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Book Review: Good Girls Don’t Get Fat

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading, Size Acceptance | Posted on 18-06-2012

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Good Girls Don't Get FatGood Girls Don’t Get Fat by Robyn Sil­ver­man
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

This book is absolute­ly amaz­ing, and I strong­ly rec­om­mend it to every­one.

Yes, I said every­one. If you are a human being who is read­ing this post/​review, you live in a first-world soci­ety and you inter­act with females. You will ben­e­fit from a greater under­stand­ing of what mod­ern social stan­dards do to young females and how they shape us for the rest of our lives, how they twist us into dis­or­dered think­ing that touch­es absolute­ly every­thing we do, from how we think about our­selves to our per­son­al and busi­ness rela­tion­ships, our spir­i­tu­al­i­ty, our health — every­thing. And you will have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to change how you inter­act with females, par­tic­u­lar­ly girls, so that you are more of a pos­i­tive influ­ence rather than yet anoth­er per­son who is pulling her down and hold­ing her back.

I was already famil­iar with some of the research regard­ing the media and unre­al­is­tic por­tray­als of women. I knew that every mag­a­zine cov­er is Pho­to­shopped and air­brushed, that “nor­mal” mod­els rep­re­sent only 1 – 2% of real women, etc. I didn’t know that 5% of Amer­i­can high school girls have turned to tak­ing ana­bol­ic steroids in order to get a more toned, slim look, accord­ing to the CDC’s 2003 Youth Risk Behav­ior Sur­veil­lance Sys­tem, and that one out of every 14 girls in Amer­i­can mid­dle schools have tried steroids for the same pur­pose. I had heard that the pop­u­lar­i­ty of cos­met­ic surgery for young peo­ple was ris­ing, but I had no idea that it was as preva­lent as it is. I can’t remem­ber exact­ly how high, but it was fright­en­ing.

If there is a young lady in your life, stop for a moment and think — are you a pos­i­tive influ­ence on her? When young women in col­lege were asked about what they recall their par­ents say­ing about their bod­ies as they grew up, 80% of the respons­es were of neg­a­tive remarks. What will the girl in your life remem­ber you say­ing? If you’ve ever won­dered whether or not you should talk to her about los­ing a lit­tle weight, don’t. Believe me — the rest of the world has already beat­en that into her, and will go on doing so every minute of every day. There’s no way she doesn’t know that her body is unac­cept­able, whether she’s still car­ry­ing a lit­tle baby fat, is mor­bid­ly obese, or sim­ply has a slight­ly round face.

One of the things I admire most about Good Girls Don’t Get Fat is that it doesn’t just talk about how bad things are, it gives con­crete sug­ges­tions for improve­ment! That’s what we need.

The book is avail­able in any for­mat you can imag­ine. Pick it up. It’s an easy read, and won­der­ful.

View all my reviews

Is crying cathartic for you?

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Health | Posted on 13-02-2009

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I hate cry­ing, and will go to great lengths to avoid let­ting any­one see me cry — a habit I acquired as a child, because I didn’t want to let my father “win” when he hurt me. I always feel worse, rather than bet­ter, if I do cry about any­thing, so I’ve nev­er under­stand why any­body could talk about “hav­ing a good cry.” This piece from today’s today’s Delancey­place mail­ing was infor­ma­tive.

Some researchers now say that the com­mon psy­cho­log­i­cal wis­dom about cry­ing — cry­ing as a healthy cathar­sis — is incom­plete and mis­lead­ing. Hav­ing a “good cry” can and usu­al­ly does allow peo­ple to recov­er some men­tal bal­ance after a loss. But not always and not for every­one, argues a review arti­cle in the cur­rent issue of the jour­nal Cur­rent Direc­tions in Psy­cho­log­i­cal Sci­ence. …

In her book See­ing Through Tears: Cry­ing and Attach­ment, Judith Kay Nel­son, a ther­a­pist and teacher liv­ing in Berke­ley, Calif., argues that the expe­ri­ence of cry­ing is root­ed in ear­ly child­hood and people’s rela­tion­ship with their pri­ma­ry care­giv­er, usu­al­ly a par­ent. Those whose par­ents were atten­tive, sooth­ing their cries when need­ed, tend to find that cry­ing also pro­vides them solace as adults. Those whose par­ents held back, or became irri­tat­ed or over­ly upset by the child’s cry­ing, often have more dif­fi­cul­ty sooth­ing them­selves as adults.

