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Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.
  —  Saint Thomas Aquinas
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On This Day In:
2018 Seeking Finer Fruits
2017 Something That Is Absolute
2016 Animate And Encourage
Out Of Time
2015 In Time
2014 Robust Interconnectivity
2013 What Have We Here?
2012 Tributaries And Eddies
An Honest Politician
2011 Penultimate
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Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
  —  Quoting one of my Drill Sergeants and numerous other NCO’s I knew while in the Army
Today was supposed to be Day 6 of my juice diet / fast.  I fell off the wagon hard…
The plan this morning was to get a number of little chores done and then relax with the wife.  It didn’t end up that way (so far).  To start off with, I woke up feeling bad – nasal congestion and overall feeling “off”.  I was supposed to get a blood test in advance of a doctor’s appointment.  They were closed for the 4-day holiday weekend.  (The things you don’t think about when you’re retired and everyday is a holiday.)  Check, next.  Pick up brake light for car.  Check.  Wow!  Do I have a bad headache!!  Plug on.  Get cash at the bank.  Check.  Look for cooking book for wife.  Check.  Well, so-so.  I can’t find the book for her so I get myself a book from the $3 rack.  Does that count?  Yes.  Okay, check.  Wait.  I already gave myself a check for that…  On to the drug store to pick up some topical disinfectant.  Check.  Since the sporting kit store is right next door, why not?  Lots of interest, but nothing I want enough to spend money on today.  Check.  Man, my head is pounding…  I’m considering taking a Ricola drop for a shot of energy, but decide against because my stomach is also a bit upset.  I can’t tell if I’m going to heave or get the runs.
I got home and decided I was going to eat something bland-“ish” to settle my stomach and maybe help my head.  I settled on a square of cornbread.  It does help both my stomach and my head, but I’m still congested and feeling drained.  The wife says: “Just take a pill.”  I do and by the time I’ve finished walking the dog, the nasal congestion is clearing and my stomach is feeling better (more settled).  The wife asks me to go to the store and get some soup and ginger ale for her (she’s been under the weather for two days).
…Bad move!  Sending me to the store without adult supervision.  I buy her requests, but also get myself some “unhealthy” stuff for myself – as well as some okay stuff.  And…  We both have lunch.
And that’s why I didn’t make it through Day 6 of my seven day “diet / fast”.  Lesson learned?  The 6-P’s.
Moving forward, I’ll be taking tomorrow (New Year’s Day) off from the diet and I’ll be trying to start back up on either Wednesday or Thursday.  My initial plan for those two days was salad and more salad (and maybe some soup), so maybe I’ll just go ahead with that.  At this point I’m playing by ear.
And the results:  Starting weight on 26 December: 360lbs.  Ending weight on 31 December: 343lbs.  The scale is analog and was fluttering between 340lbs and 343lbs, so I’ll be conservative and call it 17lbs for the five days.  The question is was that any more than my other fasts?  Only slightly.  My last juicing fast (started in July) I lost 15lbs in the first five days and I was swimming for at least an hour three of those days.  I put it (the slight difference in weight) down to hard workouts on three(3) of the five days.  The workouts were 90minutes, 2 hours and 2 hours.  So, really, the longer duration of the workouts is marginally responsible for the extra pound or two of loss.  The big difference is how I felt.  The pool and veggie juice was invigorating me.  The weights and processed juices has seemed to be making me feel exhausted.  Well, it’s all purely subjective, but it’s something for  me to consider going into my next round – this week or next.  Small steps to better health…
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On This Day In:
2017 Best Wishes For 2018!
2016 Best Wishes For 2017!
2015 Better Red Than Dead
Tomorrow Starts A New Year
2014 Recovering
Best Wishes For 2015!
2013 Best Wishes For 2014!
2012 My Creed
2011 It Probably Isn’t So

