Retiring this website…

Sitting around waiting for the room to open up for a tech check for my Otagenki panel at Anime Expo, I came to a decision about my website, and the whole notion of “Less Fat Chick.”

I am mothballing this site. It will still be available, but it will not be added to, and here’s why.

Yes, I feel better when I’m lighter. But the fact of the matter is that the diet mentality and the shared psychosis of dieting is one of the most hurtful things to human health there is. I am giving the wrong message by tacitly endorsing dieting with the name of this site.

Everything I have been doing here, I will be moving to There has been a fair amount of overlap between this site and Otagenki anyway.

This was not done under pressure from the Health At Every Size™ community. I endorse the aims of the community, but I do not accept the more dogmatic edge of the movement. I’m allergic to dogma. It makes me sneeze.

To your health!
Michelle Klein-Hass
Ms. Geek Media

Otagenki Report 2: Fit Expo 2014

I really was not expecting to enjoy myself so much at Fit Expo 2014, because Fit Expo 2013 was such a lame experience. I don’t know if the people who run the show read my piece on this blog, but this time it was a big difference.

It seems like a new, and very welcome IMHO trend is REAL FOOD. Yes, you now can get a fair choice of nutrition bars and other fitness goodies that have ingredients you know and can pronounce. The only food like that you could find last year was at the Ralphs booth, and from a small company that sends a box of organic produce to your house every month. Yes, the frankenfood peddlers were still there, as were some very questionable supplements, (Ephedra? Oh really?) but there were a lot more items that were labeled organic, and a lot more with identifiable ingredients.

Another difference was a lot more experiential stuff…a lot more exercises to try, and mini-classes. The exhibitions were more interesting too, including some amazing feats of strength by professional athletes and very well trained amateurs.

So yeah, here’s another Otagenki Report. This doesn’t have any commentary…my goal with the Otagenki Reports is to tell the story with footage, not with words. I want to create something universal, that’s understandable in any language. I’ve always loved video essays and photo essays, they’re a real art form, and narration sort of breaks the mood.

2013 in shoe leather.

Here’s what MapMyWalk aggregated about my walking this year that just passed:

276 workouts
6 routes
1,027.2 miles
954.9 hours

And here’s the long view of my walking since April 2012:


Medians -- long view



So yeah, it’s not always linear progress. There are ups and downs, there is backsliding and recovery. But it’s always better than the point you started from. This year my walking will likely taper off as I bike more. But it’s still going to be a part of my fitness life.

Sometimes you learn something unexpected.

(click photo to enlarge)

Take a close look at this picture. On the left is a margarine tub. Canola Harvest. From a Canadian company based in Alberta. On the right is a tub of whipped butter, Challenge brand, from a California dairy. Read the ingredients. Read the calorie count. Read the amount of sodium. Now, whipped butter includes a fair amount of air whipped into it to make it more spreadable and give it more volume. I grew up on margarine instead of stick butter, so something spreadable in a tub is sort of personal preference.

So yeah…science is now saying that the move away from butter to margarine was not a good idea, and that the hydrogenation process used to make liquid oils solid made something far worse than saturated fat for our cardiovascular health. The Canola/Palm oil margarine on the left does not have hydrogenated oils in it, but it has way more sodium than the butter, and more calories when you compare the volume of margarine vs. the volume of whipped butter. Yes, if you go by weight, the margarine serving is heavier than the whipped butter. But our eyes see volume instead of weight, so ultimately the amount that fills a tablespoon is the same. That tablespoon’s worth of the whipped butter looks, to our eyes, like that tablespoon of margarine.

And where the difference really becomes clear is when you look at the ingredients list on the margarine vs. the butter. Butter: cream and salt. Margarine: a long list of substances that are hard to pronounce and go halfway down the package. And then there’s also the fact that the butter came from a dairy in California, and the margarine is from thousands upon thousands of miles away. Local food is better than non-local food for the Planet.

Moderation is key in all things. You don’t want to be eating out of that tub of whipped butter with a spoon. But the occasional bit of it on a potato or on a whole wheat English Muffin is fine. And probably better for you than those mystery ingredients in that tub of margarine.