Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What We Eat, Where We Eat and Who We Eat With

Okay, so it’s the holidays and we’re all busy.  I’m busy trying to keep my people coming to Pilates classes so they don't break my reformers in two come January and they’re busy avoiding Pilates classes. But all this busyness and avoidance can stir up an appetite and when we’re out and about shopping and socializing that means restaurant food and extra calories for all the girls and boys.

Chef's eat restaurant food every day.

Eating out is one of the great pleasures of our modern culture. Especially during the holiday season when restaurants do about 28% more business. ‘Oh, but Jake, I eat at nice restaurants not at Arby’s, like that Darth Vader guy’. Sorry to burst your salt-laden little bubble, but in a study published in July of this year researchers discovered that when measuring fat, sodium,cholesterol, and overall calories, full service restaurants are the same or worse than their low-brow counterparts. The study conducted by Ruopeng An, Professor of Nutrition at the University of Illinois analyzed 7 years of data from over 18,000 American adults and found that eating out (full service or fast food) adds an average of 200 calories to their daily intake compared to eating at home.  And just so you know, alcohol was not part of the calculation so you can do your own math when you sober up.

When compared to eating at home, diners at full service restaurants tend to get more good nutrients like omega 3, vitamins, and potassium.  So that’s a good thing, but they also consumed about 58 milligrams more cholesterol. Fast food diners consumed 38 milligrams less cholesterol than full service diners, but still 10 milligrams more than home eaters. Salt consumption at full service restaurants is also impressive. Those diners take in about 412 extra milligrams of sodium while fast food adds an average of 300 milligrams.  Also, whether flirting with a waiter or shouting into a clown, eating out adds an average of 10 grams of fat to your day.

Who we dine with is also an issue.  Cornell University (the current champion busybodies of the food world) conducted a study involving 140 diners at a buffet restaurant and found that when men ate with one or more women they macked-down an average of 93% more pizza compared to when they shared a table with other dudes. Just to prove that they are regular guys they also ate 89% more salad with the chicks. Women ate the same amount no matter what.(Honey badger don't give a s%#&, she'll eat what she wants.) The researchers suggested that, with men, primal instincts were at play. They considered the over consumption to be a caveman display of dominance - the kind of thing that cavewomen find irresistible.



Perhaps, but I think it might have something to do with men purposely cramming their mouths full making it less likely that they say something stupid. It's better to be thought of as a pig than a jackass. 

A separate Cornell study showed that we all tend to eat more when sharing a table with a larger person than with a skinny one. They had a trim actress dine with different people. Half the time she wore a prosthesis making her appear 50 pounds heavier than she actually was, otherwise she simply dined appearing as her svelte self.  Dressed both ways she would either serve herself less salad and more pasta or more pasta and less salad.

Regardless of how she served herself the study participants chowed-down an average of 31.8% more pasta when she appeared heavy. It wasn't a matter of being polite either; you know, eating more so the chubby girl doesn't feel self-conciouse... When the Bertha served herself mostly salad the unwitting participants actually ate less salad themselves - 38.3% less. It was obvious to the researchers and should be to you that when we eat with someone less nutritionally intimidating it's on!



So what can we take away from all this? Personally, I don’t believe that obsessing over food is healthy and neither is overindulging. I do recommend being aware of what we’re eating and how much.  Below is a list of strategies that will help you gracefully glide into 2016, not squeeze into it like you did 2015. 

·        Before going to a restaurant, look at the menu beforehand and plan what you’ll order. Game-time decisions will cause you to make the wrong call.

·        Take your time, chat between nibbles. It takes at least 20 minutes for your tummy to tell your brain that you’re full. 

·        Put your fork down between bites. Sounds dumb, but it works.

·        Chug a large glass of lemon water before going out.

·        Get enough protein throughout the day.

·        Be true to yourself, a 170 pound person needs more food than a 112 pounder - it's physics.

·        Avoid sugar as much as possible. Take Sugar Solution Secret to curb cravings and minimize the amount of time sugar stays in your system where it gets converted into fat.

·        Maintain your workout schedule.

Well, that’s my two cents and it’s worth every penny,

Jake Holmes
Pilates of La Jolla

Monday, October 26, 2015

Food On The Counter, Counts


Hey, wanna lose 13 pounds the easy way? Great, change out the food on your kitchen counter (in my house that includes the top of the fridge). In a study published just last week researchers found that the food on your kitchen counter is a strong indicator of whether or not you are overweight.

