Monday, December 9, 2013


Hey Pagans, how many of you are from exclusively Pagan families? Anyone...?
I am from a Catholic background, and now my immediate family is pretty solidly atheist (my mother is even an atheist priest). I am just starting out on my "own" (with roommates) and have little decorations for my apartment, but it's growing... however, my parents --specifically my mother-- has a crap ton of Christmas decorations that she has re-purposed into Hogswatch decorations. That's right, we now celebrate Hogswatch. For our purposes, Hogswatch can be on any day towards the end of the December month, and will probably be sometime after the 28th due to divorce and custody shit. 
So it's pretty awesome for my family to have Yule and Hogswatch -- like having three birthdays! 
Anyway, I think I will be making some of my Yule decorations this year by hand instead of buying something. Wanna see?  

Clear Glass Ornament Balls 3-1/4in

Clear Glass Ornament Balls with Silver Tops (6 ornaments/box ) 2-5/8" Size

kids christmas list inside glass ornament

Aren't they adorable??? I would also like to make some Yule suncatchers, in honor of the Horned God coming back. Something like this...

COOL. I particularly like the silver leaflets inside. Perhaps some silver leaflets (aluminum foil?) in blues and purples for the Goddess and some gold leaflets (aluminum foil spray painted?) in reds and oranges for the God. I think I will also take some of the wire I have left over to make a mobile. Hmm....

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Musings on Suicide

I thought about suicide. For many years, I contemplated whether it was worth it to leave the life I hated for something else. I didn't just hate my life either; I hated my body and resented my self. Every time I looked in the mirror, I loathed the thing looking back at me. Then, for years, I couldn't even look myself in the eye -- I didn't even turn on the lights to get dressed or use the restroom, because I didn't want to see my body. I hated every morning, because every night I wished I would die in my dreams. I was in a bad place mentally for a very long time, and I felt pain every day by just existing.

Now, I watch a law show about suicide. A woman was suicidal after the man in her life broke up with her, and the woman turned to another who supported the decision for people to commit suicide. The difference, though, is that the advocate was terminally ill and was slowly dying a painful death.

So I sit here and think about my beliefs on suicide, both assisted and self inflicted.

I've attended to a man who had Huntington's Disease, a neurological wasting disease. I couldn't imagine the kind of life I would have if I was suffering as he was. I would seriously consider ending my life while I could. Even in my family, I have seen certain cancers cause endless amounts of suffering -- the kind of cancers that you cannot recover from.

On the flip side, there are many diseases that are treatable and even curable if you have the help you need. Diabetes, for example, is treatable and manageable with a good support system and insulin. Some STIs and STDs are curable now, and many people can now improve their quality of life with medication. Celiac disease is treatable with a change in diet.

So I think the physical illness side should be looked at as, can you have the quality of life that you want? Can your condition be improved with medicines, therapy, holistic healing, or a combination of things? What kind of death will you be looking forward to; a silent, painless death or a death proceeded by excruciating pain and anguish?

On the other hand, we have mental illnesses. As someone who suffers with depression, it can be a struggle day to day. As I have talked about, I seriously thought about suicide. The only reason I pulled away from that end was due to events in my life. What about others who aren't so lucky?

As someone who has been there before, I lean more towards trying to resolve issues with help. But also someone who has been desperately poor, I understand that the kind of help people need isn't cheap or easy to come by; even medication can be expensive. Perhaps we need to change, as a society, the way we view and treat mental illness and physical disabilities. Actually, there is no "perhaps" about it. There should be no reason why seeking help should be expensive or hard to find and keep. This too should be the government's job since we the People aren't doing it.

Anyway, back to the point.

It's not just depression that impacts people's lives, and help can vary for people. I understand that sometimes, for some people, things just won't get better. Sometimes Life just gave you a shitty hand and it's time to quit until the next go around. And if anyone chose to end their life, I would be sad and upset, but ultimately it's that person's choice.

Still, I ask that if you or someone you know is considering suicide, try reaching out to someone first. When you are at the bottom of the pit, take a step to the side and look up. Many times, when you finally reach out, there will be someone there. For myself, I was surprised to finally find that I wasn't actually alone and that there were people who did really care about me. Sometimes it was a teacher, other times it was kind-hearted students who embraced me. Sometimes it was my dog who looked up to me and was there for me when I cried. Now, it's my brother who depends on me for everything.

I can't say that I regret not taking my life; I am glad I didn't. However, I cannot also say that I can condemn those who do, did, or will because ultimately it is a choice that someone should make themselves.

Again though, there are more nuances in life than just black and white. There are some mental illnesses that cannot be treated currently, like being a rapist or child molester or a serial killer. Some things like narcissism aren't effectively treatable, and even depression and bipolarism are difficult to treat and manage.

So I guess I end my ramblings with this: I think suicide is someone's choice to make, but that every other option should be pursued before committing. Suicide is an extreme and final last resort. Regardless though, you can email me and talk if no one else seems to listen. And if you want to talk about it anonymously (or even help people through their problems) try this site called BlahTherapy.

May you find everything you want.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why I Do Not Like PETA


Seems like everyone is talking about PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) lately. As a Pagan, I dislike them a lot. As a feminist, I really dislike them. Why? For several reason, actually.

