Fit vs. Fiction's Blog


Age is NOT Just a Number

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on April 21, 2018

Today is my 48th birthday and one thing I know for sure, is that age is definitely not JUST a number.

I understand the sentiment behind the popular cliché, but I think it does all of us a huge disservice. Different societies approach age in different ways. In some cultures, age is revered and respected, while in others, we’re made to feel that as our age increases, our worth as human beings decreases, and that’s a damn shame. Marketers don’t make it any easier by telling us how we’re supposed to look, act and feel at each age while simultaneously trying to sell us a ton of products we don’t need in order to fix our perceived flaws. It’s all bullshit. Do I feel 48 years old? I have no idea. What I do know is that I feel like me, so I guess I feel like Marci at 48 years old. Whatever that means. Another thing I know is that to deny my age is to disregard the almost 50 years of combined “holy crap” experiences that make me who I am. I’d be lying if I said that I had no regrets or that I’m grateful for every experience I’ve been through, but I do acknowledge the role they played in my life and it’s these experiences that have made it possible for me to grow, evolve and make huge changes in my life when before, I let fear keep me trapped in a life that other people expected at the expense of my own happiness. It’s these experiences that made it possible for me to truly fall in love for the first time, not only with another person, but also with myself.
I’ve fallen down and picked myself up more times than I can count. Some of those times I bounced up quickly, other times I pulled myself up slowly, bruised and bloodied, crawling on my hands and knees, not completely sure I even wanted to keep going. But I did.
My age is not just a number, it’s my story and if I skipped over the painful chapters, the rest of it just wouldn’t make much sense.
My body has evolved as well. How could it not? We can’t expect to change emotionally, spiritually and intellectually and not also change physically; and that’s okay. I spent most of my life negatively judging myself for who I thought I should be and how I thought I should look and I refuse to keep doing that.
So today, on my birthday, I’m sharing a love letter to my body:
My Body…
I’ve loved it
I’ve hated it
I’ve celebrated it
I’ve judged it unfairly
I’ve abused it
I’ve nurtured it
I’ve trained it
I’ve trashed it
I’ve worked with it
I’ve worked against it
I’ve shared it passionately
I’ve shared it punishingly
I’ve shown it in pride
I’ve shown it in shame
I’ve fed it
I’ve starved it
I’ve created life with it
I’ve mourned death with it
I’ve endured the pain of scars with it
I’ve enjoyed the pleasure of tattoos with it
I’ve wished it were different
I’ve been grateful for how it is
I’ve fought to keep it alive
I’ve wondered if it was worth it
I’ve decided that it was
My body tells my story
The good and the bad
The sympathetic and the scandalous
If I invite you in, leave your judgement at the door
And be prepared to get dirty
Because life is messy
Oh, and wear something comfortable,
Because there will be dancing.
LOTS of dancing!

 

 

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Calorie Counts on Menus are Misleading and Dangerous. Don’t Be Fooled!

 

Last week I wrote about my complete disgust and anger over the recent law that was passed in Ontario making calories on restaurant menus mandatory. I explained how this type of action will not only be useless in helping those it’s intended for, but will actually cause damage to countless others.
My article resulted in 3 different reactions from people:
1. Thank you! I thought I was the only one that felt this way and was really upset by it!
2. I never thought of it that way; that totally makes sense.
3. I like it. Now that I know how many calories are in something, I’ll know if I can eat it or not.

Sadly, the government is appealing to that last group of people, the ones who have had the same message shoved down their throats (pun partially intended) their entire lives. That message being: Calories are BAD.

But are they?

