Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ERIN'S RANT - chow down on what I think about "FAT"

This little rant was the product of me blowing up on facebook about a Courier Mail article on a proposed "fat tax" to be levied in our income tax.   I commented "Why do I have to pay for fat @*!@^$? Just stop smashing everything with hollandaise sauce and drinking frozen Coke!"

Well didn't I cop it - 27 facebook comments in 45 minutes (I'm sure it would have broken a record if I hadn't taken it off).  If I had have posted "I'm pregnant with quads!"  I would be lucky to get 5 comments in 5 days.  Granted.... I should not have sworn.  But I was talking about the politicians being fat cats... and we already pay for obesity everyday through Medicare on obesity dental plans, podiatry, nutritionists and the big stuff like coronary and diabetic care.  But apparently women shouldn't have an opinion if it isn't wrapped in rainbows, cup cakes and kittens.  And I guess that is my point... If I have worked in the fitness industry for over 15 years, aren't I entitled to an opinion?

I'm annoyed... annoyed that people personally attacked me (and my family) and my clients, when I didn't single out any one person - but the flawed rational of a government proposal...  So this is my rant.

It's official.  The most offensive word for a middle age white woman to use isn't For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge or even the use of a common pre-industrial term to describe the female genitalia...  No,  it's the noun and the verb "fat".  Even children's books now describe people as skinny or "wide".  Gay, bi-atch, mole.... that's cool, even jovial.  Fat... no.  That is down right despicable.  And it's completely subjective..... and here begins my epic tale.

Here are the undisputed facts of Australia (a proud sporting country built on the greatest show of military courage and resilience in the World Wars) being the fattest nation in the world:
We are the first generations to:
1. defy the 'survival of the fittest' continuum that Darwinism is based on (due to advancements in resuscitation, antibiotics, organ transplants and fertility treatments).
2.  have difficulty grasping the concept that something taken directly from the ground has more nutritional value than from a supermarket aisle (and it is unequivocally affordable if you cut it and cook it yourself).
3.  personally consume the equivalent of a small room of sugar in a year.
4.  have the fattest lower socioeconomic population in the history of the world (poverty once meant a reduction in calories).
5.  most disturbingly.... bury 1 in 8 of our children in our lifetime due to obesity related illnesses.

Is it the job of our bureaucrats to solve this problem?  And it is truly enormous, because it means that we will in effect have no youth left to entrust our nation.  Who will run those Jenny Craig workshops and manufacture and sell Terry White meal replacements?  Worse still, when we are dribbling on ourselves in a nursing home who will wipe our bottoms?   Or fork lift us out of our homes?

Do we want politicians and public servants dictating how we should monitor our weight?  And when does it become a matter of self responsibility and teaching our kids that life's not always going to be easy and someone will not always be there to pick up the pieces?

But wait..... there's more to this epic tail of the continuous line of people driving into McDonalds and KFC with their kids are in the back playing DS and them dragging on a cigarette (recession? what recession?)....

It seems it's ok for parents to set these sort of examples to their children, but for me to use the word FAT? This has just set off a maelstrom of responses.   I am completely surprised that a handful of retorts have been from people that either consciously or subconsciously labelled themselves as "FAT" and then said I should be a better role model.  hmmmmmmmmm.

I can't resist quoting the angsty pop mistress Alanis Morissette:
I don't want to be the light from the fridge on your face at midnight.   Hey!  What are you hungry for?
(I'm not the Doctor)
This is a great car song when you get exhausted and feel like people are using you as an emotional crutch or as a verbal vomit bag as the case may be.

Which brings me to my next point.  When did "leading by example" become someone else's problem?  And has this resulted in the raising and nurturing of a population devoid of coping skills, pain tolerance, resilience and common sense?  This was the very basis of our species becoming the ultimate rulers of this planet.  So what will be our fate if we can no longer care for ourselves as individuals?  
Paul Featherstone, the Paramedic famous for saving Stuart Diver, gives a really poignant motivational speech on this very subject.  He has relayed a very personal and graphic account of how our youth and society do, or don't, cope with adversity.  Paul talks of the unfortunate task of retrieving the body of a suicide victim from the Blue Mountains.  The gorgeous teenage girl threw herself to her death after her boyfriend broke up with her.  A parent himself, he spoke to the parents at the site in an attempt to ease their grief and understand why she killed herself when she was an intelligent private school girl whose beauty was evident even in death.  The parents said, (forgive my recall of memory)  "We tried to protect her from everything.  Give her everything she wanted.  Make her know how much we loved her.  But we didn't teach her how to deal with the hard stuff.  She just didn't know how to deal with the pain."

