Tag Archives: sex

Women: Second Class Citizens

First off- my apologies for the lack of updates; I’m still adjusting to my new work schedule- finding time for updates had been on the back burner. Now on to the infuriating article ahead.

For those of you paying attention to political parties these days, or to new and interesting laws seeming to creep up without the public ever knowing about their creation, this article will serve as a blood-boiling recap of the absurd and disgusting politics surrounding women and women’s health. If you have not been paying attention- hold on to your pantyhose, because you are not going to believe this sh*t.

10 Reasons the Rest of the World Thinks the U.S. Is Nuts

This week the Georgia State Legislature debated a bill in the House, that would make it necessary for some women to carry stillborn or dying fetuses until they ‘naturally’ go into labor. In arguing for this bill Representative Terry England described his empathy for pregnant cows and pigsin the same situation.

I have a question for Terry England, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and too many others: I have three daughters, two of them twins. If one of my twins had been stillborn would you have made me carry her to term, thereby endangering both the other twin and me? Or, would you have insisted that the state order a mandatory fetal extraction of the living twin fetus from my womb so that I could continue to carry the stillborn one to term and possibly die myself? My family is curious and since you believe my uterus is your public property, I am, too.

Mr. England, unlike the calves and pigs for which you expressed so much empathy, I am not a beast of burden. I am a woman and I have these human rights:

The right to life.
The right to privacy.
The right to freedom.
The right to bodily integrity.
The right to decide when and how I reproduce.

Mr. England, you and your friends do not get to trade these rights, while “dog and hog hunting,” in return for a young man’s chickens.

My human rights outweigh any you or the state corruptly and cynically seek to assign to a mass of dividing cells that will eventually turn into a ‘natural’ person. Personhood-for-zygote based bills and related legislation, like Georgia’s and hundreds and hundreds of others, bills and laws that criminalize pregnancy and abortion and penalize women for being women, violate my human rights.

Just because you cannot get pregnant does not mean I cannot think clearly, ethically, morally, rationally about my body, human life or the consequences of my actions. Just because you cannot get pregnant does not mean that I do not have rights when I am pregnant. I have responsibility but am powerless. You have power but are irresponsible with my rights.

By not trusting me, you force me to trust you. And YOU are not trustworthy.

I gestate humans, you do not. I know how it feels to be pregnant. You do not. I know what happens to a fetus in a womb. You do not. I have carried three fetuses to term. You have not. What I experience when I am pregnant is not empathy. It is permeability. The fetus is me. And the state is you, apparently. But, no matter what you say or do I have fundamental human rights. What makes you think that you, who cannot have this fully human experience, can tell me anything about gestation or how I experience it? Especially when you compare my existence and experience to that of brutish animals.

The rest of the civilized world thinks this country has lost its mind. It’s no wonder. Look at this list of frenzied misogyny:

1. Making women carry still-born fetuses to full term because cows and pigs do. This week, Mr England, you supported a bill, the net effect of which, taken tandem with other restrictions, will result in doctors and women being unable to make private, medically-based, critical care decisions and some women being effectively forced to carry their dead or dying fetuses. Women are different from farm animals, Mr. England, and this bill, requiring a woman to carry a dead or dying fetus is inhumane and unethical. By forcing a woman to do this, you are violating her right not to be subjected to inhuman treatment and tortured. And, yes, involuntarily carrying a dead fetus to term, although not torture to you or to a pig, is torture for a woman. It is also a violation of her bodily integrity and a threat to her life and as such violates her right to life.

2. Consigning women to death to save a fetus. Abortions save women’s lives. “Let women die” bills are happening all over the country. There is no simple or pretty way to put this. Every day, all over the world, women die because they do not have access to safe abortions. Yet, here we are, returning to the dark ages of maternal sacrifice. Do really have to type this sentence: this is a violation of women’s fundamental right to life.

