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Body Image and Riding

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  • #61
    First of all:
    I'm not going to waste time with you arguing about Dr. Atkins. My opinion is shared by the majority of nutritionalists and other health professionals. If you love his diet, that's your decision. Good luck! I have read a lot of warnings that it is dangerous. I have never read that balanced and sensible diets, that include fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and reasonable quantities of lean protien sources such as fish, poultry, or legumes are dangerous.

    My brother has always been on a high fat, high protien, high meat diet. No, it probably has not always been the exact Atkins diet. But he has gone on the Atkin's diet more than once to lose weight. Years ago my brothers blood tests showed he was heading down the road to heart problems and diabetes. The doctors warned him to change his diet. He didn't. He paid the consequences.

    Ketosis is hard on your kidneys. Regardless of what kind of ketosis it is. Ask your doctor.

    Maybe I'll have a stroke when I'm in my early fifties too, but I'm certainly going to do my best to follow a balanced diet to improve the odds that I don't.

    My mother who is 76, just took up weight lifting a few years ago, which is pretty cool. She is careful about her diet and exercise. Much more so than many of her friends, who are consequently not in as good of shape as she is, or as "young" as she is. She's ended up having to make much younger friends, because she likes to walk, and to play tennis (she can't ride because of a fused spine from an old accident). I hope she beats the genetic odds, too. Regardless, she is a terrific inspiration to a lot of younger people, including, me. And her quality of life, is far, far better, right now.

    There are also numerous other case studies that show that people who have changed to a balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in complex carbohydrates have lower cholesteral, lower insulin intake, and fewer bybass surgeries. The majority of doctors and nutritionalists in America agree on this.

    The topic of this thread is Body image and riding. Unfortunately most people want a quick fix for their body image, which means a quick fix sort of diet. Which may work for the short term, but doesn't for the long term. A lot of people who have contributed posts on this thread have talked about being depressed, and having concerns about maintaining a healthy weight. Others have talked about anerexia. You can't separate body image from the weight loss/weight gain issue, or from issues of self esteem. That leads to the need to educate both the young and old alike reagarding diet as it relates to nutrition, as well as exercise, as it relates to health and well being. Riding is an athletic sport, and therefore is related to all of the above dicussions in this thread. I have no interest in arguing about one diet over another. I just hope that people reading these posts will try to take good care of themselves and not do anything "quick fix" or dangerous. I really, really, hate to see people suffer!! I'd really just like to see fewer people struggle and more people be happy and healthy. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    [This message has been edited by Scoutie (edited 03-22-2000).]


    • #62
      First and foremost let me say, I am a fan of George Morris' quest for the "perfect hunter" style. But, one of Mr. Morris' biggest beefs is the less than svelte equestrian. Quite frankly, that's a load of hooey. I cannot count the number of times, I have seen where he comments on a rider's physique. Something along the line of "now if this rider could slim down a little." Such an easy task huh???

      Personally, this has always turned me off a trifle with him. It is just another example of how kids get the wrong impression of how they should look. Very unhealthy physically and emotionally as far as I am concerned.
      \"If you are going through hell, keep going.\" ~Churchill~


      • #63
        I wish I could say "I work my buns off" taking care of 10 horses 24/7, riding three to four young creatures at least four days out of seven, AND taking care of someone else's 15-horse barn four days a week (and teaching straight through 11:00-4:00 two days a week with two additional, lighter days)...

        Oh, how I WISH I could say that about my buns!

        But nothing I do changes my somewhere-between-blocky-and-butterball basic build. It is frustrating and then some.

        But I really don't think I ride all that bad--my horses progress fine (fast, even--with never any back or soundness problems). So I really wonder a bit about just what conformation is "best" for riding.

        For example, I'm glad I can throw my weight around a bit when introducing a hunter flying change. When you want to intentionally unbalance a horse, it's a bit easier when you can use your weight as a weapon!

