Friday, June 2, 2023

"Hedonic" foods

 There are some foods I know I have to stay away from, even though they are low carb.  What comes to mind are nuts and sliced American cheese.  The reason is that I can't control my intake of these foods, and will eat until the package is empty.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

4 exercises, 2 planes, 20 minutes

A simple workout that takes about 20 minutes is to do pushing and pulling movements in 2 planes.   This consists of bench press paired with rows, and shoulder press paired with pull downs.  Most people would suggest also adding leg press, but my thinking is that I'm already carrying a tonne of extra weight against gravity.  I'm not sure it makes sense to put more strain on the lower extremities. 

I do all of this work on a machine, primarily because the machines at my club are in an area that is less scary than the workout floor.   When getting back into it, I do very light weight something on the order of 15 to 25 reps.   I will pretty quickly move into sets of around 8 to 12 reps but I want to ease into it.  

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Sugar and the 'addiction' model

 Let's break down the definition above, and see if it applies here:  

1) Chronic and relapsing

That certainly seems to fit.  I have been able to go on brief periods of abstinence from sugar, with interstitial periods of overconsumption and weight gain.

2) Adverse consequences

We had a guest this weekend that one minute was injecting himself with a diabetes medicine, and then the next minute baking and then shoveling down pieces of blueberry pie.  Is the injectable enough of an indicator that there are adverse consequences to this addiction?

For me personally, not being on insulin or a semaglutide, the adverse consequences are a little subtler.  Clearly I myself knew that having a BMI of 50 was not healthy, but a part of me thought I was just being vain. 


The upshot of all of this is that I essentially treat refined sugar like cigarettes at this point.  I don't have 'just a little'.  I know that if I fall off the wagon that it will be exceedingly difficult to get back on.  

I also stay away from most fake sweeteners.  My palette has adjusted to the point that a half pint of raspberries is a bomb of a desert.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Decadence and Health Externalities

 Sitting down to a lovely meal with family.  The menu is a salad (asparagus, spinach, strawberries, vinaigrette), roast chicken with a bit of cajun spice, and lamb chops.  This feels like a very luxurious meal, and in some respects, primarily because of the lamb, it is.  My weight is down another half pound the next morning.

However, every time we sit down to this type of meal, in the ideal we shouldn't be comparing it against a big platter of pasta, or a trey of fast food.  It feels decadent to eat this way, but is it really?

I first heard the term "externality" in reference to the environmental crisis.  The term was applied to pork farming and processing, these large cesspools of waste, and water contamination.  The argument was that the "externality" of the environmental impact wasn't figured into the cost of the product.  The pork was only able to be sold cheaply if the cost of clean-up (or proper handling in the first place) was not figured in.

There are other kinds of externalities though, the primary one being the cost of the health deficits from regularly eating that bowl of pasta or that fast food:  Insulin, infections, amputation, blood pressure meds, meds to manage triglycerides, continuous glucose monitors, treatment of strokes and cardiac problems, and loss of productivity.  Some of it might be picked up by insurance, but that doesn't mean it isn't swamping the economy.

We don't typically think like this.  We are so used to eating shit food that it just feels viscerally like we somehow don't deserve to sit down for this meal.

Let's break it down though, where it really matters:  Replace the lamb (a treat) with chicken leg quarters or thighs, and it's really only a couple of dollars a pound.  If you want, substitute sautéed cabbage for what I put in the salad.  For the price of a Chipotle burrito, we can buy a whole mess of this protein and prepare it for ourselves.  Even the 45 or 55 minute break while it is cooking has built in health benefits if you can sit down and relax or chat with friends and family while it is cooking.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Electronic minimalism around the exercise bike

 When I used to train as a junior rower, one of the things I identified about aerobic activity is that if someone interrupts you during it, your reaction might be more severely annoyed than if you were at resting heart rate.

I've experimented with all manner of electronic distractions to put in front of an exercise bike.  In grad school, one of the projects I worked on was a VR rig for indoor cycling.   At home years later I had a big TV and Chromecast on a mount in front of the bike.

None of these were ever that satisfying for riding.

I had an insight today on my indoor bike:  the visually-heavy solutions for distraction can be an annoyance, where something calmer might be more sustainable.

Currently I have my bike facing out a big window where I can see some trees, I had a keto podcast playing, and I had a heart rate readout on my wrist.  Built into the bike is an RPM monitor and difficulty control.  This was a pretty calming combination, and I didn't feel like I missed more of a distraction.

When I was a rower, I didn't even really like headphones in, much less a TV to stare at.  I can foresee a point where the podcast becomes annoying at higher exertion rates, and I just want to listen to techno, or nothing at all.

So maybe try a bit of minimalism around your exercise experience? 

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Dietetics Degree

 My overriding feeling about getting a dietetics degree is that by becoming a licensed professional, I would be bound by the current standards of care such as:

(Recently seen on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics under "Breakfast Recipes")...

"Pancakes are an all-American breakfast treat, and this version pairs chocolate chips and fresh bananas for extra goodness. In Michigan, where wild berries grow, people love to use blueberry syrup; you can also try them with wild blueberry sauce."

Additionally, the recipe calls for low fat buttermilk and cooking spray.  In their defense they do label this a "breakfast treat" though.

"This version of French toast uses whole-wheat bread and fat-free milk for a healthier option. Enjoy the traditional way or chop into sticks for dunking!"

In their defense at least they list the maple syrup as "optional".