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Friday, December 30, 2011

It's that time of year.  Lots of people will make an "iron-clad" pact with themselves that 2012 will be the year that they get.......thin........fit..........rich.  They will be a better spouse, better parent, better kid, better whatever.  "I will lose that 25 lbs this year".  "I will stop drinking this year".   "I will exercise 2 hours EVERY DAY this year".  Most of these last at least through New Year's Day before life intervenes, and old habits pick up where they left off.

     Don't make promises that you know you can't keep.  That's not to say that you shouldn't change your behavior for the better.  OF COURSE you should!  Don't make it a "New Year's Resolution".  Just make the change, and don't wait until the artificial deadline of midnight, 12/31/11 to do it.  Look at yourself, assess what needs to be done..........and get it done.  Drastic, precipitous life-style changes DON'T WORK.  They just set you up for failure, after which you'll feel worse than before.  Find a reasonable, sustainable adjustment and go about doing it.

     The health clubs LOVE New Year's resolutions.  Their membership will spike for the next month or so, then gradually drop back to normal, as the "resolution makers" realize that they can't go to the gym 2hrs everyday.  Once they find this out, most will not cut back to a reasonable amount / schedule.  They will get demoralized and quit.

     So, either now, or in the near future, take a hard look at what needs to be fixed............then fix it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The holiday season is fast upon us.  As I go around, in stores, in parking lots, on the street, there's something that really strikes me.  There are SO MANY people who are doing things in what appears to me to be a desperate attempt to feel good.  I don't know if it's a product of all of the financial woes of the past few years, or just a symptom of something in our society that is more basic.  I see people who are driving "tricked out" vehicles, upon which they have obviously spent countless hours and thousands of dollars.  Many people are sporting multiple tattoos, Women have sculptured nails and expensive hairdos, the list goes on.  So many of these people are, along with their other outward signs, also carrying 40 to 100 pounds of fat along with them.

It feels good to drive a nice car.  It feels good to really make a statement to the rest of society.  It feels good to do something for yourself that makes you look good.  Let's face it................it feels good to eat.   This time of year, comfort food is a big deal.  There are candies and cake and salty, fattening snacks EVERYWHERE!  Shopping at certain "big box" stores, you can barely get down the aisles where food samples are being provided.  The people gather around these sample stations like they were literally starving.  This view toward food consumption is a terrible trap.  I've fallen into it, make no mistake.  The breaded jalapeno poppers or the frozen cream puffs taste good, without a doubt.  I like them as well as the next guy.  This stuff is what gets you, though.  There's something you can do that will make more of a statement than that tattoo or bumper sticker.  It will make you feel better than that plate (or second or third plate) full of ........let's face it.......crap, at the office party.  It will make you feel better than getting sculptured nails or a $200 haircut that you can't really afford.  Get yourself back into SHAPE!  Put together a food budget, set aside 1/2 hour a day, get clearance from your health care provider, and start some type of exercise program.  Walk, run, swim, bike, join a health club if that's what it takes for you.  Get a group together for support and do this stuff together for the peer pressure if that's what you need.  It's not hard, and it doesn't have to cost a lot of money.  Your body was made to work on reasonable amounts of nourishment gained from mostly fruit, vegetables, and meat.  You need to give it what it was evolved to consume and you need to move it around so those muscles, joints, bones and organs will work the way they are supposed to work.  IT........WILL........RESPOND!

Monday, December 12, 2011

As I was running this morning, it kind of struck me that a lot of health issues have to do with blood flow.  Many type 2 diabetics have problems with blood flow to their lower extremities, and often a main contributing factor to type 2 diabetes is weight.  High blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, heart disease, etc. are all related to blood flow.  If you keep moving, keep getting your heart rate up daily (as long as your physician has cleared you), you will keep that blood pumping, as well as burning off the calories, keeping your weight within normal limits, keeping your muscles strong, your lungs functioning.  Daily exercise is a powerful medicine.  Your body needs that blood flow to keep your systems working at optimum levels.  Don't settle for functioning at minimal levels.  Get your body to do what it was designed to do.  MOVE IT!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The 100 Up Technique for Barefoot Running:

'via Blog this'

This gets around a lot, but it's important. If you run, LEARN THIS! Hopefully you'll get to barefoot or minimalist footwear, but no matter what..........LEARN IT!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

While we fight to stay healthy in a modern world, it's important to remember who we are, and the roots from whence we came.   Our society has changed  A LOT in the past 10k years.   Our bodies have not.  They will, I assume, continue to evolve to survive in changing environments, just as they have always done.  Our ancient ancestors were not smarter than we are.  They were surviving, (thankfully), by adapting to their surroundings.  If they didn't adapt, they would die.

     We, on the other hand, have safety nets everywhere.  If you are without shelter in the rain, you can at least, duck into a bus station, or a mall, and warm up and dry off for a while.  If you are hungry, there are social welfare and community service organizations who will dish you up a meal.

     Our society is not a utopia, don't get me wrong.  There are homeless and hungry people abounding in the world.  In general, however, our societies strive to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and treat the ill and infirm.  Our predecessors did not have this social net in place.  Eat or die.  Get shelter or die.  Get sick and probably die.  Harsh life to be sure, but it produced a physical body which we inherited that is incredibly capable of survival.

