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    Tuesday
    May102011

    I Am An Addict

    Addictions suck.  If you don’t think so, just try getting addicted to something and then try to give it up.  You know – just put it down, walk away, and never go back.

    Easy peesy.  Right?

    I am an addict, and soda is my drug.  Despite knowing that drinking soda is akin to consuming liquid toxic waste, I still can’t break my dependency on the stuff. 

    I had a moment of epiphany the other day.  It was in a period of desperate tiredness and strong thirst that I grabbed an ice-cold bottle of my fizzy friend and popped the top.  I took a swallow and came about this |  | close to being orgasmic.  I felt all quivery and heart-fluttery.  It's possible my loins even tingled a little. 

    TMI.  Sorry.

    I think I downed half the bottle in the first few swallows and then came to the sudden realization that I was enjoying this experience perhaps a little too much.

    I’m not proud of this addiction.  I’m a bit ashamed, actually, that I can come on here and speak about the horrors and inherent dangers of the chemical hodgepodge that makes up soda while I secretly cower in the corner of a dark room getting my bloat on.

    Yeah, I’m a hypocrite.  But I’m an honest hypocrite, and that has to account for something.

    A few weeks ago, I tried to quit cold turkey.  I was drinking a gallon of water a day and trying to act like I enjoyed it.  But caffeine is a bitch, and she likes to lay the smack down when she doesn’t have her way.  I made it 2 weeks before I popped the top again and fell off the wagon.  The grip on my brain was loosened and the headaches went away.  The fatigue was replaced by sugar highs and caffeine rushes.  I didn’t necessarily feel ‘better’; I just felt a little closer to ‘normal’.

    So I’m back to square 1. 

    Again. 

    Dammit.

    There’s a solution to this problem.  I know there is.  It can’t involve will-power or chemical means because I don’t have the former and don’t want the latter. 

    Until a complete solution is found, I shall try to keep consumption in moderation.

    And I’ll hope that people can forgive me for being a hypocritical junkie.

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    Monday
    Mar282011

    10 Unsettling Facts about Diet Soda

    I received an email a few weeks ago from Christine at radiologytechnicianschools.net inviting us to share this article about diet sodas with our readers.  People ask me quite often what I think about diet soda as an alternative to regular soda consumption.  My answer is usually something like, "You'd be better off eating the bottle the diet soda comes in rather than drinking the soda itself."  If regular soda is a nutritional wasteland, then diet soda is a chemical catastrophe.

    If you want to drink a non-water beverage during the day, you'd do well to stick to soy milk, iced tea with Splenda, and limited amounts of fruit juice.

    Thanks, Christine, for sharing this article with us.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    We've all heard that if you're going to drink sodas, choose diet. This may seem like the best option for diabetics and people who are watching their weight, but there is more to consider when drinking diet sodas than just calories. We may not know exactly what these carbonated colas are doing to our bodies, but there is plenty of research that suggests they aren't doing much good. Here are 10 unsettling facts about diet soda:

     

    Click here to read the rest of this article.

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    Thursday
    Mar032011

    Reader Question

    Reader Teresa at our Wo40 Facebook Page asks a really good question.  I'm posting it here for everyone's benefit.

    "Question for ya Keith.  I'm trying to lose weight. I have limited my calories to 1200 a day and doing the elliptical 48 mins 4-5 days a week.  Am I eating the right amount of calories?" 

    Excellent question, Teresa!  The answer is actually quite individual, so just a "yes" or "no" won't work.  My suggestion is that you go to http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/ and get 2 numbers.  The first is your basal metabolic rate (BMR for short).  After you have that number (it will show up in the green bar once you hit the "Calculate BMR" button), scroll down a little and click on the "Harris Benedict Equation" link.  Do a little math and get an approximate count of your daily calorie burn.

    When you have those numbers, I recommend 2 things: never let your calorie intake go below the first number, and stay about 500 calories below your second number.  I'll use myself as an example:
    My BMR is about 1910 cal/day.  My HB number is 2960 calories/day.  My daily intake goal should be about 2400 cal/day and should never fall below 1910 cal/day.

    For the record, my wife's HB number is 2075 and her BMR is 1339.  Assuming you're in the same general ballpark as my wife, 1200 calories is too low for your dietary needs.  Cutting calories too drastically will cause your body to retain fat as a source of emergency energy rather than using it now for energy.  The eventual results will be slow metabolism, sluggish feelings, and really slow weight loss.

    Contrary to what a lot of people believe, you have to EAT to DROP FAT.  If that isn't good news, I don't know what is!

