By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
December 27, 2015
I have been in a rut lately in regards to my musical tastes. Heck, one can say I am in a rut in all things pop culture and culture in general. I think I have literally bought enough music albums and movies this year to count on one hand. This is a rather blasphemous realization for me in the music department, considering I love to find and buy new music that always intrigues me. Sports talk personality Colin Cowherd always had a rather interesting assessment about life and getting older in regards to the popular culture you find yourself in tune with. When you hang around younger people and immerse yourself into their culture, sometimes that assimilation will make you feel younger and do things that younger people might be surprised you are trying. Of course, Cowherd used this as some sort of arguing point for the Brett Favre “Will he or will he not” retirement story that dragged on for a good four or five years and deprived the world of Aaron Rodgers amazingness. Personally, I felt that whole charade was just a ploy by a prima donna who just couldn’t say no. But anyway, Cowherd does have a point in regards to the immersion side of his argument. I do feel a little cooler when I got to see a band that younger people might find interesting. I do feel a little more intellectual when I see a movie that only older, cultural elitist types might find worthy of their time and money. The spectrum can both ways I would think. So how does this apply to the little moment I had on Christmas Day? I didn’t really ask for anything this year, for I felt a little downtrodden about the holiday considering my lack of buying power kind of limiting what I wanted to get for my family. But lo and behold, my sister Christina decided to go her usual route and get me a rather strange gift. The last few years, she has gotten into buying me records and stuff from this used music shop called Bookman’s here in Tucson. The place has just about everything in regards to games, music and books. They even sell musical instruments and sports equipment now! They get so much stuff turned into them, they don’t even bother giving away money simply because they would not make any money ever. But on the other hand, a lot of people do like to exchange stuff and rotate the heck of there book library, and I also like to buy DVD’s from the place because so many people are slaves to the trends and are constantly updating their movie list with the newer versions. Of course, so many of the damn movies I see are these silly comic book movies (yup, I am an intellectual elitist…haha).
The last few years, Christina has gotten me old records of The Monkees, which is a band I will always love. I always preferred the songs sung my Mickey Doleanz as opposed to Davy Jones, but as irony would strike in the port mortem of the band’s break-up, Mike Nesmith was probably the best out of all them! (seriously, listen to the songs Joanne and Circle Sky). This year, my sister went completely off the beaten path and got me a record from this band called The Streetwalkers. Now I doubt they were trying to hint at the idea of being prostitutes or something, but they seemed to take on a more dangerous and dark side of the word when you look at their album artwork. On the Red Card album, they have a a grim reaper doing some kind of Tarot reading. It was a total 1970s cover, but it was certainly not something you would expect from a progressive rock band that utilized wah peddles and organs. I assume my sister got it for me because she though it might have been a heavy metal album, which in her mind, everything I listen to is heavy metal. Anyway, my parent’s house was filled with some pretty good music, like a weird cross-section of Led Zeppelin and Supertramp. So yeah, I was really happy and surprised with the results. When you really give yourself to something new, merely for the sake of trying it, such things can lead to unusual results. You can say this whole fitness journey of mine is something I completely turned my back on for years, whether it was a conscious disapproval or pure ignorance. Call it whatever, for my life as it is now is very similar to that weird album my sister got for me, for the unexpected surprises keep coming along. But there is something that will never surprise me, one that can always be expected….if you don’t take care of yourself, bad things are going to happen.
