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Author Topic: Fit or Fat?
canadian
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About six years ago I got kind of fat. I didn't even notice it creeping up on me. I was sitting down for my job, high levels of stress, deadlines, poor eating habits, no exercise, late nights, etc. the whole shebang.

I've always had a high metabolism, but it seems it couldn't keep up with the high fat, toxic lifestyle.

What made me sit up and take notice was my left arm starting to buzz and go numb. Then the shooting pain started happening and I kind of woke up to the fact that I was probably killing myself. The irony is that only years before that, I was so skinny everyone was always offering to feed me.

Anyway, I quit my job, simplified my life and started exercising. I got pretty darned fit.

I'm about 6 feet 190 lbs now and aside from looking good and feeling strong, I sleep like a baby.

I often wonder why it had to get so so bad before I decided to do anything to make it better. My family is fairly prone to becoming overweight, and aside from my brother who has been living in the military for the past 18 years, I'm the only "healthy" person in the immediate family.

No one else even seems to be worried about it.

It's normal to look a little chubby these days, but when I think about how I felt before, and the energy and vitality I have now, I wish there was a simple way to "sell" the benefits of going for a jog once in a while.

Or are we just such a debaucherously overindulgent society that it's our fate to bury ourselves in our own corpulent flesh?


addendum:

I understand that due to other, prevailing health problems, "fitness" varies from person to person. Someone close to me requires a medication that has the side effect of i)making him sleepy, and ii) slowing down his metabolism. As a result, he's a good 240lbs, but for him, that's good.

[ March 15, 2007, 08:52 PM: Message edited by: canadian ]

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Gaoics79
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The problem, Canadian, is lifestyle. Most of us have desk jobs that require no exercise, but nevertheless, force us to expend tons of non-physical energy using our brains. Thinking is hungry work, and when you've sapped your energy working, it's easy to overindulge later. It's hard to be disciplined and careful with what you eat after a long day at the office.

Take me, for example. I am 26, and like you, I have traditionally had a fast metabolism. I am also about 188 lbs, and also 6 ft. I am near my historical high in terms of weight. I'm not fat, but I could definitely stand to lose weight. I run 4 miles every weekday on the treadmill, and then walk to work and back (about 2.5 miles total) each weekday. That's what it takes just to maintain my current weight, forget about losing anything.

And my diet isn't even that bad. I've cut about as many calories as I possibly can given my finite will power.

How long am I going to be able to keep this up? My metabolism will only get slower. I'm in very good shape now thanks to my running, but the decline is inevitable.

I think that given a certain lifestyle, it's almost a wonder that ANY of us stay thin. Obesity is just the natural consequence of modern life.

I'm just hoping to rope in a woman and get married before the inevitable descent into obesity, not to mention while I still have my hair [Smile]

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Lisa M.
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I have "exercise aversion", and I still manage to stay in decent shape. Been slowly putting on weight, but nothing crazy. Any time I get up to 135, I go on a diet until I'm under 130. It's simple, since my normal, healthy weight is around 125-130. Losing five pounds isn't difficult. It's when it becomes 10, 15, 20 pounds that it becomes daunting.

Exercise aversion in quotation marks because I think that's what my cardiologist called it, but not 100% sure. Basically, I get physically ill from anything more intense than a brisk walk.

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Adam Masterman
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I was a competitive nordic skier in college, and so my high fat, high sugar diet didn't have any immediate consequences. I was 6 ft, 165 pounds, and ate close to 6000 calories a day. When I left college, I still exercized, but not at that same level, and I've had weight issues ever since. By weight issues I mean a little bit of a pot belly and love handles, most people would still call me pretty trim, but I am struggling to get back to my "fighting weight" of 180.

I quit using smokeless tobacco about a year ago after 14 years (yay!), and exercise has moved from being a nice hobby to being absolutely essential. I have trained more in this past year than any time since college, and I am in better shape than any time since then as well. It doesn't make one's life problem free, and even appreciating what it does for you doesn't make it easy to always find the motivation, but its definately a better way to live.

Incidentally, can, meditation is the fitness activity for the mind. I really think it should be promoted as universally as exercise; its every bit as important, IMO, to a healthy life.

Adam

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Gaoics79
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quote:

Incidentally, can, meditation is the fitness activity for the mind. I really think it should be promoted as universally as exercise; its every bit as important, IMO, to a healthy life.

