By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
August 23, 2015
At this advanced portion of my life, I would like to believe I am a fairly logical and reasonable person. I paint myself to be that way to a lot of people, but for most of my life, one could say I thought with my heart far too much. I clung to things I shouldn’t have, believed certain truths for far too long and was naive about the realties of a great many things. It’s hard to pinpoint all of these mistakes to create the map of how I got to this point in my life, but one thing is for certain, it is time to think logically and think things out. For a while there, everything I did had a measured thought process behind it, and I rarely ever did anything that might have been construed as spontaneous. I probably missed out on a lot of things because of this thought process, and it has somewhat deprived me of a lot of life experience. But I trudge on I guess, because I have to eat, and my two pups have to be taken care of. I especially keep trudging ahead because of the pups, because they absolutely need me emotionally than I do them. When I work my long 12-hour shifts and then come home, that is usually the sign for them to start eating their food, even though I feed them before I go to work some 13+ hours before I finally get home. Heck, they get so worried about me returning, when I went to Ragnar Del Sol last February, my dog Scarlett actually went on a mini-hunger strike until I got home, and my other dog Rusty was actually sad, whimpering and acting “hang dog” when I didn’t show up after the first day to pick them up. It was especially surprising about Rusty, who is usually quite independent while Scarlett is the obvious clingy “Daddy’s Girl.” Anyway, everything I do is thought out and planned nowadays, especially as the money flow is rather limited. If I don’t reach a certain threshold for the week, certain things have to be tossed out due to the previous experience and rationale. Knowing these things is probably why I am becoming more and more interested once again about the “thinking” ideals within society, like science, philosophy and history (typical things that happens to a bachelor, hehe).
It has been kind of funny the last days, for a lot of interesting stories have been popping up left and right on my feed. The first one is obviously about the designation of the common octopus as a rather “alien” like entity on this blue sphere of ours. http://www.geek.com/science/scientists-declare-that-octopuses-are-basically-aliens-1631142/ What got all the scientists in a big party mode was the the fact they finally mapped out the genetic make-up of the eight legged freaks to discover they have some 33,000 genes, 10,000 more than humans and are far more advanced than we thought. Turns out they can do more tasks than just predict Super Bowl Champions. There was another cool little story that combined a little science and history as well this week in regards to the ancient colonial town called Roanoke, located in North Carolina. It was one of he first English settlements that disappeared some three years after it’s initial founding. The man who started the settlement, John White, saw nothing, literally nothing….except for the word “Croatoan” written on a tree. This was always a fun conspiracy theory amongst history nuts like me, and often times the answer came in the form of horror film or weird alien abduction. But according to two new sets of archaeological digs, the answer is probably closer to the fact the 100 or settlers actually assimilated into the local Native American tribes, most likely because their supply stream had been cut off and needed to figure out different ways to survive. http://www.history.com/news/archaeologists-find-new-clues-to-lost-colony-mystery?cmpid=Social_FBPAGE_HISTORY_20150810_220338269&linkId=16196682
As I was saying, all of these things really intrigue me these days. I’ve even reading up on the history of Area 51, continuing a book my father had given to me a couple years ago. While the conspiracy nut within me is loving it, somehow the skeptic in me is kind of fighting the yarns within the book from eyewitnesses, merely to the tune that it sounds too fantastic to believe. In fact, we run into a lot of these things in our lives, where we stumble across some article that may indicate one particular scientific note or counter a scientific ideal that had been believed for quite some time. And then you see the painfully obvious, like the recent study being payed for by Coca Cola and their blatantly poor excuse for transparency. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/coca-cola-funds-scientists-who-shift-blame-for-obesity-away-from-bad-diets/?_r=0 One thing we do know within our society is this basic principle. If you eat and drink more calories than you burn, there is a good chance you are going to get heavy. Simple mathematics. So if you carefully come up with a calorie system that fits your body and your lifestyle, you will be able to maintain a constant weight. Throwing in exercise allows you to eat a little more (as some people like to do….exercising to eat more!) or in my case, lose some weight as I try to maintain a steady diet. so it seems kind of odd that a company hell bent on sugary drinks and fast food is trying to fund a study to prove how we really don’t need a healthy diet to win the battle of the bulge.
