Thursday, May 19, 2016

This Is For Posterity: The Moobly Movement

I love posting "quick" snippets on Facebook sometimes because I feel like they're less commitment and you guys are more forgiving if my thoughts come off kinda silly over there, but then the FB machine gobbles them up and a lot of you don't get to see *any* of my posts there so I feel bad for excluding anyone from random silliness they maybe want to see. 

Which is my long-winded way of saying here's a post I put on Facebook last night. It turned into a pretty cool round table discussion in the comments, and you guys made me LOL a lot, so I want to remember it.


Here's an interesting contrast between Life Online & Reality: Yesterday I got some (loving) flak from a few commenters for referring to myself as "chunky," saying I was most definitely NOT overweight.
Today I had my cardiologist take both my hands, and (again, very kindly) tell me I'm not overweight, I am, in fact, OBESE.

I think there's an interesting discussion to be had here. I mean, I can still like my body and admit I'm overweight - a lot of us can. But well-meaning friends and loved ones are always horrified - HORRIFIED - if we use the dreaded F word (fat), or any variation thereof. 

If the Body Positive movement is teaching us anything, though, it's that beauty comes in every shape, every size, every color and configuration. Fat can be just as beautiful as skinny. Chunky can be, too. You know this. I know this. It's just going to take a little while 'til we figure out how to talk openly and honestly without all this stigma and shame attached to every single word that means "overweight."

Hey, maybe we should just invent a NEW word for it. Like moobly. Moobly sounds fun. No one could be mad if you called yourself moobly. Or dimplish. Or hugtastic. Which is kind of already a word, but whatevs.

Great. Now I'm just going to be brainstorming new words all night. GAH.

Like I said, sooo many great comments (you can see them all on the original post), but here's a  sampling of the top-rated ones:

Somehow you guys always know just when I need an infusion of level-headed positivity from the internet. You're like my Book Club on life. I like it.

Also, related update: after 4 rounds of doctor visits & exhaustive testing I can finally say my heart is perfectly healthy, and I am cleared for cardio! Which would be a lot more exciting if I didn't, you know, hate cardio. (Does Tsum Tsums count?) o.O


  1. I'm 6ft tall and my ideal weight is 137lbs to 185lbs (according to the BMI)...I've weighed as little as a 190lbs and my friends, family and doctor all thought I was anorexic or bulimic. My doctor even had a "come to Jesus" moment with me cause he was afraid I wasn't eating. But then he weighed me and I actually still outside me "ideal" weight. Then he told me that the BMI was complete BS and said his ideal weight for me was around 215lb given my body shape and size. He told me to go eat some more (healthy) foods.

  2. I know modern medicine helps people but sometimes it seems lile such a crock. I'm 5ft 10in and last year my doc had all this bloodwork basically to tell me I was completely unhealthy (and my bp had to be a fluke since it was good). ~40lbs and 4mths later more bloodwork and everything's good and I get "not sure what you are doing but keep it up". What was really nice was emergency surgery and the docs looking at me and saying "you're actually pretty healthy" (was an 18/20 at the time). Now at a 14/16ish (I swim in stuff I could wear last year) I still catch crap about my size.

    If you can do cardio, try zumba. I got it for wii/wii u and may spend more time cursing or comentating but it is quite helpful. Gradually introducing weights is also helpful (just keep a good grip or go neoprene coated). For a while I had tried a pedometer but it seemed more stressful since if you don't hit the magic number it's kind of in your face and then trying to get in a last minute workout or something to bring the steps up. Some of my coworkers swear by them though.

  3. I'm not fat, I'm fluffy ...
    and I thought the "obese"range was 100lbs overweight, which there is no way you are that much overweight.

    You look good just the size that you are. Hugs.

  4. This is my favorite:

    I've been a size 10-14 since high school. My boobs have always been at least a C-cup. I've always been active. But, according to my BMI, I, too am obese. At 5'4'' I'm supposed to be about 115. Well, guess what? I'm not. Never have been (maybe in 7th grade), never will be. I would look like a bobble head if I was that thin.

    The average model size when I was growing up was a size 7. Now it's a size 2. Do you know what that does to prepubescent teens? Not just girls. Men grow up seeing tiny women on tv or in magazines and think that's how women should look. We can't have hips, or breasts, or bellies. It's "gross". One of my very dear girlfriends (who is seriously one of the nicest people on earth) has been online dating. She matched up with a guy and before anything else, he said commented about her profile: "Your smile? Ha. I first noticed how fat you were. Ew."

    Ew? Really? Is "fat" really the worst thing we can be? I don't think so.

