Tag Archives: healthy eating

January 2020 Book, TV, and Film Roundup

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It’s been a minute since the last time I did one of these roundups. So, I decided to welcome February with one! Now that I am a person who has the occasional free time, I get to write a little more. I still have an academic project I am aiming to finish within the next month so, I will juggle between that and the blog.

The Shelf

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The Disney Fetish (2014) by Seán Harrington

How do I dare critique this book when there’s such deep research put into the psyche of Walt Disney the man, Disney the company, and conclusively, the influence on the society he (or it) aimed to effect? Let me first give you a back story. I ordered this book online in August for the sake of exploring a study similar to my scholarly project (analysis of several films made by a franchise in a way that challenges the hegemonic view). The premise of the book is interesting however, shortly after I started reading it, I pushed it as far away as possible.

I came back to this book in January, hoping that I can observe how the author structured the selected topics and introduced them in his book. This may be personal—I felt that the author, Seán Harrington, solely based his arguments on the Oedipus complex, aka the psychoanalysis that I think, has no connection to the feminist theory whatsoever. According to Freud’s Oedipal view, the mother does not have a phallus which denies her the adoration of self-image. I do not understand the logic, nor do I think arguing solely through this one deficient theory is enough for this book. I like the never heard of insights about the formation of the Disney company as well as Walt Disney’s potential psychologically damaging family experiences (which mostly entails Chapter 2 to 3). However, I think the author could have made his point in 40 pages easily.

Putting aside my disagreement with the author’s findings here is what I think: Overall, there is some good research and interesting facts about Walt Disney himself. However, the book is repetitive and seems to go back and forth between targeting academics versus average pop-culture geeks; there is some confusion about the audience. Sadly, I pushed through The Disney Fetish but, I do not recommend this book.

The Small Screen

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The Goop Lab (2020)

Dear women everywhere, watch The Goop Lab! Rumor (or the paparazzi) has it, Gwyneth Paltrow ended her acting career recently, and is focusing her energy on her lifestyle brand “Goop”. Paltrow started the brand back in 2008, which connected with women through weekly email newsletters. I say women because I do think it initially started with the idea of targeting and helping women about their psychical and mental wellness. However, Goop also has a small men’s section on their website that talks about stress-release, helpful recipes and much more. Alright, now that I am done with what seems like brand promotion, I’ll get to the gist of it (I promise I recently discovered about this lifestyle brand just like many of you and I do not have enough readers to promote a brand).

In The Goop Lab series, Paltrow and a powerful set of women try mushrooms, different and potentially risky diets as well as cosmetic applications. They also talk about the uncomfortable like female pleasure. There have been several criticisms about the show– specifically ones claiming it gives “bad health advice”. As the beginning of the show indicates, there is information that needs to be taken with caution in The Goop Lab. The way I viewed the show was similar to the way I watch vloggers. I watched women trying things and sharing their experience with us ladies who are curious. The content is a little different than your typical YouTube video though. The Goop team stayed vulnerable and shared relatable experience. Not every episode was great, but I found the series worthwhile for us ladies who may not spend much-needed time on their wellness. The Goop Lab is a great treadmill companion or a sleepover watch with good friends.

The Big Screen

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Jojo Rabbit (2019)

The very first time I watched Jojo Rabbit I thought it is an excellent film because it shows Nazi Germany from a satiric point of view. Taika Waititi most definitely tackles a topic that has been done many times before and considering the fact that Hitler ruled 70 years ago or so makes the film a risky choice. While the racist practices are engraved within the minds of many, identifying with the struggles that had happened during the Third Reich’s rule could still have been problematic for younger viewers. Taken these into consideration, Waititi accomplishes a hard task making Jojo Rabbit a hit.

