Friday, December 13, 2013

Travel Tip #483

You have been busy with life.  Things get hectic but you still need to get some things done right or it will take more effort to fix it or you'll remain frustrated later.  That is where this tip comes in handy.

Guys.  If you are taking the girlfriend on a trip, you must book the room yourself.  Yes, this could be out of your comfort zone.  You may get yelled at for picking a lousy hotel, room or view but, trust me, you must do it.  Why?

Hotels have stepped up in the last dozen years.  The idea of customer service ranks high and to them that means familiarity.  So you will find you are asked for your name, called by that name and it will sound forced while it is repeated often.  Technology is amazing because they have your name in the computer once you book the room.  You use that name again when you check in.  So, they will repeat it thinking customer service wins over customers.  If the name is wrongly spelled, expect to hear it mispronounced often.

Ladies.  I will not leave you out.  If you really want to mess with your boyfriend, book the room yourself.  Why?  Because nothing upsets a guy more than being called Mr. (enter your last name) more than once per time you meet an employee.  He may even correct that one person but it will not be changed in the computer and he will get called that way again by the next one.  That could be about 8 times a day if you work it out right.

Guys.  If you are reading this too late, do not answer the door, phone or approach a desk of any type to avoid this issue.  My apologies if she read this first.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Family Mode: Musical Bonding

Fans of the band Depeche Mode will really enjoy this but it's still a curiosity for non-fans and maybe a hater or two.  Dicken Schrader is simply a creative man -- the native Colombian is a video artist with skills that become more apparent (a parent... didn't expect that one to slip in here) as we go.  Possibly his biggest gift is being able to bring his family together with music.

In 2010, Dicken started recording music videos with his kids Milah and Korben under the name DMK covering songs by Depeche Mode.  The first one, a version of "Shake The Disease," started the ball rolling and you can see the the kids' progress.  The videos are getting... well, let's put it this way, their version of "Everything Counts" now has 2.6 million views (not counting yours of course.)  They have even moved on to performing live -- as seen in the final video posted below.  So, chronologically, enjoy the DMK!

Shake The Disease


Everything Counts

Black Celebration

Enjoy The Silence

Just Can't Get Enough

I hope you enjoyed this journey.  Makes you want to find a favorite band and teach the kids some songs, doesn't it?  Oh, btw, the kids have another sibling that was born this year.  So, I don't know if they will need to change the group's name by then or if they will have to start doing New Order covers.  Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Strange Days Indeed: The Long Search?

As any of you may know, I'm a research nut (as well as an 80s one.)  To my left at this moment are about 40 books -- easily accessible -- that I can reference music data at a momentary mention.  I have people come to me to find things all the time and I get ticked that they don't bother to look for themselves when all it takes is a few words in a search engine.  But, there has always been something that I couldn't find online but was reticent to pursue too heavily.

I'm not going to say what it is but I mentioned it years back in one single post.  But, it's funny how you decide to try typing something into a search engine for the hundredth time or so over the last... well, there was a point when the Internet wasn't available... anyhow, suddenly things pop up.  You see a connection, then 1, 2, 3... all corroborating it.  So, take the feeling of trying to find a rare song from your youth that you only know a few words to and multiply it by a few hundred.  Strange days indeed.  It must be why I'm shaking.

Friday, November 08, 2013

A Little Downgrading In The Near Future

Was checking a couple sales specials at Sam's Club while talking with the wife and stumbled onto this.  We do have plans to move into what we hope is our final home in the next few years and this outdoor storage enclosure looked pretty interesting.  (Except the idea that I'd probably be putting it together myself and have many extra screws and washers.)  So I asked Kerry, "What do you think?"

She liked it.  I told her that it would open up the garage a bit more for car space and that it would be a lot less cluttered.  Then she hit me with it.  I don't know if she was holding it back for a minute or two but she said, "That could be your new mancave!"  Crap!  She's after my mancave, guys!  Nothing is sacred anymore.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Wheel And When To Let Go

I think there really is a time that you need to just let go. 

Not just of the steering wheel, although I remember my father scaring the piss out of us while doing so as he drove over bridges, but of the things we think we have control over.  I say "think" for a reason.  Making a plan or schedule is a great way to organize things but not often do they go exactly as intended.  I also know that some people avoid thinking of their future and, because it is so uncertain, they shy away from creating anything resembling a road map to life.  I'm getting better about that, myself.