    --Piper P from Washington State
    BTW... I think I'm going to start calling it fatical. - 'cuz it sounds radical. :)

    1. First off, UGH to that jerkface who treated your friends that way! It is one thing to have a preferred body type that you're attracted to but it's another thing to be a completely rude and superficial and mean butt-head. Hmph.

      Secondly, I hear you. I'm a smidge under 5 foot which, according to one chart, would have me weighing something like 95 pounds. Um... I have HIPS and BUTT and BOOBS. Ain't happening.

      As my dear mother once said in frustration, "Angie, weigh your tits, subtract that, and then we'll know what you really weigh." XD

  5. Oooh! I feel you for cardio. Except - I found the thing I like and it's life changing. About a year ago, when I was talking to my therapist about how I knew that exercise could help my anxiety, but I was just so uncoordinated and unathletic that I didn't think I'd ever ENJOY anything. I actually said "what if I'm just not a physical person and there isn't ANYTHING and it will always be a struggle?".

    Six months later I discovered Flywheel and I LOVE it. Regular exercise helps my anxiety so much and I never, ever thought that I would enjoy riding a stationary bike in a dark room to loud music with strangers. The point isn't "you'll like Flywheel too!" but more that there's so much out there to cardio that's not just running (I hate running) and so try lots of things. You never know what might turn out to be fun! Or at least, not terrible. And start super small. Much better to walk once around the block every day, than never do anything because you can't immediately run a mile.

    Also, I love MARSHMALLOW.

    1. SO MUCH THIS. I grew up thinking I hated exercising (also largely because of my generalized anxiety and panic disorders -- why would I want to intentionally sweat and get a rapid heart rate when that's happening to me just sitting on the couch??). I dislike exercising outside, am not a fan of running, and also just figured I just wasn't meant to be an athlete. Then I found women's ice hockey and it changed my life. When I started, I could barely stand up on skates, and now I'm on a women's tournament team that even travels sometimes. There are so many awesome and unique activities out there -- Jill has hit the nail right on the head! Try out lots of stuff and you'll find something you love almost as much as crafting. ;) <3 <3

  6. My husband and I hit the two different extremes: I WISH I could weigh more (but get tons of complements when weight falls off), and my husband is like yours (big guy, who is in fact a pretty dang healthy guy). It's really too bad everything is so wack! We're all glad to hear that you don't hate how you look (those outfits were killer!), and we hope you find some cardio that's fun!

    My YMMV comment about cardio is this: I tried the free month of daily burn, and since they have a new style of cardio workout every morning, it was a pretty good way to figure out what I enjoyed, even if you don't keep up with their subscription service.

  7. this is not weight related but does pertain to doctor's charts. When my son was in his first year, every time we went to the pediatrician for a well baby check-up, they would be VERY concerned because, although he was perfectly healthy in every other way, he was at the bottom percentile for height. After the fourth time being grilled about how much he was eating and asking if I wanted formula to supplement breast feeding I lost it and said, "Look at me! I am only 4 feet 9 inches tall. How big of a child do you think I'm going to have?"
    That was the first time she really looked at him as a person and not just something to measure against a chart. The doctors charts and BMI's are useful, but sometimes the doctors forget that human beings can be wildly different in their physical make-up and rely on charts alone. I don't mean for a moment to slam doctors or encourage anyone to ignore warning signs of impending disaster. But, we have to be our own advocate and bring more than just the BMI to the table.

    by the way - the floral dress (from the Mori Girl post) is my favorite. That red really looks good with your hair and skin tone.

  8. Thanks for posting this here, too. My Facebook's been acting up lately and I can hardly sign in; I wouldn't have seen it over there.

    I think what bothers me about people rushing to say "no you aren't" whenever a person says they're overweight, fat, chunky, etc. (unless they're actually really thin and that sort of mentality could be dangerous) is that such a statement is always met with horror and reassurances that it's not true. Like being chunky or fluffy or moobly is some awful thing. As though it's equivalent to saying "I'm stupid" or "I'm worthless" or "I'm ugly" or something. And while society and fashion magazines and whatnot might be trying to tell us that being bigger is a terrible thing, IT ISN'T. Reacting as though someone's just said something awful by stating fact is kind of inadvertently saying that being overweight is something one should feel shame about and shouldn't be, and that's not okay. I think most people who say that sort of thing are concerned by their friend's self image, but they probably need to be more careful about reacting in a way that implies that bigger equals bad. It doesn't.

    This is an important discussion. Thank you for posting it somewhere that won't get lost in the Facebook ether. People need to see it.