3. Criminalizing pregnancy and miscarriages and arresting, imprisoning and charging women who miscarry with murder, like Rennie Gibbs in Mississippi or at least 40 other similar cases in Alabama or like Bei Bei Shuai, a woman who is now imprisoned, is charged with murder after trying to commit suicide while pregnant. Pregnant women are becoming a special class subject to “special” laws that infringe on their fundamental rights.

4. Forcing women to undergo involuntary vaginal penetration (otherwise called rape) with a condom-covered, six to eight-inch ultrasound probe. Pennsylvania is currently considering that option along with 11 other states. Trans-vaginal ultrasounds undertaken without a woman’s consent are rape according to the legal definition of the word. This violates a woman’s bodily integrity and also constitutes torture when used, as states are suggesting, as a form of control and oppression. Women have the right not to be raped by the state.

5. Disabling women or sacrificing their lives by either withholding medical treatment or forcing women to undergo involuntary medical procedures. We impose an unequal obligation on women to sacrifice their bodily integrity for another. For example, as in Tysiac v. Poland, in which a mother of two, became blind after her doctor refused to perform an abortion that she wanted that would have halted the course of a degenerative eye disease. If my newborn baby is in need of a kidney and you have a spare matching one, can I enact legislation that says the state can take yours and give it to her? No. We do not force people to donate their organs to benefit others, even those who have already been born. One of the most fundamental of all human rights is that humans be treated equally before the law. Denying a woman this right is a violation of her equal right to this protection.

6. Giving zygotes “personhood” rights while systematically stripping women of their fundamental rights. There is too much to say about the danger of personhood ideas creeping into health policy to do it here. But, consider what happens to a woman whose womb is not considered the “best” environment for a gestating fetus in a world of personhood-for-zygote legislation: who decides the best environment — the state, her insurance company, her employer, her rapist who decides he really, really wants to be a father? Anyone but a woman.

7. Inhibiting, humiliating and punishing women for their choices to have an abortion for any reason by levying taxes specifically on abortion, including abortions sought by rape victims to end their involuntary insemination, imposing restrictive requirements like 24 hour wait periods and empowering doctors to lie to female patients about their fetuses in order to avoid prosecution. In Arizona, Kansas, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, Arkansas and other states around the country bills that make women “pay” for their choices are abounding.

8. Allowing employers to delve into women’s private lives and only pay for insurance when they agree, for religious reasons, with how she choses to use birth control. In Arizona, which introduced such a bill this week, this means covering payment for birth control as a benefit only when a woman has proven that she will not use it to control her own reproduction (ie. as birth control). As much as I am worried about women and families in Arizona though, I am more worried about those in Alabama. You see, as recently revealed in a public policy poll in Alabama, conservative, evangelicals who support “personhood” related “pro-life” legislation and are fighting for their “religious liberty” — 21 percent think interracial marriage should be illegal. So, what if they decide that an employee involved in an interracial marriage should not, by divine mandate, reproduce? Do they switch and provide birth control for this employee? Do they make contraception a necessary term of employment for people in interracial marriages? This violates a woman’s right to privacy. My womb is one million times more private than your bedrooms, gentlemen.

9. Sacrificing women’s overall health and the well-being of their families in order to stop them from exercising their fundamental human right to control their own bodies and reproduction. Texas just did that when it turned down $35million dollars in federal funds thereby ensuring that 300,000 low-income and uninsured Texas women will have no or greatly-reduced access to basic preventive and reproductive health care.

10. Depriving women of their ability to earn a living and support themselves and their families. Bills, like this one in Arizona, allow employers to fire women for using contraception. Women like these are being fired for not.

You presume to consign my daughters and yours to function as reproductive animals.

This is about sex and property, not life and morality. Sex because when women have sex and want to control their reproduction that threatens powerful social structures that rely on patriarchal access to and control over women as reproductive engines. Which brings us to property: control of reproduction was vital when the agricultural revolution took place and we, as a species, stopped meandering around plains in search of food. Reproduction and control of it ensured that a man could possess and consolidate wealth-building and food-producing land and then make sure it wasn’t disaggregated by passing it on to one son he knew was his — largely by claiming a woman and her gestation capability as property, too.