Now it sounds kind of odd to hear this at first listen. We have always assumed that eating healthy and exercising is the key to maintaining good health. Managing a balanced diet will keep us from having to buy a whole bunch of supplements that really provide little in what we need, and are typically poor substitutes for good, nutritious food. Heck, this is such a given fact that at work yesterday, while packing unusual multi-vitamins, a couple coworkers even agreed with me these supplements were kind of pointless. The biggest laugh was this bizarre Vitamin C chewable that looked like a weird bead soap. “I’d rather eat oranges” one of my co-workers said. “Just eat a lot of peppers” I blurted out, which I informed them is a pretty good source of Vitamin C. Since both my co-workers were Latino, we all joked about how we don’t need supplements due to the fact we all eat insane amounts of jalapeños and various peppers already. Anyway, this new study is merely a ruse and a pretty pathetic display of desperation. With new “added sugar” recommendations to be presented by the Department of Health later this year, Coca Cola is on the offensive and is out to prove that it doesn’t matter what you eat, just as long as you exercise (and of course, drink Coca Cola and it’s subsidiary soft drinks). Now Coca Cola, in their defense, does have a point to their sad and pitiful display of overreach. It is the perfect time to tackle the subject due to the fact childhood obesity rates have now dropped a little (I wonder if Michelle Obama does any victory dances) and the adult obesity rate is hitting a wall at the moment (it’s about freaking time America!). This blog has already illustrated before that the type of food we eat may not be the main factor in weight loss, but the amount of calories. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/25/upshot/americans-are-finally-eating-less.html?abt=0002&abg=1
A professor from Kansas St. University did a short term study called the “Little Debby Diet” that actually gave some interesting numbers. While he cut his caloric intake by a third, he did lose 27 pounds in two months and improved some of his health signals (blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, etc.). While his hypothesis was somewhat correct, a lot of plotholes were presented with in the script. Just what would the long term effects be, and did he gain all that weight back when he returned to a normal diet? It was an interesting study to say the least, but I can honestly tell you this is not something you can do over the long term. While he had incredible discipline to just eat 1800 calories a day worth of junk food (which adds up quickly when you think about it), do you really think most people will be able to hold back? It is not like this is a new phenomenon, for we have seen people lose weight by eating nothing but Taco Bell and McDonalds (why you would want to eat at those places every day is a bit perplexing though….even when I was at my worst, I never ate at a place more than twice a week for I had been on the other side of he counter, and we would secretly make fun of the people that would buy that amount of food on a regular basis). Anyway, this study to prove that a horrible diet is okay as long as you exercise is coming on the heels of another interesting statistic….soda consumption has reduced by a good 25%.
Now we know calorie restriction can lead to weight loss, but is maintaining a good diet really that important to the equation? According to most nutritionists, they will claim the best ratio for diet and exercise is 75% diet and 25% exercise. It makes perfect sense, and you can see I am kind of an example of that phenomenon. While my workout schedule continues to be sporadic and uneven, I’m still losing weight merely because I am not going out to eat or drinking heavily, which are both activities that could equate to a lot of calories (especially if you like heavy ales like myself). So here is a scenario, if you eat the same amount of calories you might get from a fast food restaurant as per your calorie calculation, are you in good health even though you might maintain your weight? Seriously, it does not take a rocket scientists to believe that the secret ingredients on a Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger are better than a fully realized meal that provides natural antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. You may have the same calorie intake, but think about it. I could eat three of those culinary abominations a day or eat a variety of food that will fill me up, and might even accidentally eat fewer calories due to the density of some foods (a common issue when you eat a lot of leafy greens…they fill up the stomach much better). The old me would have said the burgers, but then again, I used to eat two of those along with two orders of chili fries and two orders of regular fries in one sitting, or roughly 4500 calories. Yup, blew up my health for the day!
I’m sure plenty of people can see through the ruse that Coca Cola is trying to pull here, but I am also sure there will be plenty of people in denial and will finally hear what they want to hear, because let’s face it, people use the internet frequently to pick and choose what they wish to believe. Heck, science is even making silly vegans rejoice with the news that scientists managed to create a seaweed that tastes like bacon. Is this really necessary? We can’t find a cure for common diseases but we have the time to make disgusting sea grass taste like a dead animal? Anyway, I will be waiting for Coca Cola’s results, even though I already know the outcome since they are paying for the study and put together a group of shill scientists to back them up. This is going to be hilarious.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
When you read this blog you are reading through the eyes of someone who is winning the battle of real weight loss. Steve is not a fitness professional, but he is someone we can all learn from.
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