Tag: health

New #OwnVoices Obesity Memoir Depicts Life at 460 Pounds

Weight is one of those polarizing topics that no one mentions or everyone does. It’s either not polite to bring up at all, or it’s still impolite but nobody cares, spreading derogatory comments across social media. It’s far less common to discuss weight in a healthy way—and it’s even less common than that to discuss weight as a health issue.


Thin people’s bodies are often (though not always) subject to praise, regardless of their actual lifestyle. People of most other body types may be subject to criticism having little to do with health—and everything to do with judgment. When Tommy Tomlinson sat down to write his memoir of obesity, he sought to address the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’ in a thoughtful, personal manner.


Tommy Tomlinson's box of books

Image Via Tommy Tomlinson


The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America charts Tomlinson’s mostly successful attempts at weight loss—but it also addresses the environmental and cultural factors behind obesity. Part self-help book, part memoir, and part informative nonfiction, the book offers readers an emotional portrait of the 5% of American men and 10% of American women who are morbidly obese. The memoir includes statistics, but it doesn’t rely on them. Tomlinson felt the memoir needed to be more intimate:


There are so many factors — genetic, cultural, environmental — but the more I talked about those, the more I felt I was straying from a really intensely personal story, which is what I had set out to do. Those studies are pretty available in the news, but I wanted to focus on what it was like from the inside.


Tommy Tomlinson before weight loss

Image Via Nieman Storyboard


Tomlinson describes his life with a searing vulnerability:


One thing that’s almost a day-to-day thing is that when I go somewhere unfamiliar, I have to figure out the right place to sit. Even though I lost weight, I’m still big enough that it’s a struggle for me to get in and out of, say, a booth at a restaurant. If I go out with somebody, I always have to ask for a table. Sometimes the chairs are too tight, so I have to ask for a chair without arms. I’ll ask for a table for two, and they’ll say, “How about a booth?” and when I say I need a table, they’ll look at me like, “Why would you want that?”


In his memoir, Tomlinson offers a nuanced analysis of why unhealthy eating is so addictive. While comparisons to alcohol, tobacco, and other commonly-abused substances, food is a necessary part of life. “There’s not a whole [television] channel about doing drugs. But there are multiple food channels where people indulge their appetite for food,” Tomlinson explains, hoping readers will understand the challenges of compulsive eating from a deeply personal perspective. “You cannot just stop eating.”



Featured Image Via Carpe Diem Charlotte

Yoga Quotes

10 Zen Quotes to Help Bring out Your Inner Yogi

Whenever I see people who have a calm and easy demeanor about them, I’m pretty jealous. I’m always laid-back, but my mind is guilty of some frazzled moments. Today is International Yoga Day and every time I meet a yogi I’m in awe. How are they so calm? How are they so relaxed? Are they well?! 


After taking a semester-long yoga class one year in college I realized why they are the way they are. Yoga is a beautiful practice that actually combines the body, mind, spirit and your emotions. To see yourself slowly improve and reach points you never thought you’d get to is so exhilarating. I was so green at the beginning of my course; by the end, I really did feel like a better version of myself. It got me through a rough patch and put everything into perspective. For all you yogis out there or those looking for a little serenity, here are ten quotes to reach your inner yogi.


1. “Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.”
― Patañjali, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali



2. “Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul.”
― Amit Ray, Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style



3. “When you catch yourself slipping into a pool of negativity, notice how it derives from nothing other than resistance to the current situation.”
― Donna Quesada, The Buddha in the Classroom: Zen Wisdom to Inspire Teachers



4. “Exercises are like prose, whereas yoga is the poetry of movements.” ― Amit Ray, Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style



5. “A healer’s power stems not from any special ability, but from maintaining the courage and awareness to embody and express the universal healing power that every human being naturally possesses.”
― Eric Micha’el Leventhal



