Walking

Walking on the road where I live is not a good option. There is a lot of high-speed truck traffic, and the scenery is basically run down rural. I just got back from Plymouth Township Park, which is close enough I can get there in ten minutes. It is off the road, and they have well-paved walking paths.

Another benefit of this park for walking is that it is on a hill. There is about a hundred foot rise to the path, and the path is just about a mile in length, so one round of the path is a mile. Fully half of this is uphill. The park is busy, but it is mostly families and their children playing, and there is usually no bike traffic on the walking path.

Today was hot and humid, but I made it around one circuit of the park in 25 minutes. I worked up a bit of a sweat, and listened to some cool music on my mp3 player. I know it was just one mile, but to burn off 100 honest calories and get some leg exercise was a good thing. It was just starting to rain when I got in the truck and left the park.

Consider making a regular walking routine part of your day. Find a place close to home and get some good walking shoes. Take along some music, but skip the soda. Water is basically free, and good water bottles can be had for a song. It would be best if you took along a friend so you can encourage each other in your efforts to get into better shape, and maybe share stories from your busy day. You can walk early in the morning or in the evening if your day is too busy to find free time. Winter weather can put a stop to your walking activities due to ice and snow, but then, there are always skis and snowshoes.

The Obesity Epidemic

The number of people who have a weight problem in this world continues to increase. In the developed world there is an abundance of cheap, high-calorie food. This food is often purchased from restaurants and fast food places, and tends to be filled with fat and flavor enhancers to keep people coming back for more. Also, with modern electronic conveniences, more and more people spend all day sitting in front of screens instead of doing physical activities. This easy access to lousy food and inactivity leads to a general increase in the body weight of our populations.

Obesity comes with a lot of associated health problems. Heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and other chronic diseases are on the rise. Our bodies are designed to store excess foods for times of scarcity. The problem is, with industrial society, this scarcity never comes. If you keep filling up the tub and never let any water run out, it is going to overflow.

Many people in our society drink sugar-laden pop and juice instead of water. Coffee from places like Starbucks is jacked full of sugar to make it more appealing and addictive. Liquid calories spike insulin, as they are quickly absorbed. The excess blood sugar is shunted through the liver into adipose tissue instead of being burned for energy. And we do not burn much energy sitting on the couch watching TV.

The only way to overcome obesity is to take charge of our own lives and gain control over what we eat and our activity level. It is hard to exercise when you carry 50 extra pounds of fat. Movement takes more effort, and it becomes easy to sit around and do nothing. Jabba the Hut didn’t move much in the Star Wars movie, and seriously obese people have the same issue.

Walking is perhaps the best exercise if you have a weight problem. Most people have minimal trouble walking. It is an activity that can be done alone, with a partner, or in groups. In our world isolated by social media, I think you will find that solitary exercise is the norm. You can always listen to music to ease the boredom of repetitive activity, and there are always scenic parks where you can go to get away from traffic on the roads. It takes time to burn up our food calories and stores of body fat. Walking burns about 100 Calories per mile for the average overweight person, and there are about 3500 calories in a pound of body fat. If you carried 50 pounds of excess fat, as I do, this would mean you could walk about 1800 miles before you depleted your excess body fat.

Watching what we eat and limiting food to a reasonable level is a quicker means of losing weigh. This means not only that we should keep an eye on calories and not over-consume, but also that we should pay attention to just what nutrients we are eating. You can lose weight on a diet of Twinkies and soda, but it is not going to be good for your health. A better plan is to get good proteins, limited fats, and carbohydrates from whole foods such as oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. A good intake of protein will also allow our muscles to grow, if we challenge them with a reasonable amount of exercise.

I have written this post largely as a little talk to myself to get the ball rolling and lose my own excess weight. I never used to be obese until the doctors put me on my medications, and it has been a real challenge to get active and mind my food intake, as the medication makes me both hungry and lethargic. It just means I have to fight harder to get to my fitness goals, and I have to be very mindful with what I put into my body for food. Right now I am going to hop in the truck and drive to the local park and take a good long walk. You can talk the talk all you want, but if you want to see results you have to walk the walk. Take care.

Alcohol

Drinking leads to many problems in life if it gets out of control. Alcohol is not your friend if you are trying to get into better shape. It makes you fat and lazy drinking all those beers. Some people go through life drinking every day, but that is just not normal. Beer has a lot of empty calories, and booze in general rots your liver and kills nerve cells.

I have a bit of a drinking problem myself. When I get together with my girlfriend all she wants to do is get drunk and smoke cigarettes. This is taking its toll on my body, as I don’t like her to party alone. She will drink until she makes herself sick, and then I have to be the doctor and get her to sip pop and eat some food until her stomach comes back to normal. Alcoholism is very much a social disease. Seriously, if nobody told you about getting drunk, would you ever figure out how to press grapes and let the juice ferment in a vat for days, then drink the resulting slurry? I kind of doubt it.