Arggggghhhhhh. That story never gets easy to tell.  But the lesson resonates - parents are the primary educators for their children on strength and self sufficiency. 

But let me pop a feminist spin on this.  For fear of sounding like Carrie from Sex in the City, I can't help wondering... if I were a 7 foot man with the nickname "Commando" would people be so quick to jump down my over-opinionated neck when I use the word 'fat'?  And what sort of values are we teaching our girls if we punish them if their opinions stray from the literary prose of a Hallmark card and a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" sermon?

Do we provide a safe haven for our children to test their opinions?

I am lucky to have a political science background.  When I've previously made comment on the flawed logic of research suggesting that society pay a "fat tax" for people that can safely starve themselves for a year and save a truck load of money on takeaway, I don't hold a picture of a person in my head and imagine pointing at them and calling them names. It may surprise a few to know that most people are too busy to think of them every minute of the day.  Or at all....  To assume this would be to say that I can't possibly be intelligent enough to think about the societal implications of fiscal policy and health. And a very few women, unfortunately, have been the worst offenders in reminding me that my opinion should only be shared if it leaves them feeling all warm and fuzzy.   Some men (not all!!!! definitely not the more secure one's) have beaten their little chests to the tune of a drum that would leave Germaine Greer speechless.

And no... it's not LUCK and GENETICS and a 'free and easy' life that have saved me from obesity and poor health.  It's because there is only one person putting food in my mouth and finding time to run a family, three businesses and exercise.... yes, that's ME.

This is forcing me to quote the Dixie Chicks...
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they'd write me a letter sayin' that I better
Shut up and sing or my life will be over... 
(I'm Not Ready to Make Nice)

I'll interject some words from the Big Marn, a current serving Paramedic for the ADF, delicious Dad and awesome instructor.....

It's unfortunate that taking responsibility for our own health and our families health has to be taught to us. We are quick to get the flu jab or antibiotics at the first hint of the flu at work yet not enough of us consider what we mechanically put in our mouths at least 3 times a day. So much of what we eat (and drink) is PACKED with simple sugars. The convenient option is generally not the best one. it takes planning to eat healthy. PLEASE take it from someone who has treated too many heart attack and stroke and diabetes patients to keep track of, that you only need to witness the suffering they endure once to know you never want to be in their shoes. Maybe we all need to visit a stroke or coronary care ward or diabetes clinic to see this for ourselves and do something life changing like high intensity fitness. Watch out white overweight 40 something males with family history of heart disease cos if you don't change something statistically you are heading under lights and sirens to an emergency dept near you! Side note: Gotta love the motivation and energy of the SD client..... BM

I'll finish with this.  I see my clients (past, present and future) as choosing a lifestyle that recognizes the avoidance of pain and hard work isn't the path to really living.  They seem to embrace pain...  and thrive on it. And in effect, their lives do become less painful because they are flexing a strong body and strong mind and reaping the rewards.   With this we are all elevated to be better and want more.  Is it because they have a mental disposition that our society needs to tap into?  And when do we stop actively pandering to the squeaky wheel of the victim mentality?

I'd love to hear your comments.....  after all, this entire rant is about self reflection and freedom of speech!

Stick and stones may break my bones... but sitting on your arse will more likely kill you...


Sally said...

It is easy to drive through and take away - it is harder to watch what you eat and exercise. I recently heard this woman talk about why she couldn't lose weight and asking questions about heart rate monitors and all I kept thinking was - the equation is simple. Eat less and move more. People always say to me - 'oh but you're this' or 'oh but your that'. Really it is none of those things. There really are no secrets to being slim - it is just discipline! Something we seem, as a society, to be greatly lacking...

Erin Cash said...

A comment from 7 month pregnant SD client Sara Thorn...

