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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Keep Ogg Happy and Stay Healthy

Our common ancestor, "Ogg", lived an "earthy" life. He was exposed to the elements, endured hardships, fought, ate, slept, reproduced..........LIVED! We have our hardships, too, but when you compare what he and his collective family went through, it's easy to see how soft and complacent that we have become. Ogg wore basic clothing, if any, to protect him from the elements. At some point, he fashioned shoes for his feet, but for eons, there were none. Feet adapt, and callouses grow to allow you to run across the savanna in pursuit of game. We step barefoot on the cold kitchen tile in the morning, and cringe, or go running for the slippers.

Ogg got dirty, he probably smelled like a goat. I'm not suggesting that you not shower, (particularly if you are someone I have to work with :-). I'm jut saying that it's OK to get dirty. It's OK to get wet, to get tired, to get your belly full and go to sleep. That's what he did! He knew no other way. The day was spent surviving to fight and scratch another day!

You know when Ogg is happy. Just look for the signs. Belly full......Ogg happy. Make love......Ogg happy. Drink cool water........Ogg happy. Warm place to sleep........Ogg happy.
Old Ogg was a pretty basic guy. He didn't need an I-pod or a Wii to garner happiness. We enjoy all of our amenities, to be sure. That's FINE! Look at little kids, though if you want to know how to keep Ogg happy. Toddlers are priceless little glimpses into our past. They don't care if they have a dirty face. They just know that they are enjoying that big hunk of watermelon on a hot summer day. Juice may be dripping off their elbows, to the point that most adults would be horrified. Not little Junior. Let 'em drip, this is GOOOD!!

This is gonna sound weird, but one of the most satisfied feelings, and you will agree if you let yourself, is when you REEEEAAALLLYYY have to go to the bathroom, and you've been unable to go for a period of time, such as on a car trip, etc. When you finally get there and get relief............Ogg happy!!

Get barefoot sometimes. Get a little wet, go out in the rain. Get a little dirty. Make love to your spouse. Get really hungry. Eat a great meal, then take a nap. Go out and get some great exercise doing whatever it is that you can find enjoyable. Keep Ogg happy. When you're engaged in any activity, just stop for a minute and ask yourself............"Is Ogg happy?" If you use that as a guide, you can live a really basically fulfilled life, regardless of your social or economic status or educational level.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

YOU OWE IT, NOT ONLY TO YOURSELF, BUT TO THOSE AROUND YOU!

Could you drag someone out of a car? Could you run a hundred yards right now, if you needed to? Could you swim across a pool? If you had to stop and think about those, ..........GOOD! It means that you're thinking! We have few real physical demands in our lives today. We ride elevators when ascending the floors in a building. We jump on an escalator at the mall, and take the "moving sidewalk" at the airport. We drive 2 blocks to the store, and load our food into a wheeled cart, then push it out to the car to load up before driving home. There are few times throughout the course of our lives when we really NEED to be able to do something physically demanding. When those times come, however, our lives, and the lives of those around us could very well depend upon our ability to rise to such an occasion. The recent airplane crash in the Hudson River in New York is a perfect example. None of those people boarded the plane that day thinking that they would be called upon to climb out onto the wing of a downed jetliner and help other people wade through freezing water and make their way to safety by climbing onto a ferry boat. None of them.

Some people are legitimately disabled, and those of us who are not owe it to those around us to be able to help out. That warning on the card in the seat pocket means something. It says that if you are sitting in the seat near the escape door, you must be physically able to open it and help with a possible evacuation. If your muscles are soft and weak from disuse, and you are so overweight from excess food consumption, you can't do as much. Your body will respond to an adrenaline rush, and let you do some, almost regardless of your condition, however if you will only spend a bit of time and effort, you can have a body that, like that of OGG, will respond to any challenge.

In short, you never know what the next moment will bring. To assure yourself the best possibility of survival, and to be able to help those around you, you need to keep yourself in some reasonable condition. You don't have to be a Recon Marine or a Navy Seal. Your don't have to be a marathoner or an Olympic swimmer. Those are uncommon individuals who have worked countless hours and sacrificed to get where they are. Ask yourself this, if you were in that plane crash situation, who would you want on that plane with you? A bunch of out of shape people who never gave a thought to such an eventuality, or a few Marines? Easy answer, huh? Well, get yourself up off the couch, drop the donut, and put one foot in front of the other. Your duty to yourself, and to those whose fate has put them near you at any given moment, is to be able to perform to YOUR PARTICULAR maximum efficiency. That's all.

The Samurai in ancient Japan had a saying, "One who is Samurai must, before all things, keep constantly in mind, the fact that he has to die." This didn't mean that they WANTED to die, but that, every day, every moment, every second, they should be prepared to face a life and death situation. We should do the same. You may have to pull someone out of a burning car today on your way to work. Kind of a scary thought, huh?