They straight up kill the animals that they "rescue" for one. In 2011, PETA euthanized a record percentage of animals (95.9%), surpassed only by their numbers in 2009 (97.3%) and 2006 (97.4%). They rescued 2,026 animals, adopted out only 24 of them and euthanized 1,911. They are NOT animal lovers, for animal lovers would not kill as many as PETA has. Of course, this has been a trend for a long, long time. If you want a document of the most recent data (2010), here it is (pdf). Just this makes me gag.

Here is a cute puppy to make you feel better.
Next, we have the degradation of women. From suggesting Ben and Jerry's switch from cow milk to human milk, to fat shaming, to the objectification and torture of women, over and over and over and over again.

How about PETA's racists protests and anti-Semitic ads? Or how about their use of the murder of Tillman to promote their views? How about PETA making light of a cannibalistic attack where the murderer stabbed and decapitated his 22 year old victim on a bus? Again, another murder comparison? They also bought a grave site near Col. Sanders and put up a grave marker that mnemonically read "KFC Tortures Birds". From what I can gather, it has since been taken down. Here are some of PETA’s worst ad idea, including “Feeding Kids Meat is Child Abuse” and a picture of a half cut up woman hanging from meat hooks.

These women were left in the plastic wrap for one hour in 80 degree weather. PETA would never do this to cows.
Last but certainly not least, their funds:

"PETA’s 2010 donations totaled $33 million ($35 million if you add on merchandise sales and other revenue). So where did your money go last year? According to PETA’s 2010 annual report:
  • A vegans make better lovers” campaign where PETA campaigners publicly made out on a bed on the streets of Nashville, TN.
  • Disruption of the Westminster dog show (Because animal lovers deserve to be targeted?)
  • A campaign comparing pregnant women to fattened sows to protest farmed meat
  • Dressing as a giant vanilla condom promote animal birth control in Beirut (Because Beirut has few other controversies to deal with currently)
  • PETA also says it has given over $843 thousand in grants to researchers looking at animal alternatives. Sounds good right? But one should do the math here. The amount is 2 percent of the money PETA spent last year. In comparison, they spent 17 percent of their money (your money) on fundraising to raise more money. In addition, research is expensive (sad but true)… An $800,000 split among several researchers as PETA has done…will not go far at all."
I do not support PETA. I do not recommend my friends and family support them either. Maybe they have done good work, but their bad overshadows their good by at least three times. Please do not endorse PETA nor donate to them. Here is another cute puppy to make you feel better.

Dawwwwwww <3
Update 9/1/2012 --- When Shelby County, KY threatened to become a kill shelter after being a No Kill Shelter for four years, PETA "graciously" sent a gift basket, "with a note thanking them [Shelby County Shelter] for their decision to start killing again after four years. “Thank you for doing the right thing” wrote PETA in its gift offering from Allison’s Gourmet which included vegan cookies,* baked without eggs or dairy, because—you know—harming animals is wrong."

UPDATE 12/3/13 --- DAMN IT PETA, WHY WON'T YOU DIE??? UGH, the awful organization has again decided to turn their malicious gaze back on fat women. Do you know about Plan B not working for women over a certain weight? Well PETA has decided that they will help by initiating the "Plan V";
"If extra pounds are thwarting a woman's ability to use Plan B, PETA's 'Plan V' could be the prescription they need," says PETA Executive Vice President (and mother) Tracy Reiman. "Going vegan is a great way to lose weight and get healthy—and it could help women regain control over their reproductive lives."

Thursday, October 10, 2013


For now at least. BAH it has been too long, but I promise a new post sometime tomorrow where I talk about some of the political things I have been thinking about. Hints you ask? Well alright then!

Some talking points:
  • Natural rights of the Earth
  • Animal rights, specifically "animal feminism"
  • Veganism
  • The "cultural appropriation" of the phrase "coming out"
  • Possibly the US Shutdown, maybe, perhaps. 
So things will get heated tomorrow, but I do have some other news:

I was seriously thinking about adding a vlog to here and discussing some things specifically in American Sign Language. I am hopeful that adding a pagan voice to all the Christian ones will help Deaf people learn more about alternate faiths. Are there any Deaf people out there who would like to give me some talking points? And for the hearing people, there will be subtitles.

Hope to see you tomorrow!

Calypso! Rights belong to the painter.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I found this: Pagan Blog Prompts. Oh, I am totally going to participate! Today's prompt is destiny; "what comes around goes around" and "everything happens for a reason".

This is a hard prompt, especially posed right after all the tornadoes that stormed through Central America, the attack of a solider in London and murder in Birmingham, riots in Sweden, and much, much more. They seem like shallow and cruel answers to the question of "why did this happen?"

While I do think things happen for a reason, I am not naive enough to say that what comes around goes around and I am not cruel enough to say that things that happen are always good or that bad things happen as punishment for bad behavior. That would be exactly like sin, which I don't believe in, either as a Pagan or a liberal. Does the woman who was rape had it coming, because what goes around comes around? Does the parents of the children lost in the tornadoes care that things happen for a reason, and what reason could that possibly be anyway?

Sincerely, Loki.
Now I believe in the gods. All of them in fact; I am a hard polytheist (and also an omnist). However, I don't believe They are all good or all evil. They are complex and cannot be fully described by us. I do feel like we humans project our own feeling onto our specific deity (see Westboro and their hateful god). But the thing is, They are NOT like us at all. They do not think like us, They do not love like us, They do not live like us. We are toys to Them, objects of fascination that They spend Their attention on. Deities have and pick favorites, and Deities have and pick enemies and even frienemies. The kinfolk of Loki have a saying, "May Loki laugh with you more than He laughs at you."

