Lizzo is a joyous inspiration but body positivity has come too late for the likes of me | Grace Dent

There was no such thing when I was a teen in the 80s; there was the heavenly Maria Whittaker on Page 3 and Sabrina in the Boys Boys Boys video As Page 3 and gorgeous strumpet Sabrina in the Boys Boys Boys video. I cannot speak for the pains of being too thin as it has never happened to me, nor can I speak for men, although Im sure Hasselhoff on Baywatch or Arnie pumping iron didnt help masculine self-worth. We lived our formative years through a time where the F word was perfectly acceptable: hes a fat git, shes run to fat, theyre as fat as butter. I recall no positive labels for bigger. And back then, on the …

After drugs and booze, an ultramarathon taught me how to love the mile Im in

Breaking the cycle of my addictions was tough, but then I found inner strength by pushing myself to complete a 50-mile race Running has been a big part of my life for many years. It has been a fix, a punishment, a distraction and a focus. In darker times, I would run at a rapid pace through the streets of New York, where I used to live, feeling the burn in my chest from too many cigarettes the night before, the thumping of my heart from too much cocaine and the sweat on my brow from too much booze. I wanted it to hurt. I wanted to hate myself, to teach myself a lesson. At other times I would run …

How to wash your hair

Its a myth that washing your locks frequently is bad for your hair. But how often should it be done, and whats the best way to use conditioner? The biggest myth is that washing your hair frequently is bad, but there is no real rationale for that. You take your hair everywhere you go; it picks up dirt and pollution, and youve got sweat, oil and dead skin cells. You can wash it every day if you want to. You are not stripping the natural oils from your hair, because they do not travel from the scalp down the hair shaft, especially if your hair is damaged or colour-processed. Physiologically, all hair is the same. The difference is in the …

‘Living joyously is a radical act’: why America’s gay bars still matter

Fifty years after Stonewall, and with Trump trying to roll back LGBTQ rights, Dominic Rushe visits three gay bars in different states and finds them as vibrant and vital as ever The gay bar is in trouble. Fifty years after the Stonewall Inn in New York became the symbol for a new wave of gay activism, the three horsemen of the gay bar apocalypse gentrification, assimilation and technology have hollowed out their numbers. Rising rents have shuttered gay bars; more straight venues are accepting of gay patrons; and dating is something people now do with their phones. Even the term gay bar looks a little tired as the LGBTQ community finally comes to terms with its many rainbow stripes. Bare …

The mindfulness conspiracy

The long read: It is sold as a force that can help us cope with the ravages of capitalism, but with its inward focus, mindful meditation may be the enemy of activism Mindfulness has gone mainstream, with celebrity endorsement from Oprah Winfrey and Goldie Hawn. Meditation coaches, monks and neuroscientists went to Davos to impart the finer points to CEOs attending the World Economic Forum. The founders of the mindfulness movement have grown evangelical. Prophesying that its hybrid of science and meditative discipline has the potential to ignite a universal or global renaissance, the inventor of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Jon Kabat-Zinn, has bigger ambitions than conquering stress. Mindfulness, he proclaims, may actually be the only promise the species and …

Experience: I woke up from a coma speaking French

I still dont know why I spoke French. Ive never had any desire to visit France It was May 2006, and I had just been swimming. I was on my way from my home in Hastings to work as a revenue executive for HMRC. It was raining hard, and the visibility was terrible. I was crossing the road when a white van drove into me and I fell, hit the side of my head, and rolled under a parked car. I have no memory of it. In fact I didnt remember anything from a year before the accident until four years afterwards; I began to work out what had happened to me from what other people told me. I was …

‘Im such a big fan of the menstrual cycle! the women asking whether its possible to have a better period

Exhausted with doctors not taking periods seriously, a new wave of authors is asking whether menstruation can ever be tolerable even enjoyable A tiny drop of blood on our bathroom floor was what gave me away. My mother took it as a sign that, at the age of 15, my period had arrived. After popping out to the shops, she came to my room with sanitary pads and a bunch of flowers; the pads came with a brief lesson on how to use them while the gerberas were left behind without explanation, some unspoken symbolism for my blossoming womanhood. The truth was, I had had my period for two years. It had arrived without fanfare when I was 13, but, …

Readers tell how their relationships have survived or even been strengthened by infidelity and deception

I love my partner more since his affair Guardian readers on being betrayed For 40-year-old Anne, the 10 years she has spent with her partner have been defined by betrayal. A year into what I considered to be a near-perfect relationship, I found out Patrick had had an affair and that the woman was pregnant, she says. That child is now like my own and, although we initially split for a few months, Patrick and I have stayed together. People might find it strange but the affair made us closer and I love him now more than ever. Staying close after such a colossal betrayal may seem impossible, yet the relationship therapist Andrea Tibbitts has seen many similar situations. She …

