Taking Note of a Few Things: Chewing the Fat and Digesting the Numbers

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I recently purchased a new bathroom scale. My old one began acting up periodically and gave inconsistent readings. I opted for a digital Weight Watcher’s model primarily because it was the only one I could find after looking in three stores. It looks nicer than my old one and is made of thick glass. Unfortunately, I do not like it, primarily because I weigh one pound more on it than I do on my old scale. It’s just one pound, but I am used to seeing the old numbers pop up and now I have gained a pound without doing anything to deserve it.

I weigh myself too often. The experts say to weigh yourself once a week. I weigh myself throughout the day, not because I am concerned about that extra serving of desert the night before, but because I monitor my water intake. I go for long runs or put in long sessions in my gym each day. Consequently, I want to know how much water I need to drink to replace what was lost through sweat. If I eat a consistent amount each day, then I figure I know how much fluid I need to replace if I weigh myself regularly.

I do not miss the scale whenever I travel. I also do not dive face first into the buffet table when I am traveling. I pretty much try to eat what I would eat at home, which is why when I don’t, my stomach lets me know. My days of gorging on food are over.

Back to water, I am kind of a human version of a camel. I can go all day without drinking much, if any, water and must remind myself to hydrate. Sometimes, days pass when the only fluid I drank was the two cups of coffee I had in the morning.

Scales are not good for fitness. They only tell you how much weight is on the person standing on the scale. They don’t tell you a thing about what sort of weight it is. Muscle weighs three times more than fat. The more fat you have, the less healthy you are. All the scale reads is your weight.

Don’t bother buying products that measure your body fat. They are not very accurate. If you must know your body fat, get weighed underwater. Of course, this requires you to hold your breath for about 30 seconds.  Chances are, if you cannot hold your breath for thirty seconds, you are in bad shape and can forget about that bathing suit you are eyeing.

Muscle not only weighs more than fat, it burns far more calories when at rest which is all the more reason to hit the gym. Also, the heart of a runner beats far fewer times than the heart of a person who never exercises. I might maintain a heart rate of 150 bpm when I run for an hour. However, when I sleep at night, my resting rate might be a steady 54 bpm. The person who never exercises might average 90 or more beats per minute just watching television. If he is obese, it might top 100 bpm.

Since your heart is a muscle, check your resting pulse rate. It, more than a scale, will let you know how fit you are while your spouse will let you know how fat you are.

I recently read a headline stating that half of all deaths in this nation are now from some form of dementia. I can’t say for certain this is true, however, I do know for certain that research shows a direct link between people with poor cardiovascular health and those who have dementia. A daily dose of heavily oxygenated blood is good for the brain.

How large we are is a matter of choice. Our bodies are our own to do with as we see fit (good pun, right?). However, I have an issue with insurance companies that fail to sufficiently reward people who maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. Since so many of the diseases that kill us are linked to how much fat we carry and the lack of oxygen our brains receive, it just seems to me people who can prove they are healthy deserve a break in premiums.

I am pretty sure John Daly,the chain smoking and beer guzzling golfer, has not looked down and seen his putter in decades.

I used to play golf. Unless you are a professional golfer, no one is ever good at golf. My problem with the game is it involves numbers. I figured if I shot 83 one day, there was no reason I shouldn’t be close to that the next day. However, when that next time out resulted in a 103, I’d be more than just a little upset.

I once got so angry at myself that as I crossed the bridge over a creek between the ninth and tenth holes of a golf course, I emptied my golf balls into the creek. I didn’t golf after that for ten years. When I resumed golfing, I stopped keeping score and found the game far more enjoyable.

Then I realized I could save a lot of money just by going for a walk. Once you factor in green fees, golf balls, and a set of clubs, you can buy a lot of walking shoes and not have to deal with people who lie about their handicap. My handicap was me. I just needed to give up the game.

Tyson Fury, the heavyweight champion of boxing, is a large guy. In his last fight, he checked in at 6’9’’ and 263 pounds which was eleven less than his previous fight. A few years ago, he lost interest in boxing and weighed over 400 pounds. He then decided to resume his career and get back into the best shape of his life. Still, he has love handles the size of my legs.

Trent Brown is an offensive tackle in the NFL whose latest contract provides him with a sizable bonus each Thursday that he weighs in at the team headquarters under 365 pounds. The fear is, without the incentive he will balloon up to over 400 pounds. Isn’t a contract that pays him a few million dollars a year enough incentive?

What are the odds when Trent Brown retires from football he goes on a diet and drops 150 pounds?  What are the odds he gains 150 pounds?

The Stanford School of Medicine researched teenage brains and found that at the age of thirteen, they start to tune out their mother’s voice. I am guessing another study will show they resume listening to their mom when they either become pregnant or get their girlfriend pregnant in high school

When I began teaching, I had the pleasure of learning from a man who had over 30 years in education. Part of that time was as a school administrator at a continuation school. He told me he was once summoned to a classroom where six pregnant teenage girls were arguing with one another. When George calmed them down and asked what they were fighting over, it turned out all six were knocked up by the same kid who was still at the high school they used to attend. Each was insisting the teenage impregnator was going to marry them and not the others.

Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis has eyes on the White House. In fact, that might be all he has eyes for since he sure did not bother to read what the state was required to do if it pulled Disney’s self-governing status. I wonder how voters will feel about having to pay off Disney’s one-billion-dollar debt along with some residents being left with higher property taxes.