    Also, if you're looking for a fun way to get exercise, I've found that belly dancing is a lot of fun and the classes are generally very accepting of people with varying levels of fluffiness. (In fact, as a smaller person, I have to say that the bigger, curvier girls often look BETTER doing the moves than those of us without a lot to shake.) I particularly enjoy Tribal belly dance, as it's more fluid and less gyrate-y, and draws a lot of its movement from yoga which is relaxing. As an added bonus, the apparel and music both for Tribal dance tend toward being somewhat steampunk-ish. :)

    If something like that interests you, I suggest checking out YouTube for instructional videos, (a quick Google search offered up several belly dance for cardio choices) and looking into Rachel Brice. She's kind of the superstar when it comes to Tribal dance, and I really like her attitude, too. (She's a fun person to follow on Facebook and Twitter.) I can only vouch for her first dvd, (here: but one of the things I really like about it is that there are different segments (15, 30, and 45 minutes) based on how much time you have. It's nice having a routine that's balanced based on time constraints rather than just doing part of a longer workout. The dvd is great, and if you ever get a chance to see her perform live, DO IT.

    Thanks again for putting your voice out there on a subject that people should feel okay talking about without shame.

    1. I loved this post. You make a great point about how we react to someone saying they are overwieght.
      and...I cast a second vote for belly dance!

  9. Jen, you don't still do the treadmill desk ever? What put you off that? Just the remodel of the back room and not having a place for it anymore?

    I have a great suggestion if you hate cardio and need to start exercising. Buy one of those huge, round backyard trampolines with the safety netting enclosure. When I had mine, I LOVED it SO much!

    First of all, you can jump on the trampoline at night safely, unlike most outdoor cardio like walking, running, or biking. Night-time exercising fits in better with your schedule, plus it's cooler at night and no sunburn, plus no strangers' eyes on you as you exercise. Second of all, it's must lower-impact than many other forms of cardio, so it's easier on your joints and tendons. Most importantly, it's so much effing fun that you hardly notice that you're exercising. Better start slowly though, because you will be sore all over the next day if you don't.

    Jumping on a trampoline will work ALL your muscle groups, not just your legs. Just do some regular up and down jumping for a few days until your body adapts. Then, work in some fancy jumping eventually, like hold your arms straight out in front of you and kick your legs straight out as you jump and try to touch your hands with your toes (just get as close as you can to start with). Then jump with your arms open in front of you, kick your legs out to either side as wide as you can, and try to touch your hands with your toes. Then do some frog-jumps where, when you lift off the trampoline, you bend your knees and bring your heels up toward your crotch and try to clap the soles of your feet together. (By the way, this is all WAY easier to do on a trampoline than it sounds.) You can also slow-motion jog in place on a trampoline or bounce-jog in circles on the trampoline around the perimeter, alternating directions. (It'll feel like walking on the moon.) I'm sure there are videos on YouTube showing all kinds of trampoline exercises, although when you get on one, you will probably just figure out your own routine that feels best for you.

    When I had my trampoline, I jumped for about thirty minutes five or six days a week, got stronger and more flexible all over, lost weight without changing my eating habits at all, and was in a much-better headspace. I mean, there is hardly anything more exhilarating and invigorating than jumping as high as you can on a trampoline. Plus, you'll be outside under the stars, getting fresh air, and enjoying the quiet. (Look for a trampoline that advertises non-squeaky springs or just grease the heck out of every connection and part as you assemble it).

    Tandem jumping is also really fun, although John could probably launch little you into outer space, so be careful, but you could also just take turns. Interval training is supposed to be really good for you, too. So, you could get your heartrate sky-high (pun intended) and then get off the trampoline and rest for a few minutes while John jumps, and then trade back again.

    Anyway, just wanted to throw this out there because I think that not many people consider large trampolines when they think about cardio exercising, and it's too much fun to not consider. As soon as I have a yard again, I'm getting another trampoline.


    1. That's such a great idea! Someday when I have a yard I'll have to remember this.

    2. Well, you've definitely made me want to get a trampoline now. :D

      But no, I didn't give up the treadmill desk; I'm typing this on it right now! I just only walk on it, and at a pace that I can work/type with, so it doesn't really qualify as cardio. I guess maybe I'll try increasing the speed and trying some power walking more often? Bah. I hate sweating.

    3. Do you like to swim, Jen? You don't sweat! Seriously, though, I love to swim because under water I can only hear my own breath, which calms me tremendously. Because I never learned how to swim properly, I use a snorkel. In the gym pool. Because I don't care what people think. I've been asked if I was getting ready for a Caribbean trip! Cute. Actually, I have found that other swimmers either mind their own business, or are very encouraging to me because I have found a way to make my choice of exercise MY OWN, even if it looks a bit silly. More than one person has told me that they were going to do the same thing, so that they could swim for more than five minutes (that is why I do it - I usually can do 20-30 minutes with the breathing tube before I crap out!)

