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November 28, 2007

Random Ramblings

Well, you know, sometimes I have all these great ideas for my blog....but when I type them out, they just don't sound as good as they did in my head or more often they just aren't long enough.

So today I'm going to just ramble on and get some of those ideas submitted in a single post.

Gym Jerks

I had two instances of gym jerkiness. 

1.  This was the lesser of the two.  They guy meant well...probably.  I was doing some circuit training....changing rapidly between lots of exercises (I'll do a post about circuit training some day).  Anyway, I was on the rowing machine and I was getting close to the end of my workout.  I had it on a low setting because I'd injured my shoulder earlier in the week and didn't want to put too much stress on it yet. 

So this guy comes up to the row machines, sits down on the one next to me, looks over at me and says, "Come on!  Put some real resistance on that thing!"

My reply was, "I lost 50+ pounds without your unsolicited advice.  I'll keep doing things my way."  Then I promptly got up and moved to the treadmills (I was done anyway).

2.  The greater of the two jerks.  It started out when I was on a treadmill.  This guy is on the treadmill next to me.  I'm putting heart and soul into it when he finishes up, gets off the treadmill and starts walking the indoor track....and he doesn't wipe down the treadmill he was on.  That's just disgusting!  He sweats all over the thing and won't even clean off the hand rails.  I made a mental note to myself about this guy. 

Later, I was doing some core exercises on a floor mat.  I had worked up quite a sweat by now.  So I had one of the fans blowing on me.  This same guy walks up to the fan and turns it off.  No warning....no asking if anyone was using it....just turns it off and walks away.

So I get up and turn it back on.  Now I'm back to working out and this guy makes it around the track and turns the fan off again.  WHAT A JERK! 

So I get up and turn it back on again.  He looks over at me and says, "Hey!  I don't like the fans blowing in my face when I'm walking by."

I look over at him and say, "Since you are one of those idiots that doesn't clean up the gym equipment when they are done with it, I don't really care what you want.   I'm working out in this area, and I say the fan stays on."

He got frustrated with me and left the area.  As he walked off I could hear the guy behind me snickering.  I think he wanted the fan left on too.   

If you join a gym, please wipe down the stuff that you use.  And don't walk around like you own the place.

New Bugg!

After posting about the benefits of the Body Bugg that I wear, one of my coworkers got one for herself. 

Congrats Lisa on getting Bugged! 

I'm excited to have some one to discuss Bugg stuff with. 

Money for Me!

The weight loss competition at work ended early when it was realized that no one was likely to catch me at this point.  I'd lost nearly 20 pounds and all others were around 2 or 3 pounds.  So the money all goes to me. 

Sweet....I used it to take Heather out for ice cream, pizza, and a movie.  :)

Opps....Bad timing

I should have really thought out better the time I took off.  I should have made it a week later so it would include Thanksgiving.  Food everywhere I turn....gyms are closed....its worse than Halloween.  At least at Halloween I was getting more exercise. 

Between the week off and Thanksgiving I put on about 4 pounds.  Oh well...I lost it once, I can do it again.

NO RSS FEED FOR J00!

I forget who it was....but one of my readers walked up to me at work and asked why I didn't just add support for RSS so people could just subscribe to my blog and I wouldn't have to send out that awful spam mail every week.

I keep forgetting to let everyone know that YOU CAN subscribe to my blog....although it supports ATOM and not RSS...at least not yet.  But Internet Explorer will allow you to subscribe to sites using ATOM.  So those of you that know what I'm talking about can enjoy.  You can use this link or the one in the pane to the left that says ATOM. 

I don't push the subscription thing because I want people to enter the site from the front page.  Otherwise they miss the math humor and the count downs....and whatever else I put on the front page.

Anyway, if you want off the spam mail...just let me know.

And Now Its Time

That's long enough.  Just make a quick sweep to see if any dogs are hanging around..... 

funnydogs26uf0

November 20, 2007

Going for the knife

I've avoided this subject long enough.  Its time to talk about surgery.  Not for me....but for others.  Why not me?  I'll get into that later.  First let's look at what's available out there. 

There are 3 basic types of surgeries that we will look at today...

  1. Bariatric
  2. Liposuction
  3. Body Contouring

Bariatric surgery alters your digestive tract in different ways to reduce your food intake and/or make your digestion less efficient....so you don't absorb as many calories from the foods you eat.  Food ends up only partially digested.

NOTE:  The following information (just the stuff on bariatric surgery) was a straight copy/paste from www.weightlosssurgeryinfo.com .  I normally don't plagiarize quite so completely...but I thought their explanations were pretty good and didn't need any editing on my part.