“Cry­ing, for a child, is a way to beck­on the care­giv­er, to main­tain prox­im­i­ty and use the care­giv­er to reg­u­late mood or neg­a­tive arousal,” Dr. Nel­son said in a phone inter­view. Those who grow up unsure of when or whether that sooth­ing is avail­able can, as adults, get stuck in what she calls protest cry­ing — the child’s help­less squall for some­one to fix the prob­lem, undo the loss.

“You can’t work through grief if you’re stuck in protest cry­ing, which is all about fix­ing it, fix­ing the loss,” Dr. Nel­son said. “And in ther­a­py — as in close rela­tion­ships — protest cry­ing is very hard to soothe, because you can’t do any­thing right, you can’t undo the loss. On the oth­er hand, sad cry­ing that is an appeal for com­fort from a loved one is a path to close­ness and heal­ing.”

Tears can cleanse, all right. But like a flash flood, they may also leave a per­son feel­ing strand­ed, and soaked.


Bene­dict Carey, “The Mud­dled Tracks of All Those Tears,” The New York Times, Health Sec­tion, Feb­ru­ary 2, 2009

News Flash: Decatur Teen Comes Home Early From Date!

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family, Health, Parenting | Posted on 27-01-2008

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What a weirdo! I mean, you’d think these kids were being, I don’t know, respon­si­ble or some­thing! Just because she has an appoint­ment ear­ly in the morn­ing, she came home ear­ly.

Kids these days! I don’t think I ever got home an hour and a half before cur­few.

Maybe she’s smarter than I was. Hmmm.

But, real­ly, she should have giv­en us a warn­ing. She caught us pod­cast­ing!

Ohs noes, I have to get up in the morning!

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family, Health, Home | Posted on 14-01-2008

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I mean, like get up by a cer­tain time and be con­scious enough to dri­ve, which is unusu­al. Real­ly unusu­al, as I very sel­dom dri­ve. But the girl needs to go see the doc­tor, and she still sees a pedi­a­tri­cian because they’re eas­i­er to get in to see when you need to see them, and sick vis­its mean wait­ing and wait­ing in the lob­by. It would take way too much of Sam’s day to try to take off work to do it. So unless I just can’t, at all, it’ll be me. So no long entry tonight!

Romance and Roleplaying

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family, Fun, Geekery, Relationships, RPGs | Posted on 12-01-2008

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Sam has talked about this sub­ject in sev­er­al of his pod­casts, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried to address it. I may fail mis­er­ably, but I’ll try.

Sam and I had one of our twice-week­ly “date nights” tonight. That means that from about 7pm ’til we go to bed, we do noth­ing but have fun with each oth­er. The girl amus­es her­self oth­er­wise, or goes out, and we do what­ev­er we like. Usu­al­ly, that means we spend some time gam­ing.

Reading

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Education, Family, Home, Homeschooling, Parenting, Reading, Relationships | Posted on 21-11-2007

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So, the Crazy Hip Blog Mamas want me to talk about what read­ing means to me or my child. How about both?
Katie reading
You might have noticed that I talk, a lot, about read­ing. I think Now Read­ing shows at least four five of the books that I’m read­ing right now, and that’s a fair­ly nor­mal num­ber. I don’t include my text­books, because they’d be there too long!

Read­ing is one of the things that I can still do, most of the time, despite the fibro and oth­er crap. I can’t always man­age to read on a screen, or fol­low some­thing like a text­book. For­tu­nate­ly, though, fic­tion by some of my favorite authors — espe­cial­ly an old favorite nov­el, like Part­ners in Neces­si­ty — is eas­i­er, and is a very good way to dis­tract myself from the pain for a while.

I haven’t talked about it much, but Katie has had increas­ing health prob­lems over the last year. Her migraines are no longer man­aged, despite tak­ing high lev­els of pre­ven­tive med­ica­tions. The res­cue med­ica­tions aren’t work­ing well because she has to take them too often. She had anoth­er round of sleep stud­ies, too, and a new neu­rol­o­gist has been try­ing dif­fer­ent med­ica­tions to help her get a decent night’s sleep (which should help the migraines and oth­er prob­lems). So far, any­thing that helps her sleep despite severe rest­less leg syn­drome leaves her zomb­i­fied the rest of the time. Provig­il, even tak­en twice a day, can’t keep her awake and aware enough to func­tion in school. She’s lit­er­al­ly sleep­ing like a cat, 14 – 18 or hours a day, just nev­er deeply. Her dark cir­cles have cir­cles, now.

