No Magic Pill

Knowledge + effort + time = success

For the womenfolk (mostly)

Posted by Ben on Tuesday, July 1, 2008

As we approach another July 4, I’m reminded of some musings I had about women around this time last year. Coincidently, women’s issues have been the focus of many recent articles to pass across my desk(top).

Last week, I shared a CNN.com story on caffeinated moms and how they manage increasingly hectic lifestyles. Worried about a coffee addiction? *tic* Of course not *tic* However, if you’re considering *tic* tea or another morning beverage in lieu *tic* of coffee, there’s a chance you can get the same wake-up benefits of coffee just from smelling it, which could be a nice *tic* convenience or just a huge tease *raises hand* Hey, as long as you’re not downing a pot or *tic* two a day, you probably don’t need to worry. Just make sure you’re getting enough water elsewhere in your daily intake, and beware of other massive and *tic* calorie-dense temptations.

Now that you’re good and woken up, you probably have to get dressed for work (I say probably since I have the good fortune of working mostly from home right now, so just putting on a pair of shorts is a good day for me). In a previous post, I linked to a New York Times article that went in-depth on how harmful most footwear is to our health. I probably send that link to someone at least once a week. It’s bad enough that shoes considered most beneficial (read: sneakers) are inherently harmful, yet women continue to wedge themselves into high-heels. Eric Cressey recently bemoaned a twenty—TWENTY—step (ha ha) how-to program for teaching women to talk in high-heels. Really? Twenty steps? C’mon now, how can that be a good thing? If your job requires it, okay, but it probably doesn’t require full-time wearing (read: if you can get away with stashing and wearing a pair of flats, flat-bottomed sandals, or flip-flops at work—if footwear is even a necessity—do it as much as possible). If you must wear high-heels extensively, you probably have good/great ankle stability but very poor ankle mobility, not to mention a foreshortened Achilles tendon et al in the lower legs, so spend a little more time stretching and mobilizing this area. And while we’re on the subject of what to wear, I’ve mentioned before how belts of any kind in the gym are useless, even potentially harmful. Gloves aren’t necessarily harmful, but they don’t help; in fact, they may actually keep you from reaching your full potential in the gym. Maybe just stock up on the hand lotion.

Then there’s diet. No, not “diet,” just diet. Diet encompasses all you ingest, regardless of the “what” and “how much” and “how often” you do it. One of the biggest challenges for EVERYone is portion control—we live in a super-sized society (in more than just a few ways). Even though some inroads are being made into reducing serving sizes, our all-you-can-eat mentality means we may end up actually eating more overall since we perceive the smaller portions as healthier or just less food. Hey, calories are calories in the end, but they aren’t the enemy—too many calories is the enemy, and a potentially deadly one at that. Most foods by themselves aren’t the problem; it’s the overindulgence of most things that’s the problem, so please don’t vilify one thing or another (especially mayonnaise, especially here in the South; we take our mayo seriously). Remember the Atkins diet? It, more than anything else, is probably responsible for the low-carb craze in dietary fads right now, which isn’t a bad thing by itself. After all, we’re designed to function—and function well—on few or no carbs. However, Atkins proclaimed unabated eating as long as you didn’t eat carbs. Guess what happened? Higher (bad) cholesterol, greater risks of heart disease, and of course, bigger waistlines. Only those who moderated their caloric intakes, which seems to be more important than restricting any particular food (group), saw positive results. (By the way, this doesn’t mean to stop eating; moderation means moderation, not a pendulum swing to the other extreme—eh, screw it, just go talk to Leigh. She’ll fix you up.)

Of course, there’s always the no-no subject of women’s monthly visitors, especially when it’s a guy talking about it, so instead of being that guy, I’ll let Tony talk about it (as well as a few other goodies). Bottom line: your cycle does affect your ability to metabolize certain things, so if you’re at a point of tweaking instead of overhauling your diet, keep this in mind. Also in the “You’re a Guy So How Would You Know” file, mammograms may be getting better at detecting early signs of breast cancer (not to mention being less painful, hopefully).

For everyone:
—Getting nuked? Here’s (slim) hope for survival (no, not sunscreen), even though officials swear there’s nothing to see here, so please move along. Hopefully, the soil will still support plant life if things go wrong, but at least there’s a how-to guide on roughing it after the fall.
—Gene therapy might be making headway against AIDS. Maybe.
—If you’re an infant reading this, I hope you’re on your tummy. If you’re a teen, this all might seem WAY more interesting than it actually is. If you’re elderly, why are you still sitting here reading this?
—Happy 150th birthday to the theory of evolution! How are you celebrating?
—One more month until the next total solar eclipse. Check out NASA’s eclipse page (linked within the article) to see when the next one convenient to you will be happening.
—How badly do you want it, whatever “it” may be? I’ve been reading an online copy of George Hackenschmidt’s The Way to Live while I take a break from my CSCS studies. I’ll spare you a history lesson here (that’s what Google is for, if you’re interested), but if there was ever a celebration of simplicity, moderation, and progression in training and in life, this is it (for the most part—I still don’t/won’t buy the whole celibacy thing for any length of time). Granted, this was written when medical knowledge obviously wasn’t what it is today, but—certain social elements of the time notwithstanding—for all the technology and gadgetry and quick fixes running rampant throughout the fitness community today, this book is a great read and can be used metaphorically for any situation in life. It’s currently out of print, but there are a few copies floating around out there (you can look for them yourself; I’m tracking one down myself) :)

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