So, when David turned 15 1/2 years old this summer, we had a game plan.  Take him out driving each weekend starting with parking lots and working our way up to the highway.  Things went really well despite a hiccup or two that turned into learning experiences (for him and us.)  If I have one thing going for me, it would be patience.  That serves me well in life, work and this particular circumstance.  Well, the weekly practice evaporated as David's weekend schedule was adjusted and, when he did get a chance to drive, he reverted to some earlier bad tendencies.  After an incident where he ran a red light, drifted into a different lane after going through an intersection and changed lanes without checking his mirrors, we had to re-evaluate.

We do try to maximize the time we do have with our busy child.  It's astonishes us all the things he has to balance when it comes to school work (several AP and honors classes) and a recently begun workout program.  We decided we needed to let go of the wheel.  When you don't have control of a situation, sometimes the best thing to do is hand it over to someone else... A-1 Driving School.  After 2 of his 3 two-hour sessions, I can see a little more confidence in him and I'm expecting that I will let him drive me to the store later today.

I guess there was always a fear of letting go of the wheel.  Despite watching my father do it (to the astonishment of his children), I knew there was a risk being taken.  It was later that I noticed he had been bringing his knee up to hold the wheel steady.  He wasn't really letting go but I have to say that my doing so may have been the best thing for my son.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How To Accidentally Stick Yourself With A Pin

There is something wonderful when we share things.  People are just wired that way.  It's the reason why language developed and why social media is dominating people's lives today.  Whether it is opinion, product, recipe, motivational message or D.I.Y. how-to, people like to let other people know about the things that interest them.  Heck, some of us go out and solicit those things from others.  The human experience includes moments when you've had someone come up to you and ask, "How did you do that?," when it comes to weight loss, auto customization, home decor, physical feat... etc.

That's where Pinterest becomes interesting.  I have to admit that it took me years before I decided to sign up for the site.  Probably because most everything that I saw on there had to do with holiday creations, hairstyling, wedding dresses, nail designs... well, let's just say that I thought it wasn't for guys.  It didn't help that my sister recommended it.  But, the idea behind it is basic.  You link a favorite site or image and explain it while allowing other people to "like" it, "pin" it or ignore it.  Pinning something is like putting it on a bulletin board to file it away.  Liking it does the same thing except it is all clumped together and not shared with your "friends."

As many of you readers would know, my interests are rather diverse.  Heck, you could see from my account what weird crap that I'm posting errr... pinning.  I usually use it to bookmark items, research recipes and find new health/workout tips.  But, I think some people really don't use the site appropriately.  Let's think about it for a second.  If you pin something, all your friends and, actually, everyone sees it.  If you like it, they don't.  So, if you "pin" a recipe, it better be good or your friends will think your taste buds don't work.  If you "like" a recipe, you can try it first and share it with people if you think it's worth anything.  Think of this as a reputation defender.  You wouldn't share a "how-to" tip on making a bookshelf if the end product doesn't hold books, would you?  Just remember, your friends... or future friends are judging you.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Making Coffee Drinkable

It took a long time to talk me into adding coffee to my routine.  My biggest issue was taste and Diet Coke takes no prep time.  But, it happened a couple years ago.

Afterwards it was all about how to make it.  Usually it was vanilla creamer and some artificial sweetener.  A few months back, Kerry and I were throwing things out of the fridge that had multiple chemical compounds we couldn't pronounce.  We started staring at the creamer.  Big time offender there always making its way into my coffee.

It took a lot of willpower but we changed to 1% milk, stevia and teaspoons of unsweetened chocolate and cinnamon.  So, why tell you this?  If you happen to stop by and eye the coffee, be warned.  It isn't what you may expect.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Somethin' 'Bout A Truck

There's something about a truck.  I have fond memories of riding in the back of Michael Barrett's truck with a few friends on Saturday nights in high school.  Of course, that's frowned upon now.  I also remember when my father dug me out of a hole I created for myself.  I was living with friends after my car broke down and I had lost my job.  So, that VW bug had to be sold.  It was a very basic 1988 Toyota pick-up but it took a beating.  It got abused, wrecked and dealt with overheating issues after I cracked the weld where the hose going to the radiator was.  I still remember a few times where it died from abuse (let's face it, I wasn't really a responsible person at this point in my life) and I would be sitting in the truck with my friend Tracy on the way to Barley's to watch Monday Night Football.  Getting rid of that truck was really a transition to adulthood for me.