What reasons can we possibly gather from Deities that may or may not look like us but don't share much else? Sometimes the reason is obvious, other times obscure, and sometimes there is no reason at all. It reminds me of a story from Farscape where Aeryn Sun tells of her species' god:

"Sebaceans once had a god called Djancaz-Bru. Six worlds prayed to her. They built her temples, conquered planets. And yet one day she still... rose up and destroyed all six worlds. And when the last warrior was dying, he... he said, 'We gave you everything, why did you destroy us?' And she looked down upon him and she whispered, 'Because I can.'" 
 So to get back around to destiny: I think that we have a purpose in life. I think that there is a loose plan for us, but it can change based on decisions we make. Sometimes our purpose in life is to die. It is an absolutely cruel but unavoidable truth. Sometimes your entire existence is only there as a lesson to others. Sometimes you carve out a purpose for yourself. Lots of times you follow the path that was laid out for you by society.

I think that life is fluid, like water. I think maybe there is some plan, and maybe there isn't. Perhaps this is just by-the-cuff and these beings are just winging it. Perhaps there is some overall order to this madness.

Maybe we are just a huge experiment. Maybe we are the control group, or maybe the experimental group. Who knows?

What is important is that we focus on ourselves, our community, and our society. What we do know is that nothing will be fixed without us and no change will happen unless we initiate it. The only endgame is the one we let happen.

And the only question I have is, why can't we just all get along already?

Peace or Death

Saturday, April 27, 2013


May Day is almost upon us! Soon it will officially be Summer, days of beaches and watermelon and camping and air conditioning! This season Beltane will span from April 30th to May 5th.

Want some ideas for Beltane (Beltaine, Bealtaine, Bealltainn, Boaltinn, Boaldyn, or May Day, whatever you call it)? Here are some non-ceremonial spells, recipes, and craft ideas!

May Bush
May Bush ideas! Click pic for source.
Decorate a May Bush! If you happen to have some leftover egg shells from Ostara, you can use these. Decorate with ribbon for the intentions you want for the next half of the year. Here is a link for color correspondence. Some suggestions would be colors for protection, fertility, and love.

Scatter plant some flowers! You can get some cheap seeds everywhere, but I highly recommend looking at the native flowers in your area and planting those. Here are sites for the US, the UK, and France (because I get a lot of views from there. Bonjour!). You can use them to "sow the seeds of desire" or whatever it is you want; just focus on what it is you would like to sow out into the Earth/Universe and either chant while you scatter, sing, dance, or whatever you feel like doing.

Go to the Renaissance Festival! The one here in Waxahachie, TX ends on May 27th this year. They might also have a May Pole you can attend!
Sunlight Jars!
Make crafts! Here are some great things to make from my favorite craft blog. Spiral Goddess salt dough plaque, Sea glass heart pendant (which you can also make hanging things with, and I am sure you can make any shape, like a Sun [another cool sun], Moon, or Star [an idea how]), Sea shell ornaments and chimes, fake deer antlers (really cool!), or this REALLY AMAZING Sunlight-In-A-Jar (here is an eBay account that sells the solar panel tops cheaper than anywhere else).

Here is a site that gives some pretty good protection spells and ideas for amulets. I don't really like giving ceremonial spells, especially links to other sites, because of ethical issues. If you choose to search for other ceremonial spells and rituals on the internet, know that they should only really be a template and that the most powerful spells you can do are the ones you make yourself. Perhaps soon I will post some spell bones/templates for y'all.

Host a party. Make crowns of flowers and have contests to see who wins the title of May Queen and May King. One of the games can be a throwing contest. Have music and dance! Have a bonfire if you have the room, or make a small fire in your cauldron using rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, and A LID which is important if you need to snuff the flames. Make sure to practice safe fire habits!

Maypole. You can either make an actual Maypole or you can make a smaller one from a paper towel roll or small rod.

Poetry is always good.
How about some Beltane stories for those with children?

Do some divination! Now is a great time, since it is the second time of year that the Veil is at its thinnest.

Food! Here are some awesome recipes for you. Candied Violets with Lemon Poppyseed Cake, more recipes for the Sabbat, and some with pies! A list from A to Z, and more with variety.

Other things I found that are worth reading.

Last but not least, some chants for you!

Bring flowers of the rarest
bring blossoms the fairest,
from garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
our full hearts are swelling,
our glad voices telling
the praise of the loveliest flower of the vale!
O Goddess we crown thee with blossoms today!
Queen of the Witches and Queen of the May.
O Goddess we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Witches and Queen of the May
Do you have any suggestions yourself?

Monday, April 22, 2013

List of Studies Related to HAES

Here is a compilation of all (or almost all) the links used by the moderators and other supporters of HAES in various discussions on the sub-Reddit askHAES. This isn't meant to be comprehensive and will not have every study available. This is meant to be a backup in case it is needed but is buried.

All studies listed have been screened to make sure there are no duplicates. If you have a study that is not listed here, please post it in the comments!