     If 'OGG' had a chance at a big pecan pie, he'd have undoubtedly eaten it to the point that he got sick to his stomach.  We're used to such concentrated calories and sugar.  We have it around us all the time, and societal expectations which often demand that we EAT IT.  (WHETHER YOU WANT IT OR NOT!)

     So as you fight the battle of the bulge, keep one thing in mind.   You are no more, no less, than a caveman.......with pie.

Friday, November 25, 2011


     OK, that's what everyone seems to be talking about today.  The big shopping day that the retailers hope will put them out of the red and back to the black side of the ledger book.  Well, in terms of food consumption, after the feast yesterday, it's time to conduct "RED FRIDAY".  

      So you over-indulged a bit yesterday.  I gave myself permission to do that, too.  It was fun at the time, but you may have gone way over your caloric budget for the day.  That doesn't matter~!   What matters is what you do TODAY, and for the rest of the week while you're getting this engine back on the rails.   There's probably a fridge full of leftovers, including, if you follow traditions, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pie, etc.etc. etc.     Now is a time when it's easy to start doing some REAL damage to your eating plan.  Yesterday won't have much effect, if you leave it an move on.  If you give up, however, and fall back into the overeating mode, you're sunk.  Get back on that caloric deficit today.  Start with breakfast, and don't look back.  If the leftovers spoil, they just spoil.  They won't benefit you if they're packed around your middle.  Move your caloric ledger into the red, and do it consciously for the next few days.

     You don't want to fall "off the wagon" with all of the holidays that are still staring you in the face over the next couple of months.  Get back on your exercise routine, eat a bit light, and move on.  Your weight may bump up for a couple of days.  You may have consumed more salt, etc, and be holding on to fluids.  Don't get demoralized if the scale shows a weight gain.  It's only temporary, and will edge back down if you take it easy on the food for a few days.

     You're taught, in tennis, to forget about the last shot, good or bad.  Don't dwell on how bad it was, or admire how great it was.  Get ready for the next one that's coming over the net.  Martial arts training teaches you to forget about that last throw, and prepare for what's coming next.  This is no different.  Forget about your feast yesterday and look forward.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ok,  here we are at the day most feared by dieters........................the dreaded Thanksgiving!  So what do you do?   You've been really sensible for a few weeks and have shaved off some of those saddlebags.  Now comes the day that can undo all of the good that you've done in one session at Aunt Bessie's dining room table, right?   WRONG!   One meal, or one day of eating like there's no tomorrow won't derail your weight control program.  The human body was designed for feast or famine.  Today is the feast.  It's OK.  Tomorrow, though, is the key to success or failure.  If you get up tomorrow morning, and think, "Well, I blew it yesterday, so I might as well finish that pecan pie that's in the fridge"........You're sunk.  If you get up and get back on your routine, whatever that is, you'll be just fine.  If you are one who weighs yourself daily, sure you'll see a spike.  Just don't let that demoralize you.   Our ancestors ate and ate when they had plenty, and did with much less when not much food was available.  Today, you were successful in the hunt.  Tomorrow, you're back rooting around for nourishment.  

     This doesn't mean that you should go out of your way to be stupid at the dinner table, because, eating lots of fats, sweets, salty stuff, just isn't very good for you.   In short,  it's OK to eat today.  It's even OK to give yourself permission to have seconds, and a piece of pie...........but not a whole pie.   Tomorrow, forget about it and get back to the great work you've been doing!

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Point shaving" is probably the ultimate taboo in sports, admittedly.  It is, perhaps, the key to losing those pounds, though!  I'm referring to those unnoticed calories that we end up with at the end of the day.  Losing weight can be a less-than-fun process, for sure, but you can do things that will help.  When you get to the bottom line, you have to burn more food than you take in.   That's the magic equation.  It works better, for most people in the long term, if you start gradually.  Crash diets will result in weight loss, but they're simply not sustainable, and are generally a road to ultimate failure.  First, make an HONEST assessment of what you are eating most days.  Keep a log of everything you eat for a few days, without trying to cut it down.  There is plenty of time for that.  Once you know what you eat, you can take a rational, gradual approach to easing off on the food intake, without depriving yourself, walking around hungry, and then giving up and going on an eating binge.   I use the Calorie Count tool at the link on the right of this page.  It will allow you to keep a daily count of what you took in.  After you have kept track of things for a few days, start the process of cutting down.  If you simply back off on some of the intake, you begin to "shave" calories from your daily intake.  Cut down the amount of sugar in your coffee, use lighter salad dressing, or cut down the amount by 1/3 or so.  If you stop on the way to work to get the big Caramel Frapawhatever from your local coffee place, get the smaller size, or drink half or 3/4 of it and throw the rest away.   Eat a LITTLE less of that office birthday cake, or a smaller piece.  Now it's important to keep track of the calories that you SKIPPED.  Make yourself a log of those, and total it up at the end of a week.  Only those things that you intentionally cut down.  Add up those calories.  Keep that total.  You can keep your ongoing food log as well, and you may see that your overall caloric intake is on the decline, but for motivational purposes, keep that "Log of Shaved Calories".  A pound of fat is equal to about 3500 calories.  If you shave that many off in a couple of weeks, it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll lose a pound, but it is a pound's worth that you would otherwise be packing onto your waist or hips.  Keep it gradual, but keep track, and you'll see the weight gain trend begin to reverse itself.  This is a long-haul process.  Don't be in a hurry.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