Between then, I had a Rodeo and a Tucson.  Ok, still have the Tucson but someone else in the family will be driving it more in the near future.  But we had some serious conversations about what to get next.  I really wanted to have something I could put our mountain bikes in the back of and go off riding.  Something dependable but depreciated (which really is like wanting a dog without fur... they are out there but seldom found) and maybe not even a truck.  It could have been a beater for David to use.  But after talking about different options and we said, "If it is meant to happen soon, it will just pop up."  A few weeks later, this truck was sitting outside our door with a 'for sale' sign on it.  We eyed it over curiously and a friend of the owner (a neighbor) came and told us about it.  Well, it's done.  It's now a new member of our family.  All we can hope for is the dependability but I can say that my responsibility level now will allow me to appreciate it a lot more than that little '88 Toyota.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Putting The Socks In The Right Drawer

Yes, you know that I can take on more than I should sometimes.  But someone once told me that "if you want to get a project done, put it in the hands of the busiest person you know."  It's time for me to start getting busier once again.  So, I should be announcing a new project later this year.  That is... after I announce this one.

Things can get cluttered.  Heck, ask any parent of a teenage boy that stares at his bedroom in frustration.  Once I started posting about my progress in taking back my health, I did a good job of confusing myself on the future of my own writings here.  As my physical changes began, my enthusiasm increased and I stopped babbling about about music, personal musings and technological advances.  It didn't mean there weren't any but I lost focus.  Let's just say that the socks started getting into the shirts drawer and after awhile there were more socks than shirts.  To fix that, I've decided to corral future posts in the health, fitness and nutrition areas off into a new site called My Fitness Future where I will talk about and hope to inspire others to making a change for the better.  There is a lot of design work left to do but it launched today and I feel it's worth letting you know about the change.

80s music fans should enjoy my upcoming project.  I am in the early planning stages and will give you an early preview when possible.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Photo Update 041413

I take a lot of photos but none of myself.  I tend to lean towards more interesting subjects.  hahaha  So, after taking a very bad one (that had more of a problem with posing), I had to put up something more recent... with clothes on.  (Ok, that sounds so wrong.)  So, 31 pounds later...

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Numbers For A New Martin

I stopped in to the doctor's office today to get my latest blood test.  So, I thought that I'd do a little side-by-side comparison.  I'm on this journey, as I've said, and it's nice to have a little science to back up the changes.  (Ok, 31 lbs. is still a scientific measurement but let's look internally.)

                                 18 mos. ago             Now

Cholesterol                   218                       130
Triglycerides                  285                       89
LDL                              123                       73
HDL                              38                        39

So, amazing drop in triglycerides, isn't it?  Weird to think that you can be proud of your blood.  All positive numbers.  Even the least positive, my HDL went a point in the right direction (up.)  Still need to work on adding a few different things to my diet to try to bring that higher.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Post Cleanse 2 Check-In

Figured that I'd keep my shirt on and do as close of a full body shot as I could.  Today is the first day after a second round of the Shakeology 3-Day Cleanse.  I started this journey after Thanksgiving with a cleanse and was urged to do another one as someone wanted to do it with me.  (No, not that, the cleanse.)  Anyhow, I started this voyage at 222 lbs.  Over the course of time, I worked my way down to 196 lbs.  26 pounds is pretty good when you aren't really focused on just the numbers but how your clothes fit and how you feel.

This morning, I weighed in at... 191 lbs.  Cleanses like this can yield varied results.  I also added Yoga Flex (from 10 Minute Trainer... which I'm now wearing the shirt from) to the daily routine.  Why?  Well, I had 2 of the next 3 days of it listed on my monthly program.  I don't like quitting and I'm almost halfway through the month.  Which is why you get a new photo.  It also looks like I'm hovering below a size 34 waist now... after I changed out all those 40s, 38s and 36s.  Can't see myself going lower than that, though.

I also talked with my chiropractor about my ankle and a shoulder issue that I've been dealing with.  Looks like I have a little work to do to rehab those muscles and ligaments but hard to believe that I'm not 100% most of the time... because I'm starting to feel it.

(The wife thought the self-photo looked a little strange... so we'll take another one later.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Big Fans Of Potatoes

I am a big fan of food.  Ok, most of us are.  I mean how many of us avoid dinner or dessert?  Anyhow, I really don't get that much time with the family at night.  One of the things that I miss most is the elusive 'family meal.'  I've always loved to cook and have an arsenal of recipes that would make a housewife tear up (possibly because of all the cayenne.)  But, I would never have a chance to use them.  We as a family decided to hold what we call Martin Mondays each week where I get to delve into my bag of tricks.