This is not about freedom of religion. If it were, we would, for example, allow Christian Scientists to refuse to pay for coverage of life-saving blood transfusions for employees. Religious freedom means I get to chose whether or not to be religious and if so, how. It does not mean that I get to impose my religion on others. Paying for insurance is part of the way we compensate employees, even when they use their insurance in ways we don’t agree with and are in contravention of our own personal beliefs. I think that it is stupid, dangerous and immoral to chain smoke, especially around children whose lungs it irreparably harms. But, I still have to pay for an employee to have access to lung scans, nicotine patches and oxygen tanks. I do not get to say that my religious beliefs, which include keeping bodies as healthy as possible, make it possible for me to withhold payment of this employee’s insurance. Guaranteed coverage of contraception and reproductive health care has overwhelming benefits for society, including reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortions. By inserting your religious beliefs so egregiously into government legislation and my life, you are imposing your religious beliefs on me. You don’t like mandated insurance coverage for basic reproductive health humans with two X chromosomes? I don’t like being bred by state compulsion like Mr. England’s farm animals. I have a MORAL OBJECTION to being treated like an animal and not a human. You do not have to use contraception, you do not have to use birth control. But, that does not mean you have any right to tell me that I cannot if I chose. That is my right.

Property, control, sex, reproduction, morality, defining what is human. Sounds a lot like issues surrounding slavery 170 years ago. It is no surprise that of the 16 states that never repealed their anti-miscegenation laws, but rather had them overturned by the Supreme Court in 1967 more than half have introduced personhood bills. Like anti-miscegentation laws, anti-choice laws and bills that humiliate women, that treat them like beasts, that violate their bodily autonomy, are based on ignorance, entitlement and arrogance. These laws are not about “personhood” but “humanity.” That women of color are massively, disproportionately affected by these assaults on their bodies and rights should also come as no surprise – their rights and their bodies have always been the most vulnerable assault.

This is about keeping women’s wombs public and in other people’s control — the exact opposite of private and in their own control.

And, yes, I do know how complicated the ethics, bioethics and legal arguments related to these decisions are. You, apparently, do not. If you were truly concerned with sustaining life and improving its quality or in protecting innocent children, you would begin by having compassion and empathy for living, born people that require and deserve your attention. You feed them, educate them, lift them from poverty and misery. You do not compound these problems as you are with twisted interpretations of divine will. Only after that do you have the moral legitimacy to entertain the notion of talking to me about my uterus and what I do with it. By then, fully functional artificial wombs should be available and you can implant your own, since you are so fond of animal analogies, as was completed with this male mouse. What you are doing is disgraceful, hypocritical and morally corrupt.

And, no, I am not crazy. I am angry.

Mr. Santorum, Mr. England and Mr. Brownback and Mr. Perry you should consider not clinging so dangerously and perversely to the Agrarian Revolution ideas. Birth control and safe abortions are life-saving technologies. These archaic bills and laws, wasteful of time, money and lives, obscure an enduring and unchangeable truth: safe and effective family planning is the transformative social justice accomplishment of the 20th century. They will not go away. This is a revolution, too.

In an 1851 speechin which she argued for equal rights for women, Sojourner Truth said the following: “The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you have woman’s rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won’t be so much trouble.”

Do you, Terry England, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum and friends even know who Sojourner Truth is?

This post has been updated since its original publication.

 Follow Soraya Chemaly on Twitter: www.twitter.com/schemaly

 

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Sex Ed Now

Excellent infographic on Sex-Education- Please share!