     We get caught up in our day to day activities, and it's easy to leave out an important part of the fitness equation.....SLEEP.     Your body, regardless of how hard you train, or how you watch your diet, won't perform at its optimum level if you don't get enough sleep.    Consult your medical provider about how much they think you need.  My purpose here isn't to decide that for you.  I know that I perform much better in all activities after I've had about 7 hours.  I don't always get that much, admittedly, but I can feel the difference when I do.  I have more energy, my run feels lighter and more powerful at the same time.   Exercise, Food, and Rest are really the trifecta of fitness.  Keep these three in balance, and you'll be at your best.  Overdo or underdo any of them, and it can throw you off your game.  You have to find your own level of each for your best performance.

Monday, November 14, 2011

An article in the Boston Globe today, dealt with the prediction of  substantial increases in diabetes worldwide.  The article states:

     "According to the World Health Organization, there are about 346 million people worldwide with diabetes, with more than 80 percent of deaths occurring in developing countries. The agency projects diabetes deaths will double by 2030 and said the International Diabetes Federation's prediction was possible.

     "It's a credible figure," said Gojka Roglic, head of WHO's diabetes unit. "But whether or not it's correct, we can't say."
     Roglic said the projected future rise in diabetes cases was because of aging rather than the obesity epidemic. Most cases of diabetes are Type 2, the kind that mainly hits people in middle age, and is linked to weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle.
     Roglic said a substantial number of future diabetes cases were preventable. "It's worrying because these people will have an illness which is serious, debilitating, and shortens their lives," she said. "But it doesn't have to happen if we take the right interventions."

     There are several words and concepts that jump out at me from this article..........PREVENTABLE..........OBESITY.........SERIOUS, DEBILITATING, AND SHORTENS THEIR LIVES...........LINKED TO WEIGHT GAIN AND A SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE......DOESN'T HAVE TO HAPPEN.

     This is no different than the same number of people jumping in front of buses or off of bridges......it just takes longer and will cost EVERYONE more money in increased health care costs.  I'm sorry, but I'm preaching again.   PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.  It's a great concept.    Sedentary lifestyle, overeating, over indulgence in all sorts of substances are taxing our paleolithic bodies, and causing them to react the way they are designed to react, but over extended periods of time.  Eventually they give out, and are unable to handle the onslaught of food, liquor, inactivity, tobacco, drugs, etc.    As great as these bodies are, they're not Superman's body.   Can't help everyone, but YOU have a choice. 
When you get a chance, the next time you're in a grocery store, consciously look at the shelves that are about belt level or below, particularly on the inner aisles.  The candy, cookies, and sugar-filled cereals are not placed there by accident.  They are there because the kids, walking along with Mom or Dad, will see them.  They have great packaging, too.  Lots of bright colors, cartoon characters, etc.

These things have effects on adults, too.  There's an old saying, "Don't go shopping when you're hungry".  In that environment, it's true.  You may be more susceptible to impulse buying if you haven't eaten.  This kind of flies in the face of our ancestry.  Our paleolithic predecessors, of course, didn't go "shopping" to get a huge cart full of food to take back to the family cave.  They didn't have that option.  They had to go after food when they needed it.  In this society, we don't do that.   Hearkening back to previous posts, it's important to remember that we now, in modern times, usually don't have to expend much energy in comparison to the number of calories that we can lay our hands on.  That's why we get fat.  It's really that simple.

When you do your grocery shopping, try staying out of the center aisles in the store.  If you look, most of the stores have a similar set-up.  The outer walls of the store are where you will find, fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese, other dairy products.  The interior is where they keep the cereals, bread, candy, cookies, pasta, canned food, ice cream, baking supplies, etc.

Keep in mind that a great deal of research goes into item placement and packaging.  There are many dedicated professionals, whose purpose in life is to make YOU reach for that package of cookies.  They're good at what they do.  They'll manipulate you, and they will use your kids as pawns in the game.  Don't fall for it.  Take charge of what you feed your family. It's YOUR decision.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Those of us who refer to ourselves as "Runners" (you know who you are), have, at some point, fallen into a rut of grinding out mile after mile, eye on the elapsed time, trying to get to our personal best at that next race.  It doesn't matter whether it's a 5k or an Ultra, it's easy to watch the goal and also easy to lose the joy of hitting the road or trail that causes most of us to refer to ourselves as runners in the first place.  We come in all shapes, sizes and abilities.  That's the beauty of the running community.  I've seen almost no lack of acceptance of ANYONE who is running, or trying to run.  People differ over distances, technique, footwear, hydration, nutrition, etc., but we're all still "Runners".   I often run with my dog, a big, happy, German Shepherd who obligingly goes along at a slow trot or a fast walk, ever accepting of his running partner's limited abilities.  He runs because he loves to run.  He grins the whole time.  (If you don't think dogs can grin, you don't have a big, goofy German Shepherd).  He is happy.  He's barefoot.  He doesn't have a stopwatch, and he stops when he feels like it.  I need this guy to keep my attitude focused.  It's fine to check your split times.  But sometimes, you just gotta run because............IT'S FUN!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

      I read today that researchers at the University of Texas have come up with a new "weight loss drug", that they have tested on monkeys, which, while on the drug, lost about 11% of their body weight in a relatively short time.  The drug acts by targeting and killing off blood vessels feeding fat cells.  I am not qualified to criticize their research, or to say that there's no need for such a drug.  There may be medical situations in which it will be the perfect answer.  My hope is that it is not considered, if approved for human use, as the long sought-after "magic bullet" of weight control.  Are there no lengths to which we will not go to avoid a little self-discipline?

