The Judgmental Side of Health and Wellness

tumblr_mekji0xReh1r6u05ro1_500_largeI am not a psychologist. I don’t even play one on TV. Neither am I a physical trainer, a nutritionist, a coach, a dietitian, a counselor, nor a circus clown. I make all those qualifications to ensure that you understand that I realize I may not be the most classically learned individual on the planet and, therefore, there may be something about today’s topic that I am missing (I threw the clown thing in there to see if you were paying attention).

I will also concede that I may be guilty of the very thing that I will push against. I am both saint and sinner, with the latter winning more often than the former. Call hypocrisy if you must, point the finger at me (I am a big girl, I can take it); but then, please, let’s move along and address the issue.

You need to eat a cheese burger? I can see your ribs.  Kinda gross.

No one needs his body to be like that !!!!!!!

Not feminine at all.

Your bloodlust diet (edited for language)

And, my favorite

I totally respect the hard work. I’m just saying it is not attractive….everyone is entitled to their own opinion!!

**Note: I took the liberty of correcting spelling and grammar to keep your (and my) head from popping off. You’re welcome.

Aaannnndddd, yes, I found all of these comments on public forums where they were responding to people who had put themselves out there publicly. Quite frankly, I am tired of that being used as an cop out for folks to be nasty to each other. If someone is walking down a public street and you don’t like the way they look, do you just go run up to them with your finger in their face spouting, “eewww you unfeminine beast!! You’re effing nasty!!” No, you don’t. The “public” thing is crap.

The debate on diet, exercise, and general “how to” for health and wellness has been going on for decades. I think the debates are wonderful. Listening to smart people discuss smart stuff is one of the major ways in which I learn. I have little problem with differing opinions.

In all honesty, I think the issue I have is not with the ideas, but the structure in which the ideas are conveyed and supported.

I do “A” because “B” sucks.

I don’t do “B” because I am better than you.

I don’t really understand why anyone would do “B” because I don’t want to do “B.”

“A” is sooooo superior to “B” because…look!! Unicorn!!!

At what point do we as idea havers realize that knowledge changes every day and is therefore a fluid possession? That we should probably be a little more gentle with our “oughts” as they tend to have big teeth and will bite us in the ass (regardless of said ass size).

Should we not concentrate more on supporting our own positions rather than tearing down that of another? I love to run long and lift heavy.

Does that mean I wish everyone would run long and lift heavy? Yes!


The Amazing Natalie. Yes, her first name really is “The Amazing”

Does it mean that I find people who don’t to be less than? No!

  • I am amazingly inspired by the yogis who can bend and balance in amazing feats of strength.
  • I long for the grace of the swimmers that cut through the water as easily as one runs down the road.
  • I am floored by the dedication it takes to prep for shows and drop those last body fat percentages.
  • I am envious of those whose relationship with food is not addictive and can practice that wondrous nirvana of moderation.

In all fairness, there are things at this point in my life (see, there’s that fluid knowledge awareness) that I personally do not want. I see how some folks do it and I would not do it that way.

I will use the Paleo Mama as an example because she knows how much I adore and respect her.

I could say:

I function on a plant based because eating meat is so horrible. Those poor animals…your heart health…your fat intake…your cholesterol…you must have never seen Forks over Knives. I will let you borrow my copy of The China Study.


I function (when I am on the wagon) on a plant based diet. I feel, look, perform at my best when I am living in that zone. I think a plant based diet is awesome because it is humane, healthy, and empowering.


Beautiful. Sexy. Strong. Warrior. Winner. Amanda.

The difference is understanding. I understand what works for me. I also know eating meat, or having a differing opinion on the food chain, does not make one  inhumane. I know that there are beautiful people like Jackie who are rocking that Paleo lifestyle, getting really healthy, and raising an amazing family.

Yes, I know everyone has a right to their own opinion. You have a right to voice that opinion. I guess you do also have the right to behave like an ass.

As I proof this little post, I wonder what it is that motivates the irritation and the drive to vent it. I suppose it is the numerous people that I come into contact everyday who are trying so hard to do better. Like me, they are not perfect, but they are attempting to be better than they were yesterday. They don’t have it all right, but they are working hard on less wrong. They still have some indulgences that, quite frankly, they aren’t real interested in giving up.

The work that they, you, are putting in is tough. It is a journey. It is a walk of successes, failures, and run of the mill normal. It can be enlightening and oppressive. The thing it is typically not is easy. I get frustrated when the outside world, because of their “right” to an “opinion” makes it harder.

You are amazing. Your journey is amazing. The differences make us better. Go get your happy.


Photo credits

That ARThletic Girl
Black Tie 
Gym & Motivation 

Because (Unfortunately) There Are Asshat Runners (and Writers)

When I first started blogging over here at TTSW, I told a bit about why my writing, at that point, had taken a somewhat of a hiatus. That is as true today as it was then. However, this is where context is important. I was only motivated to write when I was angry. That is bad. Feeling the need to put words on a page sometimes when you are angry – totally different thing and in this case, absolutely necessary.