1) Naturalistic weight reduction efforts predicted weight gain and onset of obesity in adolescent girls
2) Intentional Weight Loss predicted accelerated weight gain and risk of overweight.
3) Dieters Gain More Weight During Pregnancy
4) Eating in response to hunger and satiety signals is related to BMI in a nationwide sample of 1601 mid-age New Zealand women.
5) List of intuitive eating related studies
6) This paper evaluates the evidence and rationale that justifies shifting the health care paradigm from a conventional weight focus to HAES.
7) Among people who have ever been overweight or obese, just 4.4% have lost 20% or more of their starting weight and kept it off for one year.
8) Face to face format finds people still gain weight anyway
9) Reviews the science of the failure of LTWLM (long term weight loss management) and how most weigh management programs essentially ignore the overwhelming body of research
10) This comment that lists various quotes from studies that shows the futility of LTWLM is well-accepted in the research community
11) Obese and Overweight individuals who eat 5+ fruits and veggies a day, exercise 3+ hours week, does not smoke nor drink has a lower mortality rate than people in the "normal" BMI range who do not do these habits.
12) Human plasma ghrelin levels increase during a one-year exercise program.
13) Weight loss increases circulating levels of ghrelin in human obesity
14) Leptin reverses weight loss–induced changes in regional neural activity responses to visual food stimuli
15) Energy expenditure and postprandial thermogenesis in obese women before and after weight loss.
16) Combined Impact of Health Behaviours and Mortality in Men and Women: The EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Population Study
17) Medicare's Search for Effective Obesity Treatment: Diets Are Not the Answer
18) The Relationship between Intuitive Eating and Health Indicators among College Women
19) Dieting Does Not Work, UCLA Researchers Report
20) Physical Activity, All-Cause Mortality, and Longevity of College Alumni
21) Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift (ie fitness over weight loss)
22) All-Cause Mortality Risk of Metabolically Healthy Obese Individuals in NHANES III
23) Association of all-cause mortality with overweight and obesity using standard body mass index categories: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
24) Cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, and all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality in men
25) High levels of energy expenditure in obese women.
26) Is Obesity Caused by Calorie Underestimation? A Psychophysical Model of Meal Size Estimation
27) Body mass index as a predictor of fracture risk: A meta-analysis
28) (Low) Weight and body mass index predict bone mineral density and fractures in women aged 40 to 59 years
29) Risk factors for low bone mass in healthy 40–60 year old women: A systematic review of the literature
30) Putting body weight and osteoporosis into perspective
31) Association between muscular strength and mortality in men: prospective cohort study
32) Poverty and Obesity
33) Childhood IQ in relation to obesity and weight gain in adult life
34) The role of ego-control, ego-resiliency, and IQ in delay of gratification in adolescence.
35) Physical activity attenuates the genetic predisposition to obesity in 20,000 men and women from EPIC-Norfolk prospective population study.
34) Physical activity attenuates the influence of FTO variants on obesity risk: a meta-analysis of 218,166 adults and 19,268 children.
35) Dietary factors impact on the association between CTSS variants and obesity related traits.
36) Obesity: lessons from evolution and the environment.
37) Epigenetic flexibility in metabolic regulation: disease cause and prevention?
38) Association of All-Cause Mortality With Overweight and Obesity Using Standard Body Mass Index CategoriesA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
39) Does Body Mass Index Adequately Convey a Patient's Mortality Risk?
40) Impact of smoking and preexisting illness on estimates of the fractions of deaths associated with underweight, overweight, and obesity in the US population.
41) Healthy lifestyle habits and mortality in overweight and obese individuals.
42) 10-year follow-up of diabetes incidence and weight loss in the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study.
43) Chart Showing Exact Rate of Weight Regain
44) Weight loss does not lower heart disease risk from type 2 diabetes
45) In U.S., Obesity Rate Stable in 2012
46) Age-adjusted Percentage distsributions of BMI among Persons 18 Years of Age and Over.
47) Association of All-Cause Mortality With Overweight and Obesity using Standard BMI
48) A Whole-Genome Scan for Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Obesity
49) The effect of exercise training on obstructive sleep apnea and sleep quality: a randomized controlled trial
50) The Efficacy of Home Based Progressive Strength Training in Older Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial


1) Abstract Thinking: A Review of FCJ studies
2) Requiescat in Pace
3) What Is the Connection Between Ghrelin and Leptin?
4) Explaining the difference between the BRFSS Obesity tracking versus the NHANES Obesity Tracking
5) Obesity, Health, and Metabolic Fitness
6) Charging Fat People More for Health Care
7) Understanding Universal Healthcare
8) What is Health? What Does Good Health Mean?
9) What Is Healthy Eating? What Is A Good Diet?
10) Gut Bacteria Linked to Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome Identified
11) Gut Flora May Be Tied to Obesity
12) The Fat Trap: New York Times Report
13) Relationship Between Poverty and Obesity or Overweight
14) Overweight and Obesity in the US
15) Physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and adiposity: contributions to disease risk.
16) Commentary: Current perspectives on obesity and health: black and white, or shades of grey?
17) The Biologic Basis of Obesity: A Lecture by Jeffrey Friedman, MD, PhD
18) “The most dangerous issue (for overweight people) is not being heavy per se but being sedentary,” Bente Pedersen

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What If

What if you are not actually good enough?
What if you don't realize the strengths that others strive to be like?
What if you are in denial about your size?
What if it is really just a small number of people who scream at the top of their lungs and convince others to follow their lead?
What if we win against the hate, bigotry and intolerance?
What if we don't?
What if that person who is looking at you while you eat thinks you are disgusting?
What if that person who seems to be looking at you is actually looking through you, entrenched in their own world, their own problems?
What if someone says something hurtful to you today and you go home and don't eat again for weeks?
What if you just punch them in the face, maybe mentally, maybe physically, and go on about your day?
What if  you are just looking for evidence to validate your own viewpoints for your own ends?
What if the real evidence is being buried by the billion dollar industries that rely on our fears to make their profits?
What if you are made fun of for doing something, like exercising or just shopping?
What if you are not?
What if it is you?
What if it is me?
What if it is us?
What if it is them?
What if you question yourself to death and never live?
What if you are never able to live up to your potential because you are so worried about what others think of you instead of what you think of yourself?
What if the hateful words turn to shame?
What if the shame turned to anger?
What if the anger turns to a sense of loss?
What if that sense of loss turns into acceptance?
What if that acceptance leads to internal peace?
What if that peace is what you always looked for but couldn't find outside of yourself?

