Sugar Addiction and Food Obsession

This is what a healthy relationship with food looks like:

You enjoy a wide variety of foods. You fill your diet with lots of different foods from every food group, so that you meet your nutrient needs through variety. You do not force yourself to eat foods you don’t enjoy (or that you have a medical reason to avoid).

Sometimes you eat purely for pleasure (like that cupcake, or glass of wine) but most of the time the choices you make fulfill both your nutrient and pleasure needs. You eat a salad because you WANT it, not because it’s what you think you SHOULD eat. And if you don’t want salad, you have something else. When you eat purely for pleasure, you savor the experience and then move on. You don’t assign shame or guilt to your food choices.

You eat when you are hungry, and you eat foods that nourish you, make you feel awesome, and help you meet your goals. You also realize that there is no such thing as perfection, and that your habits over time are far more important than any specific food you do or don’t eat. You understand that one meal doesn’t cancel out all the other meals you eat over the course of a week. You understand that there is a lot of room for flexibility within the context of a balanced, varied diet.


Now, I frequently get comments like:

“Eating whatever you want whenever you want isn’t going to result in healthy lifestyle or longevity. Eating Doritos every day would land you in the hospital!”


“Sugar lights up the reward centers of the brain, which makes you want more sugar. Copious amounts of sugar is really bad for you!”

The people making these comments have a disordered idea of eating. They may not have an eating disorder, but they are making these comments from a place of fear. They are projecting their own fears and beliefs, about how they think they would behave if they allowed themselves to eat what they want, onto other people.

Do you see how the belief underlying both of these comments is that if a person eats what they want to eat, they will only eat ‘junk’, and eat excessive amounts of it? In the first comment, there is an assumption that if they ate what they wanted, they would eat Doritos every day. And in the second, there is the assumption that if they allowed themselves free rein, they would overeat sugar.

Both of these assumption belie a disordered relationship with food. Because you see, if these people had a healthy relationship with food, they would understand that they would be able to eat Doritos and sugar in moderation, enjoy them, and move on.

The answer here isn’t to ‘force’ oneself to eat a certain way. The answer is to address the disordered relationship with food. Because when their relationship with food is healthy, they won’t be compelled to eat Doritos and sugar in excess. They will be able to eat them in moderation, freely, and without forcing or feeling deprived.

Because that is what a healthy relationship with food is like.

I believe that the entire diet industry is deeply disordered, so these disordered ways of thinking about food are normalized and even promoted as healthy. Far too many people believe that the way they think about and approach food and eating is normal and healthy, when in fact it is disordered and destructive. The diet industry is dragging us all down into a spiral of disorder, shame and obsession. And telling us all the while that it is normal and healthy.

Need some help healing your relationship with food? Check out these free resources, and consider seeking out treatment from a qualified Eating Disorder professional:

ED Referral

How to Deal With Setbacks

Another vlog for you!


How to be an ALPHA MALE

Here's what comes up in a google image search of 'alpha male'.

Here’s what comes up in a google image search of ‘alpha male’.

There is a growing movement of men who want to ‘take back masculinity’, to reassert their biological directive to be ALPHA MALES. It’s easy to find ebooks on ‘Making Any Woman Want to Sleep With You’, ‘Become The Alpha’ etc. There are even yearly conferences where men gather to learn from other men how to be MANLY MEN, free the inner caveman, dominate women and control their manly destiny.

As best as I can tell there are 3 main desirable characteristics of ALPHA MALES:

  1. Alpha males GET LAID OFTEN.

  2. Alpha males are DESIRED by women and RESPECTED by men.

  3. Alpha males LOOK LIKE MEN, with broad shoulders and visible muscle mass.

Now, I happen to embody all of these characteristics. I’m happily married and no one’s complaining in the bedroom, if you know what I mean. Wink wink, nudge nudge. I’ve had more than my share of propositions from women, and I have a large following of respectful men. Many a dude bro and low-carb blogger has told me I LOOK LIKE A MAN. Apparently I am a ALPHA MALE. So, I decided to write a guide to being an ALPHA MALE. You can thank me later.