How do you meditate? I mean, what do you actually do? Are you thinking? I know it's not sleeping. I mean, I tried it in a Yoga class in Cegep and I just fell asleep. What do you actually get out of it?
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Lisa M.
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I'm not a hardcore meditator, but this is my take on it.

Meditation is accepting whatever comes into one's mind, and letting it pass more or less without judgment.

I'm bad at explaining things, but... mostly, I use meditation for pain control. For instance, I am terrified of getting a shot in my mouth where I can't see it, and for all seven fillings I've had, I've used meditation instead of anesthetic. I know that the pain is there, and I acknowledge it, and then I let it go without letting it concern me. (Yes, getting the shot in my mouth freaks me out more than the pain does.)

Admittedly, my dentist does take frequent breaks from the drilling, as I can't go too long with that kind of pain and just let it go.

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Gaoics79
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Well is it like being delirious, or in a hypnotic state?

Ok, to use a topical example, I usually get really tired at the end of my workout, and am really huffing and puffing for air. When the treadmill beeps and it goes into cool-down, I am totally relieved, and it's totally great.

But the other day, I was deeply involved in a legal problem, and I was so totally engrossed that not only didn't I notice the cool-down begin, but I didn't even realize the workout had ended and my legs had stopped moving! In effect, I had completely wiped out the discomfort of working out purely through thought.

Is that meditation?

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Lisa M.
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Eh, I'm not an expert, but I think that's just diversionary tactics.

With meditation, you definitely allow those experiences to happen (pain, discomfort), but you realize that they're not necessarily negative. I think.

I'm kind of hazy on how it works, since I really only use it for pain management. I can get that part to work, and that's what I need, so I don't really study meditation further.

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Adam Masterman
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Lisa's explanation sounds pretty good to me. Techniques vary, and are best taught face to face (if you are interested, find a center in your city, call them up, and ask for a meditation instructor. Its free, and doesn't require any kind of committment). Its basically equinimity training. Whatever arises, pain, pleasure, boredom, etc., you meet with an open heart. Its practicing unconditional acceptance, and what it does is make you calmer, gentler, more composed, and of clearer and stronger mind.

Being a "Buddhist" is more than just meditating, and its not for everyone. But basic meditation IS something that could benefit everyone, and there is nothing necessarily spiritual or religious about it.

Adam

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kenmeer livermaile
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"I tried it in a Yoga class in Cegep and I just fell asleep. What do you actually get out of it?"

Personally, I think a good nap attack is good for the soul.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Well is it like being delirious, or in a hypnotic state?
A common misunderstanding about meditation. Its really the opposite of hypnosis or delerium; you become MORE grounded, centered and aware. A common experience for meditators, after settling in to the practice, is to ask "is this it?" Its very very ordinary, but over time you begin to relate to your self and your world on a somewhat subtler level. Your appreciation is enhanced, so life becomes richer without any real change needing to occur.

Adam

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Cytania
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Americans consume twice as much meat as Europeans. Indeed foreign visitors to restaurants in American regularly order single dishes and split them between two people.

I percieve part of the problem as portion growth. Because a diner knows it's competitor could advertise 'more fries than' or 'biggest steaks in town' portions have grown over the decades. It's a problem of competing on a quantity sell rather than a quality sell. Not that all US restaurants do this but a significant sector does. Very rare to see a quantity sell in France.

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Hannibal
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how much 190lbs is in kilo grams?
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Gaoics79
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quote:
how much 190lbs is in kilo grams?
2.2 lbs per kilogram.
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Cytania
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Very close to my weight Hannibal 87 kilograms.

Actually here in the UK everyone uses a bizarre measure of personal weight, stones. There are 14 lbs in a stone. It's utterly archaic, makes me ashamed to be English - so I rebel and use Kgs.

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Colin JM0397
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I'd be happy to just be know as having a couple of stones [Wink]

Meditation, good. Healthy diet, good.

What's most important, though, is the trifecta of fitness... well, it's more than that, but for the actual working out part most folks focus on only one or two. The three being muscular strength, cardiovascular fitness, and flexibility.

I'm in better shape than anyone I know - probably approaching pro athlete level these days because it's what keeps me sane, yet I still neglect the flexibility and it's been on my mind lately to do more.