What if you died tomorrow?
What if you lived today?

"In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke it is written that the Kingdom of God is within man; not in one man or a group of men, but in all men, in you. You the people have the power, the power to create machines, to create happiness. You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of Democracy let us use that power; let us all unite! Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men the chance to work, that will give you the future and old age, security. ...Let's fight for a world of reason, where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness." 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hashtag Love

I recently started to get onto Tumblr, and boy am I glad I did. If you follow the HAES and Fat Acceptance movements, you will hear a lot about tags called thinspo, fitspo, pro mia, and pro ana -- thin inspiration, fitness inspiration, pro-bulimia, and pro-anorexia, respectively. While there are other, more fat friendly tags like healthspo and fatspo (although they are not entirely safe) and that fitspo isn't completely asshole-ish, I was graciously notified that there is another one. I fell in LOVE, people!

It's HAESpo, and OMG what a wonderful idea. I have been tagging it for like a week now (but I have no idea why only three show up in that feeder box...).

Let's have SAMPLES YES!

BEACH BODY RECIPE - Step 1, go to beach. Step 2, done!

My Embrace Body Love submission.

If you have a Tumblr, tag away! Also, tell me about it and I will follow you.


I hope that this will catch on and not be taken over by trolls. Of course, I expect some people to do just that, but don't let them win.

Also, did I tell you just how much I LOVE haespo?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fitness and Stuff, Maybe

Fit, fat, fuck yeah!
Before we start, let me say that fitness - or even health - is not mandatory for anyone. You don't owe it to anyone no matter what others say. If you don't want to exercise, or if you don't want to do whatever it is people tell you is healthy, that is entirely your decision. That is completely yours.

If you are interested in fitness and healthy eating habits, please continue.

Recently I became the moderator of a subReddit called askHAES. There came a pretty good post that talked about fitness goals that I would like to share and discuss a little:

Hello, HAES people.
I wanted to bring up a subject that I think some of you might find worthwhile. Here's the deal: I'm not telling anyone here they need to exercise or train at all. That's your call.
That said, if you choose to train, I'd recommend the following general rules. They're pretty simple.
  1. Throw away the scale (unless you're trying to make weight for a tournament or something). This one's especially important for women. I've seen girls literally go the scale immediately following a tough workout to see what they've lost. Pointless. Weight is going to fluctuate from day to day, and upon initiating serious training many people will actually gain weight as their muscles begin retaining more water as they adapt to the increased workloads. Seriously, stop looking at the scale.
  2. Pick a goal that you can measure. Here's the magic: you get to set these, not society, not your friends, not your family. You. They're your goals. When I ask people what their goals are, 9 times out of 10 they'll say, "I want to be in shape" or "I want to look better." Neither are really useful, but the former is better than the last one. Here's the deal: pick a few performance-based tasks which are quantifiable (e.g. run a 5k in X amount of time, or squat 275 lbs., whatever) and make sure they're reasonable for where you're at. If you've been away from exercising for 20 years, it's probably unreasonable to say you're going to run a marathon in 4 months. Stay away from, "I want to weigh X in Y amount of time." That's a white rabbit you'll chase forever. Pick good performance-based goals, and I promise you that your body will adapt as it should.
  3. Now, take an initial (honest) assessment of where you're at with respect to your goals. Write it down. Don't bullshit the assessment. Don't say, "well, I ran this in 20 minutes, but I was under the weather; it was really 18 minutes." Nope. It was 20.
  4. Develop a plan. If you're a novice, get smart or get some help. Make sure the plan aligns with your schedule. Guess what, if you work 60 hours a week and have three kids, you're not going to be able to stick with a program that calls for 4 hours of training 5 days a week. You're setting yourself up for failure.
  5. Train hard. No bullshit. No excuses. Get it done. When it's time to train, that's all that's going on in your life. You're not reading. You're not thinking about work, or your significant other, or any of life's little dramas. You're not even worrying about where you'll be with respect to your goals next week, next month, or next year. You're only there to do the work. Anything less is a waste of time. I see people at the gym on the treadmill for half an hour walking, reading "Self" or whatever. I don't say a damn thing to them, because it's not my problem. But, guess what? They're wasting their own time. Why spend 30 minutes half-assing something, when you could be doing it for real? It's your time. My time is a precious resource; I have no intention of wasting it.
  6. Re-assess regularly, but not all the time. I typically put together 8-week training programs and assess at the 4, 6, and 8 week marks. If you're starting off, you're going to need more time, especially if you've got a busy schedule and don't have as much time to dedicate it. For true novices, I build 16-week programs.
Finally, a note. Forget about what someone's definition of attractiveness is. Train to do something, not to look some specific way. This is another white rabbit. Here's a truth: you're never going to be pretty enough for everyone. That shit is subjective anyway. You know what's not subjective? Trashing someone in a 5k when six months ago you couldn't even finish one.
That's my take. Again, I stress that I couldn't care less whether anyone here trains or not. Not my problem or my business. I only want to give people here an honest look at how serious athletes think about training. It ought to put your mind at ease. They don't care about looks; they care about performance.
 I like this as it really does reflect the thought process of a "serious athlete." For a lot of athletes, and even fathletes like myself, measurement in physical progress is more important than physical appearance. The guys I work out with talk about running marathons, jumping hurdles, climbing mountains, or snatching heavier, not about their weight. Their goals are performance based. Even if your goal isn't being able to run a 5k, you can make performance goals as well, like being able to walk up the stairs without almost dying halfway through (heh, this was my goal when I was starting out). Anyway, let's start at the top.