Here are some of the keys to being an ALPHA MALE:

  1. ALPHA MALES make the people around them feel safe. This is probably the most important aspect of being an ALPHA MALE. ALPHA MALES create this environment of safety by defending other people against bullying, aggression and ridicule. If the ALPHA MALE sees another person being made fun of, he jumps in and STICKS UP FOR THEM. When people feel worried and stressed, the ALPHA MALE determines how he can help them out, and then does it. This usually means ASKING the person what would help the most. The Alpha Male is the one who looks out for the safety and well being of the group. The Alpha Male is the one people look to when they are scared. The ALPHA MALE sets himself up as a bastion of safety by simply being calm and kind and protective of his friends and other vulnerable people.

  2. ALPHA MALES do not create needless conflict. ALPHA MALES don’t run around starting arguments. ALPHA MALES mind their own business and create an atmosphere of calmness and safety for the people around them. An ALPHA MALE won’t back down from a threat to the safety and well being of a vulnerable person or themselves, but they don’t go out trying to manufacture conflict. ALPHA MALES also don’t bother with other males who are lower in the hierarchy. Sure, those lesser males will come around thumping their chests and boasting about how manly they are, but an ALPHA MALE knows these lesser males aren’t a threat and doesn’t waste his time engaging with them ' unless they threaten or ridicule another person. Then the ALPHA MALE will come to the defense of the other person.

  3. A true ALPHA MALE does not need to tell anyone he is an ALPHA MALE. It is clear from the moment he walks into a room that he is an ALPHA MALE. He brings with him an air of calmness and peace. His presence puts others at ease and makes them feel safe. The men running around making noise and aggressively telling people they are ALPHA MALES are not ALPHA MALES ' and everyone knows it. There is no bigger clue that a man is a beta (or lower) than bluster, chest thumping and ridiculing others.

  4. An ALPHA MALE makes women feel valued and appreciated. He does this by listening to them, showing an interest in their lives and their interests, defending them against ridicule and aggression, and being kind to their friends and family. Oh, and also by NOT RAPING THEM. The ALPHA MALES who make women feel valued and appreciated are the ones getting all the tail. Want to get laid regularly? Be the kind of man a woman wants to sleep with every day for the rest of her life. Women don’t want to sleep with beta males who run around making fools of themselves telling everyone how manly they are. Women see right through that shit. And if you have to rape someone to get laid, you are most assuredly NOT an ALPHA MALE.

  5. ALPHA MALES put the well being of the group ahead of their own interests. That is the ALPHA MALE’S job: being the leader, the protector, and the rock. If a man’s primary interest is his own penis, he is not an ALPHA MALE. If a man is more worried about his appearance or his public persona than he is about the happiness and safety of those around him, he is not an ALPHA MALE.

  6. An ALPHA MALE does not ridicule or denigrate women. It belies an insecurity and deep fear that women pick right up on. Women do not want to sleep with men who are afraid of women. It’s just not manly.

Real ALPHA MALES are incredibly appealing, to both men and women. I am enormously fortunate to know several ALPHA MALES. I hold them in considerable esteem. And they are, as one would expect, successful in both vocation and their relationships with women. These men get laid. A lot. And they get paid. A lot. Because they move through the world in a way that makes the people around them feel secure, valued and safe.

If you want to be a true ALPHA MALE, stop listening to the clowns thumping their chests and making all the noise about how manly they are. They are fools, and they will drag you right down into their nonsense and bluster.

Watch men like Antonio Valladares, and Melkor, and James Fell, and Sean Flanagan, and Mike Howard, and Andrew Dixon, and Alan Aragon, and Tony Polanski. These men NEVER tell people they are alpha males. Because they don’t have to. People just know.

