Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year’s Resolution 2011: “Not to give in to the ‘new normal.’”

Photo by Zed Nelson, shot at the Association for Overweight People

Feature Entry: New Year’s Resolution 2011: “Not to give in to the ‘new normal.’”

Andrew Perrin, sociology professor at U. of North Carolina, is concerned about grade inflation at America’s universities. Notes Perrin, the average grade point average (GPA) at UNC is now 3.21 as compared to 2.99 as recent as 1999. The GPA average in 1967 (the year the MoneyWalker graduated), the GPA average was 2.49. Moreover, in 2008, 82 percent of the UNC students in received a “B” or an “A.” Come on academia, not all of your students are excellent, don’t accept the ‘new normal.’

Bill Gross, investment banker for PIMCO’s Investment Outlook opines that America must accept slow sustained economic growth and high unemployment as the ‘new normal.’ Others suggest that in the so-called global economy, American workers can no longer compete and that the middle class must get use to a lower standard of living. Come on America, we must learn how to compete again, not accept the ‘new normal.’

The enigmatic Oprah Winfrey sometimes cheering on her overweight/obese audience and other times cautioning them about the dangers of Type II diabetes and being overweight is characteristic of pop cultures dilemma. Do we cheer and encourage the O/O to maintain a healthy self esteem and be proud of their body image or do we find ways to reverse the O/O epidemic.

From a health care perspective the data are frightening. According to Katherine Flegal as reported in JAMA, as of 2007/08 68% of Americans over 20 years of age were either obese or overweight, 34% for each designation. This is up 8% since 1999. The MoneyWalker entered “overweight and proud” in Google search and received 346,000 hits. We all should strive to maintain a healthy self-esteem but we should not lose sight of the health facts. Those in the O/O class are at serious risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, cancer, and other maladies. O/O is not healthy; it must not become the ‘new normal.’

And now for the MoneyWalker’s New Year’s resolution. I resolve to lose 6 lbs during the 2011 calendar year. Six lbs will lower my body mass index (BMI) from 25.8 to 24. The overweight range is 25-29.9 and obese range is 30 and greater. Everyone tells me I look great, just right, and even thin. But I know better, I am just over the limit and in the BMI overweight category. Sorry William James, author of this pessimistic thought: "How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young--or slender;" I will not accept a 36 inch waist line as the ‘new normal.’


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Walker’s Menagerie of Thoughts

Feature entry: A Walker’s Menagerie of Thoughts

Tennessee Williams: Each Spring the literary aficionados of New Orleans sponsor the Tennessee Williams Festival which includes the French Quarter literary walking tour. If I can muster the entry fee, the MoneyWalker plans to take the tour this year. As for Tennessee Williams, he gave us the theme for this blog—his award winning classic, the Glass Menagerie. A few walking quotes from the play:

Laura: “I’ve just been out walking.”

Amanda: “Walking? Walking? In winter? Deliberately courting pneumonia in that light coat? Where did you walk to, Laura?”

The MoneyWalker’s Hall of Fame: For some time, I have wanted to start a MoneyWalker’s Hall of Fame. This blog initiates the process. First, there must be criteria for inclusion. The person must have left a legacy in categories such as sport, literature, politics, industrial leader, academics, religion, etc. Second, the MoneyWalker must have a contact with the recipient, figuratively or literally. The basic standard is that the recipient should be a walker. Also, the person must have influenced the habit of walking, quantity or quality. Finally the recipient should be an innovator and trend setter. A few early recipients include Anthony Trollop, Anita Brookner, Charles Dickens, Abraham Lincoln, William Hogarth, and Geoff Nicholson.

The Brotherhood of the Street: The MoneyWalker is just Bob in the Brotherhood. As an avid and frequent walker in MidCity New Orleans, you learn that many people live on the streets. By now, they know me and I know them. At first, I tried to ignore them. No go, they would not let me. A couple of walks ago, I heard Bob! Bob! Bob! Stealth walking out of the question, I veered to his voice. It was Ed wanting to show off to his female companion. After a bit of friendly banter, he said “Bob, what do you do?” “Until retiring, I was on the faculty at the University of New Orleans,” I said. “What did you teach?” he wanted to know. “My last several classes was statistics” I answered. “Really, I use to teach high school math.” Such is life of the members of the Brotherhood of the street. What happened to Ed and the others? -- Drugs, alcohol, prolonged unemployment, mental illness.

