22

votes

Beauty or Health?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 23, 2011 at 6:01 PM

How much do your efforts to "look good" support your efforts toward optimal health. Do you think that it's possible that you undermine your health to achieve a certain look? Has the line between beauty and health been blurred? Do you think that because you look good that you are healthy?

RANT ALERT!

This is not a question about "other" people or an observation about anorexic models on the runway in Milan. Among many Paleos there is something of an obsession with being skinny/low fat. Is it healthy? I briefly succumbed to this mania, tried VLC, and it wasn't pretty. As I described here, I wasn't pooping, sleeping and my libido started to flag. So you're walking around the Santa Cruz Boardwalk dead tired and constipated but don't those washboard abs look great! What's worse, some hottie decides to pony you up, but you're hanging like a weather vane on a windless day in July. I could just think this is peculiar to me, but I've read too many corroborating posts here and elsewhere...and not all of them were by the old and decrepit like me :) At some point (6,7,8,9, 10 percent bodyfat) it affects you hormonally. At what point this occurs varies according to the individual.

Now that was mostly aimed at men, but a similar tale could be told about women, I am sure. And by the way, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THE FEMINIST CRITIQUE of all this? It's a good and natural thing to want to be attractive, but at some point you give up real health for the simulacrum of health. However, for those of you who are so dependent on the male gaze for your sense of self-esteem, let me tell you something: a lot of us don't really find skinny women attractive. Personally, I like a little FAT-BACK. Maybe it does something for certain battered male egos, but when I take the plunge I don't like to feel the mattress coils. OUCH

Are all of these bootcamps healthy? If you are over 35, do you think that endorphin hit trumps the chronic inflammation? Take another swig of the fish oil, buddy. You're going to need it. I was about to take YET ANOTHER swipe at Crossfit, but I'll take one at myself instead. How healthy are those hard-core workouts I am doing? Get over your mid-life crisis already, I'm 51! Sure. My squats and deadlifts produce a nice, bulbous rump that all the fly paleo chicks want to bite ;), but is it worth the inflammation?

Look, I like to pass on my jeans as much as anybody, so my answer might be, "Hell Yeah!" The point is to make that decision consciously. To be aware of what is truly healthy and what appears to be healthy (but isn't really) and make a decision based on that.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

@Smartcookie, Will friend you when I get home tonight. Just read your blog article. You write very lucidly. I hope you will concentrate on your blog, because I think you have a lot to share and know how to communicate it.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

@Vrimj: You're so generous! (in many ways I know see). @TS - slapping is paleo.

351cbf133b44fb7a1b90781e148d28d7

(597)

on July 09, 2011
at 01:36 AM

I can see where Gillie is coming from, but I'm considered obese (as far as the BMI is concerned), and my blood test results and doctor's check-ups have always come back with stellar results. Maybe I'm the exception, rather than the rule, or maybe it's because - at 25 - I still have youth on my side. Regardless, the possibility IS there. Does that mean my health is textbook perfect? Probably not, because textbook perfect only exists in textbooks. I'd like to think that health is more of a journey, than a destination. I imagine this community would be much smaller, otherwise.

351cbf133b44fb7a1b90781e148d28d7

(597)

on July 09, 2011
at 01:20 AM

Animal's not the only other female who thinks that way, Thomas. I'm on the same boat. It's kind of funny, usually when issues of beauty standards crop up, we all tend to focus on how the media portrays women, but most of us don't consider the fact the we see equally disturbing standards for men as well.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 26, 2011
at 05:13 PM

Baby Got Back. Whenever I listen to Sir Mix A Lot, I will think of you. And I listen to him a lot.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 26, 2011
at 03:10 PM

It measn: An identical copy for which no original existed(Baudrilard).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 26, 2011
at 03:08 PM

The inner is the outer.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 26, 2011
at 03:08 PM

"Other" people can be problematic when they are degenerate and abnormal. The "norm" is health n'est-pas? "All races have their vartues" as the protagonist of the 'deerslayer' said. But those who are anomalous in terms of function(ie. not functioning in accordance with their "essence") are clearly unattractive. Function and Form are two sides of the same aesthetic coin.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 26, 2011
at 04:35 AM

@ Jack - you, dear sir, are a Torso Dude worthy of honorary Torso Chick status. Only Kamal and Thomas share this honor.

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on June 25, 2011
at 06:25 PM

Don't worry: you're not alone. I'm not excited by men with ridiculously low body fat OR gigantic bulging muscles. I don't think you'll find that's unusual among women; most women I know like men who are more moderate, just as you describe.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 25, 2011
at 01:25 AM

Sorry man, much to do about nothing. Remember btw I'm not a cross fitter. I'm a squatter DLer like you but the vast majority of paleo people and Crossfit people are not the hardcores you're talking about. Yes, these things taken to extremes etc do bring about inflammation and unhealthy states generally, but that's always a minority. Like the crusade against aerobic exercise: yes marathoning is bad but the vast majority of people who like to run a couple miles a few times a week are not killing themselves. I think you're extrapolating too much from our vocal and focused group here.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 11:45 PM

Come to think about it, you may be right about this low-fat obsession being more a male phenomenon on here. Interestingly the responses to this thread have come overwhelmingly from women. I may have missed somebody, but I think Jack_Kronk, LuckyBastard and I are the only males to have responded. Also interesting your perspective on the extremely "ripped" male body. Wonder what other women here think about that.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 11:36 PM

That's the perfect song for this thread. I thought it had been forgotten. However, I guess the line "The beans and rice didn't miss her" will have to be modified for Paleo :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 10:22 PM

Of all my years on the Internet, and in all the posts I have ever made anywhere, this one here is so far my favorite. Very interesting discussion going on.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 10:04 PM

Let us know when you achieve that goal Texasleah!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 10:03 PM

So we will internalize an image of beauty as we will internalize other societal constructs. According to this point of view, we should defer to the existing order, because there must be some reason why things are the way they are. So, it is also "natural" I guess that men get paid more than women for the same work. Monogamy is "natural". Homosexuality is "unnatural". Karen your position, if I am understanding it, is a traditionalist one. What is is what is good. That's easy to say if you belong to the dominant class, dominant race, etc, however, for others, it is problematic

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:59 PM

Karen, I am not suggesting that there is absolutely no underlying laws of aesthetics. However, does not being skinny violate those laws. I don't think so.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:56 PM

So we will internalize an image of beauty as we will internalize other societal constructs. According to this line of thought that sees verything in the order, you can say many things. It is also "natural" I guess that men get paid more than women for the same work. Monogamy is "natural". Homosexuality is "unnatural". Karen your position, if I am understanding it, is a traditionalist one. What is is what is good. That's easy to say if you belong to the dominant class, dominant race, etc, however, for others, it is problematic.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:50 PM

So there is nothing unnatural about blondes with big boobs. My problem is that certain types of beauty get excluded.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:48 PM

Because the media only focues on ONE narrow type of beauty. Are there beautiful black women? Are there beautiful Asian women? Are there beautiful Hispanic women? Are there beautiful Indian women? Of course. None of them are blonde. Asians rarely have big boobs.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:45 PM

Very beautifully put. It's art. Makes me think of an artist who gets in touch with his/her true center and works from there. If s/he truly gets in touch with his center this will touch a chord in others' center. On the other hand, if s/she is trying to guess the market (what other people think), she will never create great art.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:39 PM

Upvoted. This is very well written. I will continue to do my deadlifts and squats. However, they have to be done in the right amount. Every now and then I get a "wild hair" up my butt and decide to do something like Bulgarian or Bill Starr's 5X5, and I am sore all of the time. Worse, that's when I get injured. So, as Meredith put it so well, my enthusiasm only undermines my goals. Agree with you completely on the "filled in" look. To each his own, but those guys who are totally ripped just look scrawny to me. Not what I'm after.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on June 24, 2011
at 07:34 PM

@Thomas, friend request sent. I've been threatening to start a blog here: nakedforester.blogspot.com. You can email me through that page -- I've just been so busy blogging for my job(s) to give it any attention.

