The Return of the Calorie Count and Censoring Sex Crimes

Hey, dudes/ladies, check out this adorable-as-all-hell travel mug I bought for myself at Newbury Comics on my birthday shopping trip.

I brought it with me on my grocery shopping trip this morning, and looked classy as a mofo.At the moment, I am drinking copious amounts of green tea out of it in an attempt to flush out the massive quantities of bloat I acquired in between yesterday and today; yep, I gained 3.4 pounds overnight, and am now 130.6. Peachy, no? Of course, yesterday, I was voluntarily going to count calories beginning today, but now that I actually have to, I am like, “NOOOOOO THIS IS SO UNNATURAL, LIKE TWIMOMS, SERIOUSLY THOSE WOMEN ARE WAY TOO OLD TO LOVE ON TAYLOR LAUTNER THAT IS BORDERLINE PEDOPHILIA AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.”

Blergh. Of course, I am sure it is just water retention and that it is nigh impossible to gain that much weight overnight. Regardless, I am sorry for the mad repetitive binge-oriented posts as of late; when I get stressed out about one thing, I tend to stress out about everything else in my life, too. It is like my stress is the common cold, and “fear of the return of binge eating”-thoughts are that kid in your class who has the really bad immune system and always gets sick, and all my other thoughts are like, “Ugh why does he come to class when he is sick, vacation is coming up I hope I don’t get sick,” but they do. And, when I do get stressed out about a thing, I tend to obsesses over it and basically repeat the same thoughts on it over and over like a broken record.

Anyway, yesterday definitely was a binge. I’m not sure why I seem to have intuitive eating down on most days of the week but not on celebratory days/holidays. Maybe it’s because while I was dieting, I gave myself a pass to binge on said days? Ah, well. I guess all I can do is chalk it up to a learning experience and just be better prepared as the next holiday rolls around.

“But, Elizabeth, you said you were stressed about a thing. TELL US.”

Oh, blog readers, you’re so thoughtful/concerned! Or just vile gossip mongers, you bastards. Whatever, I’ll tell you anyway.

As some of you may know/recall, I recently started working as a radio anchor/reporter. This is (was?) a pretty cool thing as it is what I went to school for, but something happened last Saturday that has me mild to moderately concerned: Long story short, I aired a news piece I had pulled off the AP wire* that was about a Massachusetts priest who had been arrested for soliciting sex. I got hell of chewed out by my boss (“We don’t air smut,” “That’s not what our audience wants to hear,” etc.), and was informed that the stations on which I broadcast news generally avoid stories on “sex scandals, rape, [and] child pornography.”

On the one hand, I understand the our news airs on entertainment/music stations and now dedicated news stations, but on the other hand I’m troubled that we’re a) censoring content and b) grouping together stories about sex scandals and rape. It just makes me uneasy, and my job feels trivial; are we only supposed to feed people fluff?

What are your thoughts regarding stories on sex crimes? Do you expect “softer” news when you’re listening to an entertainment station rather than a station dedicated to news/talk?

* For those who are unfamiliar with how news works, many media outlets (e.g., newspapers, radio stations, etc.) use stories by the Associated Press (i.e. the AP, an extensive news agency) in their broadcasts or publications, since most news sources don’t have the resources to send their journalists all across the country. For example, the company I work for would never send a reporter all the way to the G-20 summit in Toronto, so instead we’d use a story on it by the AP for our national news segment.

New Beginnings

Hey, baby … It’s been awhile.

What? No, it wasn’t another blog, I … OK, could you just let me finish a sentence?

WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS

OK, yes, I did say I was going to update you, then I didn’t, but …

OK, if you’re going to be like this, I’m not even going to talk to you right now.

Alright, that’s enough of that.