It’s time to readjust our thinking and look at all the facts!
After publishing my last article, I heard from so many people, from all walks of life who are really upset about this and question the government’s motivations, because it sure as hell can’t be to make Canadians healthier!
For those who are still confused, I’m going to list as clearly as I can, HOW this law is more HARMFUL than helpful.
WHO is this hurting?
1. People battling obesity and other related illnesses
2. People battling eating disorders
3. Everyone else
1. The people it is intended to help, the people who are at risk for illnesses related to obesity, are getting misleading information that will only impede their best efforts.
2. The people who are battling eating disorders and whose disorders thrive on calorie counts and who are at severe risk of relapse every time they’re faced with a number next to their food options.
Eating disorders are extremely misunderstood and far more dangerous than most people realize. They have the HIGHEST mortality rate of all mental illnesses. Calorie counting is a weapon of the disorder, not a tool of recovery.
If you’re wondering why the government should care about a small minority of the population dealing with eating disorders, you should know that the number of sufferers is much higher than you’d expect, and this law pretty much guarantees that that number will continue to rise.

But it’s not just ED sufferers who are at risk; so are you. I am consistently hearing from people who are sharing with me, how even though they’ve never been super focused on calorie counts when eating out, they’re surprised at how much anxiety these menus are inducing. They can no longer simply go into a restaurant and order what they’re craving, without feeling the need to second guess their choice and possibly choose something they “should Have’ over what they “want” to have. All that does is suck the joy out of dining out and make people feel lousy about food. We’re supposed to listen to our hunger cues, not ignore them and then risk overcompensating later on when left unsatisfied by our “healthier” choice. Our society already has warped ideas when it comes to food and dieting, this is only making things worse.
So many parents are sickened by watching their kids suddenly start focusing on and worrying about menu numbers when out for dinner. Kids are already being inundated with negative messages about body image and weight from the media, this is the last thing they need.
What’s the ministry of health thinking??
According to health minister Deb Matthews, The law is designed to combat childhood obesity.
And yet, according to research stated in a petition opposing this law, started by Andrea Lamarre, co- chair of the Waterloo Wellington Eating Disorders Coalition , it will have the opposite effect:
According to the research: “Those who are most targeted by such initiatives may actually be at a greater risk of developing eating disorders. A recent study by Lebow, Sim & Kransdorf (2015) revealed that adolescents who had been overweight or obese “represent a substantial portion of treatment-seeking adolescents with restrictive eating disorders,” and argue that extreme weight loss is problematic in the adolescent context in particular.
Which means that focusing on calories and weight loss without proper information, won’t result in healthier kids, just SICKER ones.

Basically, if you think there aren’t that many Canadians battling eating disorders…give it a year, that number will change if this law doesn’t.
Calories USED to be the enemy. But that’s old school thinking. What we know now, is that It has MUCH LESS To do with how many calories are in something, than what those calories are made of. Would 100 calories of candy be a healthier choice than 200 calories of avocado? Not in the least. Would it be healthier to choose the lower calorie french fries over the more caloric salad with quinoa and almonds? Not at all. We need to get away from counting calories and move toward education around ingredients.
Calories are energy.
We need to load our bodies up with the healthiest version of those suckers as possible. Of course, we don’t want to be taking in “too many”, but purely looking at number and deciding off of that, is not helpful or healthful.

Example:

If a person drinks 3 liters of pop a day and switches to lower calorie diet pop, will they lose weight? Could be. Will they gain Health? Not a chance.
Sugar isn’t great, but chemicals are not a better choice.
Counting calories is an old fashioned, useless way to go about getting healthier and that judging a food simply by it’s calories is similar to judging a person simply by their age. We can’t assume that every 40 year old woman will be healthier than every 35 year old woman, or that all 50 year old men are exactly the same. There is so much more that goes into health and fitness than numbers. The most experienced health and nutrition experts are steering their clients away from measuring food and leading them towards understanding it.
Bonnie Wisener, nutritionist at shift nutrition and wellness, agrees,
“Different foods have varying effects on our health that go way beyond weight. For example, trans fats can lead to inflammation, insulin resistance and
Cardiac disease, regardless of their calorie count. Paying attention to specific food selections can lead to the same, or even better results than simple calorie restrictions, and most importantly, to improved health.

To clarify: Eating foods with less calories because you think it’s the answer to losing weight, is not your best course of action. Eating healthier foods will improve your overall health.”

 

Restaurants hate it too!

