Category Archives: Guest Post

Here’s The Skinny On Shopping, Part 1.

A Special Guest Blog By: Courtney Mueller, Co-Producer of “Finding Thin”

I love shopping. Shopping can is sometimes little addiction for me in fact.

Heading over to the department stores to check out the latest fashions and perhaps treat myself to a new shirt or pair of pants is both an adrenaline rush and a release for me. It truly is retail therapy.

But lately my therapy sessions are ending poorly.

It feels as if clothing designers are unaware or uninspired by the realistic size of the average American woman.

I’m a real woman with curves. I’m not a twig, not obese- just
regular when it comes to size. But when I’m trying clothes on, I
feel as if I’m squeezing into what my normal size should be. I’m not trying to fit into a smaller size for the vanity of a tag with a smaller number; I’m just constantly battling my standard sizes thinning down.

I wonder what Michael Kors or Diane von Furstenberg would do if they traveled the same locations as “Finding Thin” and really took note at what Americans really look like. Not everyone is a size two… let alone a size zero (what I refer to as “size non-existent”). The average American woman can’t squeeze into the unrealistic expectations that clothing designers create…

and I can assure you that she doesn’t feel beautiful when she tries.

Of course designers design for all sizes, but as soon as we reach a
select size we go from model material to plus-size clothing. There’s a reason why the racks are always full of smalls and extra smalls; the larger sizes are selling out.

Dear Designers-If all the larger sizes sell out first, doesn’t that give you an indication of what the public wants?

As for me, where is the regular? Why is there no in between?

I think everyone should occasionally indulge a little retail therapy.

Go ahead and buy that new shirt or skirt to show off whatever you are
proud of, even at that “regularly plus size”.

Maybe I need a new form of therapy.

So She Thinks She Can Dance?

 

 

A Special Guest Blog By: Courtney Mueller, Co-Producer of “Finding Thin”

The pressure was on for Natalia Mallory. 18-year-old Natalia and her sister Sasha made it through the first round of auditions and headed to Las Vegas to compete on the television show, “So You Think You Can Dance?. For their primary
and perhaps most important audition the sisters performed a duet.

Upon initial review, you wouldn’t think these two were actual sisters.

Natalia and Sasha MallorySasha Mallory was thin, very fit, and had a traditional dancer’s body. She represented the energy and beauty that an audience has come to expect from a dancer.

But Natalia was not typical. She was tall and stocky with a big personality. She was the bigger sister. She was the bigger dancer.

Her size was further emphasized when she had to switch partners- the first, more slight partner could not lift her during a jive routine.  Natalia persevered with the grace and smile her audience had already come to expect of her.

After the jive, Natalia became dizzy, felt chills, and ended up being
hospitalized for blood sugar issues.  Instead of speculating about whether or not her size played a role in her health problems, her fans just rooted for a quick recovery.

She rallied, and came back to the auditions where she performed once more before the next cut.

It was down to the last dance. Her sister had already made it, but
Natalia’s future was at stake and the odds were stacked against her. She was
already being compared to her sister as well as the rest of the traditional dancers.

The truth is, Natalia was more than just your typical dancer. She was
bigger in size, but she was fit, talented, and had an essence that
captured the music and the hearts of the judges and fans. She broke barriers. She broke the stereotype of what a dancer looks like.

Natalia showed that a larger sized woman can dance just as well as the skinny willowy girls we’re used to seeing.  She showed there was more to performing than a dancer’s body type.

She made it through to the next round.

We look at people like Natalie and are often quick to judge. We think
they are overweight instead of built. We think they are weak instead
of strong. We think the thin dancer has more talent than the thick
one. We judge the book by its cover.

Surely Natalie doesn’t look like the typical dancer; but her strong
technique, passion, and talent speaks for itself. Forget the cover,
open up the book and read the pages.

The first chapter title reads: Real Women Can Dance Too.

Cheatos

A Special Guest Blog By: Courtney Mueller, Co-Producer of “Finding Thin”

It was one of THOSE days at the office: the phone rang off the hook, I had back to back meetings, and emails ding my inbox like a typewriter.  I was forced to sit in my office chair all day and couldn’t find time to plan a proper meal.  I went to Plan B: The Vending Machine.  The Vending Machine glows eerily with an invitation to be self-indulgent.  My “lunch” cost 80 cents and mocked my attempts at healthy eating: I chose the Cheetos.

In minutes I had eaten the whole bag.  I threw the bag in the waste can and went back to pounding at the keyboard.  The evidence of my unhealthy choice was soon all too obvious: my keyboard was stained orange.  Suddenly, I flashed back to my uncle sitting me down last weekend reminding me for the 50th time about the summer when I was three years old.

