Baldaufs vs Genetics: 10 Weeks Left

Time for another weigh-in. We’ve moved weigh-ins to Fridays for the rest of the challenge.  We aren’t weighing in after a potentially rough weekend this way. Also, I will hopefully be able to get them up on the following Monday (clearly worked this time). This week is pretty busy, so I’ve been lacking the time to get internet access (I will be adding it at home next week though! Get excited!)

Anyways, questions are:

  1. How are things going? Starting the new year off well or struggling?
  2. What’s your least favorite thing about working out?
  3. If you could make one food healthy magically, what would it be?

 

The Bob(father)

1. “The new year is going alright. Started dropping back down slowly.”

2. “Finding/making time to work out is really the hardest part. Once I’m doing something it’s not too bad.”

3. “I would have to say pizza, only because we seem to resort to pizza most often for an easy meal.”

 

Starting Weight: 223 lbs
Current Weight: 217.2 lbs
Overall % Change: -2.60%

 

The Dan (Uncle)

1. “Shitty. Struggling.”

2. “Working out?? What the hell is that?”

3. “ White bread, homemade. Great, now I need to have some bread.”

 

Starting Weight: 268.8
Current Weight: 261
Overall % Change: -2.90%

 

Myself

1. “New year is starting off okay. Ran a few times, but have kind of kind of tailed off now that winter has finally arrived. I need to get back after it or go to the gym, but this week is pretty busy and not really helping with that.”

2. “Worst part about working out is probably the time I attach to it. It might only take me 45 minutes to work out, but I stretch the time around it to almost 2 hours. I need to change, set up a playlist, go to the gym (which can add over half an hour…fuuuuck), come back, and shower. Just hard to block off that much time. Either that, or the motivation required to work out after working all day.”

3. “ I would say pizza, but I can enjoy a healthy pizza. Big fan of flatbread pizzas. Maybe bagels and cream cheese. Or ranch. Or fruit dip—but that leads to eating fruit. But I probably have to say…cookies. Especially if they include my mom’s cutout cookies frosting. Damn sweet tooth.”

 

Starting weight: 195 lbs
Current weight: 193.6
Overall % Change: -0.72%

 

Summary

The Bob comes back pretty strong, while I take a small step in the right direction and Dan plateaus. Even though Dan’s struggling, he’s still in the lead. There are 5 more weigh-ins left (ending on March 23rd) so only 10 more weeks to go. I think all of us would agree that we haven’t made as much progress as any of us would like. We all need to pick it up going forward if any of us want to meet our goals.

Pretty quick and dirty. Hopefully be back with at least one more post before the end of the week.

 

Should Anyone Play Football?

If you have played football, or know anyone who does play football, read this! “The Fragile Teenage Brain”

It is a great piece talking about the concussion problems in the sport, and more specifically, high school football. I played high school football. For four years, it was a huge part of my life and one of my main focuses. After high school, I worked as an equipment manager for the Wisconsin Badgers for another four and a half years. So I have quite a bit of experience and time around the game of football.

Obviously, concussion awareness has shot up over the last few years. Going back to when I was in high school, I definitely fell into the camp of “shake it off and get back out there”. There was nothing that was going to keep me off the field. I played through many injuries, but thankfully no concussions. I did, however, have problems during my junior year with terrible headaches by the end of most games.

As the science continues to progress and more info comes out, I find myself completely changing my views on concussions and football. I love football. I’m a huge fan, ask anyone who knows me. But I’m starting to wonder if there should be a place for football in the future.The more we learn about concussions, the worse it seems. And there’s no good way to deal with it. We expect helmets to fix things, but they aren’t made for that kind of protection. We can keep changing the rules, but so far things haven’t changed in terms of concussions. And if things change too much, the sport will cease to be football anymore.

Far worse, though, is the culture within football. Way too many players underestimate the damage they are doing. I know I did. And I watched countless collegiate athletes adamantly oppose switching to a safer helmet because of the way they looked. (They’ve since made the newer helmets better looking, but the concern over how gear looks will continue to be a ridiculous barrier to protection. Also, concussions haven’t decreased with safer helmets.) Even with all the science coming out, too many kids (also coaches and parents) are ignoring the risks or plain don’t know about them.