These are the real ALPHA MALES.


Why I Chose the Flu Shot

photo-59Vaccines in general, and especially the flu vaccine, are a hot button these days. I posted on facebook that I’d gotten my annual flu shot and the response was predictably contentious. One guy even ridiculed my appearance. Predictable trolls are predictable.

I used to be anti-vaccine. Especially the flu vaccine. I could be obnoxious about it. Thank goodness it was (mostly) before facebook, or I’d have an online history of anti-vax ‘activism’ to be embarrassed about. In a follow up post, I shared the story of the first time I actually got the real flu:

“I used to wonder why people got so worried about the flu. I’d had it a few times and my healthy adult immune system had fought it off efficiently. Why all the hype about flu season and flu shots? What the heck was the big deal? I was pretty obnoxious about it.

And then the year I was 30 I got the flu for real. And as I crawled down the hall one morning (because I wasn’t able to walk, or even stand up) to ask my husband to take me to the emergency room, I was humbled by the realization that all those flus I had arrogantly told myself my body had fought off were really nothing more than bad colds.”

These days, I get my flu shot every year, and my kids are fully vaccinated. My experience with the real flu is only part of the story. In fact, it’s a very small part of the story.

The real reason I get my annual flu shot has nothing to do with me as an individual, and it has nothing to do with the individuals I may otherwise expose to the virus. I get the flu shot because I am a member of a civilization. A civilization that I benefit from in a multitude of ways. I have an obligation to keep that civilization healthy and productive in any way that I can. Because a healthy, productive civilization is of enormous benefit to me and my family. I am not an island. I am an intrinsic part of this civilization, and my actions matter to the health and productivity of that civilization. .

Let me explain, using an analogy most people are very familiar with: traffic.

Traffic laws are in place to keep traffic moving as efficiently and smoothly as possible, and to keep motorists safe. Traffic laws are not a ‘conspiracy’ to restrict individuals’ freedom. Traffic laws help everyone get where they are going as quickly and safely as possible. The more people that respect traffic laws, the more easily everyone can move from place to place, and the safer we all are. I think almost everyone can agree on that.

Some people don’t understand the big picture that traffic laws represent. They think “I’m just one person, what I do doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I’m just going to break the law here. I’m just one person! What harm can it do?” And it’s true, that on an individual level, one person’s actions have a very small effect. Unfortunately, that one person’s actions can influence other people’s actions. And when other drivers see that person breaking the law, they think “Well, he’s doing it, I might as well too.” And soon, lots of people are breaking the law, and things get more and more chaotic, and bottlenecks happen, and EVERYONE gets slowed down, and the risk of accidents increases for EVERYONE. And as more and more people break the law, breaking the law becomes normalized, and the laws begin to not matter at all, and respect for the laws diminishes, and chaos reigns. Hello traffic jam. Hello accidents.

If everyone would just follow the laws, things may be a little slow, but they’ll be way less slow than the mess that occurs when some people think the laws don’t apply to them.

Vaccines aren’t laws, and they won’t likely ever be. But the ARE recommended by every reputable public health agency. And ultimately, those recommendations aren’t really to protect INDIVIDUALS. Yes, getting vaccinated will greatly reduce your individual risk of contracting a preventable disease, but at the end of the day, vaccines aren’t there to protect YOU. They are to protect the civilization. The more people that comply with vaccine recommendations, the more the civilization is protected from disease. The less chance the disease has of finding a host, and over time the disease dies out. We saw it happen with smallpox and polio. Those diseases are gone. No one has to worry about them any more, not even people who aren’t vaccinated, because enough people followed the recommendations to eradicate the disease on a civilization level. Just as compliance with traffic laws keep everyone moving more quickly and safely. We see some people these days believing that vaccine recommendations don’t apply to them as individuals, that their individual actions don’t matter. The result is that some previously eradicated diseases are making a comeback. Whooping cough, measles. And it’s not always the people who make the decision not to vaccinate that pay the price. Many times, it’s infants who are too young to be vaccinated. Just as the individual who breaks a traffic law may not be the one who gets in an accident or who gets slowed down by traffic. Often it’s people down the line who pay the price of one person’s decision not to obey the law, especially when that one person’s actions contribute to a larger, more systemic pattern of behavior.