Brian Wansink, PhD and professor at Cornell University along with a couple of other brain-pan-all-stars examined 200 photos of various kitchen counters in and around Syracuse, NY. They inventoried the foods they saw pictured on the counters and cross referenced those with the weight of the women who lived there.  

The women who had breakfast cereal on the counter were 20 pounds heavier than those who didn’t.  That’s 20 pounds H-E-A-V-I-E-R.  Those with soft drinks on the counter were 23-26 pounds heavier. Holy crap. Now before you start with smarty-pants questions like ‘What kind of cereal?’ or ‘Was is diet soda?’ or ‘Were these people fat already?’ you should know the study did not mention what types of cereal or soft drinks, or anything like that, it simply noted whether they could see cereal or soda on the counter. Oh, the good news is that those with fruit on the counter weighed 13 pounds less than the average. 

The researchers break it down to what you see is what you eat.  We are likely to munch on whatever food is consistently in our view. We know this to be true in poorer neighborhoods where fast food is most prevalent there is also a greater population of obese people. According to this study the same is true in our own homes.

Sure, I know that this study is simplistic and everyone is different, but it’s hard to ignore its’ basic wisdom. Most of us can benefit by adopting the behaviors of others we want to be more like. For instance, I was a poor student in high school but when I went to college I decided to follow the lead of good students (sitting in front, joining study groups, reading ahead) and ended up doing much better. How many of you post reminders on the refrigerator or your bathroom mirror? Same thing. 

So if you want to be smarter, pick up habits of people smarter than you. If you want to be happier you should hang around happier people and pick up some ques from them.  If you’re trying to drop a few pounds replace that jar of yummy granola with food you‘ll never eat – like kale.


That’s my two cents, and it’s worth every penny,
Jake Holmes

Pilates of La Jolla

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fear and Loathing on Facebook







How often do you check Facebook?  Once a day?  Twice?  Nine times?  What are you checking for?  What are you expecting to see?  Hopefully, your answer is something like ‘I check it at least 5 times per day to see if Jake has posted anything funny or informative’.  If not, it’s likely that you, like most of us, are skimming passed the cat videos, foodie pics and gadget ads until we find a post we don’t like.  I’m not talking about the plethora of unsettling political posts (thanks, John A.).

No, I’m talking about the picture of your friend, Sally, hamming it up in a lame yoga posture on the beach in Majorca taken by her new, handsome, tall, charming, and rich husband.

Typical FB posts are like highlight reels.  They feature only the best events of a person’s life.  For instance, last week I read a post celebrating the fact that a new real-estate partnership had closed its third deal in just over a month.  Other common posts feature happy things like graduations, college acceptances, job promotions, awesome vacations, and super exciting parties to which I wasn’t invited. (Not that I would attend their stupid party anyway.) We all like to post the cool stuff that’s happening in our life, but we seem to get a little snippy when others do the same.  It’s common to feel the temptation to comment with something like “I’m glad Junior got into Lower Southeastern Nimrod State University; I guess the courts must have sealed his Juvie record” or “Wow, engaged again. And so soon”.

You see where I’m going with this?  As humans we can only take so much good news that isn’t our own.  Sure, we can be happy about your early retirement to Fiji, but we’d be happier, even delighted to see a post where you’ve swollen up like Veruka Salt after a tsetse fly bit you on the ass.  Of course, we’ll never get to see that pic unless we’re really lucky because rarely, if ever, do we post anything bad or embarrassing. It’s not that we’re bad people – we just tend to be just a wee bit judgmental, jealous, envious, self-righteous and spiteful; in other words, we’re normal and a recent study proves it.

University of Houston researcher, Mai-Lyn Steers, recently published a study linking time spent on Facebook to symptoms of depression.  Her data indicates that the more time we spend on social media creeping on the lives of others the more dissatisfied with our own lives we become.  (Okay, all together now:1-2-3 Duuuuh.)  Steers points out that it’s not social media itself that causes depression, but our reaction to it. Seeing postings about the success and happiness of "friends" causes us to reflect negatively on ourselves, which leads to depression and depression leads to ill feelings toward others.