     Many people have also undergone surgery to alter their digestive tract in one way or another.  Once again, I'm not here to question medical decisions, and I'm not trying to pick a fight with the medical establishment.  I simply don't believe, and this is admittedly only my own opinion, that we need to have our basic bodily functions changed by surgery or drug ingestion in order to gain control over our weight.  We merely need to follow the simple rule of not taking in more food than we can use.  It's that simple.  How you get there may be more complicated.  People have many reasons for overeating, but the physical process stays the same.

     The main purpose of this blog is to show people how to get back in line with our ancestors.  We have bodies that are virtually unchanged for thousand of years.  They  worked then and they work now.  Have faith in this body that you inherited.  Treat it right and it will perform for you for many decades.  Keep it well maintained, fueled, and active, and it will give you premium performance, in many cases for OVER 100 YEARS!  That's incredible, when you think about it.   Enjoy this body.  Let it fulfill its potential.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bushido was the code of conduct of feudal Japan.  The Samurai, or warrior class of the society was held to strict standards.  Much of that is recorded in a book called "Budo Shoshinshu", written by Daidoji Yuzan.  The translation of this book, entitled The Code of the Samurai, starts out with a statement that seems confusing, but has incredible significance to one's daily life.  "One who is a samurai must before all things keep constantly in mind, by day and by night.....the fact that he has to die."  Sounds morose, I know.  If you keep this in your mind, as you go about your day, however, you will live a much better life.  

     The idea behind this is that you must live............REALLY live your life.  You have a duty to yourself and to those around you to be healthy and fit, to be productive.  You want to die, whether it is unexpectedly from some tragic incident, or at age 105 quietly in bed, knowing that you did right by your life.  If you have had, at some point, an incredibly busy day where you accomplished a lot, you naturally feel good at the end of the day.  You can't help it.  We were designed to work, to be productive, to be healthy and fit.   With the right mind-set, you can be productive in many regards no matter your physical condition.  You only have a duty to, as the Cub Scouts' motto reads: "Do your best."    That's all anyone can ask.   To do your best, though, you need to give your body what it requires.  Good food, plenty of exercise, good sleep.     Forget about "dieting".  That's a great way to make yourself miserable for a while, to yo-yo up and down with your weight, and a way to spend a few hundred dollars on some "plan".   Sit down, figure out your caloric need, adjust it for your physical activity, plan a small calorie deficit, as I've shown in other posts, and stick to it.  Eat what your body wants and needs.  No more, no less.  If you go over a bit, ramp up your physical activity for the day.  Your body will find its way back to a healthy weight level.

      The samurai knew that they had a duty to their superiors to be able to produce.  Activities that rendered the body inefficient, such as inactivity and overeating were not favored.  You have a duty to be able to perform up to your particular level of physical activity, if the need arises.  The main benefit of being able to fend for yourself, as your ancient ancestors did, is that you will feel better, both mentally and physically.  If you get a chance, read "The Code of the Samurai".  It may give you some perspective.  You can find it on the  "I Recommend" link to Amazon on the lower right side of this page.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A bit of a departure from our regular theme here:

236 years of defending our freedom.  Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

First of all, I wear shoes.  Let's face it, in our society, you really need to wear them sometimes.  I work in an environment where they are required.  OK, fine.  When I'm OUT of that environment, however, I'm either barefoot, or wearing something really minimalist.  I only run in huaraches that I got from Invisible Shoe (There's a photo and a link on the right side of the page if you want to take a look at them).  The shoes that I wear for work are wide, flat, as close to zero drop from heel to toe as I can get.  I notice what others are wearing, though.  In particular, what the womens' shoe industry does to feet is criminal.  You see women balancing on a 4" spike with their toes pointed down at a 45 degree angle, squeezed into a pointed toe!  They can barely walk in those, let alone run if the need arose.  Over time, such footwear takes its' toll on us.  I wore, in years past, and for quite some time, western style boots.  They were not much better than what I just described.  Same problem.  Raised heel, pointed toe.  I have a nice "bunion" to show for it.  Fortunately, I wised up before I had enough damage to cause it to hurt, but it's there, and it always will be, barring a surgical intervention.  Kids' feet are perfect.  They don't need any help from "engineers" at a shoe company, who claim to be coming up with "better" shoes all the time.  I looked at some "running shoes" from a major company the other day.  There must have bee a full 2" of rubber and gel under the heel.  Your feet have had a couple of million years of evolution and adaptation.  Nature got it right.  It doesn't need help from a "shoe engineer", and your feet don't need to be encased in a $150.00 box in order to perform.  Case in point. At the top of this post  is a picture of my 6 year old son's foot.  No bunions there, just a foot designed for performance.  (OK, it was a little dirty from running around with the dogs (who, amazingly,  also do just fine without shoes) If you are wearing those toe smashers, get out of them.  Go to something flat and wide when you have to wear them.  Let your feet be.................feet.  They don't need to be re-designed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Christopher McDougall | Born to Run | National Bestseller:

'via Blog this'

Great video of Christopher McDougall talking about our running ancestry.
Holidays are upon us.  This is a traditional time of the year for yet ADDITIONAL weight gain.  Many homes, offices, clubs, etc. will have various holiday parties, and you might find yourself in a position of going to more than one.  Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to mean being a hermit.  You don't have to, as I've said in prior posts, live in a shack in the woods and eat turnips in order to avoid weight gain.  You just need to BUDGET those calories, and be aware of what you are really consuming.  If you have a party to go to, you need to start budgeting early.  Get some exercise during the day, (which, hopefully, you are doing anyway).  Get in your morning run, or walk, or bike ride, or swim.  Take an additional walk at lunchtime.  These things all burn some energy, and that's the name of the game.  Eat breakfast, but go a little lighter, and include plenty of protein.  It will stay with you longer.  Skip the caramel mocha frapawhatever on the way to work, that'll help you to bank  200-400 calories for consumption later.  When you are at the party, be aware of what you're doing.  It's so easy to eat mindlessly at one of those functions.  A handful of nacho chips, 140 calories.  Nibbling on nuts while you're talking, (2 oz., around 300 calories.  Veggie tray..........safe, right?  Nope.  Grab the piece of cauliflower, great.........dunk it in a big glob of ranch dressing, 50 calories.  Do that half a dozen times throughout the evening, and you've glommed down 300 calories worth of just ranch dressing!  Cheese cubes, the ever present tray at many parties.  A 1 oz cube, roughly 100 calories.  Now it's time for dinner!  Never a light calorie affair at such functions, but you may have gulped down 700-1000 calories just hanging around WAITING for dinner!  Just be aware.  It will sneak up on you.  After dinner, a piece of pumpkin pie- 300 calories.  A little scoop of ice cream, add another 100-150.  Budget your needed daily calories, figure out what you NEED that day, depending upon your level of physical activity, and STICK TO IT!  If you go over, you can plan on additional fat storage.  It's not really that simple, of course.  Your body doesn't work that way in a single day.  If you break over one day, you can go lighter the next day or two and even it out with little or no problem, but what I'm getting at is a mind set.  Make a calorie budget and stick to it.  Learn to say no thank you to the chips, the pie, the sweet drinks.  They don't give you much nutritionally, and they are calorie dense with sugar, flour, etc., not to mention the salt that you don't need.  I want you all to stay the course during this upcoming holiday season, and get through it still on track to a healthier life.  Go to the party, but remember that YOU are in control.  Eat some nuts, eat some cheese, eat the vegetables on the platter WITHOUT the big glob of dressing.  You can do it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

RESPONSIBILITY...................We have a very forgiving society.  Sometimes TOO forgiving for our own good.  In eons past, many of those who couldn't participate in the hunt died.  We have, as a general rule, adopted many "safety nets" to prevent this from happening.  This, however, shouldn't abrogate our personal responsibility to keep our bodies as strong as possible.

     We have very few physical demands to accomplish our basic survival in modern times.  Transportation, food, and shelter of some sort are available to most, and require little physical activity to obtain.  While our society, admirably, tries to ensure that all have basic survival needs, we have, if we choose, the luxury to neglect or abuse our bodies with inactivity, excessive food, and various natural and chemical substances in order to achieve a temporary, but false, sense of well-being.

     The pervasive use of alcohol and various drugs is a symptom of a larger problem.  I certainly won't solve it here, but at least we can try to put it in some perspective.  If we allow ourselves to fall into that trap, we are banking on the largess of others if those societal "safety nets" fail.     This surfaces most frequently, during natural or man-caused disasters. Earthquakes, fires, floods, tsunami, terrorist attacks.  The thin veil of safety in society is instantly stripped away, and we are, without notice nor consult, INSTANTLY slammed back to CAVEMAN status.  The survival instincts are hard-wired and still intact.  If you are, however, trapped inside a body rendered ineffective by decades of inactivity and self-abuse, the usefulness of your survival instincts is minimized.  You need to be able to run down 50 flights of stairs, climb a tree to avoid flood waters, fight off an attack, jump out of the way of a speeding car in an intersection, DRAG YOUR CHILDREN OUT OF A BURNING BUILDING,  ....................get my drift?  Fear and adrenaline will help you to do more than you can normally do regardless of your physical condition, but let's face it, if your lungs are destroyed by tobacco, and you are 50 lbs. overweight, your arteries are clogged , and your knees and ankles have succumbed to 20 years of bearing excessive weight, your response will be limited.

     Start TODAY.............take back that evolutionary body with which you were gifted at birth.  Fuel it properly, hone it, use it.  If you never need to run down 50 flights of stairs, GREAT!  You'll still live a better life.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Lost Secret of Running - Video Library - The New York Times:

'via Blog this'

If you do nothing else today..............watch this! You will learn how to run properly for the rest of your life.