Several people linked me to this Cochran Review of the scientific literature on the flu vaccine. They seem to have focused on this specific conclusion as evidence that the flu vaccine is ineffective:

“The preventive effect of parenteral inactivated influenza vaccine on healthy adults is small: at least 40 people would need vaccination to avoid one ILI case (95% confidence interval (CI) 26 to 128) and 71 people would need vaccination to prevent one case of influenza (95% CI 64 to 80).”

What this means is that 40 people need to be vaccinated to prevent one case of ‘influenza like illness’ and 71 need to be vaccinated to prevent 1 laboratory-confirmed case of influenza. Oy, that seems depressing, doesn’t it? Maybe the flu vaccine really IS ineffective?

Lets do some math. If 40 vaccines prevent 1flu-like illness, then 240 million vaccines would prevent 6 million flu-like illnesses. 240 million is equal to 75% of the US population. So, if 75% of the US population gets vaccinated, we collectively prevent 6 million flu like illnesses. If 71 vaccines prevent 1 laboratory confirmed case of flu, then 240 million vaccines will prevent 3.4 million cases of laboratory confirmed flu.

Neither 6 million nor 3.4 million is insignificant, especially to the people who can’t get vaccinated due to allergies or age or previous reaction.

The flu vaccine isn’t ineffective. It simply takes a high level of compliance, on a civilization scale, to realize the enormous benefit. What the Cochran Review actually shows is what public health agencies have been saying for decades: participation is important to protect our society.

The more people that are vaccinated, the more protected our civilization is.

Just as the more people that follow traffic laws, the more quickly and safely we all get where we are going.

I choose to be on the team that is preventing millions of illnesses, just as I choose to be on the team that is keeping traffic moving quickly and safely.

I can get vaccinated, so I do, thereby protecting those who can’t. And contributing to a healthier civilization.

Getting vaccinated isn’t about me. It isn’t even about the people I come in direct contact with. It’s about being a part of a group, and contributing to the welfare of that group in any way I’m able. And in return, I receive numerous benefits: safety, resources, companionship, opportunities, education and more.

I get vaccinated for the same reason I follow traffic laws and pay taxes and return my shopping cart to the corral when I go to the grocery store. A little bit of inconvenience on my part keeps the system running smoothly. And I receive enormous benefit from a smoothly running system.

There were a couple other conclusions from that Cochran Review, including:

– “The administration of seasonal inactivated influenza vaccine is not associated with the onset of multiple sclerosis, optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve of the eye) or immune thrombocytopaenic purpura (a disease that affects blood platelets).” (no indication that the vaccine causes MS or other conditions)

– “Evidence suggests that the administration of both seasonal and 2009 pandemic vaccines during pregnancy has no significant effect on abortion or neonatal death.” (looks safe for unborn fetuses)

I really liked this interview with Eula Biss (author of ‘On Immunity: an Innoculation‘) on this topic. She has an eloquent way of explaining this complicated reality in simple words.

I also appreciate this essay in Scientific American on “The Ethics of Opting Out of Vaccination“.

You can learn more about this year’s flu vaccine here and here.

And because the anti-vax movement is nothing if not predictable, let me state definitively here: I am not a ‘shill’ for ‘Big Pharma’ or ‘Big’ anything. No one is paying me to post this. I do not gain any benefit from this post other than promoting public health, which, as a member of the public, directly benefits me in many ways.