Another problem is that far too many kids don’t realize that their football careers aren’t going much further than high school. Positive thinking is fine, but a little realism might help kids realize that they shouldn’t be risking permanent brain damage for something they most likely won’t achieve.

Plus, the damage is hard to see physically afterwards. Players sitting out look okay, prompting people to question if their milking their injury or not dedicated to the team. Concussion education has increased, but the entire culture around football needs to change. There are plenty of injuries that people can fight through. Concussions aren’t one of them.

I love football, both watching and playing. But maybe football should die out. The cost is too high for the players, and too many don’t even realize what it is costing them. Sure, getting paid millions of dollars is quite an incentive to play, but those millions can’t do anything for the brain damage. And that’s only the select few that make it all the way to the NFL. What about the millions of kids who don’t make it, who don’t have millions of dollars to show for their concussions?

I have three younger brothers. I never tried to get them to follow my lead, but after I finished my high school football career, I thought at least one of them would end up playing football too. After all, we had all played football together for years growing up. None of them ended up playing football. I wasn’t disappointed or let down by this. But I never thought that I would be thankful that they didn’t some day. I worry about those headaches from high school ball and what they could have meant. When I’m older, I know don’t want my kids playing. And that’s what the article is all about. (Seriously, read it.)

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Shane Starts Running! A Retro-Diary

As I mentioned in my resolutions post, I’m starting to run outside! And it’s horrible! But I thought I’d make it more enjoyable for myself by chronicling my attempts to start running, retro-diary style. If you haven’t heard of a retro-diary, I’m borrowing it mostly from Bill Simmons (The Sports Guy and Grantland editor). Basically, after I run, I’m going to go back and breakdown my run. So here we go.

9:30 AM: I inform Olive that we are going to go for a run. This leads to non-stop whining from her as I try to explain that I need half an hour to take care of some stuff first. She fails to understand the concept of patience.

9:45 AM: New running playlist, finished. Keeping it fairly short. Lot of new Black Keys, little bit of Josh Ritter/Avett Brothers. Trying to keep it light and not too fast paced.

10:00 AM: Angry Birds

10:20 AM: Finish playing Angry Birds as Olive continues to angrily pester me.

10:30 AM: Do the dishes. I might be stalling at this point.

10:33 AM: Olive tries looking pitifully at me as a reminder to run. I tell once again that we ARE going to go. Soon.

Like this, without the crazy eyes

10:34 AM: My body seems to realize that we are for real about this running business. Every time I’m about to run, I swear my body freaks out and kicks in the running allergies to remind me why I hate it. Airways are already getting blocked and I haven’t even stepped outside. Somewhere in my body, cells are running around, screaming, “Holy shit!! This might actually happen! Quick! Emergency evasive actions! AHHH!!!!”

10:48 AM: Dishes are finished. Time to actually get ready.

10:54 AM: Running outfit on, including the vital gray hoodie. You better believe that I’m going for the Rocky look if I’m going to start running outside in the cold.

10:58 AM: Outside stretching. I realize that my gloves are too cold to work the touchscreen on my ipod nano. Looks like I’m going to have to use the nose.

11:00 AM: Now I have a minor headache from spending two minutes cross-eyed trying to work an ipod with my nose. But the music is on and I’m all stretched.

11:02 AM: I’m trying to keep the pace under control to start out. Olive didn’t get the memo. She’s tearing along, literally pulling me faster. Two strange looks so far as I yell “Slower, please!” to my dog. I’m not really sure why I’m more polite with my dog when we’re running than normal, but the pleases don’t seem to be working. Olive is also confused about why we’re moving away from the dog park at this point.

11:04 AM: We’re now onto the longer, uninterrupted stretch of the bike path, so no more streets to stop at and catch my breath under the guise of teaching Olive to sit at every street.

11:05 AM: Oh yeah, Apple headphones don’t stay in my ears. That’s why I kept buying Sony headphones. Ear bud is out. Gloves make it difficult to keep in.

11:06 AM: Okay, pretty tired now. Could really use a street. The dog is settling into our run a little better now, pulling me a little less.