Alcohol is a depressant and triggers the GABA neurotransmitter. GABA is an inhibitory messenger, and tells our brains to slow down and get excited and depressed all at the same time. We lose our inhibition and our common sense. Over time GABA levels drop, as our brain tries to maintain balance, and when we don’t drink we do not feel normal any more until we go through a long recovery. Alcoholism is a form of slavery in which we are compelled to give our hard-earned money to the booze factory to pay for our own happiness. It is just a bad condition to be in all around.

In life we should be getting satisfaction from our jobs, our families, our friends, our hobbies. We should be doing real things that have an actual benefit. Alcohol makes us just want to sit around and do nothing but drink more and more and live in our own little isolated world. I have wasted years of my life as a slave to the bottle. There are more positive addictions we should be spending our time developing. It is good to be addicted to good, healthy eating habits. It is good to become addicted to exercise and sports. Activity is what our bodies are designed to perform. The reason we have muscles is so that we can move and do the necessary work. The reason we have a mind is so that we can reason out situations and figure out how to solve our problems. We are not here to turn ourselves into quivering masses of diseased jelly by drinking all the Bud Light in the county.

Addiction is a hard problem to solve. People need to wake up on their own and decide one day that there are better things in life than chasing down delusions that wear off in the morning and leave us sick. But you can not reach people by telling them they are wrong. People will not listen to you if you tell them there is a better way and that they are killing themselves with their boozing. We must be a good example for people and show them by our own behavior that happiness is not in the bottom of a can of beer, but in the loving arms of our friends and families, and that a better life lies in making our bodies and minds healthier, and with finding true happiness in our own accomplishments.

You Are What You Eat

This is true in a very real sense. Our diets determine a lot about our lives. We can eat junk food, too many fat and sugar calories, and grow fat and soft ourselves. We can fill up on fatty cuts of meat and end up with clogged arteries and diabetes. Or we can eat healthy, fulfilling whole foods and bring our bodies to a state of health and well-being.

I have personally struggled with diet all my life. For most of my life I ate what my family put on the table. Good home-cooked meals are a blessing, but when those meals are full of lousy nutrients, it takes a toll on our bodies. Meat, dairy and eggs are not the only sources of protein. Whole grains, beans, lentils, peas and soy are all sources of good plant-based protein. A varied diet has other benefits as well. Plants have fiber, which helps our digestive systems move things along. Fruit is full of vitamins and simple carbs for quick energy. Vegetables have many nutrients science has yet to discover. We do our bodies good by eating good foods.

In our modern world people rely too much on fast food and restaurants. My nurse yesterday told me there is a hepatitis outbreak recently linked to restaurant food. I have already been vaccinated, and I rarely eat at restaurants. This hepatitis outbreak kinda grosses me out, because hep is spread through contamination with fecal matter. I really don’t want to think about cooks not washing their hands after going to the toilet, and then preparing my food. This is just another reason to cook for yourself.

This morning I had some oatmeal and blueberries, some ground flax seeds, and some walnuts, all for the beneficial omega-3 oils they contain. There is no need to take fish oil, which is usually contaminated with mercury and other toxins from our polluted oceans. As long as we get enough good foods, any shortages in essential oils can be made up by our own bodies from healthy food. For lunch I am having navy beans and broccoli. After lunch I am going to get to work on the lawn. I feel good this morning, and it is a bright, sunny summer day.

If we want to have healthy, good-looking bodies, the best place to start is with our diets. A vitamin pill is good insurance to take as well, in case we don’t get enough micronutrients from our food. B-12 is in short supply in vegan food, but is easily available as a supplement. I take a full compliment of vitamins and have fairly decent health. I almost never get sick, and I am working on becoming more active every day. Good food and good activity are what we need as human beings. Sitting all day in front of a TV or computer will eventually take its toll on our health. Get up, get active, and cook your own food. That is the recipe for success.

Motivation

Motivation is something we all lack from time to time. What gets us out of bed in the morning? What tells us to hit those weights in the gym or go for that bike ride? We all have our own motivations to do the things we do, but we must develop the motivation to do the things we should be doing.

I got out of bed this morning and looked for motivation in a cup of coffee. I looked for motivation in inspirational videos online. What I found is that my motivation comes from within my psyche, and it is the things I should be doing to live a healthier, fitter life that gets me going in the morning. Not caffeine, not coaching, and certainly not a sense of obligation. Motivation is desire.