        And, too, until he fell from grace, I must admit I always admired Barney Ward (and I still admire that little german guy whose name I can't remember): short, squat, stumpy but strong!

        BUT I will admit that maybe because of my shorter legs, I am more comfortable on a narrower and/or smaller horse. I think maybe that's the most important aspect of one's conformation: finding the horse whose build compliments your own.

        A lot of you folks sound like you should try one of my long-fronted, heavy boned, substantial-bodied, 1/2 and 3/4 TB sportponies. I breed them specifically because of some of the points addressed in this thread. You don't necessarily need size if you are a bit bulkier rider: you need stride, scope, suppleness and strength. Getting all of that in a smaller package may be physically (AND mentally) a lot more comfortable for you! I've had a lot of students (riding students) in the past who didn't fit the typical rider mold and were often poorly mounted as a result. They (and my own traits) were the very reason why I decided to breed what I do.

        There, I did it. I plugged my business!
        Sportponies Unlimited
        Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.


        • #64
          Dear JTurner,
          First throw away the scale! They lie all the time. It's the same principle as watching a pot boil, it never does when you're watching.

          When I was in college I learned something most interesting, they had set up a cafeteria for infants. They could eat whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Lo and behold these babies were able to correct their own deficiencies by choosing what tasted good to them. I also learned something else, that statistics can say anything you want then to say.

          The Rye Bread manufacturers say that two slices of rye bread a day will stop some kind of cancer, don't remember which one. A few years ago they said that red wine was poisonous so every one started drinking white wine. Well, now they say that 2 glasses of red wine are good for you. Peanut oil has good cholesterol that gets rid of bad cholesterol and on and on. Oh! yes they discovered that it is fat that makes your brain work, you need it to transmit all those little messages. So low-fat diets are go for heart and bad for your brain. OH! yes and what the one where they said that mashed potatoes were brain food. If you smoke you won't get Altzheimer or Parkinsons (maybe because you won't live long enough but it's also good for those of us who are paranoid schizophrenics. They will want instead that we take nicotine pills.

          The conclusion..there is none, LIVE LOVE and do what feels good. In fact 30 years ago what was then a size 10 is today a size 2. We didn't change they changed the sizes. I know because I was 5'7" and 98 pounds with a 21 inch waist, I was a size 10. Marilyn Monroe was a 14, they lied when they said she was a size 2, in our day a size 2 didn't even exist. She wasn't voluptuous because she was a twiggy. Let me ask you if you are a size 2 and you lose more weight what size are you? a 0, meaning you are a nothing.

          In Spain they have passed a law that says no model may be smaller than a size 6. Now, that's a law I could vote for.

          You've all bought into the complicated marketing of "image". It's just plain silly because you are and should weigh what ever weight at which you feel healthy and vigorous. There are Size 16 women that are magnificent, and there are size 2 women that look like a hanger. If they weighed a little more maybe they wouldn't plastic boobs.

          I don't know about you, but I know that all the people I love look just great with whatever build their bones and genetics gave them. The world was made for variety, how boring if we all looked the same, were built the same. Can you imagine if every female was a size 2 with platinum blond hair and the same build, how would our husbands know which one was us!
          http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org


          • #65
            OK, I'll bite.

            What is the other 1/2 to 1/4?

            [This message has been edited by Janet (edited 03-22-2000).]

            chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


            • #66
              IÂ’ve stayed out of this for quite a while, just watched, but now I decided to dive in. EVERYONE here knows me [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] But go check out my pictures on daÂ’ web page ( www.geocities.com/r_payson) Really [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] IÂ’m not the thin, idealistic goddess you would naturally expect! <G> I am very short, and still have my baby fat ( At 16? YouÂ’d think I could call it something else by now.*G*) I am also probably the most self-confident 16 year old youÂ’ll ever meet. I donÂ’t know how I got this way, something struck me when I was about 5, and I have never doubted myself since. So IÂ’ll be damned if peer pressure, or what the judge wants me to look like will ever effect me.