There are a number of different bariatric surgeries....

Vertical Banded Gastroplasty (VBG) is a purely restrictive procedure. In this procedure the upper stomach near the esophagus is stapled vertically to create a smaller stomach pouch. The outlet from the pouch is restricted by a band or ring that slows the emptying of the food and thus creates the feeling of fullness

Advantages 

  • The primary advantage of this restrictive procedure is that a reduced amount of well-chewed food enters and passes through the digestive tract in the usual order. That allows the nutrients and vitamins (as well as the calories) to be fully absorbed into the body.
  • After 10 years, studies show that patients can maintain 50% of targeted excess weight loss.

Risks

  • Postoperatively, stapling of the stomach carries with it the risk of staple-line disruption that can result in leakage and/or serious infection. This may require prolonged hospitalization with antibiotic treatment and/or additional operations.
  • Staple-line disruption may also, in the long-term, lead to weight gain. For these reasons, some surgeons divide the staple-line wall of the pouch from the rest of the stomach to reduce the risk of long-term staple-line disruption.
  • The band or ring applied may lead to complications of obstruction or perforation, requiring surgical intervention.
  • Characteristically, these procedures, while creating a sense of fullness, do not provide the necessary feeling of satisfaction that one has had "enough" to eat.
  • Because restrictive procedures rely solely on a small stomach pouch to reduce food intake, there is the risk of the pouch stretching or of the restricting band or ring at the pouch outlet breaking or migrating, thus allowing patients to eat too much.
  • Around 40% of patients undergoing these procedures have lost less than half their excess body weight.
  • As is the case with all weight loss surgeries, readmission to a hospital may be required for fluid replacement or nutritional support if there is excessive vomiting and adequate food intake cannot be maintained.

Malabsorptive Procedures - Biliopancreatic Diversion

While these operations also reduce the size of the stomach, the stomach pouch created is much larger than with other procedures. The goal is to restrict the amount of food consumed and alter the normal digestive process, but to a much greater degree. The anatomy of the small intestine is changed to divert the bile and pancreatic juices so they meet the ingested food closer to the middle or the end of the small intestine. With the three approaches discussed below, absorption of nutrients and calories is also reduced, but to a much greater degree than with previously discussed procedures. Each of the three differs in how and when the digestive juices (i.e. bile) come into contact with the food.

Since food bypasses the duodenum, all the risk considerations discussed in the gastric bypass section regarding the malabsorption of some minerals and vitamins also apply to these techniques, only to a greater degree.

Biliopancreatic Diversion (BPD )

BPD removes approximately 3/4 of the stomach to produce both restriction of food intake and reduction of acid output. Leaving enough upper stomach is important to maintain proper nutrition. The small intestine is then divided with one end attached to the stomach pouch to create what is called an "alimentary limb." All the food moves through this segment; however, not much is absorbed. The bile and pancreatic juices move through the "biliopancreatic limb," which is connected to the side of the intestine close to the end. This supplies digestive juices in the section of the intestine now called the "common limb." The surgeon is able to vary the length of the common limb to regulate the amount of absorption of protein, fat and fat-soluble vitamins.

Extended (Distal) Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGBP-E )

RYGBP-E is an alternative means of achieving malabsorption by creating a stapled or divided small gastric pouch, leaving the remainder of stomach in place. A long limb of the small intestine is attached to the stomach to divert the bile and pancreatic juices. This procedure carries with it fewer operative risks by avoiding removal of the lower 3/4 of the stomach. Gastric pouch size and the length of the bypassed intestine determine the risks for ulcers, malnutrition and other effects.

Biliopancreatic Diversion with "Duodenal Switch "

This procedure is a variation of BPD in which stomach removal is restricted to the outer margin, leaving a sleeve of stomach with the pylorus and the beginning of the duodenum at its end. The duodenum, the first portion of the small intestine, is divided so that pancreatic and bile drainage is bypassed. The near end of the "alimentary limb" is then attached to the beginning of the duodenum, while the "common limb" is created in the same way as described above.

Advantages

  • These operations often result in a high degree of patient satisfaction because patients are able to eat larger meals than with a purely restrictive or standard Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure.
  • These procedures can produce the greatest excess weight loss because they provide the highest levels of malabsorption.
  • In one study of 125 patients, excess weight loss of 74% at one year, 78% at two years, 81% at three years, 84% at four years, and 91% at five years was achieved.
  • Long-term maintenance of excess body weight loss can be successful if the patient adapts and adheres to a straightforward dietary, supplement, exercise and behavioral regimen.