It was the CCC- the Classic Cheetos Courtney story.  My Uncle had a pool in his backyard where my family would gather to soak up the sun.  I had wrangled up a pool floaty where I would kick my little legs around towards the staircase,  and grab a jumbo-sized bag of Cheetos and run back in the pool. My Uncle said that they never worried about me in the pool as they always knew where I was, as I left an orange-colored trail wherever I had float.

He blames me to this day for clogging up the pool with Cheeto reminance.

I realized while I was cleaning up my keyboard that I resorted to an emotional food choice- one that made me think of simpler times- instead of a heathly choice. Cheetos were always my favorite go-to food to snack on. Back then I would just wipe off my orange stained fingers on my bathing suit and paddle away in my float with a smile on my face. But now, I can see that Cheetos are a junk food, a go to food if I want to make a poor decision.

It is time to be an adult. I need to make time for my health and not falling through the Cheeto-sized cracks.

I cheated myself out of a healthy choice…Cheetos should now be spelled “Cheatos”.

Cele-cake.

A Special Guest Blog By: Courtney Mueller, Co-Producer of “Finding Thin”

Another milestone happened in my life; Sunday I turned 25 years old. My quarter life crisis. Naturally I celebrated the entire Memorial Day weekend surrounded by friends and family. The parties varied with the people, location, and overall birthday feel, but there was one particular element that was present in every event… cake.

For me, it’s not a birthday until there’s birthday cake. The birthday song followed by making a wish while blowing out the candles inevitably turns into slicing into the first (and biggest) piece of cake to devour. It’s part of the tradition, it’s the birthday food, it’s the celebratory meal.

And regardless of the caloric count, we always justify our poor food choices “because it’s a special occasion”.

Valentine’s Day chocolate, summer barbeques, Halloween candy, Thanksgiving stuffing, and Christmas… a little-or a lotta- bit of everything. Food is a part of our journey and the unhealthy choices is the highway we use to take.

Food is not only part of our culture, but it is often a reward.

Get a promotion at work? Go out to dinner.

Breakup with a boyfriend? Put your face in a pint of ice cream.

Turn a year older? Let ’em eat cake.

While I don’t think giving your sweetheart Tofu candy is going to be the up and coming tradition, I do think better or (gasp) healthier choices can be made when celebrating.

Make your health “a special occasion” everyday.

Ronald McDonald Is Getting Fired

A Special Guest Blog By: Courtney Mueller, Co-Producer of “Finding Thin”

When I was little, my best friend and I would rollerblade to our local McDonalds once a week.  Every week we shakily crossed the busiest street in town, rolling with determination towards our favorite meal.  We didn’t mind the threat of speeding traffic, we didn’t consider our journey to be exercise, we just focused on the payoff: Chicken McNuggets, french fries, and hot fudge sundaes.  The golden arches beckoned us closer. The red and yellow colors were as bright as the vegas strip to two hungry 10 year olds.  Fast, hot, greasy food was the jackpot.  As my best friend and I enjoyed our happy meals, we were joined by another friend: Ronald McDonald.

The enemy?

This May, an open letter was sent to McDonalds CEO Jim Skinner from more that 1000 health professionals.  They urged McDonalds to stop marketing fast food to children, implying that Ronald McDonald was a tool of manipulation to to entice children.

They want to fire Ronald McDonald.

Personally, the clown was never really a draw for me. Granted he’s a clown, so he’s automatically interesting to kids.  He also comes with french fries, which makes him more appealing to the terrified-of-clowns-set. Sporting his red and white overalls, giant red clown shoes, and the classic red nose, Ronald McDonald is as recognizable as Santa Claus. But his mechanically waving hand from the parking lot didn’t spur me into a feeding frenzy. It was the smell. It was the taste. It was the immediate satisfaction of greasy delight.

Still is.

I was never there to visit Ronald, I was there to satisfy my hunger.  And there’s something so comforting about ritualized eating.

It would be nice if McDonalds continued to evolve their menus.  It would be nice if McDonalds needs to promote healthy eating. It would be even nicer if we could take the responsibility to lay off the fried foods altogether.

Parents can get out of the drive-thru line and choose another place for a healthier meal. They can even (gasp!) cook a meal at home.  Kids can be taught better eating habits. Americans can even pick healthier choices on McDonalds growing and health-friendly menu.

So why blame the man in the clown shoes for what is ultimately our decision?