              Now, certainly, welcome to the real world- IÂ’m 16, in high school, where how you look is what its all about. Would I MIND losing a bit of weight? Of course not. But the fact is, I will always have a bit of a bulky body, IÂ’ll always have stumpy legs, and chubby cheeks. Certainly, I could do more exercise, and eat better, but sometimes there arenÂ’t enough hours in a day. And I just could not possibly be aneorexic, I LOVE eating far too much to stop. And puking makes me sick, just wouldnÂ’t work. And I love life a bit too much. So my approach? I try to be smart about what I eat, and I do as much physical work as I can.

              I take care of 7 horses daily, feeding, riding, grooming, and cleaning stalls- that’s a bit of work right there. I also make valiant attempts to use all the stinking workout equipment which is literally a flight of stairs away, but running on a treadmill is only entertaining for 13 ½ seconds. My legs are all muscle, I can arm-wrestle(And beat!) 90 % of the guys in my school, but around the belly, and my cheeks have excess [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] Maybe someday my 5’ will spurt to 5’9, and It’ll all just stretch out..but I doubt it [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] So, the fact is, I don’t feel I have ever been prejudiced for my weight, or size in any class, and haven’t had a peer make a comment since about 7th grade ( gotta LOVE middle school!), and will I continue to watch what I eat, and get the exercise I can? Of course. Will I obsess, make myself sick, or kill myself trying? Never.

              However, riding is an athletic sport. My mom was about a pencil when she was in college, up until after she had Heather, her 3rd kid, and my younger sister. After 2 more children, the weight didnÂ’t drop as easily after each kid. And she was one of the most talented riders I have ever watched ride, but she stopped riding, and started coaching after she had Sam (Number 4 [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] She is now my primary trainer, and I absolutely love it, she teaches me better than anyone else I have ever worked with, but even more, I wish she would start to ride again. For every performance I can get out of my greenies, I know she could do it 100 times better- and IÂ’d love to be able to see it. I hope I never lose my fitness, or get to a weight where I no longer think its good, or fair for me to ride, because I know what IÂ’d be missing. My mom loved, and still does, IÂ’m sure, riding as much as I do. I canÂ’t imagine ever giving that up. But I think more than shape or size, itÂ’s the fitness that effects you in riding, and I think weight is losing a bit of its emphasis in the equitation ring- which makes ME happy!!

              And this is a good thread Portia, Thanks [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] As for Cody, IÂ’ve seen you ride, and you are really, very talented. You certainly arenÂ’t overweight, or fat, by any means- Maybe your even just (dare I say it?) normal? Anyway, should you read this, you have incredible talent, and from what everyone says, a personality to match. Congratulations.

              And snowbird, on the size '0' comment, my little sister wears a zero, but has a tiny 'budha belly', and is always going on about hwo she needs to lose weight. I just say, then what will you wear? A negative 2? You'd be turned inside out.

              Its crazy what our society has done.


              • #67
                Dear Wicky,
                That's really funny because my Mom is a hungarian and since she can't do the difference between V and W I've been Wicky all my life.

                I'm going to tell you something my Mom was a devotee of Atkins. I will not call him doctor because I don't think he is! She bought his whole line of bilge. Hook line and sinker she spent every dime she had on visits to Atkins and all his concoctions. If there was a possibility of success I would spend every moment of the life I have left to see him in prison. He is a heartless money grubby con-man and he ruined my mother's life. He doesn't care whether they can afford his vitamins, and he doesn't care if they overdose on his vitamins. He destroyed my mother with his treatments that burned out her brain cells. She was a healthy bright and wonderful person with such love and talent that it was unbelievable.

                When we had to clean out her apartment after she went to the nursing home I found suitcases full of his "vitamins". She suffered from the crap he does with "washing" the blood. She was so hooked on his instant cures that she gave up food. He convinced her she was allergic to everything so she lived on water and protein.