Call it a broken record if you may in order to complete the pun, but once again health problems are becoming an issue in the family. My cousin is in some serious trouble right now, for complications revolving around her diabetes has put her in and out of ICU care for the last couple weeks. Her troubles are more or less linked to not taking care of her condition well enough, and now she just seems to have a laundry list of problems as the doctors solve one issue and another comes up. Of course, this also scared another one of my cousins, who is making sure he AND his wife make sure he takes his diabetes medications to maintain his issues. No matter what, I continue to wonder how these things keep happening. It was bad enough that my family suffered so much tragedy from poor health, and the fact this sort of thing is still occurring kind of shocks me. While I have yet to really get a full diagnostic on my own body, they only time I really get sick or out of sorts is when I have no caffeine in my body or when my iron is low (which beans and kale can fix all these problems). Or maybe I will suffer through some days when I did not stretch properly and my legs cramp up like crazy. Both of those are things I have to keep watching, because I know full well it could have been me. And no matter what I read or what I cite in my blog, I will always know the path I am taking as opposed to the one I used to be on will always be better. Take for example, ANOTHER study that came out recently indicated just how important having fitness in your life can be. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/85643
Now, this one is not much different than all of the other studies I have cited over the course of this blog. Over time, I have always started that being in some sort of good health is always preferable to being out of shape. There is really no such thing as being “fit and fat,” which you could have stated I was even when I was a good 400 pounds and still within a lot of safety parameters in regards to my blood work. Here was the interesting part of this study, which was taken from Sweden and conducted by the Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation at Umeå University. The study looked at the health of over one million men who were conscripted into the military between 1969 and 1996. Most of these men were in relatively good shape, and the mean age for when these studies started was 18 years of age. Over the course of 28 years, the researchers poured over information in regards to the men, and revealed some interesting results. One thing that was was mentioned, which certainly affects me, is that mortality and health is not fixed permanently simply because I changed the ice cream and pizza out for fruit blends and kale. Researchers concluded though that having a lower body mass can be of exceptional help in regards to your long term health. Right now, the United States is having a lot of issues with childhood obesity. Let’s say these kids are obese up until 18 or 19 and then go on a heavy exercise regiment, losing the weight and getting healthy again. While their future mortality will greatly change due to the massive health changes they made in their lives, it still won’t be as potentially good as the people were who were active and healthy all throughout their life. Now this brings up some new insight we rarely think about, for we always tend to think about the future as opposed to the past when it comes to our weight loss and fitness journeys.
The study also confirmed another blog I wrote about a while back about this bizarre concept known as “healthy obesity.” http://blog.parsonstrainingtucson.com/2013/11/healthy-obesitypersonal-and-fitness.html For years, people believed that being overweight as long as you were somewhat fit and healthy would offset all of the problems that would come down the line from being overweight. In the blog I wrote two years prior, a study in Denmark studied 71,000 people and found that the risk for heart disease was still prevalent even if you listed as one outhouse rare “healthy obese’ people. Of course, the Swedish study is much bigger, and the findings they discovered are remarkably similar. You see, not all of the men that left the military stayed healthy in regards weight, but may have stayed active regardless. According to the research, men who stayed physically healthy and remained a normal and healthy body weight lowered their risk of heart disease by 34%, while the men that didn’t maintain healthy weight only did so by 28%. Now it doesn’t seem like a whole lot when you puttee numbers side by side, but then again, wouldn’t you want to do all you can to make sure you are as healthy as you can be?
Now we can play the denial game and say there could be anomalies. Everyone knows some guy that is 300 pounds but can run like the wind and dunk a 10-foot basketball rim. But the point of the matter, which is something that always gets lost in the obesity debate, is not about the issue of whether you can do something or how high your self esteem is. The issue with me will always be about the health factor, because no matter what, that is one thing we can primarily control with our diet. There are a few souls out that that have type 1 diabetes or were born with other debilitating allergies and diseases, those people are few and far between. I take example some of the people I see at work, who clearly have some issues due to their obesity. they look like they could barely walk by the time the 12-hour day ends, and there is a certain look of death and despair in their eyes as they bumble out of the building, prepping themselves for another long day the next day. Now, I’m not going to put them down for being overweight, but you have to look at the fact of the matter….being overweight will severely limit their ability to work. If they can barely make it through one day, how can they make it through three in a row? How are they going to go a day without choking down handfuls of pills? And how will affect long term productivity? All of the years I suffered through a heavy body is still causing issues for me, especially with my feet. But on one hand, I am doing all I can to combat that problem!
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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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