What you see over in the photo are potato fans which we discovered while watching a show on television.  (Yes, I watch a lot of those shows even when it's focus is something I'd never put in my mouth.)  We tried these out and found a winner.  We will also try scallops for the first time (as well as some chicken and steak as David can be a little picky.)

What is nice is that feeling that I can provide an experience for the ones that I love and maybe pass on a few Hennessy family favorites and new favorites on to another generation.  (Chili tacos didn't make it to that next generation but maybe there is a niece or nephew that I can inspire.)  So, if your kids aren't huge fans of potatoes... make fans of the potatoes first.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

90 Days Later

Every journey starts somewhere.  And this photo captures a moment that I look back and go, "Really?"  I was on my West Coast Tour 2.0 with the family and my father-in-law caught this shot of me with the kids and dogs near a little stream.  It doesn't look pretty.  By this point, I had gone through a lot of different struggles with health.  I had been in pain when on the treadmill.  I had sore ankles when I walked.  My eating was sporadic and fluctuated with what I was focused on at the time.  So, when I saw this photo for the first time, it was one of those wake up calls.

Losing weight is easy.  Really.  But the hard thing about extreme body changes are the extreme rebounds as your body tries to find its homeostasis or internal equilibrium.  Let's use a quick example.  I will be celebrating my 5th wedding anniversary this month.  I had my ring finger sized before the wedding.  Because of it being a 'lifetime event' it is usually photographed like crazy, so I wanted to look as good as possible.  I went on a low carb diet.  They had always worked for me and it is wonderful for those that have seen similar results.  But, I never thought that once the ring went on my finger... it would be too big for it.  During the honeymoon cruise, I stopped the diet and found a ring guard on the ship to keep it from falling off.  The problem is that it only took a few weeks for the ring to become uncomfortable and I'd have to remove that guard.  Because the weight was coming right back.

Extreme changes are roller coasters and your body gets sick of the movement too.  But what if you don't have to "diet."  I really dislike the way the word has been used or used in different ways.  An animals diet of nuts and berries or smaller animals isn't something that it just decided on to lose a little weight.  A diet is your every day lifestyle.  So we should really strike the usage of the word in lieu of "weight-loss program."  Because, everyone is on a "diet."  But what we need is a long-term lifestyle change.  What, how and when we eat should stay consistent.  Why?  Stress.

Your body doesn't like the roller coaster, right?  So, if it knows that the road isn't going to swerve (or you aren't going to miss a meal), it isn't worried about what comes next.  Stress hormones like DHEA and cortisol are shock absorbers for the body.  Heck, they even have weight loss drugs to suppress cortisol to help keep your body from storing extra energy as adipose fat tissue.  Why not cut out the stress instead?

Sure, there are lots of ways to stress out the body.  Just skip breakfast and you are already on your way.  The way we handle external stress can also be a factor but that can be alleviated with exercise -- and having an outlet to unleash it.  But I find it most shocking how easily we stress ourselves out by just the infrequency of our meals.  In fact, I'm just about an hour from my next one.  If you have children, watch what happens when they next ask you, "What are we having for dinner?" and you say, "I don't know when we are going to eat."  Your body reacts the same way.  It will ask you again and again... that's what really feeling hunger is about.  Take two of your days off and try eating small meals every 3 hours.  If you get up at 6am and eat, your last meal will be at 6pm.  Just see what happens if you go 30 minutes over for dinner.  You will hear that message clearer than normal.

Enough babbling.  After 90 days working on my program which included a minimal yet effective workout, having a special shake for breakfast and eating every 3 hours, I am down 21 pounds and 6 belt sizes.  I'm wearing a ring guard again and feeling healthier than I have in years.  The journey will still continue but I wanted to have a good moment to sit down and assess how things are going.  I know that I could be doing more workouts and can see that in the next 90 days.  I've moved on to the Accelerated Results schedule to test myself further.  But, I'm amazed at where I am already.  Life is looking pretty darn good and I can't wait to take my next blood test to see where my cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure are at.  Then again, this is the way I'm spending the rest of my life.  I'd say that I'm going to become the man my wife deserves.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Last Day Of The Initial Process

When I said that I wanted to focus on getting healthier, I meant it.  That is why I started after Thanksgiving instead of making it just another New Year's resolution.  Well, today is my 90th day of the program.  3 months worth of work and the effort is paying off.  I'll post the end results either tomorrow or Thursday.  But, since I am talking about days, I'm changing the game plan and calling these Tuesday posts Fit Tuesdays as Fat Tuesday can sound like it's going in the wrong direction (and to avoid possible legal action from a certain alcoholic beverage enterprise.)