How much money is it worth to you to not have to defend freedom? So far, our nation has invested $33 billion dollars into shoring up the Ukrainian military in their efforts to defeat Russia’s invasion. That’s a lot of money to keep ourselves out of a war that is far more justifiable to fight than any we fought after 9/11, whose bills were in the trillions.

If you are under the age of 60, chances are you have no clue just how fortunate we are to no longer have a draft. As my editor recently stated, maybe one percent of our nation serves in some capacity in our military. It should also be noted, our military spending exceeds the combined total of at least the next dozen highest spending nations. This spending is separate from what we allot to nations like Ukraine. We have become a nation afraid to put boots on the ground in overwhelming numbers which has resulted in there no longer being a draft.

We may have the most highly sophisticated military in the world. However, our weakness is our inability or unwillingness to place boots on the ground because while we may have a penchant for fighting wars, we lack the stomach to see large numbers of our young men and women come home in body bags. At some point in any war, you have to be able to place soldiers on enemy soil.

If we had a draft or required two years minimum service after high school, we would have plenty of well trained and equipped young men and women to do more than just fight wars. Think of how they could help when we are hit by disasters like raging fires, floods, tornados, or earthquakes. Maintaining a large national defense is more important now given the challenges we are facing with global warming. Defending your nation does not mean having to go off to fight a war.

I am extremely fortunate.  I have written far more than I ever set out about my chronic pain. Given I had surgery to fix two herniated discs in my lower back and still have 15 other herniations in my neck, each day that I get to go for a run is a blessing. The fact that the only discomfort I ever feel from running comes after I finish a run is an even better feeling. I feel guilty knowing I can run like I do and still end up some days curled up in pain. It doesn’t make sense to me or my doctors, but as long as I have their blessing, I will continue to log miles.

On the other hand, I am embarrassed by what I call strength training.  This morning, I realized I have to give up one of my favorite strength exercises, extended arms dumbbell overhead raises. It requires you to stand with feet shoulder width apart and with both arms extended out at chest level. Gripping the outer portion of a dumbbell, you then raise both arms above your head keeping them locked at the elbows. Then you lower them back to chest height keeping the arms extended. Today, I finally had to admit lifting ten pounds was too much for my spine.

Last week, I was on the phone scheduling an appointment for an MRI when I was caught off guard by the date the scheduler said he had available. I let it go and finished up with the appointment details before he repeated the date. Sure enough, I heard the man correctly the first time because he repeated it again; May twoth.

President Biden is considering canceling the debt of student loans up to $50,000.00. I am not sure how I feel about this. For starters, that’s the same amount as the first home I purchased in 1986 with a then decent ten percent interest rate. However, the price of everything has changed over the decades and the rate of increase for college tuition has far surpassed that of the cost of living. My issue is, by canceling the debt for students who knew what they were getting into, he is risking the idea they will be bailed out in the future with other debts.

Another thing about canceling student loans is the cost will just be passed on to the tuition rate for future college students. It seems to me wiser for the federal government to reduce how much money they give to colleges and pass that savings onto future college students.

Ah, the good old days were when I lived on a monthly budget of $250.00. That was all it took for me to be a fulltime student and pay my rent and groceries each month. I also worked on campus twenty hours a month and did not attend a college that was focused on selling “the college experience” to gullible teens and their parents.

My middle child attended the same college her parents attended. Besides two months of her bills equaling a year of mine, the other major change I saw was the addition of a huge fitness center for students. Upstairs was an indoor track with private rooms for free personal training sessions. Downstairs included more gym equipment than found in a third world country as well as larger rooms for group training classes, and a climbing wall. Outside was an Olympic-sized swimming pool surrounded by cabanas and chaise lounges for students to relax. Whenever I visited her, the place was nearly empty.

In my day, we went running through Bidwell Park, swam and sunbathed in Bidwell Park, and generally relaxed and unwound in Bidwell Park.

The number of random thoughts that bounce around inside my head are too many to count. By the time I think of writing down one thought, another two or three have replaced it. However, since I am wearing my new slippers as I write, I began to wonder, does memory foam ever suffer from dementia? If so, I think my right slipper has it.

What sense was there when a parent said, “If I told you once then I’ve told you a thousand times?”  Most of us heard these words somewhere between one and one thousand times before we were ever sitting in a math class. It seems we do our children a disservice in mastering an important subject by making them think one is the same as one thousand.

I never understood why one was the loneliest number. It seems to me whatever the highest number possible is the loneliest number because most, if not all, of us have no idea what it is.

One is a great number. It’s why championship teams yell, “We’re number one.”  Which number gets a worse reaction from a family member who opens the toilet lid, the person who is left to look at a bowl of number one or the one left with number two?  Kids always beg adults to give them one more chance. In golf, who cares about a hole in two, or in my case, a hole in eight? The number one draft pick makes more money than the number two pick. And I don’t know about you, but I always have room for one more bite but must think hard about whether I can swallow two.

When someone dies, people will explain it by saying, “Poor guy, I guess his number was up.” Does anyone know what that number is?

I hate it when the numbers don’t add up.  This morning, my street was scheduled to be repaved. Earlier in the week, the city posted signs all around the area I live in telling us there was no street parking on Friday, 4/29. Apparently, the city got behind schedule so this morning, hundreds of postings were taken down and new postings were going up telling us there was no parking allowed for Monday, 5/1. Thankfully, I remembered I had an MRI that day and know it is not May 1st, but actually May Twoth.