American Beauty

A Special Guest Blog By: Courtney Mueller, Co-Producer

In the Academy Award winning movie, “American Beauty”, we meet Lester Burnham, a depressed man going through a midlife crisis. Reaching his breaking point, Lester- played by actor Kevin Spacey- decides to take control by changing chaos into finding his own true happiness… including his health.

“I wanna look good naked” Lester states.

When it comes to the the psychological term “midlife crisis”, men and women tend to rehash the passing of their youth and acknowledge of their old age.

And people react. They dye their hair to rid them any grays, buy expensive cars, and even seek a younger lover even if they are married. Many also tend to analyze their bodies, their looks, and health. Lester Burnham sure did.

The married Lester Burnham ended up developing a six pack in order to look sexy for a high school cheerleader…midlife crisis personified at it’s finest.

I question the ideology of the midlife crisis. Why does it take a milestone in one’s life to reevaluate their health and well being? Why don’t we, especially when America is facing the challenge if obesity, live in the now… in the moment? Why does it tend to take something big in our lives- whether it be a birthday, a tragedy, or an overall life-changing event- in order for us to focus our attention on what truly makes us happy and most importantly, healthy?

America is tortured by the obesity epidemic. Many are sitting and complaining. Many are waiting for something to happen. Something to ignite their will power, their strength, their “uumph” to jumpstart their health.

I ask you to look into that mirror. Look at that menu. Look into yourselves and process how you feel. If you aren’t happy, aren’t taking care of yourselves, or simply stuck in life, make today your milestone.

Don’t be a Lester.

Healthy Kitchen to Healthy Living

This is a guest post by Chris Steurer

How many times have you walked to fridge and looked inside to see it loaded with a variety of food options and still thought to yourself; “There is nothing to eat”? Generally after that we move on to the cupboards or the pantry and think the same thing. After all of the food frustration many tend to give up and grab an unhealthy snack from the vending machine, nearest corner store, or even the secret stash laying in that tiny little cupboard.

Staying home and eating in is one of the easiest and best ways to ensure that we are eating healthy and staying on track with our diet because we are in control of what we eat. However, it is so easy to fall victim to the cycle of eating unhealthy because of the way we often keep unnecessary and unhealthy food items at the forefront in our homes.

a man sitting on near the sink in his messy kitchen that is littered with dirty dishes and trash

How organized do you keep your kitchen?

We can help correct this by reorganizing our kitchens for healthier choices. To do this, we need to reorganize two main categories of our kitchens; the food and the eating utensils.

Food

Take a look at what your daily eating habits consist of and compare it to how accessible those food items are in your kitchen. Do you eat a lot of candy when you come home from work? Is that because you keep a candy dish sitting out? Candy is an easy choice when it is sitting in an inviting bowl on the counter right when you walk in the door. The proximity, location, and ease of access of the food in our homes can drastically effect what we eat, but it can also help us create new, smarter eating habits. If you try placing a bowl of fresh fruits on your counter where that candy bowl used to b, I bet you would be eating healthier right now.

a woman snacking on lots of junk food at her kitchen table

How easy is it to find the junk food inside of your kitchen?

Take into consideration where your other food items are placed in your kitchen. What food do you have sitting in your fridge door? What is right in front on the main shelf of your cabinet or pantry? These items are often the ones we choose the most because they are simply right in front us and seem to be an easy choice to make. This is why you should make sure that you strategically place the healthy foods in prime locations like this; more often then not you will naturally make the healthier food choice when you check your food stash. Make sure these food items are always in your sight and that they are easy to reach for when you want a quick snack or a healthy, tasty meal. Move all of the unhealthy snack items to the back of the shelf where they can hide behind your good food choices, or get rid of them entirely!

Kitchen Utensils

Do you use different kitchen utensils and cooking items when you eat healthy versus when you eat unhealthy? Generally when I’m eating unhealthy I only use the toaster or the microwave and some dishes. When I eat healthy food items, I am much more likely to use all of my other cooking accessories like the oven/stove, pots and pans, spatulas, strainers, and so on. Knowing this, I can create a more inspiring environment in my kitchen by placing these cooking utensils out so that they are more dominant in my kitchen then even the microwave or toaster.

Organize for Success

Reorganizing your kitchen can truly create a more healthy eating environment. Keep those unhealthy food items out of sight and they will stay out of your mind. Place the healthy food choices up front so that they become the obvious choice for food and sticking to your health and eating goals can become a lot simpler.

Do you have any tips on how you organize your kitchen or food for healthier habits? Post a comment below and let us know!