Where we get fit and spin (wool)

Archive for November, 2010

back on track

Well, Thanksgiving is over, and for us, Christmas as well. My kids are grown and gone, so we did a mega holiday. To me, is was a demonstration that healthy living works. After 3 days of eating any and everything, I was feeling rather poorly. By Sunday I was semi fasting in an attempt to feel good again. It worked.It was so good to see everyone, and the socializing and feasting are not bad things. I thought I would have a little let down after it was all over, and I was a bit crabby Saturday afternoon and Sunday, but not the depression I was thinking would come.

 

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Really?

How does one word become so dominant? How does it become the Swiss army knife of words, able to express many thoughts and moods. I looked it up in Funk and Wagnalls standard desk dictionary, and it only has two definitions. That may have been true in 1980, but today, really has become an all purpose word. It can call into question peoples words and life choices, yet provide the rebuttal to the attack. It can express disgust, sardonic amusement, sincerity and breathless amazement. Tie it with the other common slang term now, “How’s that working for you?” and you can totally dismiss another persons thoughts or actions. I’m not putting the terms down, let’s face, most of the time, they can be amusing or hilarious, it is a way of criticizing someone and taking the sting out of it.

I just don’t know how words grow to overtake their normal usage, then fade away. Does it fill some popular need? Does anyone reading this remember “you know?”-That goes back to the late 70’s. Drove my mother nuts. My brother and I could not spit out a sentence without it. “IF I know, why are you telling me!?” Or how about the 90’s “whatever”? Let’s go back to the 60’s, “that’s cool, be cool and cool it”. Now there was an overused word. Some how it ties in with the zeitgeist, that a word or phrase engages a majority of people simultaneously.

I would love to be the person to unleash the next overused word. Talk about personal satisfaction. No one would ever know who did it, yet inside you could smile every time someone used your word. Judging by “really”, you’d be smiling a lot.

Who knows? Maybe a diet for the unmotivated?

So, there was an article on the so- called “Twinkie diet”, undertaken by a nutrition professor.

For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate one of these sugary cakelets every three hours, instead of meals. To add variety in his steady stream of Hostess and Little Debbie snacks, Haub munched on Doritos chips, sugary cereals and Oreos, too.

His premise: That in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most — not the nutritional value of the food.

What he did not expect, was that his other health markers, cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL, dropped as well.  It didn’t mention his blood sugar, but if that had skyrocketed, I’m sure they would have mentioned it. As I said, he is a nutrition professor, and the results baffled him. Not the weight loss, but the health measures.  As he said, do our current measures truly measure health, or is there more complexity to the situation than we realize.

While we cannot what all the implications of this are, it does point out that losing weight, no matter how you do it, is one of the prime factors in health.  I don’t think anyone wants me to go into a lengthy discussion of the difficulties in studying human nutrition, other than saying conducting rigorously controlled experiments on human beings is unethical, and mostly illegal. In light of that, we have to travel circumspectly to get to the truth. Studying populations who voluntarily (culturally) restrict their diets to see what the results are and try to control factors in what limited experiments we can do. Information is doled out to the public based on our best current information. It may be confusing and frustrating to the lay person, but it is the best science can do.

Ok, so fitness is the major theme of this blog

What can I say? Out of all the things I think about, fitness is the one that affects other people the most, and it is the one that needs the most discussion. First, I have eaten out twice recently, and it just hits home how out of whack serving sizes are. I was visiting a friend when she served her family, and it was all I could do not to say something, the serving sizes were so large. ( She keeps telling me how hard it is to lose weight). Losing weight and keeping it off is math. Simple math.

Second, this article http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39523298/ns/health-mens_health/ reminds us of the other side of the equation.

“Hamilton’s take, which is supported by a growing body of research, is that the amount of time you exercise and the amount of time you spend on your butt are completely separate factors for heart-disease risk. New evidence suggests, in fact, that the more hours a day you sit, the greater your likelihood of dying an earlier death regardless of how much you exercise or how lean you are. That’s right: Even a sculpted six-pack can’t protect you from your chair.