I’ve spoken with several restaurant owners and servers who have their own issues with the menu changes.
Menu changes are expensive and some restaurants are seeing a drop in revenue.
Nobody wants to lose money, so some restaurants are finding ways around this. I spoke with a bartender at a popular family restaurant chain, who shared with me that since seasonal menus don’t require calories to be listed, their restaurant creates a different “seasonal” menu every month! By switching the foods around every few weeks, they can avoid negative reactions from customers and fines from the government.
Sneaky.
Another possibility is that in order to capitalize on the lower calorie menu obsession, they’ll start formulating their food to have less calories by cutting nutritional corners. Is that really what we want?

But Marci,” my critics argue, “ at least this is a first step!”
Yup, one step, in the WRONG direction! I’d rather they take ZERO steps than cause more damage. If in an effort to solve one problem, you create a different problem while not actually solving the first problem..What’s the point?!
If you need an appendectomy and the doctor says, “The first step is to cut you open, and then I’ll stop there for awhile,” would that be ok? No, it wouldn’t. If you’re not gonna finish the surgery, find another way to help the patient.

 

So what CAN we do?

First, stay OUT of restaurants. Kindly, keep your laws off my dinner table when I’m trying to enjoy a meal out. It’s a treat, I want to enjoy it.
BUT… There IS a better answer.
In 2006 The WHO (World Health Organization) ordered the food industry to take action in the fight against obesity. The Netherlands took the lead with The Choices programme. They were the first, but many other countries have followed. In a nutshell, an independent group of researchers, using a strict criteria, analyze all the products in the grocery store. Those that pass their tests based on things like calories, trans fats, saturated fats, dietary fibre and sodium, are given a label letting consumers know they are healthier choices. It comes down to CHOICE and information. The best part about this program, is that so many companies want to earn the healthy label so they are making their products more nutritious to do so! In 2016 alone, 180,000 products were reformulated by reducing sugar and sodium content and increasing dietary fiber.
THIS. MAKES. SENSE.

Healthier products, healthier consumers.

This highlights what’s GOOD about a product instead of just throwing ominous numbers at us.
Final word:
Who is at risk under the Healthy Menu Choices Act?
EVERYBODY
Who will be helped?
NOBODY

It’s time for the government to stop pretending to care about our health and actually DO something to improve it!fvfpo

 

How strong is strong enough?

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on March 19, 2017

Nobody asked me if it was okay

Before they took my big brother away

Nobody asked me if I’d be alright

Without any parents to kiss me goodnight

I’m angry as Hell that I’m left here alone

But where will it get me to bitch and to moan?

Will God bring them back if I say pretty please?

Beg for his mercy from down on my knees?

Nobody promised that life would be fair

But how many losses can one person bear?

What will it take to prove that I’m tough

And all that I’ve been through is more than enough?

I lay in a hospital

Unable to speak

Machines did my breathing

My body so weak.

I fought hard for my baby

Prayed he’d hold on

But my body betrayed me

My child was gone.

No chance to hold him

How soft he’d have been

I touched his ashes

But never his skin.

I’ve gotten quite good at hiding my pain

But sometimes I feel like I’m going insane

The strong fearless woman that others still see

Is slowly becoming a stranger to me.

Marci Warhaft

 

 

 

 

My body

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on February 7, 2017

MY body.

I’ve loved it

I’ve hated it

I’ve celebrated it

I’ve criticized it

I’ve abused it

I’ve challenged it

I’ve trained it

I’ve trashed it

I’ve worked with it

I’ve worked against it

I’ve shared it passionately

I’ve shared it punishingly

I’ve shown it in pride

I’ve shown it in shame

I’ve fed it

I’ve starved it

I’ve created life with it

I’ve mourned death with it

I’ve endured the pain of scars with it

I’ve enjoyed the pleasure of tattoos with it

I’ve wished it were different

I’ve been grateful for how it is

I’ve fought to keep it alive

I’ve wondered if it was worth it

I’ve decided that it was

 

YOU

You might judge it

People do.

You might love it

you might  hate it

You might think it’s too big

You might think it’s too small

You might want to fuck it

You might want to friend it

You might want to ignore it completely

It doesn’t matter.

