Chonky, fluffy, thicc: inside the internet’s obsession with fat cats on diets

More social media accounts are dedicating themselves to specific chonky cats and their weight-loss efforts Theyre chonky, theyre fluffy, theyre thicc and body pawsitive. Theyre round boys, floofs and absolute units. The new animal trend on the internet celebrates the rotund and plump, with social media users focusing on the adorableness of a cats rounded cheeks, a hamsters many rolls, a dogs rounded shape and a raccoons voluptuous volume. The Instagram account Chonky Animals has more than 409,000 followers while the Round Boys and Round Animals accounts top out at more than 455,000 and 487,000, respectively. The Facebook group, This Cat is Chonky, has more than 395,000 members and hundreds of new posts each day. The trend raises concerns about …

After a breakdown, birdwatching brought me friendship, escape and a new love of nature

A childhood hobby gave me time to reflect, refocus and find myself again, following years of drug and alcohol abuse A decade ago, aged 22 and off my face on class A drugs and alcohol almost every day, I would never have seen myself where I am today and definitely wouldnt have dreamed that Bird Therapy that birds are consistent in a way that people rarely are and I stand by this. Too often, we are let down by those we believe care about us, but I know that if I look out of my kitchen window, my garden bird community will still be there. I also know that during spring, our returning breeding birds will travel across desert and …

‘No food should be taboo’: how to tackle your child’s weight without giving them a complex

A third of children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school. Heres how parents can help them forge good habits and avoid creating lifelong insecurities Jusna Begum lives near the South Bank in London with her four children, aged between one and 11. When a health visitor told her that her three-year-old girl was on the chubby side, Begum was surprised. I didnt think she was at all; I had felt like my children werent eating enough. She did, however, accept an invitation to join a six-week healthy parenting programme called 2% of those aged five to one-third of children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school, yet many adults dont see …

Why are thirtysomethings lonely? Because society doesnt value friendship | Arwa Mahdawi

Social media has been made the scapegoat for millennials reporting loneliness, but the cultural primacy in adulthood of career and family has much to answer for, writes Arwa Mahdawi Millennials arent just the poorest generation; they are also the loneliest. According to data from YouGov, while digital habits undoubtedly affect mental health, research hasnt provided conclusive answers regarding the relationship between the two. When it comes to loneliness, I have a feeling that the culprit isnt so much technology as the fact that many millennials are in their 30s, which is a natural time for friendship dynamics to change: people start focusing on advancing their careers and building families rather than socialising with pals. It feels as if we are …

Experience: I had a double hand transplant

I felt instantly that my new hands soft, beautiful and delicate belonged to me. I like to give them a french manicure Id had a bad cough for two weeks when I went to see the doctor. I was prescribed antibiotics, but the next day I still felt terrible, so I called NHS 24 (Scotlands telephone health service). They encouraged me to go to hospital. The moment I arrived, I collapsed. I didnt wake up again for three weeks. It was 2013 and I was 43, with a young son and a small business. My cough had been a sign of pneumonia and I had developed lesions on my lungs. Streptococcal A is a bacteria that lives harmlessly within us …

Members of the Uptighterati hate lateness: are we wrong? | Oliver Burkeman

The problem with using time well is that it risks transforming every moment into nothing but a means to future ends In the mid-1970s, when the American who died in June, took an infectious delight in the sheer cacophonous variety of human behaviour, and time was one of his obsessions. In 1999, tale about the New York businessman, holidaying in Brazil, who starts lecturing a younger local man on the secret of success. Instead of whiling his life away fishing and drinking and playing music with his friends, the New Yorker says, he should expand his fishing operation, hire employees, make millions, then eventually retire so he can spend his days fishing, drinking and playing music with friends. The problem …

Can you afford to be green when you’re not rich? I kept a diary to find out

Politicians and corporations have placed the burden of environmental responsibility on the consumer but how easy is it to go green when youre barely getting by? How easy is it to go green, to make deliberate, eco-friendly choices when youre barely getting by? Can you be green and poor, as I am? This is the question I have been pondering as politicians and corporations have placed the burden of environmental responsibility on the consumer: stop using plastic straws, carry reusable shopping bags, recycle everything. I live in an environmentally conscious place: a rural town with thriving local food businesses, a farmers market and many organic farms. But its also a small town in central Appalachia, in the poorest county in …

100m bacteria a day keep the doctor away, apple research suggests

Study finds organic apples have more diverse and balanced bacterial community The impact of an apple a day in keeping the doctor away may be partly down to the beneficial bacteria it carries and their subsequent colonisation of your gut, according to scientists. A study has found that a typical apple carries more than 100m bacteria. Some of these microbes are important in maintaining a published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.

We just clicked: why I set out to find a new group of friends online

Can a friendship app, a digital neighbourhood noticeboard or Facebook really help me discover a new bestie? This year started with a bang. It burst into life with fireworks and kisses, and then came the sound of a spoon tapping on a wine glass. Since were all together, said my friend, I wanted to say its been an honour knowing you while Ive been in London. Another leaving speech. I have heard many over the past few years, watching loved ones leave in search of job opportunities or housing security, or as a cure for homesickness. Later, as I lay in bed, I thought about my rate of friend attrition. How long until I found myself totally alone? Five years? …

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, …