“To say that obesity is caused by merely consuming too many calories is like saying that the only cause of the American Revolution was the Boston Tea Party.”

October 7, 2009

For those among us that aren’t aware that Outback Steakhouse’s Blooming Onion has a Wikipedia article devoted to all 2,210 calories of it, we’re doomed to place bad orders at [fast food] restaurants. Or are we? The New York Times published an article yesterday claiming that calorie postings do not change habits. Providing calorie information for fast food items has been mandated in New York City since 2008 in an effort to inform and educate customers and hopefully compel them to make wiser choices at the check out counter. As a whole, American eateries have done a pretty crappy job of divulging just how many grams of fat are in that burger/nacho plate/”salad” dressing, but the jury is out on whether knowing will make us any less likely to indulge. The average person walking into a KFC, McDonalds, or even Cheesecake Factory cannot possibly believe that what they order will be flattering for their waistline. Fast food restaurants are like a cheap date; you get what you pay for. Sure, the fruit cup alternative to the mac daddy of burgers is somewhere on the menu, but why pay for a sub par salad when you could get 20 Chicken McNuggets for the same price?! One dietitian interviewed said, “Just by contemplating healthier choices, they feel like they could have done it and maybe they will the next time.” I apologize, but I must declare shenanigans. For those subsisting on minimum wage, concern for cost comes before health. For those who just enjoy fast food, health has no bearing until the doctor diagnoses with warning signs. We all beat ourselves up over the occasional caloric debacle, but for the most part can face facts: the passage through the Taco Bell drive thru for fourth meal was meant for poor decision making; the 990 calorie Volcano Nachos were an active choice over eating soy beans and chewing on ice cubes. For those on Kanye’s Workout Plan, Jerry’s Subway, Atkins, South Beach, or whatever flavor of the week diet, calorie posting hopefully encourages good decision making, but for everyone else, old habits die hard.

better fast food

Want more info on the worst foods in America? Check out Men’s Health Eat This, Not That. It will thoroughly gross you out and make you question every Cheesecake Factory salad you’ve ever laid eyes on, but gives awesome alternatives to common grocery store/fast food blunders. It even gives you info on which sushi roll you should be eating. Or visit This is Why You’re Fat to figure out what you really want to eat for dinner.

The chief excitement in a woman’s life is spotting women who are fatter than she is.


“Faking It: Sex, Lies, and Women’s Magazines”

August 7, 2009

cosmo

As a self confessed gym bunny, procrastinator, and chick, I’m an avid reader of Cosmo. And Self. And Shape. And Elle. And…well, you get the picture. Reading articles like “One Sock Brand to Drive Your Man Wild” and “How to Get the Perfect Body in Just One Week” pass the time spent elliptical-izing quite nicely. I eat it up: from the bedroom confessionals (you did what?!), to the diffusive health warnings (cigarettes are bad, go figure), to the starlet interviews (this month, Jessica Simpson says, just be yourself!). I love a good trashy mag. But Elle Woods circa Legally Blonde’s assertion that she brought her client “The Bible” aka Cosmo is taking it a little far. Plenty of women jokingly refer to it as that, but I have a hard time canonizing a magazine that reprints essentially the same content month after month. “10 Things Guys Crave in Bed” and “His Sex Fantasies” sound like the same article to me. The juicy and alluring Sex headlines that Cosmo is known for are always conveniently placed in the upper left corner, and vary little with each installment. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for seeing doggy style explained 5 different ways, but the “New!” and “fresh!” tips Cosmopolitan and other such magazines promise every month simply aren’t being delivered on.

