Tag Archives: weight loss

Is Godzilla Yo-Yo Dieting?

Japanese fans are up in arms about the new Americanized Godzilla’s hefty size–citing poor diet as cause for the unwelcome change.

The trailers for the newest Godzilla film have hit American shores and has spawned some significant controversy.  It appears that Godzilla has come “under fire” not for his acting (which has been notably wooden in the past) but for his BMI.  No we are not talking about the Bad Monster Index–where Godzilla holds the undisputed title of King of the Monsters.  We are talking about the Body Mass Index.  Many are currently arguing that Godzilla is just sporting too much weight on his 350-foot high frame.  Using the current BMI, Godzilla could weigh about 750,000 pounds before he hit the dreaded “Obese” category.  Godzilla has not been forthcoming about his weight, but many Japanese fans have calculated that the hapless lizard may have stomped out of the “ideal weight” category.

“He’s so fat I laughed,” was one particularly cutting remark found on Japanese forum 2chan.  Others have referred to him as “metabozilla”, “marshmallow Godzilla” and even “pudgy and cute”.  Some have speculated that Godzilla’s size is due in part to his American diet and sedentary lifestyle.  “That’s what happens when all you do is eat Snickers bars,” said one commenter.

Much of this has led to speculation about Godzilla’s diet.  He has never been shown on screen eating (although he has ingested a nuclear reactor and seemed to absorb energy from that).  He has been seen in comic books eating raw seafood.  Most people guess that he lives largely on radiation and sushi.

It seems pretty likely that Godzilla has to eat quite a bit to sustain is 350 foot high body.  An African elephant weighs in at about 7,000 pounds and needs to eat about 500 lbs. of plant matter per day to sustain itself.  Using that same ratio, Godzilla would need to eat about 50,000 pounds of plant per day.  Now the King of Monsters might be able to absorb some of his energy via nuclear radiation.  And naturally protein sources like fish are more dense in calories than say, trees.  But I ask you, do we really want a creature that needs to eat 10,000 pounds or more of food per day to turn to a protein diet?    So far as we know, Godzilla does not eat people, yet.  But I don’t know if I want to encourage him.

But Godzilla hasn’t always been svelte.  A quick look at his film debut publicity photos in 1954 show a relatively “fluffy” monster with more of a pear-shaped figure.

There is no question that Godzilla has gotten bigger over the years.  Traditionally, the giant lizard has grown larger in proportion to the buildings he stomps around.  The Godzilla of 1954 was a mere 50 meters tall.  The newest Godzilla is over 100 meters tall and noticeably beefier:

But if you look carefully at the creature’s shape, you might notice something very interesting and somewhat familiar.  It’s even clearer if you look at this picture here:

Clearly the great monster’s shape has cycled too.  He appeared to have shed some pounds in the the MusoGogi period (1964) beefed up considerably in the BioGogi period (1989-91) gone through some sort of radical weight loss program in the Shodaijira period (1998) and bulked back up for his current appearances.  Seem familiar to you?  Seemed that way to me too.  In fact, I think Godzilla is experiencing the most common outcome of trying to stay slim.  I think the King of Monsters is weight cycling–probably from yo-yo dieting.

Now there is no way to know for sure.  As my good friend Ragen Chastain says, the only thing you can know about a fat  person (or monster) by looking at them is your own prejudices about fat people (or giant lizards).  But if our good friend Godzilla is experiencing weight cycling, he would certainly be experiencing the same thing that most people who try to lose weight experience.  Most people are able to keep some weight off for a while, but the vast majority of folks (90 percent or more) regain the weight they’ve lost and often a little more.

So this leads us to the question of what should be done about Tokyo’s most famous building-stomper.  I think if we are seriously going to spill digital ink regarding the size of a fictitious reptile who bangs buses together for fun, we should use this as a truly teachable moment.  Let’s talk about what really works in making creatures of all shapes and sizes happier and healthier.  I think the first thing we should do, is to stop trying to shame the poor creature.  There is ample evidence after all, that shame doesn’t help anybody lose weight.  I’m sure the producers at The Biggest Loser are planning epic monster battles between Godzilla and their “Monster Trainers” as we speak.  And even though the King of Monsters’ agent is probably taking calls right now from diet companies seeking his endorsement for the new “Monster Weight Loss Formula”, we should probably discourage him from falling into his old habits of dieting and weight cycling.