I had the fortune to be able, once, to wade into a lagoon, yank open the door of an overturned pick up truck, and drag an unconscious lady out of the water. It wasn't some big dangerous thing to do, but the point is, I was ABLE to do it. When something like that happens, it can be life changing. You need to be ready. It will happen to you, sooner or later. Maybe something dramatic, maybe not so dramatic, but life will put some demands upon you eventually. Be prepared to help yourself, and help those around you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

YOU'RE FIGHTING FOR YOUR LIFE, HERE!

This is easy to do, but it's serious business! Old Ogg fought for his life every day, against other people, against animals, against disease, and against the elements. He lived "closer to the Earth" than we do. He was in the dirt, scratching out an existence, and he scratched for it day in and day out. Stop..........and die! There was no grocery store to which he could go to get bananas. You want a banana, you climb up the cotton pickin' tree and get one yourself! That cost energy!

To get healthy, (and hopefully STAY healthy), you need to treat this day, and all future days the same. You have to expend energy when you consume energy. Treat this as survival, just the way your ancestors did. That extra donut on the table in the break room in your office is to be treated as a predator, ready to do harm to your body. Just as that wild cat or wolf could do injury to Ogg if it caught him unawares, that extra unnecessary food will do harm to you. If Ogg got injured or sick, he stood the great risk of starvation and death. His ability to get nourishment for himself and his family on an ongoing basis was critical to his survival. You don't have THAT problem. There is certainly no lack of food around us today! We have a sometimes tougher task, that is, RESISTING that innate urge to gorge when we find a large stash of food. Your body, as I have said many times before, doesn't know that this food will be available tomorrow, as well as the day after that, and on an ongoing basis, probably for the rest of your life. All this Paleolithic body knows is, "When there's plenty of food, I need to pack it in, because tomorrow there may be NONE!"

Realizing WHY we have these urges is critical to taking steps to MANAGE them! So, step AWAY from the snack table. You had breakfast an hour ago. You'll have lunch in two more hours, and you won't have to chase it down and kill it, nor will you have to climb a tree to pick it. You don't NEED the damned donut! It is a benign-looking predator upon your body, ready to attack your health. Treat it that way.

Monday, February 2, 2009

LET YOUR BODY DO ITS' JOB

You are living inside of an incredible machine! This body that you have been provided can fuel itself, heal itself, clean itself, and keep itself in great working order. If only our CARS could do that!
The brain and the endocrine system is an amazing, self-contained pharmacy that produces what your body needs, on demand, and under the most stressful conditions imaginable. We've all read accounts of people who were severely injured in remote areas. Their bodies produced substances that suppressed pain to allow movement, thus allowing locomotion toward safety.

Your body produces substances when you exercise for longer periods of time, called "endorphins". They can actually provide a sense of well-being. It is really necessary to experience "runner's high" to really understand it. When you run for longer distances, say, 10 miles or more, you have ups and downs, when you alternately feel good, ..........and sometimes.....lousy. The body is managing the extreme energy output, and the pain on feet, joints, etc. It has been rising to these challenges for countless thousands of years as our ancestors drew on their personal reserves to get through one crisis after another.

The body can detoxify itself, as well. When you engage in hard exercise, you breath more deeply, the blood flows throughout the body at a higher rate, sweat pours out of your skin, your intestines respond to the movement and work more efficiently. All of this helps the body "blow out" the (excuse the expression) crap that has been building up inside. We live in an environment where there is pollution in the air, pesticide in the food, and other substances which our body will recognize as waste products that it does not need. If you sit on your duff, day in and day out, it will still get rid of some of the stuff. Get yourself out and work up a sweat, however, and the body's waste management system gets happy and kicks into overdrive. It starts housecleaning. You owe it to yourself to at least try this. You will feel better. If you are healthy, and you have your physician's OK, get out and try some progressively more challenging activities. You will feel better physically, emotionally, and mentally!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

TREAT YOUR CALORIC INTAKE LIKE A BANK ACCOUNT

Depending upon your weight and activity level, you have a basic caloric need every day. If you are sedentary and just don't move much, you need less food (fuel) than if you are very active. It's that simple. If you take in more than you need, you are bankrupting your body that day. If you do it on a regular basis, you gain weight. If you take in less than you need, you lose weight. If you are healthy, the more you move around, the more caloric intake you can afford without weight gain. I'm not going to get into numbers here. You can go to dozens of sites to calculate calories burned for various activities, and caloric food values. Treat each day like a bank account. Let's say, for an example, that you have determined that your basic caloric need for your weight and activity level for the day is 2,500 kilocalories. That means that you can, in essence, consume that much food for the day without weight gain. If you throw in an hour of exercise on top of that, you can afford a bit more food to break even, or, if you don't eat more, you will begin some weight loss. Forget what the scale says on a daily basis. This is a process that shows up over a period of a week or more. My weight will fluctuate 3-5 pounds a day, depending upon whether I've eaten, how much water I've consumed, etc. It helps me to keep a log of activity and caloric intake showing what has happened over the course of a week, or even month. That slow progress is how you begin to manage your weight. Is it a pain to keep track of calories in and calories out? Sure, sometimes, but the benefits are priceless.
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