This morning I spent an hour on my desk spinner. I ate a healthy breakfast of oatmeal and blueberries. I took my vitamins. I sized up the yard and see it has to be mowed soon. And right now I am working on my blog. Motivation takes many forms. It is the desire to improve our lot in life that moves us forward. It is not good enough to be satisfied with what we have. We need to want to improve our lives, and we need the basic knowledge to make good decisions about our diet and activity.

Right now I am motivated to do something about dinner later, so I am off to the store before it gets too crowded. Later I will be motivated to hit the weights and build some new muscle. I will be motivated all day to stick to my eating plan and to healthy vegan foods. A new goal I decided on yesterday is to become more active and spend more time on my feet moving around. The time to type is over for now, it is time to get going and get some work done.

A Healthy Diet

I have been trying to do some research on a healthy diet. This did not involve just reading about foods or watching videos, but also some self-experimentation. I learned some things that are interesting.

When I eat too much protein I get constipated, to the point I need laxatives. The human body just does not need or is able to process tons of protein. You need some, which we can easily get from basic foods, but too much clogs up the system.

I found that I seem to lose weight only on plant-based foods. I am at about 220 pounds body weight now, and need to drop another 50 pounds of fat. The weight does not come off when I eat meat, eggs, and dairy. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables now, get my protein from beans and lentils, and make sure to have some fiber running through my guts to flush out the crap.

Now, the web. There are so many conflicts about diet on the web it beggars description. People get really bent out of shape about what they eat and about what other people eat. You have the vegans on one side, saying only eat plants, and you have the carnivores on the other saying only eat meat. The only people in the middle are the ones eating twinkies. And they argue with each other, a lot. My own opinion is that I am not going to change how other people eat, I can only change how I eat myself.

A healthy diet is one that provides you all the macro and micro nutrients you need to support a healthy body weight. It is also a diet that will not promote chronic disease like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. My own opinion is that plant-based foods are right for me because I feel good, my blood pressure has come down to normal, I don’t have weird cravings for things like alcohol, and I am losing some of my excess weight. It is also kinder to animals, as there is none of their suffering in my food.

One thing about vegan foods is that you can eat a good deal of food and still not consume too many calories. Seriously, salad has like 50 calories in a big bowl, unless you load it up with 200 calories of ranch dressing. I even bought some low calorie oil free dressing for my salad, and it is fairly good. Broccoli has very few calories as well, a little protein, and lots of good phytochemicals that can keep estrogen in check if you are a man, as I am. Carrots are full of natural vitamin A, all fruits have good amounts of vitamins, and fresh foods are full of vital energy to keep you wide awake and aware after a meal, not passed out in a tryptophan coma after gobbling down that Thanksgiving gobbler.

What you eat is your own business, but if you are like me and seriously overweight you might consider going vegan in your diet for your health and to lose some excess weight. We live in a world of cheap food that is often unhealthy. If you eat at restaurants or fast food joints, you might consider making a trip to the grocery store and loading up on whole, healthy foods and learning how to cook. Cooking is a basic life and survival skill we all should have. It is also cheaper and cleaner than paying some stranger to prepare and serve your food, and will be a good start on getting your diet under control and getting some healthy nutrition into your body so you can beat whatever problems you have and get back into good shape and live a long, healthy life.

Get In Shape

Part of getting into shape is getting off your ass and getting things done. A big part of fitness is also watching your diet. This blog is my trigger to do both. I will keep a log of my activities here and post my progress at getting into better shape. Personally, I have a few health problems. I am obese at the moment and on heavy psych meds which have caused this weight gain. This shit makes you hungry and lethargic. So I am doing my best to get motivated and make some progress towards my ideal body.

I apologize to any polite readers for my rather blunt language. I don’t hold with being overly formal and proper. Some things bother me about my life, and about the state of information on the net these days. It seems everybody has an agenda. Everybody is selling some product or system. Well, I have so little traction here nobody is going to give me consideration for a post here. And nobody is going to pay me to write a post for their blog either. But we all start with nothing in this world, and it is important to use what we have to make a go of things.

I will be writing short articles about fitness and diet, even though I am no expert. Perhaps I will throw in some recipes I try. Perhaps I will review some online information and leave a link. I mean, blog is short for web log, and it was originally made to point to interesting content on the web. A list if you will of perhaps useful information. I see no reason not to link or embed YouTube videos on various subjects, as I spend a lot of time every day reviewing other people’s work on that site. I don’t spend a lot of time listening to music these days either, unless Janell is over.

That’s all for the first post on this blog. I need to become more of a writer and less of a diarist. My personal life is of little importance in the grand scheme of things, and how other people build a following here with nothing but stories about their own lives I don’t even know. More to come soon.