Category Archives: Health

Weighted and Healthy

I have previously advocated for a moderate lifestyle somewhere between diet freak and total decadence. Many disagree, and the cultural perspectives often do more damage than good, as with many idealized depictions of a false status quo. People seem all too eager to forget that there is a medical distinction between ‘overweight’ and ‘obese.’

Japan has a bipolar view, using Draconian punishment or discrimination against employers and employees for their percentages of body fat, while also glorifying the traditionally obese athleticism of Sumo.

There are undoubtedly many different types of fat, and science is learning and evaluating the risks and benefits of each. In fact, a recent study found that those drastically losing weight increase their risk of damage to the kidneys. In some countries in Europe, where a better grade of cooking oil is used than in the homogenized and processed U.S., no link was found to a diet of fried food and shorter mortality.

And as I (and brilliant minds such as Ron Swanson) have stated before, if you want to ruin your body with grease and calories, how is this any different than the risk taken by somebody who smokes, or drinks, or skydives, or joins the military, or works in law enforcement or fire emergency services?

(Ron Swanson is a fantastic icon in that, as an ardent outdoorsman and craftsman, he also endorses physical activity, sports and exercise.)

And ultimately, like polio or the black plague before us, we will gradually learn to overcome the perfectly contemporary threats of cancer, diabetes, and the (as-yet unproven) risks of GMOs, as mere artifacts of our time.

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a Thin Veneer of Cheese

or: “Going on a Diet can Go to Hell”

Portion control is very difficult in first-world capitalist consumer-pleasure-dominated society. We can blame the corporations for shoving that delicious pie down our throat to keep us sated as they rob us blind. We can blame the post-WWII boomers who lived to revel in the excesses of sugary, delicious pie. We could even blame the pie for being delicious. In the end, it doesn’t matter. We live in the here and now with 300% of our daily caloric intake, and eating out at trans-fatty dollar-sign fast-foodatoriums.

There are several possible solutions, so let’s address them in no particular order, shall we?

1. Die.

You could die of heart disease (the number one killer according to the CDC), diabetes, or other complications arising from unhealthy American obesity. You’ve heard a lot of these facts and figures spouted again and again, and they don’t seem to affect your thinking too much, so here they are again. Dying is perhaps the easiest solution, though dying of these agents may not be as rewarding or exhilerating as, say, jumping off of the Queen Mary. If this is not our fate, then read on.

2. Attempt to lose weight.

Join a gym, prescribe exercises with calorie burning goals, drink nothing but juices, eat nothing but juices, cut out fiber, cut out sugars, cut out carbohydrates, cut out lipids, cut out proteins… and perhaps lose a few pounds. And though calorie counting is still the gold standard of scientific weight loss, there are other contextual considerations.

The problem is not really physical, but psychological. Statistics show that the simple act of making New Year’s resolutions, for example, almost guarantees that they will fail.

I once had a job transcribing for a nonprofit group whose goal had been to change the ‘built environment’ with a mind to ‘active living’ and ‘reducing obesity’ in urban populations. While this was perhaps a fine step in shifting the societal responsibility, it does little to change the manic bipolar attitudes towards weight: glamorize the anorexic fashion models, advertise the fattiest hamburgers, hype the latest diet craze, get the kids to watch TV after school instead of playing outside, censure McDonald’s menus and restrict their private enterprise, blame and marginalize the fat for being fat, raise the monthly rates at the gyms. The irony, of course, was not lost on me that I logged twenty hours of these nonsensical interviews whilst sitting my fat ass in my little-wheelied desk chair.

People often ‘hit plateaus’ in their weight loss plans. Or they lose a lot at first and don’t know why they can’t continue at that rate. Some people may never escape their body type, but still wish they were Victoria’s Secret model thin (*sigh*). More on this later.

“The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over, and then expecting different results.”

The most successful results come when you do not ‘go’ on a diet, but instead change your habits and your very cognition. As soon as you tire of those calorie counting, rice and celery juicing, overworking exercise regimens, you WILL put that weight back on, because you were looking at the light at the end of the tunnel the entire time. And that light was not just a single delicious slice of pie, but a return to the lifestyle that brought you such devastating misery in the first place. Which brings me to the third potentiality:

3. Alter your habits

There are plenty of things you can do to simply make better choices. As opposed to all those ‘diet fad’ books, I have found that the caloric swaps in David Zinczenko, Matt Goulding (authoritatively titled) Eat This Not That to be frighteningly enlightening and weight-lightening to boot. The restaurant guide in particular reveals what cultural change has done over the generations to slowly let us accept our meaty fate. You would be surprised how easily you can save a hundred calories or two from your diet by eating one specific greasy fast-food dollar-menu breakfast sandwich as opposed to another. It involves calorie awareness, but not necesarilly calorie counting, which I contend is inconvenient, and as such will probably not be a fail-safe sticking method for everyone.

