My New Thang—Avocados

Early in my dad’s business career he sold appliances for General Electric. Every year we got one new one, including allegedly, the first trash compactor in the country. And for some reason only my mom could probably explain, every last appliance was avocado green. Turns out those early avocado green kitchens did a number on my subconscious because recently I’ve turned into an avocado eating machine, putting them on damn near everything, as if I’m making up for lost time.

So I got a kick out of this, “Your New Avocado: An FAQ“.

Below is a picture of today’s breakfast bowl of oatmeal which lies buried underneath the red and late 1960’s kitchen appliance green fruit goodness. Some mornings I borrow from professional cycling chefs and sub in two fried eggs. And always, I top everything off with a little butter and a lot of Kirkland Saigon Cinnamon (Costco doesn’t pay me for these egregious product placements, but they should).

Today’s philosophical question. At what point does the balance tip towards the add-ins and I can no longer accurately describe my breakfast as a bowl of oatmeal? That’s what philosophers refer to as a “Seinfeld episode worthy” question.

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That’s right, even our kitchen bowls are avocado green.

How To Avoid Weight Gain In Later Life

This post was inspired by reading a LetsRun.com forum thread on the subject. Here are two contributions that stood out to me:

The first.

I’m 6’1″ and ran competitively until my early 30’s. You can see what scaling back the running and getting older does.

Age 18: 117
Age 25: 140
Age 35: 160
Age 45 (now): 190

Know what happens between age 35 and 45 when you pretty much quit running? 30 pounds. That’s what happens. Fortunately I have plateaued at right around 190 for the past few years. Not surprisingly people tell me I look better than I did when I was 120lbs and looked “sickly.”

As you get older it is easier to put the weight on, and significantly harder to lose it. I now sport a ‘Dad Bod’ like many guys my age. I’m not an obese slob but I could certainly stand to drop 20 pounds.

The second.

The margin of error disappears after 40. In my 30s, I could pig out now and then without any consequences. Since turning 40, one big desert or dinner and I will gain a pound or two on an otherwise light 5’8″/135-40 lb frame. When i am injured or just lazy, I will very quickly gain weight and level off just below 150. It then takes about 1 month to lose 2 lbs by watching diet and running 50-70 mpw.

As mentioned previously, there is a self regulating aspect to getting old. If I eat a sugary desert and drink a lot of booze at dinner, I will wake up around 3 am feeling like I just drank 3 cups of coffee due to all the sugars suddenly metabolizing. The result is that I rarely have deserts and have cut back a lot on booze.

Three suggestions.

1. Most importantly, decide if it matters. Unless you have a compelling reason or two to not be overweight in later life, you will be, because as the LetsRunners make clear, overtime metabolism slows and self discipline erodes. A double whammy.

I suspect I’m unique in this respect. It’s nice that the Good Wife digs my slender self, but truth be told, my main motivation is running and cycling well. By which I mean maintaining some sort of rhythm running and cycling longish distances with others who still run and cycle pretty damn fast. Even more specifically, I enjoy running and cycling uphill which is hard enough without an extra 5 or 10 lb. pound spare tire.

For most the question is whether a general appreciation for better mobility and physical and mental health is sufficient motivation. Based upon my people watching, it doesn’t appear to be. If you can’t write down a specific and compelling reason or two to avoid weight gain in later life, you may as well skip the rest of this post and enjoy a Big Tom’s milkshake or giant snack of your choice.

2A. Don’t buy your favorite processed sugary snacks and alcohol unless your young adult children are visiting. Also, “they” are right to recommend eating before grocery shopping. “They” are also right to say always use a list.

But even in later life, everything in moderation. I enjoy a beer, or chocolate covered raisins, a piece (or two) of cheesecake, a bowl of ice-cream, but only on days when I’ve burned quite a few more cals than normal. Typically, weekend afternoons after a long or especially hard run or ride. I’ll deny it if you tell her I told you, but the always slender and sexy Gal Pal has a soft spot for Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches.

2B. Eat on the road and in restaurants in moderation. Take charge of your food purchasing and prep.