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Okay.  So, yesterday went well.  I was not “hungry” per se, but I was missing chewing and the act of eating.  Anyway, I got through it.
Last night was my first visit back to Planet Fitness in ages.  Well, in ten days; but it felt like ages.  Nothing was “hard” like when you’ve stopped exercising for six months and you’re just starting up again, but I had little to no energy stores.  I walked / jogged 1.27 miles in 26:15 minutes.  Yes, I know.  Most people walk faster than that.  The truth is sometimes I do, too.  Rarely, but sometimes.  Anyway, it felt like I was in molasses.  I was okay for my 2 minute warm-up walk, but as soon as I started to jog – forgetaboutit.  So, I had to alternate slogging and walking to get through it.
I moved on to the calisthenics portion of my workout.  I have a cycle of crunches, inclined pushups and air squats which I run through.  I started out at five cycles, then eight cycles and for the last couple of days (about a week) before my Christmas break, I was up to ten cycles – about 45 – 50 minutes.  Last night I struggled to get to eight.  It wasn’t “hard”.  I just felt exhausted.  After my cycles, I did a few minutes of rowing.  And that was it.  My “normal” workout usually runs about two hours and includes stretching and lots more weights (light weights, but high volume reps).  Last night was cut short and was still about 90 minutes because I was moving so slow.  Still, I went to the gym and plowed through it…
One interesting point:  My face is already starting to get the “oily / waxy”, moist feeling on my forehead, nose and cheeks.  This normally happens around day 6 or 7.  I don’t know why it seems to be happening sooner than “normal”.  At first, I used to worry about acne when this started, but in all of my fasts (long and short over a dozen in my life), it has never ended up causing a breakout of  acne.  Actually, I find it kind of makes my face look younger – smoother and better hydrated.  So, that’s a good thing.
And before I forget:  this morning’s weigh-in was 349lbs.  That’s down from Boxing Day weight of 360lbs.  Day Two’s weight was 353lbs.  Basically, that’s water retention loss from all the salt and sugar consumed on Christmas day.  My weight on Christmas morning was 355lbs.  So, really we’re talking about six pounds from then, and not  eleven pounds from the “start” of the diet / fast.  Please recall I am trying to not worry about day-to-day losses and gains as much as I am three and four day trends.  Of course, first I have to get past four days…  LOL
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On This Day In:
2017 Daily, Mr. President, Daily
2016 We Did This
2015 I’m Talking To You
Forced (Again)
2014 We Are Not A Fearful Nation!
2013 Risking Truth
2012 Working On Reality
2011 Massive Contradictory Changes

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After a hearty Christmas dinner, it’s back to thinking about health and weight.  Improve the former.  Decrease the latter.  So, it’s back on the “juice / blend” diet for a while.
I started my last diet / fast back at the end of July and went 42 days.  I was at my lifetime maximum weight of 380lbs when I started and got down to 311lbs.  I was surprised how quickly the  weight has come back.  This morning I weighed in at 360lbs.  My previous max was in running shorts, barefoot and t-shirt.  This mornings weigh-in was with jeans, running shoes and a sweatshirt.  The prior max was with me standing on the scale in a precise location so I could try to standardize my weigh-ins.  At this time of year, it is too cold to try to do the same, so I will be wearing various clothes / shoes.  This means I can’t sweat a one or two pound gain or celebrate a one or two pound loss.  After all, it could just be a change of shoes.  What I have to concentrate on is not daily weighing, but 3 and 4 day trends.
My recent readings on weight maintenance have said the body seeks to find the old weight when you come off of a diet (plus a few extra).  This is what causes the “rebound” effect almost all dieters have of regaining everything you lost plus a couple.  I have been hovering around the 350lbs level for about four weeks now.  My goal is to start working back down to that level (with a 7 day juice fast) and then see how it goes from there.  That’s the same plan I had for my last fast (keep a short term goal clearly in sight) and it worked pretty well.  Anytime I do anything to try to change my body, (sleep, diet or exercise) I try to make sure I’m “listening” to my body.  Hopefully, by starting the diet at 30lbs lighter (actually 20lbs as of this morning), I have re-set my body weight at or near the 350lbs level, so when I come off I’ll only rebound to somewhere near there minus a few.
So: exercise more regularly at the gym, fast for a kick-start, eat healthier choices when I come off the fast.  It remains true that it is practically impossible to lose weight from just exercise.  Eating poorly (calorie dense) will always more than counter any benefit from exercise.  To lose weight, I have to eat better, sleep more regularly (and longer – minimum of 7hrs), and exercise.  So, here I go again…  Wish me luck!
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On This Day In:
2017 Biased World View
2016 Control In The Age Of Entanglement
2015 Okay, Maybe Not Ceaseless
2014 Can Do
2013 Are You Helping?
2012 Inside All Truth Is A Vacuum
2011 So, Whom Are We Trying To Fool Then?