This is "bulk."
1) Throw away that scale and never look back. Don't use the scales at the gym or in the locker rooms either. First, you don't know if they have been calibrated at all ever and second, if you have had body image issues in the past it will be triggering. I know because I do it sometimes and the difference between what you used to know and what it shows can either crush you back into unhealthy eating habits or will excite you into continuing the "trend." Just don't; I promise you will feel better about it.  If you really, really need a scale, try a Yay! Scale.

By the way, while we are on the subject of muscles and retaining water, it is good to note now that women do not bulk like men do. Women don't have enough testosterone in their body to gain massive amounts of muscle quickly and are more likely to "tone" and build than bulk.

 And before you ask: yes, fat people can be toned as well.

 2) Goals are important, but they have to be attainable. It was a good year and a half before I was fit enough to run without joint pain, and about 8 months before I really noticed a difference in my stamina. Fitness is long term, but that doesn't mean you have to hate the journey. More on that later. For now, think about some good goals to set. I think you should probably take an assessment before you move into specifics, but again, more later.

3) Honesty here will be a boon later, and write. it. down. so you can see your progress. If your goal is "being able to walk up the stairs without keeling over", go climb the stairs and count the number you make and the time you did it in. Note your breath, as in whether you were gasping or not. While Ragnar might have been harsh, it really is important that you are very honest with this.

4) There is this great site that I will recommend forever. is full of awesome resources for people of all fitness levels, from fitness articles to already made fitness plans to an awesome shop and more. With the fitness program, you can either try the ones listed or you can find a specific one for your age and fitness goal. I personally like LiveFit since it has a great progression built in along with specific exercises for specific days and all the information is already there. Yes, it does talk about weight loss but the muscle building results are amazing. Jamie Eason (the one who created the program) also has a great head on her shoulders and doesn't shy from speaking her mind.

Note: if you wander around the site, there is talk about weight loss. Ignore it, there is so much more than that.
Options: you haz them.

5) I would say just to do your best. I feel my best when I work out that day and I feel like crap if I don't, so try not to lapse. If you feel like it is such a chore to go, then something is wrong. If you don't look forward to it, then try something different. Try karate or dancing or kickboxing or boxing or Pilates or yoga or something. There is literally hundreds of options. I think that if you really enjoy something, you will give it 100% and "train hard" for it, even if it is peaceful yoga. And if you can, try EVERYTHING at least twice, even if you think you might look stupid. Why twice? Because if you had a terrible time the first time, you can confirm it or have a better time the next. As for others, you can shake your head at their silliness, but unless they will hurt you or themselves (as in doing an exercise move that will F them up), just go on about your business.

6) Yes, please re-assess. Go back to those stairs and do them again (write it down!). I suggest a 12 week program, or any of the ones on the site linked earlier. Change your routine every 12 weeks too, or your body will adapt and you may not see any more improvement (depending on your goal, of course)

Ragnar sums up pretty well, so I just want to say that I understand that everyone has different commitments. I totally understand having your schedule packed so hard even particles would have difficulty getting through it. Your fitness is yours and no one can tell you what to do. I suggest 30 minutes a day, but hell, it is just a suggestion. This is also why I suggest doing something you love; you will be more inclined to go. Exercise is also a very good stress reliever, and it doesn't have to be in the gym either if that causes stress. My mother hates group exercise and hates the gym, but loves walking outside. One of my friends loves to run but prefers outdoors. Another friend absolutely hates exercise in every form. To each their own.

A nutrition post will be coming soon, but expect it over on Fierce, Freethinking Fatties.

Do you have any recommendations? What do you like to do?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Role Models?

I was reading submissions on This Is Thin Privilege Tumblr and a few posts have caught my attention and made me think of some issues we have discussed about the Deaf Community in my college classes. Specifically, the lack of adult role models. In the Deaf community (btw, that capital D is not a typo. Capital D Deaf refers to the community of deaf people who are linguistically connected by ASL), schools don't typically hire deaf teachers for their deaf students. In fact, it is difficult for deaf people to get hired anywhere, especially somewhere public and with high volumes of hearing people. There are really no deaf role models; besides Helen Keller, what other deaf person in history do you know?

Source is actually very interesting!
Taking this same thread and expanding it, what fat role models are there? Think back to all your teachers in your whole school career and count the number of fat teachers you had or saw. Include administration, security, and any other supporting members. Think about shows or actors/actresses that you either admire or admired when you grew up. What about in real life, when you go out to a restaurant and order food, what does your waiter or waitress typically looks like? In fact, what about when you enter sit-down restaurants and are put into the back where no one can see you; does this happen?