                Please Please! do not believe that quack! He should be forced to live on his diet in jail.
                http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org


                • #68
                  Drat. Ok. Here goes.

                  I AM a doctor. I did my research of the literature - the stuff in the reputable medical journals (those that are peer reviewed) because I do NOT believe ANYTHING I read about diets in the so-called popular press. I was interested in Atkins' theories enough to do so.

                  What I read made scientific sense to me. Especially about the rather low daily amount of carbohydrates that some people need to stick to in order to succeed. That doesn't mean that anyone else has to agree with me. But, in order to convince me that my conclusions are not correct I would need to know more details about those who feel that they have been hurt, and I can't - and won't - review anyone's medical charts. It is clear that some people can't be on this diet - especially those with kidney problems (and people with diabetes get kidney problems related to their diabetes, as do people with high blood pressure).

                  I certainly agree with something that Snowbird said - that things go in and out of fashion, based on the latest "scientific" data. However, as I said, we can only decide which of the scientific data makes sense to us, as individuals, and agree to disagree. Look - my aunt recently died from being treated by a nutritionist who told her to stop all of her medications and take herbal substitutes. I don't say that all nutritionists are bad, but I do say that we all have to be careful about what we believe, and have some healthy scepticism and if it is important enough to us, try to go to the original data.

                  But, I do appreciate the concern that people are voicing and I will accept that it is genuine and said because they do sincerely disagree with me and don't want me - or others - to be hurt. Nevertheless, can't we agree to disagree on the virtues of this or that diet, and move on? The thread - body image and how we feel about ourselves, have come to terms with our "imperfections" and are moving on with our lives - is far more important than trying to get a consensus about which diet is best for everyone.


                  [This message has been edited by wicky (edited 03-23-2000).]


                  • #69
                    Yes we can Wicky,
                    I do not doubt there may be a scientific basis at the bottom of the concept. I guess what I'm really upset with is the perifieral sales techniques that promise so much more and drain people desperate for a quick fix.

                    The Atkins magazines and literature (regardless of the value of the original research) is riddled with false promises of instant cures. If you want to lose weight you acn do it eating all you want quickly, need to clear your arteries, take this formula. If you have aches and pains from arthritis take another formula, if you have memory problems there's another formula. The senior citizens who have lots of things that need to be treated just plain over dose. So while I can agree with your professional opinion of the diet itself I am infuriated by the way that particular diet is used as a piece of sugar to deprive the older folks of their money and their health while promising a return to the vigor and health of younger times.

                    I apologize for anything that sounded critical of you, I just saw the red when I saw the name Atkins. I hate it when people become so sold on image that they grasp at straws and in turn demean their own looks and ability. I think that as a society we have become slaves of "image" and what we are doing to young people who happen to have a different body build is just awful. Whatever happened to the real America where there was room for all kinds of people?

                    [This message has been edited by Snowbird (edited 03-23-2000).]
                    http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org


                    • #70
                      Janet, my "foundation" mare, who is a real "trip" when it comes to her hot, game temperament (AND ability to babysit, too, when asked), is an 11.3h registered Raffles line Half-Arabian with Happy Hour Supreme Shetland on the bottom--100% registered blood on both sides, no guessing. Everyone in my herd is her kid or grandkid or (soon) great grandkid.

                      She looks like a nicely bred, broad-as-a-coffee-table Welsh, but she's a kamakaze and a half: came out of the broodmare band one year because she didn't catch, and within two weeks was doing courses and gymnastic grids with auto changes and walk-to-canters under a tiny tot who hadn't even cantered before riding her. She's working on her 12th foal now, at age 20, and two of her daughters have produced numerous get to mature ages now (one I culled, a 1/2 Welsh mare who didn't have the kamakaze streak--I also culled all of that mare's get although they trained up and sold well in the hunter market; the other 1/2 TB daughter has mature kids herself and they are all as game as they come, with enormous strides). Every one of the old mares sons (she's only had three fillies, one is a yearling) are showing or have shown very well on the A circuit with big name trainers.