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Back in July / August I completed a 42 day juice fast.  It was originally scheduled as a 7 day starter to kick off an attempt at changing my eating habits.  I began the fast at 380 pounds and finished at 311 pounds.  In the past, I tended to regain any weight lost from fasting at a rate of about 5lbs  per year (after regaining immediate stomach content and water weight).  This time, that hasn’t happened at all.  As of this morning, I am at 353 pounds – give or take 5 pounds for variations in clothing.  While I am still down 25 pounds, I’ve regained (almost immediately) close to  2/3rds of the weight I lost in the fast.  That’s the bad news…
The good news is that I joined Planet Fitness at the end of last month and the results of the workouts have been good physically, even if not demonstrated on the scale (yet).  I promised a review of Planet Fitness and the rest of this post will be about that…  (This is kind of a long post.  So, if you are not interested in a Planet Fitness review for any reason, feel free to leave now and come back tomorrow…)
Planet Fitness (PF) is a relatively low cost, 24 hour access gym who’s mottos are: “no intimidation & judgment free zone”.  In other words, it caters to those who don’t have money to go to a “normally” priced ($50-$100 / month) gym AND to those who really don’t know much about working out (newbies) AND those who are not serious about lifting heavy weights.  FP has two plans: $22 and $10.  The “Black” card membership gets you access to a few “perks” (bring a friend, use any PF facility, free tanning and free hydro-massage bed).  The cheaper, “White” card is the plan I chose.  I don’t have any friends to come workout with me.  I don’t want to travel to another facility.  My club is a 3 minute drive from my house.  Five minutes if I miss the one light on the way there.  And lastly, I’m not sure I’m interested in tanning or massages.  In addition to the monthly dues, there is a joining fee ($40) and there is always an annual fee ($40).  The joining fee is normally discounted at least one week a month.  I waited until  it was $1.50 to join.  The annual fee is normally scheduled at two months after you join and payments are auto-debited from your bank.  So, reaaalllyyy, it works out to either $13 / month for the “white” card membership or $24 / month for the “Black” card membership.  Either way, it’s less than $1 per day for 24 hour access.
There are three things which always get a lot of comments in reviews of Planet Fitness:  Pizza, Bagels and Tootsie Rolls.  A slice of pizza is free on the first Monday of each month at 6pm and at 8pm.  (These are the times for “my” gym.  Yours may vary.)  Bagels are for the morning of the first Tuesday of each month.  And, Tootsie Rolls (mini’s) are available 24 hours at the front desk / reception area.  If you want one, take one.  I have not indulged in the pizza or bagels, because I wasn’t there at the correct time to receive them.  I have had a single Tootsie Roll and, yes, they are the same as when I was a kid.  Are these items helpful to those of us trying to shed pounds?  NO!  But, if you are that upset by the give-aways, don’t take them.  I’m not normally one to promote temptation, but I also believe in a little personal responsibility…  In other words, they don’t bother me.
Facilities:
Weights:  limited.  There are free benches, fixed-weight barbells (up to 50 pounds) and fixed-weight dumbbells (up to 70 pounds).  There are also a number of racks for lifting (called “Smith Machines”) which can be used for variable weights and go up fairly heavy.  I believe the maximum weight would probably be “around” 450 pounds with 5X45lbs on each side.  I don’t care for Smith machines because they are designed for safety and sacrifice free motion for the increased “safety”.  Because the barbell / weights follow a track, you don’t really get to “feel” the weight the same as you would if the weight / bar were free.  If the machine happens to be a good track for your particular body structure, more power to you.  If it doesn’t, I believe you are more likely to get injured by not following a path “normal” for you.  Still they are better than nothing.
Other Weight Machines:  The PF I go to has 2 or 3 of about 15 different types of weight machines.  This include the basic “Nautilus” style circuit / cable setups and fixed “iso” machines.  I like the cable machines because I can alternate between one or two handed grips and they allow you the more natural range of motions which the Smith machines do not.  I have not used many of the “iso” machines, but they have the same issue as the Smith Machines and are even more limited in weights because you can’t add more weight to them.  Having said this, for the target membership of beginner users, the amount of weight is generous.  All the ones I’ve actually looked at went up to at least 250 pounds.  That is FAR more than any (99.9999%) new lifter will ever need.
Aerobic Machines:  PF probably has 75+ aerobic “type” machines…  Stairmasters, treadmills, stationary cycles (normal and recumbent), and elliptical.  Interestingly (to me), they don’t have any rowing machines (which I like using).  They do have cables rows and iso-machine rows, but not actual rowing machines.  This means you cannot exercise both your arms and legs concurrently.
Specialty Rooms:  PF has three “specialty” rooms.  One is for “Hips & Abs”.  One is for an “express” 30-minute workout.  And the last one is for Synergy 360.  These can be used for classes / group workouts or individually.  If you are not “in” the class, you may be asked to leave the room.  I have not joined any classes (and probably won’t).  I use everything by myself.  There are also a few (I’ve counted three) mats for you to use for stretching / floor workouts.  All in all though, there is not a lot of free floor space for stretching / yoga type activity.
Changing Rooms:  The changing rooms have toilets, showers and lockers.  The lockers are “supposed” to be day use only (take your lock with you when done), but there are four full sized  lockers and they seem to have permanent locks on them.  I have been there when there  were fewer than five male patrons and over 15 locks were on lockers, so obviously, the “day use” locker’s rule is not enforced.  Generally, the changing rooms and toilets look well maintained.
Staff:
So far, I’ve found the staff to be friendly, professional and competent.  They greet me when I come in and say good-bye (or wave) when I leave.  They will come help you with a machine, but they do not appear to watch the users to see if they are struggling or need assistance.  If asked, they will give you a tour of the facility and highlight the functions of some of the equipment, but I had the tour and they never specifically showed me how to use ANY single piece of equipment.  In theory, the labels on the kit solves / explains most of  this, but I still prefer human instruction.  But that’s just me…  They will stop their own “personal” conversations if they are approached by a member with a question.
Conclusion:  The price is very reasonable for the facility and access AND the gym is less than a mile from my front door.  Most of my initial soreness is gone and I’m just in my go and get sore for the day phase.  I will admit, I do NOT like crowds and I actively avoid going during their busiest times.  I have been there one time when almost every aerobic and weight bench was in use.  There were still some free iso-machine stations and you just have to get on with whatever you can.  Fortunately, few folks seem to stay as long as I do, so eventually, the machine / space I want to use opens up for my use.  After just about completing my first month (I’ve been 13 out of 24 calendar days), I am pretty happy with my decision to join.
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On This Day In:
2017 The Great Leveler
Conservative Depressions
2016 Election + 1 Month
2015 Dance And Sing
2014 A Measuring Stick For Progress
2013 Courtly Love Or Victory Over Habit
2012 Have We Met?
2011 Efficiently Useless

