Monday, June 28, 2010

Musings of an Overheated Walker

Feature Entry: Musings of an Overheated Walker

It is too darn hot! Tomorrow, Ms. MoneyWalker and I are heading to the cool Mountains of New Mexico, then on the our hometown and my 50th high school reunion.

The MoneyWalker stopped walking for one week to recover from a mild case of dehydration fatigue. I was walking without replenishing enough liquid. My past hydration strategy had always worked before, but not this year. Perhaps it is a combination of an aging body and an extra hot June in New Orleans. Remember, drink plenty of fluids before, during and after a long walk.

While walking this morning, three thoughts from the previous 24 hours competed for my blog think-moments that occur during walking. They were "self-sabotage," "create your own audience," and "ex cathedra." Even with Google, I never could develop a cogent thought for development so I patched these three ideas together just to break my week-long draught of not posting.

Self-sabotage--means giving yourself the opportunity to go off the plan, for a walker, to stop walking.

Create your own audience--a literary term, but for walkers, walking solo, for bloggers, building a following. The realization that no one really cares whether you walk or not, you must create your own will.

Ex cathedra--from the teachers chair, usually refers to the Pope of Rome and his power to enact an absolute dictate; for a solo walker, the power for you to plan, to provide the law of your walk--for you to control your own pace, distance, and thoughts. For the MoneyWalker, Ex cathedra is why I walk solo, or as we may say, "from the walker's chair."

As for journal entries, weight average for last two week = 171.4 lbs; Coinage averaged over $2 bucks a walk.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hey Neuroscience, Can You Help Me With My Depression?

Journal Entry: 6/16/10: Weight = 173.8 lbs; Coinage = $.26.

Feature Entry: Hey Neuroscience, Can You Help Me With My Depression?

With continuing nightmares of Katrina, now the oil blow-out in the gulf, the bad economy, a seemingly irresolvable Arizona border, and a sinking 401, is it any wonder that the MoneyWalker is in the ravages of depression.

But the cause is not any of those things. This morning, inexplicably the scales indicated a gain of 2 lbs and the walk coinage was an 18 month low—26 cents. Now those are causes for depression!

San Francisco neuroscientist Puterman, Lin, Blackburn, O’Donovan, Adler, and Epe have completed a study that suggest that vigorous physical exercise helps reduce the health related negative effects of chronic stress. They found that sedentary women between the age of 54 and 82 considered to be chronically psychologically stressed and that failed to exercise regularly developed DNA degeneration that is thought to lead to cardiovascular disease. In contrast, a matched group of chronically stressed women that exercised according to the CDC guidelines (75 minutes of exercise per week) did not experience DNA degeneration.

The authors concluded that, “Vigorous physical activity appears to protect those experiencing high stress by buffering its relationship with TL.” (TL is the abbreviation for telomere length. Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of chromosomes. Without exercise the TLs were shorter and deformed in comparison with the exercise group.)

Whew, just knowing all that walking is providing a healthy buffer for my chronic stress so as to prevent cardiovascular disease and other life-style diseases helps the MoneyWalker to feel a whole lot better.

The MoneyWalker

Journal Entry: 6-15-10: Weight = 171.6 lbs; Coinage = $1.27
Journal Entry: 6-14-10: Weight = 171.2 lbs; Coinage = $1.97

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cheese Burger in Paradise

Bonus Feature: Cheese Burger in Paradise

O.K., O.K., The MoneyWalker will publish Buffett's "Cheese Burger in Paradise" lyrics, but be warned, the contents of this song may be hazardous to your health.

Cheese Burger In Paradise

Tried to amend my carnivorous habits
Made it nearly seventy days
Losin' weight without speed, eatin' sunflower seeds
Drinkin' lots of carrot juice and soakin' up rays

But at night I'd had these wonderful dreams
Some kind of sensuous treat
Not zuchinni, fettucini or bulghar wheat
But a big warm bun and a huge hunk of meat

Cheeseburger in paradise (paradise)
Heaven on earth with an onion slice (paradise)
Not too particular not too precise (paradise)
I'm just a cheeseburger in paradise

Heard about the old time sailor men
They eat the same thing again and again
Warm beer and bread they said could raise the dead
Well it reminds me of the menu at a Holiday Inn

Times have changed for sailors these days
When I'm in port I get what I need
Not just Havanas or bananas or daiquiris
But that American creation on which I feed

Cheeseburger in paradise (paradise)
Medium rare with mustard 'be nice (paradise)
Heaven on earth with an onion slice (paradise)
I'm just a cheeseburger in paradise

I like mine with lettuce and tomato
Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes
Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer
Well good God Almighty which way do I steer for my

Cheeseburger in paradise (paradise)
Makin' the best of every virtue and vice (paradise)
Worth every damn bit of sacrifice (paradise)
To get a cheeseburger in paradise
To be a cheeseburger in paradise
I'm just a cheeseburger in paradise


One Way to Practice Portion Control

Journal Entry, June 8, 2010: Weight = 169.8 lbs; Coinage = $3.15, 70 pennies, 8 nickels, 8 dimes, 5 quarters.