  10. You know,,,,,, Giant Clammy Marshmallow is jus the right thing to party with Mr. StayPuft in the next Ghostbuster's movie! Party on, fellow StayPuft girl! :)

  11. The BMI (as applied to individuals) is a crock of shit.

    See, originally the BMI was invented as a method to compare average weight/height relationships across populations. And for that it's pretty useful.

    But for individuals? Nope.
    The BMI doesn't take muscle mass or basic metabolic body types into account, for starters.
    Its categories (from 'severely underweight' to 'severly obese') are also completely arbitrary, and have been changed iirc in the last decade or so, to put more people in the obsese/severly obese range.

    Also, and this may be relevant to you, Jen, it is even more useless than usual for very petite or very tall people. So there's that.

    Long-time lurker

  12. This is one FB post that I actually saw!

    As for the BMI, mine says I should be like 50 pounds lighter to be "healthy". I was so skinny fat then! No muscle tone or anything. Looking at pictures of myself from then grosses me out because I look so gaunt and unhealthy. I'd rather stay where I am and be happy than go back to looking and feeling miserable all the time.

  13. Thank you for reposting this over here, FB didn't show it to me. I was really discouraged to see those comments on your other post. Fat is not a bad word!

  14. Personal trainer once told me that if they only went according to BMI, 3/4 of the trainers at my gym would be considered obese.

  15. I really like the Moobly Movement idea. I've been hard at work to reclaim the word fat for myself but it is so steeped in nasty negative that it's a near impossible battle. People literally go still when I describe myself as fat, like I've uttered the most taboo of words and it's just so tiring to deal with.

    Speaking of BMI's, I have a very high one, and also excellent health in pretty much all other ways, so my yearly doctor visits always go like this:

    Doc: *alarmed* You're a particular size!!
    Me: Yes? I know?
    Doc: Particular size is big!
    Me: Yes? I know? Do I have any actual health problems?
    Doc: Well, no, but you're a particular size!!!
    Me: siiiggghhhh

    The comment from Anon above nails why the BMI is a useless tool for assessing the health of the individual, so a doc going out of their way to talk about BMI when there are concerns that you would probably rather they focus on really annoys me on your behalf.

  16. Oh.My.Gosh.
    I saw this discussion on FB and decided not to comment and leave myself open to being trolled. So here it goes.
    Ever notice its not the people in the normal weight range that state that the BMI is a bad tool for a health assessment?
    I am not advocating that it is a perfect tool (far from it) but do many people who should see their results as a sign of unhealthy lifestyle ignore it because the internet tells them its a bad tool (Looks like they are all EPBOT readers!)
    Kids - Shouldn't use it
    Athletes - Shouldn't use it (Though I know a guy who made it his aim to be "obese" lol)
    Someone like Jen and John from EPBOT? Sleep all day, watches movies and reads books, doesn't cook, runs two blogs - Probably should take it seriously
    People who commented and have "Moobly" facebook profiles - Probably should take it seriously
    I'm not saying this from a skinnier place.... I am obese according to BMI. How I got here was (among other things) eating too much icecream. The mirror shows me I have excess weight. How I get back to the healthy range I am working on. I'm not looking for an excuse to say my body is fine... I have no health issues but I know I need to change.

    None of this is meant to detract from loving yourself whatever your size. Your size shouldn't determine the other qualities that you see as beautiful. Not following up an obese BMI with legitimate reasons for being so (just saying the scale is BS) is an ugly trait.

    1. I'm in the normal weight range and I think BMI is bullshit. It's not like it was invented by the gods and given to us on a stone tablet in biblical times, it was invented by a dude in the 1800s. Idk, I wouldn't trust someone like that, who mostly did his studies on men, to tell me anything about health. Sure, BMI can be an indicator but it's not like it actually means anything and can tell you anything about a person's over-all health. Like, you say Jen should listen to it and then go on to state things about her life-style, but her BMI didn't tell you that. Knowing her through her blog told you that. If you just saw her BMI you wouldn't know anything about her health.

      No one has an obligation to be skinny or healthy, btw. Saying you have to lose weight or be healthy or whatever ... I mean, it's fine that you wanna do that and I wish you all the luck in the world, but it's not for everyone.

    2. 5'3, maybe 120 lbs, size 4 woman here, and I'm one of the above commenters calling BMI bullshit. I haven't looked at the Facebook page, but I didn't see one person here advocating a sedentary lifestyle or making excuses for their size. What I saw were a bunch of people complaining that BMI isn't something that really tells a person what their overall health is. I guarantee that many "obese" people have much healthier eating and exercise habits than I do. I walk a lot, and used to belly dance more when I was a student and it was a free club I could join rather than a class I had to pay for, but I've never had a gym membership or paid attention to whether or not I'm getting enough cardio, and my eating habits aren't great. But when I go to the doctor, nobody lectures me about changing my own lifestyle because they're basing what's healthy on what size people are. THAT'S what people are complaining about here.

