Sunday, January 13, 2019

Today's Run - Sunday, 1/13; Thoughts on the Obesity Epidemic

After dropping off the boy at the bus stop for his ski club early this morning, we drove back home and I lounged for about an hour before getting outside for some miles. I am letting the winter get to my head when it comes to motivation to move. But it's not winning the battle; I am getting out there daily and getting after it. I especially enjoyed shoveling the deep snow yesterday (seriously).

16.3 miles in 2 hours and 19 minutes on icy roads and paths. Slow. I started to fade in the end, not because of lack of fitness but rather because I think the cold got to me as I started the long, steady climb back into my neighborhood.

Then in the afternoon the wife and I went to the gym and pumped some iron. For me, push-ups, arm stuff, shoulder stuff, and some leg stuff (including single-leg squats). When we left the gym, I felt like I'd tightened the bolts pretty well. Will keep at it this winter.

My watch, a Garmin 935, is now describing my fitness as "peaking" and telling me that with my VO2 max of 56 I could run a 2:56 marathon. Hmmmmmmmm. About 4 years ago my VO2 max tested at 63, which is actually pretty damn good for a guy in his 40s. Back to the 2:56...… I don't know. I think the watch is full of it, or does it know something I don't? Or do I mentally limit myself? I am kind of eying the Pueblo Marathon next month but am not going to force anything. The fact is that I have yet to run 20 miles all in one go in several months. Before I allow myself to register for that race, I need to have two 20-milers under the belt. Would be kind of cool to get a Boston qualifier, though.


So I read this and a few other articles on the subject. Essentially Americans are getting heavier (fatter) but not any taller. Maybe the most depressing obesity stat I know of is this: Today, Colorado's adult obesity rate is about 22.6%--the lowest in the nation. And yet if you took Colorado's obesity rate today and applied it to 1995, Colorado would be the most obese state in the nation. Go here to see for yourself.


Seems no one is immune from the obesity epidemic--not even the military, where about 1 in 5 soldiers is obese. If you read that article, essentially you'll see that the military is taking a page from  big collegiate athletics and will be focusing its menus more on foods that are closer to the source.

Yep, you can't just exercise yourself to weight loss. And yet there are all kinds of snake oil salespeople out there pushing that message.

As informed as I think Dean Karnazes is on this subject, I have to disagree with his "solution." Focusing on outcome--losing 50 pounds--and not process will get us no where. Whenever someone throws a big outcome out there--with no process--I cringe.

Not a lot of people are taking the obesity epidemic seriously--even though it's eventually going to bankrupt this country. These days, we all pay for each other's bad habits.

As a guy who lost nearly 60 pounds--about 40 pounds on diet changes alone and the last 20 from running (daily)--I feel like my viewpoint is one of personal experience. It all starts with what you put in your body. Every Saturday, when I go to the grocery store, I see what I believe is the truth behind the obesity epidemic in this country--at least the epidemic among suburban folks. I see carts full of processed foods--garbage like Texas Toast, frozen pizzas, frozen dinners, boxed this, boxed that, etc. Oh yeah, and lots of sugary drinks. I see the truth every Saturday.

Not saying what I buy is all perfect. It's not. I love my Tostitos, too (but in moderation). I have my vices. I'm just saying that the truth of the obesity epidemic, at least as I see it, is on full-display at grocery stores--you just have to look in people's carts (and maybe your own, too). The truth is also on display every morning when I drive by McDonald's and the drive-thru is backed up. Same with Starbucks, where folks just gotta have that 400-calorie latte.

A few weeks ago, I was pumping gas at 7-Eleven going into work and saw more than a few people coming out with big sodas and packs of donuts. Not judging. That was me back when my diet consisted of KFC, Wendy's, daily mocas, etc.--along with Marlboro Lights.

The larger issue, as I see it, is that we are busy and we make deals with the devil to create convenience, meaning we buy lots of processed foods. And yet I don't think we're as busy as we think. I think we have more free time than ever? Back in the day, you had to hunt and gather and get your shelter solid or else you and your family were dead.

We need to eat like our great-grandparents did--lots of veggies and, if you eat animal by-products, make sure the animals were raised the way they should be (e.g., grass-fed). The problem is that this way of eating isn't cheap.

Off my soap box now. This is a topic that evokes my passions!


The thought of a 100-miler this summer is getting more and more palatable. I really think it could be the Burning River 100.

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