Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Slow walk


This morning I had to fill in a form to get my dad out of jury duty. Weird and sad having to tick the "other reason" box with an explanation that he couldn't be a juror because he was dead.

In the afternoon I walked to the library with some very heavy books in my backpack, and returned with some less heavy ones, rocking along to Queen. An hour total walking, not including time in the library. I remembered to alert my fitbit that I was intentionally exercising so I could look at the stats when I got home. I was a bit shocked that I spent a lot of time with my heart rate up in the peak zone, even though I was just walking (effectively with weights, I suppose), up to 168bpm on the hills. Very unfit. I was pretty tired by the time I got home.

I am slow walker. I think I'm striding along, but I get passed by everyone; people pushing prams, little old ladies, business-women in high heels... today it was a blind man with his guide dog. It gets discouraging, but I just keep walking.

I watched a documentary about obesity (it was part 2 of 3, missed the first one) and it divided overweight people into three categories. Firstly "constant cravers". These are people who, due to gene issues that interfere with hunger signals to the brain, want to snack all the time. They might not eat a huge amount at once, but eat a lot over the course of the day. When walking around a fair, they looked at food, ads for food, people eating etc more than twice as often as the even the other obese people; drawn to it and thinking about it all the time. They were told to do Intermittent Fasting, dramatically restricting calories two days a week. If they said why this would help, I missed the explanation.

The second group were emotional eaters. Their issues were psychological, and often caused by trauma or abuse in childhood, or a period of food deprivation or uncertainty in their life. In a brain scan, when they were upset and then offered treat food the reward centres in their brains lit up much more than was normal (much more than if the same person wasn't upset). The strategy for them was to join dieting groups, get counselling, anything that would give them emotional support, rather than being given a specific diet.

The last group were called feasters. Once they started eating, they kept eating well past fullness. This was blamed on an imbalance of the gut hormone that was supposed to tell them to stop. The strategy for them was to make sure they ate very filling foods; protein, low GI carbs, fibre, lots of vegetables. Also soup, which surprisingly doesn't empty out of the stomach any faster than solid food.

They all lost weight in the first fortnight but then a lot started to stall and find sticking to their diet very difficult. Being given a tailored diet isn't particularly helpful if it isn't any easier to stick to than the million others you've tried! So I don't really know if all their research was very helpful.

The other thing covered in this episode was the effect of tiredness. They had one group with enough sleep, the other they deprived of sleep by keeping them up until 3am the night before. Then they were each sent to a supermarket with a general shopping list like "cereal" and "snack for after shopping". The tired group ended up with nearly twice as many calories in their trollies, with much more saturated fat and sugar. And that was after just one night! I know all about the effect of tiredness on my own shopping and eating habits.

There was a hilarious episode of Mythbusters tonight (my son's favourite show). They were trying to replicate something they'd seen on the web, where startled goats would go stiff in the legs and fall over. There was lots of goat chasing and lots of goats falling over, legs sticking straight up in the air. So it wasn't a myth, it was really true. Most of the other myths they pursue seem to involve guns or explosions, or car crashes.

Still no word on Sydney, or my roof.

Report card:
Diet: Good (but I'm writing this straight after dinner, and my recent record of evening eating isn't good).
Exercise: Great.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Poor.
Mental health: Ok.


  1. That documentary sounds really interesting. Do you remember the title of it?

    I'm a slow walker, too. When I walk alone, I feel like I'm moving really fast, but then when walking with others, I feel like a sloth.

    1. It was a BBC doco (from the UK) called "What's the right diet for you?" I might watch episode 1 online.

  2. You know why your heart rate was so high? It's because you were exercising at your rate. So what if your are not Speedy Gonzalez. But if you keep it up, you will be able to walk the same distance at the same pace and your heart rate will be going slower.

    That is really strange getting a jury duty invitation for your dad, don't the courts have access to civil records?

    1. I assume it takes longer than two months for government departments to talk to each other, or something. It was odd, though.

  3. That is quite an interesting show. I would enjoy watching that. And I agree with Richard. So what is you walk slowly; at least you walk. Many people I know are total couch potatoes!

    1. Yes, I was lapping everyone still sitting on the couch!