Saturday, January 25, 2014

Updates and Interval Training

Just a few updates...

1. You can now search this blog in the handy search box to your right.  Not sure why I never had this feature before, but I did eliminate the word cloud in favor of the search method.  It's a pretty useful tool if you're looking for a specific topic.

2. Also, it is a New Year's resolution of mine to update this blog more regularly.  Changes that I have planned should slowly take place.  I make no guarantees since my spring semester is starting on Tuesday, and I have a thesis to write over the next few months, but I hope to keep up a more steady pace writing here.  As always, topic suggestions are appreciated!

3. Some of the pictures have disappeared from my posts.  I'll be updating and restoring those to the posts slowly.

4.  Check out this infographic on interval training!

Interval training time, y'all.
http://greatist.com/fitness/complete-guide-interval-training-infographic?crlt_pid=camp.R2CF197cFfdk

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Stress

In all my time blogging, I have never just written about Stress and how it relates to weight gain (and I will not really be discussing it now - more to come at a later date).  Surprising, since stress is an every day reality for most people.  Simply put, in times of stress or high stress, people may find it difficult to eat healthy, or they may eat for emotional reasons (stress eating).  The Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/stress/expert-answers/FAQ-20058497) provides a list of stress management techniques to combat stress-related weight gain.

1. Recognize the warning signs of stress, such as anxiety, irritability and muscle tension.  This is a very good suggestion.  While most of us will shrug off a bout of irritability as just an in-the-moment annoyance, or some neck pain or lower back pain as work-related pain, it may be more serious.  Stop and think about whether or not these things have been happening more frequently for you.
2. Before eating, ask yourself why?  Are you actually feeling hungry, or are you feeling stressed out or anxious?
3. If you're tempted to eat when you're not actually hungry, find something to distract you.  If you're at work and there's a project to finish up, work on that for a little while longer before calling it quits, or if you're at home, find a small task to do, such as cleaning.
4. Don't skip meals, particularly breakfast.  This is something I am often guilty of doing.  It really takes some good time management to get me to eat something other than a granola bar in the morning.  I recently found a recipe on Pinterest for Potato and Egg Breakfast Bites.  The good thing about these is once you make a batch, you can refrigerate the rest and they take about a minute to heat up.  Good for those mornings on the go!  The recipe can be found on the Ella Clair blog: http://www.ellaclaireinspired.com/2013/09/delicious-omelet-and-potato-breakfast.html
5. Identify comfort foods and keep them out of your home or office.  This one is pretty self-explanatory and takes some willpower.  See those yummy m&ms when you're out shopping?  Avoid those like the plague.
6. Keep a record of your behavior and eating habits so that you may be able to identify patterns and overcome them.  Even if you write a couple of notes at the end of the day, or blog, or journal, it all helps.
7. Learn problem-solving skills so that you can recognize challenges and deal with setbacks.  This is something that I feel may not be entirely necessary.  As long as you can keep moving forward, setbacks are ok once and a while.  I think that reading and learning is our biggest tool when it comes to anticipating things about stress and weight-gain.
8. Practice things such as yoga, or meditation.  All relaxation techniques are good stress combatants.  Relaxation is the opposite of stress!
9. As always, the ever obvious technique, physical activity!
10.  Get enough sleep.  I have blogged about the importance of sleep before, you can read all about it here: http://sequesterednook.blogspot.com/2011/12/sleep-habits-negatives-and-some-tips.html
11. Things are almost always easier when you the have the support of family and friends.

All credit for this list of techniques goes to the Mayo Clinic (link above).  I just added my own commentary and thoughts.

On another note, if pictures are more your speed, here is an awesome infographic about how stress can affect the body.
how stress affects the body.
From: http://www.heartmath.com/infographics/how-stress-effects-the-body.html

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fitness Inspiration For the End of January

As our resolve to maintain our fitness resolutions for the New Year starts to waver, here is some inspiration as we head into the end of January!

4 Pilates Moves
womenshealthmag.com

10 things you must tell yourself today
From: http://backonpointe.tumblr.com/post/56781197016

]
http://heidiklum.aol.com/category/fitness-and-nutrition/how-to-tone-your-butt-without-stepping-foot-in-a-gym/?utm_source=crowdignite.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=crowdignite.com

#Fit #Motivation
http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/93/43/ad/9343ad850f110717aa2ea454344b67d5.jpg

http://fitspoholic.tumblr.com/

5 reasons to jump rope, sounds funner, and easier than doing seperate excersises, plus it's a full body work out the link for the 5 reasons are above
http://mizfitonline.com/2013/10/18/5-reasons-to-jump-rope/

http://fitspoholic.tumblr.com/post/61754787488/tumblr-via-tumblr-on-we-heart-it

http://fitspoholic.tumblr.com/post/61749236973/fruits-via-tumblr-on-we-heart-it

http://fitspoholic.tumblr.com/post/61749288434/tumblr-on-we-heart-it

Disclaimer: None of the above photos are of me, and I do not take credit for them, they are merely on my blog to serve as fitness inspiration and are taken from various different internet sources.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thigh Gaps Continued

I'd like to extend the conversation I started about thigh gaps from a previous post (you can read that here: http://sequesterednook.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-thigh-gap.html).