I recommend the same thing for Godzilla that I recommend for everybody else.  He should eat a varied diet including foods that he loves (but not including people).  He should engage in joyful and pleasurable physical activities (not too close to major cities).  In fact, I think he should try my DVD.  He should sleep well.   And he should manage his stress (again, hopefully not too close to major metropolitan areas).   At 60 years old, Godzilla is showing no signs of slowing.  If he follows these simple recommendations, he’s likely to stay happy and healthy for many years to come.  Which is good.  Because I freakin’ LOVE this guy.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

CEO: Every BODY Can Exercise.com

 

Even more research on Fitness and Fatness

For the 1,000th time, fitness is more important than fatness when it comes to overall health outcomes.  In the midst of the holiday hubub, I came across yet another study regarding weight vs. exercise as a determinant of health.  This was actually a metastudy, which means the scientists gathered together a lot of other studies and used math and science to determine what most of those other studies said.  And it’s no surprise, at least to me, that fitness is much more important than body size in determining how long and how well people live.

This metastudy analyzed the results of 10 other studies.  And these studies in turn measured the results of tens of thousands of participants (the largest single study included 21,856 participant) and perhaps more importantly measured these people over a significant span of time (ranging from 7 to over 16 years).  It’s important to note that the studies analyzed included both enough participants to be statistically significant and were conducted over a long enough period to see what was actually happening in the lives of the participants.  Many of the studies cited regarding the effectiveness and efficacy of weight loss are conducted over a period of three years or less.  Given the fact that long term studies indicate that weight loss participants tend to regain all the weight that was lost and often a little more in the 3-5 year range, it’s clear that the duration of the study is an important factor in determining actual results.

And what were the actual results in this case?  I think they were pretty astounding.  The metastudy indicated that unfit people, no matter what they weighed, had twice the risk of dying during the study than fit people.  And the study showed that if you are fit and fat, your mortality risk is about the same as if you are fit and thin.  That means that all those thin and unfit folks had about a 50 percent greater chance of mortality than the fat and fit folks during the course of the study.

Whoa.

So here we are heading into the holidays.  This is a time when we have access to fabulous food and friends and fantastic food and family and well, FOOD.  This is a time when many of us feel more and more panic regarding weight and body size, culminating in a full blown panic that hits full force right around January 1st.  We live in a society where the commercials are full of food porn shots of holiday turkeys lovingly basted in butter and mountains of chocolate until December 25.  Only to be replaced on December 26 with shots of impossibly tanned and ripped bodies exhorting us to make 2014 the year where we too get to look like a movie star.

Bah Humbug!

The bad news is, no matter how many mashed potatoes we eat or avoid, and no matter how many crunches and squats we do, we are probably NOT going to look like the perky fitness models gracing those commercials on January 1.  The good news is, we don’t have to.  You don’t have to look like that to be a successful exerciser, and you don’t have to look like that to achieve massive health benefits from engaging in regular exercise.  And that regular exercise doesn’t have to include 2 hours per day at the gym or running marathons.  We’re talking about a cumulative total of 150 minutes per week here.  Eventually.  If you aren’t there yet, don’t worry.  You can get there!  Just start wherever you currently are with your fitness level and increase gradually, up to 10 percent per week until you get there.  Some studies show that even as little as 75 minutes per week of exercise can have a significant effect on health.

So, so what?

Why am I being such a Negative Nelly and bursting your exercise bubble?  Why am I not suggesting that you’ll look like that hateful woman with the three kids and the super flat abs and very tiny shorts who is all over the internet and your television asking you what is  your excuse?  (Because, of course, she says, if you do some exercise surely you’ll look a lot like she does!)  I’m telling you this because exercise is not only a wonderful way to improve health outcomes, but is also a wonderful tool to help you feel better, feel better about yourself, enjoy a better quality of life and have a darn good time.  And far too often, I’ve seen people approach exercise thinking it will make them look like a supermodel, only to give up a short time later when they find that they are not accosted by modeling agencies or Hollywood directors eager to make them millionaires or at least take them out to very expensive restaurants to tell them how pretty they are.