Some foods even trick your brain and stomach into eating fewer calories.

And don’t be hydrophobic, drink water as much as possible! It’s better than any health shake, ‘detox cleanse’ bullshit, soda, coffee, beer, corn syrup juice, or sugar drink you can get. And doctors agree that there is no such thing as water weight (as much as getting two doctors to agree to anything is possible).

Here’s something you may not have put together (I know it came as a late revelation for me, and boy, did I feel stupid). Are you fat and broke? Well, there’s your problem right there. Of course, cutting down on portions is easier said than done. But preventing yourself from losing money is the greatest motivator, combined with losing weight and saving the planet, it may just be the winning combination you need.

There are numerous apps (most of them free) to keep your health on your mind.

An easy way to save money at that overpriced gym is to find a community college that offers phys. ed. classes for college credit. It’s possible to enroll for just that one class, and the monthly breakdown may end up being a fraction what one of those chains (and even the Y) charge. It may also be as simple as taking the stairs at work more often, or, if you take the elevator, doing your squats while you wait both on and off. And simplicity in exercise is often key.

There are websites entirely dedicated to saving you money on outings, activities, and group meet-ups. These are fun, and at least some of them are in line with your interests, but viewing them with an eye to being more active may give you that extra gumption to actually get out and do them. They’re cheap or cheap-as-free, so that chain gym won’t be getting any contractually obligated sum of your money, and they integrate fun, some skill you’ve been meaning to learn, and thus burn calories without you having to think about what a chore this whole calorie-burning thing might be.

These kinds of lateral moves will not only save you some money, but in doing so create a positive mental feedback loop that inspires and encourages you further.

And lest we forget, a rigorous and adventurous sex life is perhaps the best exercise regiment available.

4. Alter your philosophical outlook

How many fuckers do you know who say they are ‘so fat’ when they are ‘so not’? How do you feel when you haven’t quite made that health goal? Additionally, how will you know when enough is enough, without appearing to have some body dimorphism, harmful self-esteem issues, or gypsy curse? And isn’t the worst part about this whole weight loss thing when you’ve put your effort and time in, then fall into a few evenings of lounging instead of exercise (or perhaps as some reward), but then immediately feel guilt?

Don’t feel guilt, this is counterproductive. Likewise, don’t tell yourself that you’ve ‘earned’ this. You are still viewing it all as some external component of life that you engage in, what those alien fitness people allow you to temporarily engage in.

When you have a more platonic relationship with the universe (something I advocate anyway), you don’t care what society tells you about your body image or unhealthy habits. This doesn’t mean you lose all attachment to personal responsibility, just that you can gauge what is both productive physical time, and what is productive relaxation time. Wastefulness is your attachment to complaining, to worry, to stress, and to the labels that prevent you from fluidly being both the fitness-buff-and-couch-potato-in-one. It makes you a diverse person, and who doesn’t want to be that?

If you earnestly stop trying to make specific weight goals, while at the same time making good decisions on a regular basis, you will ingrain it into your being that health is a major motivator along with all the other rewarding and pleasurable activities in your life, you will escape the unfair expectations of a bullshit society and your own deceptive mind, and discover that vagueness can be liberating.

‘Laziness’ has gotten an unfair reputation, as our modern industrial world allows us more leisure than ever before, and people judge whether you spend it as an armchair sophist or benchpress hypertrophist. And let’s not forget the importance of sleep to your health! You most certainly burn calories while you slumber, and at the very least, any cheesecake you consume in a dream isn’t going to your hips.

A recent study suggests that people who are obese (barring other unhealthy factors) may live just as long as their skinny counterparts, and certainly longer than the stressed lives of those who continually attempt to lose weight and fail. It is important to remember that the BMI method is somewhat flawed, that only certain forms of obesity put you at high risk (such as belly fat), and that everything, including not just weight gain but weight loss, should be taken in moderation.

A new advocacy group and online community, Healthy at any Size, is based on the simple premise that the best way to improve health is to honor your body. Their website “supports people in adopting health habits for the sake of health and well-being (rather than weight control). Health at Every Size encourages:

  • Accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.
  • Eating in a flexible manner that values pleasure and honors internal cues of hunger, satiety, and appetite.
  • Finding the joy in moving one’s body and becoming more physically vital.”

