Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thank you, Michael Moore!

I follow film maker and all-round muckraker extraordinaire Michael Moore on Facebook. What follows below is a post he made a few days ago. Yes, it's long, but well worth the read. What an inspiration!

I am now in Week 42 of my walks. Each day, 30 minutes, that's it. Thousands of you have joined me since that Sunday night on March 18 when, as a joke, I said I was going for a walk. I had read that morning in the paper that there were now more people in the U.S. on anti-depressants than those who go to the movies. I tweeted out that maybe that's the problem -- perhaps if people got out and went to the movies more they might feel better. This unleashed a lively conversation about mood-altering drugs, the lousy movies these days in theaters, the rip-off prices for 3D films, etc. Finally, someone wrote: "Sometimes I think what I need is just a brisk walk." I tweeted, "Hey, there's an idea! I'm putting my shoes on right now." I went out and came back home after 30 minutes -- and a few hundred of you had amazingly joined me where you live. So I went walking the next night, probably out of some sort of obligation because so many had written to say "please let's do it again tonight!" So I did. And the night after that. By the end of the week it was hard to determine how many thousands were now going out with me on these "virtual walks" in hundreds of cities and towns, but it had taken off like a rocket and so we all went walking every night from that point on.

Now it's 250 days later. What a simple, great idea that person had! Some have asked, "Why are we walking?" "What's the cause?" There is no cause other than to go for a walk. We do it just because it feels good. We do it because we can. We do it because it's free and it takes no time. All you need to know is how to put one foot in front of the other (or, for the disabled who've joined in, by any means necessary). It's the perfect slacker/schlub activity.

I am often asked "How much weight have you lost from all this walking?" For a while I didn't understand the question. I mean, why would I want to lose anything? I have enough trouble finding my keys! Then I got it -- skinny people (1/3 of the country) want us, the majority, to be like them. That's so nice of them.

But the truth is, exercise does not work, diets do not work, feeling crummy does not work. Nothing works. My advice: Quit trying to be something you're not, be happy with the life you've been given, and just go for a pleasant walk outside. With me. Wherever you are. Get off the treadmill, stop drinking diet Coke, throw out all the rules. It's all a scam and it conspires to keep you miserable. If it says "low-fat" or "sugar-free" or "just 100 calories!" throw it out. Remember, one of the main tenets of capitalism is to have the consumer filled with fear, insecurity, envy and unhappiness so that we can spend, spend, spend our way out of it and, dammit, just feel better for a little while. But we don't, do we? The path to happiness - and deep down, we all know this -- is created by love, and being kind to oneself, sharing a sense of community with others, becoming a participant instead of a spectator, and being in motion. Moving. Moving around all day. Lifting things, even if it's yourself. Going for a walk every day will change your thinking and have a ripple effect. You'll find yourself only eating when you're truly hungry. And if you're not hungry, go clean your room, or have sex, or call a friend on the phone. Without knowing it, you'll starting eating like the French (there is no French word for "fast-food") -- and you will feel better. You do not feel better admonishing yourself or beating yourself up or setting up a bunch of unrealistic rules and goals with all the do's and dont's that are just begging to be broken. You wanna know something? I eat ice cream every friggin' day. I drink a regular Coke every single day. I put butter on things. But I also walk every day. Some days now, I walk twice. And now I've started to do some push-ups and lifting stuff. It's building muscle, and in doing so, has created an extra furnace to burn stuff and create energy. Weird! That, in turn, makes me sleep 7-8 hours a night which is another game-changer. And all the walking and lifting makes me thirsty, so that makes me drink more water -- another huge plus!

So, you can see from the photo of me up in the box that something has changed. I have no idea how much weight I've lost and I don't care. I don't care about that or diets or home gym equipment or rules about what I can or cannot eat or anything other than making sure I go on my walk today. That's it. That's the big secret. It costs nothing. I feel great. I can see my feet! There they are! Hello, feet! Wanna go for a walk? The feet say YES! Ask yours right now. And if you want, join me. But do NOT go on that walk with me if you are doing so to "get fit", "be healthy", or "lose weight". You are fine just the way you are. Only walk outside with me right now because you know it might just feel good, because it's a beautiful day, or someone is joining in with you, the fresh air is invigorating, you have to drive down to the drug store but you realize you can walk there, or simply because it's just nice to be alive for one more day. Walk to walk and nothing else -- and the other stuff will take care of itself.

I'm heading outside in an hour. Join me. And let me know how it went!


  1. I started to leave a comment here in response to your post about Michael, but my comment turned into a long rant so I posted it on my own blog. <3

    1. Yes, I read your post and have responded on your blog. I have a much more "generous" opinion of what Michael said, but I respect your life experience and your viewpoint. We can't always agree, but we can always maintain respect (and we do, not to worry!).

    2. It's not what Michael has written (or tweeted), exactly, which has me most concerned. I suppose I see him as naive about the level of fat stigma (in the U.S. particularly but spreading rapidly to other countries)--as evidenced by, for example, his casual quip that "...for awhile I didn't understand the question" whenever he was asked how much he had lost. REALLY? He didn't understand what people were asking him, both literally and figuratively? In that case, he may have been sheltered a bit from fat stigma to some extent, perhaps related to his social status and his privilege as wealthy white male, etc. That kind of blindspot I can understand.

      But his people could clue him in on the big can of shit being opened on his behalf by all of the asshats (the fat-biased masses) who are taking his weight loss (60 lbs since May, so probably 70-80 in total since he began his new movement routines in March) as evidence (PROOF) of how EASY it is to lose the fat if one simply gets off the couch for 30 minutes a day, etc. If he can't see that most people are cheering for his IMPROVED HEALTH (their assumptions) and hurrahing for his lost weight (which increases his social status), then somebody in his inner circle could talk with him about the reality of the MEDIUM as the message regarding increased hatred against fat people (and increased distorted notions about weight loss and health).

      Me? I would invite him to stay at my home for as long as he desires....I would walk with him and cook whatever he wants and welcome his family and friends to stay too. THAT'S how much I admire and respect him (and, okay, probably LOVE him too, in a geeky irrational way).

      Indeed, I would LOVE to talk (dialog) with him---for as long as it takes to reach mutual understanding---about the diet and weight loss and healthist paradigm(s), and about the inevitable good he could do for millions of people if he decides to make a film on the topic(s) (vs the inevitable harm he unwittingly and unwilling will construct if he holds on to his current, particular blindspots).

      Really, I adore him. I have adored him for over 12 years...ever since I watched "Roger and Me" for my film studies class in college. :)

  2. You have no idea how much this post uplifted my spirits, W...
    My long-standing suspicion that Ex has been reading my blog was confirmed last month, so for now I've taken it private & will likely delete after archiving what I want to save...
    As much as I despise the thought of that man dictating my behavior, it's just not worth the stress & strain.
    Best wishes to you in "Lucky '13"!


    1. Hi Val,

      I'm really glad that this post made you feel better, though sorry to hear that you're being spied on by someone who obviously does not belong in your life now.

      Please stay in touch, either on my blog or through e-mail. And stay safe!!

  3. Loved it.....because...it.makes.sense!
    Thanks for posting it. It gives me hope.

    1. I'm so happy Michael's words are touching so many people! Good to hear from you