I can about human subjects," said William McCarthy, a professor of public health and psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. "But if I were a subject, I'd be concerned about the level of detail that's being captured about my behavior from moment to moment."

University of Pittsburgh engineer Mingui Sun has developed a necklace equipped with a video camera that records where a person goes and what he or she eats. Before a researcher sees the data, it's filtered by a computer that blurs out other people's faces.

The device is not smart enough to know whether the wearer ate a Big Mac or tofu. So a researcher inputs the food, and the computer calculates the portion size, calories and nutrients.

Sun's lab workers are wearing the prototype, and he hopes to test it on real people by the middle of the year.

Another concern is whether people, particularly youngsters, will stick with it.

Fellow Pittsburgh researcher Dana Rofey recently completed a study of 20 overweight female preteens and teens who wore armbands tracking the number of steps taken and calories burned daily.

Researchers found the armbands were worn 75 percent of the time. Though the study did not include a comparison group, researchers were pleased with the high compliance rate.

On a recent weekday, Castillo and another study volunteer, 13-year-old Eric Carles, headed straight from school to the USC lab, where they strapped the sensors on and went through a sort of circuit training. The project manager timed them as a postdoctoral student recorded the session through a one-way mirror.

Through periods of sitting, standing and exercising, they chatted about scary movies and upcoming exams. Wearing the devices felt "weird" to Castillo initially, but she has since grown used to it.

Castillo admits she doesn't exercise as she often as she would like and has a sweet tooth for chocolate. Carles, who plays after-school sports, confesses he eats a lot. The teens were willing to try anything to help them lose weight.

After enduring more than two hours of required physical activity, the two were allowed to do whatever they want. Researchers called it "free living," and it offered a glimpse into the activities teens would choose when they test the sensors at home.

The two chose to play a music video game. With Castillo on drums and Carles on the guitar, they rocked out to Duran Duran and Bon Jovi as researchers looked on.