Want to add this to your blog or website? You can find all the links to do so here: http://www.publichealthdegree.com/reproductive-health-education/


New Laws Imposed on Women

I understand that many people are against abortion and would like to see abortion become illegal across the United States- I am not one of those people. I believe all options (and education) should be made available for women to promote healthy and responsible decision-making. Virgina, however, a state that is loath to provide abortive services to begin with, thinks that the best way to end abortion is to forcibly assault the woman seeking such abortive services. Continuing our look into women’s health we find this gem of an article and new bill that PASSED through legislature forcing women to undergo an invasive procedure before they are permitted to receive abortive services. So Virginia, does raping women (potentially women who are trying to abort a rapist’s fertilized seed) make them understand that you think abortion is bad? So criminal sexual contact makes women less pregnant? Unbelievable.

Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination

Under the new legislation, women who want an abortion will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. Where’s the outrage?

By Dahlia Lithwick

This week, the Virginia state Legislature passed a billthat would require women to have an ultrasound before they may have an abortion. Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. Since a proposed amendment to the bill—a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound—failed on 64-34 vote, the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.

What’s more, a provision of the law that has received almost no media attentionwould ensure that a certification by the doctor that the patient either did or didn’t “avail herself of the opportunity” to view the ultrasound or listen to the fetal heartbeat will go into the woman’s medical record. Whether she wants it there or not. I guess they were all out of scarlet letters in Richmond.

So the problem is not just that the woman and her physician (the core relationship protected in Roe) no longer matter at all in deciding whether an abortion is proper. It is that the physician is being commandeered by the state to perform a medically unnecessary procedure upon a woman, despite clear ethical directives to the contrary. (There is no evidence at all that the ultrasound is a medical necessity, and nobody attempted to defend it on those grounds.) As an editorial in the Virginian-Pilot put it recently, “Under any other circumstances, forcing an unwilling person to submit to a vaginal probing would be a violation beyond imagining. Requiring a doctor to commit such an act, especially when medically unnecessary, and to submit to an arbitrary waiting period, is to demand an abrogation of medical ethics, if not common decency.”

Evidently the right of conscience for doctors who oppose abortion are a matter of grave national concern. The ethical and professional obligations of physicians who would merely like to perform their jobs without physically violating their own patients are, however, immaterial. Don’t even bother asking whether this law would have passed had it involved physically penetrating a man instead of a womanwithout consent. Next month the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument about the obscene government overreach that is the individual mandate in President Obama’s health care law. Yet physical intrusion by government into the vagina of a pregnant woman is so urgently needed that the woman herself should be forced to pay for the privilege.

The bill will undoubtedly be enacted into law by the governor, Bob McDonnell, who is gunning hard for a gig as vice presidentand has already indicated that he will sign the bill. “I think it gives full information,” he said this week on WTOP radio’s “Ask the Governor” program. “To be able to have that information before making what most people would say is a very important, serious, life-changing decision, I think is appropriate.”

That’s been the defense of this type of ultrasound law from the outset; it’s merely “more information” for the mother, and, really, what kind of anti-science Neanderthal opposes information? Pretending that this law is just a technological update on Virginia’s informed consent laws has another benefit: You can shame and violate women, while couching it in the language of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s gift that keeps on giving—his opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart. That opinion upheld Congress’ partial-birth abortion ban on the grounds that (although there was no real evidence to support this assumption) some women who have abortions will suffer “severe depression” and “regrets” if they aren’t made to understand the implications of what they have done.*

Never mind that the evidence indicates that women forced to see ultrasound images opt to terminate anyhow. According to the American Independent, a new study by Tracy Weitz, assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that “viewing an ultrasound is not an indication that a woman will cancel her scheduled procedure, regardless of what emotional response the sonogram elicits.” Weitz summarized her findings in 2010 when she said that “women do not have abortions because they believe the fetus is not a human or because they don’t know the truth.”

Of course, the bill is unconstitutional. The whole point of the new abortion bans is to force the Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade. It’s unconstitutional to place an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, although it’s anyone’s guess what, precisely, that means. One would be inclined to suspect, however, that unwanted penetration with a medical device violates either the undue burden test or the right to bodily autonomy. But that’s the other catch in this bill. Proponents seem to be of the view that once a woman has allowed a man to penetrate her body once, her right to bodily autonomy has ended.