But she can still read, too. Slow­ly, some days, and going back to re-read some pages, but she gets the same com­fort from it as I do. You know she’s mine when you real­ize that she’s nev­er with­out at least one, and often two, books in her purse.

I start­ed read­ing to her dur­ing my preg­nan­cy, along with talk­ing and singing and play­ing music for her. I read out loud to her from her first week out of the womb, too, some­times while breast­feed­ing, oth­er times while just being with her. She talked at an ear­ly age, and was very clear. She learned to read quick­ly, too, and has always been very opin­ion­at­ed (where did she get that?) about her choice of read­ing mat­ter. One of her favorite things about leav­ing the pub­lic school sys­tem was being free of that damned Accel­er­at­ed Read­er pro­gram and its ridicu­lous restric­tions!

It’s no sur­prise that I hope my nephews and niece are read­ers, too — although that’s far less like­ly, since their par­ents aren’t, real­ly. My broth­er used to brag that he’d nev­er read any whole book, even those assigned for class­es. (I nev­er under­stood that being a point of pride, even if he did get good grades.) My sis­ter has nev­er read any­thing that wasn’t required. I don’t know their spous­es very well, but I’m fair­ly sure they aren’t recre­ation­al read­ers, either. At least the grand­ba­bies have our moth­er (their Nana), who got me start­ed read­ing, and will sit for hours with any child, read­ing book after book (or the same book, over and over) patient­ly.1 I’m not close to my sib­lings, geo­graph­i­cal­ly or oth­er­wise, so I don’t have many chances to influ­ence the babies. I can give them books, though, and hope to catch their fan­cy so they ask to have them read!

Being a flu­ent read­er gives one more of an advan­tage that any oth­er skill you can give your child. Read­ers can use that skill to learn absolute­ly any­thing else. They can explore math, sci­ence, crit­i­cal think­ing, his­to­ry, cur­rent events, art — you name it. If you teach them to read, get them in the habit of doing so, and teach them to judge their sources well, you’ve giv­en them an incred­i­ble start on life.


1 Mom (and I!) did read to my sib­lings, but nei­ther of them ever want­ed to sit still long.

Study: ADHD kids’ brain areas develop slower — CNN​.com

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Education, Family, Health, News | Posted on 19-11-2007

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Expert: Find­ing shows bio­log­i­cal basis for atten­tion deficit hyper­ac­tiv­i­ty dis­or­der

Cru­cial parts of brains of chil­dren with atten­tion deficit dis­or­der devel­op more slow­ly than oth­er young­sters’ brains, a phe­nom­e­non that ear­li­er brain-imag­ing research missed, a new study says.

ADHD Brain Maturation

Devel­op­ing more slow­ly in ADHD young­sters — the lag can be as much as three years — are brain regions that sup­press inap­pro­pri­ate actions and thoughts, focus atten­tion, remem­ber things from moment to moment, work for reward and con­trol move­ment. That was the find­ing of researchers, led by Dr. Philip Shaw of the Nation­al Insti­tute of Men­tal Health, who report­ed the most detailed study yet on this prob­lem in Monday’s online edi­tion of Pro­ceed­ings of the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences.

I’ve gone from seri­ous­ly not believ­ing that ADHD exist­ed at all, to being forced to under­stand its real­i­ty because my life part­ner, his kids, and my daugh­ter all have it. These find­ings are a major advance!

I still know that plen­ty of peo­ple (par­tic­u­lar­ly bad par­ents) use ADHD as an excuse, but that can hap­pen with any dis­or­der, real or imag­ined.

There’s fur­ther infor­ma­tion at the Nation­al Insti­tute for Men­tal Health, where the research was done.

Packaging Boyhood

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family, Home, Parenting | Posted on 15-11-2007

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From the lat­est Dads & Daugh­ters newslet­ter:

Our friend Dr. Mark Tap­pan is co-author­ing a book, to be called “Pack­ag­ing Boy­hood” about mar­ket­ing to our sons. The book aims to “scru­ti­nize the world of boy pow­er, and the ways media and mar­keters’ stereo­types about how to be a man reach way down into the lives and enter­tain­ment of younger and younger boys.” Mark is writ­ing it along with Dr. Lyn Mikel Brown and Dr. Sharon Lamb, co-authors of the 2006 book Pack­ag­ing Girl­hood: Res­cu­ing Our Daugh­ters from Mar­keters’ Schemes.