 What about on TV? How many fat actors or actresses get gigs that play the good guys? How many fat people do you see on regular TV shows that aren't being berated or made fun of?

And here I am looking at the commercials for American Idol (I swear I am watching Criminal Minds!) and what do I see? No one that looks like me, even in the audience. Then a judge says "you look like a million bucks!" to some contestant and it reminds me of the awe and surprise that this woman received because she wasn't conventionally pretty. Seriously, look at those people's faces before she sings and then directly afterwards, like it was a surprise or something that she could actually sing in a fucking singing contest.

Anyway, thin privilege is being able to walk into any store and see models that look like you (let alone clothes that will fit you, clothes that will be cheap, and employees who don't look at you or speak to you in disgust). It is seeing movie stars and politicians (especially the women) and lawyers and CEOs and managers and doctors and biologists and especially those who run studies and teachers and anyone else in power who look like you that you can aspire to.

Thin privilege is having role models that look just like you.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Oh, Ostara!

Ostara has past (it was this past 20th) but due to various circumstances, I will be celebrating on the 26th. This will be the first Ostara that I practice with my brother and I have a lot planned; so exciting!!

Of course there is always the customary egg dying. I would love to do some natural dying one time with these recipes (OH AMAZING!), but it looks like we will have to fall back on regular dying.

How cool would this be??
Another great craft for Ostara is making egg charms. Basically you blow out the inside and then paint or dye the outside, then add herbs or various items inside. I would totally add a string so I could hang them up, perhaps gathering a bunch onto a mobile or inside "wind chime." It would probably be messy, but would be very good for kids!

Another idea would be to  make some ladybug stones. How cute are these? This is a very easy craft with paint that more mature kids could do, and you can populate your house or garden with them. There are also ideas for butterflies and dragonflies. If you like crafting, I recommend this site! From bottle cap coasters to Book of Shadows to pentacle necklaces and recipes for writing ink, it is impressive!

My brother has also taken a liking to making God's Eyes. If you get some multicolored thread or yarn, you can make all sorts of cool designs. Here is a video that shows exactly how to do it, from beginning to end.

How about a wreathe? Or just some other types of decoration? Here are some more pictures of crafts! That Ostara Tree looks interesting and very pretty. Now this has some very good ideas as well, especially the eggshell candles and the Moon/Sun masks. Pintrest, and this blog for children and this one too!

Maybe the simplest activity I will do with my brother is plant flowers or put a plant in a container for him to take care of. Since we can't have a pet at my place (and I wouldn't be able to take care of the poor thing right now anyway), a plant is the next best thing. I would like to start a Witch's Garden with various herbs and flowers of my own, but perhaps we can start off small yet.

That's it for now; have a great Ostara/Easter!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Garden, Yay!

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay I love gardens!!!!!! I love planting and taking care of plants; they just bring a freshness to the place unlike anything else. However, I am stuck with a portable garden since I don't live in any one place for long. So, I have decided to give this particular gardening pots a try. I've seen them around and want to see if I can get anything out of them.

I think I will be planting lots of herbs, but also a bunch of peppers. Gotta love those peppers, man! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!! I am so excited, can you tell?

When I receive them and start planting, I will post again. Yay! (?)
GrowBox planters growing on Shawna Coronado's balcony
Source is from another blog talking about these

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Other Interests Are Important

I was told, in no uncertain words, that I shouldn't focus 100% on one thing, that I should have other interests and hobbies other than whatever it is that I am currently focusing on. You know what? I think that person is right.

So, I am interested in other things besides Health At Every Size (tm). I am interested in exercising, in healthy foods, in American Sign Language, in ASL Interpreting, in volunteering, in animals, in world religions, in cars to a lesser degree, in art and especially ceramics, in Paganism, in the news and goings on of the Native American population.

I am interested in raising my brother and taking care of him. I am interested in getting a job where I can make more than minimum wage. I am interested in people and what they do and what they think and why they think that and why they do what they do and how they gather and where and why and who and what and when and how (I think this is called psychology and sociology).
Dancing, singing, teaching, and graduating. Diversity!

I am interested in biology by a lot. I want to know what the body does, why it does that, how it does it, and what miracles it holds. For instance, during a pregnancy absolutely everything has to go JUST right in order to have a healthy child and if one thing goes wrong the body purges it (which is usually either a clump of cells - ie, your period - or a miscarriage). Or did you know that scientists can now create stem cells out of your skin cells?

I was originally interested in becoming a veterinarian for horses and livestock. When my dreams were crushed and I saw my first ASL interpreter and consequently my first deaf man, I decided to change paths. However, I am still ultra interested in science, as it makes quite a base for my personal beliefs. I especially like quantum mechanics and physics.

I am currently learning about accounting and PC systems, along with my regular class courses of English, ASL, Interpreting, Fingerspelling, and PE this Spring semester. Who knows what I will be doing next semester!

So then, what are you doing? What is your diversity like?
I know, Herbalism!!!!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Re: Anorexia and Disorder Eating

About a month ago (and just recently cross-posted on Fierce, Freethinking Fatties) I wrote about anorexia and bulimia nervosa. I compared anorexic symptoms with dieting and made the correlation between eating disorders and dieting behaviors. Some comments were made and points were raised which I would like to discuss here more.