      I don't know how regularly you read this blog (presumably for a while since you can comment on how "inactive" Jen and John are) or how long you've been reading, but even if you only read this piece, she openly states that she's been waiting on the all clear from doctors regarding cardio, and it's not like this is the first time she's mentioned needing more physical activity or is unaware that losing weight would probably be a good thing. This whole piece is a response to the previous one where she calls herself overweight. It isn't like she's looking for an excuse not to change her habits. We're talking about people who went to the trouble to build a treadmill desk from scratch here. That doesn't strike me as looking for excuses or not taking it seriously. She's blogged about John cutting back on soda, about her experiences trying to get other health issues under control, and about trying to get more exercise.

      And as for the people commenting on Facebook with "moobly facebook profiles," assuming they're complete strangers to you, how do you even know their photos are pictures of themselves? My mother was overweight, and since she died of breast cancer a couple years ago, my sister and I (neither of us have ever been overweight) have had Facebook photos featuring on our mother. If either of us had commented on Facebook about how unhelpful BMI is, (and that's something which we both do--her professional background is in nutrition and nursing, by the way) based on the judgments you're making here, you'd assume that we were "moobly" and just making excuses.

      All I've seen here and on the previous post are people (most of whom have mentioned that even their doctors have admitted that they don't have any health problems--which is more than I can say at 120 lbs or less) saying that the BMI by itself is an inadequate method for determining whether or not a person is healthy, and promoting self-love regardless of where one is in their journey. And then there's your comment, which was presumably made from the same place of good intentions as the other comments, but comes with a fair amount of judgment for a bunch of total strangers. Not one person today with any access to the media is unaware that they need to eat a balanced diet and exercise to do that. Criticizing people based on the snippets of their life you can glean from blog posts or the even smaller amount of information you ascertain from looking at their Facebook profile picture isn't helping any more than making excuses would be. It's possible to show concern without passing unnecessary judgment. A simple "from what I can tell from your blog," would have been enough. As it stands, your comment comes off as pretty judgmental.

    3. Thank you, tal! Spoke the words much more classily than I could've.

    4. When I saw Anony's comment up there last night, my immediate gut-response was to defend Jen and John by tearing the commenter a new one. But...I've gotten wiser in my old age, so I decided to leave it for someone who is a pro at diplomacy. Yay, Tal! Responses like yours and RevAnne's the other day (on the Scruffy Guardian Angel post) make me sooooo proud to be part of this community. Like tears-in-my-eyes proud.

      And then Jodi D., on her 10:49 post below, added something I wanted to point out to Anony above. Not everyone who is "obese" got that way by overeating and under-exercising. For many people, it's genetics, medical issues, and/or prescribed medications and no matter how well they eat and how much they exercise, the extra weight doesn't come off. And others never had a chance because of the families they were born into where everyone overeats and is sedentary. You're a product of your upbringing. If you become obese as a child because your parents don't live a "healthy" lifestyle, it is nearly impossible to lose that extra weight and keep it off as an adult.

      So, yes, I'm one of the people in the "normal" weight range stating unequivocally that BMI charts, used alone, are "a bad tool for a health assessment." Many moderately active people (not just athletes) who have a higher BMI than me are also WAY healthier than me. Anyone who doesn't have weight-related medical issues and who feels fine about their weight and their body can completely disregard whatever category that BMI chart lumps them into: underweight, overweight, obese...who cares? Your BMI doesn't define who you are as a person and should not be used as a tool that only serves to make you feel self-conscious about the label you are given.

      Okay, and just one teensy dig. It struck me as hilarious how the "reads books" is in there with all the other evil sedentary habits like "runs two blogs" (the height of laziness!) and "sleeps all day" (not because you're up all night working on two blogs or anything!). Anyway, I can recommend some books with themes of empathy, tolerance, and acceptance if Anony wants to sit on the sofa after his/her next workout and broaden her/his mind.