This isn’t groundbreaking; anyone who has picked up a couple of women’s magazines can pinpoint the similarities. I’m not suggesting that we boycott these publications poolside, fem-bot out and subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times or limit ourselves to the on-flight magazines when traveling via aero-plane, rather I’m encouraging an open mind. My current fave? Men’s Health. The content is similar in some ways but all-encompassing; the featured articles are generally better written and topics seriously run the gamut. If for nothing else, pick one up to see the hilarious advice men give other men about women. Awkward. Maybe a fitness centric mag covered in pictures of sweaty, muscly beefcakes isn’t for you (in which case we are no longer/never will be friends), but check out something else at the magazine stand. Just once. If you’re all about music magazines, pick up one about technology (Wired) or film. For a newsy but not wholly overwrought pick try The New Yorker. Over the diet recipes offered in Self? Flip through Cooks Illustrated and find something better for dinner. And for those of you out there who are all about The Economist, maybe looking through a Cosmopolitan wouldn’t kill you.

Read your new pick skeptically. Treat it as the average democrat may treat an adventure through Nancy Grace on Fox News. Get out of that box just once. I’ll be on the elliptical reading National Geographic.


“It’s okay to have different interests. Other than cocktails, obviously, which are nonnegotiable.”

June 18, 2009

This Plan a Romantic Getaway article is why I love Men’s Health.

Discuss Great Expectations
No, not the Dickens classic (although it’s quite good). Talk about what you both want from the trip before you pack a bag. “This conversation doesn’t have to be some big emotional thing,” says Susan Moynihan, editor-in-chief of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine. “It can merely be a discussion of your dream vacation. She can say, ‘I want to lie on the beach all day, then go have cocktails.’ Then he can say, ‘That would drive me crazy. I want to go kiteboarding all day, then go have cocktails.’ Don’t make an issue out of it. It’s okay to have different interests. Other than cocktails, obviously, which are nonnegotiable.”
Do: Have a lighthearted, enjoyable chat about your vision of the ideal trip.
Don’t: Make it a tense summit meeting.
Your best bet: Meet someplace fun but quiet and keep the conversation casual. Concentrate on your expectations. Do you want to see the sights or spend the day on the beach? Must you spend every minute together, or can you split up for a few hours? How much time are you going to spend in the room (hint, hint)? What about shopping?
Oh, and one final do: Make sure you establish what the trip means. If you think you’re going skiing and she thinks you’re going to propose, things might turn ugly.

It’s settled. I’m taking my man friend to the beach.


“To attract men, I wear a perfume called ‘New Car Interior’.”

June 12, 2009

I’m a huge fan of Men’s Health. I realize that, as a 21 year old female college student I’m hardly their target audience, but the magazine intrigues me. It’s so much more inclusive than your average Cosmopolitan (seriously, recycling the same 15 sex positions and giving them different names does not warrant a 4 page article about “How to Blow Your Man’s [Mind]”), covering everything from fitness, to health, to travel and science. And of course I don’t mind skimming the love/sex/relationships section (hint: if by skim reading you mean over-analyzing), because it’s always fun to see how the other side thinks. I’ve been following Men’s Health on Twitter, and they just posted an article entitled: “How Nice Guys Can Impress Women.” The problem is, is that it’s by women. Look, I spent $9.50 on He’s Just Not That Into You; I know that women just don’t give the best dating advice. We say that we want specific things, but it’s not (and we’re not), that simple. The article presents a list of nine things:

Be Confident
But Don’t Be Arrogant
Don’t Whine, Complain or Bitch
Stop Being So Considerate
Compliment Her
Touch Her
Recruit a Wingwoman
Buy Her a Drink
Make Her Laugh

Hold up. There is no algorithm for getting in my pants. This is a wonderful song and dance, but how about the next step? Maybe these are just foot in the door tactics, but the authors failed to mention an important piece of advice: be yourself. Women are perceptive. I know it all seems to go south after a few Mojitos, but we can still see through your bullshit (unless your target is blacked out/holding onto a toilet for dear life and worshiping the porcelain god). Not to mention, these pointers are duh moment worthy. Where’s Bill Engvall? “Here’s your sign.” I’m a girl and I feel like these are a given; so give your readers some credit. That said, I still love the magazine. Even the bad articles are strangely good. To understand why I say this, check out a few of their other posts: 15 Things She Doesn’t Want to Her in Bed, The Great Chef Playbook, and 7 Things Your Doctor’s Not Telling You.