My body tells MY story.

The good and the bad.

The predictable and the shocking.

The sympathetic and the Scandalous

If I invite you in, leave your judgement at the door

And be prepared to get dirty because life is messy

Oh, and wear something comfortable, cuz there will be dancing..lots of dancing.

 

 

 

A Thank You letter to my Eating Disorder

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on October 21, 2016

As part of my recovery from an insidious eating disorder, I was told to write it a letter. I thought it would be a kind of “Screw you” note, but instead it ended up as more of a thank you. I realized that my relationship with my ED wasn’t abusive as much as co-dependent. This letter represents one of the ways I broke free from it’s clutches and started to get my life back.

Dear E.D.,

Thank you. Thank you for showing up when my brother Billy was dying. When the pain was so deep and so strong I thought I might die too. Thank you for giving me something else to focus on besides his empty room and my empty heart. Thank you staying with me for years afterwards when life seemed so cruel and unfair and facing it was just too hard…you gave me somewhere to hide.

Thank you for tricking me into thinking you were gone so I could get married and for hiding when I was pregnant, so I could enjoy my children, and so my mom could die with a sense of peace, knowing that I would be okay.

And thanks for coming back when life got tough again; when the traumas hit fast and hard and I needed to escape…thanks for taking the blame when I lost myself and did things I will forever regret at your urging.

Thank you.

But now…you need to go.

I know it’s hard to take me seriously since I’ve tried to break up with you before, only to reach out to you each and every time things got tough…and I don’t blame you for wanting to stay; life was never boring when we were together, but you saw how much pain you were causing me and refused to leave. If you loved me, you’d have let me go years ago.

It’s taken me 20 years to see that with all that you’ve given me, you’ve taken so much more. I can’t begin to imagine how many people you’ve pushed out of my life and how many experiences I missed out on just because you wanted me all to yourself. You systematically knocked down my dreams like bowling pins, leaving me feeling scared and alone. No matter how many people told me they loved me, yours was the only voice I heard, telling me I wasn’t thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough; that I wasn’t a good enough person to merit a place in the world, especially after mom and Billy died. I didn’t deserve to be here taking up a spot that should have belonged to one of them.

I thought we were done in Vancouver when I was so sick and not expected to pull through. When the doctors thought I’d never get to hold Dylan again or watch him grow up and the son in my belly had been taken away without ever meeting his mommy. I swore I’d never waste another second of my time on you..but at the first sign of weakness you were back.

Well, I’m not weak anymore. I am strong and getting stronger by the minute. I don’t need you anymore…I’m ready to face my life and begin healing. I have the tools I need to block you out forever. I thought you took my pain away but you were just burying down deep where it could cause the most damage. I’m ready now to live my life without you. I am hoping that you will let me go without too much of a fight. You served your purpose and now it’s time to let me fly on my own.

This time, it really is goodbye.

back

Living life as a teen, a wife and then a mom with an eating disorder nearly destroyed me.

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on October 11, 2016

My guest blog for Wise Women Canada

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Fit Vs. Fiction

Don’t be a weight watcher

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on May 31, 2016

Self-worth should not be measured in pounds.

I say it all the time;  we are no more or less worthy of love and respect from ourselves or other people regardless of what the scale says. However, so many of us judge ourselves on how much we weigh, as if our weight dictates the kind of people that we are and as the number rises, our value lowers.

Well, that’s bullshit.

Our weight is just our weight and has nothing to do with who we are as human beings and for many people, weight can fluctuate quite regularly.

Here’s the thing:

In my opinion, it is never okay to make assumptions about a person’s life based on how heavy or thin they may appear to you. Oftentimes, a change in weight can indicate a transitional time in a person’s life when they are going through changes that are affecting them emotionally as well as physically. I’m learning that the human body is pretty complex in that in can sometimes react to emotional life events or stressful situations in ways that seem to make no sense at all.

The point is, pointing out someone’s weight change is never a good idea. It’s an especially bad idea when the person you are talking to has/ had an eating disorder. I usually talk about the way we judge people who have gained weight, but I need to change that for a second. While people are hesitant to say a word when a friend or colleague has gained a few pounds, they seem to have no problem mentioning weight loss. I’m not sure why that is.

