Supersize Vs. Superskinny

by Christine on September 6th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition

Has anyone caught that British show Supersize vs. Superskinny (it was on the OWN channel this weekend)? Apparently it’s been around since 2008, but I hadn’t heard of it or seen it before.  It was kind of an interesting show!

In the show, they take one underweight person and match them up with an overweight person, all while parading them in front of the camera repeatedly in their underwear for continual shock value. For two weeks they make the people swap meal plans. During that time they undergo nutritional counseling to tell them why their original diets don’t work for them and how to eat more healthfully.

The show also had some other segments, such as exploring different fad diets and exercise programs that are out there and measures their effectiveness. The show also quizzes average people about their knowledge of nutrition, such as “what plate has the most calories?”

Some things I thought were interesting:

  • Skinny people often eat crappy junk foods. They aren’t necessarily skinny because they eat nothing but fresh lettuce and veggies. Similarly, overweight people often eat a more well-rounded assortment of healthy foods.
  • With overweight people, it seems like the biggest issue that they needed to wrap their heads around was the concept of portion control. Again, their food choices were by and large pretty good, but it was just the quantity of food that was out of control. Once they embraced smaller portions, the weight started to fall off.
  • Strangely, exercise wasn’t really covered with either of the two superfat or superskinny subjects.
  • I guess I personally was surprised that the superskinny person was dissatisfied with their body shape. As someone that has battled obesity all her life, I’ve constantly quested for thin! thin! thin! It seems mind-boggling to me that a thin person might not want to be thin.  Similarly, I have a hard time seeing “too thin” as a problem. I see a dangerously bone-thin person and still feel jealous longing for that kind of body shape. I wonder if this will ever change.
  • An extraordinary number of people are unaware of how many calories are in the food that they are eating. How good are you at estimating the calories in the foods available to you at restaurants, parties, in your workplace lunchroom, etc?
  • It seems that fat diets, although risky for many reasons, including medically risky, often seem to work. In the fad diet they examined, the person lost weight. In the fad exercise, the people lost weight. The problem with these diets is that they are hard to stick to and often cause people to binge out of control because they are hungry. The fad exercise programs (such as a specialized body vacuum while exercising) work but seems too expensive for an average person to use long-term.
  • British people seem far more okay with being abused about their body shape on tv. I think American women would be sobbing for the way the tv show hosts abuse them. And they took random people off the street and paraded them in front of the cameras, too! I don’t think that Americans are as comfortable with their body shape and would not be likely to volunteer to do that. I wonder why there is such a sociological difference in our body perception and comfort level with our bodies?

Perplexingly, although the schtick of the show is to get the superfat and superskinnies to swap food while telling them how problematic each meal plan is. It seems hardly appropriate to give extreme meal plans to anyone–especially under the guidance of registered dieticians–much less people whose bodies are clearly not used to that kind of extreme change.

As we jump into September, let’s all take a moment to stop and re-evaluate how much food we are eating at any given sitting. Remember to measure and weigh your foods to keep yourself honest! Remember to eat off of small plates so you don’t fill the urge to “fill up” larger sized plates!


Stranded by Hurricane Irene!

by Christine on September 1st, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

I’m back home, finally, after being stranded out of town because of Hurricane Irene. I had left last week to do a long-weekend away, in order to attend a friend’s wedding. Plus, I got to visit my parents for a few days. Then Irene hit and devastated my hometown here in New York, and it was impossible to find a flight out until Wednesday (we were schedule to be home on Sunday)!  It was terribly inconvenient for me because of my work schedule, but at least we were in a safe spot. When we got home, we discovered that our cat was okay, the house was okay, the yard is mostly okay (just a few tree branches down). So we got off pretty easily, but not so much for the rest of our neighbors in Schoharie County and in Vermont….

I work for an engineering firm that, among other things, designs roads and bridges, and some of the counties affected by the storm are some of our best clients. I imagine we are going to be very busy helping our local communities rebuild after the storm. Today I am going to look into the possibility of me being able to get out there and to help distribute some clothes, food, etc., as a way for our company to “give back” to the communities.