11:08 AM: Street. Thank god. Time to walk a block. (It’s important to accept where you’re at and work your way back into things, as a side note.) Partially because I’m tired and partially because there are three streets to cross in the next 50 feet. Hardly seems worth running.

11:09 AM: Back at it. Feeling much better than I expected for running. Airways–shockingly clear.

11:09.53 AM: Ear bud is out.

11:12 AM: At the stadium and feeling strong still. I decide to extend the run around the stadium. Getting crazy now. Is this what a runner’s high feels like?

11:14 AM: I always forget how much I hate the Breese St. side of the stadium when I try to run it. More of an incline than I expect, and longer than it seems. Calves starting to hurt. Probably should have remembered to stretch them.

11:14.15 AM: Ear bud is out again.

11:15 AM: Ran hard to the steep decline on the other side of the stadium. Walking down it. I don’t like running downhill and I could use a slight breather.

11:15.30 AM: Olive has other plans. She knows going downhill is her best chance to really pull me. Gravity is in her favor. Looks like we’re running a little earlier than planned.

11:20 AM: Things are still going much better than I expected. More streets during the last stretch though, so I had a few breaks. Walking out this last block before Park St. Calves–hurting pretty bad.

11:21 AM: Run hard up the hill. I like attacking hills, always feels better than struggling at the same pace. Can’t let the hill win. Pretty winded but still feeling good.

11:22 AM: See myself running down the hill in the reflective glass. Turns out my dad’s description of my running form is true. I do look like a three-legged turtle hauling a trailer behind it when I run. Awesome.

11:22.43 AM: Ear bud is out. Again.

11:23 AM: Olive has settled into a good pace with me. This is going much better than I thought. Kind of expected her to be dashing place to place and then making me drag her away from each one. Trying to finish out the rest of the run without any breaks.

11:24 AM: Yes, person giving me a funny look. I realize that you are supposed to breath while running. I’m just not very good at it.

11:26 AM: Okay, going to walk this last half block and then wait for the light. Then, it’s just two more blocks.

11:29 AM: We hold up one corner from home so I can give Ollie a pep talk about how we’re going to sprint the last block. She keeps trying to pull away. I think she sees through the pep talk as a way for me to catch my breath before the sprint.

11:29.30 AM: And we’re off! Olive gets out to an early lead. I gain slightly as Olive eases up to make me feel better. As I near her, she takes off even faster.

11:30 AM: And we’re done. Good thing it’s not a long block. Have definitely felt worse after a run. Probably could have ran a little more, but I’d rather finish the first run on a high note. Olive seems unfazed. Was really hoping this would wear her out too. Additionally, calves really hurting. (Stretch first!)

Now I just have to do this 2 more times a week. And probably a little bit longer/harder runs. Have to say, the weather has been really great so far this winter (in terms of running outside, not for any of you skiers out there). Hopefully it holds up for awhile, so I can get a jump on getting back into shape before it gets too cold.

Run turned out to be about 3.19 miles. Not too bad. Maybe this running stuff isn’t so bad.

(As the person writing this in retrospect–yes, yes it is. My calves and shins are KILLING me today. Seriously, don’t forget to stretch EVERYTHING. I cannot stress this enough.)

 

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Baldaufs Vs. Genetics — Post-Holidays

We’re back for the first weigh-ins after the holidays. I did skip posting a weigh-in so I’ll do a quick re-cap. Before the holidays, our weights were: 215.4 lbs (Bob), 260 lbs (Dan), and 195 lbs (Me). Over the missed weigh-in, we all went up a little bit more.

Anyways, on to the new year of “Baldaufs vs. Genetics”. The questions for this week were:

  1. How’d the holidays go? What was the biggest struggle?
  2. Any plans for the new year?
  3. Any revisions of goals going forward here in terms of weight/etc.?

The Bob(father)

1. “The holidays were tough, food and sweets everywhere and I had time off from work to enjoy them.”

2. “I think if the first couple of weeks go well, I’ll stick with moderation and exercise, otherwise I may try Atkins again.”

3. “At this point I just want to get below 200. 190 might be impossible.”