During the floor debate on Tuesday, Del. C. Todd Gilbert announced that“in the vast majority of these cases, these [abortions] are matters of lifestyle convenience.” (He has since apologized.) Virginia Democrat Del. David Englin, who opposes the bill, has said Gilbert’s statement “is in line with previous Republican comments on the issue,” recalling one conversation with a GOP lawmaker who told him that women had already made the decision to be “vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant.” (I confirmed with Englin that this quote was accurate.)

That’s the same logic that animates the bill’s sponsor in the House of Delegates, Del. Kathy J. Byron, who insisted this week that, “if we want to talk about invasiveness, there’s nothing more invasive than the procedure that she is about to have.” Decoded, that means that if you are willing to submit to sex and/or an abortion, the state should be allowed to penetrate your body as well.

I asked Del. Englin what recourse there is for the ultrasound law, and he told me that the governor, while unlikely to veto the bill, still has the power to amend it to require the patient’s consent or say that physicians can opt not to do the vaginal probe. One might hope that even the benign act of giving women “more information” not be allowed to happen by forcing it between her legs. Or is that what we call it these days?

Whatever happens in the commonwealth, it’s fair to say it’s no accident that this week the Legislature also enacted a “personhood” law defining life as beginning at conception—a law that may someday criminalize contraception and some miscarriages as well as abortion. Today was not a good day in the War on Women. Abortion is still legal in America. Physically invading a woman’s body against her will still isn’t. Let’s not casually pass laws that upend both principles in the name of helping women make better choices.

Corrections, Feb. 16, 2012: This article originally misidentified the Virginian-Pilot as the Virginia-Pilot. The article also mistakenly characterized Gonzales v. Carhart as striking down the partial-birth ban. It also misidentified Del. David Englin as a representative.

http://mobile.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/02/virginia_ultrasound_law_women_who_want_an_abortion_will_be_forcibly_penetrated_for_no_medical_reason.html


Women’s Rights Go Back in Time

There has been a lot of press around women’s health, and women’s rights recently, and I’d like to repost some of the more upsetting pieces. This one is pretty astounding. I guess everyone would be more at ease if I took off my shoes, quit my job and stood around in the kitchen with a baby in my arms.

How The GOP Went Back To The 1950s In Just One Day

Very neatly, and on three separate fronts, conservatives in America turned the clock back to the 1950s with their rhetoric about women’s rights Thursday, according to women in politics on both sides of the aisle. This could be a big problem for the GOP when the calendar reaches November.

Let’s take a look at Thursday, February 16, 2012, the day Washington fell into a time-warp.

On Capitol Hill, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) held hearings on contraception and religious freedom that produced the now-famous picture of a table full of men called to weigh in on access to contraceptives. Democrats wanted a woman — a Georgetown law student with a friend who lost an ovary because the university doesn’t cover birth control — to say her piece at the hearing, but Issa wouldn’t let her on the panel. He said she wasn’t “appropriate or qualified” to discuss the topic at hand.

Jaws dropped in the women’s rights community.

“She didn’t have the right credentials?” NOW President Terry O’Neill scoffed. “I’m thinking to myself, ‘Buddy, you and your little panel over there don’t have the right anatomy to talk about birth control.’”

Politico published a story about a right wing firestorm that had been burning for days: Did the young women who attended this year’s CPAC wear skirts that were too short? The days following the massive conservative conference, which closed Saturday, were filled with tweets and blog posts weighing in on what conservative pundit Melissa Clouthier called outfits that made the college-age women at CPAC look either “frumpish” or “like two-bit whores.” CPAC needs these women to survive — 55% of attendees at the 2011 conference were under 25 — but apparently conservatives want to make sure they don’t show too much of their legs lest they detract from the solemnity of the proceedings. The general agreement among conservatives after days of debate: a CPAC dress code would go too far — but ladies, please.