AHEM.

a) My apologies for dropping off the earth. After my last post, I stumbled into my final semester of college, and between job hunting, considering a job in the military and temporarily training for one, and classes, I just didn’t have time to maintain a blog. But, now I have some time, kind of! Alright, I still have no time, but I am procrastinating right now, so … yes.

b) I got a job for after I graduate! AND IT’S IN MY FIELD, surprisingly, what with the economy how it is right now; the majority of my graduating class is taking internships/jobs not in their field do to the lack of options, so I am eternally grateful. Basically, I am going to be a radio anchor/reporter. Neat, no? First step to AIRWAVE DOMINATION.

c) I haven’t binged in five weeks, as of this Sunday (Of course, this is my cue to binge and RUIN EVERYTHING). And, in the last ten weeks, I’ve binged only once. I’m still counting calories and trying to take off those last holiday pounds, but I’ve gotten some good momentum going and it feels great to know I am capable of self-control. At some point, I may write a post about how I beat bingeing, which leads me to my next point …

d) I’m not sure what to do with this blog. I like to write, but I feel like a food/diet is unhealthy for certain internet perusers, which is also why I stopped writing for a bit. Now, I know I’m not the Web Nanny, but I wonder if writing about what I eat/how much weight I’m losing/etc. is encouraging disordered thinking among readers. Sure, there are those just looking for tips about how to lose weight, but what about the people obsessed with dieting, size and the whatnot? I feel like I’m just feeding into the mentality that “Dieting = Life” by writing about losing weight, sometimes, rather than how I feel great after working out and beating the binge and whatnot. So, I’ll kind of leave it to a vote (Not that there’s really anyone left to vote, anymore, but still, I’ll check back after a week and the consensus): Is it helpful to have someone detailing their diet plan? Is my writing too diet centric? Should this just be a food review blog? I do love to foist my opinions on the world. Should I write a “How I Stopped Bingeing” post? Should I write about another thing, here? The journalism realm, for instance?

LET ME KNOW. LET US JOURNEY FORTH, TOGETHER. Or “sally” forth. Whichever you prefer.

Change of Plans / Blogging Responsibly

I’ve been doing the one indulgence-a-day plan for about five days now, and in light of establishing that I am very much capable of eating one treat without entering a downward spiral, I think I’m going to go ahead and count calories for bit. The thing, I’m one of those people that the longer they don’t eat well for, the worse their eating habits get, if that makes sense. For example, on Tuesday I had Cookie Bars (no big deal), on Wednesday I had Jingles (also not a big deal), but Friday I had ice cream and yesterday I sat down an a quart of ice cream AND went out to dinner. Not because I was looking to binge (and I didn’t eat much else besides said ice cream and dinner), but I just thought nothing of sitting down and eating a quart of ice cream in light of my recent splurges. Just didn’t care. Today? Pie for a midmorning snack. And, I skipped my upper body workout, because I tend to get sluggish in every other part of my life when I don’t eat well. Peh. So, I guess I am capable of having one treat without going totally crazy, but I also know that I’m not a person who can eat a treat a day without seeing negative effects in other parts of my healthy living-lifestyle.  And, while people with normal eating habits may have periods of time where they can’t eat healthy 100% of the time (i.e., vacation), most “healthy” people don’t eat a treat a day, and follow a day with a treat with a day without one. Yep. Of course, in light of having pie, am I rushing out to the grocery store for treats? Nope! So, improvement noted. Weight gain also noted: 137 this morning. Yeesh.

So, I know this blog is usually me boo-hooing about my weight and such, but since my current apathy regards my eating habits and my weight, today, I decided I wanted to talk about something else today: citizen journalism, i.e., blogging.

As a Journalism student and someone looking to enter the field professionally AND someone who is studying journalistic ethics, citizen journalism is something I have hell of strong sentiments about. Granted, most of you are probably fellow food bloggers, and thus anything you or I write isn’t exactly going to completely destroy the reputation of a public figure or potentially violate any journalistic ethics, but it is my view that bloggers still have certain responsibilities to their audiences, be they newsgatherers, food reviewers, casual film critics or otherwise.