Starting Weight: 223 lbs
Current Weight: 223 lbs
Overall Change: 0%

The Dan (Uncle)

1. “Not too bad considering the holidays were all about eating! Leftover Crab legs and Prime rib from New Years are gone, some Salsa and Chips left to get rid of and no more sweats should set me in the right direction again. My biggest struggle for the holidays was more about not getting out and doing anything like walking, hunting, etc than it was about overeating. Actually I overdrank more than I overate. Diet coke and rum.”

2. “New year, for me, has to bring some changes as I am feeling like shit often. Need the freedom and energy level of before! I am eating healthy cereal for breakfast, mini sub or salad for lunch and a sensable dinner, which will also include a veggie only day as this intrigues me.”

3. “There is no set goal anymore, it is about making the right choices and trying my best to stick with it. When I feel good enough, I will continue..”

Starting Weight: 268.8 lbs
Current Weight: 261 lbs
Overall Change:  -2.90%

Me (Shane)

1. “The holidays didn’t go too bad. I did pretty good in terms of not overeating around Christmas but really kind of failed on that around New Years. My biggest struggle, besides not destroying all sweets in sight, was probably the lack of working out without a gym membership.”

2. “A talked about this a little bit in my post yesterday, but my main plan is to eat smaller portions, add a veggie meal once a week, and to force myself to work out at least 3 times a week.”

3. “My goal is to get at least around 185, maybe closer to 180 depending on how it goes.”

Starting Weight: 195 lbs
Current Weight: 196 lbs
Overall Change: +.51%

(Note: I would like to take this opportunity to mention the importance of having your scale on a level surface. My first weigh-in for this week read 191.6, which I greeted with shock and more than just a little joy at having thrown myself back near the lead. Unfortunately, my disbelief won out and my next weigh-in at a different spot read 194.6. After using my iphone level app, I came out at 196. Sad.)

Recap

Dan made out pretty good over the holidays, staying right around even, while Bob slid back to his starting point. My father and I have a lot of ground to make up on Dan now, but we are through the worst of it. As for me, I’m not too disappointed being at 196. I can definitely work off of that and didn’t gain too much over the holidays. It’s all about getting back into the swing of things now, so we’ll see who can do that the quickest.

 

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Some New Year’s Resolutions

I’m back! For now. I am hoping to keep up with things a little better (the internet situation is in the works). For those of you interested in Baldaufs vs. Genetics, we’ll be all caught up at the end of this week and I will definitely be on top of that.

Anyways, with New Year’s going on, I figured I’d share a few of my resolutions. Normally, I’m not a fan of resolutions. They kind of fall into the same category as diets for me–destined to fail. They tend to be too general, too short-term, and not planned out enough. People also tend to try to make drastic changes instead of gradual, progressive change. It’s a setup for failure. Weight loss and healthy living isn’t about short-term fixes (like diets). It’s about changing lifestyles.

But, I could use a few new goals and it happens to line up with New Year’s. So this year, I’m making resolutions. And I’m also making plans for them.

Continue reading

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Baldaufs Vs Genetics: Quick Catch-up

I’ve got a quick update on Baldaufs Vs Genetics here. This weigh-in post is a week late (though the weights and responses are still from last week). Anyways, just a few questions this week:

  1. Any new plans for dealing with the holidays?
  2. What do you see being your biggest problem with the holidays coming up?
  3. Where do you hope to be at weight-wise after the holidays are done?

The Bob (Father)

1. “Plan for the holidays is moderation although that hasn’t been going well for me so far.”

2. “Sweets will be the biggest challenge for sure.”

3. “I’d like to be under 210 after the holidays, seems pretty unlikely but it’s a goal.”

Starting Weight: 223 lbs
Current Weight: 215.4 lbs
Percent Change: -3.41%

Note: I just accidentally discovered how entertaining the title The Bob(father) is. I might be the only one who finds this irrationally funny. But it snuck up on me, so I wanted to point it out.

 The Dan (Uncle)

1. “No new plans.”

2. “I love food.”

3. “250.”

Starting Weight: 268.8 lbs
Current Weight: 260 lbs
Percent Change: -3.27%

The Me(?) (Shane)

1.”My new plans for the holidays is to survive. I just want to maintain and start fresh after the holidays. This also allows me to enjoy the sweets some. Also, I’m going to start some early morning runs twice a week. (I hate myself a little bit just typing that.)”