Social comparison is nothing new.  It’s been studied formally since the 1950’s and informally since Phyllis the cavewoman hated her next-cave neighbor, Margaret.  “That bitch acts like she’s the queen of everything because her husband walks upright and makes fire”. The problem is not
that someone else achieves something 
good, like when the Go-Pro guys sells his company for hundreds of millions of dollars.  Most of us say 'Cool, good for him". The problem starts when we know the person. If we know the guy our reaction is quite different. Social media is full of people we know (or kinda know)so we can’t help but compare. So we're all okay with the Go-Pro guy with exception of his former UCSD classmates who all feel like losers and wish he'd get bit by that tsetse fly while it all gets captured real time and in high-def.

So what’s the answer? What are we going to do about these negative feelings? Below I’ve included some possible strategies:

  1. Heckle and harass our friends every time they post something positive.
  2. Post outrageous lies about ourselves.
  3. Photo-shop the living hell out of every picture or our chubby selves before posting.
  4. Keep un-friending people until you get down to only those who vacation in places like San Bernardino.
  5. Keep bugging FB until they expand the 'LIKE' choices to include "Lame" "BFD" and "Ass-hat".




Now that I see them in writing none of the above make me feel any better. Let's consider a different approach:

  1. Celebrate the achievements of everyone even if you think their post is dumb.  For instance, if little Ellie gave up breast feeding just before her 6th birthday post a comment like "You go girl" and resist the temptation to comment with "Eeeew".
  2. If your friend buys a 40' sailboat, rather than pretending you didn't see it, congratulate him, go a little overboard.  Maybe you'll be invited on a weekend trip to Catalina with his hot cousin you've been warned about.
  3. When that old college classmate gets that big promotion to First Assistant to the Deputy Vice President to the Vice President of Operations in a 5 person company, comment like they just won a Nobel Prize and let 'Money-bags' know that their buying the first round.

See?  We’re feeling better already, but does simply posting celebratory comments change how we feel about ourselves?  The answer to that is ‘some’, but you’re on your way and the rest comes in time. It helps to remember that no one’s life is without heartache, disappointment, and the occasional dose of “I suck, what the hell’s wrong with me”.  We all suffer from the terrible too's.  Too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny, too stupid, too handsome (that’s me), too white, too black, WAY too Asian, too every damn thing you can think of.  

The best way to be easier on yourself is to be easier on others.  Getting pumped about the lives of our friends is the fastest, easiest way to get pumped about our own lives.  Sure, sometimes little things don’t warrant a cake and streamers, but it sure is fun to go buckwild over something like finding a $10 bill in the hamper or when your brother actually shows up at his parole hearing on the right day.

Well, that's my two cents and it's worth every penny.

Jake Holmes
Pilates of La Jolla


Monday, March 9, 2015

Fructose Attacks: Minorities Hit Hardest


     Late breaking scientific data suggests that all sugars are not created equal.

kid eating cotton candy1 Does Sugar Really Make Kids Hyper?

     Professor of Biochemistry, Jean-Marc Schwarz and is team of nutritional busy-bodies wanted to know if fructose had the same effect as sucrose on the health of obese African American and Latino children.  Why Schwarz didn’t include white or Asian kids no one knows. 

Oh, fructose is the sugar found in most fruits, vegetables, and honey. It’s widely used in food and beverage (juice, soda, sports drinks and alcohol) manufacturing due to its low cost and ease of use. Sucrose is cane sugar in various forms like raw, brown, and table. (Table sugar is most commonly a combination of sucrose and fructose.)

     According to the study one of these is more likely linked to obesity in children: sugar that is processed from sugar cane or the sugar we get from fruits and vegetables?  See if you can guess… If you guessed the sucrose you’re wrong.  Man, I love that, any number of personal trainers just threw their iPads out the window.

     Team Schwarz’s research was recently presented at the Endocrine Society annual meeting in San Diego. They took obese Latino and African American kids ages from 9 to 18 and provided them with all their food for ten days.  Individual baseline food consumption was measured beforehand in order to ensure that each kid got the same type and amount of calories they normally eat.  In other words, they did not put the kids on any kind of diet or reduced their calorie intake at in any way.  The only difference was that fructose was replaced with sucrose. 

