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Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 7/31/2010 | 1 Comment

We are constantly told that exercise is good for almost everything:  Weight management especially, along with reduction/elimination of symtoms of most illnesses, and improved vigor, attitude, flexibility, stamina, sex drive, concentration and productivity.  We hear about it and we read about it, so why don't we do it?  It's not because we are lazy; it's because we invent excuses to avoid it.

Here are my excuses:  I grew up a well-fed child.  "Chunky" would be a gentle term for my age-12 size.  I wasn't any good at sports, and activities that made me sweat weren't any fun.  At my house, feeding was a way to express love, and everything came to the table drowning in butter.  Meals were hearty and our refrigerator was always bursting with various desserts.

Now I work 14-20 hour days.  I love what I do, but my schedule makes it easy to put exercise way back on the back burner.  Every morning I wake up to stacks of messages, hundreds of e-mails, and a full cell phone mailbox and appointment calendar.  Sound familiar?

I'm a failed graduate of every diet program known to mankind, and I've never hit the optimum weight number on the medical charts.  I tend to hover right around the 20-pound-plus overweight range. 

I love to cook and I relish feeding my family and friends.  I have a weakness for dark chocolate and a really good vodka. Still, I'd love to be thinner and, although I dread the first few minutes of a vigorous walk, when the endorphins kick in they're a delicious treat.

I'm a fairly typical "A" personality Boomer who regularly sets and exceeds goals, and loves hard work and challenges.  So what's my problem?  My history of unsuccessful dieting proves that food is my fall-back for onslaughts of negatives--stress, fatigue and computer breakdowns.  Food to me is an addiction that requires a "rehab" program and constant vigilance.  I get it, but sometimes chocolate always makes me feel better.   

Okay.  If I could just balance my food intake with enough exercise to burn the calories I devour--and perhaps a few more--my problem would be solved. 

A couple of years ago, a friend told me how he stays on track.  His goal was to "walk" to every state capitals. (I'm pretty sure we're talking about the lower 48 here).  Carrying a wrist pedometer and his baggie of stick pins, he walks outside in good weather, at the gym, or on his home treadmill. 

He went to Triple A and a store called "Latitudes" to find a good-sized US map that now hangs on his wall.  Next, he calculated distances between the capital cities using an old atlas, and started out. 

Walking three to five miles a day it took him nearly two months to get to the capital of an adjorning state and just over a year to reach the east coast from his home in the midwest.  Last I heard he was about a third of the way to his goal and was considering adding Hawaii and Alaska. 

An interesting thing happened to him along the way.  His goal became the journey rather than the weight loss.  He discovered that on the days when he was "almost there" he would pick up the pace and put in an extra mile or two. 

Today, I came across another element that could make this program more attractive.  Internet mapping sites now add visuals to their directional maps so that viewers can see what they would encounter along the  route.  We can take a virtual tour!  With a computer screen in sight, we can plot our journey.  Or we could install a reading rack with an IPad on our treadmills and off we go. 

Here's the Kathy challenge.  I've always done better at weight loss when I had to weigh in.  I'm goint to get the map and plan my first year's journey today.  Will you join me?  I'm fairly competitive, so let's make it a race:  I'll clock our progress on my blog page every Friday.  I'll list the names (or aliases!) of all participants according to distances traveled.  I doubt I'll leave any stragglers, but I will keep up, stay consistent and hopefully reap all the wonderful benefits that medical research promises.  Guilt has always been one of my top three motivators!

Posted by: Jeremy McKenna on 7/30/2010 | 0 Comments
The Real Good Experiment.  When the Blu Dot guys opened their SoHo store in 2008, they immeditately discovered what they call the “resourceful culture” of “curb-mining”--finding stuff on the street and taking it home.  
        
In early November last year, 25 Real Good Chairs were dropped off on New York City street corners—a clear invitation to attentive curb miners. 
 
(If you look closely, you'll see a Real Good red chair, just right of center, patiently waiting for its own personal miner.)
 
The catch?  The chairs were outfitted with GPS homing devices, which allowed folks all over the planet to track their whereabouts. 
 
The experiment was turned into an intriguing documentary, a groundbreaking short film that illustrates people’s behavior when they think they’re not being watched.  Here’s
the link to the film  
                                                      

According to David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, co-authors of Drink This, Not That!, it's much healthier to eat fruits than the juices that are made from them. 

Turning a fruit into a juice, they say, keeps the flavor, but "loses the substance, the power.  Even the very best fruit juice isn't as nutritious as the fruit it originally came from, because the fiber that makes a piece of fruit so filling has been stripped away: Instead of filling your belly like an apple or an orange, juice just passes through your gastrointestinal tract like a little stream of sugar. . . .  The sweet melody is intact, but the soul is lost. So as a rule, always choose the original version (that would be the fruit) over the Muzak version (that would be the juice)."

They go on to say that juice isn't a "terrible" choice--we can still get our daily quota of vitamins and minerals from it.  The problem is that manufacturers simply mix a lot of water and sugar with a tiny bit of flavoring, and call it "juice."

With this in mind, David and Matt compiled a list of the best and worst juices at the supermarket, then added a healthier alternative to each.  Here goes:

WORST CRANBERRY COCKTAIL:  Ocean Spray Cran-Apple (8 fl oz); 130 calories; 32 g sugars.  According to Dave and Matt, Ocean Spray markets a variety of cranberry juice blends, all of which are "polluted with unruly loads of added sugar.  RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVE.   Ocean Spray’s Cranenergy, which has only 35 calories and nine grams of sugars.   

For the list of WORST MIXED-BERRY BLEND, WORST LEMONADE (Hint: it's probably the one you're buying--Minute Maid Lemonade in the 20-ounce bottle, which delivers a whopping 250 calories and 67.5 grams of sugars), WORST MIXED-BERRY BLEND, WORST GRAPE JUICE, WORST "JUICE IMPOSTER," and WORST CANNED JUICE, together with their RECOMENDED ALTERNATIVES, go here

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