I completely agree with your comments!!!!! I am so sick of shows like The Biggest Loser that make it ok for people to be fat because it’s never their fault, they always have some “sob story” that makes them the victim instead of taking responsibility for their own lives. I voiced this opinion at a BBQ recently and copped an absolute mouthful – the only person who agreed with me is a friend who is a nurse who sees first hand on a day to day basis the effects of the obesity epidemic.

What infuriates me more than anything is that since I’ve been pregnant I cop criticism on nearly a daily basis for my size and lifestyle. People constantly have a go at me about continuing my exercise programme and eating well. I am forever being told that my belly is way too small (even though my baby is already above average size), I shouldn’t be exercising and should be giving into my cravings, and this is from people who are overweight, smokers & yo yo dieters who do no exercise at all. Instead of being praised for wanting to give my baby the best start in life by feeding it healthy foods while it’s developing, I’m made to feel like I’m already a bad parent. Yet I make one comment about someone giving up smoking or perhaps having a healthier lifestyle and I’m the one being critical. Why is it that it’s ok for people to criticise those who of us who chose to live a healthy life but we’re not allowed to voice our opinions in return.

I’m going to forward your email onto so many people because I’m sick of dealing with “victims”, hearing excuses and then listening to whingeing about being unhappy with their bodies. I’m over 7 months pregnant, I know what it feels like to be tired and sore and how much easier it would be just go home and sit on the couch, but as Jo says “nothing good in life comes without hard work”!

Erin Cash said...

All is fair in love and rants...

Here is a counter rant that I received,

Dear Erin,

I have been debating with myself all afternoon as to whether to send you this message or not, but I think I need to...

I am so disappointed with your Facebook post - not because you aren't entitled to your own opinion - but because what it means to me as someone who so admires you.

Although we are no longer attending your classes (due to financial, medical and schedule reasons) there is not a training session that goes by that we don't say things like - Erin wouldn't be happy if we stop, Erin would ask us to punch harder and faster and Erin believes in us being able to do more than we think we are capable of...

You always spoke fondly to us about our family - and now all I can think is what you may have been saying behind our backs - perhaps we were a family of fat pricks - lazy, slack, unmotivated - sucking up precious tax payers dollars.

Erin - you are in a position to change people, to make a difference in their lives. I will never forget my first class with you. I had reached a plateau in my weight loss, was looking for something different to try and found you. That very first class you empowered me. Made me believe in myself. Made me want to continue getting fitter, become a better person and to involve my whole family in an environment that was positive, uplifting, welcoming of all abilities, body types and ages. But now I think - was that your real goal - or was I just a fat chick whose money you could take because you saw a weakness in me, a flaw and in your stated opinion a failure because I just couldn't do what was necessary.

I really hope that you and your family will never one day need the support of "tax payers" dollars for something that you should have known better and prevented. But if you do, I sincerely hope that there is not someone like yourself out there at that moment calling you a foul name.

I want nothing but the best for you, Matt and the little one - but from now on I may need someone else to provide me with a positive and encouraging little voice in my head and not you calling me a fat prick.

Fondly and with the biggest of sighs for what I have lost today...

Erin Cash said...

Jodie Chamber, SD client made this comment,

Erin, love it. You could not have said it better. If people are offended by being called fat then maybe the truth hurts and they are not happy with their bodies.

Did you know that the government is now funding $4000.00 of dental services free for the obese?
Why are we doing this?
If you are obese ask you doctor and he can fill in the paperwork.
I don't see why weight(fat) should decide if you get free dental or not as we all have teeth!

I have to say thank you Erin so much for your great classes and instructors. Not only do you help me to not be able to get $4000 free dental but help me stay less stressed and able to cope with a very busy life.

Erin Cash said...

This is a really relevant question from my sexy hairdresser Lene. She works incredibly long hours on her feet and wants to know why getting older is making a flat tummy difficult.

Hey Erin, I love wot u wrote, so true.