• Foster Friess, the billionaire backer of Rick Santorum’s campaign, became an instant celebrity when he went on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC show and said, “Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.” Here’s what that looked like:

Friess’ comment was astonishing in two ways. First, it derailed the entire contraception debate that Republicans have been desperate to keep about “religious freedom” rather than make it about, well, who does or does not keep her knees together. Second, there wasn’t a woman around who didn’t have a guttural reaction.

“I want to punch that guy in the face,” said one female operative who called me on an entirely unrelated matter. Phone calls and IM conversations for the rest of the day included similar appraisals of Santorum’s biggest financial backer.

So there you have it: modern women being told by Republicans that they’re not qualified to talk about their own sexual health, are dressed like “whores” and probably need birth control because they’re so slutty. And this is just in one day.

Democratic women say this is all part of a general pattern that began in 2010 when the tea party helped Republicans win a congressional election based on jobs and deficits and the Republicans then set about passing new anti-abortion legislation and declaring war on Planned Parenthood once in office. They agreed Thursday stood out, though.

“Republican policies have been stuck in the 50s for a while now. I guess this week they decided they wanted the whole retro package,” said Jess McIntosh, communications director at EMILY’s List. “Darrel Issa, you are no Jon Hamm.”

Republican women were not any more impressed. One GOP operative I talked to laughed out loud at the CPAC controversy. “Who the hell cares?” she said.

Another Republican operative defended her party for fighting the fight on contraception access, which she said was an important pushback on White House overreach and electoral winner in states with heavy Catholic populations. But she said the “optics” of the Issa hearing were “probably bad.” And she wasn’t thrilled with the image of Republicans that the likes of Santorum and Friess were presenting.

“Some will see it as reinforcing the impression a lot of people have of Rick Santorum as the candidate straight out of the 1950’s. I bet it gets played up that way,” she said. “I think most of us know you can keep your knees together and still, um, do it.”

Will the GOP’s rhetoric Feb. 16 have ramifications felt on Nov. 6? The women on both sides of the aisle agreed that it could — and the polls back them up. After months of Republican fighting about abortion, and weeks of the GOP talking about contraception, Greg Sargent reported on a polling memo showing Obama was leading Mitt Romney 65-30 among unmarried women.

And women’s advocates say Thursday did little to change things.

“There’s a deep, righteous anger,” O’Neill said. “It is very deep-rooted anger and it will be hard for these men now to avoid that anger because it has struck such a chord.”

If you would like to get women’s health issues decided on by women, please sign the petition here: http://emilyslist.org/action/stand_up_to_anti_woman_forces_in_congress/

SOURCE: http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/how-the-gop-went-back-to-the-1950s-in-just-one-day.php?m=1


Slut Shaming

What is slut shaming? Chances are you’ve done it before- and someone has probably done it to you too… but what is it?
I found this excellent video explaining the details in a very straight-forward manner. More to follow! I’m BACK this week.


You’ve Lost the Weight- Now What?

I found an excellent article I had stashed away since 2008! This article, written by Camille Noe Pagan and published in Fitness Magazine,  is all about keeping your goal weight, once you’ve finally hit it. There are a lot of great mental health tips in here as well- if you have lost weight and are feeling bad habits creep back in, or if you’ve just begun your journey to a healthy body, you must read this article. Enjoy!

Life After Weight Loss (the truth no one tells you)

You finally lost the extra pounds; good for you! You’ve achieved what more than half of all Americans are still struggling to do. But here’s something few trainers, dieticians or magazine will tell you; After you reach your goal, you’re not done. Complete your success story using these 7 easy steps.

When Heather Radi traded fast food for a high-protein diet and regular exercise last year, she earned a slimmer figure, more energy and lower blood pressure in return. She also wound up with a “stomach that looked like a deflated balloon”, says the 27-year-old publicist from Miami. “Don’t get me wrong, my life is much better now that I’m 80 pounds lighter. But I wish I’d known that losing it wasn’t the final step.”