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on June 24, 2011
at 07:05 PM

Thomas, as I grew up and found my aesthetic ideals in the time of early 90s heroine chic, I definitely understand where you're coming from. I wept when I had to start wearing a bra, and again when I grew a bum. But my journey towards health has gone hand-in-hand with a redefinition of beauty. Is my belly beautiful because it came with my fertility? Yes. Are my breasts beautiful because I choose to look like a woman and not a boy? Yes. The more clearly I define health to my self, the more clearly I see the beauty in it. Media obstructs that view in the same way SAD does our diet. It's a choice.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on June 24, 2011
at 06:53 PM

"UNTIE!!! Ooops I meant UNITE!" you rock meredith. that was very clever.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on June 24, 2011
at 06:12 PM

totally agree with Gilliebean here.

Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

(4286)

on June 24, 2011
at 06:03 PM

i personally like my women with a disproportionate waist/hip ratio and I cannot lie, you other brothers cant deny... :)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:56 PM

Definitely, gillebean. Normal weight does not imply healthy, but healthy implies normal weight. It's incredible that anyone would argue otherwise.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:49 PM

I was told I was super skinny when I was in school (my mom thought I was too skinny), but I felt comfortable in my skin. Looking at pictures of myself from high school, I had a small waist, but I also had big thick legs (still do), a strong core, and strong arms. I was maybe skinnier than a lot of my classmates, but I was loaded with muscles as well.

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4101)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:42 PM

Thanks, Thomas ! Although I did not get my unassisted pull up by the big 40th birthday, I have mad a lot of progress :)

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:16 PM

@gilliebean, agree with your comments. I just want to stress that it's important for anyone, obese or not, to follow their health parameters, such as blood pressure and labwork, SEQUENTIALLY. Changes over time are key.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:13 PM

Gilliebean - 1 up'd all of these!

8be7a492e2844e2ad5595a6c73974f99

(891)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:12 PM

That being said, since shifting my diet in this way, I am a size smaller, I am leaner, my skin glows and my gas/food baby is gone. And I find I can be just as neurotic about my looks/size/shape as I was before. More confirmation that beauty is not ALL about how I look.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 24, 2011
at 04:57 PM

But your stance assumes that the blonde hair and big boobs are outside "natural". Far from it. Seriously, anthropology has already talked about all of this. Big boobs (along with full lips, no wrinkles, etc.) = youth, fertility. And I'm not sure anyone's arguing that our media (around a very short 100 years or so) doesn't contribute. But I would ask why you think the media's offerings are outside natural? They are subject to the same human urges as the rest of us. "Nothing human is foreign to me." - Terence

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 24, 2011
at 04:51 PM

Thomas, Shanahan talks a lot about that too, some of which I already knew from anthropology classes. Of course no two cultures will have the same standards of beauty, no one's arguing that. But there have been studies that show that all cultures do appreciate facial symmetry and that the way our eyes track across a face show how we linger on features like eyes and mouths. I think the connection lies more authentically with health becoming beauty, meaning who's attracted to the overweight guy, unshowered, playing video games on his parents' couch? Nobody.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 24, 2011
at 04:27 PM

"Really skinny" is just what's on magazine covers and in movies. I've never been close to being skinny, and I've never been lonely. Most of my female acquaintances are overweight (by most standards), and are getting regular action, no problem. When I was young I was very resentful of marketed beauty standards, until I learned to pay attention to what was happening in real life.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 24, 2011
at 04:20 PM

Oh, dear. You're talking to a refugee from literary studies grad school here. I've had this argument many times, and I'm afraid I have to tell you I'm just another reactionary ideologue. :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 04:13 PM

So, do you see the problem with this word "nature"?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 04:12 PM

Rose, I agree, HOWEVER, is "nature" really the only thing at work in our aesthetic tastes? When one is constantly pounded by the media with the image that a beautiful woman must be blonde, have big tits, etc. etc. I am pretty sure that is going to be the societal standard for beauty. For example, growing up in the South when I was young, were African American women ever depicted as beautiful..or any other ethnicity for that matter other than white? And so, the standard for beauty was a white woman, with long (or big) blonde hair, etc. etc.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 24, 2011
at 03:47 PM

Copy or likeness. It is often used to discuss mystical likenesses of gods like totems, or copies of copies with imperfect replication. The basic idea is that it is a flawed attempt at a copy of an unseen original. In this case the ideal body :)

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on June 24, 2011
at 03:42 PM

I get that a lot here Thomas.....I could not imagine why it would be down voted either because its true and not controversial at all. I really liked this question and look forward to your questions.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 03:23 PM

Woot to Cookies and Mer!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 02:35 PM

So I upvoted you (don't know why you were downvoted) because I agree that a healthy person WILL look good. However, I think the standards for beauty, as set primarily by the media/pop culture, are too narrow.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 02:32 PM

What does healthy look like? Is it always really skinny? That's my question. I think it is assumed that that means "skinny" or low body fat. Now, don't get me wrong. I am not suggesting that extremely high body fat is healthy. However, I think if we do a historical and cross-cultural look at this question, we will find that the answer to this question varies. Here's Venus according to Rubens: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rubens_Venus_at_a_Mirror_c1615.jpg

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 02:25 PM

Cookie, Bacon, meredith: I'm now hot enough to cook an egg on. Thank you! Tracy, bring it. @Cookie, you still owe me an email address :)

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 24, 2011
at 02:07 PM

Now it's time to recruit other Torso Chicks (that's what Kamal is calling us) and lovingly razz Torso Dudes - I feel a movement in the air!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 02:06 PM

Yeah belly! I loves the torso pic. Growl.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 24, 2011
at 01:23 PM

Torso Chicks! Come on ladies - you want to be one! Spread the word in the comments of your answers. Recruit new Chicks - razz Torso Dudes! (Keep it clean and fun!)

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on June 24, 2011
at 10:03 AM

luckybastard -- as a general rule, true, but it does depend on the body shape. Some women really don't have the waist/hip thing and are structured more similarly to men and might be okay at a pretty low BF%

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on June 24, 2011
at 10:00 AM

at work now, so can't snap my belly, but I'll do it this evening. Not bad for a woman sneakin' up on 50, if I say so myself, but you can be the judge.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on June 24, 2011
at 08:48 AM

amen! you took the words right out of my brain. I was just talking with a friend about this today.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:24 AM

Yes! *Pace* the very erudite and eloquent "diatribes" collected here, I too have finally (finally!) come to the conclusion that nature is wise, and made us to recognize health as beauty.

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:10 AM

Or rather... Beauty and Health are one in the same to me.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 24, 2011
at 04:17 AM

Shizzzam Cookie and Bacuns. That's what I call representin'. Female torsos of all shapes and sizes - UNTIE!!! Ooops I meant UNITE! Mine ain't so sizzlin' but what the hey - three years of nursing babies and that's what ya get - healthy babies!

