Tag Archives: health

210 (Weight Loss and Health)

I’m delighted. For the past couple of days, I’ve been able to stand on the scales and see a number I haven’t seen since last fall — 210.0. Ever since I started losing weight a couple of years ago when my daughter was born, I’ve had a goal to hit at least 200 pounds. At the time I weighed in at 260, and I was experiencing significant health complications. The extra weight was adversely affecting my already very troublesome back and made my depressive episodes more likely to occur frequently and to last longer with greater severity. And since I am a comfort eater, the thing I tend to do when depressed is the very thing I shouldn’t do.

Within a year of my daughter’s birth, I’d trimmed 35 pounds off that initial 260, thanks in part to five months of what I call “New Daddy Freak-out.” As it turns out, one kind of stress causing me to pack on pounds, and another causes me to nearly stop eating altogether. Fortunately, I was able to use that to my advantage to get the weight loss process started and to change the way I eat.

I felt healthier than I had in years. It’s amazing to me how much of a difference shaving a few pounds off can make. Over the next year and a half, I managed my diet better and was able to be more active around the farm. I burned off more the fat stores I was carrying around and converted some of it into muscle, which itself helped with the fat-burning process. This last fall, I was consistently down to between 205 and 210 pounds on a regular basis.

Health professionals often tell you that you shouldn’t weigh in every day when you’re trying to lose weight because the numbers tend to change slowly over time, which many people find discouraging. For me, I’ve found it serves very well as a general measure of what I’ve eaten over the past 48 hours. If the numbers tick upward a pound or two, I know I need to manage what I eat a little better over the next couple of days to make up for it. Where before I had a very difficult time managing my weight, I found that after a year I could do so almost without even thinking about it — a far cry from where I started.

There was an unusually large amount of food over the holidays this past year (Thanksgiving through New Years). Our family was exposed to a number of delicious delicacies we don’t normally get to see, and by the time the calendar flipped over to the new year, I was weighing in consistently around 220. And of course, this has been the longest, hardest winter we’ve seen in decades, and my depression always becomes worse in the winter. More so this year due to the severity of the weather. Getting those ten extra pounds off was simply not going to happen. The best I could hope for was to keep from gaining anymore, so for the past couple of months I’ve been trying to actively rein in my eating habits a bit more so that they more closely resembled the habits I’d established over the past couple of years. And it worked! I didn’t lose any weight, but I didn’t gain any more, either.

My son arrived in the world nearly three weeks ago, and along with it some significant family changes. I was more prepared this time, though, so the stress I experienced for five months with the arrival of my daughter lasted a matter of mere days with my son. But it was enough to push me in the right direction. I backed off on my eating again — partly because I was too tired most of the time to be interested in food — and started shedding the weight. Now I’m hovering around 210 again, and I’m delighted. With any luck Spring will actually arrive soon (though Winter is certainly making a bid for sticking around as long as possible this year), and I can get more active around the farm once more. Being able to move and work will burn those extra calories, rebuild and retone some of the muscle I’ve lost over the last few months, and put me back on the path to fitness.

My goal is to hit 200 or lower before the end of the year. I’m anxious to see that number at my feet.

Cracked Heels

One of the things I get to look forward to every year, thanks to the combination of cold weather and heavy gear, is the skin on my hands and feet turning into arid deserts. It never used to be a problem, but apparently part of getting older is having a body that suddenly finds new and interesting ways to make life miserable. This seems to be my newest curse.

My feet get it especially bad, drying up and cracking so badly that they make the Shattered Plains look welcoming by comparison. I usually end up with heels that are almost scaly and that are extremely painful to walk, which is bad news for someone who A) works at a standing desk all day, and B) owns and operates a farm.

Desperate, I ran a Google search the other day to find solutions for this problem and stumbled across one that seemed like it might be helpful. It involved using a callus remover to literally file most of the dry, cracked skin off my feet, making the Tweet below almost prophetic in nature, and applying a liberal coat of Flexitol ointment twice a day to help the skin heal (no pun intended).

I’m on Day Two of this treatment now, and my feet already feel remarkably better. There are still a couple of small cracks that annoy me from time to time, usually when I shift my weight the wrong direction, but overall I’m pleased with how easy the treatment ended up being. I’m hoping that in a couple more days I won’t even be able to tell my feet ever had problems — and I’ll be keeping both file and ointment close at hand.

GRANHOLM Fail – Michigan Meatout Day

GRANHOLM – Michigan Meatout Day. Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm has just made a preposterous declaration – she has declared that this Saturday, March 20, 2010, is Michigan Meatout Day, in which she urges Michigan citizens to eat no meat. Her rationale? A vegan diet is healthier, cheaper, and safer.

Here’s the problem: her declaration is based on erroneous assumptions and misinformation and demonstrate her terrible lack of knowledge and understanding about agriculture. Let’s take a quick look at a couple of statements in the declaration.