  17. Interesting timing of this post, because I'm going through some "issues" right now. I've always been overweight, and generally fine with it. I hate people who comment on each other's weight, whether or not to "defend" someone. I just feel it's personal and not something we should be talking about -- more important things. I also hate the BMI, but I've come to appreciate it's just a medical measure. The categories of "overweight" and "obese" might as well be in Latin because they are what they are *medically* and then we lay people have our own notions of what is overweight, obese, healthy, unhealthy, comfortable or uncomfortable. I've always been in the overweight BMI category, which I felt is unfair because I have a much larger frame, but now recently I took part in a fitness study and found out I am in the obese category. My heart really sank at this. No one likes being called *obese*. How could an *obese* person hike up hills like I've been doing all winter? Well anyway, I've come to accept that A. it's a medicine term and it's accurate for what it is medically measuring, B. I actually *do* feel uncomfortable with my weight which has steadily increased in the past year. It isn't a healthy weight. When my mom got cancer, which she eventually died of, she was the heaviest she had ever been (for sure "morbidly obese". I don't want to go down that road. I want to fit more comfortably in my clothes without having to buy new ones, and I want to be able to get up and down stairs more comfortably. I also simply don't feel *comfortable* with this extra weight. I feel worried that it might be a kind of "trap" to lose weight in a tug-of-war I can never win, but I've decided to take look to resources for help to become more comfortable. Starting next week I'm meeting with a dietician and fitness instructor. So thank you, Jen. This was remarkable timing, and it's helpful to know I'm not on this journey alone!

  18. I remember requesting a doctor's notes and seeing, "Patient is a friendly, obese woman," and literally laughing out loud as I read it and considered getting it on a t-shirt.

  19. How about DDR? That can be a fun and happy way to be active.

  20. It is mentioned when people are over-weight or under-weight. Why aren't people ever just "weight"? Oh wait, they just say "healthy" because that can be told just by the way we look.

    Like others say, find what works for you. Hate running? Don't do it. I like working out with YouTube videos. My sister uses the treadmill. I used to take tap and ballet with a different sister - as adults! It was awesome!! I need to pull out the DDR pad again now...

  21. Jen, thanks so much for sharing the Facebook posts on here. I'm a Luddite and don't have a Facebook account, so I really appreciate it.

    I am soooooooooo with you on hating cardio!!! Blech! Yuck! GAH! I have a health condition that makes cardio extra hard. I would like to see a trainer trying to do a workout with swimmer's nose clips on their schnozzle while breathing through a straw, because that's what I experience.

    You're awesome girl!!

  22. Hi Jen! So I wanted to chime in to add that it isn't just adult women who get inaccurate classifications about their weight. Look at your photos I would never guess you are overweight. So here is a story about what happened to my daughter this week.

    My daughter Allie (you featured her here in this exemplar from 3 years ago... yes I saved the link, I'm a Mom... had a fitness test last month at school. Part of the presidential fitness bs stuff. We received her results yesterday evening in a letter sealed from the school and addressed to us.
    My daughter, now 10 is 4'4 weighs 54 pounds. Other than the fact that she can't run 1/2 a mile in under 4 minutes like "normal" children her exercise looked pretty okay. I was disturbed to find that the test actually did a breakdown of body facts then ranked them. For my daughter's 4'4/54 pound frame they determined that she had 19.6% body fat and warned her that she was getting towards the edge of normal and she should strive to lower her body fat to keep from developing heart problems, obesity, diabetes. I was outraged. You can see the bones in my child's back and we have been struggling with her doctor to get her to gain weight for years and then this report tells my child she may be getting FAT!
    The rage didn't end there, when on the next page it broke down her BMI, a startling 13.1. The report then went to warn us her parents she may have an eating disorder, and we may want to monitor her. That's right, one page after calling her fat they said she was so skinny she had to have an eating disorder. Not that they know she has a metabolism that is hyperactive and now matter how much food we put into our very active little girl she cant seem to gain weight. Not that they know she has been on medications to help her put on weight for about 3 years.
    NO, my little girl, tiny and just about the same size she was in those photos you featured 3 years ago, is either FAT or Anorexic.

    I hate that today we are all hounded by unrealistic expectations for physical appearance. We use outdated methods in which to determine if someone is healthy (BMI being the main one) and little girls as young as 10 are getting told to watch their fat. I have struggled with my weight for over a decade, because I wanted to live up to those unrealistic expectations. But I think for the sake of the next generation of little girls, We all need to stop. Myself included.
    I vow to never say I'm on a diet again. I will be "eating healthy"
    I vow to never say I need to lose weight. I will be "getting active and healthy"
    I vow to tell my daughter everyday that she is beautiful and perfect just the way she is, so she doesn't turn out the way I did.

    Sorry, this was so long, I just needed to get it all out.
    Max - Mom of a wonderfully geeky perfect 10 year old.