When your 50 or even 45 I find that I can do and eat the same good things. I don't sit on my bum - I walk, do situps, my work is standing, walking fast, moving all day. I clean the house and wash. I thought that if u constantly keep moving and even just walking that it was enough exercise.
I hardly ever stop till 8 or 9 at night and when I do find time to exercise it is in the extreme. But the fat still fat wont move from my belly.
I eat 3 meals a day - all healthy - sometimes 6 and have my 2 glass of wine (not every night) but mostly only weekends.
I tell u, being 50 changes everything and I hate it. I guess it's a bit like when u cant get your hair like u use to. lol.
So wot is it? I refuse to be old and need some changes.
Please, i am not giving you a hard time, i just don't get it.
I know sex is great for weight loss... lol!! But I don't do that either. sad year :(
Wot happens to the body after 50 and how can I speed it up?
x Lene

The female body was designed to procreate and then we were designed to become homely little wise women with a change in hormones that promote fat hording to see us through harsh winters and disease so we could live to annoy our youth....
This is a quick explanation:
We produce more estrogen and less testosterone and that is a recipe for less muscle and more fat.
But we CAN safely prime our bodies without the use of hormone replacement, protein powders and illegal testosterone.
1. There is only one way to stop muscle wastage and burn fat - actively build muscle. The most effective way is interval sprints and weight training for 20-30 minutes once or twice a week. A good example of age defying training is Jules Gardiner, Jo Johnson and Clare Carter.
2. Reduce the stress hormone cortisol. This means more sleep, less endurance burning activity (not always easy for hairdressers but the easy explanation is that a slow jog for 5 kilometers can do more harm than good), more sunlight and even something as simple as reducing social obligations.(Saying NO! more often). Plus reducing or eliminating ALL grains. Harsh, but it works. Check out www.marksdailyapple.com. The man is 53 and looks better now then when he was a 20 year old professional triathlete. He changed for all the reasons you know talk about (and heart attacks)
3. Reduce or eliminate alcohol. It is a marketing gimmack about its beneficial anti-oxidants. Two glasses in truth are the calories of half a sponge cake, destroys good gut bacteria and causes radical fluid retention as the body tried to flush it out because it thinks of it as poison.
Check out my last blog
4. Sit-ups sometimes do more harm than good. Check out this article

Thank you so much for asking an important question that most females believe can't be changed.

Erin Cash said...

And here is a comment from Karen Stevenson aka Mama Sizzle. Her kids are a welcome addition to SD as they sit and eat dinner while Mum trains and they provide us with endless laughs.

I can not even begin to put into words how Erin and Sweat Depot has changed my family's lives. I will be eternally grateful for being so blessed to be a part of something that to us, is more than just a work out. Like Sara, I get so sick of hearing peoples excuses and poor me stories. My first SD class was six weeks after giving birth to my third baby,I made a conscious decision to throw away my (many many) excuses along with those given to me by others ("you just had a baby"-this excuse had been handed to me for 12 months after my other babies) or "you lead a busy life". Weightloss never came easy to me, and I was never fit prior to attending SD. For me, the benefits of training and new found energy I have far outweighs the little bit of effort it takes to get there. I also think you will find that Erin does not 'push' or 'preach' her business on people, after attending a womens conference where Erin was a guest speaker, she presented plenty of options for healthy living and working out for free. At no stage have I ever felt judged by Erin or that I'm merely "paying her wages", it is the complete opposite, because she has given me my life back.

Erin Cash said...

This comment is from Sgt of Police Prosecutions, Estelle Carnes. An awesome out-rigger and foreboding policewoman until you realize she is a big marshmallow. Most Police have a thick skin and a dark sense of humour. I have to remind people this was my life education from the age of 20.... sometimes things that the general public find offensive, we just consider short hand. I'm lucky enough that Stelle sees through my speech impediment.

Just read the rant of the decade. Holy cow Erin (no fat innuendo intended), you are SO right. I have been using the "I'm too busy working, studying, being a mum, housewife yada yada yada" that I can't look after myself. I have even started thinking that I will have to accept that my young fit days are behind me now because I have too many responsibilities... what kind of pathetic martyrdom is that? I feel so guilty taking time for myself.

I really miss having fitness goals & being strict about my nutrition. I really miss your hard core sessions. I hate feeling fat, stressed & perpetually tired. The solution seems so simple..... I just can't seem to get there.

Sent from Estelle's iPhone