You don't need a gym.
You don't need expensive equipment.
All you need is a few minutes and a few sq. feet (or meters) of space.

I follow Matt Furey's combat conditioning principles.

It's done wonders for me.

I hereby brand myself the Ornery fitness guru. I'm happy to help anyone who wants some advice - just shoot me a message.

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DonaldD
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Cytania, how many stone per keg?
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Clark
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1 kilogram = 0.157473044 stones

A handy tool for conversions like this is Google (surprise!) If you google "1 kg in stones" you get a conversion. And it works for tons of stuff. "4 US dollars in Canadian dollars" tells me that 4 US = 4.70 Canadian. It's not necessarily perfect, but it's pretty handy a lot of the time.

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Colin JM0397
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Damn! I knew the dollar sucked these days, but that's really down. I used to go to Windsor, ON on occasion but haven't been for a few years. For quite a while $4 USD was around $6 CD.

One of my friends does some stand up. He has a bit about how all things US are bigger in Canada with the exchange rate - funny stuff. And the Canadians have a good sense of humor - at least the ones we would explain it to at 2am in the line for Subway - thought it was hilarious. You guys know how to party - but only at a .75% rate as we in the US do.

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scifibum
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quote:
Anyway, I quit my job, simplified my life and started exercising. I got pretty darned fit.

I'm about 6 feet 190 lbs now and aside from looking good and feeling strong, I sleep like a baby.

I often wonder why it had to get so so bad before I decided to do anything to make it better. My family is fairly prone to becoming overweight, and aside from my brother who has been living in the military for the past 18 years, I'm the only "healthy" person in the immediate family.

No one else even seems to be worried about it.

It's normal to look a little chubby these days, but when I think about how I felt before, and the energy and vitality I have now, I wish there was a simple way to "sell" the benefits of going for a jog once in a while.

I'm sure fitness is most of it, but how about quitting your job? Having an occupation that doesn't cause a lot of stress can make you feel better and sleep better too. I think. I wouldn't know, personally.

My problem is finding time for things like meditation and exercise. I can't steal any more time from my wife and kids than I already do, so I'll need to trade off some Internet time. ((Sob))

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canadian
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I admit, quitting the job was instrumental.

In fact, I created my own jobs. I still have stress, but it's of an entirely different variety (seeing as I'm now the boss). No employees, and I work from home at any time I want...sometimes I'll go for a few hours in the morning and resume at 9 at night when everyone else is winding down...ah the quiet!

To be honest, it was a tough grind for a few years as I tried to find some stability, but the exercise got me through it, definitely and without a doubt.

More energy, more endorphins, more stamina, and a valve for accumulated stress = happy canadian.

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DonaldD
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"1 kilogram = 0.157473044 stones"

I asked how many stone per keg... it was a UK/beer joke...

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canadian
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I got it, DD

I laughed.

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Daruma28
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Adam - is your particular study of Bhuddism under the Mahayana branch...the branch that practices the art of Zen?

Because even though I don't "meditate" literally as you describe it, achieving Zen during routine exercise is in and of itself "mediation."

When pushing yourself to the extrems of your physical limitations, you simply HAVE to put your mind into a meditative state so that your body can continue to function.

Is not Zen about internalizing rituals and mundaneness to the point that it disappears from our conscious subjective experience? So if you do a ritual form of exercise - much like the many various forms of martial arts exercises I practice - I find myself moving without thought. I can focus on things like my breathing without counsciously thinking about what the rest of my body is doing. And reaching that state of mind, I also find that I attain my best possible performance of a technique is ONLY possible while in that state.

I personally call that "dropping into the zone" but I think it's similar to the state of Zen the Mahayana Bhuddists talk about.

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IrishTD
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quote:
One of my friends does some stand up. He has a bit about how all things US are bigger in Canada with the exchange rate - funny stuff.
I'm still amused by the time I went to a Wendy's in Sault Ste. Marie, ONT...gave the HS girl running the cash register a $20...and got more than $20 back. She was so very confused. Very amusing.
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ngthagg
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The thing to remember about the Canada/US exchange rate is that some coins are accepted at face value on both sides of the border. I'm pretty sure there must be a way to make money off of that, but I haven't thought about it too hard yet.