Error #1: Reducing the consumption of meat or not eating meat at all can significantly decrease the exposure to infectious pathogens such as salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter…

The problem with this statement is that you can be just as easily exposed to “infectious pathogens” from vegetables as from meat. Any food source that is not handled safely can develop dangerous bacteria that can cause food-borne illness. Anyone remember the multiple recalls on green onions because of salmonella? Bacteria can be found anywhere, even in fruits and vegetables, hence why it’s important make sure your produce is clean, stored properly (e.g. refrigerated), and comes from trustworthy sources.

Error #2: The benefits of a plant-based diet can consist of increased energy levels, lower food budget costs, and simplified food preparation and cleanup…

Granholm sets up a false dichotomy with this statement, implying that a plant-based diet increases energy levels, lowers food costs, and makes food prep easier — and that a meat-based diet does not. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. A healthy meat-and-vegetable diet can do all of these things, in addition to making it easier for consumers to get the appropriate minerals and vitamins. Meats have all sorts of really good stuff, things like proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, water — all things that are great for energy. “Fresh red meats are nutrient dense — that is, they provide a high proportion of nutrients to calories. Their high nutritional density makes these meats an important component of a healthy diet.” (Source: Kansas State University, PDF)

Error #3: It is encouraged that the residents of this state get into the habit of healthy living by consuming a diet that is rich with vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, and by staying active

Eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is certainly a healthy part of any diet, no doubt. Granholm would have you believe, though, that eating meat is unhealthy. A simple Google search will turn up numerous reasons that meat is a healthy part of any diet. There are certain nutrients – like Vitamin B12 – that can only be obtained from meat, dairy products, and eggs. Other sources have to be specially fortified with B12 if vegans hope to obtain their required daily allotment.

The point of this is not to rail against the eating of fruits and vegetables but to point out the lunacy that eating meat is somehow unhealthy. Governor Granholm seems to have bought into this idiotic philosophy, and her recommendation for Michigan citizens to eschew meat for a day is careless and misinformed. Not only does her declaration lead people toward lies about meat consumption, it directly threatens the very farmers and producers who grow their food, many of whom grow both livestock and produce.

I urge Governor Granholm to retract her declaration and rescind Michigan Meatout Day, and I highly encourage Michigan residents to contact your governor and express your disapproval of this order.

Back to Writing – Maybe

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve written any fiction, but lately I’ve been feeling the itch to write again, especially now that we’ve started to get some of my medical issues sorted out. Between a sleep disorder, thyroid condition, and back problems, I just really haven’t felt up to doing much in the creative realm until just in the last week or two.

I’d like to get involved over at “Liberty Hall”:http://libertyhallwriters.org again, so that will probably be how I get myself warmed back up to writing again. I also have a story from a past LH flash challenge that I’d started fleshing out but never finished. So, I may try to finish that story and then see if I can get someone to buy it. I’d still like to get something I’ve written into “IGMS”:http://www.intergalacticmedicineshow.com and “Apex Digest”:http://apexdigest.com, so I’ve got goals.

A lot rides on how long I can sit at my desk to write, since I’m still recuperating from back surgery, but I’m hoping that as I heal I’ll be able to get back into some sort of writing rhythm. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see how things work out.

‘Back’ to Gaming

Being flat on one’s back for an entire week has its advantages. For instance, I’ve finally gotten to learn and play a game that I’ve heard a number of people talk about – _Catan_ – on my Xbox 360. It’s pretty easy to learn, and either I’m a fast case study or I’ve just gotten quite lucky, but I managed to beat the Moderate-level AI on just the fifth game I’d ever played. And it wasn’t a small win, either – I won the game with a 6-point lead over all the other AI players. Of course, the first time I’d played the AI on that level, I was the one who got blown out of the water, having only earned 3 victory points by the time the game came to an end.

I’ve also gotten a chance to play some Texas Hold ’em and done fairly well at the game. That one definitely takes some learning to figure out the nuances of knowing when to play and when to fold. But it’s fun when the cash is fake. I don’t know that I’d enjoy overmuch if I was putting real money down on the table.

Now, I’m still flat on my back – pinched sciatic nerve – and unfortunately the recovery process is taking longer than it probably should, so I’ll probably be on my back for another two or three days. But I have my laptop and my 360 close at hand, so I think I’m set for a bit yet.

Much Ado

I’m brain-burned today. Feels like someone aimed an unhealthy dose of microwaves right at my cranium and set it on ‘Well Done.’ Boom – crispy critterized brain goo. ((_”Would you like a hot apple pie with that?”_)) So much I wanted to get done today and so little actually accomplished. I supposed I should be more careful in the future to actually try to get more than five hours of sleep in a night.

Here’s the upshot – I have several entries planned out for the very near future. One is a book review that may fluff into two book reviews before I’m done – _Odd Thomas_ and _Forever Odd_. The former is already done and the latter is on the homeward stretch. I also have a movie review planned for M. Night Shyamalan’s _Lady in the Water_.