2.”Well I though my biggest problems were going to be: cut-out cookies, peanut butter balls, and christmas crack (one of my mom’s christmas treats–seriously addicting.) But it looks like my biggest problem is a combination of expired gym memberships and laziness.”

3.”195.”

Starting Weight: 195 lbs
Current Weight: 195 lbs
Percent Change: A big fat 0.00%

Summary

Huge upset this week! Yes, The Bob(father), he of few words, actually had longer responses than Dan this week. All of us seem to be plateauing/backsliding a little bit, with the worst weeks for christmas treats still ahead of us. I still think the key for all of us is to just survive the holidays. If Dan and The Bob(father) can maintain their weight losses, they’ll be in good shape for a strong start to the new year.

Meanwhile, I’m back to where I started. It’s not good for the challenge, but I’m not super frustrated as it’s still at least 10 lbs down from the start of Operation Suit Squeeze. I feel like I’m just kind of stuck in this low 190 range, especially without a gym membership now, so I’m just trying to get through the next few weeks and then really get after it. In order to fight my laziness, I’m also going to start running early in the morning a couple times a week. I’m planning on posting about the runs, at least a first. Should be feasible.

 

Baldaufs Vs. Genetics: Pre-Thanksgiving

I am waaay behind right now in posts. This is a combination of my still-absent internet at home and busyness with Thanksgiving. (I miss the internet!! Come back to me, pleeeease.) So this was supposed to be up on Monday. Post-Thanksgiving, might be able to get back on track. But things might stay erratic until post-Christmas. Just to warn you.

So the big weigh-in!! Who will win the bottle of brandy?!? Let’s find out! Also for this week, we had two questions to answer:

  1. Any short-term changes for the last two weeks and how’d it go?
  2. Any plans for dealing with the holidays?

 

The Uncle (Dan)

1. “Hunting caused some short-term changes. Low carbs had gone okay, but hunting made it harder.”

2. “My plans for the holidays is moderation. It will suck, but I will watch my weight and know when it is time to quit and go clean for awhile. If I can come through Thanksgiving at 260 I will be happy, then focus on getting down to 245 my Christmas.”

Starting Weight: 268.8 lbs
Last-Weigh In: 260 lbs
Current Weight: 257 lbs
Overall % Change: -4.39 %

And most importantly,
2-Week % Change:  -1.12 % 

The Bob (Dad)

1. I did not receive a response for the first question. Clearly, he cheated somehow then.

2. “Everything in moderation.” (In case you haven’t figured it out yet, my dad isn’t very verbose with his answers.)

Starting Weight: 223 lbs
Last Weigh In: 216.8 lbs
Current Weight: 213.4 lbs
Overall % Change: -4.30 %

2-Week % Change: -1.52 %

Me (Shane)

1. “My plan for the two weeks was to try to not graze as much and to work out pretty much every day. Went alright for the first week, but I didn’t quite make it every day. The second week didn’t go so well. I kind of thought I broke a bone in my foot (pretty sure I did not now), but it hurt enough that I didn’t want to run/bike. So that kind of set me back a little bit. Probably could have eaten less sweets as well. And I had to celebrate a little bit (because I got into med school!!!!).”

2. “My plan is to not let the holidays become a holiday month. I’m fine with overeating on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that’s it. Outside of those days, it’s all about limiting myself.”

Starting Weight: 195 lbs
Last Weigh In: 193 lbs
Current Weight: 190.5 lbs
(This is an average. I had to use my terrible scale at home and it couldn’t distinguish between 190-191.)
Overall % Change:  -2.31 %

2-Week % Change: -1.28%

The Winner

1st: Bob  -1.52%
2nd: Me  -1.28%
3rd: Dan  -1.12%

So the Bob wins the bottle of brandy (which I forgot to leave money behind for. I can get it to you at Christmas if you want to just take care of it Dan). Meanwhile, Dan holds onto the overall lead with Bob close behind while I lag behind. The next month should really separate the contenders from the pretenders though. We’ll see who can make it through the holidays the best. And one last thing…

I finally have a photo! Since neither of them gave me, I was forced to sneak a couple during Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get any pictures of them eating tons of food because I was too busy stuffing my own face at those times. The Bob is on the left and Dan is on the right. (Also in the background is the Mother on the right and my Aunt Carla, Dan's wife, on the left)

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What The F*ck Does Eating Healthy Mean?

