Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Binge much?

Some interesting stats from this study:

Sociodemographic Differences in Binge Drinking Among Adults --- 14 States, 2004 http://bit.ly/10yIda

Binge drinking, defined in this study as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks on one occasion,* was responsible for 43,731 (54.9%) of the estimated 79,646 alcohol-attributable deaths each year in the United States during 2001--2005.

The deaths stat certainly jumps off the page. Now for who is your typical binge drinker:

the prevalence of binge drinking was more common among men (24.3%), persons aged 18--24 years (27.4%) and 2534 years (24.4%), whites (17.5%), and persons with household incomes >$50,000 (17.4%). However, after adjusting for sex and age, the highest average number of binge drinking episodes during the preceding 30 days was reported by binge drinkers whose household income was <$25,000. (4.9), and the highest average number of drinks per binge episode was reported by non-Hispanic blacks (8.4) and Hispanics (8.1). These findings underscore the need to implement effective population-based prevention strategies (e.g., increasing alcohol excise taxes) and develop effective interventions targeted at groups at higher risk.

Also from this link

nited States and is a risk factor for many health and societal problems. Among adults, it can take the form of heavy drinking, binge drinking, or both.

* Heavy drinking is defined as more than two drinks per day on average for men or more than one drink per day on average for women.
* Binge drinking is defined as 5 or more drinks during a single occasion for men or 4 or more drinks during a single occasion for women.

Underage drinking can also be considered a form of excessive drinking because it is both illegal and often involves consumption in quantities and settings that can lead to serious immediate and long-term consequences.

* Approximately 5% of the total population drinks heavily and 15% of the population engages in binge drinking (CDC).
* People aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90% of this alcohol is used in the form of binge drinks (OJJDP).

It's certainly a serious health issue and it seems, education can be targeted at appropriate groups to address it. I think the whole "Animal House" mentality which has ingrained itself over the past 20 or 30 years in our schools and colleges needs to be countered.

I'm not a prohibitionist by any means either - I think a mature person should be able to enjoy alcohol if they choose and deal with the consequences if they don't choose to use it responsibly. We're kind of caught in this country with the car culture of dealing with DUIs - you need to get a designated driver if you're partaking of drinks!

We also need to identify those having a hard time with it and make as much information help and motivation for them as we can.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Is your work meaningful?

I think one of the great things about being a Beachbody coach is helping people through the process of self-transformation and on the road to committed wellness.

To me, it's easy to see every day the meaning in this - commitment to your own health has so many benefits - the journey is never ending and the rewards don't end either.

This is such a key to finding something to motivate you day to day. In his recent blog entry, Michael Steger comments on the construction of the cathedral of Notre Dame. From a recent tweet:

MichaelFSteger My new column 'three things that make work meaningful' an Essential Read at PsychologyToday http://bit.ly/7MuSL

The cornerstone for the famous Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris was laid in 1163, and work finally wrapped up in 1345. For those of you keeping score, that's 182 years. Not bad, considering that's how long I think it will be before my Minnesota Vikings win a Super Bowl. But, as far as I can tell, most folks seemed to live only until somewhere between age 30 and 50 (record were pretty crummy back then, infant mortality was very high, and bothersome annoyances like the Black Death mucked with the figures). That means that it would have taken between four and six generations of laborers working to construct Notre Dame. If you were in Generation 1, your job, literally, could have been breaking big rocks into little rocks. But you also would have been building a great cathedral. A cathedral that your grandchildren's grandchildren would enjoy going into for the first time. Viewing the work in this way holds the hope of transforming our working lives into an important way in which we live better, richer, more meaningful lives.

It's such a great lesson and one the ancients such as Romans and Egyptians understood well. The Great Pyramid and other monuments were constructed by craftsmen proud of their work and buried alongside nobels as we find in the tombs along the Giza plateau. They understood the motivation and organization that was required without fancy technology. We could learn a lot from them about these things in a time when people are seen as liabilities many times.

Meaning and motivation come from understanding your role and having a purpose in life and work. I find both in being a Beachbody coach.