Additionally, I’m been continuing to pimp out Firefox and WordPress with all kinds of fun little toys and ‘gadgets’ that’ll make you positively drool. I believe in getting the most mileage possible out of my tools, and I’m making theses suckers _dance_!

I also have a bunch of stories begging for my attention. I keep trying to ignore them, but those baseball bats with the nails drilled through them are starting to look more menacing every day, so I suppose I’ll have to bow to their demands soon.

All that’s coming down the pike soon, hopefully after a longer night’s rest tonight so I don’t feel quite so much like whipped egg, fried over low heat, and served up to a horde of voracious junior high kids.

Oh, and do please check out the “previous entry”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2007/03/20/feet/ – I still need more feet pictures. I’ve already had one willing -victim- participant. Anyone else wanna join in on this madness?


Now _this_ is the kind of weather I can actually tolerate – for a while, at least. The temps have dropped enough that the persistent rain has become snow. It was actually a lot of fun to work out in it tonight, but only because I was bundled up and actually working hard enough to stay warm. The horses were happy to get their feed, and I was happy to have something physical to do for a little bit.

I’ve been back on the _South Beach_ diet for just over a week now. It’s been a bit of a rough week, complete with hunger pains, crankiness, and temptations to hop down off the wagon. But I’m glad I’ve stuck to my guns because already I’ve dropped six pounds and can see a visible difference. Another 12 pounds and I’ll be back down where I was before the big move last year.

I’ve been adding to my blogroll the last couple of days. There is now a new section for science related blogs and websites, all of which have RSS feeds (which is about the only way I roll these days). Go give them a look-see if you’d like. I suspect I’m going to have more reading material and story ideas in coming days than I quite know what to do with.

I’m trying out a new automatic wallpaper program I found today called “Desktop Earth”:http://codefromthe70s.org/desktopearth.asp. It automatically refreshes your wallpaper with a satellite image of the Earth, showing you what part is currently under daylight and which is under night. You can play with the options to show you city lights at night and moonlight reflections. It’s pretty cool, but it’s a little bit resource intensive. I’ve had to set it to refresh every 15 minutes (default is 5) just so it doesn’t bog my computer down too much.

I’m finally making some time for some story writing. I’ve been terribly remiss in my obligations here, so it’s catch-up time. I had a great flash fiction idea just tonight, so I’m in the midst of setting this one down to paper. And, speaking of which, I’d best get back to it.


I don’t do New Year’s resolutions; I never have. I think they’re kind of a nice idea, mind you – it’s just that most people break them before January ever reaches its close. So, it seems to me that setting resolutions is a somewhat pointless endeavor.

Now, that said, I _have_ been thinking about setting some personal goals for myself for this year. They’re not really what I consider resolutions, in my mind, because if I don’t make these goals, there’s no pressure or guilt involved. These are just things that I’d _like_ accomplish this year. But if I don’t make it, it’s no big deal; life will go on.

  • I need to lose some weight again this year. I’ve been experiencing some health issues in recent months, due in large part to putting back on the weight that I’d lost earlier last year. So back to eating healthy and exercising for me.
  • I haven’t enjoyed writing the last couple of months. My life has been super busy and rather stressful, and I haven’t really given any of my stories much thought, let alone any time. So, I’d like to exercise a little discipline, now that weekends are my own again, and see what I can get written this year.
  • I have a “reading list”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2007/01/01/reading-list/ to get through that will likely take me a few weeks. Plus a friend is bringing me a bunch of books from his speculative fiction library. I think I’m going to be busy for a while.
  • I’d like to revive “Penitent Tangential”:http://open-dialogue.com/pt, if for no other reason than my own personal enjoyment. I think I’ll actually have time for it again now.

Aside from the weight issue, none of my goals this year are, in the long run, all that important. I have a fixer-upper house that is actually quite a bit more important to me and my wife, so I’ll work on fitting writing and reading around repairs and upgrades. Ultimately, I’ll just have to take it one day at a time and see how things work out.

Food Legislation

I’m sitting here watching the news and just heard that New York City has just passed legislation to phase out the use of trans fat in all restaurants in the city. While I can see their point about the dangers of trans fat, is it really the government’s place to legislate how Americans eat? Isn’t it really up to the people themselves to determine whether or not they want to take care of themselves? I know for a fact that it’s not really that hard to exercise a little self-discipline and _not_ eat out, choosing instead to eat in and make your own meals that are healthier than anything you’ll find in any restaurant. The trouble is that people today _have_ no self-discipline and are incapable of self-imposing some stricter guidelines for themselves. Obesity is on the rise, as is laziness. Legislating out the use of trans fat will not, in fact, solve the problem. It is only treating a symptom of a chronic condition, rather than addressing the root cause of the problem itself.

Just one more place where Big Brother would like to tell us what to do and how to live our lives because he thinks we can’t do it for ourselves. Where does it stop?