To gath­er data for “Pack­ag­ing Boy­hood,” these pre­em­i­nent schol­ars on the role of gen­der in the emo­tion­al, psy­cho­log­i­cal and cul­tur­al devel­op­ment of our chil­dren put togeth­er a very inter­est­ing online sur­vey at www​.pack​ag​ing​boy​hood​.com. Par­tic­i­pa­tion by dads and/​or their sons will be worth­while.

Dads & Daugh­ters is a great resource for par­ents, edu­ca­tors, or any­one else who cares about chil­dren. This is the first time I’ve seen them post some­thing son-spe­cif­ic, but much of their mate­r­i­al is impor­tant regard­less of the gen­der of your child(ren). Maybe well see a Dads & Sons before long, or some­thing sim­i­lar.

I’m a Girl Scout!

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Girl Scouts, Homeschooling | Posted on 09-06-2006

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Yep, I’m a 39-year-old Girl Scout. In fact, all three of the humans in our house­hold are reg­is­tered Girl Scouts — myself, Katie, and yes, even Sam. Men can be reg­is­tered as adult Scouts. Katie’s troops have always asked that at least one, and prefer­ably both (or more if there are more!) par­ents in a fam­i­ly reg­is­ter as adult Scouts for var­i­ous rea­sons.

I’ve been a troop leader in Junior and mul­ti­level (Rain­bow) troops in the past. I had one year of Brown­ies and one as a Junior Girl Scout when I was a girl. I didn’t have great expe­ri­ences, and want­ed to make things bet­ter for my daugh­ter and oth­er girls, so I stepped up to be a leader when need­ed. I found that I enjoyed it every bit as much as the girls do. As just one exam­ple, I had nev­er gone camp­ing until Katie became a Brown­ie, and thought I’d hate it, but it was real­ly fun.

There are some mar­velous resources on the net for Girls and their par­ents and lead­ers. Katie is going to share her favorite links with oth­er girls, so I’ll con­cen­trate on the adult stuff. Since I’m rel­a­tive­ly new, I don’t have any­thing like the list of links some sites have, but I want­ed to share the best of what I have found.

  • The Nation­al GSUSA site has far more infor­ma­tion on it than most peo­ple ever real­ize. If you don’t already know what local coun­cil serves your area, you can find out here.
  • We’re in the North­west Geor­gia coun­cil. That site also offers a wealth of infor­ma­tion. Pay spe­cial atten­tion to the reg­u­lar­ly-post­ed Learn­ing Oppor­tu­ni­ties, which is the sched­ule of class­es offered for adults and some­times for old­er girls. Coun­cil events are also post­ed here. We would have missed out on some mar­velous oppor­tu­ni­ties if we wait­ed for some­one else to tell us about them instead of check­ing the council’s site reg­u­lar­ly.
  • The Scout­ing File Cab­i­net is a col­lec­tion of links, songs, cer­e­monies, activ­i­ties, infor­ma­tion for par­ents — you name it! It’s part of a larg­er site, the Leader/​Guide Cyber Coun­cil, which is mar­velous.
  • Scout­ing­Web offers an aston­ish­ing range of mate­r­i­al.
  • New Moon Mag­a­zine isn’t specif­i­cal­ly for Scouts, but it’s a mar­velous mag­a­zine for and by girls that does occa­sion­al­ly fea­ture some Scout­ing mate­r­i­al. They also have a great mail­ing list, care­about­girls. The list is “for adults who care about girls: par­ents, teach­ers, coach­es, coun­selors, pas­tors, troop lead­ers, rel­a­tives, researchers, etc. This is for every adult who wants to help raise healthy, con­fi­dent girls and make the world bet­ter and safer for girls.”

Some­one expressed sur­prise when learn­ing that I’m a Girl Scout leader because she was under the impres­sion that Girl Scout­ing is only for Chris­tians. I wrote an arti­cle to clear up that mis­con­cep­tion, “Is There a Pen­ta­gram Badge?”

I espe­cial­ly encour­age home­school­ing fam­i­lies to explore Girl Scout­ing as an oppor­tu­ni­ty for their daugh­ters. We use the GS badge require­ments along with unit stud­ies and they’ve giv­en us many great ideas.

Link: Mindful parenting and unschooling

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Education, Family, Homeschooling, Links | Posted on 18-05-2006

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Today, a post to one of the home­school­ing lists I’m on includ­ed a link to Con­nec­tions: ezine of unschool­ing and mind­ful par­ent­ing. I haven’t read all of it, but there’s def­i­nite­ly lots of good stuff there. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed!

Namaste,
Cyn