Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Random Thoughts: Olympics, Biggest Loser, Projects

*  We've enjoyed watching the Olympics together. Snowboarding is so fun to watch, as is figure skating.  Still haven't figured out how to feign an interest in curling.

* Did anyone else cringe a bit when one of the Russian figure skaters, after winning gold in the team competition, went on a long spiel about how grateful they are for their wonderful president for putting on such a wonderful games and how their President is so great? (I couldn't find a video to link to, but it was during prime time coverage).  It reminded me of the praise heaped upon the North Korean "Great General" in this documentary.  After the visiting doctors performed eye surgery, each recipient fawned over how it was only possible through the goodness of their dictator (starts at about the 40:00 minute mark). 

* One of my favorite parts about the games is learning more about the individual athletes.  Lately, though, I find myself feeling a bit cynical, as a lot of the profiles seem to be some variation of "I worked really hard and my parents have a lot of money to pay for coaches, so that's why I'm here,"  with the underlying message being, "Live near the right coaches and have enough money and enough obsession, and you too can be a one-hit wonder at some future Olympics.  So it's always a treat to see a story like Alex Bilodeau's profile last night.  Seriously, go go watch it -- I can't embed it here.  What a great testimony to the power of family and the love of a sibling.

*  Other cool Olympians this year: Torah Bright Kate Hudson.

Biggest Loser?
*  One show I have enjoyed the last few years is the Biggest Loser.  I've always understood and explained to my kids that the way the show works is not realistic nor is it the best way to lose weight -- losing so much so quickly sets people up to gain it back quickly as well.  But I've still mostly enjoyed the show and I've thought it was pretty amazing what the human body is capable of if given the chance to focus full-time on weight loss.  Last week's finale, though, was shocking to me.  I watched the season with my kids and one girl was a stand-out, winning all the challenges.  A former swimmer, Rachel Frederickson applied herself amazingly to the challenges, lost weight consistently, and looked amazingly fit her last week on the ranch, weighing in around 150 lbs.  They showed a clip with her visiting the doctor, who informed her that she was just five pounds away from having an elite athlete's body fat percentage.

I figured Rachel didn't have as good of a chance to win the overall show because she didn't have very much more weight to go while her two competitors had plenty to lose.  So when she stepped out at the finale, it was jaw-droppingly sad. She'd lost the muscle in her arms and legs and her face looked as though she'd aged twenty years.  She weighed in at 105 lbs, much too small for her frame.  This article does a good overview of the reaction.

Some have complained that people just want to "body-shame" Rachel for being too thin, others have said that she isn't that far off, and others think hey, it's a weight-loss competition and she won, good for her.  I personally hope she doesn't have any long-term consequences to her health or her relationship with food and I hope that she can get back some of the muscle she used to have. I wish her the best. 

But I think I might be done watching the Biggest Loser.  I think the producers should have seen this coming and put a stop to it.  They supposedly have trainers, doctors, and nutritionists supervising the contestants.  I've since read a few articles and thought about a few others things that make me think I should have stopped watching long ago.

*  I've been in a project mode the last few weeks.  Last week, I made an inventory of our food storage and this week, we've been working to fill in a few gaps.  Yes, we Mormons do try to have a year's supply of food, but it's less about a potential zombie apocalypse and more about being self-reliant and prepared.  The zombies might get all the attention, but I've known a lot of people who have been able to endure unemployment better with a full pantry.  And in the event of a national disaster, I want to have enough and to spare.

*Yesterday, I deep-cleaned and organized my laundry room. It was nice to go through my cleaning supplies and get organized as well as to wipe down all the dust and lint that's accumulated.

* Today, I made some strawberry-blackberry freezer jam.  We go through that stuff like crazy.

*  I'm trying to use my camera more and I've challenged myself to take a picture every day in February.  Except I missed yesterday.  Still, it's been good for me to take more candids of my kids.

* I got to do newborn pictures for a friend last week and I'm loving how they turned out.

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