And let’s face it, though it sounds like something your mother would say, it IS true; do you really want to date/hang out with/sleep with/gain the approval of people who judge you for your body type, anyway?

In the end (your fat rear end), the most important thing is deciding what is right for you. Spend some time thinking about it, and don’t try to give up cheese if you love cheese so VERY, VERY FUCKING MUCH. Moderation by mediation, by meditation, make bargains with yourself as to what your needs, wants, and not-so-needs-or-wants are. Make lists of each. You’d be surprised how much you would happily give up and not notice.

An Interesting Shade of Reality

I had quite an unusual spatio-temporal experience the other day most likely brought on by overheating during my lunch break (as evidenced by more than one co-worker commenting that I looked ‘flushed’). It was rather unpleasant, warmish, not altogether unlike being drunk, or as if on some weird drug. I wasn’t quite dizzy, but certainly disoriented (a distinction made clear by the WebMD app). I was able to perform my tasks and routines and sentences, but like some sort of automata, a simulacra, or philosophical zombie. Nothing felt quite like real life, and I remember asking those around me if they were uniquely thinking individuals, and pulling on my own beard to prove it wasn’t a dream, or a parody of reality, as if those were verifiable either way. Everything was strange, to say the least, and though obviously familiar, also alien and out of place, like in some extended deja vu.

Moving to the bathroom, I gulped cold water, splashing its coolness on my neck and face, making sure to wash my ears in the process. Things slowly returned to normal, and inasmuch as I can be said to have ever been, so did I.

Regardless, it was an interesting flavor of chemical brain consciousness, and I am happy to have experienced and recorded it, though I wouldn’t avidly repeat it any time soon.

We Are All Just Prisoners Here, of our Own Device

8/29/09ohwaitmylibrarybooksaredue.

Medical coverage, Media coverage, government coverups and cover songs.

And so many great examples of all of the above (or some of the below), how can I possibly cover it all? Is this even a potential reality in the realm of quantum physicality?!? Huh?? I saw how many busses go by before mine came in the right direction! I know my friends don’t have a cat, even if their neighbors and landlord thinks so! I’ve seen the movie you were referencing, I just forgot about it for a second! I know I am not invisible, no matter how odd that old lady on the bus acted around me. I see what’s going on here. And it’s suspicious.

So pull up the covers as we dive into and under and all-asunder yet another Stranger in a Strange Land.

PLAYLIST
Nero and Gladiators – The Hall of the Mountain King
Ben Folds – Golden Slumbers
Lord Sitar, Sandler & Young – Blue Jay Way Blackbird
Ska Cubano – Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
Magadog – Brown Eyed Girl
Toots & The Maytals – Take Me Home, Country Roads
Africa – Paint It Black
Gipsy Kings – Hotel California
Seu Jorge – Rebel Rebel
Bim Skala Bim – Sunshine Of Your Love
Incredible Bongo Band – In A Gadda Da Vida
Grand Funk Railroad – Feelin’ Alright
Nirvana – The Man Who Sold the World
Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Superstition
Agent Orange – Pipeline
Suck – 21st Century Schizoid Man
The Doors – Backdoor Man
Wallflowers – Lawyers Guns and Money
Dick Dale – Third Stone From The Sun
Demon Fuzz – I Put A Spell On You
Ike & Tina Turner – Proud Mary
Isaac Hayes – Lay Lady Lay
Carlos Malcolm & Afro-Jamaican Rhythms – Bonanza Ska
Joe Cocker – Let’s Go Get Stoned
Primus – The Devil Went Down To Georgia
Johnny Cash – I Won’t Back Down
Apocalyptica – Wherever I May Roam
Wall Of Voodoo – Ring Of Fire
Rob Zombie – Blitzkrieg Bop
Fear Factory – Cars
They Might Be Giants – Lady Is A Tramp
William Shatner – Mr. Tambourine Man

Stranger in a Strange Land 2009-08-29: Prisoners Here of Our Own Device by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

“Enjoy every sandwich”

You’re a New and Better Man

8/22/09

This show dedicated tonight to the drunken petite asian girl traveling home on the 22 bus as I was scheming on tonight’s show. Your Top-Ramen and poorly conceived Box Wine now slickly smattering the better half of that Muni vehicle inspired a lively investigation in the the Health care debate, from the crazy and outlandish to the truly strange and deranged; doctors, media, politicians, and gun-toting maniacs…

Sores, gore, and more on The Stranger in a Strange Land:

We’ve chosen a poor time to be this sick and twisted.