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on June 24, 2011
at 03:46 AM

Ok, this is in honor of baconbitch and meredith being awesome. And also in honor of being less hard to get for Thomas. It's my anti-feminist feminist pic.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on June 24, 2011
at 03:26 AM

Cute belly. Bitch :-p

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 24, 2011
at 03:10 AM

@meredith So glad! I love my family but I hesitate to mention them lest I upset someone.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 02:34 AM

Oh Texasleah, btw, HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on June 24, 2011
at 01:45 AM

no woman should be in the single digits- or even low teens- for an extended length of time. very unhealthy from what i've read.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on June 24, 2011
at 01:45 AM

no woman should be in the single digits for an extended length of time. very unhealthy from what i've read...

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on June 24, 2011
at 01:43 AM

i was talking about males. women i think can be fine even into the mid-twenties. some women are genetically hippy- which i do like aesthetically :). and yes, i do understand that hippiness may come from them having some estrogen issues... but me likey anyways...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 01:29 AM

Applause for neo-liberal genetics. And applause to Karen for admitting she's a "vain mo-fo". But she got a plus 1 for hat tipping to her confidence...makes you stand taller.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 01:26 AM

Yeah! You're coming to the 'dark' side :) I too, like your honesty. We've all been beauty-centric at one time or the other and I anyone who says otherwise I would find suspect.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 01:24 AM

Hmmm, I think even the low 20s is perfectly fine. I think I'm low 20s despite my small frame and darned proud :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 12:19 AM

baconbitch, you made my day. Now I'm waiting for meredith to make my day.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 10:31 PM

I'm not talking about People Magazine (ie judging people by how they look); I'm talking about clinically measured and weighted actual obesity. Any woman or man w/ more than "normal" percentages of body fat should consider checking to see whether or not they have metabolic or adrenal derangement. It is dangerous to tell a person with excess fat that they are "fine" b/c it is clinically proven to be more likely that they are not! Excess fat is a sign of health problems regardless of where it lies!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 10:01 PM

Part of the problem has to be how an individual judges themselves fat and how the culture judges it. Lots of people I see everyday are normal strong looking women who judge themselves to be fat. They learn it from somewhere. You can have what society considers "fat" on you and still be fit. Even if your BMI or your BF% doesn't measure thin. I agree with Shari and Ali. Unhealthy fat is more and more obvious to me everyday and most of those people are skinny with a gut and/or big waists. We need to stop judging people just by how they look.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 09:34 PM

Oh M you made me snarf. I'd rather have that than a half-finished pot leaf whose sole purpose was to piss off my mom :)

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 23, 2011
at 09:21 PM

No fair - I ain't got no tats. Just a sad, empty belly piercing hole. It's like a belly button on top of a belly button :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 09:17 PM

Ok M and AKD - I put up the tummy shot. Now I regret it because of the incriminating tat I got when I was 17. Its a maple leaf :)

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:59 PM

P.S. Shari, you said, "to judge someone's level of health and fitness based on the amount of fat on their bodies is fat prejudice and nothing more." I wasn't suggesting that we judge health based on fat percentage. I was actually suggesting that people who are clinically obese should get blood work and adrenal tests to determine their level of health.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:59 PM

P.S. Shari, you said, "*to judge someone's level of health and fitness based on the amount of fat on their bodies is fat prejudice and nothing more*." I wasn't suggesting that we judge health based on fat percentage. I was actually suggesting that people who are clinically obese should get blood work and adrenal tests to determine their level of health.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:52 PM

I'll say it again. You cannot be clinically obese and perfectly healthy. Excess fat is a sign of metabolic or adrenal derangement.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:51 PM

...and explained or better yet, convinced me(!) that having excess fat didn't mean I was a bad person but that it represented current or potential health problems, I would have / could have avoided many years of depression, frustration, and worsening insulin and lectin resistance!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:51 PM

Karen, the question is "which beauty?" Despite what reactionary ideologues like David Buss and Steven Pinkner (I am expecting applause from Baconbitch for writing that) may try to tell you, there is not one universal, ahistorical standard of beauty. We don't even have to go back centuries or to exotic cultures to find this. In my own lifetime in America, the standard of beauty has changed considerably. Of course, seeking health and beauty need not be contradictory, but sometime it is.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:49 PM

I have had excess fat since fifth grade and have lived with what I perceived as prejudice. Most of any prejudice I experienced was more against the cocky-ass attitudes I developed as a defense mechanism against the fat-prejudice that I perceived was occurring (it wasn't). On the surface level of my brain, I believed whole-heartedly that my excess fat was fine and that people should accept me for who I was! Consequently, I did not take any steps to correct what has become metabolic derangement!! If someone had sat me down in high school...

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 23, 2011
at 08:46 PM

WOW! Love your honesty too. Inspiring post, in my book. +! thanks!

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:45 PM

Shari, it's metabolically proven that *excess* fat is a sign of sub-optimal health. This isn't prejudice; it's biology.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:36 PM

big ups to the bad ass, smart, beautiful, healthy women in the paleo experiment!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:34 PM

Please do it. I can't wait.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:28 PM

Hell no! Impressed me is more like it.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:20 PM

@meredith I hope I didn't offend you!

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:02 PM

This is the most amazing response I have ever read. I have no words.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:58 PM

I'll work on one too - let's do this thing!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:47 PM

Awwww yeah. Dude, I think I have one. Stay tuned.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:24 PM

How many male naked torso ab shot gravatars are there? Feminists unite and start a female torso gravatar movement!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:16 PM

I hated my body when I was fat, and whether the fat itself was healthy or not, my attitude was definitely unhealthy. I am still slightly overweight, but I am happy with my body and my attitude reflects that. I think that is healthy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:13 PM

Amen sister. I wonder if our obsessing is making us take steps back?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:12 PM

Meredith, BRAVA! I think this is VERY WELL said. You are right..the extreme efforts paradoxically undermine the goal.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:10 PM

Oh - as for the feminist diatribe: I see equal numbers of men on here concerned about their bodies as men. I'm not so much concerned with the beauty aspect a la Naomi Wolf anymore as I am in the "you're not good enough no matter what you choose" syndrome. So no, I don't feel there is any anti-feminist angles with the questions here.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:07 PM

@BaconBitch I promise I share! My girlfriend's husband is my boyfriend and my other boyfriend is also dating my girlfriend and has a wife who is lovely but doesn't have an interest in more romantic relationships. So using traditional measure I think that means I left a single guy in the market for you :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:00 PM

Well, baconbitch, how much do you love me? You passed over me for one of Vrmj's boyfriends below :)

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:59 PM

You can be obese and perfectly healthy. You can be fit and fat. They are not utually exclusive. We know that not all thin people are healthy and fit but some are. Why can we not extend this same line of thinking to fat people? Not saying all or even most fat people are fit but to judge someone's level of health and fitness based on the amount of fat on their bodies is fat prejudice and nothing more. I know this because I have lived it.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:57 PM

I like your honesty.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:55 PM

Ah invoke the feminist critique. How much do I love thee?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:47 PM

Baconbitch, that was a slap to my face! Nobody here is giving me any play! :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:42 PM

Vrimj - please share the wealth and pass one onto me :)

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:41 PM

*laughs* It would be lovely but sadly I lack time. And thank you :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:34 PM

