Vermont: Spring Naturist Events

Screen Shot 2019-04-20 at 4.58.21 PMSaturday, May 4th, is the northern hemisphere’s World Naked Gardening Day. That’s a tough sell in Vermont, when our frost-danger doesn’t even end for another month. When WNGD was first invented, I recall it was during the more reasonable summer months, but c’est la vie.

The parking lot at Harriman’s Reservoir and the long walk to the Ledges typically opens Memorial Day weekend. Last year, the fall closed out with a wasp infestation on the grounds of the (clothed) picnic areas near the parking lots. We didn’t see any wasps while we were there, but maybe we just got lucky. Hopefully it’s taken care of for this year’s enjoyment.

Then on Saturday, June 8th, the Montpelier World Naked Bike Ride will be taking place. A much more reasonable time of year, as by then we’ve started to consider putting up our air conditioner for when it gets really hot.

WNBR Montpelier will meet at Freeride, located at 89 Barre Street in Montpelier at 1:00 p.m. The ride will then kick off at 2:00 p.m.

Enjoy these events if you’re able to participate!

BMI vs. Body Positive Lifestyle Choices

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BMI Chart – Wikipedia

I am overweight. When I tell people that, they laugh. But, for how I feel inside my skin, I am probably 10-15 pounds above where I’d like to be. But even if I lost that weight, I’d still be overweight according to allopathic medicine.

My comfortable weight is about 10 pounds higher than where medicine would put me for my height. It also discounts any muscle that forms from exercise or the heavy lifting that comes with parenting. Indeed, the flawed metric Body Mass Index does not take muscle growth into account.

Recently, as part of an insurance-based physical, my BMI was calculated. Medically, I am overweight. Physically, I’m not 100% comfortable, but medically is what matters these days. A lot is judged based not on how I feel, nor on my blood tests, blood pressure, and healthy eating habits, but on a height to weight ratio that was devised in 1989. A lot of scientific understanding about health has happened in 30 years, but still, the medical establishment uses this outdated metric.

Oh wait, did you catch what I wrote above?

Silly me, BMI isn’t from the 1980s! It was actually devised between 1830 and 1850.

Can you believe that? We are generating important health data using a metric that began during a time when blood letting was still popular, when war wounds were cauterized on site and the injured had to bite on straps or sticks to help the pain, and when handwashing was seen as laughable to help prevent birth delivery deaths.

But here we are anyway. Using an ancient metric from an era when slavery still existed in the United States to quantify one’s health.

As we know, bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Healthy bodies can be small or large. Unhealthy bodies can be skinny or fat or in between. And science has advanced to look at our health at a micro level to determine what is healthy and what is not.

Very little can substitute for choosing the right food, getting the right amount of sleep, and jumping off the couch for activity. But it’s time we ditch the 1800s “metric” to classify whether we have work to do or not.

Self-care and self-acceptance will do more for our health than an outdated number from the era when Martin Van Buren was the hot name in politics.

Links about the flaws of BMI:

ESPN’s Body Issue and the Naturist

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A cover of ESPN’s Body Issue

I’ve always been two minds about the ESPN Body Issue. The positives are that they show strong bodies designed to complete impossible-seeming tasks. Though they are all athletes, not everyone has a 2% body fat composition, so they manage to celebrate the human form, but not just one type of human form. And they are unabashed that this is not a swimsuit issue; those bodies – well-known “models” from the world of sports – are nude.

The negatives derive from how they frame the issue. Each year, they promote these as “Bodies We Want.” On the one hand, this could be a throwaway line. But on the other, it fetishizes a certain type of body – the strong, athletic, heavily worked-out body – as the ideal, the one worthy of our gaze. And admiration. It can be a backhanded way of contributing to body shame, since many of us don’t have the time to “achieve” those “bodies we want.” We are not worthy of being in such an issue, because no one would want ours.

But the Body Issue is a huge step forward in how the body is presented for public consumption. There is no shame attached to these images. And while the former ESPN ombudsman received a few complaints, it is, on the whole, embraced. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did; nor would it receive the attention it gets on their website’s front page when released. It is unabashed. Not shy. Not hiding behind a brown wrapper.

However, think of the struggle nudists/naturists have in gaining wider public acceptance. For many of us, we sit with the fears that if we are found out (or reveal our true selves) that we will be rejected or ostracized by society, jobs, friends, and family. We don’t hold the wealth of the professional athlete, nor are we celebrated nationally, both things that insulate the athlete models from the backlash a regular old nudist might experience. They can continue on, because it’s a one-off. It’s not “who they are.” It’s a day of play-acting. Those of us for whom this is daily life don’t have such luxuries. And that’s sad.

I was born a nudist, to the point where I struggle to label it because it’s just me. It has always been my inclination. I did not choose to be this way; I just am. It is so intrinsic to who I am that I don’t enjoy hiding from it (I have to my own personal detriment), though there are risks for someone lay nudists being unabashed the way those in the Body Issue are. Yet, after years of struggling with my own body positivity, my own body acceptance, and my own confidence in being just who I am, I have realized that I am actually in the body I want. It’s got me this far in life.

My hope is that ESPN is actually helping to normalize non-sexual nudity, which is the nudist/naturist dream. Unlike “swimsuit” issues, they aren’t projecting a salacious model to their readership. They do show people with larger guts, muscles, curves, and without thigh gaps. They are all one type – the powerful athletic type – but they provide a step in the right direction.

The next message should be – want your own body, but celebrate the human form.

Winter Naturist: Catching Zzz’s

In the cold northeast, it’s not very possible to engage in much naturist activity unless you crank the heat and watch the money fly out of your wallet to some such energy company. So, nudism isn’t particularly practical in the winter. There is one naturist “activity,” though, that you can take part in while the snow falls and the wind swirls: Sleep.

One enjoyable aspect of nudism is being cognizant you are part of it, so you might want to tuck in earlier than usual if you want to be awake for this activity. But we’ll take what we can get. Since adopting nude sleeping almost exclusively about a decade ago, I find that I sleep better and perhaps more deeply. I certainly don’t have the twisted in sheets and clothing wake-ups I used to have. And it turns out there are a host of reasons to sleep nude.

Here are a few articles highlighting the benefits:

  • Forbes: Since it’s Forbes, they say it can make you wealthier.
  • HealthlineFrom the angle of natural health measures.
  • ShapeKeeping your internal organs physcially fit.
  • Psychology TodayMental and physical health benefits are mentioned.
  • Men’s Journal CosmoA little saucier, but also some sound reasons geared toward men’s and women’s health.

The top reason should be that it feels good, but if you’re new to this world, having some social and physical science to back up your new habit probably helps. And it definitely helps pass the long nights until the swimming holes are hospitable for human use.

Visitor, You Are Appreciated

All – Thanks for reading the occasional blog pieces and for supporting the journey by your presence here.

  • If you chime in with comments, I do my best to engage, and hopefully you find that we can have a civil conversation.
  • If you’d like to connect on Twitter, you can here: https://twitter.com/fullvermonty
  • If you feel there are ways to capture the Vermont nudist/naturist experience on these pages, let me know. Someone complained in a different venue about the lack of mention of Vermont freehiking. I have not been able to find a reliable resource for it, but if you know of anything, drop a line at: fullvermonty2018@gmail.com