Thus, here are a few suggestions for those of you looking to blog ethically or, at the very least, in a helpful manner.

1) Minimize Harm: Hey, I love linking to other blogs, don’t you? Sharing awesome blog finds is a cool thing, and a nice way to help a fellow blogger get traffic. But, whenever you link to another blog, please make sure you know who you’re sending your audience along to; they are a lot of people on the internet who are a) gullible and/or b) very desperate for solutions and take any kind of hope they find on the internet as gospel. So, when you find that Acai Berry blog author who is just OMG SO EXCITED SHE LOST 50 POUNDS IN 3 MINUTES WITH ACAI BERRY!, take a moment to determine whether this blog is a) a safe place to send your readers and b) legitimate. If you haven’t already heard, there has been a recent rash of weight loss-oriented companies creating fake blogs as a way to promote their products, so take the time to double check whether your new, potential blogosphere buddy is actually real.

2) Act Independently: Is anyone here familiar with Avenue Q? I am not really, because I am not a person who is cultured. I sit around on my ass and watch re-runs of The Office and scoff at the prospect of “musicals” in a “theater” filled with people who wear “monocles.” Anyway, there is a song in said musical, I think, that goes “Everyone is a little bit racist!” This is true. Everyone is also a little bit biased, and it’s YOUR job to disclose said biases, particularly when they involve conflicts of interest due to commerical influences. Did you get that tasty, tasty chocolate you’re reviewing for free from the company that makes said delicious product? Then, you are obligated to inform your readers because, like it or not, the fact that you got it for free may have influenced your opinion, whether you realize it or want to admit it or not. Also, this is now the law, so just do it.

3) Be Accountable: Everyone is a little bit biased, and everyone also makes mistakes (except me, as I am perfect and amazing). Did you promote a product that actually contains cyanide? It sucks to be you, but it’s your job to inform the public of the truth so as to prevent further harm. Did a person call you out on a factual error you made on your blog via a comment on a post? Don’t delete said comment; encourage dialogue. THIS IS THE INTERNET, NOT CHINA, and if you censor legitimate criticism (key word: legitimate; don’t feel as though you need to feed the trolls) then you’re not doing anyone any favors.

If you’re interested in the source of some of these rules/interested in more ethical guidelines pertaining to journalism, check out the Code of Ethics produced by the Society of Ethical Journalists. Also, I hope this did not come off as super pretentious; I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO BE A BETTER BLOGGER BLOO HOO HOO.

See No Evil

So, originally I had said I was going to have an official “weigh day” on Thursday, but I’ve been tracking my weight since my binge and found that I was back down to 129.6 this morning. Of course, I was very pleased, but over the day I started to become really anxious that some minor fluctuation in my weight would throw me back over 130 by Thursday, even if I continued to eat well. I’m not sure why I became so anxious—maybe because the day turned out to be full of some small mishaps and I was anxious about those things, and the anxiety just spread to my weight—but I just decided to “lock in” my weight, if you will, and have today be my weigh in day and not weigh myself again before I go home. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. It probably sounds foolish—I’m not going to change how I eat for the next two days (I’m still going to count calories just to make sure I don’t go overboard before going home), but I’m not going to weigh myself again before I leave for home. As far as I’m concerned, I will weigh 129.6 pounds when I go to the wedding, and I’m pleased as punch.

I just … don’t feel like worrying about the scale for the next few days. Sometimes you just need a break from the numbers. Besides, Tuesdays are going to be my weigh in day between now and December (it just works out well with Thanksgiving/the days I go home), so I needed to switch to Tuesday weigh ins sometime!

Anyway, I’m going to give myself five days of intuitive eating this week and, who knows—maybe if I eat like a normal person, I won’t gain that much weight this weekend. I certainly shouldn’t, but I’m used to using celebratory events as an excuse to binge, and this weekend will be my first big test with intuitive eating.