Why the leg muscle photo?  I'm more and more impressed with how quickly my legs have responded.  Leg cramps were always a problem for me when working out.  I would spend days recovering from my first workout.  A lot of this difference I believe comes from the workout plan and what I have for breakfast each morning as they are the main adjustments that I've made.

What I can tell you before looking at numbers tomorrow is that I'm more balanced, stronger and self-aware than I have ever been.  What surprises me is that it really didn't take that much work.  Taking back control of your life, your present and your future begins with a step.  That step may be unsteady but it is going in a direction.  Future steps will be more sure and resolute and less painful but you can't quit.  Stopping mid-step throws your balance off, allows you to stumble and can ultimately fall.  But even then... fall in the right direction and keep going even if you have to crawl.  A future you awaits you if you just meet them part way.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Surfing The Ocean Blue

I've had this band on my brain for the last week. This 1989 hit single by Hershey, Pennsylvania's The Ocean Blue really brings me back.  The band just has a sound that is hard to describe... hence the reason that they were absorbed under the alternative college rock description at the time.  Just listen to the breathy vocals and that great guitar solo.  Love their stuff.

The reason they are on my mind is that they are releasing a new album.  They have even previewed a few tracks here and there including another song that just sticks in my head:  "Sad Night, Where Is The Morning."  Enjoy it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Healthy Food Doesn't Have To Taste Healthy

So, today is the start of my last 2 weeks of my 3 month (90 day) attempt to reclaim my life.  Sounds dramatic that way, doesn't it.  The results are great.  I'm down nearly 20 pounds, stronger and more alert.  It's weird having to buy new clothes in sizes that I'm unused to.  But, what have I really changed?  Very little.

One of the excuses people have about the journey toward fitness and staying healthy is:  "It's too hard for me to change my lifestyle."  Ok, that isn't an excuse people admit.  The excuses they do use are:  "I don't have the time to exercise."  "I don't have the money for... (insert gym membership, healthier food or workout equipment.)"  "I don't like the taste of... (insert fruits, vegetables, vitamins, minerals or lean meats.)"  Another one that they don't say is:  "I don't have the willpower to do something consistently."  Yet, they find time check their Facebook account.  They have the money for junk and fast food.  And, as for taste... healthy food doesn't have to taste bad.

I could ramble on a bit here.  (Actually, I did and then I decided to hold onto it for further posts.)  But, healthy things don't have to taste bad.  Shakeology is a great example.  The video above explains it pretty darn well.  I have even cut back on some of the vitamins I take every morning and, at my house, it's what's for breakfast. You can find out more here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Friend The Resistance Band

I've decided to take Tuesdays and post specifically about fitness.  Let's call it Fat Tuesday, shall we?  Anyhow, today I wanted to focus on my new friend the resistance band.  I have tons of weights and other great tools in the house to get healthy but for those of you just starting... start right here.  Ok, your eating habits are important too but, when used properly, you can work biceps, triceps, shoulders, delts, quads and even gluts.

A small investment and it takes up very little space.  If you are looking for exercises to start with... there are tons.  Feel free to ask.  But... don't you think tripping over this rather than a dumbell would hurt less?

Friday, February 08, 2013

Numbers are numbers

I have mentioned my dislike for numbers before.  Let's take two for a moment: weight and BMI.  If a man loses 2 pounds of fat but gains 2 pounds of muscle, he sees a zero on the scale.  In that man's head, his body didn't do anything because the numbers are the same.  It makes it a bit easier for someone to quit the journey.  My issue with BMI comes from weight lifters.  You could have a low body fat percentage but because your body contains so much muscle weight, you would be considered fat due to how much you weigh and how tall you are.  Then there is mathematics.  So, I tend to not want to qualify or quantify my success numerically.  Well, until yesterday.

As you can see, I weighed in about 4 times starting in May.  The numbers on the far right are weight.  From a high of 222, I am now down 18 pounds.  Blood pressure is to the left next to the date and that is looking better as well.  There are even hydration percentage and BMI numbers in there somewhere.  Having too many numbers can be confusing.  It is good to feel great but, now, when someone asks, I can tell them something other than how many pant sizes dropped or belt loops I've had to adjust.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Living And Living Well

Nothing quite as dramatic as looking at this photo of Jared.  I love me some Subway but there is more to a weight loss journey than repeat visits to a restaurant.  So, why the photo?  As of late October, I have moved my belt notches at least 4 spots.  I have made temporary drops in weight for things like my wedding (which was almost 5 years ago) but all things go back to use of the word 'diet.'  I'll say it here right now that I am not dieting.