The truth is, weight loss is a journey that continues well past the day your goal number registers on the scale. “Whether you lose 30 pounds or 200, you need to be mentally prepared for what happens next,” says Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., director of the Weight Management Center at the university of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “The more ready you are, thebetter you’ll be able to cope and keep the pounds off.” Find out what really happens after you shed the pounds- and what steps you can take to get the figure and mind-set you want, for good.

Step One: Learn to love the limelight

“After I lost 120 pounds, I struggled with the comments I received,” says Pamela Monfredo, 32, a teacher in Melville, New York. “Guys who had never glanced my way were flirting with me; people held doors open; strangers complimented me. After years of feeling invisible, I was overwhelmed.”

Being heavy- with the social pressures and the self-blame tat can go along with it- can do a number on a person’s self-esteem, explains Martin Binks, Ph.D., director of behavioral health at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina. And that doesn’t magically disappear when the weight is gone. The result: “Newly thin people may feel unworthy of the fuss others make over their success,” says Binks. The best way to coax yourself into feeling worthy? Say thank you the next time you get a compliment, even if you’re dying to tell the person she’s wrong. “If you give credibility to the negative voice inside, then you’ll never fully accept your achievement,” he says.

Consider seeing a cognitive-behavioral therapist, who can help you shift your feelings and behaviors with an action plan, if you’re still struggling after several months. Monfredo did: “My therapist helped me stop worrying about how to respond to compliments. If I reacted awkwardly, it was a learning experience; I’d try to be more graceful next time. It was a bumpy road, but today I’m finally comfortable.”

Step Two: Tone and tighten

“Based on the number of women who seek surgery to correct loose skin after weight loss [about 66,000 in 2006], it’s a prevalent issue,” says Richard D’Amico, M.D., president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Although sagginess is more common in women 30 years old and up (elasticity decreases with age) and in those who lose 70 pounds or more, younger women who drop as little as 20 pounds may be left with extra skin, says Dr. D’Amico.

The safest (and cheapest) way to tighten your skin is through strength training, says Lawrence J. Cheskin, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore. “Building muscles in virtually nay area of the body can ‘fill out’ the skin and give you a firmer appearance.”

“If you work your major muscle groups three of four times a week for 60-90 minutes, you’ll likely see an improvement within two months,” says Nicole Glor, a certified personal trainer in New York City. To help women reach their goals, she makes sure her clients lift the right weights. An Ohio State University study found that nearly everyone without a trainer or experience underestimates the amount of weight they should be lifting, usually by 50 percent. Glor suggests gradually increasing the heft of the dumbbells: Started with 8 pounds? Move to 10, then 15 after about a month.

If you remain unsatisfied with the firmness of your skin after about nine months of regular, targeted strength training at your goal weight, and you lost 100 pounds or more, you may want to mull over body-contouring surgery, which removes and tightens excess skin. The latest numbers show that 63 percent of thigh and upper-arm body-contouring surgeries in 2006 were performed on patients following drastic weight loss; that’s an increase of about 30 percent in three years according to the American Soceity of Plastic Surgeons. A recent survey from the National Women’s Health Resource Center found that weight loss is one of the leading reasons women choose to have breast lifts, reductions and/or implants. After breast surgery, abdominoplasty (aka a tummy tuck) is most popular, followed by body lifts, which tighten skin all over the body.

The downside: Surgery is a risk, it can take weeks to recover, and some scarring is inevitable. Plus, it’s pricey.  The average cost of a tummy tuck, for instance, is $5,000- and insurance most likely won’t cover the cost.