God, I’m GORGEOUS!

Exercise is wonderful.  I’ve seen exercise work magic in the lives of many, many people.  But it rarely works the sort of magic seen in “before and after” photo shoots.  The sad thing is, by looking exclusively for the “magic of exercise” as seen on TV, many people miss the magic that is right in front of them.

Here’s wishing you a calm, lovely, peaceful holiday.  And a 2014 that is full of all the magic that a moderately active lifestyle can bring to you!

Love,

Jeanette

AKA The Fat Chick

P.S. There is a lot of great advice about how to go from zero to moderately active in YOUR life in my book–The Fat Chick Works Out!  Now get both the book and DVD for only $25.

P.P.S. Want to get access to FREE STUFF?  Just opt in RIGHT HERE!

New Zealand Tells South African Chef, “You’re Too Fat to Live Here!”

I know I am not the first and I certainly hope I’m not to write about this story.  Because you know what?  This scares me right out of my sparkly, yet sensible shoes.  Last week, New Zealand immigration officials told South African chef Albert Buitenhuis that due to his weight of 286 pounds he has an “unacceptable standard of health” and faces expulsion from the country.  Despite the fact that Buitenhuis has actually lost weight since he was originally admitted to the country in 2007, he has lost his work visa because he failed to lose weight.

He needed to stop working immediately.  And because Albert was the primary applicant on the original work visa, his wife needed to stop working as well.

An immigration spokesperson has stated that Mr Buitenhuis’s application had been rejected because his obesity put him at “significant risk” of complications including diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.  The spokesman reportedly said:

“Unless it is in the extreme, obesity will not in itself cause an applicant to fail health screening requirements, but INZ’s medical assessors have to consider to what extent there might be indications of future high-cost and high-need demand for health services,”

It should be noted that Albert may also need a knee replacement which could cost the health system over $20,000.  However, it has also been reported that the fact that Mr. Buitenhuis’ BMI was over 35, originally triggered the rejection of his work visa renewal.

This story has hit international news outlets including the Daily Mail and the BBC.  So I am hopeful this won’t just slip into obscurity in the next day or two, and I am eager to hear how Albert’s appeal process proceeds.  Because I have to admit, I find this story terrifying and frustrating in the extreme.

Here are just a few points:

1.  Immigration officials arbitrarily choose to apply or not apply BMI statistics in regards to work visa renewal.  If the irrational or irregular application of body size regulations are enough to leave people traveling on a jet plane in the lurch, think of the effect it can have on people moving their entire lives from one country to another.  And as we’ve seen in regards to flying on airplanes, if fat people are unable to ascertain exactly how these regulations will apply to them they are more likely to avoid the situation altogether.

2.  It appears that the rules changed after Albert moved to New Zealand.  Albert and his wife set down roots, made friends, built a career and a life, and then the rug got pulled out from under them.  This should be a chilling tale for everyone interested in ever immigrating anywhere.

3.  It appears the New Zealand Immigration ministry are using BMI and health interchangeably.  There is ample evidence that as a health metric BMI is extremely problematic and unreliable.  There is significant evidence that people who have a BMI in the “ideal range” actually live shorter lives than those in the “overweight” range.  Furthermore, I have heard no indication that New Zealand’s Immigration ministry are using other, far more reliable health metrics in determining visa renewal status.  Are they taking into account issues like: stress level, sedentary lifestyle, tobacco use, levels of discrimination, lack of sleep, working third shift or driving a motorcycle, being older, or being male?  There’s also evidence that bald men are more likely to have heart disease and taller women are more likely to get cancer.  Why are they taking this one extremely unreliable metric (BMI) out of context and using it to determine immigration status?

