Wednesday, January 23, 2013
I friend of mine posted this article on facebook this morning.
Why are women so obsessed about getting thin and skinny and not fit?
Why don't women eat more protein?
Why don't women want to weight lift?
Reason: we don't want to be bulky and manly.
Screw that. I want muscles!
Read it at: www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2
Can you whisk eggs without your arms aching, or push a car that’s broken down?
Your grandmother might have been able to do this, but chances are you can’t.
For new evidence suggests humans are getting weaker — today’s generation simply don’t have the same muscle power as their parents.
And it’s women who are affected most.
‘In Western countries such as the UK, U.S. and Canada, muscular strength has hit a plateau and muscular endurance — the ability to repeatedly exert force, such as doing sit-ups — has declined by 8 to 10 per cent since the Eighties,’ says Dr Grant Tomkinson, senior lecturer in health sciences at the University of South Australia, a leading researcher on trends in fitness over time.
It seems our average muscle power peaked in 1985 — since then we’ve increased in weight, but our muscles have got weaker and weaker, especially among women.
‘I’m seeing a massive epidemic of weak women who have no muscle strength,’ says London-based physiotherapist Sammy Margo.
‘There are skinny women who have no muscles supporting their spine, and overweight ladies who don’t have any muscles under the fat.’
Women’s lack of muscle has serious implications for their health.
Experts say poor muscle strength is to blame for a host of health problems such as osteoporosis and fractures, arthritis and back pain.
So why are women so weedy — and what should they do about it?
GIRLS WANT TO BE THIN, NOT STRONG
It takes only a cursory comparison of the covers of men’s and women’s magazines to understand the differences in what motivates men and women to exercise.
While men strive to get ‘the ultimate six pack’ and ‘more body bulk now’, women’s objectives tend to be negative — to lose fat and burn calories rather than gain strength.
Ken Fox, professor of exercise and health sciences at the University of Bristol, says: ‘The majority of young females want to look thin.
'They don’t eat much, they don’t exercise much, and because of that they have weak musculatures — it’s really not a healthy way to be.’
A survey by the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation found 40 per cent of women said feeling better about their appearance was the main factor that motivated them to exercise; in another, a third of women said they felt more pressure to be thin than healthy.
SCHWARZENEGGER BODY MYTH
Girls and women often avoid muscle-building exercise such as weightlifting or press-ups because they’re afraid of becoming too muscular and bulky.
Even the golden girl of the London Olympics, Jessica Ennis, has admitted she had at first been concerned about weight training because she ‘didn’t want to be all muscly’.
But many experts say it’s actually difficult for women to ‘bulk up’ because of their hormones.
This resistance exercise, as it is known, triggers muscle growth by causing small amounts of trauma to the muscles — the body repairs the damage by adding protein strands to the muscle to increase its strength and size.
Testosterone is the hormone that triggers this process and men naturally have higher levels of it than women, meaning it’s much harder for women to develop big muscles, explains Professor Fox.
‘They can get toned but looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t an issue,’ he says.
Women also can’t lose as much fat — men can conceivably get down to 4 per cent body fat while women typically cannot get lower than 10 per cent.
Women evolved this way because they need more fat to bear children.
THE PROBLEMS START AT SCHOOL
Today’s children are set up for a life of puniness from an early age, thanks partly to our increasingly indoor lifestyles.
Dr Gavin Sandercock, a lecturer in sports science at Essex University, tested the strength of 315 Essex ten-year-olds in 2008 and compared the results from children of the same age in 1998.
Today’s children managed only around two thirds of the sit-ups of the previous generation; arm strength had fallen by 26 per cent and grip by 7 per cent.
Dr Sandercock says he was especially concerned by the children’s poor performance at sit-ups, because ‘your ability to do sit-ups has been shown to be an indicator of back pain in later life’.