Regarding weight, I just recently (~2 weeks ago) started on The Hacker's Diet. It's working so far, but I need more time to find out if it will stick long-term.

ngthagg

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FiredrakeRAGE
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I generally stay pretty thin because of my metabolism, but that's a far cry from being 'fit'. Lately I've been going to the gym once a day (along with 11 hours of work - mostly sitting), and I have slept better, and felt better. It's far easier to set aside time to work out when you've nothing else better to do [Smile]
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Storm Saxon
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quote:
Originally posted by jm0397:

I follow Matt Furey's combat conditioning principles.

It's done wonders for me.

I hereby brand myself the Ornery fitness guru. I'm happy to help anyone who wants some advice - just shoot me a message.

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canadian
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Your mom goes to college.
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Zyne
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Depression has been key for my weight swings ...

I'm a female with a smallish frame, and I was thin for a long time. When I was playing an instrument 6-8 hours a day, I could eat whatever I wanted and get nagged by my doc for being a bit underweight. When I stopped playing so much, I gained 40-50 pounds in a year, and it took about that long for me to clue in that playing an instrument burns a lot of calories and doing that was why I could consume 3k-4k calories per day without consequence. But when I quit playing, it was a terrible time and I was rather depressed, despondent, even. I ate, I drank, and if I wasn't such a control freak I would have wound up hooked on something serious. I did what I could to not think or feel. Of course, more weight followed.

Fastforward a few years, and life got better. I got healthy. Lost 50 pounds in a few months and kept it off for a few years (I started losing about the time I started posting here). For the first time, I wanted to exercise. It was easy to eat right, healthy food tasted good. I got my house, and worked in my yard a lot the first few summers. I went vegetarian and eventually quit smoking. I joined the Y. Life was wonderful.

Then life got bad again, and I got depressed. I didn't see what was happening while I was in the situation. Looking back, I was crying and anxious every day, and I thought that was okay at the time. Every window I looked out, every bridge I drove over, was an escape for which I longed. I quit the Y. Eventually, the scale said I gained back almost every pound I had lost. My endurance had gone to hell. I had started eating meat again. And my yard had gotten shaggy.

Now life is better, and I'm paying attention to what I eat. I've gone vegetarian again, hopefully for good. I rejoined the Y a few months ago. I'm not exercising regularly, for lack of time. But the weight is starting to go back off. 15 of that dreaded 50 is gone. And when the depression eats at me, I exercise. It helps me a lot to get moving.

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Carlotta
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I was always a normal weight, 5'4 and about 120 lbs. Then when I was pregnant with my first, I gained 60-70 lbs. I had morning sickness pretty bad, so had to eat every hour or two, and was working full time so ate a lot of dollar menu fast food. Six weeks after she was born, I went back to work, sitting at a desk all day. I lost some of the weight but kept on 20 lbs. About a year later I got pregnant again, quit my job, and was a stay at home mom. I gained less weight this time, and the crazy thing was I lost it all in about 6 months, with little to no exercising. Housework, chasing after a toddler, and breastfeeding an infant will really burn calories.

I know I should exercise, but it's hard to find the time and opportunity. I used to do Pilates on the floor, but if I try that now my kids think it's time for horsey rides. By the time my husband gets home from work, it's been dark, so I can't go running, and to get a health club membership that has childcare would cost too much. I do try to play with my kids in an active way, jumping on the trampoline with them, going for walks, etc, and I guess that's an ok amount of exercise because my weight, blood pressure, etc are all normal.

For a lot of people I think it's not just laziness but lack of convenient opportunity for exercise. Especially if you live up North, half the year it's freezing and dark, so that rules walking or running, two common forms of cheap exercise.

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kenmeer livermaile
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(signal modulation)

"Ahem... (tap tap tap) Is this thing on?

"Hi. God here. A few words on exercise and

"We're all going to grow old and die. For the second half of this route (assuming one doesn't die 'early', whatever that means), we'll experience loss of ability and gain aches and pains.

"At age 60, being able to walk briskly for half an hour will be a wonderful thing. Can you walk briskly for half an hour? Great. Do so. Every day if possible. On nice days, look up at the sky and smile. That's what it's for.

"Carry on."