Journal Entry June 10, 2010: Weight = 169 lbs; Coinage = $4.00, 110 pennies, 9 nickels, 7 dimes, 3 quarters, a dollar bill.

Journal Entry June 11, 2010: Weight 168.6 lbs; Coinage = $1.65, 130 pennies, 1 nickel, 3 dimes. Note, the last three weight measures are all artificially low due to heavy water losses due to working outdoors--caution for both dehydradition and a false sense of weight loss.

Journal Entry June 12, 2010: Weight = 171.8 lbs; Coinage = $1.67, 87 pennies, 8 dimes.

Journal Entry June 13, 2010: Weight = 171.8 lbs; Coinage = $8.41, 201 pennies, 15 nickels, 25 dimes, 17 quarters (a big day for quarters and dimes from the car wash vaccums.)

Feature Entry:One Way to Practice Portion Control

In the MoneyWalker's last blog, the Brown Plan to becoming thin was featured and promised to provide additional information about how to practice portion control. Portion control means eating smaller portions and selecting foods that are both healthy and foster weight loss or weight maintenance. To assist with the task, I have lifted Laura Bofinger's "Easy Ways to Eat 5 Fruits and Veggies Each Day." from the professional blog provided by Spark People.

From Laura, "Our bodies crave fruits and vegetables more than just about any other food because we tend to get far fewer of them than we need. We often think we'd survive just fine on 2-3 servings a day – or less. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA both recommend at least 5 servings per day! What you’re missing could be the difference between just surviving and all out thriving.

With just a little thought and a tiny bit of effort in snack preparation, you can make these nutritious foods more convenient and accessible.

Tips and Tricks

• Add fruit to your cereal, oatmeal, waffles or pancakes at breakfast.
• Create your own yogurt flavors with plain yogurt and different combinations of fresh fruit.
• Snack on raw vegetables or fruits instead of chips or pretzels. Keep sugar snap peas, raisins or carrot sticks in your car, your office or your backpack.
• Use chunky salsa instead of thick, creamy snack dips.
• Drink 100% juice instead of addictive coffee, tea, or soda.
• Going out to lunch? Take a trip to the grocery salad bar. Use lots of dark green leaves and other vegetables instead of piling on all of the extras like eggs, bacon and cheese.
• Add frozen veggies to any pasta dish. It's an easy way to get in another serving of the good stuff.
• Keep fruits and vegetables in line of sight. Grapes, oranges, bananas, and apples make a colorful bowl arrangement on the table. If you see them, you will eat them.
• Dried fruit is just as portable as potato chips -- and less messy. It tastes especially good when added to basic trail mix.
• When cooking vegetables, makes 2-3 times more than you need and immdiately store the extra away for tomorrow. It'll save you time later on.
• Add your own beans and vegetables (tomatoes, spinach, peppers, cabbage) to canned and quick-serve soups.
• If you must have pizza, load on extra veggies and pineapple instead of fatty meats and extra cheese.
• Try berries, melons or dates for a naturally sweet dessert rather than the usual candy bar, cookie, or ice cream sandwich.
• Frozen fruit and veggies are nearly as healthy as the fresh stuff, and only take minutes to prepare.
• Combine fruit with your main meal courses. Raisins, apples and tangerine slices add sweet, crunchy variety to a salad. Apples complement pork, pineapple is great with fish, and orange slices are perfect with chicken.
Besides being packed full of nutrients, fruits and vegetables can also be quite filling. They may even ward off any empty calorie snacking that might follow! Don’t be discouraged by the recommended 5 servings a day. The guide below shows that one serving is less than what you might think.