Please post an answer or comment meredith. I am very interested in reading your ideas on this.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:30 PM

There are countless reasons why I am up-voting you. My thoughts were along somewhat similar lines when I posted a question about stress a few days back - just not worded as well.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:25 PM

BTW, I know that some of you Erica Jong fans are thinking, "Thomas must have lost his job." Don't worry. I haven't :)

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:24 PM

Great question, as I'm currently considering checking out the local Cross Fit in my town but I'm holding back b/c I know it would not be something I would want to sustain...just a "quick" (several months) endeavor to flesh out how strong/muscular I can get and if I like how I look/feel...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:15 PM

Have an opening for a third boyfriend? Okay, maybe I shouldn't have used the word "opening" there, so I'll rephrase. Care for a third boyfriend? :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:13 PM

Rose, I am REALLY hoping that you might comment on this. And as you probably guessed it was an INTENTIONAL freudian slip ;)

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:12 PM

Upvoted just for "pass on my jeans"

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:08 PM

Great question. And I like the Freudian slip in "I like to pass on my jeans." ;D

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19 Answers

7
0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:01 PM

What? Health and beauty aren't synonymous? Why then do all those ladies magazines have subheadings promising the secrets of attaining both?

I realize that I've been brainwashed by this clever marketing to believe that health and beauty are one and the same.

So this is what I've been noticing along my "hardcore workout" journey. Now that I am 37,(and wanting to look 17) attempting to hit higher and higher levels of intensity have delivered fewer and fewer benefits. Going too hard, too frequently has made me look older and taken away some of the "cushion" if ya know what I mean.

Same goes for diet. It seems like the harder I try to control every last morsel, the worse the outcome.

Ironically my fervent attempts at looking good have, in my opinion, backfired terribly.

I read time and again here and on other sites that one should use the measure of "how do I look and feel" to gauge success. This may not be ideal as we strive to look a certain way that may not be attainable or we self medicate with unnatural levels of stress hormones released in response to "hardcore" efforts.

My new take is to eat and exercise in a way that supports my abilities to handle stress whatever form it takes. I no longer exercise to "burn off energy". What is energy anyway but life itself? Put that way, it seems stupid to exercise away life just to whittle the middle. Also my take is if food is not providing energy (life) then we best change up the plan and quick.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:13 PM

Amen sister. I wonder if our obsessing is making us take steps back?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 02:06 PM

Yeah belly! I loves the torso pic. Growl.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:12 PM

Meredith, BRAVA! I think this is VERY WELL said. You are right..the extreme efforts paradoxically undermine the goal.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 24, 2011
at 02:07 PM

Now it's time to recruit other Torso Chicks (that's what Kamal is calling us) and lovingly razz Torso Dudes - I feel a movement in the air!

7
A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:47 PM

I'd rather be healthy and happy, than a muscle-model. If I can be both, that'd be cool - but I'll err on the side of happy.

It does bother me that obese people like to argue that they're perfectly healthy; when a blood and adrenal panel can show otherwise. Unhealthy is not beautiful; it's dangerous.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:59 PM

P.S. Shari, you said, "*to judge someone's level of health and fitness based on the amount of fat on their bodies is fat prejudice and nothing more*." I wasn't suggesting that we judge health based on fat percentage. I was actually suggesting that people who are clinically obese should get blood work and adrenal tests to determine their level of health.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:59 PM

P.S. Shari, you said, "to judge someone's level of health and fitness based on the amount of fat on their bodies is fat prejudice and nothing more." I wasn't suggesting that we judge health based on fat percentage. I was actually suggesting that people who are clinically obese should get blood work and adrenal tests to determine their level of health.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:16 PM

I hated my body when I was fat, and whether the fat itself was healthy or not, my attitude was definitely unhealthy. I am still slightly overweight, but I am happy with my body and my attitude reflects that. I think that is healthy.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:52 PM

I'll say it again. You cannot be clinically obese and perfectly healthy. Excess fat is a sign of metabolic or adrenal derangement.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:59 PM

You can be obese and perfectly healthy. You can be fit and fat. They are not utually exclusive. We know that not all thin people are healthy and fit but some are. Why can we not extend this same line of thinking to fat people? Not saying all or even most fat people are fit but to judge someone's level of health and fitness based on the amount of fat on their bodies is fat prejudice and nothing more. I know this because I have lived it.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:51 PM

...and explained or better yet, convinced me(!) that having excess fat didn't mean I was a bad person but that it represented current or potential health problems, I would have / could have avoided many years of depression, frustration, and worsening insulin and lectin resistance!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:13 PM

Gilliebean - 1 up'd all of these!

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:49 PM

I have had excess fat since fifth grade and have lived with what I perceived as prejudice. Most of any prejudice I experienced was more against the cocky-ass attitudes I developed as a defense mechanism against the fat-prejudice that I perceived was occurring (it wasn't). On the surface level of my brain, I believed whole-heartedly that my excess fat was fine and that people should accept me for who I was! Consequently, I did not take any steps to correct what has become metabolic derangement!! If someone had sat me down in high school...

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:56 PM

Definitely, gillebean. Normal weight does not imply healthy, but healthy implies normal weight. It's incredible that anyone would argue otherwise.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:45 PM

Shari, it's metabolically proven that *excess* fat is a sign of sub-optimal health. This isn't prejudice; it's biology.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 23, 2011
at 10:31 PM

I'm not talking about People Magazine (ie judging people by how they look); I'm talking about clinically measured and weighted actual obesity. Any woman or man w/ more than "normal" percentages of body fat should consider checking to see whether or not they have metabolic or adrenal derangement. It is dangerous to tell a person with excess fat that they are "fine" b/c it is clinically proven to be more likely that they are not! Excess fat is a sign of health problems regardless of where it lies!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 10:01 PM

Part of the problem has to be how an individual judges themselves fat and how the culture judges it. Lots of people I see everyday are normal strong looking women who judge themselves to be fat. They learn it from somewhere. You can have what society considers "fat" on you and still be fit. Even if your BMI or your BF% doesn't measure thin. I agree with Shari and Ali. Unhealthy fat is more and more obvious to me everyday and most of those people are skinny with a gut and/or big waists. We need to stop judging people just by how they look.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:16 PM

@gilliebean, agree with your comments. I just want to stress that it's important for anyone, obese or not, to follow their health parameters, such as blood pressure and labwork, SEQUENTIALLY. Changes over time are key.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on June 24, 2011
at 06:12 PM

totally agree with Gilliebean here.

351cbf133b44fb7a1b90781e148d28d7

(597)

on July 09, 2011
at 01:36 AM

I can see where Gillie is coming from, but I'm considered obese (as far as the BMI is concerned), and my blood test results and doctor's check-ups have always come back with stellar results. Maybe I'm the exception, rather than the rule, or maybe it's because - at 25 - I still have youth on my side. Regardless, the possibility IS there. Does that mean my health is textbook perfect? Probably not, because textbook perfect only exists in textbooks. I'd like to think that health is more of a journey, than a destination. I imagine this community would be much smaller, otherwise.

6
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:11 PM

Well I am 5'2" and 170ish pounds. I have been this heavy (plus or minus 10ish lbs) for a while. I still have managed to acquire two boyfriends, a girlfriend and a playmate. I thus conclude that my weight does not seem to have a significant bearing on my attractiveness.

On the other hand my knees and ankles hurt and I would like to do things that would be easier if I was more muscular. And the clothing I really like at thrift stores mostly seems to be a few sizes smaller. So I would like to lose some weight once I finish my current project.