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    Saturday
    Feb122011

    Growing or Dying

    Years ago someone told me this simple truth:
    Nothing in life is ever stagnant.  Everything is either growing or it is dying.  There is no middle ground.

    As long as someone chooses to do nothing beneficial to his health, he will be in a state of gradual dying.  Chances are likely that you know people who have chosen just such a life.  The light of life has left them.  Their fondest desire is to make it to the weekend so they can "rest" - the code word for doing absolutely nothing.  Their most exertive activity is walking to and from the car or fridge.

    A person in this state of existence surely is dying.  They are essentially committing protracted suicide.  Their inert bodies cease to function properly.  Body systems begin to weaken.  Muscles atrophy until the very act of standing and walking becomes a labor.  The weakened body becomes susceptible to sickness and disease - type-2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and a host of other maladies - until it just gives up.  Everything stops.

    Death.

    Contrast all of that dying with the person whose body is constantly in motion (relatively speaking, of course).  The muscles get stronger, the body leaner, and the senses sharper.  This body is growing, changing for the better.  LIVING.

    It's all a matter of choice.  Our human condition affords us the uncanny opportunity to choose which path to walk.  We can choose to get up and move or sit down and vegetate.  We choose to live, or we choose to die.

    Often a choice is never made; one just engages in death by default because the choice to grow and live was never made.  There is no escaping choice (cue The Matrix Reloaded music).

    Sometimes people are fooled into thinking that they no longer have a choice - they're too old or too fat to get moving.  These delusions are the by-product of an earlier forgotten choice (or failure to make a choice) to let death have its way for however long it takes to run its course.

    However it works out, the fact remains: people are where they are because they choose to be there.

    Occupying the middle ground is impossible, because, well, the middle ground does not exist.  The minute one stops exercising, the minute he stops engaging in regular movement, or the minute he decides to go back to eating junk is the same minute his body begins the regressive path toward death.  There is no "in between" place.  Sure, the body will take time to add the pounds back on, but the dying process truly began with the choice to neglect the body and its needs.

    We all face the same choice - growing or dying.  Refusing or failing to choose is the equal to choosing the path toward an early grave.  Choosing to grow through exercise and nutrition is a choice to live.

    It doesn't get any clearer than that.

     

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    Friday
    Feb112011

    6 Reasons to Work Out with Your Lover

    What better person to bring into your fitness routine than the one that means the most to you?  The benefits to both partners are numerous - better health, fewer doctor's visits, and less money spent on prescriptions among them. 

    That's all well and good, but let's look at 6 better reasons to work out with your partner - reasons that will strengthen both your bodies and your relationship.

    1 - Stick-to-it-tive-ness.  Studies have shown that up to 94% of couples that engage in a training regimen together are more likely to stick to it long-term.  Considering the frequency with which individuals just stop their training due to a lack of accountability, there's a lot to be said for the accountability that comes from having someone in your own home to answer to when you're sipping on a beer while sitting in the La-Z-Boy.

    2 - The Adventure.  Couples open themselves to entirely new worlds to explore when they are on a fitness quest.  Nature hikes, runs on the beach, and taking bicycle rides are just some of the adventurous things you can do when you step out of the gym and have a little getaway time.  Seeking out new places to visit and how to have fun workouts while you're there is a great way to bond as a couple.  And it's fun, too!

    3 - Bonding.  Few things compare to watching your partner overcome the tough reps or gut out the last 30 seconds of a high intensity interval.  When you are the one standing over that bench encouraging them to pushpushpush to finish that last rep, something happens to BOTH partners.  The working partner gets the energy that comes from the encouragement, and the spotting partner feels pride for having witnessed the one he or she loves overcome adversity to become a better person.  Great feelings on both ends of that spectrum.

    4 - Common Interest.  With busy lives and individual careers pushing partners in opposite directions, it's a blessing to have at least one activity in which both partners can equally participate.  Fitness training gives partners something to do together and something to discuss outside of the gym.  Contrast that with couples that do not share common interests.  They eventually have nothing to talk about, since the "How was your day?" line of conversation only goes so far.

    5 - Kid-Free Time.  Parents often find that time without children comes at a premium.  An hour a day at the gym can be a blessing to uninterrupted communication.  More important, the kid-free time gives partners the opportunity to focus their attention solely on each other.  Nothing but good can come from that!

    6 - The SEX!  What else could conceivably happen when both partners are bonding, self-improving, and getting in great shape?  Fantastic sex is a natural by-product of all the other benefits of working out with your partner.  When both of you look great, have higher self-esteem, and have boosted testosterone levels, you will find it more difficult to keep your hands off of each other.  Not only will the sex be more frequent, but it will also be more intense and satisfying.

    Ready to hit the gym?

     

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