Further bad news about my trip: my parents were sick, and I caught their cold, unfortunately. Boo!

I also gained 2 pounds while away, and that was entirely my fault. My parents apparently don’t eat on regular schedules anymore, nor do they really keep healthy food in the house. My meals consisted of either fast food, fried fish, ribs, and Chicago-style Italian beef. I ordered salads when I could, but overall the eating was less than stellar. I swam one day and went for a walk another day and danced at the wedding, but otherwise I didn’t get any exercise in, either. (And I packed gym clothes!)

The good news is that I got to spend time with my parents, meet a wonderful online friend for the first time, and attend a wedding filled with friends! It was a really fun time, and I danced my butt off! So here are some snippets from the week…

Here I am meeting my friend Sandy from Alabama in front of the “Married With Children Fountain” (aka: Buckingham Fountain in Chicago).

Me and the hubby at the wedding! I never in a bajillion years would have worn a dress like this when I was heavier.

The happy couple!

Getting my silly on at the wedding!

I got to meet one of my mom’s long-time friends (they were friends in middle school) Terry and her husband Eliot. What great people!We spent the day in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and had lunch up there (greek salad, delicious) and walked around the main street shopping. Did you know that Lake Geneva is the home of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D)?  Of course, hubby was in search of D&D stuff, and we finally found a game store where he could buy a D&D book.

Now if you’re ever in the southern Wisconsin/Northern Illinois area, you really need to check out the House on the Rock. It’s one of my favorite eclectic museums I’ve ever been to!  I’ve been to the House on the Rock probably 10 times in my life. But I found a new eclectic museum even closer to my parents’ home. It’s call the Historic Auto Attractions in Roscoe, Illinois, and let me tell you, it’s freaking awesome!!  It’s just some rich guy that started collecting weird stuff, and he has it all displayed in a metal-framed building and calls it a “museum.” They have the weirdest assortment of automobiles, autographs, Hollywood stuff, historic stuff, etc.  But the items this guy has collected are really historic! For instance, the museum has:

  • A collection of old west stuff, including John Wayne memorabilia, Custer’s Last Stand stuff, old stage coaches, etc.
  • The actual clothes (hats) that the real Bonnie & Clyde wore when they got shot.  He also has the actual car used to film the Bonnie & Clyde movie back in the 60s or whatever.
  • John Dillinger’s 1932 Studebaker Commander
  • Al Capone’s delivery vehicle “Beer Truck” (1929 Model AA Truck)
  • Howard Hughes’s car
  • Colonel Sander’s car
  • Marilyne Monroe stuff, including the letter from the movie studio firing her for not showing up for filming, the dress in “Some Like it Hot” (I think) autograpsh, locks of hair, etc.
  • Laurel & Hardy’s car
  • Joseph Stalin’s 1937 Packard Super 12
  • Evita and Juan Peron’s Presidential Limo, 1950 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith
  • The Secret Service’s parade car that followed JFK when he got shot.
  • A bunch of Jackie O’s clothing
  • A part of the Grassy Knoll fence, a window from next to where Oswald shot JFK
  • The actual flag that draped Kennedy’s casket during his funeral. He also has Jackie O’s veil from the service, as well as a LOT of letters, documents, autographs, and other JFK assassination paraphernalia.
  • The fireplace mantel from the White House, where Truman signed the order to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima
  • A ton of race car stuff
  • Movie car stuff, like the Delorian from Back to the Future, the Ghost Busters car, a couple of Batmobiles, the National Lampoons’ station wagon
  • A bunch of Gone with the Wind stuff, such as a mirror used in the movie, Clark Gable’s contract, Vivien Leigh’s clothes, original tickets and programs, etc.
  • A ton of Abraham Lincoln stuff, such as the chair he sat in, parts of the cabin where he grew up, the coins placed on his eyes when he died, part of the bloodstained bandages, locks of hair, clothing, his famous top hat, etc.
  • A couple of space things, like the Freedom 7 capsule that came back to Earth

Like…a lot of really awesome stuff for a museum stuck in the middle of nowhere. Well worth the money and the visit if you’re ever in that part of the country!


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