I don't think I am willing to go VLC to do it though. My sweeties might not care if I am squishy, but they do not like me bitchy. And I don't like my myself much either.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:20 PM

@meredith I hope I didn't offend you!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:47 PM

Baconbitch, that was a slap to my face! Nobody here is giving me any play! :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:15 PM

Have an opening for a third boyfriend? Okay, maybe I shouldn't have used the word "opening" there, so I'll rephrase. Care for a third boyfriend? :)

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:28 PM

Hell no! Impressed me is more like it.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:02 PM

This is the most amazing response I have ever read. I have no words.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

@Vrimj: You're so generous! (in many ways I know see). @TS - slapping is paleo.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:07 PM

@BaconBitch I promise I share! My girlfriend's husband is my boyfriend and my other boyfriend is also dating my girlfriend and has a wife who is lovely but doesn't have an interest in more romantic relationships. So using traditional measure I think that means I left a single guy in the market for you :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:42 PM

Vrimj - please share the wealth and pass one onto me :)

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:41 PM

*laughs* It would be lovely but sadly I lack time. And thank you :)

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 24, 2011
at 03:10 AM

@meredith So glad! I love my family but I hesitate to mention them lest I upset someone.

5
Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

on June 24, 2011
at 05:03 AM

Tofu-belly, dairy-swollen, peanut-burping, legume-pregnant, sugar-icky, constipated, runny-sniffled, pale-discolored, medicated, shameful-loathing, angry-angry gluten monster...

VS

Empty-belly, dancing-silly, grassfed-high time, seratonin, body-freedom, open-hearted, Lectin-smashing, out-loud-laughing, doctor-farewelled, deepdeep-breathing, in the moment, fertile-yummy, jolly, jocund me.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 24, 2011
at 04:20 PM

Oh, dear. You're talking to a refugee from literary studies grad school here. I've had this argument many times, and I'm afraid I have to tell you I'm just another reactionary ideologue. :)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:24 AM

Yes! *Pace* the very erudite and eloquent "diatribes" collected here, I too have finally (finally!) come to the conclusion that nature is wise, and made us to recognize health as beauty.

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:10 AM

Or rather... Beauty and Health are one in the same to me.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 04:12 PM

Rose, I agree, HOWEVER, is "nature" really the only thing at work in our aesthetic tastes? When one is constantly pounded by the media with the image that a beautiful woman must be blonde, have big tits, etc. etc. I am pretty sure that is going to be the societal standard for beauty. For example, growing up in the South when I was young, were African American women ever depicted as beautiful..or any other ethnicity for that matter other than white? And so, the standard for beauty was a white woman, with long (or big) blonde hair, etc. etc.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 04:13 PM

So, do you see the problem with this word "nature"?

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on June 24, 2011
at 07:05 PM

Thomas, as I grew up and found my aesthetic ideals in the time of early 90s heroine chic, I definitely understand where you're coming from. I wept when I had to start wearing a bra, and again when I grew a bum. But my journey towards health has gone hand-in-hand with a redefinition of beauty. Is my belly beautiful because it came with my fertility? Yes. Are my breasts beautiful because I choose to look like a woman and not a boy? Yes. The more clearly I define health to my self, the more clearly I see the beauty in it. Media obstructs that view in the same way SAD does our diet. It's a choice.

5
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:53 PM

Here goes: I'm 5'2", 110 and I've been this way for years except when I went down to 98 lbs during a depression. At 36 I think feeling good is way more important to me than looking good. Having said that, feeling good actually makes me more appealing (or it could be the nice golden tan of summer). In any case, I dig on that endorphin jolt. I also dig on waking up feeling like I can conquer the world.

Paleo has led me to more detailed self-tracking and a greater awareness of the small things that impact my life in big ways. What I'm doing now and have done for 8 months has been improving my mental state more than my body. Perhaps it is my age and my acceptance that I have evidence of life on my face (wrinkles) but I'm more accepting of myself as a whole than just my amazing outward appearance.

So yes, beauty and health has blurred. I was gorgeous at 21 but very unhealthy. I'm attractive at 36 and healthy. In all these months, I've come to accept that body fat is not a number I care to track. Hey, I shop for clothes in the kid's section so I'm a healthy weight and I save a few bucks. Thanks Paleo gods!

Sidebar: In conducting an experiment with 30+ women from this forum, I see more women interested in curing health-related issues than weight. Most have said that weight is only a factor in that it has given them poor health. That right there says a lot about the intellect and confidence derived from eating for health and not for weight loss. Woot and a hip bump!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 09:17 PM

Ok M and AKD - I put up the tummy shot. Now I regret it because of the incriminating tat I got when I was 17. Its a maple leaf :)

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 23, 2011
at 09:21 PM

No fair - I ain't got no tats. Just a sad, empty belly piercing hole. It's like a belly button on top of a belly button :)

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:24 PM

How many male naked torso ab shot gravatars are there? Feminists unite and start a female torso gravatar movement!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:10 PM

Oh - as for the feminist diatribe: I see equal numbers of men on here concerned about their bodies as men. I'm not so much concerned with the beauty aspect a la Naomi Wolf anymore as I am in the "you're not good enough no matter what you choose" syndrome. So no, I don't feel there is any anti-feminist angles with the questions here.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 24, 2011
at 01:23 PM

Torso Chicks! Come on ladies - you want to be one! Spread the word in the comments of your answers. Recruit new Chicks - razz Torso Dudes! (Keep it clean and fun!)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:34 PM

Please do it. I can't wait.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:58 PM

I'll work on one too - let's do this thing!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 07:47 PM

Awwww yeah. Dude, I think I have one. Stay tuned.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 09:34 PM

Oh M you made me snarf. I'd rather have that than a half-finished pot leaf whose sole purpose was to piss off my mom :)

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on June 24, 2011
at 03:46 AM

Ok, this is in honor of baconbitch and meredith being awesome. And also in honor of being less hard to get for Thomas. It's my anti-feminist feminist pic.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 24, 2011
at 04:17 AM

Shizzzam Cookie and Bacuns. That's what I call representin'. Female torsos of all shapes and sizes - UNTIE!!! Ooops I meant UNITE! Mine ain't so sizzlin' but what the hey - three years of nursing babies and that's what ya get - healthy babies!

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:36 PM

big ups to the bad ass, smart, beautiful, healthy women in the paleo experiment!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 12:19 AM

baconbitch, you made my day. Now I'm waiting for meredith to make my day.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 02:25 PM

Cookie, Bacon, meredith: I'm now hot enough to cook an egg on. Thank you! Tracy, bring it. @Cookie, you still owe me an email address :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 03:23 PM

Woot to Cookies and Mer!

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on June 24, 2011
at 03:26 AM

Cute belly. Bitch :-p

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on June 24, 2011
at 10:00 AM

at work now, so can't snap my belly, but I'll do it this evening. Not bad for a woman sneakin' up on 50, if I say so myself, but you can be the judge.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on June 24, 2011
at 06:53 PM

"UNTIE!!! Ooops I meant UNITE!" you rock meredith. that was very clever.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

@Smartcookie, Will friend you when I get home tonight. Just read your blog article. You write very lucidly. I hope you will concentrate on your blog, because I think you have a lot to share and know how to communicate it.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on June 24, 2011
at 07:34 PM

@Thomas, friend request sent. I've been threatening to start a blog here: nakedforester.blogspot.com. You can email me through that page -- I've just been so busy blogging for my job(s) to give it any attention.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 26, 2011
at 04:35 AM

@ Jack - you, dear sir, are a Torso Dude worthy of honorary Torso Chick status. Only Kamal and Thomas share this honor.