                      Don't get me going on this, though, cuz I'll never stop. Thanks for asking!
                      Sportponies Unlimited
                      Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.


                      • #71
                        Snowbird has very wisely brought up the crux of the problem! Quick fixes don't work. They don't work in diet or exercise. they don't work in riding or training horses. they don't work in relationships. They just don't work!!! Wouldn't it be fabulous if we could just snap our fingers and do what really takes weeks, or months or years to accomplish? Well maybe not. Because another way to look at it is to do a mind adjustment to enjoy a project or a challenge as it takes time, as it helps us learn something, and as it builds a solid foundation for the future. Too many people focus on the goals, more than "the every day". Goals are great to have, but they are in the future. The everyday is our reality. "Instant", not only is not where it's at, it doesn't work or last in the long run.


                        • #72
                          I gained 25 lbs after marrying - I was a SKELETON!!!! My biggest fear was gaining an ounce. Know what? Looking back at my old photos, I'm disgusted that a) I let myself get so emaciated b)worried so much about something that is SO UNIMPORTANT!!!! I can't believe how much better I feel mentally and physically, and how much more energy I have. FOOD IS GOOD!! I only had to go a size up for riding clothes and my customs, with the addition of an elastic gusset, are more comfortable than ever. I'm a little more self conscious about the sitting trot, due to my newly-found "bustage"! (A definite upside to porking out!!) But hey - an 1824 bra and I'm sittin' with the best of 'em! I guess my point - and I do have one- that health is the important thing. *One thing I am disappointed in is GM's attitude. Isn't it hard to believe that someone who promotes riding for the diabled would be so hard on people with an extra pound or two? I say big deal - just get a horse who can do the job. ALso - pats on the back to the Chronicle for publishing that amusing photo of a A/A champion stealing the hat from a trophy presenter. His rider is NOT the ideal body type - and she's there with the tri-color! So - to hell with the scale! Just be healthy.


                          • #73
                            I watch very little tv, and, tho I had heard all the buzz about the woman who plays Ally McBeal being anorexic, I was absolutely stunned when I inadvertently tuned in a recent episode. This woman (sorry, can't think of her name) looks like something recently emerged from a crypt. Could anyone possibly WANT to emulate her???

                            I'm "fortunate" to be relatively thin (due largely to clinical depression and the medication I take for it), but there are certainly days when I yearn for the muscle and bulk to be a more effective rider. I know my eating patterns are generally poor, tho I try to get the calories I need, but my stamina is practically nonexistent. I just don't know how an anorexic junior hopes to achieve the athleticism required to be an effective rider.

                            BTW, I find the sharing regarding depression on this string to be particularly interesting...exactly how many of us are using SRIs, do you think???? Someone needs to write a book on the role of the horse in therapy for adult women.


                            • #74
                              Yes, LC, your observation is indeed very interesting! I think that finding fault in myself - whether it is physical appearance or not - is clearly related to inciting depression. Years of therapy have helped....

                              Over the last year though, there have been significant strains, including business, that made things bad. Unfortunately, these pressures made my hsuband resentful of the time and money I've spent on riding. That made me resentful of him, resistant to hearing him, but even worse, the relief I got out of riding vanished. Indeed, we went from doing really well at courses to missing distances to 2 foot jumps, and on a hot TB that leads to disaster. All confidence lost.

                              Then, my coming 2 year old filly had to be put down, and two months later, when I was going in for neck surgery (had a badly ruptured disk pressing on the spinal cord), my TB colicked, had surgery, and 10 days later, having never recovered intestinal function, had to be put down on the day I had my surgery.

