Ok, I was one of those who thought that Obamacare didn’t go far enough; I preferred the House version (which had a small public option) but by then we had gone down to 59 votes in the Senate. Hence it was either pass the Senate version in the House (and include some small fixes via reconciliation) or nothing.
Still, overall, we should be better off (on the whole).
Small ways this helps: if you look at my recent history, I had a rotator cuff problem, knee surgery in 2010 and some physical therapy for my back. None of these were life threatening but health insurance helped me with these problems, and as a consequence, I can do my job pain-free and even engage in a reasonable amount of athletic activity.
I may well have been on my way to being physically disabled without, at least, the physical therapy.
Sometimes simple things can make a big difference, even when the problem isn’t grave at the moment, and sometimes having health insurance can keep small problems from turning into big ones.
This was posted at Daily Kos:
I’ve noticed the recent obesity diaries; presumably they started because of the diary about Governor Christ Christie and his reaction to a doctor saying that he ran a non-trivial risk of dying while in office.
If you are obese and feel good about it, then this diary isn’t for you. This diary is about those who are obese and do NOT want to remain that way. I took the liberty of
1. Gathering some statistical facts about obesity (e. g. actual evidence instead of “what everyone knows”) and
2. Sharing my journey from weighing 320 pounds (size 52 waist) to 190 pounds (size 34 for waist) and staying a normal size since 1995.
Yes, my story is merely one data point among thousands (millions?) and it is not complicated by unusual medical conditions, food allergies and the like.
More below the fold. Part I is a link to resources and part II is a bit more personal.
Note: I do not claim to have a “one size fits all” answer or even an answer that will work for anyone else. But I did find a pathway out that worked for me, and I decided to share it with those who are interested.
Part I: resources about obesity.
I’ve chosen articles that have a base of research to them in order to move beyond mere opinion and to avoid cherry picking factoids that “make sense to me”.
New England Journal of Medicine: this article is behind a pay wall, (I’ve linked to the abstract) but if you are a student or faculty member of a university, your library probably has an online subscription to this journal. This article lists:
1. Popular misconceptions (rebutted by the evidence).
2. Popular “notions” which have neither been rebutted nor confirmed by evidence.
3. Popular “notions” which have shown to be true.
National Institute of Health: Obesity Education Initiative.
This outlines many of the risks. Note: the risks are statistical in nature; in other words, being obese means that one’s risk for certain maladies are higher than a non-obese person’s. This is no guarantee that a fat person will get these conditions nor be inoculated from them by losing weight.
The Scientist Strangely enough, a father’s obesity can induce somewhat harmful epigenetic changes in their offspring! I admit that this sounds counterintuitive to me, but I have no training in this field.
I’ll start with “before and after” photos. And no, I am NOT “selling” anything! I used no diet industry gimmicks nor did I pay money to quacks; I am careful about what I eat and I do use a “free of charge, non-commercial” support group. And no, I didn’t “give my life to deity X”; I remain an outspoken secular atheist.
The reason for the photos: I posted running photos so my clothes can’t hide my body. I posted a non-running photo as well. As far as the weight loss: I was 320 pounds when the first photos were taken; I reduced to 185 in 1996 and have stayed mostly between 185-195 the entire time (save a time when I got a stomach flu, etc.)
What happens: I’ve found that a 53 year old man needs less food than a similarly active 37 year old man. So I’ll eat a certain way, then the pants (now size 34, down from 52) start to tighten, i weigh, then I reduce the amount of food on my plan, then the weight comes down. So yes, I eat less now than I did in 1996.
Me in 1992:
Me in 2000
Me in 2012
How I do it and other thoughts
Basically I eat 3 times a day and only set amounts; I completely abstain from foods that set me off (mostly the standard “junk” foods, snacks, sugary items etc.). There was a time when this made me feel deprived…not any longer! I honestly don’t miss it.
As far as working out: I work out on most days; I often pick from either:
1. fast walking
3. weight lifting
4. swimming (not lately)
5. yoga (not lately)
However I don’t do these activities for weight control. Example: a couple of years ago, I hurt my knee (meniscus tear) and couldn’t run; I tried to swim too far with a pull buoy and hurt my rotator cuff. So there was a several month period when all I could do was to walk easily…..and I gained no weight during that period.
