Wednesday, March 06, 2013
No joke: I just finished my 4-week plan successfully TODAY, and one hot dress at gala, a few pounds, and an awesome exercise routine later: I win 500 spark goodie points!! This is such ideal time for a reward!!
Praise God! I am so motivated, so happy, and I feel oh-so-good. And I went running 30 minutes with Brian! And I've been working out with friends lately! These are all ah-hah moments that make me realize how much of a joy being active is in my life. Yay :)
Saturday, March 02, 2013
Big achievement: Reaching my lowest weight in over 2 years...and just before my medical school gala!
Biggest happy moment: Being able to run with my boy for 33 mins yesterday. We're at the same jogging pace now--yaaay! I never knew having a running partner could be so fun and motivating :)
Monday, February 18, 2013
Today I travelled to The Shelter, where several students in my year perform blood pressure and general health screenings for the residents. They sit packed on long benches at tables before two small TV screens at the front of the room. Sometimes students from the FSU College of Music play in quartets for the residents, but usually there’s a game on for all, even those huddled far in the back, who sip their community coffee and squint to see the screens.
Some people chat with one another, brothers of a common daily struggle to survive that is a part of life. Some sit with tormented eyes, staring at something that only that person can see. This disturbed me the first time I attempted to ask one if they’d like a health check, but I felt safe enough to ask away. Sometimes these people answer, but more often than not a friend (or something) will pipe up for the person and decline. Citizens of the streets are more in-tune to mental illness than I am as a first year medical student, I think. They know when an illness signals danger, or is merely a prisoner of a wandering mind.
Today we arrived to find a camera crew stationed in front of the colorful, painted Shelter. I noticed more activity stirring outside on this cold February day than usual. The residents normally stay inside, but at the bus stop next door a large black man with an angry glare stared at us as we approached the other students and the Doctor overseeing us this evening. The man was surrounded by several other streetlings, including an elderly woman whom several scraggly others helped hoist her and her walker onto the bus as I watched.
“So here’s the situation,” the Doctor started, and somehow I knew the news wasn’t good. “There have been rumors of abuse, particularly of women and children, staying at this shelter. A woman at a nearby mission that helps these people decided to go undercover in a wig and see what it’s like to stay here for a night.
Well, apparently she was subjected to a lot of abuse by the employees. Several times men came up and propositioned her saying, ‘You shouldn’t stay here, why don’t you come home and stay the night with me?’
Well the woman felt very threatened that night, and finally she called the cops. She wrote about all of this in a blog that was posted in the Tallahassee Democrat that was published a few days ago. Several of the Doctors at the school, particularly our women’s physicians, have spoken about this and think that it’s best that we stay out of the political hayday, for now.
We have also discussed in the past how much of an influence we really have for these people. I mean, we come in, take a few blood pressure screenings, and then send them off to other clinics to get checked up.’
I’d followed him up until this point, but at this statement I was taken aback. I kept listening.
‘Really all these people care about when they show up is a clean meal, a shower, and a bed. So we’re going to meet and reevaluate what we can do from here.’
I’d listened to all of this with a feeling of utter grief and sympathy, to the point that my chest felt really constricted inside. As we walked away, I looked at all the people that had accumulated by the bus stop.
Where do you go when your only reliable shelter in town has been closed? How desperate must you be to subject yourself and your young children to abuse every night, for the sake of a scrap of food and lukewarm tea, when it’s the only thing to keep you warm inside?
So now you get shoved out with the rest before sundown, with some of the dankest miscreants and nighttime scum of the streets.
I feel personally betrayed by humanity. On the flipside, how low must you get to abuse someone who is already as low as it gets, who is just trying to breathe a little for the night, getting a few hours of sleep before the brutal cycle begins all over again?
This is where the scrapings of humanity get lost down the dingy drains of town. And as we drove away, I watched several people bundled in layers of mismatched jackets and scarves scatter away together, and it was like watching the very beginning of humanity: hunter-gatherers, looking for the next source of food and brief respite in a world of carnivores.
Even more startling, I watched was a man in a wheelchair across the street tensed up, almost falling out of his chair, and for a moment I couldn’t believe my eyes. Four people were gathered around him, trying to hold him in. I’d never seen a seizure. I’d only watched videos of a grand mal attack in neuroscience last semester. And low and behold, as the light turned green and I panicked, wishing that I was driving, knowing that even if I did ask the driver to pull over that there was little any of us could do, every muscle in his body became taught, and starting with a rhythmic whirling of his arms, he slowly started to seize. He must have been 40-50 years old, wheelchair-bound. And his friends/family/whoever did all that they could to support him.
They are better than I. For we drove on back to school, and I have done nothing.
