Product Review: Nalgene!

Okay, I had a different product planned to review, but we ended up not eating said product this week, so it’ll have to wait until next week.

But, I have pledged to blog every day this month, so for today, I am reviewing Nalgene!

I don’t think this is a product that needs introduction, but if it does, it’s a water bottle brand that is pretty much indestructibe.

I bought this particular Nalgene in 1996 during my first semester in college.


Over the last twenty years (and it has been used regularly over the last 20 years), the only problem is that the Western Kentucky University writing on it has faded.  I consider that pretty impressive.

It still seals tight and functions fantastically.  Even the plastic top is still going strong.

Nalgene will pretty much always be my water bottle of choice.  It’s dishwasher safe, it can survive abuse, and it’s just sturdy.  I’ve dropped this on the ground more than I can count, including pavement and concrete, and while there are some scuff marks, it still works beautifully!

Twenty years down.  I’m kinda curious now to know just how long this bottle will last me!

One-Photo Wednesday: The Skull Beret Today

Last Wednesday, I showed you the cosplay Henry and I did as Bulk and Skull.

Today, I’m showing you the Skull beret that Tina made for his cosplay.  My favorite part: Jason Narvy actually drew the question mark block on it, which is a staple of the Skull beret.

One Halloween, I found a cheap skull at Big Lots.

The skull beret sits on the fake skull in my office.  I love it; it reminds me of my son, Power Rangers, and just having a good time.


What I Don’t Like About the Body Positivity/Fat Acceptance Movement

Last Tuesday, I mentioned what I did like about the body positivity and fat acceptance movement.

Today, I’m going to talk about what I do not like, and really, it’s just one thing.

Science Denialism

First of all, Health at Every Size (HAES) very often goes hand-in-hand with Body Positivity but not always.  Also, the things I am going to talk about today are things that I have read and witnessed, but that does not obviously mean that all fat acceptance or body positive individuals feel this way.


I have seen SO many people (and I used to be one of them, sadly) who would claim starvation mode.  “I eat less than 1000 calories a day, and I have for months, but I’m not losing weight!”

No.  That’s literally impossible.  Starvation Mode is a thing… and it does not occur in obese people.  Ever.  It stemmed from the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, which occurred in the 1940s at the University of Minnesota.  Basically, what the researchers found was that in a pool of 36 men, when they underwent extreme calorie restriction, they rapidly lost weight and eventually entered a period where the calorie restriction did not quite coincide with the amount of weight lost.  These men were drastically underweight.  In other words, starvation mode only happens when someone is dramatically underweight.  It simply will not occur in someone who is at a normal (or higher) weight.

Again, I used to believe this.  I honestly thought that some weeks, I wasn’t losing weight because I wasn’t eating enough.

If you really stop to think about this for a minute, that seems ridiculous.  If people could gain (or even maintain) weight by not eating enough, then how in the world are there starving people?

People have been shown to be wildly inaccurate at calorie estimation.  I would surmise that both for myself and others who believe they are/were in starvation mode, they were likely consuming a lot more calories than they suspected.  (And of course, I suspect some people just lie, but I know there are some people truly flummoxed by their results.  The likely culprit – too many calories.)

This isn’t the only science denialism that HAES and their ilk come up with.

Some HAES and fat activists claim is it healthier to be obese.  I can’t even argue with this one, because it would be like arguing that the sun is purple.  As this 2009 article (found on PubMed) clearly states, “obesity is strongly associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality as well as cardiovascular and cancer mortality.”  Better yet, “weight loss can result in a significant reduction in risk for the majority of these comorbid conditions.”  So… there are HAES advocates out there who are actively discouraging people from losing weight, despite the fact that it can and does save people’s lives.


Some claim that it is impossible to lose weight.  Some cite a 95% figure for diets that fail.

Well… if 95% of all diets fail, then maybe do one of the 5% that work.  And this figure, in particular, is one that I do not doubt is true.  Most diets do fail, because most people won’t stick to them.  So really, it isn’t the diet that fails; it is the dieter that fails.  Stopping smoking has a success rate of only four to seven percent, according to the American Cancer Society.  By following HAES logic, then people should just keep smoking because the vast majority won’t be successful at quitting anyway.

I will not be part of the 95%; I am going to be a five percenter, and some activists – (one even calls herself a “trained researcher,” despite having no college degree – no kidding) – with internet connections and the ability to (poorly) Google will not dissuade me.

But again, I’m not worried about me.  I’m worried about people who are struggling to lose weight, come across these echo chambers of people denying the very real science of weight loss, and then they just give up.  And it happens, all the time. 

Dieting is hard; I get it.  I struggle with it, too.  But quitting and being fat are even harder.  So… pick your hard.  And the hard I pick is to lose weight.

Motivation Monday: Dress Shirts

Every Monday, I think I’m going to share a picture or a story or both about something that is helping to keep me on track.

And for today, this first Motivation Monday, it’s men’s dress shirts.


Why men’s dress shirts?