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cperry
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I'm not sure if anyone's mentioned the additional crap that's in most of the food we eat anymore (trans fats, anyone?), and the fact that much of it lacks nutritional value because it's picked before it's ripe. That, plus our increasingly sedentary lifestyles -- well, I'm amazed we live as long as we do. However, I heard/read somewhere (can't remember -- sorry, no link) that we may be seeing life expectancies go DOWN in the next few generations, as folks my age were the first to have regular access to the demons of fast food, convenience store candy, soda, etc. It's not a coincidence that the rate of Type II Diabetes is skyrocketing.
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Gaoics79
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I find with exercise, you have to really play psychology with yourself when you develop a routine. Know thyself.

For example, when I started work, I first tried exercising after work, say before dinner, in the evenings. You'd think this would be easy, since my building has a gym, so it's as easy as taking the elevator to the top floor. The problem with that was that I am a creature of routine; I do things all the same in patterns, or else not at all. That's just the way I am.

The trouble with after work was that there could be no routine. Some nights I'd come home at 6:30, other nights at 7:30 or 9:00. What's more, it was just too easy to relax after work, sit back, eat some dinner, watch some TV. The temptation not to work out was just too great.

So I revamped my routine. I was waking up at 7:15, so instead, I started waking up at 6:30. The alarm would ring, I would fall out of my bed directly into a pair of running shoes, and by 6:40, before my eyes had even opened, I would be running on the treadmill.

It's miserable, and every morning I find myself envying the dead. But it works. Every morning for me is a pure routine, with no variation, no change. Minute by minute, I do the same schedule. So it fulfills my need for routine. No on else is in the gym at that time in the morning, so it also means I have pretty much 100% chance of getting one of the three treadmills. And best of all, at that time of the morning, I'm pretty much suicidal no matter what I'm doing. I could just fall asleep for another 45 minutes, but then the evil alarm clock would just ring again right after I closed my eyes. The temptation to be lazy just isn't there, because the alternative to working out isn't really much better; I'm already at rock bottom for the day.

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Gaoics79
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quote:
I'm not sure if anyone's mentioned the additional crap that's in most of the food we eat anymore (trans fats, anyone?), and the fact that much of it lacks nutritional value because it's picked before it's ripe. That, plus our increasingly sedentary lifestyles -- well, I'm amazed we live as long as we do. However, I heard/read somewhere (can't remember -- sorry, no link) that we may be seeing life expectancies go DOWN in the next few generations, as folks my age were the first to have regular access to the demons of fast food, convenience store candy, soda, etc. It's not a coincidence that the rate of Type II Diabetes is skyrocketing.
I have one of those little paper wheel gizmos at the office that I use to calculate future life expectancy and present value for future care costs for plaintiffs. It tells me that at 26, my life expectancy is only 76.

That just seems kind of low... but I guess it factors in the chances of me getting struck by lightning or eaten by zombies or whatnot in the interim. I see that the older you are, according to this thing, the greater your life expectancy.

But still, I thought I was going to live until at least 80 [Frown]

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Carlotta
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Yeah, but I think it's because they have to figure in all the people that die from accidents before they get old.
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cperry
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Gotta hate those accidents.

Hey, have we ever "lost" anyone here at OA to death? (I don't mean to be morbid at all, but it would be somewhat unfortunate if that happened and we did not know it. Oh odd new world of internet relationships!)

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DonaldD
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jasonr, what's your standard running distance/time/pace? And are you still in Montreal?

I'm with you on the routine, but I also keep a running log to 'motivate' me when ritual breaks down.

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Gaoics79
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quote:
jasonr, what's your standard running distance/time/pace? And are you still in Montreal?
I do 7.5 mph for 30 minutes, which comes to about 4.02 miles total, including the 5 minute cooldown. This is pretty much at the upper limit of my physical endurance, so I'm pretty much huffing and puffing by the end.

I'm in Toronto now, actually. Did we ever meet in RL?

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DonaldD
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Nope (well, not that I know of [Smile] )

Though I was in Toronto (well, Oakville) last week.

I need to be careful about my knees, but I'm working my way up to (hopefully) 13.6 kph for a half marathon - maybe for a full marathon. Call it 8.5 mph. Right now I'm pushing 13.2 kph, and my weekend runs are 10 and 13 km. Going faster than that is really unpleasant, but this is something where a little pain does provide gains, so...

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