Tag Archives: health

Life Ain’t Always Beautiful

Gary Allen wrote this song about the death of his wife in 2004. It’s a powerful song about grief and the reality that life can and will go on. As hard as things are, as much as it hurts, they will improve.

You don’t have to walk around with a relentlessly positive attitude when things are going wrong. It’s okay to be upset, angry, and frustrated with the situation. The thing to remember is that you still need to find a way to go through the motions of life. That includes your workouts and eating right. I promise you that throwing your own health to the side in a moment of crisis will not make things better. Because eventually you are going to have to get back to work and get on with your life. All the progress you made will be wasted, and you get to start over again.

Yes this moment in time hurts. But at the end of the day, there are wonderful things around you. Eventually you’ll see the wonder again. You will enjoy doing things with other. You will find meaning. Every second of life isn’t supposed to be beautiful and perfect. But at the end of the day, the joy is in the ride. Make your life a good one.

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My food is out to get me

You aren’t fat just because a particular food is making you fat. Carbohydrates, sugar, alcohol, fat and protein don’t magically find a way into your stomach. McDonald’s cheese burgers don’t magically levitate into your stomach. The movie size box of candy doesn’t jump off the shelf and say, “BUY ME!”.

Oh wait, you are addicted to a food item? Well that changes the laws of matter and physics. Now obviously the cheese burger can levitate, and candy has the power of movement. It’s the inanimate object that’s responsible for your decisions, not you. That’s the problem.

So as you go through life, fat and unhappy do feel free to blame the box of candy.

Can these foods lead to increased obesity? Yes. Are manufacturers trying to design foods to entice you to eat more, yes. The question is, at the end of the day who’s responsible?

You are. Food does not think or act. You are the one who decides what you are going to stick into your mouth. You can give me a laundry list of excuses. Bottom line, even an alcoholic has to acknowledge his actions. If you have a hard time saying no to a beer, don’t go into a bar. If you have issues with movie size candy, don’t walk into CVS and buy one. If a food causes you to binge, YOU are the one who has to figure out how to walk away. There is no magic, and there’s no special technique. If you gobble up the bowl of queso, then you need to tell the waiter to take it off the table. If your friends complain, tough nuts.

You are responsible for your actions. Period. It’s great that you’ve identified a food as a problem. It doesn’t matter a lick if you do not take steps to address the problem.


Wildcard Weekend- Memorial Day edition

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It’s a holiday weekend! Make a point to stay active. 

This weekend try-

30-40 minutes of Yomping. This is British military style fast walking/marching. Get a backpack, fill it with several large books and head out the door. Walk, don’t run, focusing on keeping your posture erect, and walking at a fast pace. 

or

Head to the playground and do a circuit of all the equipment. Move from station to station, and see how many passes you can make in 15 minutes

or

Do 30 minutes of a sport you’ve never tried. Ultimate Frisbee, flag football, kickball, or even a game of tag. 

Have fun, be safe, and take a moment to honor our veterans. Happy Memorial Day weekend!


Weights and measures, fitness style

Without an accurate map, it’s hard to see where you’re going. For those looking to lose weight, figuring out a system to track your progress is important.

The standard tracking system for years has been scale weight. While the scale tells you how much you weigh, it’s not as good at telling you what all that weight is. Muscle occupies less space than fat does, which can create a situation where you are wearing smaller pants, but weight more than your “goal” weight. Additionally, environment can impact scale numbers. Grab a Libertarian taco from Torchy’s and the sodium will cause an overnight spike in weight. That 2 pound gain means you have extra water in your body, not extra fat.

Using a tape measure is a good way to mark progress. Circumference measurements of key body sites can give you a good idea of your progress. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests using the following sites:

  • Abdomen
    • level of umbilicus (belly button)
  • Waist
    • narrowest part of waist above umbilicus and below xiphoid process (about half way between bottom of the breast bone and your belly button)
  • Hip
    • maximal girth of hip, or buttocks
    • Above gluteal fold (where the butt and leg connect)
  • Thigh
    • maximal girth of thigh
    • below gluteal fold
    • legs slightly apart
  • Calf
    • maximum girth between knee and ankle joint
  • Arm (bicep)
    • Arm in anatomical position (relaxed at your side, palm facing forward)
  • Forearm
    • maximum girth of forearm
    • arm hanging downward and slightly away from trunk
    • palms facing forward

The recommended method is to do all measurements on your right side, take three sets of measures, then average them out.

Body fat percentage is the last of the methods available to help measure body composition and weight loss progress. There are a variety of methods available, and the accuracy can vary. For most folks, the caliper measurement or bio electrical impedance method is most common. Calipers are used to measure skin folds, and those measures are then plugged into a formula which estimates your body fat levels. Bio electrical systems can be found in scales or hand held systems like this Omron fat loss monitor.

All of these systems have strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to realize that every single one of these numbers is an educated guess. The only way to be 100 percent accurate about what’s going on inside of you is an autopsy. I’m pretty sure that none of us want to go to that level of detail.

What I suggest is using a combination of all three systems to get an idea of where you are going. Each week I take a single set of measures using a tape measure, I weigh on the scale, and I check body fat. So long as two out of three of those numbers show a downward trend, I call it good and move on. Because each measure accounts for something different, a bad week on the scale may not translate into a bad week on body fat or tape measure.

It takes about 10 minutes first thing in the morning to get these measurements done. With information in hand, you can plan out your next week and help keep your weight loss on track.