Fat guys tend to “wear” their bellies in one of two ways.  Either tucked into their pants with a high waist or beneath their guts.  I’m the latter; neither look is especially flattering.  The reason why I do the latter is I because I think it always looks better, but I’m sure guys who do the former would say the same thing.

Basically, tucking in a shirt is pure hell for me.  I hate it.  I hate having a gut and I hate trying to make it look as neat as possible.  It’s frustrating and frankly, a little embarrassing, to have a nicely starched shirt and to have to futz with it to make it look OKAY.  Not good, just okay.

I work at a job where I occasionally have to dress up.  I prefer dressing up in the winter because I can wear a sweater with it, which (in my mind, at least) hides part of the problem.

I have a few dress shirts that I can wear; I have a long torso, which makes tucking in around my belly even harder, because the shirt has to be much longer than normal.

If I were body positive or the fat acceptance type, I would demand equal treatment in clothing and longer shirts!  But I’m not, because I’m 100% for personal accountability.  So I’m losing weight.

Dress shirts motivate me.  I look forward to the day when I can just go into a store, buy a shirt because I like the color, and tuck it in easily without stress, drama, or continually checking the mirror.

The day is coming.  It’s a few years down the road, but it’s coming and I can’t wait.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The First Team and Video #0

This is The Ranger Project, and that means I need to talk some about the Power Rangers.  Every Sunday, I’m going to do a post about the Power Rangers.  When I can, I’ll also include videos.

So, today’s post is about the very first team, team numero uno, the five who started it all.

If you don’t know anything about the Power Rangers, it is about a group of ordinary teenagers who are given access to a universe of power.  This power manifests itself by turning these teens into the Power Rangers.  Our first group, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, become Rangers by using Power Coins.

Basically, five ordinary teens and they turn into a spandex-wearing (for now) group of superheroes instantly by morphing.

I think this instantaneous morphing process is part of the appeal for me.  They don’t put on costumes.  They weren’t born on distant planets.  They didn’t train really hard.  They immediately become a superhero team by holding their power morphers up and calling the name of the dinosaur that their power is based on.

What I wouldn’t give for weight loss to work the same way.




They have weapons; they have innate knowledge of how to fight and operate their equipment.  They have gigantic Zords, which can combine to make the powerful MegaZord.

There is a new movie coming out in 2017.  It’s a reboot, so we get our first five teens ago, albeit with some ethnic switching around (to avoid the black Black Ranger and Asian Yellow Ranger).  I am beyond excited about this movie and I cannot wait to see it!


From left to right, this new group is Billy, Kimberly, Zack, Trini, and Jason.  Not gonna lie; just seeing this photo gets me excited for the film!  Oh, and Elizabeth Banks is going to play the new Rita Repulsa.  How freaking awesome is that?

I’m working my way through the first season by watching one episode a day while I walk on the treadmill.  Hopefully, starting next weekend, I’ll have my first video where I describe what I’m finding and experiencing again as I watch these old episodes (in some cases, for the first time in years).

But for today, just enjoy this video of me describing what The Ranger Project is going to be all about.


What I Learned Today At Weight Watchers

For the next few months, my Saturday mornings are going to be pretty routine.

I’m going to go to my Weight Watchers meeting at 10 a.m. and then to my office at work to write on my dissertation.  (I hope to graduate in August, which means I have to defend my dissertation by mid-June.  And that’s about three months away.  Yikes!)

So before I head home for the day, I’m writing out this quick blog post.

I’m happy to be going back to WW meetings.  Carla is our typical Saturday morning leader, and she’s awesome.

Today, we talked a bit about the positive impact of exercise and weight loss.

One member shared that her cholesterol has dropped 65 points because of weight loss.  Holy cow.  How amazing is that?  Another person shared that she’s gone off of her blood pressure medication.

Myself?  I am pre-diabetic.  All through my 20s and early 30s, my blood sugar levels were fine, even as I was morbidly obese.  Now, not so much. I’m not diabetic yet, but it’s coming.  And I have to get this changed, right now.  Weight loss and exercise is how I’m going to do it.

Every Saturday that I get to go to meetings (which will hopefully be most of them), I’ll share what insight I gained at the meetings.  Today, I left on fire to do this. 

An Uneventful Weigh-in

This week’s weigh-in covered a pretty short window, as I weighed in for the first time on Friday.  For the most part, I plan to only weigh in on Fridays.  I did simple calorie counting this week.  I’m going to switch to SmartPoints next week.

So, how did I do, first week on the new Ranger Project?

March 4, 2016

Weight: 416.4

Change from Last Week: –2.6 pounds

Change from Highest: –13.6 pounds

Woo hoo!  I will happily take it!

I’m afraid I don’t have anything clever to share today.  I’m posting this late; today was a rather exhausting day.  Not a bad day, mind you, but a long one.  On the plus side, I did get to meet Kentucky’s Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton at a meeting today, so that was interesting.

Product Review: Tortilla Land Fresh Uncooked Tortillas

Every Thursday this month, I’m going to review a different product that my family and I have enjoyed.  These may primarily be food, and this week’s is no exception.