If you're interested in becoming a coach, contact me and I can get you started - it's a rewarding way to make money and make a huge difference in changing people's lives for the better!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fast food convenience costs a lot

Got this interesting tweet (which I'm addicted to btw it's awesome ;)

Fast-food nearby: Convenience, but at what cost?: Consumer Reports Health Blog

The study looked at how fast-food influences the overall quality of people's diets, particularly when these restaurants are plentiful nearby. Researchers pulled data from a survey of more than 5,600 adults ages 45 to 84 who lived in six urban areas. They used two scales to rate the quality of people's diets, looking at both positive factors (e.g., eating fruits and vegetables, fiber, and good fats) and negative (e.g., eating fatty and processed meats, fried potatoes, salty snacks, and desserts). People were also asked how often they ate fast-food in a week, and whether they had many fast-food restaurants within a mile of where they lived. For an objective measure of fast-food availability, the researchers also mapped the locations of fast-food chains nearby.

People who consumed fast-food at least once a week were two to three times more likely to have a poorer-quality diet than those who didn't eat any fast-food. And having more fast-food options close by decreased the odds of having a healthy diet by up to 17 percent. When working out these results, the researchers took into account factors known to influence what we eat, such as age, sex, race, education, and income. Doing this makes the link between fast-food and diet all the stronger.

Apparently the proximity of fast food has a health cost on the surrounding population. I can't help but wonder over the years the overweight, diabetes and high blood pressure caused as a side effect in our little town from all we have around ...

Monday, June 1, 2009

1 year anniversary with Beachbody - a retrospective

It's been a year for me doing P90x and other beachbody programs! I wanted to chronicle some of the mindset I went through on my initial journey looking back ...

Last June 1st, I started my journey with Beachbody, nervously beginning Chest and Back and struggling to make my way through and keep up with what seemed to be an impossible task - all those pushups, pullups and the ridiculously tough Ab Ripper.

Then there was the food - all my cravings for bread, sugar and fats had me up at night, stomach growling and spending hours grocery shopping and preparing my meals - it was tough! Was it all worth it? How could I ever hope to lose the tube of fat around my midsection, could I ever hope to keep up with a 40 something (now 50) year old trainer with the snappy wit, positive attitude and funny quips? Would I make it without injuring myself as I had done with so many other programs?

My primary directive, I told myself, was to workout each and every day the guide said I should - 6 days a week. Don't miss one. And finish. Like the marathon - and I know I can do a lot since I did that. I wanted to do this. I needed to do this - for myself, my quality of life and my family. I don't want Lipitor - no blood pressure meds either! I'm not getting any younger so I need to start now. Grandfather died of heart attack, grandmother and aunts/uncles complications from diabetes and high blood pressure - strokes etc, I want to enjoy my age and life.

But I was uncertain, I didn't really take a lot of before pictures - would this be just an embarrassing defeat I wondered and another whack to my self-esteem? I was risking looking like a fool and wasting my time and money - I didn't know what the outcome would be. OK let me set a realistic goal. I'm going to try this and if I can do it without injury, I'll drop 25 pounds in 6 months. By my next birthday in November, when I turn 44. Sounds doable ... anything beyond that is a bonus.

Then ... the workouts and nutrition every day. What a grind.

Day 1: Man am I tired! Fitness test and workout on the same day - BIG mistake!

Day 2 plyo - holy **** I REALLY feel it now. This is nuts. Think I'm too big to do this. I dunno if I can keep this up.

Day 3: Alright, Shoulders and Arms - oh man BLASTED em, can hardly lift them! Yoga - last time I did it, I pulled something. But, to my surprise, Tony paces it right, I'm OK but I sweat around 5 gallons I think! My muscles feel better though surprisingly.

Struggling to keep up with nutrition, I just don't have the knack for it and I'm up til 11 every night cooking and cleaning everything!

Thursday, Legs/back. hey I'm a skier - my legs are strong. Wall squats tho - phew I'm cramping! pullups AGAIN!? OH man, got to do more than 2 or 3 somehow - frustrating. At the end using major chair, so humbling! And Ab Ripper - 10 reps most exercises, taking breaks. And I thought I had a strong core.

Friday, Kenpo - sorry but I didn't get half the moves sword hammer back kick front kick what?! I'm sweating again 2 hours after the workout.

end of week 1. Hey I lost 6 pounds! Hey I think there is something to this. I'm losing a pound a day! And ... no bread, wow still tough, but ya know what I can barely keep up with all the food I'm eating! Time to shop again.