 

BUT…IF you know someone who has battled issues with their weight and you see a change in them, either way, understand a few things:

 

  1. If you noticed it, they’ve noticed it to and don’t need it to be brought to their attention or made a focal point of discussion.
  2. Making somebody feel insecure because they’ve lost weight can be just as dangerous as making them feel uncomfortable about gaining it.
  3. You’re setting them up for disaster. What happens if they start to regain some weight and you see them and say, “Hey, you’ve gained weight. You look great!”?

What they’ll hear is, “Hey, you’ve gained weight!” and that is just not productive.

  1. If you’re a close friend and you are genuinely concerned, you get a pass. It’s okay to check in and make sure they are taking care themselves. If you’re not a good friend then saying, “You need to eat a sandwich! or You look like a bone rack”, will just get them to do what they have battled their whole lives NOT to do, which is worry about how they look. If you’re worried about them, ask how they’re feeling, not how much weight they’ve lost.
  2. Our lives change, our moods change and our bodies change. I’m learning this every day. Everybody’s process is different, everybody’s experience is different, everybody’s coping skills are different. The one thing we all have in common is the idea that we want to be respected and accepted for who we are and not judged for who others think we should be.

 

Don’t be a weight watcher.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes we ARE given more than we can handle

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on June 15, 2015

Nobody asked me if it was ok

Before they took my big brother away

Nobody asked me if I’d be alright

without any parents to kiss me goodnight

I’m angry as hell that they left me alone

But where will it get me to bitch and to moan

Will God bring them back if I say Pretty Please,

Beg for his mercy from down on my knees?

I lay in a hospital, unable to speak

Machines did my breathing, my body so weak

I fought hard for my baby, prayed he’d hold on

But my body betrayed me, my child was gone

No chance to hold him, How soft he’d have been

I touched his ashes, but never his skin

Nobody promised that life would be fair

But how many losses can one person bear?

What will it take to prove that I’m tough,

that all that I’ve been through is more than enough?

I’ve gotten quite good at hiding my pain

But sometimes I feel like I’m going insane

The strong fearless woman that others still see

Is slowly becoming a stranger to me

My life with a binge eating disorder

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on May 24, 2015
Tags: , , , ,

Food is my weapon, impeccable aim

Won’t ease off the trigger til I’m writing in pain

Suddenly my skin feels 10 sizes too small

Can’t fit in my clothing, I’ve outgrown them all.

I nibble for pleasure, then binge into pain

Can’t stop the cycle, am I going insane?

My heart is in pieces, where it used to be strong

Try to fix it by eating, though I know that it’s wrong.

It’s like food is my savior, and sugar’s the cure

How much more of this madness, can my body endure?

The scale in my bathroom continues to rise

My spirit is dying, can’t muffle the cries.

The strong fearless woman that I used to be

Is quickly becoming a stranger to me.

“Not thin enough, not thick enough, not sick enough” they say

Yet I cry myself to sleep at night praying, “God, take me away”.

In a world where being STRONG earns respect and revere

It’s hard to feel weak and want to be here

My life with Anorexia

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on May 24, 2015
Tags: , , , ,

Alone I live inside my head, never wanting to leave my bed

On the outside so strong and tough, But inside never good enough

I spend each moment wrapped in fear, afraid of looking in the mirror

What power it has over me, it’s reflection is my enemy.

My bones are not distinct enough, my stomach still too round

I weigh my worth in numbers, hating every pound.

My body aches from hunger, and I relish in the pain

This war I fight within myself, is driving me insane.

I’ve finally hit my bottom, like none I’ve hit before

I can’t stand to live a life so painful anymore.

“Please somebody help me!”

I’m shouting every word

But my prayers go unanswered, my pleas are never heard.

Waiting lists go on for years, fees are just too high

My future looking grimmer, my life is slipping by.

But way out in the distance, though my eyes must strain to see

The light of hope is flickering, and calling out to me.

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