I’ve seen TV. I’ve seen the internet. I know how this shit works. You’re supposed to turn up, sad, talking about a thing you want to change. Then, you go away and change it, talk about how easy it was to change and how much better you feel, much applause, everyone goes home.
A few weeks ago I blogged (in fact it was the first post I wrote for this site) about my poor relationship with exercise and how I really wanted to figure out how I could move more and, therefore, become healthier. I talked about how I want to disassociate my experience of exercise as something to do for weight loss and how I wanted to learn to move my body for the sake of health and enjoyment. Like many people reading this blog, years of intertwining diet with exercise, along with believing that sport was for thin people, left me feeling like I wasn’t invited to the party and that I didn’t even want to go anyway.
And yet, I still went away from writing that post feeling, partly, like I was going to be able to bounce back a few weeks later and tell you all what an athlete I’d become and how much more sun shines out of my arse.
I can’t do that.
A friend of mine made this salad at a get-together and I was in love with it. I asked for the recipe … and it’s a lot of fun to play with! You can add or subtract things (the version I ate had small chunks of bacon) and it’s a really great way to play with your food.
Trigger warning: Discussion of research regarding weight and health.
tl;dr warning: This is one bad mama jama of a post going into great depth on a single study. I have attempted to break it down for accessibility so you can follow along how to deconstruct meta-analysis. The only way I was able to do this myself was by relying on the education, experience and wisdom of several good friends and confidantes who patiently answered my questions, read the analysis along with me and provided exhaustive feedback on how meta-analysis should work. Many thanks to Angie Meadows (aka Never Diet Again UK) and Kala, along with my epidemiologist friends who provided feedback behind the scenes. Making research accessible is vital if we are going to have a public conversation on weight and health and I hope that this post helps contribute to that conversation.
It was bound to happen sooner or later: I made a mistake.
Back in December, I wrote this post discussing two recent studies that supposedly “disproved” fat and fit. I tried to explain the difference between shitty science (i.e., bad methodology resulting in bad data) and shitty analysis (i.e., reliable data used to reinforce preexisting assumptions). In doing so, I was trying to make the case against the kind of science denialism I lamented in this post about Sandy Szwarc and Junkfood Science.
In my attempt to explain a complicated subject, I oversimplified some and drew conclusions that were not valid. Specifically:
We cannot allow ourselves to confuse shitty science with shitty analysis. The research teams that claim they have disproven fat and fit are making that analysis based on solid, reliable, trustworthy data. I’ve read the Danish study and did not see anything egregious about the data they used to draw their conclusions. The Danish study is science, not “science.”What the Danish study and the Canadian study both suffer from, however, is shitty analysis.
Although I did read the Danish study, I only ran across the Canadian study days before I already planned the post and I assumed that, like the Danish study, its data was reliable. But then I went back and actually read the Canadian study (sadly, it’s behind a paywall), as well as the peer critiques that were published alongside it, and suddenly the science got a lot murkier.
As folks who follow my blog posts can tell, it’s been a really, really rough several months pain-wise. I went from dancing in at least three to four classes a week to maybe doing one a week … maybe … if I’m lucky. This has been a huge hit to my self-esteem, especially because my spine surgery helped get me back to some dancing (although that dancing was really made possible by efficient use of adaptive equipment, like my forearm crutch or my wheelchair to seriously save spoons where I can).
Back in the 60s we had “Be-Ins “or “Love-Ins,” when people would gather in the same place and meditate on love and peace. Sometimes LSD was involved, sometimes sex and nudity, most of the time music was definitely a factor. But no matter what form they took, the “prime directive” was to raise awareness about the need for peace, unity, and acceptance of diversity.
In thinking back, it amazes me how massive these events were considering we had no social media to help spread the word and using mainstream media to organize was out of the question. Yet somehow word got around and there we would be feeling strong, powerful, and most importantly, catalysts for change.
Today… we have flash mobs.
Okay, I had planned to publish a big response this week to a paper I’ve been researching, but work and life have colluded to disrupt my plans. So instead, I’m going to share with you one of my favorite meals to make, which has become a family favorite: Panko meatloaf with oven-roasted spicy sweet potatoes. Read more…