But it’s not just your heart that’s at risk from too much sitting; your hips, spine, and shoulders could also suffer. In fact, it’s not a leap to say that a chair-potato lifestyle can ruin you from head to toe.

Statistically speaking, we’re working out as much as we were 30 years ago. It’s just that we’re leading more sedentary lives overall. A 2006 University of Minnesota study found that from 1980 to 2000, the percentage of people who reported exercising regularly remained the same—but the amount of time people spent sitting rose by 8 percent.”

Bottom line? Keep moving.

Controversial posts

Everything in life is more complicated than you think it is. Blogging. You think it is essay writing for the masses, self expression for all. Which it is. BUT, it is also a competition, a business opportunity, a game. He who has the most “traffic” wins.

This was brought home to me the other day. Two recent articles put out by an online version of a woman’s magazine were extremely controversial and in one case, offensive. This aroused a storm of blog posts and discussion in my podcasts.  Then one of the podcasters pointed out that this was intentional, that as in previous forms of media, all publicity is good publicity. They were right, I had never heard of the online version of the magazine, and hadn’t thought the print version still existed. Which is why I am not mentioning their name here, to deny them their desire. Another blogger made the point that she is feuding with a fellow blogger, and this is raising both their traffic ratings.

I may say some very controversial things here. I have strong opinions. I hope that I can refrain from doing so, just to gain readership. There is enough real controversy out there, without stirring the pot just watch people’s feathers fly.

 

Just a thought

I’m not sure how to make this a concrete thought, but something has been percolating in my brain, so I thought I would throw it out there. While the economy is in a slump right now, it seems to me that we could be on the verge of something unprecedented.

I like to think about current events in the light of the past. Anyone with a cursory interest in history realizes that human civilization has radically  changed since the industrial revolution. Since then it has been like a snowball rolling down a steep hill, gaining size and momentum. Mass production, factories, good roads, railroads, cars, phones, electricity, antibiotics, and millions of other things have improved the standard of living for most people. The poorest in America live better than most people throughout history. I think you could argue that information is the backbone of all this. You see what other people do, what is possible, and it spurs you to do something, to add your bit, and it just keeps growing.

Computers and the internet are the current current of change (pun intended). They are the information vehicle of unprecedented availability. The amount of information is mind boggling. One person has an idea, it goes out on the net, and in a day, it is everywhere.

My thought is this; if information is what has driven the prosperity and growth prior to now, and computers allow the assimilation and dissemination of information in astronomical ways, why shouldn’t there be unparalleled growth as we recover from this current downturn?

Of course, this is only one possibility. People thought that television would end illiteracy and be the venue for bringing great culture to the masses. It has been that to a small extent, but it has also degenerated to the lowest common denominator. There is no doubt that computers and the internet suffers from some of that as well. Unlike television, however, where only the most popular wins out, anyone can publish on the net inexpensively. Just because most people want recipes for dinner tonight, doesn’t mean you can’t find a site about the history of food, or a detailed chemical analysis of a food. True, what gets shoved in your face is the titillating and droll, but if you have an idea, you can search for 10 minutes, and find out anything about that idea you want.

Marketing, selling, research, communication, all the major aspects of culture and commerce are there, in a new, inexpensive form on the web. It is my contention that this could lead to something great, and not in the distant future.

What do you think? Am I too optimistic? Do you think it’s already here, so the current downturn is evidence it won’t make that much of a difference?

supercharged workout

One workout does not a trend make, but I did things a little different today, and had a fantastic workout. I usually eat my oatmeal while warming up, as the general advice is not to workout on an empty stomach. Today I skipped it, but had my coffee as 1/2 coffee, half skim- lactose free milk, with a spoonful of sugar. Halfway through I went for a refill. I wonder if the straight sugar and easy digestibility of liquid calories are what made me so energetic. I will try it again on Thursday, and if the results are the same, that’ll be my new routine. I’ve been thinking about getting protein powder and adding that to my breakfast in some form, but there seems to be so much controversy, including contamination of the products, that I’ve avoided it.

Any thoughts on the protein powder? Some nutritionists say that unless you are a body builder, most Americans actually get too much protein in their diets. Others say the timing is important, and that it helps rebuild muscle after a heavy workout.

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