I feel the need to rant.
I'll never understand why it's okay to make fun of Kirstie Alley's weight but not, say, Queen Latifah's...I also don't really understand why people get so excited when a certain celebrity slims down or so holier-than-thou when that same celebrity gains it back.
Kirstie Alley spent 13 weeks training for Dancing with the Stars (I have to admit here, I have never seen an episode...) and expressed a personal goal of dropping 30 pounds during the course of the show. Looks like she must have come pretty close to that.
"I walked in old and fat," she has said, "and now I'm old and hot."
In 2006, Kirstie wrapped up her gig as a Jenny Craig spokesperson and appeared on Oprah in a bikini with a very strategically placed sarong. Then, in 2009, she was back on Oprah crying about gaining back the 75 pounds she had lost, plus an extra 10.
I don't read tabloids, but I do buy a lot of groceries and I'm fairly aware of just how often Kirstie Alley's weight is featured in magazines. Not to mention online celebrity news and nasty blogs.
People eat it up. They love her. They hate her. Sometimes they love her when she loses the weight. Sometimes they love her when she gets big again. Overall, subjecting someone to this sort of speculation is not an act of love, though, is it?
So why do we care?
More importantly, why does Kirstie Alley care? I know why she cares about her weight and I can definitely appreciate caring about her fitness level. But why does she feel responsible to us, the public, in her ability to maintain a certain size?
Why does she keep vowing to us that she'll get smaller, skinnier, fitter? And why do we get so wrapped up in it?
It is a sad state of affairs, in my opinion, when a female public figure feels her worth to us depends on how thin she is.
Just imagine a similar comedic actor, but this time a male, appearing on magazine cover after magazine cover, as well as the world's most popular talk show simply to discuss the fact that he had let us all down by gaining some weight.
Let's get some perspective here, people.
Funny... happens to be overweight... has never appeared in public to apologize for size.
Also funny... also overweight... has never appeared in public to apologize for size.
Well, you get the idea.
This week, Kelli asked a really important question. In typical Kelli style, she asked it in between a thousand girl-crush statements about Julianne Hough. Must interject here - I HEART Kelli's blog. It is the only celebrity info I ever read! And now I know who Julianne Hough is!
Kelly asked, "To trainer or not to trainer?" Do you need a personal trainer to get in shape?
Here, from the heart, is my off-the-cuff response which I originally began posting in the comments section to Kelli's blog:
You don't need a trainer. Will a trainer help? Yes. Do you need one? No. The desire to change your lifestyle and your body has to come from within. We could train together 5 days per week, but you're still on your own for the other 163 hours of the week. If you're not ready to commit to your change, or if the change just really isn't as important to you as you think it is, you can still flounder, even under a personal trainer's guidance.
The first step is to really visualize what you want from your body and write it down. Figure out why you want that body - do you want confidence? Do you want a better sex life? Do you want to be able to shop in different stores and wear different clothes? Do you want to be a role model to your children? Do you want to be able to play a sport you used to play? What is the pay off for you? Write it down.
Empty all of the crap out of your cupboards and fridge. Hubby wants snacks? Let him go buy them. Kids are whining? Too bad. They'll stop eventually, and they'll thank you 30 years from now for not allowing them to grow up obese. Stop buying it unless you're deciding that today you're going to watch a movie and eat popcorn. Or today you're having friends over and you're serving coffee cake. Otherwise, if it's not in the house, you can't put it in your face.
Begin moving. Every day. Stop eating all the time. Eat breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. Eat lots of protein. Don't graze - you'll only overeat.
Keep a food journal. Write it down. Make yourself accountable.
If your budget allows, hire a personal trainer to see you as frequently as you can afford. A good, experienced personal trainer is worth the investment, but it is not a necessary investment. You can afford 3 sessions per week? Fantastic! You can't? No problem. You can use a personal trainer just a few times, to help you establish a program. Then you can check in with that trainer once every few weeks to freshen your routine and keep you accountable.
