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why i hate most health & wellness blogs + health tips for people who don't mind being chubby

I fit the target demographic for 90% of health & wellness media, so I feel like I have some authority in saying that most health & wellness blogs/podcasts suck some serious butt.

I love the idea of wellness blogs and nutrition gurus who care about helping others lead healthy lives. But most of the blogs I've seen suck in the following ways:

  1. They're beauty blogs in disguise. Don't tell me your 1,200 calorie-a-day diet of oat milk and kale juice is about health. Most wellness blogs are less about health and more about beauty, less about lowering your blood pressure and more about fitting into a certain size, less about improving your mental health and more about achieving "glow-y skin" (whatever that means)...

  2. They're mostly aimed at women, and they're infantilzing. How many times have you read things along the lines of, "Green juice makes my tummy happy!" You can talk to adult women about food without sounding like you're trying to convince a toddler to eat her vegetables.

  3. Most of their health tips are rooted in belief rather than evidence. You can probably find support for almost any diet, but most experts agree that it's best to eat a little of everything in moderation. Yet pseudo-scientific claims in the wellness community abound. Take, for example, cleanses. Think about how many products/diets/etc. claim to cleanse the body of "toxins" as if we weren't all equipped with a liver and kidneys to do just that.

  4. They often exist just to sell products. I am not against sponsored posts. Everyone has to pay rent. But it feels unethical to praise a product as a key part of a healthy lifestyle when the company is paying you to say nice things about it.

  5. Their suggestions are inaccessible to a lot of people. Most people don't have the resources, financial or otherwise, to devote themselves to an involved health routine. Health bloggers be like, "Every morning, I meditate, work out, stretch, shower, write in my journal, oil pull, then make an elaborate smoothie bowl--which I photograph--and then FINALLY get dressed and leave the house." WHO HAS THAT KIND OF TIME?!?

So those are my main critiques. And since I hate critical posts that offer a problem with no solution, here are my health tips for ladies (or dudes) who don't mind being a chubby lil dumpling and just want to feel like they're not dying 100% of the time. I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure none of these tips will kill you.

  1. Make the healthiest choice that you'll also be happy with. You don't have to sentence yourself to a life of rice milk and sadness to be healthy. There are a lot of shades of healthy between vegan monk and "My 600 Pound Life," so find your middle ground.

  2. If you really want to cut something out of your diet just to prove that you can cut something out of your diet, cut out alcohol/binge drinking.

  3. If you're trying to have the perfect body, take that energy and put it into doing literally anything else.

  4. Make getting to the gym the only goal of your workout. If you really don't want to work out once you're there, you can just leave. But you'll probably stay, because hey, you're already at the gym.

  5. When you see a vegetable, eat it. This is a campaign truism that gets thrown around by political folk because campaigners often eat so poorly, but it's actually a really good way to get more veggies in your diet. If you're looking for vegetables, you see them everywhere.

  6. Go to the doctor! Get checked for STDs, get your blood pressure measured, make sure you're not anemic... Shocking how few people do this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Health food trends (i.e. Kombucha, bone broth, etc.) can actually be pretty fun, so try them, but don't expect them to make you thin/happy/immune to all disease.

Being a human is hard as is. Taking care of your shell doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. In the wise words of my mother, if you feel ill, "Eat a Popsicle! Go to the bathroom! Drink some water!" It's easy.

    10 Things I Learned by Going on a Gazillion Tinder Dates in 2015

    via  gurl

    via gurl

    I went on a few dozen Tinder dates in 2015 after breaking up with my long term boyfriend. Here's what I learned.

    1. Some guys will wear sweatpants on dates, and that's just a reality we all have to live with.  If you're a woman, remember this every time you're preparing for a date and fretting about what to wear. It literally doesn't matter. There's a 20% chance he woke up from a nap ten minutes before meeting you. Wear whatever you want.

    2. How good or bad the date will go is directly correlated with how sweaty he is. Honestly, the sweatiest guys are usually the most nervous ones--which means he'll inevitably tell you something embarrassing about himself, like that he believes that victims of domestic abuse are TOO protected under the law, or he'll ask you some really awkward question like, "Are you ready to have kids?" Try not to slip on his snail trail of sweat while you run for the hills.

    3. If you're inexplicably dreading the date, just cancel. I know, I know, your roommate's friend's sorority sister's coworker was on the brink of cancelling a first date, but she went anyway and met the love of her life. That's not going to happen you. Sorry. Listen, once I went on a date I was dreading, and I ended up tripping on some uneven pavement and breaking my two front teeth. I could have saved so much money and physical pain if I had just told him that some "urgent business" had come up at work, and I had to cancel.

    4. Some men are the actual worst. I don't think it comes as any surprise that some men on Tinder are gross about sex stuff, but it's like SHOCKING to witness in real life. I went on a pretty normal brunch date with a really quiet guy. Mere moments after we parted ways, he started sending me explicit messages, which was just so incongruous with how he acted when we were face-to-face. I think some people feel like the distance of a screen gives them the freedom to be more explicit, more daring, more aggressive. It's only a small percentage of the men on Tinder--like under 5% if I had to wager a guess--but it's still jarring.

    5. He didn't text you because he didn't want to text you. It's not a mystery; he doesn't want to talk to you because he's not that into you. Don't let your well intentioned friends try to convince you otherwise. Have a glass of water, do a clay mask, take a nap, it's fine.

