I’m no sci­en­tist, but I think watch­ing Hand­maid’s Tale is good ex­er­cise

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO -

I’m ob­sessed with the TV ver­sion of “The Hand­maid’s Tale.”

Ob­sessed. Yes, I was ob­sessed with Mar­garet At­wood’s novel when I read it a mil­lion years ago, too, but hell, that was … what? Like, more than two (three?) decades ago. And con­sid­er­ing I can barely re­mem­ber what I did this past week­end (laun­dry), I can hardly be ex­pected to re­mem­ber the de­tails of a book I read when I wore knee-high com­bat boots, matte wine lip­stick and black vel­vet chok­ers, back when those things were big the first time around.

So yes, I’m ob­sessed. It’s among the best of a long list of ex­cel­lent shows I’ve binged this year, maybe even The Best. And those of you who know me know I watch a lot of TV. A lot. So I’m kind of a big ex­pert when it comes to sit­ting around, star­ing at a screen. Ex­pert.

I save the best ones — or rather, the ones that hold the most prom­ise (step it up, “House of Cards”) — for the tread­mill. You know, so that I’ll ac­tu­ally get on it, which is half the bat­tle right there, as far as I’m con­cerned. And even though that means I’d nor­mally fin­ish a 10-episode sea­son by some­time next Jan­uary, “The Hand­maid’s Tale” is so good — so good — I am on Episode 7. And I started it a lit­tle over a week ago.

Pretty good, huh? Yeah, I’m so proud of my­self, I’m ac­tu­ally writ­ing about it in the news­pa­per. And while I’d like to take credit for my own ef­forts, I kind of have to give Mar­garet At­wood, El­iz­a­beth Moss and the pro­duc­ers their due with this one. If I be­come less over­fat, I will have them to thank.

Oh, what’s that? Didn’t I mean to say over­weight? Or obese? Or pleas­antly plump? Or schmaltzy, as my peo­ple have wont to say while mo­tion­ing in my di­rec­tion? (I think the ac­tual Yid­dish word for obese is “zaftig” but “schmaltz” im­plies greasy fat like from a chicken or some­thing, so it’s way more flat­ter­ing.)

Any­way, ap­par­ently now we are to re­fer to the zaftig among us (or schmaltzy, as the case may be) as “over­fat.” And even those of you who have a nor­mal BMI fall within what’s con­sid­ered to be a healthy weight range and are fit, ex­er­cise reg­u­larly and all that … you might be over­fat.

I’m al­most cer­tainly over­fat. As a mat­ter of fact, 80 per cent of women, 90 per cent of men and 50 per cent of chil­dren in the U.S., Greece, New Zealand and Ice­land are over­fat, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent CNN re­port.

So what is this new term and why has it fallen into our lives? Well, back in Jan­uary, a group of sci­en­tists from the Univer­sity of Auck­land pub­lished a pa­per in the Fron­tiers of Public Health ad­vo­cat­ing for the re­place­ment of the word “over­weight” with “over­fat.” Over­weight puts too much em­pha­sis on the scale, they ar­gued. Over­fat gen­er­ally refers to the amount of belly fat a per­son car­ries, the fat that is most dangerous to our in­ter­nal or­gans. And even peo­ple who have a healthy body mass in­dex or fall within what’s con­sid­ered to be a healthy body weight can be car­ry­ing an un­healthy amount of belly fat.

(I’m be­ing so gen­eral right now be­cause as men­tioned, I’m an ex­pert at TV, not science.) The story is mak­ing the rounds on so­cial and some tra­di­tional me­dia.

So what does this mean for schmaltzy among us? It means we’re not out of the woods, not by any stretch. We’re deep in the woods, hunt­ing des­per­ately for a snack, maybe a squir­rel or some berries or some­thing. We have a lot of work to do, more than we pre­vi­ously thought. Be­cause we need to fo­cus not just on los­ing fat, but belly fat. And that stuff is stub­born. We kind of knew that be­fore but now sci­en­tists are calling us over­fat, which just sounds meaner than chubby or obese or even zaftig, so we’d bet­ter step it up.

And again, be­ing an ex­pert on TV, not fit­ness, I know that run­ning can be great for lots of things — heart, men­tal health, etc. But get­ting rid of belly fat? Women’s Health says yes.

Just keep ex­er­cis­ing, specif­i­cally the aer­o­bic kind. Also, eat more pro­tein, sleep bet­ter, get more fi­bre, don’t sleep in on week­ends, do yoga, drink tea, eat vine­gar (ew) and polyun­sat­u­rates. See? Easy peasy. But if you need some mo­ti­va­tion for get­ting on a tread­mill, el­lip­ti­cal, that sort of thing, look no fur­ther than your TV. “The Hand­maid’s Tale.” You won’t re­gret it.

Now sci­en­tists are calling us over­fat, which just sounds meaner than chubby or obese or even zaftig, so we’d bet­ter step it up.


Elis­a­beth Moss, left, as Of­fred and Alexis Bledel as Of­glen in the Hulu se­ries “The Hand­maid’s Tale,” based on the novel by Mar­garet At­wood.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.