First things first, a little bit of business. Stiiiill no internet at home, going on a month now. It’s finally starting to get to me. Allegedly it’s supposed to be back up by this week, but I’m not holding my breath. Until then (or I cave and start paying for internet again–which probably won’t be soon out of necessity), the posts might be a little erratic for timing. I apologize for that. Someday I’ll get on a regular schedule. Now on with the posting!

I started getting interested in eating healthy around my sophomore or junior year of high school. My chief motivation was to put on muscle for football. It didn’t work very well. Anyways, since then I’ve gone through a lot of different phases in eating healthy and my opinions have changed countless times. And now I can definitively say…that eating healthy is confusing as fuck.

There are a million different voices out their telling you a million different ways to eat healthy and lose weight. Count calories? Low carbs-high fat? Low fat-plenty of carbs? I KNOW, I JUST WON’T EAT ANYMORE! That should solve things, right? All I’m missing is support for a high-calorie, high-sugar, high-fat diet. Actually, I think I found that once but it was for world-class athletes. So I just have to work out 8 hours a day. Got it. I’ll call it the cinnamon-toast-crunch-kill-yourself (working out) cure to obesity. Because cinnamon toast crunch is always good. (No matter how generic, it turns out. True fact. Personally tested).

That was fun. Anyways, I talk about eating healthy a lot. So it’s time to figure out what that means, to me. Like I mentioned before, I’ve adopted and dropped most of the opinions out there. I’ve spent lots of time looking into nutrition. I wrote a painfully long paper on the effects of carbohydrates on obesity comparing different diets. (Holy. Fuck. Was that a pain in the ass). I’ve read Michael Pollan and watched Food Inc. I’ve watched lectures by Gary Taubes, author of “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. I do, in fact, have some degree of expertise on this subject (unlike many other things I talk about) is what I’m trying to get across. DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor (yet), nor am I a professional in the subjects of nutrition.

And you know what? I am sick and tired of trying to figure out what the hell is healthy. So I’m going to boil down eating healthy to common sense (with a little bit of science).

Veggies Equal Healthy

Duh. No arguments anywhere on this one. We can pretty safely assume the produce section of a store is healthy.

Organic/All-Natural is Generally Better

I don’t want to get into all the aspects of this argument (I already had to do that in a med school interview. Because, you know, the yield of organic vs conventional is extremely relevant to my potential as a doctor. Sorry, little bit bitter). But let’s look at this simply. How does conventional agriculture work these days? Maximize yield to maximize profit. Not unreasonable. So most produce has been bred to grow as quickly and largely as possible, while taking up as little space as possible. There’s not much energy left for nutrients. There’s also the risks that pesticides bring.

Now, organic has it’s problems too. Lower yield means more expensive. There is risk of bacteria and other problems without pesticides. And organic agriculture is also concerned with turning a profit; let’s not kid ourselves. But in theory it should be more nutritious. The science is all over the place and oftentimes biased, but I think it makes sense at a basic level. Note of warning–there is zero regulation on claiming to be all-natural, so seeing it on a package means jack shit.

Lots of Sugar Isn’t Great

This seems like another duh but the sugar gets snuck in a lot of different ways. Most people are aware of high fructose corn syrup (or the new corn sugar thing they’ve been pushing). One of the mechanism for fat storage is driven by excess simple carbohydrates (sugar). It tells our body to store fat. (This was a large part of my paper). So excess sugar is bad. And sugars like fructose and high fructose corn syrup are absorbed/broken down more easily. Also, watch King Corn. It’s pretty ridiculous. Which leads me to another rule.

Don’t Eat It If You’re Grandmother Wouldn’t Recognize It

Yes, I borrowed this one from Michael Pollan (along with plenty of other themes in this argument). But it’s a pretty good rule. If the ingredients have a ton of stuff, most of which seems like advanced chemistry, I would distrust it. Now I’m sure plenty of them do useful things, like keep it fresh longer. But why not just eat it fresh. And natural ingredients just seem to work better together (more on this later).