Yer So Negative, Kaleo

Like most of you reading, I am a human being. I have moods. Sometimes my mood is upbeat and optimistic. Other times I get discouraged by the things I see going on around me in the health and fitness world.

Lately I’ve been in the latter mood. You’ve probably noticed if you follow me on facebook. Some of you have even commented on it. A few have told me outright that it’s not ok (lol) and that I should go back to my ‘normal’ self.

This is my normal self – a self that has different moods at different times.

The fitness and health industry is really depressing right now. I don’t like it. I am ashamed to be a member of it. Stunning cases of plagiarism are swept under the rug. Fitness celebrities who lie about their qualifications aren’t held accountable. Genius marketers who use fear and pseudoscience to drive their followers to buy the products they sell are glorified on TV and in magazines. Quacks who lie and misrepresent science on TV can be called out by CONGRESS but still their show gets high ratings and advertisers flock to get air-time. Bullshit abounds, and BOY does it sell.

Professionals who base their recommendations on evidence are called ‘too pro-science’.

Too pro-science? As opposed to what? What in the everloving hell…?

I see the industry careening backward. Away from science, away from evidence, away from reality. I get emails regularly from marketers who want to affiliate with me to promote their detoxes and cleanses, their fat burning supplements, their miracle diet books, their guides to avoiding ‘toxins’. I don’t want to be associated with those things, but apparently those are the things the public wants!

The truth is, all these ridiculous things distract from the things that really do work. A balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep. People get so spun out on raging against toxins and looking for evil corporations to blame their problems on that they forget the basics.

People forget that small simple changes can have a profound effect – not just on our bodies but on our world. We don’t need to rage. Raging just fuels the marketing machine (can you believe [Evil Corporation] is trying to kill you by putting [scary sounding chemical] in your food' Buy this other thing that I’m selling instead!). Raging makes us hate people who make different choices than we do. Raging distracts us from what really matters. We need to live our lives, move forward, make consistent statements with our dollars and our votes. Small statements every day. Small actions every day, like walking instead of driving, that over time compound into massive transformations in our bodies and in our lives and in our world.

Raging and extremes don’t make me happy. Seeing them everywhere in the fitness industry doesn’t make me happy. And so, I’ve been cross lately. So it goes, in life. We have moods. This is mine right now. I’m not going to apologize for it, because I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m being human.

I’m sure my mood will change eventually. Then I’ll be back to my ‘normal’ self. :) A heartfelt thanks to those of you who understand the ebbs and flows of life and stick with me through them. Ain’t being human grand?


The One Without a Title

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 2.16.41 PM

Here are a few things people have said about, and directly to, me over the last couple years that I’ve been blogging here.

There are a lot more. I couldn’t put them all because the words would have completely covered me up and you wouldn’t have been able to see who was in the picture.

Which is sort of what those words are designed to do.

Cover you up. Hide you. Make you invisible. Make you not exist.

No one benefits from the status quo. No one. Not even people who appear to conform to a cultural ideal of beauty. There is always a way that they are wrong. A way they are undeserving. A way to silence and dismiss them. No one wins. Ever.

The vast majority of these comments were made by other women. We will NEVER, EVER make any progress past this point if we keep fighting each other.

We are all in this together.






The REAL issue is that virtually everyone is eating more than they think.

I have a lot of colleagues who know the truth – that virtually everyone eats more than they think they do – but have decided that the best way to deal with it is to tell people to eat 1200 calories, knowing they will ACTUALLY eat more like 2000.

Because almost everyone who’s ever had their actual calorie intake compared with their reported intake, by actual SCIENTISTS, has been shown to underestimate how much they’re eating – some people by as much as 300%. In this study, participants under-reported their intake by 47%. This Danish study of over 300 people showed virtually everyone, in every demographic, under-reporting calories. This one shows participants under-reporting by up to 300%! That means some people who think they are eating 1000 calories a day are actually eating more like 3000. Even Registered Dieticians under-report their intake!