Meanwhile, in a study by the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation of 1,500 schoolchildren, half the 14-year-old girls surveyed said getting sweaty was ‘not feminine’, and a third of boys said girls who are sporty are not feminine.
It probably doesn’t help that teachers don’t have the right specialist PE training, which is leaving younger generations ‘physically illiterate’, as Susan Campbell, the head of UK Sport said last week.
She claimed this lack of training means thousands of children start secondary school unable to run, jump, throw a ball or catch.
Women’s disregard for muscles may be costing them dearly. Muscles are the ‘scaffolding’ that holds the body up, vital for protecting the joints and bones, and it’s essential to start building muscle in early life to avoid miserable repercussions.
Numerous studies have shown the strength of your muscles can be a key indicator of longevity.
Healthy muscles reduce the risk of falls in later life, says Professor Janet Lord, director of the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research.
‘Muscle allows you to control your movement,’ she says. ‘So if you do have a trip, you fall in a controlled way and there’s less chance you’ll fracture your wrist for example.’
A PAIN IN THE BACK
Strong muscles are also vital for preventing sore backs. Sammy Margo blames the endemic problem of back pain on weak tummy, or ‘core’ muscles.
It’s the stomach muscles that hold you up straight when sitting or standing.
But if these are weak, we tend to use the tiny muscles in the back, which leads to damage.
If you have poor tummy muscles, you tend to slump and overstretch the muscles, tendons, ligaments and discs in the back — setting up inflammation and, in the long term, chronic back pain,’ she explains.
‘It’s not just back pain but ankles, neck pain, shoulder pain, even knee pain.
'You can postpone or prevent the need for a knee replacement just by building up the surrounding muscle.’
WOMEN DON’T EAT ENOUGH PROTEIN
Healthy muscles rely on regular intake of protein — it is essential for the structure and functioning of muscle cells.
Catherine Collins, principal dietitian at St George’s Hospital, London, says recent health concerns over meat, and the growing popularity of extreme diets that exclude whole food groups, such as veganism, means more and more women may be missing out on protein.
‘The best sources are meat and dairy products,’ she says. ‘It’s essential we get about 60g a day — equivalent to an 8oz steak or 200g chicken breast.’
Being deficient in protein can have devastating effects, she adds.
‘If you’re not getting enough protein from food, your body cannibalises your own tissue. It starts by taking from your muscle bulk, but then it will use organs.’
BLAME LIFTS, CARS AND THE INTERNET
Our sedentary lifestyle has been blamed for expanding waistlines, but it is also causing our muscles to waste away, say experts.
The decline in manual labour means our jobs are now overwhelmingly office based, and even getting up to go to a meeting has been replaced by email.
‘It’s not just the fact that the average person sits for eight hours a day,’ says Sammy Margo.
‘We have remote controls so we don’t have to get up to change channels, and cars and internet shopping so we don’t have to walk to work or school or carry heavy shopping back home.’
There may be good news on the horizon, however, thanks largely to the stunning success of Britain’s female athletes at last summer’s London Olympics.
Lucy Wyndham Read, a personal trainer, has noticed a shift in women’s requests and aims.
‘Women are now asking for an athletic shape. They want to look feminine, but have definition and tone,’ she says.
Strong could be the new sexy — and it’s healthier, to boot.
THREE EASY WAYS TO FIGHT BACK
The simple habits that mean you can build muscles — without going to the gym...
1) Try ‘the String’ to build abdominal muscles, says physiotherapist Sammy Margo. ‘In the morning take a piece of string, suck your tummy muscles all the way in, release by 50 per cent and tie the string around your stomach. Keep it on throughout the day and try to keep the muscles engaged when you’re sitting, standing and walking. Within a week you should notice you’re already starting to engage the muscles automatically.
2) Get into the habit of always lifting yourself out of a chair without using your arms. ‘This keeps the thigh muscles nice and strong, protecting the knees,’ explains Margo.