5
D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

on June 23, 2011
at 06:45 PM

The answer for me has always been beauty before health...and I have done/paid/tried many things to achieve that end. And yes, I would like to have been more confident in my younger years. But it is what it is and I tend to be a perfectionist and am learning to temper that part of my personality in favor of mental health.

What is interesting in my case is that I accidentally found paleo when I was 38 years old and looking for another "answer" to save me from slipping back down into an eating disorder again. Following paleo was only about beauty not health. Then I started doing CrossFit this year. It is the ONLY thing that has broken my obsession with the scale, and for the first time in my life I have realized that food is not evil because such tough exercise forces me to eat sensibly. I am not bothered that I have not been able to lose ten pounds, and I was able to resist turning to starvation so I could weigh that magic number yesterday when I turned 40 :)

I am cautiously optimistic that the combo of paleo/crossfit has switched me to the "health" end of the spectrum.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:57 PM

I like your honesty.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 02:34 AM

Oh Texasleah, btw, HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 23, 2011
at 08:46 PM

WOW! Love your honesty too. Inspiring post, in my book. +! thanks!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 10:04 PM

Let us know when you achieve that goal Texasleah!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 01:26 AM

Yeah! You're coming to the 'dark' side :) I too, like your honesty. We've all been beauty-centric at one time or the other and I anyone who says otherwise I would find suspect.

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4101)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:42 PM

Thanks, Thomas ! Although I did not get my unassisted pull up by the big 40th birthday, I have mad a lot of progress :)

4
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on June 24, 2011
at 06:41 PM

Being obese is unhealthy. There is no exception. But carrying a few extra pounds in non-visceral fat is not going to be a health problem in pretty much anybody and I'd say it's probably healhtier to do that than it is to be ultra skinny and possibly malnourished.

Gilliebean makes a great point about how fear of offending someone can affect a person's decision (or lack of decision) to do anything about their health challenges and/or weight.

I think the human nature to respond incorrectly to positive criticism unfortunately causes a cascade effect. The person who wants to help someone almost never will actually say anything for fear of offending the very person they want to help. It's quite sad really. If people were able to think with a clear mind, and proper perspective, they would not allow their own hang ups to block themselves from receiving well intended advice. But unasked for advice is usually unwanted advice as well, right? Such a shame.

So what do I suggest. Judge someone? No. Definitely no. Nobody likes to be judged. We are all jacked up in our own way, are we not? You surely don't want to go around making people believe that you are judgemental against their weight or whatever else. If we all want some level of grace regarding judgement, wouldn't it follow that extending that same grace to everyone makes perfect sense then?

But it sure would be nice if people could just hear the truth (or any opinion really, even if it may not be "the truth") and receive it from a neutral or 3rd party point of view, willing to consider the possibility that the person telling them the hard stuff might actually be right! Imagine that!

Now about the idea that Thomas is talking about with people viewing 'skinny' as healthy (especially women). I have to say that I am in FULL agreement with Thomas about the curvy aspect of women. Women are supposed to be curvy. That's one of the most attractive features of a woman's body. Is it really that hard to believe that guys like big butts? Why do you think that song is so popular? Why do you think the entire world is obsessed with the derriere of women? (yes I am saying 'entire' because it is basically true.). Why do you think a passerby would yell what they yelled at akd? But then, in some kind of demented twist of reality, girls see these stick figure models on the runway or in a magazine and think that's "beauty". Well, it can be in some cases, but many of those 'beauties' are terribly unhealthy and far too thin, sacrificing health for perceived 'beauty'.

In fact, even some of the pics I observed on leangains.com showed some guys to be very very thin and lean, with muscles and veins viewable on every square inch of the body. I personally prefer the more 'filled in' look, even on myself. I just make sure I stay as fit as my body will allow me to. One thing I'm not quite sure about is the squats and deadlifts comment. Those are two pillars of workout routines. I do them both. Does this cause some kind of inflammation? I don't know anything about that.

Anyway... some poignant thoughts from you on this one Thomas.

Thanks!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 10:22 PM

Of all my years on the Internet, and in all the posts I have ever made anywhere, this one here is so far my favorite. Very interesting discussion going on.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 26, 2011
at 05:13 PM

Baby Got Back. Whenever I listen to Sir Mix A Lot, I will think of you. And I listen to him a lot.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:39 PM

Upvoted. This is very well written. I will continue to do my deadlifts and squats. However, they have to be done in the right amount. Every now and then I get a "wild hair" up my butt and decide to do something like Bulgarian or Bill Starr's 5X5, and I am sore all of the time. Worse, that's when I get injured. So, as Meredith put it so well, my enthusiasm only undermines my goals. Agree with you completely on the "filled in" look. To each his own, but those guys who are totally ripped just look scrawny to me. Not what I'm after.

4
66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

on June 23, 2011
at 07:57 PM

i think part of it is cultural. i personally like my women with a disproportionate waist/hip ratio :-). on a serious note, though i don't go back to hunter-gatherer's as a reference for all things, when it comes to how females look, they don't seem to be ripped up and looking like prime candidates for amenorrhea. they look strong and able to survive a good period of time if food weren't plentiful.

as far as guys go, anywhere from high singles to mid-teens seems appropriate- depending on what your goals are. i don't begrudge anyone wanting to look like the cover of a men's health mag. i just try to keep in mind that from an evolutionary standpoint, collectively, our genes just want us to live long enough to procreate by any means necessary:-). luckily that usually coincides with looking great naked.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on June 24, 2011
at 01:45 AM

no woman should be in the single digits for an extended length of time. very unhealthy from what i've read...

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on June 24, 2011
at 01:43 AM

i was talking about males. women i think can be fine even into the mid-twenties. some women are genetically hippy- which i do like aesthetically :). and yes, i do understand that hippiness may come from them having some estrogen issues... but me likey anyways...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 01:24 AM

Hmmm, I think even the low 20s is perfectly fine. I think I'm low 20s despite my small frame and darned proud :)

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on June 24, 2011
at 10:03 AM

luckybastard -- as a general rule, true, but it does depend on the body shape. Some women really don't have the waist/hip thing and are structured more similarly to men and might be okay at a pretty low BF%

Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

(4286)

on June 24, 2011
at 06:03 PM

i personally like my women with a disproportionate waist/hip ratio and I cannot lie, you other brothers cant deny... :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 11:36 PM

That's the perfect song for this thread. I thought it had been forgotten. However, I guess the line "The beans and rice didn't miss her" will have to be modified for Paleo :)

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on June 24, 2011
at 01:45 AM

no woman should be in the single digits- or even low teens- for an extended length of time. very unhealthy from what i've read.

3
7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:56 PM

I've been paleo for 2 months now and have seen many benefits, one of which was weight loss. granted, I started at 5'3'', 120lbs and am now probably about 115, so nothing too drastic, but it's noticeable (to me) and I feel good about it. the problem comes in when I start to have thoughts like I did the other day that maybe I can get down to the weight I was when I had an eating disorder. yeah, that's disturbing. right now I'm trying to focus on my main goal which is to achieve those ever elusive toned arms, but I definitely need to police myself to make sure that paleo doesn't become some kind of gateway to obsessive, disordered eating. btw, I feel wonderful eating this way, so I'm not saying that through paleo I am prizing looks over health, but that the benefits can have this unexpected consequence.