     After only ten days the conversion of sugar to fat declined 40% on average.  40 per cent, in terms of human physiology that’s huge.  Just as importantly, their liver fat decreased 20% and liver fat is a precursor to any number of serious health problems. 

     So, what might this mean to you and me?  Well, for starters we should be happy that we probably don’t need to starve ourselves in improve our health and lower our fat levels.  We’d be smart to avoid fructose as much as possible.  Minnesota Gastroenterology suggests that in addition to cutting out honey, sugary fruits, berries, and any foods whose ingredients chart lists fructose or high fructose corn syrup in their first five.  Alcohol sugars are among the worst, but who am I kidding? You’re not gonna quit that.

     Lucky for you, Pilates of La Jolla exclusively provides sugar-free workouts.

Well, that’s my two cents and it’s worth every penny,

Jake Holmes
Pilates of La Jolla

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Childhood Obesity "Epidemic"

angree kid 

  
You can’t click on the internet without being smacked square in the kisser with a headline about a fat kid epidemic in America.  It seems that while we’ve been busy working out, cleansing and choking down kale salads our kids have blowing up like little balloons.  Sociologists, nutritionists and societal know-it-alls are beating their heads against the vending machine trying to figure out why this is happening.  Theories abound.  Let’s examine some of the most popular ones.

Ignorance:  Kids and their parents just don’t know any better.

This is the argument you hear from post graduate health zealots.  If it were up to them they’d have government yahoos monitor everything we feed our kids.  Far-fetched? Not really,they've already started. Over the past few years there have been at least 76 documented cases of elementary school lunchroom monitors confiscating lunches and sending kids home with letters outlining what is and what is not okay for little Becky’s lunch box. Do schools really have this kind of authority?  Well, at least one of our Supreme Court Justices (Kagan), believes that our Constitution provides for such activities. Trust me; a government who can tell you what you can eat is a government that’s too big to swallow. As for me, they can have my carne asada burrito when they peal it from my cold, dead fingers. 

What are they thinking anyway?  Do they really think we are so stupid that we don’t know that there is a nutritional difference between sushi and a bag of Fritos?  Does it take a master’s degree to know that Twinkies and raw almonds are not nutritionally equal?  I’m not sure it’s arrogance or ignorance but the nutrition Nazis think we’re morons.   

As a culture we know more about nutrition than any other in the history of the world, yet we’ve never been fatter.  Is lack of education really the problem? 

It’s the gluten and dairy products – “humans can’t digest them”.

It’s true that celiac disease is a real thing and those suffering from it truly need to avoid gluten.  It’s also true that celiac disease is extremely rare.  Statistically speaking, it’s not like one kid per class has it or one kid per school, it’s more like one kid per district.  Anti-gluten websites often sight a study from a few years ago indicating that 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease, however when you examine the study itself you find that the study was populated by subjects who already suspected that they suffer from it.  So what the 1 in 133 means is that of those who believe they have celiac disease 1 in 133 actually do.  That’s like having a group of people with broken legs take dance lessons and concluding that 1 out of 2 people can’t learn the electric slide.

All that being said, cutting out or limiting gluten will most certainly result in weight loss for the simple reason that most snack foods and many prepared foods contain gluten.  Cutting it out is a great way to drop a few pounds but it’s unlikely that gluten is the source of the childhood obesity problem.

Fast Food

The amount of fast-food kids consume is definitely part of the equation.  When I was a kid fast food was a rare treat; today it’s a staple.  According to the Pew Research Center there are about 160,000 fast food restaurants in America today, that’s about 4 for every single high school.  These are visited by over 50 million people per day.  That’s a lot of chicken nuggets.  When kids aren’t eating Whoppers they’re eating other prepared foods that are almost as bad.  About 34.9% of the daily calories in an American diet come in the form of restaurant food or foods prepared outside the home.  We eat out a lot. 
  
We all know that this stuff lacks nutritional value so why do we eat there?  CBS News wanted to know just that so it partnered up with an actual researcher, Sarah Rydell, MPH, and the University of Minnesota.  Together they surveyed 600 fast food customers asking them to rank written statements from 1 to 11 the biggest reasons they choose fast food.  Here are the top five:  1.Quick.   2. Easy to get.  3. It tastes good.  4. Its inexpensive.  5. Too busy to cook.  “Nutrition” was included in the survey but ranked dead last – indicating that no one is under the illusion that fast food is healthy.

GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms)

GMO’s have gotten a bad name of late and I don’t blame people for being suspicious.  The term ‘genetically modified’ just sounds evil. It conjures up images of cloned sheep with pipes sticking out of their necks and ears growing on the backs of lab rats, but it doesn’t involve any of those things.  All it really means is that science has been able to speed up the process of cross breeding plants which man has been doing since the beginning of agriculture.  Back in the day some farmer decided to cross one type of wheat that tasted really good with another that was that didn’t taste as good but it was more resistant to disease and he created a new breed of wheat that tasted better and was more stable.  This process worked fine but took years.  Today companies like Monsanto are able to combine the most desirable genetics of lots of different wheats together in one plant in only a few months.  Thanks to genetically modifying foods we can grow 8x the amount of food we were able to produce just 50 years ago. 
If you’re under the age of 35 you have been eating GMO’s in one form or another since you were born. 

So,is there any way that genetically modified foods might be responsible for little Spencer catching a case of the tubbies?  No.  Remember GMO’s are simply a hybrid, the plant is like any other plant.  What we’re really talking about here are fruits and vegetables anyway and if kids were eating those we wouldn’t have a problem. 

Oh, what about meats?  Most of the beef and lamb we get at the market has been injected with both synthetic and natural hormones in order to make them grow faster and be more resistant to disease.  According to a 2010 study from Cornell University, some of these hormones leave traces in meats we buy at the store.  Sounds bad, I know, yet these traces of hormones are insignificant in comparison to the amount of hormones we produce ourselves.  More importantly, these hormones never make it past your digestive system, they get burned up stomach acid.  For over thirty years several scientists have tried to prove that hormone levels in foods are detrimental to human health, but none have been successful.  To be fair, there was a study out of Italy that linked hormone injected beef to health problems in consumers, but this study has never been duplicated.  It helps to remember that this took place shortly after Europe killed off most of its cows due to mad cow disease and were forced into buying Canadian and U.S. beef.  The Italians had been pushing for an embargo so they could jack up the prices on their own meat products.

Early puberty is a growing concern and often blamed on hormone injected livestock.  Again, there has only been one study indicating that hormones in beef products cause early puberty.  This study has never been duplicated either, which means that it was probably false.  If Amber’s making the turn into womanhood faster than you expected it might have more to do with the amount of TV she’s watching.  A study recently published in Biologist Magazine (a respected publication in Great Brittan) established a possible link between the amount of television watched by children and a reduction in the body’s production of the hormone melatonin.  Melatonin, among other things, helps regulate the body’s internal clock.  Children produce a lot more than adults do so when that amount is reduced in a child the body thinks Suzy is older than she is and bodah-bing bodah-boom, puberty at age 10.

Are GMO’s and hormone injected livestock causing the obesity thing?  Not likely.
 
Laziness, just plain laziness

It’s my humble contention that laziness is one of the biggest factors affecting our ample tikes; laziness on my part, your part and our kid’s hind parts.  We can all agree that our kids sit around too much.  They camp out in front of the TV for hours on end and when they aren’t doing that they’re texting or playing some dumb-ass video game.  As parents we know that they shouldn’t and we tell them so, but how are we supposed to fight it?  We could go all Betty Davis on their plump little asses but we know and they know that we won’t be able to monitor them 24/7 and when we get home we’re tired and we want to sit around and rot our brains in front of the tube too.  Even if you can enforce it at home they’ll just run down to their buddy’s house and camp out there.  It’s almost impossible.

We’re also too lazy to do battle with our schools.  Instead of providing teachers and equipment for PE they take every dime they get and hire more administrators.  Even when our schools do include PE as part of the curriculum some stupid lawyer seus them for making the kids run around the track or for forcing them to play dodge ball or making Cindy exercise when she’s… well, you know.  We stand aside when they spend millions of dollars on IPads (which almost every kid already has) instead of planting grass in the school’s sports field. 

We’re too lazy to make our kid’s lunch, hoping they’ll eat the wonderful fruits and vegetables at the lunchroom salad bar.  NEW FLASH: Kid’s aren’t eating that stuff no matter how fresh and organic they are, they’re buying Corn Chips on the black market. 
Laziness is not a problem of science, it’s sociological in nature which makes it almost impossible to effect on a large scale.  We could definitely use a Claim Jumper sized helping of common sense and a side of chutzpa to wash it down. 