One serving equals:
1 medium piece of fruit
1/2 cup fruit (raw, canned, or frozen)
1/2 cup cooked vegetables (canned or frozen)
1 cup raw vegetables
1/4 cup dried fruit
4-6 oz. of 100% juice (serving size depends on the type of juice)
1/2 cup cooked peas or beans"

As the blog is being written the radio began playing Jimmy Buffet's "Cheese Burger in Paradise." Note to Jimmy, eat too many cheese burgers and paradise is not where you will find yourself. Note to readers and self, eat more veggies and fruit and less cheese burgers if you want to lose weight.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Using the Brown Plan To Get Thin

Journal Entry, 6-4-10: Weight = 171.2 lbs; Coinage = $1.16, 46 pennies, 2 nickels, 1 dime, 2 quarters. One glass bottle. 3 ground scores. Best find, a quarter in a newspaper vender.

Journal Entry, 6-6-10: Weight = 174.0 lbs; Coinage = $5.06, 141 pennies, 16 nickels, 16 dimes, 5 quarters. Great day at the car wash.

Journal Entry, 6-7-10: Weight = 171.8 lbs; Coinage = $1.67, 87 pennies, 8 dimes; six glass bottles, 4 ground scores including a very nice chair.

Feature Entry: Using the Brown Plan To Get Thin

It is well known that America is a nation of successful dieters. Unfortunately nearly everyone gains the weight back and adds more. Thus, America is experiencing an obesity epidemic.

To better understand the problem, Rena Wing, Ph.D of Brown Medical School and James O. Hill, Ph.D. of U. of Colorado established the National Weight Control Registry to study long-term successful weight loss maintenance. They basically wanted to know what successful dieters do to keep their weight off. Established in 1994, the epidemiologists have tracked thousands of dieters. To be included in the Registry, each had to have loss at least 30 lbs and kept it off for one year or longer. Many have kept their weight off for decades.

Using different methods, ninety-eight percent of participants report that they modified their food intake. No surprise there. The MoneyWalker was pleased to learn that 94% increased their exercise activity with walking being the most frequent method cited. The exercisers averaged one hour a day of increased activity. For those keeping score, reduction of food intake and increase in physical activity are number one and two respectively in terms of behavior change.

But there are more behaviors that the group have in common. Seventy-eight percent eat breakfast every day; 75% weigh themselves at least once a week; and 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.

From the Registry’s website the MoneyWalker has extracted several testimonials.

Gary..a dramatic change in the volume and types of the foods that he was eating, and obtaining positive support from friends to help boost his self-image and improve his outlook on life. All of this translated to losing 75.5 pounds in 2001 and the ability to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle for the last 8 years. Today, Gary works out for an hour each day, eats a balanced, mostly organic diet, avoids fast food in its many forms, and cooks most of his own meals in his own kitchen.

Carolyn…“My exercise routine is simple. I walk. I park at the back of the parking lot at the office and walk during breaks and lunch. Also, when going to the mall, I park at the opposite end from my favorite store.” Carolyn has now lost more than 100 pounds and is feeling better than ever.

Sandra lost 100 pounds over the course of a year through a combination of portion control, food records, and regular exercise.

Drew..By gradually reducing my caloric intake and learning that being hungry before meals could actually be a good thing, I lost weight at a safe rate of about two to three pounds per week." Drew started to walk on a regular basis...

Charles…once he combined healthy eating and portion control, he lost 100 pounds. Now in his seventies, Charles exercises regularly and has been maintaining a healthy weight for over 16 years.

So how can we use the Brown Plan to get thin and stay thin (the MoneyWalker’s word usage, not theirs)? The answer if fourfold: 1) practice portion control, 2) increase exercise, 3) eat breakfast, and 4) weigh at least once a week. Each of the four core principles will be more completely developed as a future blog. In the mean time, get off the couch, turn off the TV, eat less food, take a 30 minute walk, eat breakfast, and weigh once a week.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hogarthian Walking

Journal Entry: June 2, 2010: Weight = 170.2 lbs.; Coinage = $2.93, 114 pennies (one wheat), 3 nickels, 5 dimes, 1 quarter, 1 dollar bill ( a paper find is always special); Glass bottles retrieved = 7; Ground Scores = 4.

Journal Entry: June 3, 2010: Weight = 172.6 lbs; Coinage = $1.39, 49 pennies, 4 nickels, 2 dimes, 2 quarters; Glass bottles = 6; Ground scores = 10; Best coinage find = a totally blackened quarter, a “step over” quarter, also a 5 peso coin.