Calorie under-reporting isn’t a moral failure, it is normal. Almost everyone does it. It doesn’t make a person weak or dumb or lazy. It just is the way it is.

As I said above, many of my colleagues, knowing this, think that telling people to eat less than they really need is the way to go. I disagree. I think teaching people to be HONEST and ACCURATE is far more important and empowering.

I never made any real or lasting progress until I was honest with myself. Until I wrote down everything I ate and all the exercise I did, and didn’t lie to myself about how much it was. Until I acknowledged that I was eating upwards of 4k calories a day on a typical day, and all that ‘activity’ I told myself I did was really mostly sitting in my chair at my computer. Being honest with myself was the hardest thing I ever did. And it was also the most empowering, because it allowed me to make REAL change to my behavior.

Until I could identify and change my actual behavior, I was stuck in the endless cycle of dieting and regain. Being unaware of what I was really doing to myself was THE problem. Awareness and honesty was the solution.

I believe that most people are capable of being honest with themselves. It’s fucking HARD, but it’s possible. And it’s important. And it’s empowering, because you no longer think of yourself as a victim of biology. You take back the power. You take responsibility for making your own decisions. And making a decision to STOP dieting is every bit as valid a decision as deciding to keep trying to lose weight. It is your body, it is your decision, and you have the power to change it. Or not. Being honest with yourself gives you that power.

I do not believe that coddling people’s unawareness is the way to go. I do not believe that giving people misinformation (your body only needs 1200 calories) because you think they can’t handle the real information (you’re probably eating more than you think) is fair or respectful. I think that compassionate honesty is the most important thing we can do for ourselves (and for those of us in the wellness industry, our clients).

‘You are normal. And you are capable. And I will help you. Lets do this thing.’

Read James Krieger’s post on this subject over at Weightology. And check out my friend Joshua Kern’s post over on Go Maleo. Marion Nestle wrote a good one too.

The reason people freak out about how much I eat is not because 3000 calories a day is so extraordinary for someone my height and weight and activity level. The reason people freak out is because almost everyone else under-reports their intake, so they think they are eating less than me but not achieving the same results. I am the one tracking accurately (see my last blog post for evidence that 3k cals a day is a perfectly appropriate intake for me). The reason people freak out is because I’m one of the very few people who actually tracks my intake accurately, so it looks like I’m the anomaly. I’m not.




Are we REALLY, with this BS again?

Some people just REALLY don’t want to believe I eat 3000 calories a day. Most of the people who accuse me of lying fall into one of two categories: low-carbers or misogynists. Frequently both, as the two seem to overlap with laughable regularity.

The most recent example is one well known douchebro who, upon reading my recent facebook post about how much I eat, declared: “So she eats more than an average male who outweighs her? Bullshit.

Do you even Mifflin St. Jour, bro? Also, I maintain a higher amount of lean mass than the average man my height and weight. I know this is an emasculating concept for men who base their own self worth as a man on how much muscle they have. Sorry bro.

The Mifflin St Jour equation has been shown in studies to be the most accurate predictor of Resting Metabolic Rate of all the most commonly used equations. It’s also the equation I was taught to use in my Personal Training and Health Coaching certification courses. When I run my numbers through the Mifflin St Jour equation, it gives me an estimate of between 2800 and 3200 calories to maintain my current weight, depending on a couple variables. Here, I’ll show you, using an online calculator that bases it’s estimates on the Mifflin St Jour equation*.

When I program in my height, weight, activity level (although I don’t exercise excessively, I do have a a physically demanding job – I’m a massage therapist and personal trainer) and gender, it gives me an estimate of over 2800 to maintain:

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 6.41.20 AMBut remember, I have a higher than average amount of lean mass – in fact, at sub-20% body fat I have more lean mass than the average man my height and weight (the average American male is 28% body fat, sorry bro). In fact, at roughly 140 pounds of lean mass, I have as much lean body mass as an average American man of 195 pounds. So when I switch the gender, causing the calculator to factor in a higher level of lean mass (a more accurate amount of lean mass for me), I get an estimate of almost 3200. See?