Genetics

Yes, it’s true – we are passing down chubby genes to more and more kids.  Super obese kids are likely to carry a couple of different genes that not only cause the body to remain unsatisfied no matter how much they eat but also cause the child to be more inclined to be sedentary.  When a person is born with these genes there is no choice in the matter, they’re going to be big.  People like to think it’s a lack of will power and poor parenting, but when it comes to genetics that’s simply not true.  When a kid carries the obesity genes his body reacts totally different to food than that of another.  It’s physiology, not opinion.  Today we know that some people are predisposed to cancer due to their genetics but no one blames them if they get cancer.  No one chooses cancer and no one chooses to be 400lbs.  Who would? 

Should these kids exercise and participate in PE like everyone else?  Hell yes.  Just know that whatever results they get will be different from other kids and they should not be ostracized or ridiculed for it. 

The last thing I’d like you to consider is whether or not we truly have a childhood obesity epidemic at all.

Math

Everyone who writes about childhood obesity is pretty much using the same source of information: The Center for Disease Control (CDC).  Their evaluation is based solely on Body Mass Index (BMI) which is a number arrived at by dividing a person’s weight by the square of their height and multiplying by 703.  This number is then compared to the BMI’s of every other kid their age and if your kid falls short of the trimmest 15% they are considered overweight.  This means that 85% of American kids are classified as overweight no matter what.  Am I the only one that thinks this is crazy?

“But Jake, I see fat kids everywhere I go.”  I would answer that we’ve always had fat kids and always will, maybe it just seems like more because we are constantly being reminded of it by the media. 
 
Critics claim and rightly so, that because BMI does not measure percent of body fat it can’t be accurate in determining whether or not a kid is overweight.  Some kids are just plain bigger than other kids – if your kid tends to have a dense bone structure (people of Irish decent tend to have thicker skulls – no, seriously, we do) or thicker muscles they will have a higher BMI and the government will call them fatso.  Let’s say you’ve got a big Polish kid in Pennsylvania who, based on his genetics, will probably end up being about 6’4” and 230lbs – he’s going to be compared to the Viet Namese kid in California who’s destined to be 5’7” and 129lbs.  This is not a fair comparison, but this is how the CDC does it.
In light of this evidence, it’s safe to assume that the percent of overweight and obese kids in our society is greatly exaggerated. 

Even so, can our kids be fitter? Yes, but how can we help?

I wish I had an answer.  Many of us try to affect the kids by setting a good example and that does help according to a UCSD study in 2012.  Another UCSD study indicated that kids get better results when the whole family participates in a guided fitness and weight-loss program than when they do it on their own.  It seems to be a whole family thing.  Be careful though, on the emotional and psychological side of this looms resentment and self-loathing as the child feels that his or her parents do not love them because they’re fat. 

Another way we can help our kids might be extracted from several responsible studies that show how higher educated people watch less TV, make more money and, you guessed it – their kids are less likely to have weight problems.  If we turn off the electronics and walk the dog after dinner we are likely to make some progress. 
When it comes to food, just know that your kid will eat crap when you’re not around so our big opportunity for better nutrition is dinner time.  Take the time to prepare a healthy meal at home.  I know you’re tired and it’s so tempting to pick up some take-out or heat up a prepared Trader Joe’s meal, but if we try a little bit we can break those bad habits.  It also helps to eat dinner earlier.  Many of us are super busy and after work is the only time we have to run errands so we end up having dinner at 7:30 or 8pm.  Try going home and having dinner first and then run your errands after that.
 
If you are a big person, your kids are likely to be big too - just own it.  Not every girl is going to be a movie star and every boy isn’t going to be an Olympic gymnast.  Loving and accepting not just fit children, but every kid will go a long way to making a healthier society.  Enforcing restrictions on TV and computer use and establishing good habits are our responsibilities, but remember that results will vary.
 
Well, that’s my two cents and it’s worth every penny.