3. Switch your dishes out. I’ve learned the only way I can control my portions is to use smaller bowls. Now it’s to the point where I have winter bowls and summer bowls. Two winter bowls = one summer bowl. In the summer, I cycle further with much greater intensity. Last night, for example, I burned 3K calories on my 54+ mile team ride. I weighed 169 pre-ride, 164 post. This morning’s bowl looked like a replica of Mount Rainier, Raisin Bran, Honey Bunches of Oats, raw oats, washed down with a large smoothie. In a few minutes, pistachios, banana with pb, huge serving of pasta. On the way home from work, pretzels, Cliff Bar, and then I’ll graze before dinner.

It’s painful switching to the winter bowls, which I should probably do a month from now. You would chuckle if you could see me try to max that baby bowl out without having the contents overflow the sides. Like playing Operation, the key is the first, delicate spoonful. Winter also means next to no desserts, very little beer, no joy in Mudville. And I still gain a little weight.

 

Shortcut Nation

From the September 29th, 2011 Wall Street Journal:

Reebok International Ltd., a unit of Adidas AG, agreed to pay $25 million in customer refunds to settle charges of false advertising brought by the FTC over the shoemaker’s claim that its “toning shoes” could work better than normal footwear to whip muscles into shape.

Its TV commercials featured women with shapely legs prancing around in the shoes while doing everyday activities such as walking, vacuuming, browsing a bookshelf and cooking.

Such shoes were one of the footwear industry’s smash hits, generating more than $1 billion in revenue last year though sales have slowed this year.

“The FTC wants national advertisers to understand that they must exercise some responsibility and ensure that their claims for fitness gear are supported by sound science,” said David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection.

Sound science?! Does that mean Rick Perry can’t lace up his toners and run for the Republican presidential nomination?

Amazingly, the FTC didn’t find proof for Reebok’s claims.

Mary Lee Wagner of Fairfax, Va., bought into the craze four years ago, paying $230 for a pair of sneakers. The 58-year-old wore the shoes religiously for six months with hopes of shaping up her thighs. “There was no difference whatsoever,” she says.

She decided to give toning shoes another try after they went mainstream, reasoning that bigger companies had figured out a way to develop a more effective shoe. Two years ago, she bought a pair of Skechers Shape-ups for $75. After three months of use, she switched back to her $35 Ryka walking shoes. 

And dig this. Different article, same paper, same day. Can’t make this stuff up:

Scented products, including crystals you sprinkle on your food and products you inhale before eating, can trigger your body to think it’s full, aiding weight loss, say companies who sell the products. Nutritionists and doctors who specialize in weight loss say the research conducted so far isn’t convincing.

SlimScents LLC of Marlton, N.J., sells a $50 set of three pen-shaped inhalers, which it says last four to six weeks before losing their scent. Glacier Point Solutions Inc., of Long Beach, Calif., sells an $18 package of three Happy Scent jars—peppermint, banana and green apple—which it says last a year. Both products are designed to be sniffed five minutes before eating.

Another method is crystals you sprinkle on your food before eating. A six-month “starter kit” of Sensa crystals, from Intelligent Beauty LLC, of El Segundo, Calif., costs $289. The kit includes a new set of two types of crystals—one for sweet and one for other food—each month. On its website, Intelligent Beauty says the crystals, which it calls tastants, are designed to “trigger your ‘I feel full’ signal.”

The idea that scent can help you lose weight is “intriguing,” says Louis J. Aronne director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. But the research done so far is “not adequate” to show the currently marketed products work, he says.

Better name would be Louis J. Killjoy.

Intelligent Beauty says participants lost an average 30.5 pounds over six months in a 1,436-person study conducted by Alan Hirsch, a scientist it describes as the “founder” of its weight-loss system. However, Intelligent Beauty—which puts Dr. Hirsch’s photo on its Sensa packages—declined to answer questions about the study or whether Dr. Hirsch is on staff at the company, whether he has an ownership stake or whether he receives financial compensation from sale of the product. Intelligent Beauty initially set up a phone interview with Dr. Hirsch and then cancelled it, citing an “urgent matter.” Dr. Hirsch, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, didn’t return a call seeking comment.

James O. Hill, co-founder of the National Weight Control Registry, a database of more than 6,000 people who have lost an average of 70 pounds and kept it off for six years, says there is no quick fix for people who successfully lose weight.

No. Quick. Fix. Damn you, James O. Hill.

Registrants exercise a lot and are “conscious of every morsel they put in their mouths,” says Dr. Hill, who is executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado in Denver.

That doesn’t sound like much fun.