A good friend shared an article from Cosmopolitan with me, entitled: "Why the Thigh Gap Obsession Needs to Stop Immediately" by Kendra Alvey (link: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/celebrity/news/stop-thigh-gap).  Alvey brings a unique perspective to the topic because she previously worked as a body double, and because of that knows quite a bit about an industry that obsesses over weight and appearance.  But even she was shocked the first time she heard about "thigh gap."  This is definitely an article worth perusing.  I think that Alvey makes some very good points about body image, body types, and what women should aspire to.  In a particularly enlightening sentence, she compares the thigh gap to foot-binding and neck-lengthening, both of which were status symbols of beauty, but now considered barbaric practices.  I also happened to enjoy this line very much, "If I had a daughter, I'd rather her see a horror film than this damaging crap."  This said in reference to googling the terms, "thigh gap" or "thinspo."

Overall, an interesting read and an interesting addition to the conversation on thigh gaps.




Both images from: http://smellslikegirlriot.tumblr.com/post/41127647874/what-are-thigh-gaps-and-why-you-probably-arent

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Reverse Airbrushing

I recently wrote about Jennifer Lawrence and airbrushing.  With this post, I want offer up another perspective of airbrushing that more often than not, women are not aware of: the airbrushing of women who look "too skinny" to make them look "more healthy."  

An article from the Huffington Post caught my eye, (you can read it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-wade/youd-be-shocked-at-what-these-fashion-editors-are-editing-out-of-their-photos_b_4542067.html ) mainly because it featured Cameron Diaz and mentioned airbrushing.  I noticed a few differences in the two photographs, for example, they smoothed out her hip bones and her cheekbones, but other than that did not really see the differences until the article went on to point out that they also widened her thighs, and made her stomach, shoulders and arms a bit fuller...


So, the point was that they were airbrushing her to make her look less skinny, which was surprising to me.  And I will just say, how can anyone possibly find anything wrong with the picture on the left (the one not airbrushed)?  Cameron Diaz looks great.

*Just so I don't step on anybody's toes, I do realize that some girls are naturally very skinny, and that that is a body type - in the case of this post I will be referring to those women and girls who go to unhealthy lengths to have the type of skinny body that is unnatural for them.*

The article I saw, with the headline, "You'd Be Shocked at What These Fashion Editors Are Editing Out of Their Photos" was pretty accurate in my case.  I can honestly say that I had never thought about reverse airbrushing.  The article was prompted by an expose written by Lead Hardy, a former Cosmopolitan editor.  You can read that here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1279766/Former-Cosmo-editor-LEAH-HARDY-airbrushing-skinny-models-look-healthy-big-fat-dangerous-lie.html

Reverse airbrushing presents us again with the issue of making women appear to be something that they are not.  That something is being presented to everyday women as obtainable, when in reality, it is nearly impossible.  In this case, these women featured in magazines, models and stars alike, who are underweight and skinny through unhealthy means (Hardy's expose mentions anorexia, alcohol-abuse, starvation), and thus have the "right measurements" (ex. 6', 22" waist, tiny thighs) but are then given healthy curves, glowing skin through retouching.  The image created is one of perfection, and one that is most likely, unobtainable for many women.  

As Hardy wrote, "Thanks to retouching, our readers - and those of Vogue, and Self, and Healthy magazine - never saw the horrible, hungry downside of skinny.  That these underweight girls didn't look glamorous in the flesh.  Their skeletal bodies, dull, thinning hair, spots and dark circles under their eyes were magicked away by technology, leaving only the allure of coltish limbs and Bambi eyes."

I think that it is only through awareness of something like reverse airbrushing, that women can begin to see the power that media has over the way we view our bodies.  We are presented images of women who appear to be perfect, whether they were airbrushed to look skinnier, or to look healthier.  Hopefully, it is through this awareness and recognition that what we are presented with is not real, that we can begin to take back control of our body image, instead of leaving it in the hands of magazine image editors.

As always, let me know what you think!