Friday, November 4, 2011

We have an elliptical machine that sits, ever at the ready.  It is a nicely designed machine.  Big, heavy, smooth running, with all of the electronic bells and whistles on it.  It monitors your heart rate, provides no impact cardio, the works..........I hate it.     I used to run frequently on a treadmill, partly because of the area in which I had to run, and the time of day (before dawn).  It wasn't my favorite, but is was, at least.........RUNNING.  It wore out after a thousand miles, and we replaced it with this new elliptical trainer. 

     I can't quite articulate it, but something about this thing bothers me.  It feels like artificial exercise.  Running is often termed as an exercise involving "impact".  Indeed it is if you persist in wearing "running shoes".  They keep you pounding along, heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe until the impact causes an injury, even through all of that rubber and gel.  Run barefoot, or in huaraches with no built up padding, and you quickly learn to run without impact, particularly on your heels. 

     You won't run barefoot for long and persist in heel-striking.  Your body self-corrects, your gait gets springier, and you run the way you were designed to run.  "Born to Run", the best seller, is aptly named.  We were, in fact, born to do just that.  It sets us apart.  You hear about "runner's high".  Part endorphins, part doing what nature designed you to do.  Do it without wearing "heel stompers", and you may be lucky enough to realize that it is one of the most enjoyable activities that you can do in order to stay healthy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What I really need to know about fitness/diet/exercise/perseverance, I learned during 12 weeks of what, at that time, seemed like pure Hell.  USMC Boot Camp is a true "controlled environment".  You sleep, eat, run, jump, relieve yourself, you name it..........when you are told to.  At 19, most people (myself included) are or were undisciplined.  That gets fixed really quickly with 3 combat veteran Drill Instructors screaming in your face.  You run until you are tired......then you run some more..........then you run until you feel like you will drop.......then you keep running.  You then get to do an obstacle course, then sit in a classroom and try to stay awake.  You're up before dawn.  You sleep like never before.  You eat a lot during your meals.....you get no "snacks".  You don't have a couch to sit on or a TV to watch.  The upshot is that you are working hard, sleeping well, and eating plenty.  Your body responds.  I went in at what I thought was a relatively good weight for me.  I came out 15 lbs lighter, much faster and stronger.  Not everyone needs to go to Boot Camp, but you can approximate the results.  Remember the three important factors.  Work hard.....plenty of exercise.........sleep well (made easier by the exercise, I've found)........eat PLENTY of good food.  Skip the "snacks".  You don't need 'em.  Be patient.  Keep at it.......Don't set an artificial date to "achieve your desired results"  That sets up a time in your mind at which you will want to return to your old behaviors.  If you change to this lifestyle, You will get results!  Go for it.
Our culture seems to revolve around the consumption of food.  Every event, from birthdays to victories in major wars is celebrated with food.  From our hunter-gatherer origins, the acquisition of nourishment has had such a high priority that we are hard-wired to seek fuel for our bodies.  In some places in the world, and in some circumstances, this drive is still working as it did for our ancestors.  In most of modern society, however, and particularly in the West, the food drive coupled with a nearly unlimited supply has resulted in myriad health problems.  We are taught, from infancy, to enjoy food.  Everyone enjoys food, and that's not the bad part.  The difficulty occurs when you make the leap from enjoyment OF food to getting your enjoyment FROM food.  The term "comfort food" is synonymous with, for the most part, food that is high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, or some combination thereof.  It is extremely difficult to leap back across the chasm from using food to make you feel good to using food to make you feel nourished.  There are no magic answers here, but we are, I think, at least on the right track to getting back control of our bodies so they can be naturally healthy.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Looked at some "diet supplements".  One thing that they seem to have in common is a little statement, usually in fine print, to the effect of "combined with a sensible diet and exercise".   Well.................DUH!   If you take some type of herbs, fine.  If you are doing it to "lose weight", you might just keep the $20, $30, $40 in your pocket and cut right to the "sensible diet and exercise" part.   I am not mentioning these things by name because I don't want to get into a big fight about this, but I'm really annoyed at the money that people waste everyday buying these things in the quest for the "magic bullet".     There is no magic bullet.  Your body just works in a particular way.  If you take a $40 a bottle herb and eat like a horse while you sit on your couch, you will continue to gain weight.  If you take the same pill and eat fewer calories per day than you burn, you will drop some weight.  The problem is, you'll also drop $40.  Don't fall into the trap.  The diet industry makes incredible amounts of money each year by preying on people's desire to be fit and healthy.  That was the reason that I started these postings.  Get in touch with what your body needs.  If you give it a chance, it will self-regulate, provided you are healthy.  Ease off on the caloric intake, ramp up the physical movement.....just a bit at a time, and you'll see results.   In this economic situation in our country, you don't need to buy a magic pill in order to eat a little less.   Even if such things DID work, do you want to be dependent upon some type of pill for the rest of your life in order to keep your weight down?  I don't think so.   Is it easy?  Nope.  But it is a simple equation.   Output of energy must exceed intake of food in order to lose some of your fat stores.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

This is all about simple things that work and don't cost a lot of money.  Sounds OK so far?  Thought so.  That's what you'll find here.  If it doesn't make sense to me, or is expensive, you won't see it here.