Risks

  • For all malabsorption procedures there is a period of intestinal adaptation when bowel movements can be very liquid and frequent. This condition may lessen over time, but may be a permanent lifelong occurrence.
  • Abdominal bloating and malodorous stool or gas may occur.
  • Close lifelong monitoring for protein malnutrition, anemia and bone disease is recommended. As well, lifelong vitamin supplementing is required. It has been generally observed that if eating and vitamin supplement instructions are not rigorously followed, at least 25% of patients will develop problems that require treatment.
  • Changes to the intestinal structure can result in the increased risk of gallstone formation and the need for removal of the gallbladder.
  • Re-routing of bile, pancreatic and other digestive juices beyond the stomach can cause intestinal irritation and ulcers.

Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding

A Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band procedure is a purely restrictive surgical procedure in which a band is placed around the upper most part of the stomach. This band divides the stomach into two portions, one small and one larger portion. Because food is regulated, most patients feel full faster. Food digestion occurs through the normal digestive process.

Advantages

  • Restricts the amount of food that can be consumed at a meal.
  • Food consumed passes through the digestive tract in the usual order allowing it to be fully absorbed into the body.
  • In multiple studies involving over 3000 patients, excess weight loss ranged from 28-87%, with a minimum of 2 year postoperative follow-up.
  • Band can be adjusted to increase or decrease restriction.
  • Surgery can be reversed.

Risks

  • Gastric perforation or tearing in the stomach wall may require additional operation.
  • Access port leakage or twisting may require additional operation.
  • May not provide the necessary feeling of satisfaction that one has had enough to eat.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Outlet obstruction.
  • Pouch dilatation.
  • Band migration/slippage.

Next there's liposuction.  While the techniques have improved over the years, the concept is still the same and is surprisingly simple. Liposuction is a surgical technique that improves the body's contour by removing excess fat from deposits located between the skin and muscle. Liposuction involves the use of a small stainless steel tube, called a cannula (from the Latin word for reed, tube, cane). The cannula is connected to a powerful suction pump and inserted into the fat through small incisions in the skin. Fat removal is accomplished as the suction cannula creates tiny tunnels through the fatty layers. After surgery, these tiny tunnels collapse and thus result in an improved body contour.

I'm not going to get into all the different options for liposuction.  It really depends on what your needs are and how your body stores fat.

Lastly, body contouring or loose skin sculpture is a way of shoring up all that loose skin you have after either conventional weight loss or weight loss from a bariatric surgery.  You see, the skin will stretch when you put on weight but it doesn't snap back into place if you lose weight too quickly or have lost a great deal of weight.  And as you get older the harder it is for the skin to recover.  This can leave your body looking 'deflated'. 

There is some debate on how much the skin will actually be able to snap back after weight loss....I can't say for sure who's right.  However, one of the reasons I chose to lose weight at a slower speed is that I want my skin to have time to recover at each step of the way.  And so far that is working for me. 

Do I recommend any of these procedures? No...no I don't.

I'm not in a position to recommend surgery to anyone.  I'm not a doctor....and the situation for each of you is different.  For example bariatric surgeries are the only way that some of the morbid obese can ever hope to recover to a point that they can get back to an active lifestyle.  Since I 'was' morbidly obese when I started, I can understand how hard it is to lose weight the conventional way when your joints are all crying out in pain just moving your body around...not to mention the stress on the lower back.  It was a slow road. 

My opinion is that bariatric surgery isn't for me....and it probably isn't for you either.  Same goes for liposuction.  My biggest problem with these surgeries is that it doesn't fix the problem...it just fixes the symptom.  The problem ISN'T the fat...it is the diet.  A fat person that loses weight with a quick fix like surgery hasn't really learned how to keep it from happening again.  They haven't learned how to fix their diet.  And until they do that, the knife is just fixing the fat issue....not the real problem.

That leaves us with the loose skin issue.  Would I get body contouring to take care of the problem?  Maybe.  But I'll let you in on my overall weight loss plan...and maybe that will put it in perspective for you.

  • Year 1 - Drop 50 pounds (done)
  • Year 2 - Drop additional 50 pounds
  • Year 3 - Give skin time to recover
  • Year 4 - Decide if I'll do body contouring

I'm not going to worry about it for now.  I'm strengthen my body and reducing my fat.  Those are the most important things to me right now.  If a year after my weight loss stops I'm still walking around with lots of loose skin...I'll decide then.  

 funnydogs43mx2 

Now THAT is some loose skin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 06, 2007

Well, I had a pretty good week despite some some diet issues (cheating).  Turns out that standing in long lines for haunted houses burns more calories than I had anticipated.  So my cheating didn't mess me up too much.  I just had a couple of 'high fat' days.