                              I've bought another horse (he's coming 4) and don't tell husband - am thinking of buying his coming 3 sister too! Probably just a pipe dream. But, riding gives me an outlet that is so different from work, from family - it's just for ME. I think it puts me in touch with another part of myself, and helps me renew. Still, there are those issues with the husband to resolve....

                              I can only wish "Happy Trails" to all of us.


                              • #75
                                I'm with both of you, LucianCephus and Wicky. Horses are indeed therapy for lots of us (and not just women). I truly think they're my sanity. Some people think we're insane to be the way we are. My husband didn't appreciate my PASSION for the horses. Unless you've got the bug, it's extremely difficult to understand, let alone tolerate, someone "into" horses. They're just not comfortable with it so they, in turn, resent it. Horses have been there, in some way, shape or fashion, through every crisis in my life. Thank goodness for them!!!

                                I guess this subject could be a new thread. . .I seem to remember one a while back on "why do you/or I ride" or something like that?
                                \"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.\" -- Ralph Waldo E


                                • #76
                                  The fact is that we have been waltzing around the idea but there are people who have their own views and prejudices.

                                  I grew up in the fashion business and I can tell you that there are people who resent a feminine body. They prefer us to look like little boys. They are designers who make baggy ugly clothes (remember the grunge look") to hid the curves we should have that make us attractive as females.

                                  It is possible that that kind of thinking (sub-conscious it might be)has permeated this industry. Afterall let's be honest where are there more women and girls in one place.
                                  http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org


                                  • #77
                                    Snowbird: Your side of this issue has lent a great deal of support to a theory I have had for some time now. I am so glad you brought your experience to this issue. I thought I was just losing my mind or I was looking to place blame. I just wish I had recognized it sooner. As a 20-something girl, size was everything. Now I know size only means what store I'm shopping in (i.e. I can wear a 1 in this brand, but a 7 in this brand and a 3 in this brand). How sad and how very, very sick. Unfortunately, the girls and young women who could benefit from what we have to say are running around with blinders on. Brainwashing at it's finest.

                                    [This message has been edited by Bascule (edited 04-10-2000).]


                                    • #78
                                      After a few weeks away, seeing this thread, the "Cross-Training" thread, and the two "Weight" threads was surprising! And in a good way...it seems the community is re-forming (absolutely no pun intended) itself.

                                      In the process of catching up with these and other threads, please excuse my coming in late with a few peripheral comments...

                                      Re rider photos: just for the record, Snowbird, doesn't the camera add 20 lbs? So that models must be underweight to appear extremely slender when photographed?

                                      And it drives me crazy too when each manufacturer--and even lines within the same manufacturer's clothes--are different sizes.

                                      Furthermore, I totally agree with you about the vanity factor in the current sizing of clothes...or, whatever the size is called, how about standardizing? Please! Guys buy stuff with waist and inseam and collar and sleeve measurements (jackets too) and that's it!! Think how many relationships could be saved/improved if we didn't have to explain why it takes us three times (at least) as long to buy one piece of clothing! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

                                      Trivia aside, all these related threads make it pretty clear that it's about self-esteem and fitness rather than image per se. Progress with the former two will usually result in an improved appearance, and/or, far more important, beauty in the way that Snowbird has defined it. Defining yourself or, worse, letting others define you, by externals--not just weight, of course, but that's what you're all discussing--is a perilous way to travel...enough philosophy--you are all very brave!

                                      And Snowbird, how did you of all people cope with being a model? Hard to imagine! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] Or was that the beginning?
                                      Tinwhistle Farm


                                      • #79
                                        I would just like to say thank you again to Portia for bringing up this subject!! I think that it is very important that subjects like these be an open topic. THe effects of eating disorders are so huge and devistating tht it is so crucial that we discuss these issues, i think. At school we had heath week, and the people who came to talk to us didnt even effect me like everyone else has here, that and we all couldnt tell our stories! Thank you to everyone who contributed!!!