     I've had a long battle to control my weight. I'm doing ok with it, and want you to as well.  There are limitless plans and diets, pills, powders, etc. that offer the ultimate solution to weight control, but they mostly have one thing in common.  You're gonna pay somebody something for them.  What I do, (and that's all I'm saying here) is what I call Targeted Calorie Eating.

First of all, you need to make sure you're in good health before you go monkeying around with your diet/exercise, so be sure to talk to your Dr. before making any major changes, particularly if you have any health problems in the first place.

That being said, I looked around and came up with a rough figure that, with average movement during the day, you probably need about 13 times your body weight in calories during a day to approximately maintain your existing weight.  This isn't a scientific formula here, just something that sorta works for me.  For example, I currently weigh about 181 lbs.  181x13=2353.  That's kind of a rough number that I target to maintain that weight.  If I expend extra energy during a day, I give myself a bit more leeway.  I use 1 mile running @100 extra calorie allotment.  I also add that for about 1 hour general yard work, etc.  It's just rough, so you can play with it to see what works for you.  If you are at, for example, 181, and you want to go to, let's say, 175, you need to look at your calories needed to maintain 175 (175x13=2275), so you need to run a little bit of a calorie deficit.  If you set your weight goals in small increments like that, you don't make yourself crazy or walk around hungry all the time.  The difference between the two is only about 75 calories.  That's about 3/4 of an average banana, so we're not talking big sacrifices here.  You can achieve a calorie deficit in two ways: Eat a little less or Move around a little more.

      I've found that it helps me to keep a log of all caloric intake.   Particularly when you are just starting to pay attention to such things, it helps.  Things like salad dressings, butter, catsup, etc.  really sneak up on you, calorie-wise, and can bump your daily caloric intake way up before you realize it.  Keeping a log of everything you eat really helps give you perspective on what you actually consume during a day.  There is a calorie gadget on this blog that you can use, or you can use Caloriecount.about.com.  It gives you a lot of information and keeps track over time of info that you put in, if you want a history for reference.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The "feet" picture.  Kinda scary, I know.  Those are feet that are pretty much beat to hell by too many years and miles and miles in various "running shoes".  That name should be outlawed in the first place.  The "heel stompers" that you can buy from countless outlets unnaturally confine your feet, unnaturally cushion your heels to the point that you don't run the way your feet were DESIGNED to run.  The rubber, gel, goo, foam pillows under your heels prevent your feet from experiencing the joy of the run.  You consequently plod along, heel, toe, heel, toe, heel, toe.  In my opinion, and it is just that, everyone should dump those things unless you have some real medical reason to wear them.  Run like you were made to run.  I personally prefer to run in huaraches.  Little more than a piece of rubber out sole laced to your foot with some cord.  If you haven't tried it, you won't believe it.  Start slow,  just a little ways to let your feet live again.  Gradually increase your distance.  I usually run between 3 and 5 miles most days, and have had NO damage, blisters, etc. since I started wearing them.  I got them from InviibleShoe.com., a company which I consider a pioneer in the minimalist running gear arena.  Their link is on the right side of this page under "Useful Links".  Take a look at it.  They have TONS of useful information there.

Monday, October 17, 2011

That's right, defy your mother.  Remember when she said, "Finish that.  There's lots of kids who don't get enough to eat."  The intentions were admirable.  Don't waste food.  Think of others, etc.  Unfortunately, those starving kids are not gonna get that slice of Coconut Cream Pie that got plopped on your desk at work commemorating some innocuous birthday celebration.  Thank them for it, find a time when nobody's watching and dump it in the trash.  That's right....................WASTE IT!  You don't need it.  It's just going to end up encircling your abdomen.  DUMP IT!  If you can politely say "No thanks", obviously that's the way to go, but, as I have often seen, people are offended if you turn it down.  Our society seems to have an obsession with celebrating everything by having everyone eat a big plate full of CRAP!!   Happy Birthday!!  Eat some cake, have big scoop of ice cream on it, and how about some caramel and nuts on top of that?!!
     I'm not saying never eat cake.  I do, and there's nothing wrong with it.  I just refuse to be cornered into eating a big hunk of carbs that I didn't want in the first place, just to keep peace in the office.   The piece that I just surrepetitiously dumped in the trash was an extra 400 +- calories that I don't need today.  If you're gonna eat more, PLAN IT!  Manage the rest of your day's caloric intake so you can afford it.  It's a budget, plain and simple.  Don't take more than you can afford.  Your body uses a certain amount of energy every day, depending upon your activity level.  If you take in more, it goes to fat for use later.  If you take less, it burns off a bit of the stored energy to make up the deficit.   No hocus pocus here.  Just biology.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Remember the term "situational ethics?"  Essentially it means sacrificing your integrity for momentary expedience.  I realized that nearly ALL people in Western Society engage in "Situational Eating (c)" .  They may try and try to eat healthily, to lose weight, only to throw it all out the window because, for example;
a.  The host worked so hard on this dessert, so I really should have some.
b.  The kids left this, and I don't want it to go to waste
c.   It's my birthday, and I deserve a bigger slice of cake
d.   I haven't had home made ice cream in soooooooo long
e.   I have to travel, so there's no way to stay on my usual diet.
f.    I'm stressed
g.   I'm happy
h.   I'm sad
and last, but not least..................................................It's the HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!