PLAYLIST
Mannheim Steamroller – Hall of the Mountain King
Bob Dylan – I Pity the Poor Immigrant
James Moody – Heritage Hum
The Adventures Of Robert Savage – Lonely World
10cc – Anonymous Alcoholic
The Temptations – I Wish It Would Rain
Coke Escovedo – I Wouldnt Change A Thing
Humble Pie – I Don’t Need No Doctor
The Beatles – Doctor Robert
Deltron – Virus
The Horrorist – Soul For Emptyness
Anti-Pop Consortium – Conspiracy of Truth
Ast0r – So What
The Residents – The Simple Song
Polaris – Waiting For October
Adam Green – Watching Old Movies
Soulfly – Scratch
Alice Cooper – I’m So Angry
The Hollies – Long Cool Woman
Gorillaz – Spitting Out the Demons
Frank Zappa – Artificial Rhonda
Billy Joel – The Stranger
Syd Dale – Number One Spy
Dispatch – The General
Chicago – 25 or 6 to 4

Stranger in a Strange Land 2009-08-22: New and Better Man by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net


*you don’t have to declare yourself mentally unstable as a pre-existing condition round these parts, but it helps!

Arrogantly twisting the sterile canvas snoot of a fully-charged icing anointment utensil…

7/4/09
The Stranger returns triumphant after taking last week off: white blood cells having fought back the dark forces of evil, proving that even the Stranger is, at the very least, human. His internet also broken either coincidentally or in a fit of mutant power outrage, yet no swine flu could keep him imprisoned from these Fourth of July celebrations! Takin’ it easy on the voice tonight but with round pear-shaped tones at the ready, plenty of music and news topics, audio fun and quirks from the dark heart of the internets for you…

PLAYLIST
The Mysterions – In The Hall of the Mountain King
Gil Scott-Heron – Third World Revolution
Booker T & The MG’s – Melting Pot
Gorillaz – We Are Happy Landfill
Beastie Boys- Hey Fuck You
Chad Muska – Ghetto Funk
Babe Ruth – The Mexican
Power Of Zeus – The Sorcerer Of Isis
Tom Waits – Jesus Gonna Be Here
Serge Gainsbourg – En Melody
Smith – The Weight
DJ Shadow – Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Rush – The Necromancer
Spike Jones’ New Band – Harlem Nocturne
Arlo Guthrie – Motorcycle Song
Thievery Corporation – Samba Tranquille
Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Toccata
Frank Zappa – Muffin Man

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

*awaiting the messianic return of zombie Michael Jackson, pump-action shot-gun at the ready…

For the internet

Sometimes things disturb me greatly, to the very core of my bone marrow’s being, (which is where your being be), and the sick snot of reality lightly grazes my soul and causes an involuntary electric shudder along the stiffening tinker-toy discs of my galvanic spine. For the sheer fear of accepting their allowance into a coincidental existence with myself, I have not shared certain events with the fragile minds and ears of others. This, dear friends, is what the internet is for.
1. An overlarged woman in her decaying years walks along the road, pulling along behind her violently a leashed little Dachsund®: a tiny phallic dog unfortunately endowed with an equally comical erect phallus, now pointed straight forward and dragging, nay, digging deeply into the coarse sidewalk before him. Was I mistaken? Or did I see a dark streak of dickblood slicken along the pavement behind? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
2. While at work, a woman impatiently demands that I check the bathroom (where I had hoped to only check my own reflection for its continued awesomeness), for her teenaged son taking longer than usual. I hesitate, wondering if this is part of my job description in the interest of customer service, and lamenting my decision to opt for this, the closer bathroom. I agree, and soon discover that she has neglected to mention three important facts. One; that her son is mentally retarded. Two; that he was going number threes. And three; that he will not only respond, but in fact will present himself to any person who calls his name.
3. A man so obese as to warrant the purchase of a muumuu waits for the light to change, leaning laboriously against a straining crooked cane, impishly small and ill-suited to its utility. Today: Wednesday, I’m told, he has chosen perhaps his most spectacular muumuu. Electricity-acid traffic-cone photon orange. His corpulence reflects upon the ground beneath him as he tugs sloppily at the frozen convenience store drink through a double-wide straw. His waiting is in vain, he could surely move along the street with traffic, indistinguishable from construction vehicles and smallish cement mixers.
4. And finally, surely most disturbing of all, the fifth of six bathroom sinks is adorned with a sign that reads: “Out of Order, Sorry for the Inconvenience: Please See Our Information Desk on the Third Floor for Assistance.” Somewhere in the Westfield Mall, there is hired help, most likely hourly, one of whose main functions is to assist visitors easily confused and frightened by the anxiety-inducing broken sink two floors down near the food court.