Jake Holmes

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Get The Most of Your Day

Get The Most of Your Day
office exercise 
Bernsie recently came home with a new fancy-shmancy pedometer that her company handed out to all of their employees.  A pedometer isn't a device that measures how many times you pet your cat, that's a pet-ometer.  No, a pedometer is a device that you wear on your body that counts the number of steps you take.   Each participant is encouraged to log 10,000 steps per day and for those who do there will be drawing with prizes and stuff. I’ve seen other people using similar devices.  Some even estimate calorie expenditure and come with a whole program where you can manage and track not only your physical activity, but your nutrition as well.  The accuracy of these products is not an exact science, even though they market them that way, but what the hell? – It’s all relative anyway.  I applaud almost any effort to get us moving more.
Last year I posted an article about a study that found that people who are active during the day are more likely to be physically fit than those who reserve their efforts for the gym.  Since then a few more studies have come up with similar findings.  Why? The most common theory is that when we plan on working out after work or plan on attending a weekend boot-camp class we consciously or unconsciously take it easy on ourselves the rest of the time. 
Upping the amount you move is easier than you might think and it doesn’t have to take much more time off your already busy schedule.  Below I’ve listed a number of ways you can get more exercise, burn more calories and tighten up that back 40 just living life.
I’m reluctant to put this first….
Wake up 30 minutes earlier.
Studies upon studies have shown that early risers are trimmer and mentally and physically healthier than their later rising counterparts.  Use the extra time to walk around the block, take Fido with you, he’ll appreciate the extra attention and show you by chewing up only one of your new Pradas.  Sit down and have a healthy breakfast rather than wolfing down that “healthy” egg sandwich thing Starbucks is pushing on you every morning.  Pray/meditate.  Leave for work 8 minutes earlier than usual. Being early lowers your stress and less stressed people are thinner.
Turn housework into an Olympic event.
housework
I haven’t done this yet but it sounds fun.  First make a list of all the housework that needs to be done that day.  Second, stage all your cleaning stuff for easy access.  Put on some bumpin’ music and set the stopwatch function on your smartphone.  Now go to town. Work through all the items on your list as rapidly as possible.  Work up a sweat.  Post your time on your refrigerator and next week try to beat your record.  Better yet, challenge a girlfriend to do the same - loser buys lunch.
Park in the back of the lot
Whether you’re running errands or going to the movies, park in the far back of the parking lot.  You’ll reduce your stress level, there are always spaces available in the back and you’ll save your car doors because people with door-flinging kids tend to park up front.  The walk will do you good too.
Be active at the office.
Take the stairs.  We’ve heard this for years and the average commitment to it is about 2.6 days.  Even so, it's worth trying to make it a habit.  Rather than making inter-office phone calls, walk down the hall to meet with whomever for whatever. This personal touch will help boost your energy level and burn calories, but will also promote more buy-in to your needs and ideas.  Extra face time will make your co-workers, underlings and bosses see you as a player.
Stand up and stay standing when someone visits you in your office or cubicle.  Not only will you be getting more exercise, but it makes the other person feel valued and creates in them an impression of you as a leader.
Practice Perfect Posture
posture
Maintaining a healthy posture is truly one of the easiest ways to feel better, look better and trim down, yes – trim down.  Sitting or standing with poor posture hampers your metabolism.  A slow metabolism lowers your energy level, causes lower back pain, makes your tummy stick out and promotes weight gain. Oh, it also causes depression. How?  Over 90% of your serotonin receptors are in your gastrointestinal tract, poor posture cramps that tract preventing healthy digestion and reduces your uptake of serotonin.  You’re sitting up now aren’t you?
Start a walking group in your neighborhood or at the office
A recent study found that when we exercise in groups we are 4 times more likely to stick to it.  Workout partners are less effective because in any given week one or both of you will have reason to cancel and once you start cancelling the partnership is doomed.  Groups are proven to be more consistent.  Each member will occasionally have a reason to cancel, but it’s unlikely that you’ll all have conflicts on the same days.  There will almost always be a few people around to walk with. 

cowboy
I know for a fact that this guy will be walking around your neighborhood today.

See if your company will sponsor your group with T-shirts or an extra 15 minutes of lunch time, they might even subsidize your cross-trainers. Similar programs have proven to save the company money through better health insurance rates, fewer sick days, and greater productivity. 
If these little tips sound like commons sense it’s because they are, but in this world of adverscience and pie in the sky promises from supplement companies common sense is desperately needed.

Well, that’s my two cents and it’s worth every penny.
Jake Holmes