    1. WOW Max. The fitness tests they have kids do now-a-days is ridiculous.
      Thanks for being a great mom!

  23. Forgot to add that one thing that bugs me about the fat shamers is that not everyone gets fat simply through lack of activity or poor eating habits. Granted, the majority of us obese people probably fall into those categories, but not everyone. But sometimes it's due to medication you were given by doctors, who then act completely aghast when your BMI rises meteorically. Due to my health problems I have to go on the steroid Prednisone about three times per year. One of the side effects for some of us is that Prednisone makes us ravenously hungry. ALL the time. Like, insatiably hungry. And a healthy snack doesn't quell it one little bit. I gain 10-20 pounds in one month every time I'm put on that damn drug. Then, I either don't feel well enough to exercise in between illnesses or I do, but get sick again before I can lose more than 5-7 lbs. Grrr. When I do feel decent I'm able to take walks and lift hand weights. Wish I could find a guy in my super tiny town that liked a marshmallow gal like me.

  24. I like Manfred's response on Ice Age: "I'm floofy."

    I remember when some news commentator remarked that President George W. Bush would be considered "overweight" by BMI charts. Like him or not, you have to admit he is an extremely active man: mountain bikes, jogging, horseback riding. That was when I decided that the medical community is occasionally nuts! :)

  25. Just chiming in for another fun cardio suggestion: Nia. It’s a bit like Zumba dance (group fitness format--or home video) but with a lot more mind/body components and emphasis on safe, anatomically-correct movement. The best part is the emphasis on the JOY of MOVEMENT. Instead of being driven by ‘exercise’ language, Nia teaches us how movement is just plain pleasurable. We move and dance because it FEELS GOOD. Of course, it comes with all the usual fitness/cardio benefits, plus some extra mind/body/emotion/spirit ones-- but it feels like eating chocolate instead of working out.

    1. P.S. Nia is cardio for people who hate cardio ---signed, someone who hated cardio until Nia. And everyone can tap into the joy of movement, as long as you have a body. Nia is super welcoming for all body types and levels.

  26. Flabbergasted : Aghast at how much flabber you feel you have acquired.

    When I was young I did lots of sports. As I got older I did less and gained a little "marshmallow". Now I'm in my 50s and plan all my exercise around jogging Disney races. Running is for the young. So I jog. The marshmallow is less but not gone. It will never be gone. I can live with that as long as I am happy and healthy.

    You hate cardio? You love Disney (I know you do.) Have a look at the RunDisney web pages ( and see if jogging around Epcot on a 5K interests you a bit. Motivation and setting targets and goals is a great way to make sure your fitness doesn't get left behind when your enthusiasm for exercise droops.

    5K - 10K - Half Marathon - Marathon. Goofy Challenge or even the Dopey Challenge. If you can dream it.....well you know the rest :)

    They are great events for participants of all shapes and sizes. Nobody judges you but yourself. The objective is to finish within the time (Which is generous), grab the medals, and use the experience to keep exercising for the next event. because RunDisney events can be addictive.

    Hope to see you at one of the events.

  27. I'm 5'2" and for years I weighed 102 lbs. Not 100 lbs, not 105 lbs. One hundred and TWO. At times I would sit on the couch with my feet up & slap my calves, and because they moved, I thought I was a cow. When I was 25, I completely let myself go & got up to 112 - I wouldn't put on a swimming suit & hit the pool with my friends ... because I was a cow. I'm now 59 years old & my doctor has told me I'm obese. I feel obese. I know I'm obese. But I've finally realized that it's stupid to put your life on hold while you wait for the perfect 'whatever.' There's always something we don't have, and we're not guaranteed tomorrow.

    So I'm going to go eat a cinnamon roll now.