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 6.45.51 AMSo yes. I eat as much (if not more) than an average man who outweighs me. Because I’m MOAR MUSCULAR than an average man who outweighs me. And because I’m, you know, not as sedentary as an average man who outweighs me.

Science says 3000 calories a day is a perfectly reasonable and appropriate amount of food for my height, weight and activity level. #ScienceBro


I chose this calculator for this blog post because it’s based specifically on the Mifflin St. Jour equation, not because I think it’s better than the other calculators I’ve linked to on my blog. :)



When a Person with Visible Abs Says Visible Abs are Meaningless

I HATE fitspo images of headless female torsos. So why did I use a picture of my headless torso for this blog post? Because ti gets people's attention. And when you get someone's attention, they click. And when they click, they read. And when they read, ideas take root. And change begins.

I HATE fitspo images of headless female torsos. They are dehumanizing and objectifying. So why did I use a picture of my headless torso for this blog post? Because it gets peoples’ attention. And when you get someone’s attention, they click. And when they click, they read. And when they read, ideas take root. And change begins.

prag ma tism

noun \ prag-m - ti-z m\

: a reasonable and logical way of doing things or of thinking about problems that is based on dealing with specific situations instead of on ideas and theories


On a fundamental level, I approach problems from a practical standpoint. What is the shortest and most efficient route to a solution?

A few years ago, I recognized that there is a problem with our fitness and diet culture. It is mired in disorder. It’s central tenet is that diet and fitness are a means to an aesthetic ideal. Quality of life, health and self esteem are not primary, and rarely even secondary foci. This is wrong. But it is the culture in which my children are growing up. I need to change it.

Another thing I recognized early on is that my appearance afforded me an opportunity to reach more people. This is a frustrating reality for me. I want people to focus on things other than appearance, but my appearance is often the reason people notice and pay attention to me. My appearance affords me a platform I may not otherwise have, but I want to use that platform to promote a non-appearance-based message.

Rather than focus on the frustrating dichotomy, I decided to use it. This is pragmatism.

Some people like my message but really don’t like that I am the one spreading it. They don’t like that I promote self-acceptance but have a socially sanctioned body type. They don’t like that I say visible abs are meaningless, but I have visible abs. They think that I am a hypocrite when I say ‘love yourself’ after I changed my appearance through weight loss. They get mad that my statements about the uselessness of BMI standards went viral, when others who have been saying it for years have gone unnoticed (in fairness, I’ve been saying it for years too).

You know something? I don’t really like it either. I would like these ideas and the people speaking so eloquently about them to get more mainstream media attention. I don’t like that it takes a culturally approved appearance to get these ideas recognized. But, I recognize that this is the reality we live in right now.

My pragmatic world view says: if this is what it takes to get these concepts out there into mainstream consciousness, then I will work with that. And when I get noticed, I will promote others who have been saying these things. And slowly, over time, we will see the tide begin to turn. I see it happening already. These ideas ARE taking root. And as they spread, more and more voices will be heard. And that is a good thing. Change is the goal.

So I am the one with visible abs saying visible abs are bullshit. I am the fit-looking person saying you don’t have to look fit to be healthy or valuable. I am the one who lost weight saying your weight does NOT determine your worth. That is the role I play in this culture shift. I am ok with that, because reality. Getting from where we are to where we want to be is gonna take a lot of creativity, open-mindedness and compassion.

And I know some people are still not going to like me, and call me arrogant and hypocritical. I’m going to keep fighting for the world my daughters are growing up in, though. Because THEY are the reason I do what I do, they are my motivation. They deserve a world in which their appearance doesn’t define their worth. And I see the practical utility of my appearance. It is a tool, and I will use it.