3)Practise standing on one leg as long as you can. This works the muscles but also strengthens balance receptors in the legs. They provide information to our joints about our position and stop us falling over.
Monday, January 21, 2013
117 Days till graduation! (eep!)
I'm such a procrastinator that I needed to post that to myself, so that every day I can remember that there is a deadline and I need to work my butt off to get stuff done.
The last few days have been a bit odd. Friday I saw the plastic surgeon again. My wound is quote "shallower" so its improving. It doesn't hurt as bad all the time. The nerves have started to regrow in that arm now. My left arm feels fine, or maybe its just in comparison, but the right arm is going through little bits of electrocution when the nerves fire signals to the brain and reconnect. So in fact, I am electrocuting myself ;-) Oh, Science!
I decided to take part in an MLK day sale at Home Depot and went to pick out new carpet on Sunday... with my mom and sister. The two people who trigger emotions and bad eating. And I'd like to think I kept myself in check yesterday. I didn't do too badly, and I saved more than half of my lunch entree for lunch today. Its hard to spend money to make money, but the carpet in my house is the original builder grade carpet, and I'm just replacing it with newer builder grade carpet. No point in blowing $2000+ when $1200 will get the job done. Especially since my house is now appraising for less than I paid for it in 2007. Not by much, but by enough that all of my equity is lost after seller's fees and bank fees and the new sales tax on homes... So that's depressing to think of.
And also having to rent! I know I'm spoiled, but the hardworking equity builder in me would rather pay my $700 mortgage than $500 in rent. *sigh* The only bright spot in moving back to StL is that I will probably just move into an apartment with TJ somewhere. That may seem quick to most people, but I'm ready for it. That boy is just weird enough to click with me perfectly.
So that's the house news. I looked at my finances and decided to keep the roommate. Sans dog. Once I get new carpet, the dogs are gone. Mine included. They get to reside with my parents, and I'll probably just visit them on weekends. Especially if people are going to be looking at my house *and hopefully buying it. I've already started trying to declutter and have come to the conclusion that I own way too much crap. Seriously. I have a problem. So from now until I sell I'm slowly going through stuff and trying to decide if I really need it, donate it, or toss it. Then do I need it now? Or should I pack it? Its a lot to deal with. I tackled my bathroom and vanity this weekend, and made some decent progress.
I also tried to work out a bit. Still no cardio (dear god that would hurt!) but just some ST. No weight lifting either ;-) I feel like my arms got really flabby after surgery, but its really just the fact that I lost all of my muscle tone. Which I WILL get back once i get back into things. I did more core stuff until it felt like I had stretched my skin a bit too much. So baby steps. I just can't be inactive.
I swear this might be a blessing in disguise. There is no way to get someone to want to do something, than to tell them they can't do it. And my body is adjusting to this weight range, so hopefully once I really focus on limiting calories and working out at my old level, these stubborn last 20 pounds will disappear.
I feel better since I started doing my little workouts. The back pain is gone. I fell like I can see my ribs more (and yea, I see my ribs at 190 due to my frame and height -- I have no idea what 170 is going to look like), and I feel lighter than I did at the beginning of the month. I've switched up my food to try to avoid sugar. I had some dairy last week, and boy could I tell. That's officially verboten. I just need to stay away from cheesy food which the BF loves. He actually asked me to make him a cheesecake, 'cause I offered to make him anything he wanted. Can we say, bane of my existence!? Not only is it delicious, its made from three kinds of dairy which make me sick, and full of sugar. So I may want a piece, but I know how bad it is! So I'm not going to make it. I'll make something else instead. I tried to find a lower-calorie one, but none of them looked good.
As far as the thesis goes... its not much further along than last week, but I did manage to sort most of my data files and tried to make it easier to access. I need to e-mail my committee tomorrow to try to set up a date in early May. So *fingers crossed* no one throws a hissy fit when I ask to graduate... 'cause I already signed up!