  28. Well, for the language portion of the post ... I've always liked "zaftig".

  29. I've always had a high BMI - as a kid because I had a lot of muscle (and some fat, but not an excessive amount by any stretch). Then as an adult, the fat levels gradually increased, but still with more muscle underneath than the 'average' person since I come from a naturally muscular family line and have had a range of physically active jobs. So my BMI has never been an accurate reflection of real fat : muscle proportions, although it took a loooong time for me to realise that and stop being so stressed by my weight.
    Over the years, I've realized that being 'fat' is as much a concept as a reality. Look back through history, and the beauties of the day have been thin / fat / short / tall / ... I now think of myself as 'Rubenesque' - like the rounded, curvy women in paintings by artist Peter Paul Rubens in the early 1600’s (e.g.: The Three Graces, or The Fall of Man). If I'd lived 400 years ago, I'd be one Hot Mama ;-). “I’m not fat, I’m just 400 years behind my time!”
    Okay, yes, I could do with losing some fat, and I'm not in denial about that in the least - but that doesn't mean I can't/don’t look good or that my health is in the 'OMG-Panic' range. I wish someone would develop a proper Condition Scoring system for humans - I use them for horses and dogs all the time, since they give a real assessment of the actual amount of fat coverage. Based on generic condition scoring methods (amount of fat overlaying various bony areas of the body), I'm about a 7 on a 1-9 scale, and while that's not ideal, it's not horrendous either.
    If you want to know the real composition of your body (%'s of fat, muscle, water etc), then find someone who can do some Body Composition Testing (often at a gym or health clinic) - there are many different methods, some which work better for some people than others. Especially if you’re planning a new exercise program and in the past have been put off by plateaus in your progress, a good composition test can tell you if things are moving in the right direction even if the scales and BMI aren’t. I wish shows like The Biggest Loser used BCT, it would give a much better reflection of progress and probably change the end results.
    As for cardio exercise, I'm with you in some aspects – e.g.; I hate, Hate, HATE running. But there is bound to be something out there that will suit you if you search around. Think of the things you've done in your life that left you feeling breathless and worn out, but were a total blast while you were doing them (okay, drag your mind out of the gutter - but that does count too!). It doesn't matter what it was - skipping, roller blading, dancing, hoola-hooping, trampolining, walking a beautiful trail, etc etc. If it raises your heart rate for a little while (and you feel good doing it!), then it counts. Or perhaps something that you can use as a semi-meditation method (that's me with swimming - I zone out while counting lengths, breaths, strokes, converting lengths to metres, how far I've done v's how far I planned to swim, etc etc). It might help to have an exercise buddy/class, or it might not - depends on the exercise and how you feel about that. It also might work (or not) to have some sort of reward / consequence system, whereby if you do stick to your new exercise / diet / whatever, there’s an additional positive benefit ($, a pretty necklace you’ve been oogling, etc), and/or if you don’t, then there’s an added consequence (paying a fine, having to do a chore you usually don’t, etc).
    And regardless of whether you make changes or not (and how well those changes work or don't), enjoy life and be true to yourself - you're the only one who can :-)

  30. Jen,

    I hate sweating too. I don't understand people that say how good they feel when they sweat. I literally hate the feeling. My solution was water zumba and water aerobics. Sure, I'm usually the youngest person in the class but there is no judgment.I'm cool as a cucumber while doing cardio with resistance.
    I'm in the "morbidly obese" category. As someone with severe RA, there was a period of years, while the right treatment protocol was being sorted out, that I couldn't do anything physical. My doctor described it as trying to "exercise on a broken limb". So I packed on the pounds due to sheer lack of activity, inflammation induced stress, and diet change. I was in so much pain that I spent much less time in the kitchen making healthy meals and instead eating what was convenient. I couldn't grip, open a jar, lift a cup of liquid, etc without lancing pain and joint weakness which usually caused me to drop things.
    People probably see me now and think I'm fat and lazy, but in actuality I'm a strong determined woman working her way back to a body that feels comfortable and healthy, regardless of what the scale says or what size I wear.
    Moral of the judgment. A size 16, 4, or 8 may all be equally healthy. What matters is how we feel. Rock on!


  31. A week and a half ago, I was *insert awesome badassery of your choice here* (ie: walking outside) and my ankle rolled and I went down - hard. By the middle of last week I'd gone through favoring my now-strained ankle and gotten around to a completely swollen left leg that would not move or support my weight at all so I loaded up on ibuprofen and went to the doctor. While at the doctor, getting checked out (they brought the ortho/sports doc in too) they decided I needed and MRI. The physical therapy nurse came in to talk to me about options for the MRI, because of my weight there is apparently only one place in the metro that can do one. She kept on and on and ON mentioning my size and my weight every four words, it seemed. One of the sentences was "Someone who is morbidly obese, as you are, is limited in the treatment options." *Morbidly obese*. By the time she left and I was talking to my doc about pain meds and such for the next few days, I was in a complete daze. I had just been told by a medical professional that my weight and size were almost preventing me from receiving medical treatment. I drove home in tears. I've been overweight for several years and I struggle with it daily. I've been to counseling and tried so many things and I just can't seem to break through a particular number. I have bad days and good days. But this...this almost broke me. I drove home almost in tears - and not from the pain of my knee. And then when I got home, I was looking around online to find something to distract me and found this post. And I did cry then, but not tears of sadness or embarrassment, but tears of relief.

    The medical community can call me "morbidly obese" if they want (and that makes me wonder what the people who are 100-200 pounds heavier than me are called...dead and don't know it yet obese?), but I know I'm moobly. And I'm ok with that because we're all a little moobly.

    Thank you, Jen, for this post. I needed it. And to add my comment to all the others, no, you are most definitely not obese or chunky. You're awesome.

  32. Floofy mooble here as well. Was extremely small (read:unhealthy) until I got a desk job, and began to floof. Went through a period of non-desk jobs, and lost the floof because of constant stress and walking (again, unhealthy). Now with PhD and faculty job in hand, having regained the floof, I came around to the opinion of "Screw it, be happy."


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