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A Reluctant Joiner

Before dinner, I swung by Planet Fitness to become a $10 / mth member.  The place was chock-a-block full (not a good sign for me).  I had to drive around the parking lot to find a place to park.  Fortunately, there seems to be a lot of turnover, so I was able to find a spot.  When I got back to my car, only one of the original parked cars was still there.  There was a guy on his phone still sitting there in the car parked on the driver’s side.  I assume he was waiting for his spouse, girl friend or child.
I don’t consider myself a “joiner”, so this has been a difficult decision for me.  I’m a fairly “private” person who likes to do his own thing.  I know that sounds funny coming from someone who’s had blog for almost 10 years, but it’s how I “feel” I am.  (Besides, I “really” only have about ten(10) people following me on any given post.)  I also normally prefer being out jogging in the air and sunshine or working out with my own kit, instead of inside on a treadmill or on  a bunch of machines.  I’m hoping paying money will help with my motivation and get me working out more routinely now that the pool is closed for the winter and I’m no longer swimming 4 to 5 times a week.  A couple of years ago I decided I was too old for cold, wet and  dark.  One or (sometimes) two – maybe – but not all three.  This will eliminate all three of those reasons / excuses, too.  So, we’ll see how it goes…  Who knows, maybe I’ll do a review.  (LOL)
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On This Day In:
2017 He Says, It Says
2016 Marriage Advice
2015 To James (and ‘Tasha)
2014 Ssshhush, You Are Not Alone
2013 So I Chose Living…
2012 For However Short A Time…
2011 Take A Deep Breath And Continue (Or Not)
2010 Tootsie-Roll Day

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Today was the last day of the season for our neighborhood (outdoor) pool.  We’ve lived in the area since 2000 and I’ve never used the pool more than a dozen times in a single year.  Most years, it’s been less than five times.  Most years it’s been zero.  At any rate, I told myself: “Once I’ve retired, I’m going to use the pool.”  Well, this year I’ve been 94 times and only once was for less than an hour.  The vast majority of times I’ve only been treading water for the hour and then (maybe) doing a few lengths to stretch out at the end.  The last month, I’ve done breast stroke for the hour – almost exclusively.  I must admit I’ve really enjoyed both the treading and the breast stroke.  And now I’m looking forward to next year and hoping for a mild spring so the pool can open in early / mid-May…  Maybe next year I’ll learn how to free-style…
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On This Day In:
2017 And Some Of Us Have Books
2016 I See No Proof
2015 Whither Tea Party?
2014 Nothing Is Known Absolutely
2013 Decoration Time
2012 The Beatitudes
2011 Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
2010 Back On The Asphalt
No Sweep – Rangers Win Game 3 by 4 to 2
Greek Myths For Kids

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