4.  Is BMI used because it is a “cheap shot” both figuratively and literally?  Despite the many, many questions about the effectiveness of BMI as a health metric, there is no question that it is extremely easy to measure and verify.  And I wonder whether discrimination based on body size is cheap politically as well?  Immigration necessarily needs to limit the number of people who can enter and stay in a country.  And they need to make sure the limitations that are used are politically tenable.  Are fat people singled out and discriminated against simply because politically, they are easy targets?

I admit that I can’t claim to know everything that is going on in this case.  I will be watching with interest to see how it plays out.  But, in any case, I think this is further proof that we need to be ever vigilant of new ways that discrimination is heaped upon people of size.

Love,

The Fat Chick

UPDATE: Don’t miss this amazing post by Angela Meadows in Huff Po!  And don’t forget to like the story and comment if you have the sanity points to spare!

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New Years Resolution Special Edition

Hello everybody.  Sorry the post is so late today, but I was working up the special treat you see in the video above.  I’ve been thinking a lot about New Years resolutions lately and how to make them more body positive.  That was the inspiration for the video.

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that the video mostly has pictures of me.  And while I’m okay with looking at pictures of myself, what I REALLY would like to do is create a video with some pictures of YOU.  I think working together makes us so much stronger!  So, I’d love it if you would send me some photos along with body-positive resolutions. Just send them to projects@thefatchick.com.  You can use the video above as an example of the kinds of photos and resolutions I’m seeking.  You can send anything–(just keep it PG and body positive, please!)

I’m so excited about the coming year and the amazing projects we can do together!  For instance, on the Fit Fatties Forum we are launching Fit Fatties Across America.  Starting tomorrow, forum members can enter their exercise duration or miles on a very simple form.  We’ll add everybody’s time and distance together and calculate how long it will take all of the Fit Fatties to get across the USA.  (NOTE: the program is open to folks all over the world.  We simply picked the US as a beginning geographical marker.  Once we get from New York to LA, we’ll have a big party and begin discussing “Fit Fatties Across the World” or “Fit Fatties Fly to the Moon!”)  If you’re interested be sure to join the forum (it’s FREE) and hop right on in there!

Also launching on the Fit Fatties Forum on January 1 are, by member request, training and support groups.  There are groups lead by fat certified fitness professionals for people of all sizes, abilities, and goals.  There is a group for those with a goal of 150 minutes of activity a week,  a group for those planning to participate in a fitness event this year, one for those who want to enjoy movement without tracking or structure, and then there’s Team Zombie.  People can join as many groups as they would like.  There is a small fee to be involved but it’s pretty cheap and it will be awesome.  You can find out more info here. (If you aren’t a member you’ll be prompted to join at the link – it’s free and doesn’t commit you to anything.)

We are also launching an amazing new project with the Size Diversity Task Force here in Los Angeles.  We’ll be “liberating” diet books and papers from our closets and garages as well as local resale shops, thrift stores and rummage sales.  We will then be incorporating these diet books into an extra special super cool art project!  Want to make sure you’re in the loop on this awesome project?  Check out the site for the Size Diversity Task Force.

Well that’s about the limit of awesome I can fit into one blog post.  Tune in soon for more updates.  Oh, and Happy New Year!

Love,

The Fat Chick

I expect you to DIE(T) Mr. Bond.


My husband and I have been watching a lot of vintage James Bond lately.  So  this morning when I was trying to decide what to write in my blog, I have to confess the above scene popped into my head.  Except to James Bond’s query, “So do you expect me to talk?” Goldfinger’s reply IN MY HEAD was “No, Mr. Bond.  I expect you to diet!”  It’s always an interesting morning when your hubby rolls over in bed and asks you what you’re giggling about.

It led to an exceptionally silly line of thinking wherein I imagined what the secret evil lair of the weight loss industry would look like.  I wondered, could the weight loss industry qualify for James Bond nemesis format?  Let’s see:

  1. Impossibly thin, conventionally beautiful babes working as a front for the organization? Check.
  2. Attempted world domination by bankrupting various segments of the population? Check.
  3.  Perpetuation of male-dominated societal stereotypes? Check.
  4. Organization selling something completely different than what is outwardly offered? Check.
  5. Organization offering products that are inherently dangerous to the population?  Check.
  6. Organization infiltrating other society groups including not for profits for financial gain?  Check!