I disagree with the physicians who claim that we have little impact. Perhaps this is a little selfish, but I would want to continue because of the impact they’ve had on ME. I met Chance, a UF fan who always bantered with me about the FSU-UF rivalry and has accepted me because he knows I’m dating a gator. He always remembered me every week. I met a man who had written and carried along with him in his small pouch over a hundred different hymns that he had composed himself. I met an ex-pastor for whom life had taken a dramatic downturn, and said he prayed for a reason for all of this. I met a man who could and did recite a 20+ line intense poem of sheer passion to me from straight memory.
All I did was bring my little colorful band-aid covered BP cuff and get practice. They gave me a glimpse of all they’ve got.
But I’d like to think that just talking, and understanding, those who fall through the gaps has an impact somehow on both of us.
I’m on this crazy doctor journey because a part of me wants to save the world. A part of me just can’t do anything else but try to help. And because a part of me is just saddened, and has a great deal of hope that I can be there to rectify wrongs that just shouldn’t take place.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
I get reports from the AMA daily by email. Well this one caught my eye. So it looks like this daily, gritty, hungry plan of eating 1200 calories per day (and doing it partially by skipping breakfast and not eating a lot in the am) isn't a bad idea after all. Wonders never cease...it seems like everytime someone comes up with a new strategy (or lack thereof), it's debunked in the next 6 months. Well phooey. I pretty much know what works for me, so when I'm an MD, I'm going to council my patients to find out what works for them and give them some options. Just saying "EAT YOUR BREAKFAST", and "LITTLE STEPS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE", unfortunately may not make that much of an impact after all.
If I've learned anything, it's that medicine and health is more of an art than a science. Everyone is a unique canvas. And whether we make it splotchy and jarring with a bad combo of gut-clogging junk and sedentarism or we apply each stroke with proper care by making energizing, body-restoring choices and supply our bodies with activity and refreshing oxygen, is totally up to us.
The biggest difference is in personal motivation and by knowing thyself. Once we konw why we want the health badly enough and what's standing in our way, then it's a simple calculation of taking in less than we put out. Enough said.
(If only it were that easy!!)
Here's the results:
Review debunks myths about weight loss, obesity.
NBC Nightly News (1/30, story 11, 0:30, Williams, 7.86M) concludes its broadcast with a review published in the New England Journal of Medicine that debunks several myths surrounding weight loss. For example, "it's a myth that sex burns off calories by the hundreds. Here's another: the concept that small changes in diet can be the solution to losing weight. No, they say, the body adapts to that. They also say the idea that it's bad to lose a lot of weight quickly or that skipping breakfast will make you heavier are also myths."
The New York Times (1/30, Kolata, 1.68M) "Well" blog says the review was written by David B. Allison, who directs the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues. They "laid out seven myths and six unsubstantiated presumptions about obesity. They also list nine facts that, unfortunately, promise little in the way of quick fixes for the weight-obsessed. Obesity experts applauded this plain-spoken effort to dispel widespread confusion about obesity. The field, they say, has become something of a quagmire."
The Los Angeles Times (1/30, Kaplan, 692K) "Booster Shots" blog notes the review cited a "randomized, controlled clinical trial that followed 13,000 children for more than six years found 'no compelling evidence' that breastfeeding staves off obesity." While there is some amount of physical education that "would help fight childhood obesity, P.E. classes in their current form have not been shown to reduce BMI or obesity in kids on a consistent basis," the review also found. The researchers also said experimental evidence "shows that readiness isn't related to diet results."
Bloomberg News (1/30) says researchers found that six minutes of sexual activity "uses up only 14 more calories than does six minutes of watching TV." Research shows "that bigger goals lead to better results and, in the long term, crash diets lead to about the same amount of weight loss as slower, more moderate ones do. Another myth: the notion that adding a little bit of exercise to one's daily routine or cutting out small snacks can lead to significant weight loss."
The AP (1/31, Marchione) notes another myth debunked by researchers: "Snacking leads to weight gain. Fact: No high quality studies support that, the authors say." Some things "may not have the strongest evidence for preventing obesity but are good for other reasons, such as breastfeeding and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, the authors write. And exercise helps prevent a host of health problems regardless of whether it helps a person shed weight."
The CBS News (1/31) website notes the study was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health and quotes author Dr. David Allison as saying, "False and scientifically unsupported beliefs about obesity are pervasive. As health professionals, we should hold ourselves to high standards so that public health statements are based on rigorous science."
Today Health (1/30) says that not every diet expert supports the study. For example, Marion Nestle of New York University called the review "weird," adding: "I can't understand the point of the paper unless it's to say that the only things that work are drugs, bariatric surgery, and meal replacements, all of which are made by companies with financial ties to the authors."
Further coverage can be found in reports from HealthDay (1/31, Gray), MedPage Today (1/31), and Alabama Live (1/31).
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