6. “Every soul innately yearns for stillness, for a space, a garden where we can till, sow, reap, and rest, and by doing so come to a deeper sense of self and our place in the universe. Silence is not an absence but a presence. Not an emptiness but repletion A filling up.”
― Anne D. LeClaire



7. “I had discovered something; there was a pleasure in becoming something new. You could will yourself into a fresh shape. Now all I had to do was figure out how to do it out there, in my life.”
― Claire Dederer, Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses



8. “That’s why it’s called a practice. We have to practice a practice if it is to be of value.”
― Allan Lokos, Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living


9. “To the yogi, all experience is seen as one, as a means to help him cultivate devotion. All experiences have equal meaning and value. (154)”
― Prem Prakash, The Yoga of Spiritual Devotion A Modern Translation of the Narada Bhakti Sutras



10. “A strong life force can be seen in physical vitality, courage, competent judgment, self-mastery, sexual vigor, and the realization of each person’s unique talents and purpose in life. To maintain a powerful life force, forget yourself, forget about living and dying, and bring your full attention into this moment.”
― H.E. Davey, Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation







Featured Image Via Organic Fit TV


New Book Promises It Can Teach Anybody How to Do a Split, Including You

Eiko is a yoga instructor at a place in Osaka, Japan, but that’s not all she’s doing these days! She recently published a new book entitled Even the Stiffest People Can Do the Splits in which she details a 4-week stretching regiment, by the end of which even you or I can accomplish our childhood dream of doing a full split!


Eiko has been a YouTube sensation where she uploads videos demonstrating yoga routines to the masses—views on her channel are recorded at having almost 7 million views! In fact, she is so popular in Osaka that children point at her on the streets, calling her “the Queen” because she is the Queen of the Splits. Eiko now hopes to motivate people around the world to become lithe and nimble regardless of their age. Her routines are simple and fun, and, as studies show, such exercises can help someone live their life to the fullest.



Image Via Amazon


The book, Even the Stiffest People Can Do the Splitshas three components to it: The statistical evidence showcasing what a service this can be to your body and mind; Eiko’s own regimented routine for pursuing this lifestyle; and a short story.


The story tells of two employees who want to live better lives, but are incapable of doing so. When a new boss takes over their department, the two must show up to work at 7:30 AM from then on. When they show up to work the next morning, they find that the room they have been directed to is covered with blankets, and it is there that they are taught to stretch and bounce toward far happier lives.


Eiko says she chose these two characters who are dealing with shame in the workplace because they showcase the inferiority complexes many adults have in their lives. If adults can be taught to be flexible, it may trigger a childlike hope that they can accomplish anything.



Image Via NY Times


I myself am considering investing in the book because, at 27-years-old, I can totally relate to the desire to do a split and impress all of my friends. As a child, it always seemed like an unattainable goal, but perhaps with Eiko’s help even the most unattainable goal will result in success!




Feature Image Via NY Times

Stan Lee at Black Panther Premiere

Stan Lee “Doing Well” After Going to the Hospital for Heart Trouble

Comic book legend Stan Lee is recovering after being hospitalized Wednesday (January 31st) evening. According to TMZ, he had felt a shortness of breath and irregular heartbeat before going to the hospital. It seems he’s doing okay, though.


Lee’s spokesperson said that the Marvel star “is doing well and feeling good—he is staying there for a few days for some check-ups as a safety precaution.”



Stan Lee

Image Via Syfy


On Monday night, Lee attended the premiere of Black Panther, the newest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, just last year he had to cancel two public appearances due to health concerns, including New York Comic Con.


Lee’s wife Joan passed away last year at the age of ninety-five after suffering a stroke. The couple would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in December.


Famous for helping to create a number of the world’s most famous heroes (Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, etc.) alongside Jack Kirby, Lee is probably most well-known today for appearing in virtually every Marvel movie adaptation in some capacity.


In any case, the legend is recovering. Excelsior!


Feature Image Via People