Guilty?  Admit it.  I am.  Everyone is to some degree.    
There seems to be a mental "pass" that people give themselves when they want an excuse to over-indulge in food.  Holiday parties are the worst offenders, along with the well-intentioned office employee who wants to "treat" their co-workers by bringing in a dozen doughnuts to the office.   I've seen the office descend upon that box of carbs like jackals on a dead antelope.  Everyone is drowsy and non-productive an hour later when the sugar crash hits, but they'll repeat it the next time without hesitation.   The point is that your eating habits don't have to be tied to external situations.  Eat for nourishment.  Don't eat for fun.  Sorry, but that's what will work.  Our ancestors ate to survive.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I saw a post somewhere recently that said "Running=Medicine".  How true that is!   We have myriads of chemicals to try to force our body functions back to normal after a lifetime of abuse and neglect.  The human body, if healthy, will self-regulate, provided that you haven't abused it or neglected it to the point of no return.  The problem with these medications is that they nearly all have serious and multiple side effects.  Medicine to bring our blood sugar levels down, bring our blood pressure down, regulate our liver, prostate, kidneys, you name it.   If your physician says you need it, then you follow that advice.  The whole point is to AVOID needing it.  I'm pushing 60 now, and take no medicines.   Why?   Dunno.  Maybe good genetics, maybe good luck.  I think it's because I run.  Running helps regulate weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, makes you sweat out the crap in your pores, in your blood, in your body in general.  I think that's the answer.  If you're to the point that you waddle instead of walk, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!   Geez, don't expect some poor Dr. to have to chemically or surgically fix all the stuff you've been doing to that wonderful machine we call the human body for the last 20-50 years!  I'm just sayin.........

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Had unusual amount of stuff to eat over the holiday weekend.  Bratwurst, chips, beer, etc.  Hey, I do it too.  Lesson learned, though;  I noticed that my feet were swollen after all of that.  (TMI, I know).  Laid off the salt for a day and they went back to normal.  Got me to thinking that another thing we need to do to get back in touch with our evolutionary bodies is to knock off the salt.  It makes your body unnecessarily hang on to liquids.   Ogg didn't put salt all over his meat.  Our bodies weren't designed to handle the tons of salt that our society uses every year. 

     A theme has developed here.  Get back to walking, running, sitting, standing, eating, breathing, 'everythingelsing' like our ancestors did it.  Use some common sense with it, of course, but you get the general idea.  It's ok to eat food without seasoning it with a tablespoon of salt.  Salt is a bad habit that we've developed.  I'm as guilty (if not more so) than the next guy.  When you're 20, or 30, or maybe 40 you can get away with a lot of abuse to your body.  After that, you gotta start paying attention and quit doing stupid stuff like eating salt-laden foods, sitting on your butt, drinking beer, etc. or you WILL pay the price.  Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, you name it.  All that stuff is.........PREVENTABLE.  We don't have a health care crisis in this country, we've got a 'sitting on your butt eating crap' crisis.  I'm almost 59 years old.  I want to live to at least 100.  Long way to go, and the only way to get there is by taking the necessary steps to guard your health.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Touting the benefits of barefoot/minimalist running.  The whole movement makes sense.  If you see people walking, and look at their shoes, you see feet/toes, crammed into narrow toed shoes, often with a big heel causing your foot to continually slide down to the "point".  No wonder people have problems with their feet!  Began running in huaraches, the flat sandal similar to that used by the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico.  They are famous for running hundreds of miles, using only sandals made of tire tread, laced to their feet with leather thongs.  Running in huaraches, or better yet, barefoot is a truly liberating experience!  You must start slow, as your foot strike has to change from the plodding heel to toe gait that many runners have while wearing "running shoes" with heavy padding on the heels and throughout the foot pad.  Once you have done it, though, you realize that THIS is how your feet were designed to work by a million years of evolution.  I realize that the billions of dollars annually spent on the "Running Shoe Industry" is a horrible rip-off.  You won't find a better design than that which exists on the end of your leg already.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I realized something during my morning run today.  Fat is nature's way of telling you to get off of your butt.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I had an epiphany this morning.  The difficulty that people (including me, by the way) have with weight control is, that they try various methods to "control" their diet.  Well, you are fighting a hard-wired, millenia old genetic blueprint that is programmed for survival.  Your body wants energy, and it wants to store it for later when there is plenty available.  You have to give it what it needs, so you stop craving stupid things like ice cream, chips, etc. Your body recognizes these as sources of quick energy.  When you want something like this, you have to "re-learn" how to satisfy your body's request.  When there is an energy source available, if the body feels the need, it will DIRECT you to obtain that energy.  If you keep your body fueled up on good, long lasting food, particularly protein, you will see a much reduced desire for the crap that you have been eating.  Snacking on carrots is a waste of time.  They provide virtually no energy.  Neither do celery, broccoli, etc.  All of those are great sources of vitamins, etc., and you should include them in your diet, but when your body wants FOOD, go for the protein.

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