The product is Tortilla Land Fresh Uncooked Tortillas.  We bought these at Meijer for $2.49 for a pack of 12.


It is exactly what it sounds like; these are uncooked tortillas.  We bought these on a lark one week, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to precooked tortillas.  They’re 140 calories each, and the ingredient list was actually FAR better and smaller than anything I’ve seen precooked.


To cook them, you just spray a pan with a little oil (we used Pam, but you could certainly use olive oil, and if you had a really well-seasoned cast iron skillet, you could probably get by with nothing) and warm them up.  It is truly that easy; it takes about 60 seconds to cook completely.


Once it’s brown, it’s still flexible.  We usually use these to make burritos.


If you find these in your supermarket, get them!  I promise you will not regret it.  At our Meijer, we find them in the refrigerated section near the biscuits.

The bag is also resealable.  We usually get two to three meals out of a bag, and I know I’ve kept them in the fridge for at least two weeks without them going bad on us.

One-Photo Wednesday: Bulk and Skull Cosplay

A few years ago, Henry (my son) and I cosplayed as Bulk and Skull at Lexicon.  We got to meet the actors who play Bulk and Skull (Paul Schrier and Dr. Jason Narvy), and they were both pretty impressed with Henry’s cosplay, especially.  (Side note: Paul Schrier did say I had the best Bulk cosplay he’d ever seen, but he’s such a nice guy, I wouldn’t doubt that he tells everyone that.)

It was the first of many amazing interactions I’ve gotten to have with the Power Rangers cast at conventions.  While we don’t have any conventions on our radar for this year (due to budgetary reasons only), I know we will definitely have more in the future.

And while Bulk is awesome and I will always hold a warm spot in my heart as my very first cosplay, I have my eyes set on a little more superhero-y cosplay in the future.


What I Like About the Body Positivity/Fat Acceptance Movements

Next Tuesday, I plan to gripe about it.  But before I do that, I do want to address what I think these movements are getting right.

Look, I’m just going to be bluntly honest.  I think body positivity, fat acceptance, and health are every size are, at their very core message, incredibly dangerous, self-serving, and limiting.  I think they are causing FAR more harm for people than they are good.  But again… there are some things about these movements that I can appreciate.

Live your life right now, not when you get to your goal weight.

I think this one is HUGE!  I have heard people talk about what they’re going to do when they get to goal weight, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but… how about living your life now?  I asked Tina out on a date when I was obese, and I cannot imagine my life without her in it.  We had Henry when I was obese.  We went to Disney World and I rode all of the rides when I was obese.  We went to Universal Studios and I rode what rides I could when I was obese.  (Just an FYI – Disney World is very fat-rider friendly, Universal not so much, but I still had a great time.  And I’m looking forward to going to Universal and riding the rides as a thinner person.)

Whatever it is you want to do, if it can physically be done at your current size, then do it!  Yeah, you might face rejection if you ask someone out, but heck, who hasn’t faced rejection?  And who is to say you won’t be rejected as a thin person, too?

Now, here is where I differ a bit from the body positivity/fat acceptance crowd.  I am doing these things now, but I am also actively seeking a smaller size, too, where I will continue to live my life.

Everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

This one is a huge “duh” moment for me, but it is something that I guess still needs to be said.  Everyone, no matter what they look like or how much they weigh, deserves to be treated with respect.  Everyone, regardless of how they are fat, how fat they are, why they are fat, or any thing else with the word fat, has a right to be treated respectfully.

It does not matter if someone is losing weight, wants to gain weight, wants to become morbidly obese, or whatever else – if what they are doing does not impact anyone else directly, then it does not matter.  (More on this next week, I’ll admit, but the overall message – let people be who they are, and if you don’t like it, then just don’t be around them.)

People should not hate their bodies.

There have been times in my life I’ve hated my body, which is quite stupid for a lot of reasons.  First of all, this is the only body I have, good or bad, so I should cherish it and take care of it.  (For me, taking care of it means losing weight, but that’s something I’ll talk more about next week.)  Secondly, nothing positive comes out of hate.  You can’t hate yourself thin.  You can’t hate yourself happy.  I personally think it’s a bit much for me to celebrate my body being able to breathe and other autonomic processes, but at the same time… I’m really glad my body can breathe.

People should not be required to lose weight.

Heck, if you want to be in a feeder/feedee relationship, more power to you!  I personally find that incredibly damaging, but I find what a lot of people do incredibly damaging.  Do what makes you happy.  If you want to remain fat, then good for you – be fat.  Just don’t try to change the world and make those of us who DO want to lose weight accept your malarkey science.  (Seriously – there are fat activists who claim that losing weight is damaging to your health.  You can’t make that kind of crap up.)

And that’s pretty much all I’ve got.  I’m not saying that there are any valid points remaining; these are just the only ones I can think of right now.  Next Tuesday, I’ll tell you what I dislike about the body positivity/fat acceptance movements.

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