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.