I hardly have negative things to say for this production, but I also struggle to praise it too much. I think the brutal realities that the Jews had to go through are not reflected enough in this film. However, at the same time, this is okay because the premise of the movie is about the Nazi Germans, how the youth idolize and even adore Hitler and the adults who fight for peace while existing inside the system. To recap Jojo Rabbit quickly, Jojo is a Nazi German boy who is a member of Hitler’s young army. Quite frankly the story isn’t limited to that; Hitler is Jojo’s best friend (or imaginary friend). All Jojo wants is to work for Hitler until he finds out his beautiful mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. Jojo Rabbit is truly about the power of propaganda. The film provides an insider’s view about how the redneck, uneducated, or naïve youth view the war, which is something we are not necessarily used to seeing on screen besides the heart-wrenching dramas.

In terms of the acting, there isn’t much to say—Jojo Rabbit has a talented cast. However, Scarlett Johansson truly shines and even steals the show during her limited appearances in the movie. If I say so myself, 2019 was the year of Johansson (See my review for Marriage Story (2019) which Johansson shares the spotlight with a thought-provoking performance alongside Adam Driver). Since Johansson ditched the pretty girl stereotype, her acting skills are at the forefronts. Rosie (Johansson) is a beautiful woman whom the men watch out for on the streets. However, her portrayal is complex—she is a mother who wants her son Jojo to turn around with his own will as she tries to support his young army involvement while showing him that peace is the solution.

You might like Jojo Rabbit because it has a different angle, or you might hate it for the same reason. I’d suggest you see the film and decide for yourself. While my criticism is limited and I cannot find much fault in Jojo Rabbit, it may not be one of those compelling films simply because it trades the dramatic effect with satire.

Comment below what you think or suggest a movie, tv-show, or a book you’d like for me to review! If you like reading posts like this one, consider getting me a Ko-Fi here. Thank you for reading and see you next time.

Health and Fitness Talk: A Guide to ‘Just Doing it’, and Making it Last

The same old title that you have read about 10 times right after you finish that yummy bar of chocolate? And potentially leaned over to grab some more?…

The same old title that you have read about 10 times right after you realize pushing yourself to your limit doesn’t seem to help what you see in the mirror anymore? Be it losing fat or seeing new curves… or simply growing the guns.

Or you are like me… Recovering from an injury, or just been too long into the “healthy living” trend that you couldn’t care less anymore… yet it’s a struggle to get up from the couch sometimes.

Well, whoever you are, I hope this article finds you well and gives you hope that you can just do it.

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Short bio: I grew up with ballet and horseback riding, later fell in love with running and fitness. I prepped for a bodybuilding show 3 years ago and was a member of UKBFF. I trained powerlifting style, and later, tried CrossFit for a short period of time (up until the famous injury). I aim to obtain my minor in Human Kinetics very soon. Although I do not have any certificates, I have a great interest in fitness and loving my body for all that it does. Please take the advice as you need it!

  • There is no finish line.

Whenever I go on a run using my Nike Running app, it says this: “Remember: There is no finish line, and you’ll just keep getting better”, I oddly find peace when I hear this.

One thing that I see a lot of people do when they first start working out, or the “cutting phase” is that they start FAST, and they finish FAST. It sounds like the right thing to do, right? Sadly, that’s a no.

If you have been sedentary all your life (or e.g. for the past 2-3 months), your body is not going to magically lose weight when you start running 5 times a week. It’s actually more likely that your body is going to be like “What the hell, dude?”. At that point, your body doesn’t know how to properly recover for your next activity because you are basically tiring your muscles, slowly damaging your metabolism and wearing yourself out. The “go all out” method might work for a few weeks or a month, but the second that you need to push yourself further, you will quickly realize that there’s no further left, and you have already used your body to its limits.

2015, with Ryan Terry.

What should you do? When you start working out or start a cut, start slowly and build up the momentum. Start two times a week, add a third workout next week. Cut your extra slice of bread from your breakfast and next week, switch up the pasta lunch with a tuna salad. Don’t do it all at the same time. Give your body some time to adjust the new activities and recover from them to positively affect your health.
One of the greatest advice that I was given: I and my body will be on a long journey together. Changes take time to adjust, and we have a lifetime to do it just right. Love your body, train because you love your body.

It’s a long run and you know that you don’t want to wear yourself out too quickly. Love what you do, more love will follow.

