I HATE the Mirror!

I’m in my sixth decade, and it seems I’ve gained close to a pound per year over my ideal body weight.  That translates into 35-39% excess body fat.  Now, I haven’t really done a slow one pound per year gain.  In my teens I was pretty much on track with what I should weigh.  Things first went a bit haywire when playing college football.  I had the luck (whether it was good, or bad is hard to determine) to be 1st string center.  Now, even in the late 60’s, a man at 5′-9″ is not exactly ideal, especially weighing-in at 170 pounds.  So, as the coaches wanted, I “bulked-up” – which really just meant, gain weight.  The quality of that weight gain was not supervised, so while I did spend time in the gym, I also spent a lot of time at the local Fosters Freeze consuming double burgers, shakes and fries…

Needless to say, I DID gain weight; ultimately I hit close to 220. And Then… I went on to wrestle.  Wrestling demanded a 180 degree turn-around.  Short and fat is distinctly disadvantaged when competing with tall and wiry.  Now, given my body type, I will never be described as “wiry” – I’m more of the fireplug in terms of my natural body type.  However, in a very few weeks I was down to 175, still a very challenging weight class for my height, but I did a reasonable job of competing.  That is, until I met a Stanford wrestler who’d taken second at nationals in the 191 pound weight class, who was determined to place first. He’d managed to get his 6′-2″ frame down to 175.  I think that match lasted less than a minute, and only a few seconds after I made the mistake of reaching to him to initiate a move…

In my 20’s I worked night shifts (11 pm – 7 am) in the psychiatric units of a general hospital in Berkeley, CA. This was the late 60’s and early 70’s.  An interesting time to say the least. But, exercise was limited, and normal metabolism disrupted by the night shift. Once again I found myself at 200, then 220.  I finally began a regimen of exercise, and then started working as a carpenter, so for my late 20’s and early 30’s my weight was elevated, but I felt OK as I hovered in the 190 – 200 range.

My next major transition found me in the role of a software engineer, long, sedentary hours in front of a terminal, but I did continue to exercise – gym membership a job benefit.  So, now I’m in the 200 – 210 range.  Then came nursing school and employment as an RN in the Intensive Care, once again on the night shift, but now 12 hour stints from 7pm to 7am.  Totally disruptive any form of normal metabolic activity.  My weight ballooned to 230, which is where I’ve hovered for the last 10 years.

So, I have a very nice wardrobe.  But it only fits the 190 – 200 pound version.  Instead, I’ve resorted to limited wardrobe of “acceptable” clothing, going for loose-fitting, which to some degree disguises just how over weight I really am.

Ok, so now you know the history, and how I probably look.  I can barely see the tips of my toes.  Bending over to tie my shoes requires exhaling and waiting til they’re tied before taking my next breath.  Arising in the morning I tend to roll out of bed since I can no longer just sit up.  My upper body weighs so much more than the lower portions. (I’m in the “apple” group of body fat deposition, not the “pear.”)

Well, last Sunday I decided I couldn’t wait any longer to address my weight, the associated unhappiness with my body image.  The solution?  Well, that’ll be in the next post.  This one’s gotten pretty long, and my solution isn’t going to be a brief post either.  However, I do plan to post my progress on a regular basis.  So, stay tuned!  Much more to follow.

Stay Well-

Let Them Eat Dirt?

In the U.S. we are increasingly obsessive when it comes to cleanliness.  Just take a moment to analyze the T.V. ads, if the subject isn’t cars, food, or booze, it seems they’re focused on  killing those damn germs; OMG, they’re everywhere!  Ahhhg!!!  I swear, many of the ads remind me of my college roommate’s mantra:  When in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.
I know the marketeers are shouting to push danger and doubt regarding those ever-present microbes to increase sales, but I believe the true danger lurking in the shadows resides in not allowing our immune systems, and more importantly, our childrens’ immune systems to develop as nature intended – learning which microbes are benign, which are our allies, and fighting the good fight against pathogens.
Not all germs are BAD; in fact, many are beneficial and most are neutral. We each have more microbes in our gut than there are stars in the Milky Way. Increasingly, current research points to a possible link between the health of our internal microbiome and our physical and mental health.  There is also a growing body of evidence that the increase in allergic conditions and autoimmune diseases may be connected to our near-obsessive efforts to kill-off all the invisible organisms in and around us.

I know you wouldn’t wish these maladies on yourself, and  most certainly not on your children.  I’m even willing to guess you wouldn’t wish them on your enemies.  So, what to do?  I’m not actually encouraging you or your children to eat dirt; I don’t really believe that  pica, which has a somewhat negative reputation, is the solution.
What we need to accomplish is to let go of our compulsion for attempting to sterilize our environment; it’s neither a healthy nor healthful practice.  Of course, in the kitchen, if you’ve been preparing any meats or eggs, a cleaning of the work surfaces and hands is in order.  For the hands, just a thorough wash with plain soap and water.  By thorough, I mean a vigorous effort for a minimum of 15 seconds and a rinse under running water.  As to the work surfaces, following a wipe-down, use of a spray bottle filled with a dilute solution of bleach is an excellent choice, it’s effective, inexpensive, and doesn’t lead to the creation of superbugs.  And, a weak bleach solution can be used in the bathrooms as well for the final pass.

My point is to use common sense.  While it’s not true that if it looks clean, it’s clean. It is true that the effort used to clean the kitchen, dining areas, and bathrooms doesn’t need to be excessive.  Furthermore, I believe the use of anti-bacterial hand soaps and cleansers is detrimental to both the environment and public health.  These products put sub-therapeutic levels of antibiotics into the environment, and can contribute to the creation of antibiotic resistant bacteria.  So, stay well, stay clean (reasonably so), and enjoy.

NurseBob – Stay Well

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, or to replace the advice of a doctor. NurseBob  disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Heart Disease Risk – What? Me Worry???



I’ve been talking about heart attacks, what the symptoms are, how the symptoms may differ between men and women, what they actually are, what causes them, and what may happen as a result.  Now it’s time to talk about risk factors for developing heart disease. Continue reading