Step Three: Put the sizzle back in sex

People who lost an average of 13 percent body fat over the course of two years felt more attractive and enjoyed sex more post-slim-sown, according to a report from the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. But while your libido may be sky-high after weight loss, if you lose more than 40 pounds, estrogen levels may plummet, lowering lubrication and making intercourse uncomfortable. If it happens, don’t panic. “It’s usually temporary, especially if you’re not in menopause,” says Rosemarie Schulman, R.N., coauthor of Tipping the Scales. Use an over-the-counter lube until your natural lubrication returns after three to six months.

Step Four: Strengthen your bonds

“The vast majority of women emerge from weight loss with at least one altered relationship,” says Binks. “Some friends may fear you’ll become different after losing weight; others may feel threatened by your success or upset that you no longer want to do unhealthy things, like skip the gym to hang out.”

LEslie Engel, 39, a marketing manager from Chicago, learned that firsthand. “When I decided to lose weight five years ago, one of my closest friends was clearly threatened,” she says. “She criticized my diet plan and tried to upstage me when people complimented my figure. It really hurt, and eventually I let the relationship fade away. I realized she just wanted me to be her fat friend.”

If this happens to you, “say something like, ‘I know my weight loss is a big change, but I need your support. Do you think that’s possible?’,” says Brinks. If her attitude persists, it’s time to reevaluate the relationship. “As we grow and change, people fall in and out of our lives- and after weight loss is no exception. That doesn’t mean you didn’t have a good friendship. It just means that its time has passed.”

Step Five: Rev your metabolism

Your metabolism will temporarily slow after you lose weight. “Your body is used to running on more calories,” explains Cheskin. “So when you’re eating less for weight loss, your body begins to act as is it’s being short-changed. Your metabolism slows in an attempt to conserve fuel.” Offset the lull by eating healthy snacks, like an apple with peanut butter, or mini-meals every three or four hours. “You’ll ward off hunger, an becasue your body burns calories when digesting food, your metabolism will be more consistently revved,” Cheskin says. Son’t leave exercise out of the equation; it’s key for burning more calories.

Step Six: Revamp your medicine cabinet

When you lose weight, you may also ease or reverse conditions like Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. If you used to take medication for them, you may not need to now, says Cheskin. (To know for sure, consult your physician throughout your weight-loss progress.) And because you weigh less, you likely need lower doses for other drugs, too. For example, a woman who weighs 200 pounds may take two extra-strength Motrin to cope with knee pain- but once she drops to 130 pounds, just one regular-strength pill may do the trick. “While overdosing is rare, you still want to be careful,” says Cheskin, “particularly if you take meds that can affect the liver, heart or other organs, such as diabetes or cholesterol drugs.”

Step Seven: Embrace imperfection

“I always assumed the world would roll out the red carpet for me if only I were thin. So when I finally shed those 40 extra pounds I’d been carrying, I was truly surprised that my problems didn’t disappear,” says Nicole Corey, 29, an office manager in Chandler, Arizona. “Most people who are overweight think being thin will drastically improve their lives,” says Ed Abramson, Ph.D., author of Body Intelligence. “And it does in many ways as far as better health and less social stigma.” But it’s important to be realistic about what weight loss can’t do- like fix a bad marriage or bolster a less-than-exciting career. “If your reality and your expectations don’t mesh, it’s easy to feel disillusioned and return to bad habits, like overeating, to make yourself feel better,” Abramson says.

To avoid that setback, give yourself regular reminders- verbally or in a journal- that you have the ability to change aspects of your life that you dislike, no matter what you weigh. “If there’s something you’re not happy about, such as your job, start putting the effort in to fixing it,” Abramson says. “Taking concrete action will boost your self-worth.” It’s also a good idea to take stock of why you decided to lose weight in the first place, like Corey did: “After a few months of stewing, it finally occurred to me that I slimmed down for my health, not to get a better job or more friends. Life may not be perfect now, but I’ve never felt better.”


Gay Rights

A friend sent this to me and I had to share it.

Since I find myself arguing this same point I found this little illustration both hysterical and accurate.

Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/how-gay-rights-is-nothing-like-legalizing-beastali


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