Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fatty Fatty 2x4

This morning one of our local news channels interviewed Florine Mark, the president and CEO of Weight Watchers. She pointed out that the state of Michigan had one of the highest rates of obesity in America. This hit a little too close to home. I've always had to work at keeping my weight under control, and since I've spent the last couple months slacking off at the gym and indulging in too much holiday cheer, my pants are getting snug. So I was prompted to do a little research, fully appreciating the irony that rather than actually exercising, I was looking at fitness rates on my laptop while lounging on the sofa under my dog blanket.

The most recent data I could find came from Trust for America's Health, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They've been researching and issuing an annual report on "The State of Obesity" for more than 10 years. On the positive side, the current report shows that childhood obesity rates have stabilized, and the rate at which adult obesity rates are rising is beginning to slow. On the negative side, adult obesity rates did not decrease in any state, and still remain far too high across the nation. 

So...We're still fat, just not getting fatter as quickly as before. Michigan came in at number 11, with 31.5% of adults having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more. Normal BMI ranges from 18.5 -24.9. 

BMI is a simple measure of fatness based on height and weight. Naysayers point out that body mass index calculations don’t distinguish between fat and muscle, nor do they take into account things like a person’s frame size. It's far from an exact science, but it does provide an easy, quick and reasonable estimate for a person like me with an average build and a typical activity level. I've used online BMI calculators to monitor my weight for several years. At 5 feet, 4 inches tall, my "normal" weight range is between 108-145 pounds. That's achieveable for me. Do I stray towards the high end? Yes definitely. And when my weights creeps up over the high end, like it has now, I feel crappy. My joints hurt more, my energy level takes a dive, and my clothes don't fit which lowers my self-esteem. That's my signal to take action.

I'm fortunate enough not to have any physical or emotional issues that impact my health and my weight. I know that the amount I weigh is in direct relation to how often I have a fork in my mouth. I struggle not to judge others when I don't know what's behind their size, although let's be honest, I feel self righteous when my shopping cart contains quinoa and strawberries and yours is full of cheese puffs. And I think it's kind of a sad statement that on those occasions when junk food makes its way into my own cart, I don't feel bad because now I'm just one of the crowd.

So thanks, Florine, for giving me the push I need to put my fork down. If you need a push too, go check out your BMI. And put those cheese puffs back on the shelf.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Is it just me, or are more people than ever are looking forward to a fresh start in 2015? I haven't heard from as many cynical people who say their only resolution is to never make resolutions. Actually I haven't seen a lot of resolutions of any kind, just a general optimism fueled primarily by a tweet from that guru of enlightenment, @BradPaisley.

I like optimism and fresh starts too, so I'm planning on becoming a better me. One of my objectives is to spend more time with people who matter and less time on the Internet. So while I was reading important entertainment gossip on Daily Mail Online, my favorite Internet mag, I was thrilled to find an article that promised to show me 25 easy resolutions to transform your health!  (Yeah, I realize my "research" wasn't exactly in line with my new resolution, but sometimes you have to sacrifice a little in the name of blogging. I'm working on it.)

These resolutions are brilliant! Here's a summary-be sure to click on the original link above to read the full advice for each topic.  Remember that this appeared on a UK site, so some of the resolutions don't make sense for every Yank here in good old USA:

25 easy resolutions to transform your health

1. Put your toothbrush in the dishwasher
Isn't it just as easy to toss it and use one of the twenty new ones the dentist gives you?

2. Stop using armrests to get out of a chair
I speak from experience: this is not recommended for those of us with the clumsy gene, especially if your chair has wheels. 

3. Eat a pot of yogurt every day
How much is a pot?

4. Blow one nostril at a time
This, above all, makes this list brilliant.

5. Open car windows
This is supposed to reduce your risk of getting the flu when you're riding around with sick people. My advice? Don't ride around with sick people.

6. Turn the heating down by a degree
Ha! I'm menopausal. There's already frost on the inside of our windows.

7. Bin your digital alarm clock
I think this means to toss it out, right? They want you to go back to the old-fashioned type. You know, the one with the blood-curdling fire-alarm bell that scares the bejeezus out of you when goes off and wakes you from a sound sleep.

8. Swap ibuprofen for paracetamol
I had to Google that one.  'Paracetamol' is acetaminophen. They recommend you switch because ibuprofen can damage the stomach lining. They don't mention that paracetamol doesn't fight fever and can damage the liver. I have a sneaky suspicion that they put some form of this on the list every year and just waffle back and forth.

9. Count to seven while breathing in
Mindfulness - I like this one. But I would have made this #7 on the list. Just because.

10. Use the upstairs loo
Honestly, I didn't even read this one because I was too busy wondering where they came up with the expression 'loo'. 

11. Do the email stomach crunch
OK, I'm going to try this one!

12. Eat a portion of leafy veg A day
Veg A?  I hope that's a typo. 

13. Watch an hour less TV each day
And get off the internet.

14. Get regular kicks with a coffee
Amen! You're preaching to the choir here, baby!

15. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier
According to this I'll be in bed by 8:45.  Kudos for making it #15 though.

16. Give up one-mile car journeys
Silly Brits!  We 'Mericans ALWAYS take our car.  Especially here in metro Detroit.

17. Lose 5 per cent of your weight
Aim low! It's doable.

18. But a 'wobble cushion'
I'm guessing this is a typo and they mean Get a wobble cushion. Or maybe it should be Butt a wobble cushion,  because basically it's an exercise ball with a saddle attached. Either way, that clumsy gene takes this one out of my wheelhouse.

19. Use the 5:2 rule for alcohol
Only two booze-free days required every week!  I think I can achieve this one.

20. Sneeze into your elbow
This is a good one! I do this and wish everyone else did too.  I watched a guy's nose explode into his hand at the store the other day.  Then he pawed through an entire rack of greeting cards.  <<shudder>>

21. Stand up on your commute
Won't work here.  See #16.

22. Add up your shopping bills
I've tried this and failed miserably.  

23. Start coughing at your desk
I can't wait to try this one at work. I'm sure it will be hugely popular in our open office environment, along with my armless chair and my wobble cushion.

24. Drink cocoa at bedtime
Sounds delicious.  

But wait a minute… where's #25?  We got gypped!!!