I get tagged in this Facebook link share. It is concerning an article titled “Plodders have a Place, but is it in a Marathon?” Ok, granted this article was written four years ago, but I didn’t know that when I read it. I did know, however, that I had just written an article on a related topic for Connect Savannah.

“The Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon is doing for the third year in a row what it has always done – creating new runners. Most training schedules are starting and there are a bunch of new gear, new questions, new excitement, and new runners.

This makes my heart big.

But real quick and without a whole lot of attention given to the offended and no attention given to the offenders, I feel compelled to mention an unfortunate presence in running. When you encounter it, it is my hope you will say to yourself, “this is what she was talking about,” and let it slow you down none.

I wish I was setting up a funny joke. Actually laugh at it. It is pretty ridiculous.

Running is like any other sport, hobby, club, or community. It is a microcosm of society and as such mostly contains wonderfully supportive folks.

Unfortunately it also contains those other kinds. There aren’t a ton of them, thank goodness. But this journey is hard, mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. One encounter, one sideways conversation can be bell ringing. It isn’t fun and if you are guilty of this you suck.

For the rest of you, allow me to be so bold as to offer you what I consider to be three truths about running.”

You can read the full article here.

First off, let me say you are more than welcome to stop reading here. The trash set forth by the quoted asshats is best handled by crumpling up the piece of shit story and going for a run – long or short, fast or not so much.

However, if you yourself are an asshat and are feeling a bit encouraged by this piece, you must continue.

More importantly, if you are a runner (and YES you ARE a runner) feeling a bit deflated by the “they”, this is most assuredly for you.

Many of those slower runners, claiming that late is better than never [because it IS], receive a finisher’s medal just like every other participant [because they EARNED it]. Having traversed the same route as the fleeter-footed runners — perhaps in twice the amount of time — they get to call themselves marathoners [because they ARE]. ~ Juliet Macur, journalist [emphasis mine]

“It’s a joke to run a marathon by walking every other mile or by finishing in six, seven, eight hours,” said Adrienne Wald, 54, the women’s cross-country coach at the College of New Rochelle, who ran her first marathon in 1984. “It used to be that running a marathon was worth something — there used to be a pride saying that you ran a marathon, but not anymore. Now it’s, ‘How low is the bar?’ ”

947107_608163062529389_922364302_nHere, Ms. Wald…let me give you some perspective. 

“It’s a joke to run a marathon when it really isn’t even that far,” says April Groves, 37, ultra runner badass. “I mean you are only out there, what less than 6 hours? It used to be that running distance was worth something. There used to be pride in saying you were a distance runner but not anymore. Now it’s, “I only gotta go 26.2 right? I mean, it’s just I am worried about that .2.”

Yeah, it doesn’t sound any better when you say it. And the point isn’t valid either.

That is one of the things I LOVE about the Ultra community. Do we have asshats? Sure we do. But they aren’t common and they certainly are not popular.

This mentality is so obvious that folks need about two minutes to recognize it. My husband who is not a runner finds the Lowcountry shirt hilarious because he loves the irony. “Y’all don’t even think that way,” he says.

“In Ultras you are cheering on the other people standing next to you because chances are at some time during the race you’ll need that person, even if its just a quick, ‘keep it up, man’ or a 20 mile pacing buddy,” said Tim Waz, a real runner (see how stupid that sounds, Ms. Wald) and owner of Lowcountry Ultras. “I see it as the plodders are out there working harder because they are on the course longer. Power to everyone for just getting out there regardless of distance.”

“[O]nce elite event…” Are you freaking serious? It is 26.2 MILES! Some folks wouldn’t drive that far to WORK. Walking for 6 or 7 HOURS is hard damn work. It is elite. My 8 hour marathon friends, YOU are elite.

“Purist believe…” Purist? Are we talking about the folks in the over engineered shoes, with gear that cost enough to finance a third world county, and a supplement bill to feed that same country? Because I bet she isn’t talking about half naked barefoot people who fuel on whole food and water during a race…whatever.

Then we have the elite runner and longtime marathoner Julia Given chiming in. She has a touted marathon time of 4:05:52. Oh wait, what? The MEDIAN finish time for women is 4:03:39? Oh that’s because of the slow people skewing the time. Wait? No? You mean that WAS the median time? Yeah, for women, in 1980, before the plodders. So longtime marathoner has a less than mediocre time. She would be pissed if my sub 4 running for 2 years not much younger than her self saddle up and told her slow poke behind she needed to speed up or go home.

Difference between me and her? I think her accomplishment. even if not her attitude, is amazing.

But I tend to think Ms. Given is a teller of tales. She claims that she has this conversation

I always ask those people, ‘What was your time?’ If it’s six hours or more, I say, ‘Oh great, that’s fine, but you didn’t really run it.’

