Tag Archives: obese

No More Beer

Have you ever had gout? No. Trust me, you never want to have even the slightest hint of having gout.

Why? It’s brutal. My father suffered from gout for the last couple of years of his life and it would immobilize him for days at a time. Other people describe even the slightest sensation of touch near their feet as being unbelievably painful.

When I got the first hints of gout in my big toes I got worried. So worried that I started to figure out what I needed to do in order to avoid having full blown attacks. Guess what? Of all the risk factors related to lifestyle I was only guilty of one—alcohol consumption via beer.

Furthermore, I have a long history of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in my family on both my parents’ sides. This makes me especially sensitive to any issue relating to joint health because I know that before too long I will be combating the symptoms of RA. There is no need to hasten that arrival by inviting inflammation of any kind into my body.

The third health consideration is that I am overweight. Not extreme weight loss overweight, but probably carrying a little more than 20 pounds of fat that is extra pressure on my already taxed joints. No matter how much I watch what I eat and exercise I was probably sabotaging my efforts by finishing the night off with a few pints of homebrew from keezer. At about 13 calories per ounce an imperial pint was packing an extra 250 or so calories into every glass I finished. Ugh.

This got me to really assess my lifestyle vis a vis my beer drinking. I love beer. I enjoy the culture of beer. I find satisfaction in trying new beers and seeking out new breweries. I revel in talking about all aspects of beer with like minded folks. However, I like to be able to walk without pain and if the small amount of time I spent with a gout-like episode was any indication I would give up drinking in a heartbeat.

People reorder their lives for all sorts of reasons and I imagine that health is paramount among those reasons. My decision was to make changes before my health degraded to the point where I was dependent upon medication or staring down the barrel of surgery.

Will I still drink a beer now and again? Sure, but it will form a much less significant portion of my life than it has for the past several years. On the bright side, I should be awake early on Sunday mornings to go for bike rides and hikes with my daughter as opposed to shuffling around the house with a hangover.

Anyone know of someone who wants to give a keezer a good home?


We are So Fat

America is fat.  Not just fat, but obese according to many studies.  How do I know?  It’s not because of some government study or think tank white paper or Michael Pollan.  It’s because I saw this at the store this weekend:

Yep, it’s now a salient point that a chair is 20% wider for our collectively fat rear ends.  There is nothing like addressing the symptom of a problem as opposed to addressing the problem.

I think about obesity a lot because I have children and I have struggled with my own weight for decades.  I want to see my children grow up healthy and I want to be healthy with them as well.  I do not want to spend my later years in the titanic struggle with diabetes or other lifestyle illnesses.  But as a country America is quickly becoming a lost cause.  How bad is it?

According to a study published by Cornell University 21 percent of health care spending is tied to treating obesity related conditions.  Think about that for a moment.  America already spends more per capita on health care than any other country in the world and over one fifth of that amount is spent to treat illness associated with being fat.  Now consider that by 2020 it is estimated that upwards of 75 percent of the U.S. population will be obese, which is an increase from approximately 35 percent at the beginning of the decade.

What does our fat future look like?  Here’s one take:

As I posited in an earlier post, social justice, the food movement, and the environmental movement are intertwined.  Getting people better food, healthier food, more sustainable food will lead to better social outcomes because conditions like obesity can be reduced.  Why are we so fat?  Because it is so easy to consume bad calories.  It is so cheap to consume bad calories.  I can walk into almost any McDonald’s in the U.S.—prices higher in Alaska and Hawaii—and walk out with a McDouble for $1.  So, for one dollar I can walk away with a prepared bomb of questionable origin meat and sugared up bread.  I cannot buy a head of cauliflower or broccoli for a dollar.

How is that possible?  How can McDonald’s assemble all of the ingredients, pay someone to assemble the ingredients, and run a storefront selling a burger for a dollar when I cannot get a head of cauliflower for less than two dollars?  How has our food system become so warped that this is a common occurrence.

On a lighter note, the Economist—that final bastion of imperial Britain—has noticed an increase in the size of pants while the stated size has not increased.  This “panflation” means that a size 10 is now really a size 14.  Uh oh!

But these mac & cheese muffins looks so tasty…

Weigh-in Wednesday 10/5/2011

I have established my challenge of weighing less than 190 pounds by April 1, 2012.  Sure, weight is an arbitrary number when considered against more holistic health measures, but it is the one that gets me to work out five days a week.

Today, the weight number really hit home because I did a biometric screening for work.  My employer, as part of providing health insurance, makes everyone do a personal health assessment every year.  Included in that assessment is a biometric screening that checks weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.  As in previous years all of my numbers, save for my weight, were optimal.  Again, as in previous years, my BMI came back as obese.

To make matters even worse, the automated message suggested that I need to lose 30 to 49 pounds.  Apparently, according to the system, even losing 21 pounds would have major health benefits.  Thanks.

Just some extra motivation I suppose.  Here are the numbers:

Last Week: 206 lbs

This Week: 208.2 lbs

To Lose: 18.2 lbs