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The magazine rack wasn't as bad as I thought - Input Junkie
February 17th, 2014
01:08 pm

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The magazine rack wasn't as bad as I thought
In a recent post, I was complaining about the prevalence of weight loss advice in magazine racks, and elenbarathi said that the racks weren't nearly as bad where she lived.

So I checked my local CVS magazine rack, and it wasn't as bad as I remembered. As this point, I have no idea whether it used to be worse, or whether I was in a bad mood, noticed a fair amount of weight loss advice, and assumed there was much more than there actually was. I've seen some indications that the public is less enchanted with commercial weight loss advice than it used to be.

Another possibility is that there's a seasonal cycle, with weight loss advice peaking during the holiday season and the swim suit season, so February might have weight loss advice at a relatively low level. This is just a guess, though.

What I saw at the CVS (and I didn't take notes, so assume that this is approximate) was a lot about clothing and sports, celebrities, cooking, and a modest but surprising amount about keeping your stuff organized, A fast glance at the cooking magazines didn't turn up much about weight loss.

There weren't a lot of what I'd call magazines with information in them-- what I saw was Scientific American, National Geographic, Time, and Rolling Stone.

This wasn't a huge magazine rack, maybe 12 feet long by 7 feet high (about 3.5 meters by 2 meters), and even that was an amazing and hard-to-assimilate amount of stuff if you're trying to actually look at all of it.

Another angle is that this is not an especially intellectual neighborhood. There are no bookstores, though there are plenty within a mile or two. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if there were different magazine mixes at different stores.

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From:jim_p
Date:February 17th, 2014 10:06 pm (UTC)
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I wonder if they ease up on the weight loss stuff in February so they can sell more Valentines candy :)
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From:elenbarathi
Date:February 18th, 2014 01:46 am (UTC)
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Nice that it's not that bad after all - you may be right about the seasonal thing though. Clothes, cooking and celebrities are what I recall most in the mainstream womens' magazines.

I was wondering about the 'neighborhood factor' there. We don't actually have neighborhoods like that here, with their own drugstores and convenience stores; everybody has to drive into town to get their groceries. There might be differences between the selection in, say, QFC and Mal-Wart; I haven't looked at either.

I think you're right about the public becoming skeptical of the weight-loss industry, with all its contradictory bad advice, fake foods and quack nostrums. The healthy way to have a trimmer figure is the same as it's always been: more fruits and veggies, fewer processed carbs; portion control, drink water not calories; get yer body moving. It's not a quick fix, but it's not rocket science either.

Hey, doesn't your magazine-rack there carry Prevention magazine? That one is specifically about healthy diet and exercise, and it doesn't push the odious beauty-industry crap, so I would consider it sort of an antidote to the "Lose two dress sizes by Friday!!" bullshit.

Ironically, but not surprisingly, the best weight-loss results come from fat acceptance.
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From:nancylebov
Date:February 18th, 2014 07:27 am (UTC)
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I'm living in a row-house neighborhood in Philadelphia. Your town doesn't have residential sections?

I'll note that there's been a shift in advice from low fat/calorie counting to low carb or low glycemic. Anecdotally, people seem to tolerate low carb/low glycemic much better than low fat/calorie counting, though I've heard of a few people getting utterly sick of very low carb after a couple of years.

Prevention Magazine may well have been there-- I tried to convey how much work looking at the magazine rack in detail would have been.

In my little survey, one of the big commonalities among the people who successfully lost weight seemed to be having a non-punitive, undramatic attitude about weight loss.

Edited at 2014-02-18 07:28 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:elenbarathi
Date:February 18th, 2014 06:59 pm (UTC)
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Well, no - or rather, Sequim is all residential section except for three miles of 'main drag' that was originally just a speed-zone of Hwy. 101 until they bypassed the highway around it about 15 years ago. Most people in this zip-code don't live in town though - technically, we ourselves don't; we're one block outside the incorporation line, so we're 'county' even though I can walk to the center of Downtown in ten minutes. (This song, You Belong In Sequim, really kinda says it all.)

Carlsborg, on the other side of the Dungeness River from us ('walking distance' for me, though not for most) isn't even a town, just a 'census-designated area'. Most of the communities on the Peninsula are census-designated areas, and a lot of them don't even have a gas station, let alone a grocery story. Port Angeles, about twenty miles from here, is the Big City of the Olympic Peninsula, with almost 20,000 people; Port Townsend, about 25 miles away in the opposite direction, has almost 10,000.

Lots of people from Port Angeles and Port Townsend come to Sequim for their major grocery shopping, because we've got the only Costco - this is probably why Costco has such an eclectic magazine section, because it's hard to get more cultural diversity in mostly-white America than the differences between Port Townsend and Port Angeles.

The body needs carbs to function correctly, so I don't consider extremely low-carb diets to be healthy. Ditching processed carbs is another matter: sugar, alcohol, pasta, baked goods - nobody needs to eat that stuff. Drinks, desserts and party snacks are a lot more special when they're kept for special occasions anyway.

Prevention is a small magazine, so it's probably easy to overlook in the rack, especially if one's not specifically looking for it. I like it all right; if I had a plane to catch or something, I might buy a copy, but I wouldn't subscribe, because I have better sources for that sort of information online.

Non-punitive and undramatic sounds exactly right to me. LOL, I quit smoking last June, and I've gained 30 lbs, which I'd like to lose by this June so I can fit into my summer clothes again. I mentioned this to my beauty-obsessed friend, and she asked me in all seriousness, "What are you going to do, starve yourself?" WTF?!? That's crazy talk; starving oneself re-sets the metabolism to 'Famine Mode', where it hangs on to every calorie with a death-grip. I told her I was going to get my butt to the pool more often, and stop putting ice cream in my coffee.

Edited at 2014-02-18 07:43 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:nancylebov
Date:February 18th, 2014 09:09 pm (UTC)
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Do you consider bread to be in the same category as pasta?
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From:elenbarathi
Date:February 18th, 2014 11:30 pm (UTC)
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I consider it to be 'baked goods'. Both pasta and baked goods come in a wide variety of forms, but they all start out with some form of milled grain. Different people react differently to grains, so it's a matter for individual trial-and-error, but for a start, cutting out or cutting down on pasta, baked goods (including chips, crackers, pretzels) sugar and alcohol is a logical step.
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