  • If you are a newbie, read this.

I could not tell you how important it is for you to read these words. I just started to a new gym full of buff dudes myself and it actually is intimidating to walk around them. It might seem like you have nothing in common with all the ‘fit’ people if you allegedly feel insecure about yourself. And, that’s okay!

In my opinion, training shouldn’t be about other people and how you should only train to show off at the gym. I had a similar conversation with a friend over the phone just an hour ago. I had sent him a video of myself practicing the snatch move (which was shot a few days before I got injured), I told him I missed training like that. He followed up with a question “You are not an athlete, I know that you don’t need to feed your ego… and you are not prepping for a competition. Why did you even bother doing those exercises? You did not need to”. My answer was simple, I usually get bored with endless hours of cardio and Pilates (seems like a lot of girls do enjoy it, and I respect that), and I love doing things that stop my mind from pacing around. I overthink too much, and when I train at a fast pace, it is my remedy.

I think I kind of like the brain fog (and the endorphins, ya know?).

  • EAT.

Abs are made in the kitchen, okay, okay. We get it, fine. Unless you are an obsessive freak (flashback to me 3 years ago), you will not be able to make the salad and 0 calorie water life for a long time. I absolutely respect you if you can, but I have seen and experienced first-hand that a lot of restrictive eating brings eating disorders with it. Let me tell you, disorders don’t go away as fast as you would want them to.

What should you do? So, please, have your cake, chocolate, hamburger or whatever your tummy desires BUT… have it in moderation. IIFYM method usually works well to estimate what your body needs and tailor your calories according to that. However, it might sometimes trigger restrictive eating, too. Experiment, and find your own balance. I personally like to eat healthy most of the time. I have a sweet tooth, so I’ll have a couple pieces of dark chocolate or a small piece of cake to fuel my training. Who needs coffee when you have sugar, right?

The take away: Do NOT eliminate any food. Food is your friend. Go out with your friends and have the occasional dessert. The important part? Do NOT beat yourself for it. Move on, keep living.

  • Find a partner.

Choosing a partner is an important, at times life-changing (hopefully in a good way), and a burdening decision. Many say best friends make great partners. I got to refute this one really quick: My best friend in middle school ruined every diet I have ever started. We would swallow bars of chocolate for every pound we lose for the week. Gain all of that back, feel miserable, eat to feel better, diet, repeat the cycle. One word: BRUTAL.

Body Power Expo, UK

Not all partners are like that though. Find partners who have similar goals as you. My boyfriend and I met at the gym because we were the only two crazy people who would wake up at 6 am to make it for training before anyone else. We became good friends, woke each other up when one would not, and he became a motivating factor for me to get out of bed and get working. Training partners will push you further, at times create friendly competitions and become your helpers.

  • Choose one wisely, and when it’s time to let go for your own personal bodily and mental growth, let go, like everything else.Slow down and remember; things change eventually.

Over the coming days, months, years… You will change, and your body will, too. Maybe you started your fitness journey hating running, and one day, all of a sudden, running isn’t so painful anymore. Because last year, all the negative thoughts that you hear in your head only worsened your struggle to put your feet forward. Today, you suddenly started feeling alive, and happy with the wind blowing through your hair.

Brae Island Trail, 2016. Outdoor Run.

Much likely, for some reason, you might not be able to do things that you used to do, and that’s okay. Putting your body through stress, overworking, injuries, and more happen. If you are slow and steady, you prohibit a chunk of it. But if life happens, and you need to slow down, find new ways to make old things happen. Take a walk, relax, love your body through all that it has been through.

Times that you feel there is no change? No forward progress? Ask for help, find ways to leave the mental stress (depression, insomnia, anxiety and more causes) behind, do it because you love it (I know I say this a lot), do not get your mind stuck on the scale or other measurements. DO: Measure the positive changes on how YOU feel, keep going.
Keep going.

Leave any questions you might have and let me know if you’d want to read a series of posts on health and fitness.

BONUS TAKE AWAY.