Fats Get A (Somewhat) Bad Rap

Okay, don’t eat a ton of fat. But fat is a better source of energy than sugar (or carbs). If you don’t pair fats with carbs, you’re body doesn’t store the fat and will use it for energy. There is a reason Atkins diets work for weight-loss. But like any diet, it will plateau and can be easily reversed. So maybe this rule should be “Don’t Pair Fats and Sugar”.

Forget Reductionism

I really hate all the calorie counting, figuring out which vitamins I need or don’t need, and all that stuff. Including constantly checking sugar and fat contents. It’s annoying. Yes, there are better calories than others. I’m pretty sure 200 calories of salad are better for me than 200 calories of cake. I’m also pretty confident that taking a vitamin pill with 5000% of my daily value of vitamin X is trying to tell me that it probably doesn’t work as well on it’s own. Certain things work well paired up in ways we haven’t figured out yet. (Some might call this synergistic). So instead of wasting your time taking vitamins, pills, counting calories, get it out of real food and use your head. If you need more of a certain vitamin, find it in a food and figure out a good way to eat it.

Beware Advertising

Any health claims on food, probably bullshit. Seriously, the food industry pours ridiculous amounts of money into doing studies that find their food healthy. You know, peanut M&Ms? Good source of protein. Because of the peanuts. I’m surprised it’s not on the bag already. I’m not saying be like me (which is paranoid of every box at the store, while also being sucked in to plenty of things based on advertising), but don’t be foolish or naive about it.

Moderation!!

I suck at this one. Seriously, I will destroy a pan of brownies on my own. But this is pretty obvious. Stop freaking out about fats and sugars. Stop it! Just don’t pig out on stuff. Try to mix in veggies. And stop worrying about it so much. It’s a waste of time and billions of dollars a year. This is way simpler than it’s made out to be. I don’t think many of us would consider Twinkies to be healthy. But you can still eat one once in awhile. Just make sure that the good foods vastly outweigh the bad ones. Trust your instincts.

Did I just give you a bunch of rules and do all the things I just complained about? Yes. So here’s the one and only rule. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!! Seriously, all the information out just confuses everything and most of it has a vested interest. So ignore it.

Quick Update: There Will Be Posts…Eventually

The Internet is still down at my apartment and my work schedule is a little bit busier this week, so I haven’t had as much time at my usual coffee shop to get at the Internet. Therefore, I’m running behind on posts this week. Sorry. I’ll hopefully have the Pulling (Sweet) Teeth post up some time tomorrow and then the Trust Me, I’m Going to Be A Doctor post by Friday/Saturday.

Is WebMD helping or hurting?

Healthcare costs are through the roof and are generally one of the bigger issues facing the country (when the economy isn’t overshadowing everything else). Healthcare costs also are dragging on the economy. So bringing those costs down is a very important goal. I touch on this a little bit last week, and this week is going to look at another small piece of the puzzle–you.

Getting costs under control is going to require everyone, from doctors and pharmaceuticals to the patients themselves. For example, the CDC reports that in 2008 there were 123.8 million ER visits. According to the Director of the federal Office of Management and Budget, almost $700 billion is wasted on unnecessary care. Some of this unnecessary care comes in the form of unneeded ER visits. This article contains links to sources for both claims. It also makes some good counter-arguments in terms of saving costs on ER visits. But I’m not trying to argue about how much we could save on ER visits.

In general, patients can help cut healthcare costs with some education. We should be teaching high school students when they need to go to the doctor and when they don’t, about health insurance, and the differences between name-brand and generic pharmaceuticals. (Also, the importance of healthy eating. I’m pretty sure that was covered in my 9th grade health class, but I didn’t get much out of it. And everything gets overcomplicated when it comes to healthy eating). It would be expected with increased internet access that patients would have better access to health information. I’m sure sites like WebMD and Mayo Clinic Health Information pop to mind.

So why haven’t we seen a decrease in costs (or unnecessary ER visits) as more people have gotten access to the internet and its wealth of health information? It’s a good question, and I don’t have the answer. But I do wonder if sites like WebMD are actually helping or hurting things.

1. Easy Access Info

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