Can't afford a trainer? Join an online community like Sparkpeople.com or sign up for a newsletter and read blogs by a personal trainer you like and respect (ha ha... this could be Bob Harper, Harley Pasternak... I don't just mean me!). Sign up for a group running class. Join a hiking club. Get some support. Build a community of people with similar goals.
It's commitment. It's not rocket science, but it is commitment. People spend months and years in the preparation stage, thinking and hoping and planning to change one's lifestyle but not being ready quite yet. This is a necessary step. Prepare for the day when you are done planning and ready for action - start your food journal, buy some sneakers, join an online community and start buying healthier foods. One of these days you will open your eyes in the morning, your running shoes will be sitting next to the bed (hint, hint...) and you will do it.
Today I popped into the new Running Room which just opened in my neighbourhood (like, opened today... can you say "exercise geek"?) to buy a new running watch and check out some new running shoes.
Watch for a running watch/fitness watch guide soon!
I walked out, nearly $300 lighter, with just a really tricked-out watch and no new shoes. Figure I'll wait a week and let that watch expense wash over me before I go back for new runners.
The truth is, checking out all the running shoe options leaves even a seasoned fitness pro like me with a foggy head. Shoe choice is a very common discussion with personal training clients and Belly Bootcamp mommies. There are so many makes and styles, and the field expands all the time. Do you need to spend $200? How often should you replace your shoes? Do you need stability or cushioning? What's an "overpronator"?
Let me break it down for you.
There are a few basic types of shoes, and they are designed for different runners:
Normal pronators land on the heel, with a slight inward shift which is normal and healthy, and can wear pretty much any shoe designed to provide stability. If you have a normal arch, you are probably a normal pronator.
Overpronators land on the heel normally but tend to roll their feet inward a bit more than normal and require a stabilizing shoe which will prevent them from rolling inward so much that the ankle and knee are adversely affected. If you have flat feet, you might be an overpronator.
Underpronators/Supinators land on the heel but don't roll in the normal amount and tend to shift more weight to the outside of the foot, causing leg tightness and potential injury to the ankle and knee. A flexible and/or lightweight shoe will allow the foot to land and toe-off as naturally as possible. If you have high arches, you might be an underpronator.
To determine what type of runner you are, place your current running shoes on a flat surface and observe where you've worn them down.
The "wet test" is another simple way to determine your arch height and foot type, and takes just a minute to do at home.
Knowing your running style can help you choose a suitable shoe, but my top advice is to shop at a store that specializes in running. Avoid department stores and sporting goods stores, where you'll often be encouraged to purchase the most expensive or newest model instead of the shoe that is designed for your type of foot. Some running stores even keep a treadmill on site so a qualified staff member can analyze your gait and help you determine which shoe will be best.
Most athletic shoe companies produce a few basic models which they revamp each year. I keep a subscription to Runner's World magazine (enviromoms, don't yell at me! I recycle! I compost! But I like my magazines in my hands, not on a screen...), but you can also access their reviews of the latest crop of runners on the web, for free.
Lastly, how often do you need to replace those shoes? A good rule of thumb for the recreational runner is about every 6 months. To be a bit more accurate, expect your shoes to last approximately 300-500 miles. So, if you run 5 miles per day, 5 days per week, you'll log 400 miles in just 4 months and may want to replace your shoes a few times per year. If you simply run intervals or hit the treadmill a couple of times per week, you can probably get away with an annual purchase, as long as you don't begin experiencing any new foot or knee pain.
Running shoes are not flip flops. Choosing the pink shoe or the shoe your girlfriend wears is not wise. If you really like running, invest the time and money required to outfit your feet properly and you'll be running a lot longer. Even if you don't really love running, you probably like not being in pain - sorry to break it to you: pink does not prevent injury.
But if you're lucky, maybe they'll make the right shoe for you in pink.