I'm was still on vacation but had to stop by work for a few minutes to take care of some things.  One of which was to weigh-in for our weight loss challenge.  I dropped nearly 20 pounds from my last weigh-in (19.6 pounds)...so I'm doing pretty good there.  I'm a bit disappointed that so many people wussed out on the challenge.  Plenty of folks did the initial weigh-in but then they disappeared.  I think we are down to just four people.  People want to lose weight...but they don't want to put the time and effort into doing it.  That just drives me crazy sometimes.  It happened again last week....some one asked me how I lost so much weight but as soon as I started talking about tracking calories and exercising their eyes glassed over.  Why ask me if you aren't going to listen to me?  Seriously, it really bugs me.

What was really nice was that then I went into work people noticed that I'd lost some weight while I'd been gone.  That's much better than what happened last year.  Last year I went on my big vacation, lost about 12 pounds and no one said a word....no one noticed.  But I was pretty heavy still and thinking back on it 12 pounds either way won't have really made that much of a difference.

The big news right now is that I've hit a major milestone....my percent of body fat has fallen into the 20s.  I

Happy Halloween Everyone

I know that by the time you read this Halloween will be over...but I tend to write my blog entries a week or two in advance.  So I'm actually writing this on Halloween morning just after finishing my lower body workout....in the cold...brrrrr!  It was 60 degrees when I got up.

That's not really that cold for me...but it is for the South. :)

Progress Report

My percentage of body fat dropped into the 20s! I had to do it twice to be sure I hadn't made a mistake.  This is a really big deal.  I still won't admit to how high my body fat had gotten to when I was really big.  Let's just say I was mostly fat. 

Oh...and I got used as an example at the gym the other day.  Some new client was taking a tour before signing up for membership and the staff member pointed me out while I was working with the balance ball.  I stopped working out and said, "Check it out!  I'm an example!"  It was one of those 'you had to be there' things. 

And of course the big news is that I hit the 235 pound mark.  This means I'm back to the low point I was at before I'd gone off diet.  This has been the hardest weight to take off.  I'm not sure why.  I've finally got around to updating my weight loss spreadsheet.   Yum...the sugar free taste of success.

Where NOT to Put Your Money

Okay, I've talked about some FREE stuff you can do to get in shape....and I've talked about some INEXPENSIVE stuff you can do.  Now it is time to go over some stuff NOT TO DO.  Here are some things that you will want to stay away from.  Don't believe it...don't buy it...don't use it....

1.  The Ab Lounge:  This wonder of workout machinery costs between $200 - $300.  You sit in this chair and do what essentially is a crunch.  It is supposed to allow you to this focused workout on your abs so you can flatten you tummy.  Okay....here is what's wrong with it....

 ablounge

  • It is a common myth that you can do ANY sort of 'spot reduction' of your body fat.  Your body stores fat according to your genetics.  And the only way you can reduce fat in ANY PART of your body is to reduce your overall body fat percentage.  You will tend to lose fat in the reverse order of how you stored it in the first place.  This is an absolute truth....YOU CAN NOT SPOT REDUCE BODY FAT UNLESS YOU HAVE IT SURGICALLY REMOVED.  So doing a bunch of exercises for one muscle group is only going to make that group stronger and the muscle larger.  There's nothing wrong with strengthening your abs...but it will NOT give you that six pack that they advertise.
  • This is a $300 piece of junk.  If you have that kind of money to throw away, get a gym membership and do all the workouts you like....and for ALL your muscle groups.  Or just buy a balance ball and do all the crunches you like....and lots of other exercises as well.

2.  The Ab Rocker:  Aside from the 'no spot reducing rule'...the Biomechanics Lab at San Diego State University did a study to determine the best and worst abdominal exercises.  In both categories (rectus abdominus and obliques) the Ab Rocker came in DEAD LAST. 

abrocker Also, this thing is just plan unsafe.  I read numerous accounts from people that said that it tipped over backwards when they tried to use it. 

3.  The Red Exerciser:  This is a chair gizmo on which you are supposed play 'sit and spin'.  While doing research for this I went to their web site to check it out.  I clicked on the link for 'testimonials' and got a page that said 'Coming soon'.  In other words they couldn't find anyone that would say something good about the thing.

