Monday, June 23, 2008

Physical Fitness and Little Red Nothings from Vicki's Place

Last week, research said sun exposure was bad for us. This week, research said we need more vitamin D so we need either more sun or food supplements. I’ve lost track, is coffee good for us this week or bad for us this week?

The mythology of weight loss and effective exercise is extensive. Everyone would like to be slim and fit, but what is the best method to choose? It is hard to evaluate all the theories and determine which will give us the most "bang for the buck." If I am going to spend my valuable time exercising, I want to know what I can expect in results before I spend a year doing something that might turn out to be worthless. I want to be able to lose weight quickly and as easily as possible even though I know I have to be realistic. Gaining weight is easy, losing weight isn't going to be as easy.

Research says we need to exercise to be healthy and a half hour of walking every day is good. Today’s research says interval training is the way to go. We have to avoid building up body memory by doing the same thing over and over. So now, we are supposed to jog or do sprints, and alternate with walking for a total period of twenty minutes to have effective exercise. I’ve walked for miles to nowhere on a treadmill so I could fit into those "little red nothings from Vicki’s place", but research says no pain, no gain. I think I get it. If my exercise program is comfortable, it isn’t effective. If I keep my body guessing and make it work harder, the pain just means my body will get in shape, but it won’t like it. A few aches and pains aren't the same as an injury. It isn't necessary to injure the body to lose weight and to get into shape if the appropriate exercises are used.

Endless cardio exercises can be replaced by interval cardio exercises for greater weight loss. More effective strength training workouts that are shorter in time spent, but greater in intensity can also result in weight loss especially around that hard-to-lose middle zone of the body. High intensity strength training with dumb bells and body weight exercises can improve muscle tone, overall fitness and energy levels. Body Mass Index (BMI) can be lowered by combining interval cardio with strength training resulting in a healthier, leaner, toned body.

The research is in and help is on the way. There is a better way to shape up, and lose weight to fit into those "little red nothings from Vicki's Place."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Perfect Peach

The quest for the perfect peach begins with great expectations and is destined for an experience totally unlike those expectations. We look in the market at the beautiful selections available and think of past perfect peaches void of all imperfections and the sweetest fruit ever tasted with pretty skin, and great texture that separates perfectly from the seed. As we bite into the perfect peach, we think how sweet, how juicy, how healthy it is. We think of the countries that throw out tons of imperfect fruit or those countries that shrink wrap in plastic the perfect fruit to sell as gifts. How about those companies that sell fruit mail order and guarantee perfect fruit! We get to look over the selection at the market and pick our own perfect peach from hundreds of perfect peaches.

We select the prettiest peach we can find with no visible imperfections, and watch as the grocery bagger throws it into a shape-shifting plastic bag while complaining about extra hours to a colleague. We think, my perfect peach is fragile, have you no reverence for fruit? What if it gets bruised? We rush it home to the refrigerator and hope for the best. Two days later, we figure if it wasn’t ripe, surely it is ripe by now. We figure if the bagger bruised it, that too, will be apparent. So we look at the perfect peach and cut into it. The knife finds a very firm peach, that will not separate from the firmly-held seed. So it is necessary to cut it away from the seed. The flesh of the perfect peach looks great, and is very firm, so we bite into it to find it neither ripe nor sweet. Not even a reckless bagger could convince any part of that peach to turn to sugar. Another perfect peach that disappointed. It looked great, but didn’t meet our expectations. Because we bought it, we hope the price was worth the disappointments. It isn’t spoiled, we eat the whole thing and hope that the benefits outweigh our disappointment in not finding a perfect peach.

The quest for the perfect friend can be a little like searching for the perfect peach. We meet someone and think what a great person, looks good, sounds great and we seem to click. As the friendship progresses, we start to see the issues about which we disagree, and the annoying little habits that with time start to drive us crazy. We start to wonder if the time invested in the friendship is worth the effort. On the other hand, I have never found the perfect peach or the perfect friend. There will be imperfections. No one is our clone. No one will agree with all of our opinions or preferences. We take what we can get out of the experience and try not to set our expectations impossibly high. We pay the price of overlooking their opposing viewpoints, annoying habits and look for common ground. We can’t throw out imperfect peaches and we
can’t throw out imperfect friends. Look in the mirror.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Restaurants and the Energy Crisis

It's summer and air conditioners are running on high, or low, depending on how you look at it--high output, low temperatures. They use lots of energy and we have an energy crisis in this country. Restaurants make their buildings much too cold, certainly colder than necessary for patron comfort. Yes, serving staff is running around serving and get warm, but even so, many are wearing long sleeves because it is too cold even for them. So are the cold temperatures for the benefit of the kitchen staff? Perhaps the kitchen should have another system than the restaurant area and they can make the kitchen as cold as needed when cooking without freezing the patrons. When you come into the restaurant from one hundred degree temperatures outside, it is quite a shock to the system to find seventy degrees or even lower inside the restaurant. Those of us who suffer from hypothermia in restaurants know to bring a jacket, or to wear long sleeves and long slacks. I feel terrible to watch little kids wearing no sleeves, and shorts and shivering with cold. That can't be healthy for anyone. We could save a lot of energy by raising temperatures in public places like restaurants and movie theaters. They could save money on their operating costs by raising their thermostats.