Home/Tag: health

Toxic shocking.

As someone who was so scared by the Toxic Shock Bogeyman as a teen and has subsequently never used a tampon because of it,1 this re-look at the “syndrome” was pretty fascinating. And not just for the fact that apparently all the major researchers in the area are dudes who get into prestige fights over whose theory of the causes is correct…

  1. Not that I’ve had a period for, like, a decade. But still… []
2019-02-05T11:45:41+11:0015th July, 2019|Tags: health|

Sunscreen is bad for you I knew it!1

  1. Seriously, though. The potential harmful effects of sunscreen have been kicking around for years; Mum used to work with doctors like a decade ago who were saying things like this… []
2019-02-04T08:42:55+11:002nd July, 2019|Tags: health|

What health looks like.

I’ve been thin before and know how to get back there. Restricting calories was successful. When I went down to 650 calories a day I lost weight. Sure, I was an asshole, I had consistent acid reflux, called out of work to sleep because I was so drained, and had fantasies about being in a hospital so someone else could manage my life but I looked good in a swimsuit.

I could also go to the gym more. Back when I was popping Diet Fuel like candy and walking in circles around tracks for hours at a time with ankle weights I lost weight. Granted, my heart was constantly racing, I passed out once at the bathroom at work, had insomnia, and popped handfuls of Advil each day to deal with my knee, ankle, and back pain but I fit into a single-digit clothing size so it was worth it, right?

So many see a fat woman and equate it with being unhealthy. But there are many women who aren’t fat and are unhealthy. And many women who look fat who are in amazing shape.

Alison Gary on health.

2019-04-29T12:03:31+10:006th May, 2019|Tags: cw: dieting, cw: discussions of weight, health|


But consider this for a moment. Perhaps once we are adequately fed, diet becomes far less significant in determining how healthy we are. Maybe almost insignificant. Could it be that when our bodies have enough macro and micro nutrients available most of the time, other determinants of health kick in. The houses we live in. The stress we are under. The pressure of financial and social inequalities. Stigma, abuse and mental illness. Social isolation. And a million other factors with the capacity to make us sick.

The Angry Chef on diet science.

2018-09-05T09:58:16+10:0014th February, 2019|Tags: culture, cw: dieting, food, health|


I’m sure someone’s going to ask me if I think that authors just shouldn’t write about teenagers dying of cancer or suffering through treatment thereof, but as always, I find that question boring. No, I don’t advocate censorship. Anyone should be able to write (almost) whatever they want. Free speech. Next.

A question I find more interesting is: Do authors who write for young people have a responsibility to try to write in a way that makes their lives suck less rather than more? I think the answer is yes. And as a young cancer patient—so, exactly the person that these books are supposedly for—I can tell you that irresponsibly-written cancer narratives contributed to making my life an unbelievable living hell when I was first diagnosed. I was having flashbacks to stuff that never happened to me or to anyone else. I still do, sometimes.

So much of the pain and misery that comes with a cancer diagnosis is unavoidable. This was completely avoidable.

Miri on fictional cancer.

While it’s not quite comparable to the experience of actually having cancer, I have been told that, when I was little, I was so traumatized by government anti-smoking ads that, upon learning Dad used to smoke before I was born, I immediately burst into tears screaming that I didn’t want him to die (because “smoking = cancer = death” was the message I’d internalized). On the other hand, I’ve never smoked,1 but… still.

On the other other hand, I do have certain types of cancer running in my family and I’ve always had that “culturally absorbed trauma” about chemo that Miri describes. So to hear that the actual chemo itself (as opposed to the side-effects) is actually not supposed to be that bad, is… reassuring.

  1. Although, weirdly enough, I frequently have quite detailed, lengthy dreams that I do. Brains are strange. []
2017-12-22T07:57:13+11:007th June, 2018|Tags: cw: cancer, health|

Zombies, run!

So sometime in late 2016 I decided that my Life Goal for 2017 was to teach myself to run. I’ve never, in my entire life, been a runner. Walking, yeah. I like walking, and I do it a lot; it’s my preferred form of exercise. But running? Never.

I bounced through some some the popular couch-to-5k style apps, but none of them really stuck. I got better at running–when I started, I could barely manage a thirty-second jog–but I would still plateau out fairly quickly. I don’t know what it is. Maybe there’s just Something About Me that means I’m not a natural runner, but the point is the gamification aspect of the apps dried up pretty quickly, making it harder to keep at them.

And then I decided to bite the bullet, and download Zombies, Run. That review is from Kadomi, and it pretty much sums up my experience with the app. Apart from the weight loss part. I just don’t, apparently, really lose weight by doing exercise, which is kind of a shit of a thing but also means I need another motivator to get me out and moving. And working my way through the story of Zombies, Run is apparently that thing.

Over a year later, and I still can’t run through an entire episode. But I can run in bursts and, more importantly, I actually have some defined muscle in my legs for the first time in my life (I’ve always hated my legs, for a number of reasons, but I’m learning to live with them). And, the thing is? I just like the story of Zombies, Run. It’s interesting. The characters are, variously, engaging and adorable and infuriating. I talk back at them; cheer at their victories and cry at their losses.1 And I do like the gamification element of building up the little township, even if it doesn’t have a direct impact on the story missions per se.

So the app works for me and, it seems, it works for a lot of other people as well. At all fitness levels. And on that last note, I think it’s important to note that the app’s lead writer, Naomi Alderman, is (in her own words) fat. I was never a fit or athletic kid but–as mentioned above–I’ve always liked self-paced, non-competitive activities like walking.2 I’m fairly convinced now, as an adult, that a lot of my ingrained inactivity and “hatred of exercise” was instilled in me by high school P.E. lessons created both by and for the fit and aggressive. I loathed them,3 and it’s basically taken me a lifetime to even start to unwind the long-term emotional, mental, and physical damage they caused.

It’s kind of ironic to realize, after over two decades, that you don’t actually “hate exercise”; you just hate the way it’s commonly taught and presented.4 But go figure, I guess.

  1. Thankfully, I’m usually the only person in our apartment’s gym. []
  2. Or DDR. One of the fittest times in my life, my late teens and early 20s, was basically because I spent a lot of time playing bemani games. Again, I always seemed to plateau out on fitness and coordination faster than all of my friends, but it didn’t really matter; we could still play together and I still had fun. []
  3. Except for that one time we walked to the local gym and did Boxercise lesson. That was fun! And so much more enjoyable than every other class that I still remember it nearly twenty freakin’ years later! []
  4. It’s also why I find “have you tried yoga?” so freakin’ infuriating. Because yes, I have, and yes! I even enjoy it. I just freakin’ hate yoga classes; they’re too long and too intense for me. And also tend to talk too much about fishslapping. Basically when I’m a millionaire the first thing I’m going to do is hire a nice, gentle, woo-hating personal yoga instructor–i.e. that one instructor I had in like two Yin classes before she moved to Melbourne, but man she was the best–to run me through a daily half-hour routine and it will be glorious. []
2017-10-05T11:34:02+11:0019th March, 2018|Tags: apps, cw: discussions of weight, gaming, health, video games|

Elite athletes are unhealthy.

Like. Super unhealthy. This article deals with female athletes–and, specifically, the so-called “female athlete triad” of disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis–but the dudes don’t have it much better, either physically or mentally. Most modern hyper-elite athlete training is, not to put too fine a point on it, about trying to keep athletes alive and functional between competitions.

2017-10-03T15:28:29+11:007th March, 2018|Tags: cw: eating disorders, health|