    6. Dating can be kind of tedious. There's a chapter in Chuck Klosterman's Sex, Drugs, and Coco Puffs in which he describes telling the same canned jokes and stories on date after date because he knows that they work towards helping him create this nerdy, Woody Allen-esque persona that he thinks women adore. There were many moments when I found myself doing that on dates, rolling out the "greatest hits" because I knew that they were easy and entertaining, asking the same stupid first date questions just to fill the silence. When a date feels like more of a performance than a conversation, that's when you know it's not a good fit.

    7. But dating can also be really fun! I mean, at it's best, a date is just spending some time getting to know a good looking stranger. At its worst, you'll have a really good "worst date ever" story to tell. It's a win-win, in a way.

    8. It's OK to be a bad date sometimes. I identify with this Onion article a little too much. There's some behavior that's inexcusable. Like you shouldn't make your date feel unsafe or uncomfortable, and it's not OK to be flat out rude. But every once in awhile, you'll be having a bad day for whatever reason, and you'll find yourself incapable of saying anything charming or interesting, and instead you'll just be like "Do you have any secret suspicions about how you're going to die?" and "When was the last time you cried? I cried at work today." Like whatever, you were a bad date, oh well, move on.

    9. Everyone wants someone who's smart, funny, nice, and good looking--but everyone has very specific and conflicting definitions of those words. I don't really connect with the idea of "chemistry" because it feels too vague and indescribable, but I know that I've felt indifferent about many of basically good guys because they weren't smart and funny and handsome in the specific ways I wanted them to be. I'm sure plenty of men would say the same about me. And maybe that's obvious, but it was kind of a groundbreaking revelation for me. 

    10. Liking someone is almost worse than not liking someone. There's a reason they call it a crush--because it can be crushing. Maybe it's just one of my fatal flaws, but I cannot stand the rush of being in like with someone: wondering if he likes me, feeling my stomach drop every time a text notification pops up on my phone, anxiously over-analyzing everything that he did and said... Ugh, it's the worst.

    Bonus Lesson

    11. People are weirdly judge-y about Tinder! What the fuck! How is it any different from meeting someone at a bar? At its inception, I think Tinder was truly just a hook up app, and for some, it still is (more power to them, honestly.) But now, everyone's on it. There are certainly some valid criticisms of Tinder and other dating apps. For example, I have friends of other races who have been sexually harassed in a racially-charged way when using the app. I'm not trying to minimize that very real problem. All I'm saying is, maybe don't judge people for how the choose to live their lives!!!

    ladylike

    This was originally published on May 30, 2015 on my old wordpress site, raynewms.wordpress.com, which is now defunct.

    Sometimes I think I’ll never find love again. I imagine the love of my life, and all I can see is myself–how I’d be around him, how he’d make me feel, what I’d wear… Like suddenly, upon meeting this faceless/personality-less stranger, I’d shed the extra weight I put on in college and buy pretty sheer pajamas and stop spilling on myself when I eat. Like suddenly, I’d laugh less like an evil genius in a Dreamworks movie and more like Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman.” Like I’d stop making jokes about my vagina and start saying sweet little Forrest Gump-esque things that he could quote as captions on his Instagram photos of us picnicking or whatever. I think less about him and more about myself–more about the manic pixie dream girl hiding inside of me, just waiting for the right corporate drone to coax her out of her cage.

    A few weeks before I met my last boyfriend, I sat cross-legged on the balcony of my shitty Urbana apartment, eating avocado on toast and crying about Bogdan. Bogdan was this Romanian guy who I dated for about six weeks before he left for Europe. In a Facebook message, he told me that the reason we didn’t “click” was because I was not “fit” (read: skinny) enough, nor ladylike enough. Now I probably would’ve been like, “Woof. TTY-never,” but back then, I felt so crushed. So I sat there, feeling sorry for myself, feeling like the sun and the avocado on my toast and all other good things in the world existed only to mock me.

    I grabbed my journal and wrote about the future–about the person I’d want to fall in love with next (slash forever). I wrote that he was tall and blonde and bearded, that he could play the guitar and that he loved to write and read, that he was nice to his mom and funny and sweet to me and to all of his friends and to strangers… I wrote about drinking coffee with him on lazy Sunday mornings. I wrote about his hands fitting perfectly in mine, my head cradled perfectly on his chest, my eyes fixated perfectly on his. It was all very Nicholas Sparks.

    Three weeks later, he opened his door and invited me into his apartment. He pushed me against the wall of his kitchen and kissed me. He held my hand as we both shivered, and he told me that I walked too fast for him to keep up. I imagined him, and there he was.

    Three years later, it exploded.

    And now I don’t know what I want.

    Now I’m going on date after date and letting men buy me tacos and kissing complete frogs just to see if maybe, maybe, maybe someone will resonate with me. And they never do–not really anyway. “I don’t think your next great love is on that list,” my wife said as we talked about the men I’ve dated, “The way you talk about them–it’s just not the way someone talks about their next great love.”

    So for now, I’m joking about my vagina and wearing ratty tee shirts to bed and spilling all over myself. Just for now. Until I meet someone who compels me to be a little more fit. A little more ladylike. A little less like me.