My knee felt a little wonky today, and I’m worried I might have overdone it with my mileage this week. But, I only did some Yoga today, so I’m hoping I’ll be OK to go for my “Endurance” run tomorrow (every week, I have one running session where I do intervals and one where I just run for as long as I can). I’m looking forward to my run for a change; after today, I have some steam to blow off. The day started off well enough, but as the day progressed …

1. Some dude took issue with a lead in an article I wrote for the Justice. Whatevs. Everyone is a critic.

2. The girl who I wrote the article about claimed via an online comment that I misquoted her, even though I referenced a recorded interview whenever I quoted her. This really bothers me, because any future employers may Google me and see the comment and be all, “Oh hai this chick cant be trusted to quote ppl proprly.” That, and I would never quote someone unless I were 100% sure the quote was correct. Grr! My journalistic dignity!

3. The Brandeis library contacted me and told me I owed them $6 in overdue charges … for a recorder I returned on Saturday. WTF? They better not try to make me replace it: I do NOT have the money to pay for their inability to put things away.

4. The girl using the one operational dryer in our dorm decided to run her clothes through the dryer a SECOND TIME when I was waiting to dry my clothes. So, rather than let my clothes sit in the washing machine for an hour, I just decided to hang them up in my room. There are now undergarments everywhere. Thanks, rude person.

Aggravating day, begone! Is it time for bed yet?

Ye Olde Second Post: Or, the Aftermath of an Interview

So, as I’m sure you could tell from the introductory post, this blog is going to be somewhat about my issues with food. However, on those days when it’s not about my diet, it’s going to be about either a) my love of writing or b) my life as a college senior. Or, it’s going to be about a multitude of other things, like the succesful parts of my weight loss plan or my excercise regimen or ice cream, because ice cream is delicious. Today, however, this blog is going be about the first item on that list.

I’ve always considered myself to be a bit of a Jane of All Trades, and perhaps pride myself on this, too; over the years, I’ve dabbled in more extra curricular activities (violin, tap, Irish step, guitar, horse back riding …), languages (Indonesian, German, Italian, Spanish, French …) and clubs than I care to think about. Of course, the flip side of that personality trait is that while I may know a little about everything, I don’t know much about anything. But, my flaws aside, it’s this desire to know a little somethin’ somethin’ about 90% of our existence that initially drew me to journalism.

When I first joined the Justice—the independent student newspaper of Brandeis U., that place I live/work/take classes at—I viewed it as just as an outlet that might help polish my writing skills during the pursuit of a Creative Writing major. However, as I took assignments, I came to realize how much I loved exploring different areas of study and being able to switch topics of study on a regular basis. One day, I would attend a lecture on German-Jewish dialogue, and the next I would be reviewing films. Granted, in the real world of journalism I’m sure one’s writing career isn’t that diverse at first, but the underlying concept of there being diverse assignments persists.

As an editor for the Justice, I don’t have much time for writing, so I’d forgotten a bit about that particular aspect of my love for journalism. But, after my interview with Elizabeth B., I was reminded of this initial attraction to the field. B., a convert to Islam and the subject of choice for my next beat story,* gave me an incredibly interesting perspective on the life and challenges faced by Muslims when I was expecting only a rundown on the life of Islam’s Brandeisian practitioners. She told me not only about her conversion experience, but also of the general misconceptions other students bring to her regarding Islam and the political charge that exists at Brandeis between various religious groups. The interview lasted 30 minutes, which isn’t particularly long in the grand journalistic scheme of things, but it was a very educational 30 minutes.

In other news: Glee and So You Think You Can Dance are on tonight, whoot! Be social? Pah! There’s television to be seen!

*I should note that I’m currently enrolled in a journalism course called “The Contemporary World in Print,” which requires us to follow an on campus “beat” and write regular articles about said beat. My beat? The chaplaincy. How many times can I use beat in this footnote? Beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat. Beat THAT.