Disordered Eating Recovery advice
First and foremost, I know that anorexia is thought of as a mental disorder and that there is some research that may point to anorexia being a biological/genetic disorder as well in that the sufferer tends to have low leptin levels, which drive hunger/appetite. I understand that some people may be able to diet in ways that do not mimic an eating disorder, but for the majority - and every single person I know - "extreme dieting" is the norm.

"Counting calories, fixation on weight, preoccupation with food or cooking, and strenuous exercise are all dietary requirements for fat people, but if you are thin you have an eating disorder." These behaviors are encouraged by society (at least in the US and UK) for people who are overweight or obese and are denounced for people who are not. My point is that dieting promotes disordered eating. Perhaps it was ignorant of me to compare fat people on diets to anorexic people; I apologize.

However, even though debilitating, all consuming, dangerous dieting is part and parcel of anorexia, I disagree that not eating is involuntary. Not eating to an anorexic is as involuntary as smoking is to a chain smoker. They both know good and damn well what they are doing is dangerous and detrimental to their health, and both participate anyway. I like the smoking analogy because not eating is still a high for an anorexic like nicotine is for a smoker. And just like smoking, the person who is suffering from this disorder needs help to overcome it.

As for choosing to diet, this is true in part. Someone who chooses to diet (or get bariatric surgery) are those who have an incredible amount of pressure from society to change their bodies, to change who they are. It is socially expected that a fat person is "actively trying to fix " themselves and if they are not, they are berated and insulted and concern trolled and shunned and passed over until they "do something" about themselves.

So fat people go on diets that have 1,200 or 800 or 500 calorie limits or they just stop eating altogether until they black out. I personally know someone who quit eating for 5, 6, 7 days at a time and if she did eat, she would purge it. This woman would work out compulsively and force herself through the pain. She said, "once you get past the third day hunger pains, they go away and you don't notice them anymore." She was hospitalized several times for just passing out at seemingly random times to other people. She did this for her entire teenage years. This woman was 170lbs, 6'0" tall, with a BMI of 23 (on the "high side" of normal) and is my own mother. I have read this same story all over the Fatosphere as well; it is not uncommon. This is disordered eating.

Another thing; while anorexia has existed for centuries it didn't become noticeable until 1970's, which happens to be the same time that diets came on the scene. From the Medical Dictionary:

"[Anorexia nervosa's] incidence in the United States has more than doubled since 1970. The rise in the number of reported cases is thought to reflect a genuine increase in the number of persons affected by the disorder and not simply earlier or more accurate diagnosis." (emphasis mine)

I noticed a few other things on the Medical Dictionary that should be mentioned too:

"Social factors. Anorectics are more likely to come either from overprotective families or disordered families where there is a lot of conflict and inconsistency. Either way, the anorectic feels a need to be in control of something, and that something becomes body weight. The family often has high, sometimes unrealistic, and rigid expectations. Often something stressful or upsetting triggers the start of anorexic behaviors. This may be as simple as a family member as teasing about the person's weight, nagging about eating junk food, commenting on how clothes fit, or comparing the person unfavorably to someone who is thin. Life events such as moving, starting a new school, breaking up with a boyfriend, or even entering puberty and feeling awkward about one's changing body can trigger anorexic behavior. Overlaying the family situation is the unrelenting media message that thin is good and fat is bad; thin people are successful, glamorous, and happy, fat people are stupid, lazy, and failures." (emphasis mine)
 The diet culture we live in is recognized as a factor for anorexia. Thin at any cost, any cost. It is worth saying, however, that this disorder is thought to be caused by heredity, biological, psychological, and social factors and that the combination of these things are at play. "Research suggests that some people have a predisposition toward anorexic and that something triggers the behavior, which then becomes self-reinforcing."

Now let me move specifically to the Facebook comments. Amber makes a great point; she objects that I said dieting and eating disorders are the same:

"I think it's important to make a distinction between the two because if you say 'diets are eating disorders', it also opens up the idea that eating disorders are diets, which trivializes the seriousness of restrictive disorders. Generally speaking, your average dieter does not have the 20-30 percent mortality rate that your average anorexic does. Anorexia, sadly, is often fatal.

I'm aware that this is not intended, but if one says 'A is identical to B', the implication is that B is also identical to A, which I think is a dangerous way of thinking. I have no doubt that dieting, in certain individuals prone to disordered methods of thinking, may expand into becoming an eating disorder. Both dieting and eating disorders can be extremely dangerous, and both reflect on the disgusting narrow window of what is considered societally[sic] attractive. But I don't necessarily think saying they're the same thing is beneficial to either dieters or anorexics."
The first sentence is a "All poodles are dogs therefore all dogs are poodles" logical fallacy. Everything else proceeds from there. There is no way that saying dieting is not disordered behavior. It *is* disordered behavior. It's not *compulsive* disordered behavior with an inability to see reality in the mirror. I do think dieting is dangerous, possibly just as dangerous as an eating disorder, especially what some call "crash diets" because studies show that those fat people who never diet are much healthier than those who diet. That said, there is a difference between anorexia and dieting; for example, it's the difference between a 3 pack a day asthmatic with an oxygen tank and someone who only smokes when they drink and they only drink 3 times a year. Anorexics are addicted to dieting; your average dieter is not. Anorexics have body dysmorphic disorder; your average dieter does not. That's not to say that these don't occur in dieters, just that the average don't do or have these things.

I thank everyone who read my post and everyone who commented. Your opinions are valued and I appreciate them. Carry on!