The Free Dictionary defines a diet as:

    1. The usual food and drink of a person or animal.
    2. A regulated selection of foods, as for medical reasons or cosmetic weight loss.
    3. Something used, enjoyed, or provided regularly: subsisted on a diet of detective novels during his vacation.
    1. Of or relating to a food regimen designed to promote weight loss in a person or an animal: the diet industry.
     a. Having fewer calories.
     b. Sweetened with a noncaloric sugar substitute.
    3. Designed to reduce or suppress the appetite: diet pills; diet drugs.
    v. di·et·ed, di·et·ing, di·ets
     To eat and drink according to a regulated system, especially so as to lose weight or control a medical condition.
      To regulate or prescribe food and drink for.
Notice that -- as a noun #2, adjective #1, #2a, #2b, #3, as an intransitive verb and possibly the transitive verb -- most of these deal with weight loss.  Yet, only one (#1 noun) deals with regularity (non-bowel.)  Years ago, the word diet was focused on what one's normal eating was but as you can see... it has evolved.  So maybe we need a new word for this.  I would say that I am just living.

I was stretching out a size 38 pair of pants before Halloween (I still have issues with calling one item a pair) but, yesterday, decided to see how far I've progressed.  I'm not a scale person.  I want health but if muscle comes with it, I don't want to upset myself with gaining a pound (muscle) when looking for loss (fat.)  It could also be a numerical denial and avoidance but I'll seek therapy someday for that.  Oh, so I purchased a size 34 pair of pants and they fit with a little room.  I don't think I've been in a 34 since after high school.

I also know that my trajectory may take me beyond 34 and more wardrobe changes.  So these purchases are going to be here and there.  I recently also started purging any shirt over a large.  Gave a few to David for bed shirts.  My jacket is currently a 44 (down from a 48 at one point) with room to move.

No, you don't need to have pant-size or shirt-size comparisons to make you feel good.  Making changes in your life should do that for you.  This especially happens when finding the ability to do more in your workout program, have better form in your moves, feel less sore afterwards and not tire out as much.  Sometime I may talk about the program a bit more extensively and if curious you can contact me but, for now, let's just say that I'm living and living well.

Monday, January 14, 2013

An Available Open Door Doesn't Guarantee Its Use

On January 9, economist Jed Kolko released a study to real estate site that takes 5 different measures to rank the best and worst cities to live in if you want to lose weight.  Of course, this is the best time to mention such a study as people made resolutions recently to make a life change this year.  Despite living in nearby Henderson, Las Vegas was named at the worst place to live in if you want to drop that midsection tire.

What I find interesting about such studies is that there are and will always be other studies.  One specifically released last year in Men's Fitness named Las Vegas at #6 in the top 25 "fattest cities."  On that same list, Philadelphia is #14 on the heavy cities list but #8 on the "best cities to lose weight" list.  Houston and Memphis come in come in #1 and #4 (respectively) on this list and #7 and #6 on the worst cities to lose that weight.

Sure, I think it's easy to pick on a city that is known for buffets but not everyone here goes to them.  Personally, I may go to one once or twice a year (excluding Sweet Tomatoes.)  I guess it is a case of perception and reality.  Las Vegas is full of hotels with buffets that are supported by people coming to visit from other cities, states and countries.  Having something doesn't mean it is highly attended by locals.  Healthy food shopping is available all over from Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Market, Wild Oats, Fresh and Easy (for now) as well as many sections at WinCo, Walmart, Smith's, Albertson's and Von's.  The Urban Spoon cites 48 organic restaurants and 23 vegan friendly organic restaurants in the area.

The Kolko study misses a big issue here.  Having healthy food available doesn't mean it will be purchased or eaten.  3 of the 5 measures Kolko studies view the proximity of a gym to homes, outdoor sports opportunities and percentage of weight loss or diet centers per population density.  Proximity, opportunity and locality do not mean attendance.  If you survey those that walk or bike to work, why not survey them on if they walk or bike for exercise or recreation?  Does walking to work include walking a mile or so to public transportation?  Does the study account for weather conditions conducive to outdoor exercise or count the number of tennis or basketball courts... and why limit it to outdoor in an age of P90X, Insanity, Turbofire and many other home indoor options?  Might as well ask if they have a functioning DVD player if you are going to measure opportunities to lose weight.