Well, three pieces do not really make a menagerie but we will add more “animals” to the collection another time.


MoneyWalker Journal Entries, Dec. 7, 2010 through Dec. 14, 2010

12-14: Weight = 176.0 lbs.; Coinage = $2.08, 28 pennies, 4 nickels, 6 dimes, 4 quarters (one international coin and one super find of $1.47 found in the folds of a discarded sofa); Glass bottles = 11; Ground scores = 2.

12-13: Weight = 176.0 lbs.; Coinage = $1.84, 74 pennies (one wheat), 2 nickels, 5 dimes, 2 quarters; 3 glass bottles, 11 ground scores including one slightly abused electric Hitachi miter saw (now works.)

12-12: Weight = 176.2 lbs.; Coinage = $.74, 34 pennies, 2 nickels, 3 dimes.

12-11: Weight = 173.6 lbs.; Coinage = $2.30 including 10 pennies, 6 dimes, 4 quarters (one super find of three quarters in a newspaper vending machine).

12-10: Weight = 175.2 lbs.; Coinage = $1.17, 27 pennies (included a 13 penny dump), 1 nickel, 6 dimes, 1 quarter; one ground score.

12- 9: Weight = 174.4 lbs.; Coinage = $1.78, 33 pennies, 2 dimes, 5 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved = 26.

Monday, December 6, 2010

How to Party Through the Holidays Without Gaining Weight

Photo from "A Guide to Healthy Eating During the Holidays80."

Journal Entries, but first a note. To establish transparency of purpose, the MoneyWalker posts his current weight in each journal entry. My walking goal is weight management, to achieve a recommended Body Mass Index of 168 lbs. I am also a believer of the importance of external motivators to sustain the habit of walking for exercise over a life-time. Since I use the bizarre motivation method of finding money as my primary motivator, I post the amount of money found during the walks. By posting both my weight and money totals, I seek to provide an example for others that may share my goal of losing weight and keeping it off. Whether I succeed or fail, the blog entry tells the story. The MoneyWalker is fully aware of the importance of goal clarification and specific objectives. He is also aware that if there are those that follow this blog hoping to gain information if not inspiration for their own weight loss strategies, the MoneyWalker must follow the principle of transparency of purpose.

Dec. 1, 2010: Weight = 175.4 lbs.; Coinage = $1.95, 90 pennies, 7 nickels, 7 dimes; Ground scores = 4; Glass bottles = 8.

Dec. 2: Weight = 174.4 lbs.; Coinage = $.81, 51 pennies, 2 nickels, 2 dimes; GB = 3; GS = 5.

Dec. 3: Weight = 174.0 lbs.; Coinage = $.37, 12 pennies, 1 quarter.

Dec. 4: Weight = 174.0 lbs.; Coinage = $2.11, 56 pennies, 3 nickels, 4 dimes, 4 quarters; GB = 5; GS = 7.

Dec. 5: Weight = 175.0 lbs.; Coinage = $3.15, 185 pennies, 1 nickel, 6 dimes, 3 quarters.

Dec. 6: Weight = 175.6 lbs.; Coinage = $.74, GB = 7; GS = 5.

Feature Entry: How to Party Through the Holidays Without Gaining Weight

I like the wisdom of Molly Kimball, a registered dietitian and contributor to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Her recent article extolled the importance of strategic planning before attending the holiday party circuit. Before each party, she advises to negotiate your choices—to choose indulgences wisely. She says go for the lean proteins like turkey and ham and avoid the weight boosters such as high-calorie starches—think macaroni and cheese and scalloped potatoes. Make sure that sweets are really worth the calorie investment. Take a small bite and discreetly trash it if the taste is only adequate. If you drink, select no-calorie mixers rather that the pre-mixes.

She offered several pre-party strategies for the December and January months. Don’t starve yourself waiting for the big party. Instead eat several small snacks every four hours. Even if the weather is unfriendly or the busy schedule takes over, stay with your exercise program. A one hour moderate exercise program will burn 600 calories. Get a good night’s sleep. If not the hormone system will influence your body to feel hungry. She recommends that we weigh twice a week. The MoneyWalker prefers daily weighing for raw transparency. Then at parties, keep your focus on the people, not the food.