After 10 days - feeling tired but mildly better. Still can't do the yoga. How can anyone? Chest and Back - still doing knee pushups at the end, still struggling with 4 pullups then 2 then 1 then chair. Shoulders and Arms - OK first three exercises I'm strong then - major cramps, can't keep up keep pausing the thing. All that heavy lifting I used to do and I have no stamina or energy.

day 12 - no more weight loss. Uh oh... crap what am I doing wrong? Better get online and I discovered - hey there's a lot of people starting this just like me and ... Steve Edwards and others say, throw away the scale at least for now. It's too variable. Weight fluctuates day to day even within the same day by 3-4 pounds! OK I'll stop the obsessive weighing. Just keep pushing play like Tony says. Hooked up with a great group of folks who are struggling just like me - this is great wish I knew about it before.

I do have a lot of energy though - home projects getting done on the weekends. Spending time with the 5 yo - and keeping up for the most part. Well OK he can still wear me down after a full day ;).

I got to chat online with Tony 3 weeks in - what a funny guy! I'm finding him really inspiring and seeming to know just when to push me and when to tell me to modify things. The tough points - letting me know when halfway through is also. Somehow HE seems to think I can do this, maybe I can ....

On nutrition - workout numbers went down, well, on recovery I'm doing it - changing over to phase 2. I read you can do this if you bonk and I was definitely starting to bonk. A few more carbs and ... my workout numbers went up again and I started feeling more energy!

Recovery week - OK I didn't realize it's recovery/ab focus! Man oh man core syn humbled me AGAIN. Plank to Chaturunga run - forget it I was toast. Shaking, collapsing ... that one is a killer! And - 3 yogas in 10 days - ARGH! Ya know what though - I'm really starting to do this. The Ohms at the end feel nice. Think it's working too - like self-massage. Not that it's easy ....

End of month 1: Take pictures, weigh. OK - things are working. I'm down around 12 pounds - NICE! Ahead of schedule! My goal was 20 for the 90 days. People are starting to notice. Late night dancing my butt off I think I lost a few more pounds - heh heh this is starting to really work. A few nutrition setbacks and I really feel it. Got to watch that. But I'm realistic, not giving up. It's alright for the most part.

Phase 2 - holy crap - these exercises are just killing me! Chest, Shoulders and Tris fried my body for 4 days. Back and bis - same thing - I'm a walking cramp afterwards. Recovery drink is helping though - I'm getting the capability to keep going. Somehow got through yoga and legs/back but after this week I am hurtin. Despite this in week 2, started doubles! Want to accelerate fat loss, I'm starting to see what's possible with this program. Fat is shredding off me but - NOT fast enough. I can be so impatient! :)

Ground through phase 2 and ... wow made some awesome gains in strength and stamina! Another "recovery ab torture" week. But ... plank to chaturunga - I did it! All the way through. And ... with a few exceptions doubles is going strong! I'm sleepin a lot though - it's brutal. Take a few days off here and there. But - on weighing, I REACHED my goal 60 days in (as far as weight). This is unreal - I'm down to 200 in less than half the time I thought possible! Amazing. Yet ... still not where I want to be with fat loss. I want abs now! It's a race to the finish. I have a vacation planned at the end of the round I want to look good for. Got to keep on doing it ...

Phase 3 - ready to bring it ... going OK first two weeks. Then ... think I'm starting to burn out! Alright ramping down the doubles. Can't wait for the end actually. But - what will I do then? Think I'll just workout once in a while maybe a few times a week. Ya that's enough. Dunno though it'll feel funny I think. And it's showed me I can SURPASS my best fitness levels ever if I keep going. I'll ask Tony in the mailbag. Surprisingly, he answers me - I can workout 4 days a week but it'll be like throwing myself down the stairs I'll get sore but that's about it... funny he has a way with words! I'm gonna do it - keep going.

90 days later, I had completed my first round of P90x without missing a day! Amazing but something I'll always be proud of! I need that family vacation. Will take Steve Edwards advice and take a week or so off completely I think. I need it - all those doubles, all that nutrition. Not stopping the intake part - need to eat clean all the time cos I feel so much better when I do! One of the lasting legacies of doing this.

A month later, into my second round, was proud to go to the docs and he was astonished - I had lost 40 pounds and gotten into the best shape of my life! My cholesterol was down to college days and my blood pressure too. Blood sugars and great, resting HR great. Even decided to lock in a long term life insurance policy to leverage my wellness. Got the super-preferred rate - saves me thousands over the life of the policy.

Well ... and here I am 7 months later, and all the great results are solidified as part of my life. I'm helping others through this and been able to meet up with some awesome folks along the way. It's been a great year for me and I'm sure I will benefit from the lessons and experience I've had here. Thanks to my coach and online friends for helping me and I hope I can repay that to others as a coach and friend going forward!