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

Ok, I want to talk about this word "natural" for a moment. Many of you seem to be saying that we will find "healthy" to be beautiful. That is to say that our "natural" response is to see "healthy" as beautiful. Now I am waiting for gone2croatan to come and introduce Foucault in this discussion (which would be entirely appropriate on this subject) but I have something to say on this.

Are you sure that your aesthetic response is completely determined by "nature"? Do you not think that what you think is a natural response is at least in part conditioned by the media or other societal forces? Do you think that those societal forces are always guided by "nature"? As I said, growing up the image of beauty that formed my aesthetic appreciation was a blonde woman, with long hair, demure, preferably big boobs, etc. etc. Was that natural? Did nature only make that type of woman as a model of beauty?

No, of course not. So be careful with the use of the words "nature", "natural". You can eat Paleo and throw spears for all I care, but your "nature" is conditioned in large part by other factors. You can choose to be a slave to those forces or you can choose to free yourself from them. It's up to you.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:48 PM

Because the media only focues on ONE narrow type of beauty. Are there beautiful black women? Are there beautiful Asian women? Are there beautiful Hispanic women? Are there beautiful Indian women? Of course. None of them are blonde. Asians rarely have big boobs.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:50 PM

So there is nothing unnatural about blondes with big boobs. My problem is that certain types of beauty get excluded.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 24, 2011
at 04:57 PM

But your stance assumes that the blonde hair and big boobs are outside "natural". Far from it. Seriously, anthropology has already talked about all of this. Big boobs (along with full lips, no wrinkles, etc.) = youth, fertility. And I'm not sure anyone's arguing that our media (around a very short 100 years or so) doesn't contribute. But I would ask why you think the media's offerings are outside natural? They are subject to the same human urges as the rest of us. "Nothing human is foreign to me." - Terence

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 10:03 PM

So we will internalize an image of beauty as we will internalize other societal constructs. According to this point of view, we should defer to the existing order, because there must be some reason why things are the way they are. So, it is also "natural" I guess that men get paid more than women for the same work. Monogamy is "natural". Homosexuality is "unnatural". Karen your position, if I am understanding it, is a traditionalist one. What is is what is good. That's easy to say if you belong to the dominant class, dominant race, etc, however, for others, it is problematic

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:56 PM

So we will internalize an image of beauty as we will internalize other societal constructs. According to this line of thought that sees verything in the order, you can say many things. It is also "natural" I guess that men get paid more than women for the same work. Monogamy is "natural". Homosexuality is "unnatural". Karen your position, if I am understanding it, is a traditionalist one. What is is what is good. That's easy to say if you belong to the dominant class, dominant race, etc, however, for others, it is problematic.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 26, 2011
at 03:08 PM

"Other" people can be problematic when they are degenerate and abnormal. The "norm" is health n'est-pas? "All races have their vartues" as the protagonist of the 'deerslayer' said. But those who are anomalous in terms of function(ie. not functioning in accordance with their "essence") are clearly unattractive. Function and Form are two sides of the same aesthetic coin.

2
8be7a492e2844e2ad5595a6c73974f99

(891)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:07 PM

I am a woman and for me, beauty is an expression of connection to my essence and life force. It is being in flow and grace. Beauty is radiance, ineffable and unguarded. This is different than the product of beauty which we all know so well and are more comfortable arguing about. Beauty is internal and is supported by opening, relaxing, loving, playing and living in harmony with the flow of life. Beauty is light magnified and amplified through the structure of the body. I am more able to access and express beauty when my diet is clean. I am also more able to access and express my beauty when I am in a loving relationship, when I am able to be touched and touch others, when I am having sex. In short, times when I am feeling my most beautiful, there is little thought of my size or shape. I am conscious of my presence and how much space I am giving it to shine. I enjoy following this reference point regarding my physicality. When I start thinking about size and weight and the 'product' of beauty I feel the constriction come upon me and shit gets hard. Comparison, competition, rigidity and external reference points make me crazy and take me out of connection to that sexy belly fire and open hearted freedom. I don't see that way of being as attractive or magnetic and I don't think men do either. If any men want to weigh in on this, I would love and welcome your comments.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 26, 2011
at 03:08 PM

The inner is the outer.

8be7a492e2844e2ad5595a6c73974f99

(891)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:12 PM

That being said, since shifting my diet in this way, I am a size smaller, I am leaner, my skin glows and my gas/food baby is gone. And I find I can be just as neurotic about my looks/size/shape as I was before. More confirmation that beauty is not ALL about how I look.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:45 PM

Very beautifully put. It's art. Makes me think of an artist who gets in touch with his/her true center and works from there. If s/he truly gets in touch with his center this will touch a chord in others' center. On the other hand, if s/she is trying to guess the market (what other people think), she will never create great art.

2
8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

on June 24, 2011
at 10:16 AM

Hmm, isn't there a third option? "Feeling good" I'd call it. I've never fit into the whole "female beauty" thing so I gave that up long, long ago. On the other hand, I've never lost weight or exercised to "live long" or any of that stuff. Oh, once after a back injury and long period of being sedentary, I took up walking to help heal the back and that lowered my cholesterol, which I thought was helpful.

But. . . I "feel good" at a certain weight -- I feel good about myself and my body. I feel good in my body. And that has been my major motivator. And now that Paleo allows me to be at my "perfect" weight effortlessly, I am now interested in getting stronger both functionally and visually. Maybe that's a form of "beauty"? That was the motivation for losing weight.

But I didn't go Paleo to lose weight. I went Paleo for health reasons. I felt like crap and was finally tired of it and saw through Paleo and actual possibility of not having to put up with it anymore. Seeing that possibility made a huge difference. And, I'm happy to say it has worked at least 80% so far, after only 5 months or so.

2
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:18 PM

While I have reservations about the book, I would recommend Catherine Shanahan's Deep Nutrition, as she seems to believe that health and beauty are indeed the same. I believe too that WAPF has some ideas along these lines.

For my part, I feel better in everything I do now that I've lost the 13 pounds that have been plaguing me for more than 5 years: yoga, running, swimming, hiking. Hell, just standing in line at the grocery store feels better! My confidence is way up and I think that counts for a lot, not to mention libido.

For me, it's all about quality of life and self-sufficiency. Okay, okay...I'm a vain mofo too. But the fact that health and beauty go hand-in-hand is nice. I posted about this today on my blog with regards to suntanning.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 23, 2011
at 08:51 PM

Karen, the question is "which beauty?" Despite what reactionary ideologues like David Buss and Steven Pinkner (I am expecting applause from Baconbitch for writing that) may try to tell you, there is not one universal, ahistorical standard of beauty. We don't even have to go back centuries or to exotic cultures to find this. In my own lifetime in America, the standard of beauty has changed considerably. Of course, seeking health and beauty need not be contradictory, but sometime it is.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 01:29 AM

Applause for neo-liberal genetics. And applause to Karen for admitting she's a "vain mo-fo". But she got a plus 1 for hat tipping to her confidence...makes you stand taller.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 24, 2011
at 04:51 PM

Thomas, Shanahan talks a lot about that too, some of which I already knew from anthropology classes. Of course no two cultures will have the same standards of beauty, no one's arguing that. But there have been studies that show that all cultures do appreciate facial symmetry and that the way our eyes track across a face show how we linger on features like eyes and mouths. I think the connection lies more authentically with health becoming beauty, meaning who's attracted to the overweight guy, unshowered, playing video games on his parents' couch? Nobody.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:59 PM

Karen, I am not suggesting that there is absolutely no underlying laws of aesthetics. However, does not being skinny violate those laws. I don't think so.