Upshot: for me, these are sporting activities; they are part of my “fun”. I don’t do these for weight loss or for health benefits. These are the times when I can pretend to be an athlete.
I also don’t “diet” in terms of “temporary weight loss diet”. I just eat moderately at all times, with no “opening of the flood gates” for special occasions. I’d much rather enjoy the company of others and not be held captive by the food.
Why I enjoy being non-obese:
1. stairs are much easier, so is walking to work.
2. clothes are easier to find.
3. seats at concerts and sporting events: no problem!
4. I can safely play sports that I love.
5. I am not out of breath all of the time.
6. I almost NEVER think about food! When I was obese, I thought about food all of the time. I even remember my vacations, in part, by what I ate and where.
7. I don’t live with that “stuffed to my throat” feeling all of the time; I don’t wake up with food hangovers.
How I got obese
I overate and lied to myself about how much I was eating. Being around normal people was kind of a shock; I didn’t know that humans could exist on so little food!
As far as losing weight: I went the “support group” route; it seemed to work for me.
What I did right as an obese person: I still exercised; I lifted weights and I walked. It may have taken me 36 minutes to walk 2 miles (and that was walking as fast as I could!) but I still got it in…and no, I didn’t like the cat-calls (and I got a few).
Workout notes 4 mile untimed walk (Cornstalk course) following a weight workout:
pull ups: 6 sets of 5 (varying grips), 1 set of 10, 3 sets of 5.
incline press: 10 x 135, 3 x 155, 3 x 155, 7 x 145, 8 x 140
dumbbell bench/rows: 3 sets of 10 with 65 each exercise
dumbbell military: 2 sets of 15 x 45, 1 set of 10 with 70 each arm (machine)
pull downs/pulley curls 3 sets of 10 with each (160 with pull downs, 52.5 curls)
Obesity: Mano Singham directs us to a New England Journal of Medicine article that discusses some common misconceptions about obesity and some common ideas that are without foundation. If you are a faculty member at a university, you probably have access to the article itself, which is behind a paywall for non-subscribers.
It is worth reading; some of what “you know” isn’t so, and some “hasn’t been confirmed, or rebutted”.
Workout notes I sort of fell prey to yesterday’s 12 miler; the plan was to “run 4 on the treadmill, walk 3 on the track, walk easy 3 outside in the snow”. What happened: the first two.
Run: 42:06 for 4 miles on the treadmill; 1 mile at 0 incline, then 2.2 miles of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (every .2 miles increase, with longer at the “5″ level”) then 3 minutes at 4 and finish the rest at 3.
Then I walked 3 miles (slightly more) on the track (high 13′ish pace; 43:06 for 24 laps.
Then I did abs, stretching and the foam roller for my piriformis (it REALLY seems to help…surprisingly). Then when I got dressed to go outside….I just had no desire…so I just walked to my car and went home. What I learned: it is easier to walk 3 slow miles after 7 slow miles than it is after higher intensity miles.
Tomorrow: blood donation, then weights. I admit that I am nervous about the blood for, well…because I know why I am donating at this time. If I didn’t know WHY it would be easier….and that is illogical. But I just feel sick for the person and the family for the person undergoing this emergency medical procedure. Again, this feeling is illogical; all I have to do is show up hydrated and extend my arm. But the thought of “what if this were for my kid” is hard to shake.
Ok, anyone who reads my blog knows that I work out very regularly and that I continue to participate in endurance sports, weight lifting and yoga.
But look at the above photo.
I find this downright insulting.
Why? Well, I certainly agree that working out regularly can increase one’s odds of being healthy as an older person. But that is all one is doing: increasing one’s odds.
An untimely disease can easily lead one to the left photo; since 2007 I’ve had three 50-60 year old friends die of cancer. ALL were fit for most of their healthy lives; one even ran a sub 3 hour marathon at 50 years of age…all had finished multiple marathons.
All were slender and stayed with it as long as they could. But this idea that someone who ends up on the left is certainly to blame for not doing things right is sheer nonsense…in fact it is insultingly stupid.
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