Table for one: how eating alone is radically changing our diets

From grazing on snacks to dining solo, a third of Britons now regularly eat every meal on their own. Is this fuelling the loneliness epidemic or providing hidden health benefits? Eating alone has become a defining feature of modern life: the breakfasting commuter; the household members with conflicting schedules; the widower who receives few visitors. Almost a third of British adults are eating alone most or all of the time, according to the The Way We Eat Now. Theres a constant mismatch between a sense of how we should be eating and how were actually eating. The multi-generational family meals of the Dolmio television ads are presented as the ideal, she says, but how many of us eat like that …

‘It’s very concerning’: Americans sitting more than ever, study finds

Adolescents sat for eight hours a day in decade to 2016, research shows, while Americans spend three hours a day sitting watching TV or videos The amount of time Americans spend sitting down has increased by an hour a day in recent years, a published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. There were differences recorded in the amount of time spent sitting according to sex, race, weight, the amount of physical activity people engaged in, and other measures. However, most groups sitting habits were found to be consistent from early childhood through late adulthood. According to the research, most of the US population spends three hours a day or more sitting watching television or videos. Such sedentary behavior …

The dad who gave birth: Being pregnant doesn’t change me being a trans man

Transitioning meant that Freddy McConnell finally felt comfortable in his skin. Then he began a quest to conceive and carry his own child Freddy McConnell takes out his phone and shows me a film of his baby snoring contentedly. Jack is gorgeous, with blond hair, blue eyes and heavy eyelids, and McConnell is the classic doting dad albeit more hands-on than most. Its a year since he gave birth to Jack, an experience he describes as life-changing. He has also made an intimate and moving film about that experience, from the decision to have a baby, through pregnancy and the delivery. Everything is documented in close-up, including Jacks arrival in a hospital birthing pool. You might expect McConnell to be …

From the joke shop to the high street: why poo is no longer taboo

Its celebrated in emojis, party bags and board games, piled on cup cakes and meringues and theres even a museum dedicated to it. How did we get here? I was a little hesitant about setting up the toilet plunger in the shape of a smiling poo. The pile of poop emoji may have peaked in cultural terms when Patrick Stewart voiced the cheery plop in 2017s Poop Troop set containing four brown pots promising squishy, poopy fun. how to create poop meringues. Theres fun for all the family with board games like Hook-A-Poop, Doggie Poo and Dont Step In It. Claires Accessories has sold poo-themed earrings and lip gloss. For a poo nightlight, find your local branch of The Entertainer. …

Kim Kardashian West is studying law: welcome to the new seriousness | Gaby Hinsliff

Vacuous celebrity could be on its way out its no longer enough to be famous for being famous, says Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff Kim Kardashian West is studying to be a lawyer. The reality TV star who once tried to break the internet with a photograph of her bottom defended OJ Simpson in one of the most racially charged trials in living memory. The prisoner in whose case she intervened, Van Jones, the prison reform campaigner who accompanied Kardashian West to the White House, also describes his new ally as the mother of three black kids. That has very specific resonances in a USA where black and mixed-race families (if not necessarily those with Kim and her husband Kanye Wests …

The best form of self-help is a healthy dose of unhappiness | Tim Lott

Were more likely to find solace by accepting reality rather than in positive thinking, says author Tim Lott Booksellers have announced that sales of self-help books are at Blink, or The Power of Now, or A Course in Miracles)? Or a combination of both (The Road Less Travelled)? Is it about success (The Seven Secrets of Successful People) or accumulating money (Mindful Money, or Think and Grow Rich)? Is Caitlin Morans The Secret, You Can Heal Your Life and Robin Skynner in the 1980s, and Depression: The Way out of Your Prison by How to Win Friends and Influence People through to The Power of Positive Thinking and Who Moved My Cheese?, positive thinking seems to be the unifying principle …

Reality check: life behind Insta-glam image of social media influencers

Online they feature in glossy posts as the epitome of cool. But that is often worlds apart from how they live their lives Standing amid the reeds and staring pensively into the distance, Jordan Bunker looks every part the moody model, dressed head to toe in black in a direct contrast with the setting. Another image from his portfolio shows him in industrial environs, sporting a minimalist brown trench coat as he looks directly at the camera. However, the reality for the 24-year-old is far from the glamour associated with the fashion world. In his pyjamas in bed hes fighting a cold at the home he shares with his parents in Leicester, Bunker says his set-up is worlds apart from …

Feminism with no human warmth leaves me cold | Zoe Williams

Im a fan of the acclaimed young writer known as the Slumflower. But her sexual creed of exploitation appals me, says Guardian columnist Zoe Williams A couple of years ago, the feminist society of Deptford Green secondary school convened a conference. It was there that I met Chidera Eggerue: aka the Slumflower, author of #saggyboobsmatter movement. She was a remarkable woman. I dont want to call her a remarkable young woman, even though she was 23 at the time: young is such a modifier and she would have been remarkable at any age. Her broad message was one of body positivity: if you love yourself and your shape, nobody can shame you. She built what I thought was a brisk, …