She lives in Virginia. That’s too far South to talk sideways at people too many times and not get slapped. Just saying.

My beautiful, wonderful, amazing, strong, runner friends…you inspire me. You inspire a great many of us. I am cheering for you and I hope you will return the favor – either when I pass you or you pass me. Maybe on a particularly good day, we can find a few miles to run together.


Cross Contamination

Mar2013ChauhanOne of my favorite laundry folding techniques is to watched Chopped during the process. I really don’t mind the mounds of laundry my family produces if I get to watch Ted Allen dole out judgments on amazingly random basket ingredients. Let Maneet Chauhan or Geoffrey Zakarian be on the panel that day – so much the better.

While watching this particular episode, a chef nicked her finger. Nothing major, only a little, yet constant, blood. She attempted, then removed, the bandage. She said it hindered her ability to work. She then proceeded to hand toss her salad.

I knew the judges weren’t going to eat that. Regardless of how delicious it looked, regardless that most of the basket ingredients were in that salad, regardless that the rest of the plate suggested the salad was a masterpiece…they were not going to eat it. It had been contaminated.

She got chopped.

Let me go on record as saying that I truly appreciate passionate, engaged, and principled people. Too many in our society have checked out and fail to require resources that allow them to make informed decisions.

That being said, many are hand tossing salads with bloody fingers.

This is not a new thing – correlating unrelated topics as if they somehow had some type of obvious symbiotic relationship when they actually do not.

But it smacked me in the head the other day while listening to Rich Roll’s podcast (still one of my favorites, by the way).

Rich’s guest was nutritionist and dietitian Andy Bellatti MS, RD. The topic, more or less, was real food and the education that is lacking in the nutrition industry. What I heard Andy say, among a host of other brilliant ideas, was that a major hindrance to the education movement was the inability of differing groups to come together as a conglomerate to flex some collective power (total paraphrase).

I see this all the time. Ethical vegans have issues with dietary vegans who blast the paleos who insist the veggies have small brains. Vegetarians are perceived as fence riders who are really more or less glorified hipsters who just discovered that PBR is, in fact, one of the best beers ever. GMO Labelers assume capitalists could care less about the plight and breastfeeders swear that formula moms are intentionally killing their children. And let’s not even start on the vaccination fronts.

Separate-2Coca Cola has none of these problems. Neither does Duncan Hines. Or McDonald’s.

Andy is on to something. Rich agrees. So do I.

And then Rich mentions gun legislation. Huh? That’s weird. But, years in the Navy has taught me message filtering so, whatever. But then he does it again. Andy seems to not notice. But I notice. And I am betting a bunch of other folks did too. The topic has just gained the characteristic that everyone just agreed was killing the message to begin with – cross contaminated.

Then there is an excellent post promoting the currently hot “Strong is the new Skinny” mantra. The post is fresh, irreverent, and all the things I love about passionate writing. And then she decided to calls particular politicians “stupid twit.” Cross contaminated.

Today I was introduced to some amazingly informative videos about corporate tactics in the food industry. I also learned that most of the problems are caused by the brainwashing perpetrated by the right wing. In addition, if the nanny state was what we needed, then that probably wasn’t a terrible thing – government involvement wasn’t all bad.

Nevermind this is the same government that makes formula feeding more lucrative than breast feeding, mandates government control of childhood vaccinations, creates the black market for raw milk, and a host of other ideas that usually produce ire.

Completely cross contaminated.

The definition of communication includes this beautiful nugget

a technique for expressing ideas effectively

We are not communicating effectively when we cross contaminate. We are not, I dare say, communicating at all.

Let’s take this and see if I can make up some fictitious examples

Food labeling is imperative in our society. Knowing where food comes from and whether or not the food we are buying is genetically modified is a consumer right and should be required by the food manufacturers. We don’t believe in killing our children in the womb. Shouldn’t we be informed on how we are caring for them once they are out.

Sugary drinks are a detriment to the health of our nation. They cause a myriad of health problems and produce increase health costs. You are smart enough to protect your home with a firearm from unwelcome intruders. Doesn’t it make sense to protect it from artificial sweeteners?

Yeah, it doesn’t sound any better the last dozen or so times I have heard it done either.

You now know that I have a love for Chopped and a distaste for contamination. I intentionally did not discuss my thoughts on vaccination, raw milk, babies, abortion, guns, or sugar. I can do that in a whole other blog post. Or a different video. Or podcast. Or article.

Please, allow me to introduce myself and assure you I am not alone. I am self educated and self aware. I am free thinking and ever growing. I am not lumpable. I agree with a variety of people on a variety of things. I disagree with some of those same people on different things. I want to learn so that I can become a better steward. I want to understand differing ideas so that I do not become arrogant and close minded. But if my greens are continually tossed with bloody fingers, I simply cannot consume it and we both lose.


**Picture Credits