2
Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

on June 23, 2011
at 06:53 PM

I think there can be, and needs to be a balance. Of course, one must realize that super defined, washboard abs are not, and therefore do not, look healthy. This is also why I dont weigh myself since that is not a very accurate measure of health or fitness. I eat right and exercise both to look better and to feel better. Luckily, if done smartly, all of this goes hand in hand. If I eat the right things to feel better I lose weight, my clothes fit better, I have a flatter tummy and more defined arms and legs and damn I look good. If I eat right to look better, I lose weight, have more energy, sleep better, dont feel bloated, and damn I feel good. So for me it works either way and I think my aim is combination of overall health and vanity, and I am ok with that. I think realistic goals are the most important part.

2
Medium avatar

on June 23, 2011
at 06:45 PM

well you said it, it's about making the decision consciously. Someone asked me the question "do you want to be right or do you want to be happy" and you know what? Sometimes I just want to be right! But at least I am choosing and aware of the costs.

I used to be a trainer at a gym where I had to "work the floor" a few hours a week. To pass my time I would ask different guys about girls' bodies and vice versa and everyone seemed to like a meatier woman and women seemed to not be so crazy about those 8 pack abs favoring a more athletic look on a man BUT b/c of programming, there is the trophy wife that has to be skinny with big fake breasts, at least here in Miami. So those extreme bodies are like what the rings on one of those African women's necks are, cultural relativity.

I like googling old fashioned actors bodies like Marlon Brando and Paul Newman, etc. Their bodies were so reasonable!! Same with the women. Everyone recounts the Marilyn Monroe example, how voluptuous she was. I think a good rule of thumb is if you look nice in your clothes, you are fine.

Maybe your DL and squats aren't inflaming you after all? I imagine just walking next to a street with a lot of traffic is enough to inflame a person or being at a tedious job, or god knows what else?! If working out makes a person happy fine, if it's compulsive and unsustainable that's a whole other issue where a person needs to ask themselves why and to what end?

Great post!

2
61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 23, 2011
at 06:34 PM

Looking good is important to me, but I think I look pretty great. 8)

I will admit that my initial plunge with Paleo was mostly because of looks, but I have different goals now.

I'm the size I want to be (clothing-wise), but I want to add more definition to my muscles. I have no idea what my bf% is, but I do know I used to be a lot stronger than I am now and I miss that.

I remember 2 moves ago (maybe 4 years), I could lift half a sleeper couch without straining (I have no idea how much that weighs or how that compares to weight-room numbers, but I was impressed with myself!). The last move we made (1 year ago), I was straining with just a bookshelf. Now that's just ridiculous!

My current goals are definitely more focused on health/strength than on looks.

1
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on June 24, 2011
at 10:43 PM

It's a delicate balance. My theory is that if you eat primal, move your body, and feel good, you're going to end up looking good. For 95% of us that does not mean a BMI in the teens (for women), single-digit body fat (for men), or a rippling six-pack (for either). If you have to starve or overeat to the detriment of your daily well-being, or cut out many tasty and pleasurable foods, or overtrain, or stress and obsess, to try to get those things; then you are compromising your health, and it's not worth it.

I for one don't find very low body fat appealing. It looks harsh, unnatural, and unhealthy. And it's the men in the primal community who seem to be hyper-focused on cutting their body fat down to ridiculously low levels. I don't usually say anything to them but I will vent here; when your bodyfat is too low it looks gross. Seeing the outline of every muscle with veins popping makes me think of dissecting cadavers. Also I am not a fan of gigantic bulging muscles, but that might mostly be me. I like a nice mid-weight, normal-looking, leanish guy. Pro soccer players look amazing.

Most women on PH, IME, just want to be healthy, slim and normal-looking with a nice balance between strength and curves. Although we do get a post here or there by women who appear to want to have no 'pinchable' subcutaneous fat at all. I am the first to tell them I don't think that's healthy, achievable, or even attractive.

Personally I am naturally skinny and fairly lean (even after much hard work, and weight gain thanks to a paleo diet), and even have defined abs for a woman... I seem to have plenty of admirers, and have had no complaints. Although that might be because even though I am around the same size as a runway model and flat-chested, I manage to have plenty of 'back'.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 11:45 PM

Come to think about it, you may be right about this low-fat obsession being more a male phenomenon on here. Interestingly the responses to this thread have come overwhelmingly from women. I may have missed somebody, but I think Jack_Kronk, LuckyBastard and I are the only males to have responded. Also interesting your perspective on the extremely "ripped" male body. Wonder what other women here think about that.

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on June 25, 2011
at 06:25 PM

Don't worry: you're not alone. I'm not excited by men with ridiculously low body fat OR gigantic bulging muscles. I don't think you'll find that's unusual among women; most women I know like men who are more moderate, just as you describe.

351cbf133b44fb7a1b90781e148d28d7

(597)

on July 09, 2011
at 01:20 AM

Animal's not the only other female who thinks that way, Thomas. I'm on the same boat. It's kind of funny, usually when issues of beauty standards crop up, we all tend to focus on how the media portrays women, but most of us don't consider the fact the we see equally disturbing standards for men as well.

0
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on June 24, 2011
at 12:17 PM

Thomas......the more healthy you the better you look......and the higher your self esteem rises.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 02:32 PM

What does healthy look like? Is it always really skinny? That's my question. I think it is assumed that that means "skinny" or low body fat. Now, don't get me wrong. I am not suggesting that extremely high body fat is healthy. However, I think if we do a historical and cross-cultural look at this question, we will find that the answer to this question varies. Here's Venus according to Rubens: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rubens_Venus_at_a_Mirror_c1615.jpg

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on June 24, 2011
at 03:42 PM

I get that a lot here Thomas.....I could not imagine why it would be down voted either because its true and not controversial at all. I really liked this question and look forward to your questions.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:49 PM

I was told I was super skinny when I was in school (my mom thought I was too skinny), but I felt comfortable in my skin. Looking at pictures of myself from high school, I had a small waist, but I also had big thick legs (still do), a strong core, and strong arms. I was maybe skinnier than a lot of my classmates, but I was loaded with muscles as well.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 02:35 PM

So I upvoted you (don't know why you were downvoted) because I agree that a healthy person WILL look good. However, I think the standards for beauty, as set primarily by the media/pop culture, are too narrow.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 24, 2011
at 04:27 PM

"Really skinny" is just what's on magazine covers and in movies. I've never been close to being skinny, and I've never been lonely. Most of my female acquaintances are overweight (by most standards), and are getting regular action, no problem. When I was young I was very resentful of marketed beauty standards, until I learned to pay attention to what was happening in real life.

0
226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:14 AM

What does simulacrum mean?

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 24, 2011
at 03:47 PM

Copy or likeness. It is often used to discuss mystical likenesses of gods like totems, or copies of copies with imperfect replication. The basic idea is that it is a flawed attempt at a copy of an unseen original. In this case the ideal body :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 26, 2011
at 03:10 PM

It measn: An identical copy for which no original existed(Baudrilard).

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