Feature Entry: Hogarthian Walking

This morning during my walk Malick cried out Bob, Bob! He wanted to say hello. I had talked with him and two street companions on the day before. The three homeless men had talked about seeing me frequently walking the area and were curious about what I seemed to be doing. They could tell by my dress and determined look that I was not a typical walker in the neighborhood. I had met one of them before and he knew that I was a money walker.

The episode reminded me of William Hogarth(his "Beer Street" painting is featured above). About 250 years ago Hogarth, a noted painter and artist, walked the seedy streets of London and painted what he saw—usually impoverished men and women living in debauchery. New Orleans has always been a city with thin layers of wealthy and wretched communities existing side by side. Thus, as one walks in our city, one moves from opulence to Hogarthian-type low rent districts in a matter of minutes. In the Canadian Forum, a Hogarthian walk is interestingly described as follows: “You don't stand back and observe the city from a safe distance as you would with, say, Canaletto. You are swept along the alleyways, jostled from each side, forced to dodge the contents of an emptied piss-pot or to step over an inebriated harlot.”

There are places in New Orleans like that. The MoneyWalker avoids the ones known to be high crime areas. But an urban savanna is a full context of dwellings and situations, not just an oasis for the well educated. Not walking into the full range of neighborhoods is to completely miss the Hogarthian philosophy of walking. “One of William Hogarth’s consummate skills as an artist was his ability to make you feel part of his world.” New Orleans neighborhoods can be a seedy world? Many are places of indeterminacy, disorder, and confusion where lives are being played out in a way understood in no better way than by walking and reflecting on the sights, sounds, and smells of the neighborhoods.

The MoneyWalker is cautious and selective of the streets that are selected for walking, but if there is no reason to suspect that an area is inclined to support criminal behavior, he will allow his “psychogeographic” curiosity to direct his path; and, he thinks, better for it.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Comfort of Routine

Journal Entry, June 1, 2010: Weight = 171.2 lbs; Coinage = $1.56, 16 pennies ( 1 wheat, really beat up, but in my wheat jug anyway), 2 nickels, 3 dimes, 4 quarters (one super find, 2 quarters, a dime and a penny—found in an abandoned arm chair at the curb—lifted the seat cushion and there they were); Glass bottles = 4; Ground scores = 6 including a “cross” shaped tire tool, the type used to loosen and tighten the tires when changing.

Journal Entry, May 31, 2010: Coinage = $1.62, 97 pennies, 3 nickels, 5 dimes. (Late evening walk after returning from Memorial Day outing with family, thus no weight measurement); Ground scores = 6; Glass bottles = 5

Journal Entry, May 29, 2010: Weight = 169.6 lbs (yea, another dip into the coveted 160s); Coinage = $1.73, 73 pennies, 1 nickel, 7 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass bottles = 2; Ground scores = 5 including a lovely cheese tray.

Feature Entry: The Comfort of Routine

A lot is blogged concerning boredom as a threat to exercise, but much less about the “comfort of routine.” A Google inquiry delivered inspiration for the concept. Aimee Sicuro delightfully observed that there “is something to be said about the daily rituals that give us comfort.” That we often see our routines as little or insignificant but “its the little things that make certain days better than others.” Somewhat Proustian in feel, she enjoys “drinking out of my favorite extra tall coffee cup,” “a long sweaty run by the ocean,” and “fresh pasta with a marinara and basil.” She admits that there is a time for “shaking things up a bit,” but “the rhythm of routine sure feels good.” (The artistic image above is her creative expression and is from her web site.)

The MoneyWalker can’t possible capture the rhythm of his routine that involves a near daily 90 minute walk, but here goes. Up at six a.m., a quick weigh-in, a donning of walking attire, a cup of water, containers for ground scores snugly packed, visor and vest in place, then out to the streets. Which of his three curvilinear destinations will be followed is resolved before the exit door is reached. Each walk has its own routine—the beginning and a turn-around point, “money spots” interspersed, and long stretches of curbs in between. And then the return, a different path with different money spots before ending at the home place. Day in and day out variety comes from the slightly different paths that lead to the evasive treasures that may or may not be waiting at the hotspots. Yet, it is the routine that provides comfort, the freedom of consciousness to indulge itself in aimless wandering; or if chosen, active forceful thinking while engaged in the methodical rhythm of the daily walk while zooming for heart rate and scanning for coins.

Is there boredom with the endless repetitive walks? Sometimes, but the solution is so simple. All we must do is to call on the comfort of routine, always ready to be teased out and utilized.