4.  Electronic Muscle Stimulators:  They go by many names, Ab Tronic, Ab Energizer, Fast Abs, Ab Force...and so on.  It is a belt that you wear that sends little electric impulses into the body.  The idea is that these impulses cause the muscles in your abs to tighten up and loosen just like you were exercising.  So you just sit there and the fat melts away....yeah...right.  What a load of crap!  Okay...we again hit on the 'no spot reducing' rule.  Also there where reports that these devices left bruises, blisters, and burns on some of the poor unfortunate suckers that bought into this.

Finally the FDA had to stepped in and filed a suit against the manufacturers.  However, sales have not slowed.  I guess PT Barnum was right...."There's a sucker born every minute."

NOTE:  There is some dispute on whether or not Barnum actually said that, as it was out of character for him.  It is believed that he might have been misquoted and actually said something like, "There's a customer born every minute."

5.  The Thigh Master:  Oh yes...its been around forever...the Thigh Master.  With its guarantee to women everywhere that they too can have trimmer thighs.  Guess what ladies....YOU WERE HAD.  Remember the rule of 'no spot reducing'?  Well, that isn't just for abs....it applies to all muscle groups.  So as much as I enjoy watching Suzanne Somers demonstrate the benefits of her prized product....it is worthless.

6.  The Air Climber:  I didn't even know this one existed until I was doing research for this article and stumbled onto it.  It is sort of like a stair climber and a foot operated air pump....and some handles with budgie cords.  The reviews on it were sort of mixed.  Some said it was easily breakable (cheap plastic), some claimed that the internal bellows needed to be redesigned, and a few people liked it. 

I went to their web site to have a closer look.  I love how stuff will claim "Lose 10 pounds in a Week".  Yeah...that's just water weight.  Its not like you are going to do that EVERYWEEK.  It comes with a DVD that has workout information and diet info.  That's the part that is tricky.  Some of these people that are actually losing weight are probably just improving their diets.  You can lose plenty of weight by just making changes in your diet.  In fact diet is WAY more important than exercise (but you need both).

So while the jury is still out on the Air Climber, I'll error on the side of caution and say 'don't buy'.

7.  OSIM´┐Ż iGallopT Core and Abs Exerciser:  This is the most ridiculous product I've seen so far.  It is supposed to simulate riding a horse...I think.  Imagine doing all your exercises on horseback or on a moving surf board.  I watched the infomercial on this and it looked like the poor actors they had demonstrating this hunk of junk were going to fall off at any second.  Seriously, I thought the guy was going to take a header right off it at one point.  My favorite part was the control for speed and intensity...it had little pictures of horses on it.

What to see something disturbing?  They set these things up in a mall and videotaped people trying to use it.  This is not for the faint of heart....

<link removed since it was deleted from YouTube> 

That's what I need in my home gym....a mechanical bull.  I can see it now....I get tossed into my Bowflex and end up hanging myself on the power rods.

8.  Sports Drinks/Energy Drinks:  We all know why sodas are bad for us...but sports drinks/energy drinks sound like they should be good for you.  Some of them are nothing more than glorified sugar water.  A great number of them have concentrated levels of citric acid in them...which while good for the body are very corrosive to tooth enamel....sort of like soft drinks are.  In fact the number one sports drink available, Gatorade, is made by...guess who....PepsiCo. 

For the most part, you shouldn't be drinking any calories.  They go down too fast and you can quickly drink more calories than you can eat in the same amount of time.  So fast that the body won't able to tell you when you should  STOP consuming calories.  The body just can't react that quickly to keep you from over doing it.

The only notable exceptions would be the following:

  • Protein Shakes - When used as a meal replacement to increase to increase protein intake and reduce fat intake
  • Pre-workout Carbs - Drink a SMALL amount of carbs just before your workouts and you will be able to run harder, lift more, push your limits....and in the long run burn more calories.  I have a half glass of V8 Fusion just before I workout...no more.
  • Catching up on lost calories - If your caloric deficit is too high, drinking some calories can be a great way to get caught up.  I use a product called 'Naked'.  They make some really good fruit and vegetable blends.  I'm partial to the Pomegranate Blueberry flavor...yum.  Just be aware that the small bottles are TWO servings....so the entire bottle is about 300 calories.

So stay away from the PixieSticks mixed in water...and just drink plain water.  And add some ice to it to make your body burn more calories as it has to heat the water for you.

Well, that brings to a close my 'money series'.  I hope that the information that I've provided can help anyone looking to get started.  Next week I'll have to find something else to drone on about.  Perhaps I'll spend some time figuring out how to keep the dogs off my blog.  Or even better yet...I'll figure out a way to make them useful.  Something like...."Having trouble with resisting junk foods?  Get a Dog!"

funnydogs24xi2