Yup, the weight loss industry (on the whole) qualifies for a secret evil lair.  And with over $60 Billion per year in revenue (that’s Billion with a “B”) there’s a lot of money to work with.  Surely they could afford a hollowed out volcano or two.  There’s probably even enough left over for a private submarine entrance and a tank with sharks with frickin laser beams on their heads.

And the prospects for the world weight loss industry as an evil empire look frankly, pretty good.  After all weight bias is extremely useful:

  1. Government running out of money?  Being forced to cut popular social programs?  Blame fat people! Prescribe weight loss.
  2. Company benefits program cutting into CEO’s yacht fund?  Threaten to cut benefits without weight loss.
  3. Faced with diagnosing a difficult condition or disease?  Prescribe weight loss.
  4. Health insurance costs spiraling out of control?  Government deadlocked regarding solutions?  Blame fat people!  Prescribe weight loss.
  5. Can’t balance a city budget?  Arbitrarily single out inexpensive foods, make them illegal, and prescribe weight loss.

Yup, all that’s left to do is pick out the sexy mid century modern furniture and come up with naughty double entendre names for the front office girls.

Because our governments don’t want us to talk, they just want us to die(t).

Love,

The Fat Chick

Sweaty and Fabulous: Plus Sized Fitness Wear for EVERY Body

Following yesterday’s post about sweat, I thought I’d publish this new video I created with advice about plus-sized fitness togs.

For a lot MORE information about plus-sized fitness wear, you might want to check out THIS thread on the Fit Fatties Forum.  If you haven’t joined yet, well get to it!  It’s pretty awesome.  (And not just because I host it with the spectacularly talented Ragen Chastain…)

Because my dear chicklettes, getting all sweaty is no reason to stop looking FABULOUS!

Love,

The Fat Chick

But won’t you lose weight if…?

At the San Bernardino Valley College screening of “Strong!”

Last night at the panel discussion after the screening of StrongI at the San Bernardino Valley College, I got asked a very common question.  People assume, that if I did a marathon or if I ate healthy or if taught aerobics, I would have lost weight.  And audience members were, as always, floored when I told them, yes I did those things and no I didn’t lose weight.  They usually follow this question with a tentative, “well you lost inches, right?”.  To which I usually respond, “well I didn’t get any shorter!”  Seriously, it seems very hard for folks to believe that a person can do healthy things, even extraordinary physical things and not get thin.  This seems to fly in the face of EVERYTHING that they’ve heard.  And I’m sorry about that. But it’s still true.

When I started teaching fitness, I went from very little exercise to over 4 hours per week.  Did I get svelte?  Did I get slim?  Nope!  When I bumped my teaching up to 9 hours per week, I lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 pounds and ended up with a ligament tear in my knee.  I gained one 3-pound pair of crutches for a net weight loss of 0.00.  While training for the marathon, I routinely walked and ran 15 to 20 miles per week.  Near the end it was well over 30.  And you know how much weight I lost? Zero. Zip. Zilch.  I felt better.  I was stronger and healthier.  And no doubt some of my weight shifted around a bit.  But the fact is, I didn’t get thin.

And here’s why that’s important.  Wouldn’t it have been a shame for me to have crossed the finish line of my first (and only) marathon feeling like a failure?  Can you imagine? Going 26.2 miles in one day without dying and feeling like a FAILURE?  Well that’s precisely what would have happened had I not learned to separate the concept of fitness from the concept of weight loss.  Since I wasn’t worried about losing weight, I can tell you that crossing that finish line was one of the most amazing moments of my life.

So that’s it.  That’s why I call myself The Fat Chick.  Because I think it is so very important to let fitness stand on its own as an accomplishment.  Because I want people to understand that not all folks who exercise look like fitness cover models.  A lot of them look an awful lot like me.  In fact, if you’d like to see some exercisers of size, don’t forget to hit the photo gallery of Fit Fatties which I developed in concert with the lovely and amazing Ms. Ragen Chastain.

And remember my little chicklettes, if you want to see what an athlete looks like, just check in the nearest mirror.

Love,

TFC