This week I'm going to focus on eating the food I already have in my house to save money. I did my budget and it is sad! I'm actually checking the mail every day hoping my W2 is in there so I can file my taxes ASAP. I'm one of the people who does it the day I get the W2. Why wait? Mine aren't that hard to figure out since I still file a 1040EZ (my parents claim the tax credit on the house as an interest payment for my loan from them), so its not a hassle like it is for most people. I just would like to start paying down some of my debt. I jokingly told TJ I was like Lily from How I Met Your Mother (she had a shopping addiction and some credit card debt). He has no idea HOW true that is. But I'm working on it, and hopefully sharing the bills with someone and only paying half of the rent, coupled with a better paying job after grad school will help me get out of debt ASAP.
Oh god, job hunting. Haven't done that at all. I'm trying not to get too stressed out by everything I have to do in 117 days, and especially trying not to emotionally eat, but it is getting a little rough. I just need to stay focused and remember WHY I started on Spark, how healthy I want to be, and just know if I focus on my goals and don't beat myself up over the small details, I will keep going, I will graduate, I will find a job (time is the only factor here--when), and I will lose weight.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
122 Days till graduation...
Apparently there's a lot of things you can get done before work when you get up at 5am. I didn't PLAN to get up that early. But for some reason my body just would not go back to sleep... I thought about just laying there, but I got bored. So I made breakfast at 5:30 in the morning. It was kind of weird. Then I Sparked a bit. Facebooked a bit. Drank some caffeine to wake up. Then really took my time getting ready. A full face of makeup instead of my 3 minute rush job. And I got to work an hour before my meeting instead of the usual 10-15 minutes before. So I figured I'd blog on here and make it a full morning.
I'm officially off percocet for now! I've just been using a mixture of allergy meds with aspirin and ibuprofen so far for two days. Plus my incision wound is looking much better. Its kind of weird to watch it all grow back in. I won't gross you all out with the details in picture form, but basically all the blood vessels are buried enough that I'm not bleeding really anymore = which was causing me the most pain with my bandage changes. Now apparently I'm in the super scar forming stage so my skin is thickening up in preparation of closing up. I'm going to have a wicked scar over there. Which I get to let heal... and then have removed... in another surgery... Cue grumpy cat face. But it will be free (minus travel costs and pain meds and bandages). But for now -- I'm healing and it doesn't hurt as badly to lay on it on my side.
So with the super pain behind me... I thought I'd try a slight strectching workout to see where I'm at. This was motivated by my back. Since I haven't been stretching and can't touch my toes (or even attempt to reach something far away with my right arm), my back has gotten super tight. I sprained it a bit a week or two ago trying to do everything left arm-ed. So I started with some simple crunches. Not real situps or anything, just mostly upper ab stuff since a full crunch would require my shoulders to really lift off the ground -- oh yea -- and my abs are dead. I only got 500 of my "half-crucnhes" in... AND I felt like dying. It was kind of sad. I was doing 4000 five weeks ago, so that just tells you how quickly you can lose your fitness. I also did like 50-half squats. I was a little too tight to do a full/real squat, so I did the best I could. And to finish it off some leg lifts to try and loosen up my back.
Not much, but it was something, and a little bit of something is better than nothing. I wore myself out with that, so I'm going to try and do a little more tonight. My back's really bugging me today but it could be some of my Shark Week's irritating symptoms starting to flare up. That's pretty much it. Went to bed early today since I knew I had to be at work early... then woke up super early... C'est la vie. At least its Wednesday and its almost the weekend.
Monday, January 14, 2013
So what can I accomplish in 124 days? That's when I graduate from college forever. Only took 10 years of college, but hey, who's counting?
So in 124 days I need to:
A) write my dissertation
B) find a job
C) sell my house
D) convince my PhD committee to let me go
E) Go to three weddings
F) Go to a conference
G) Ask my roommate to move out and pay for all the damage her dog has done to my house
H) Eat healthy
I) Exercise once I've healed up
J) -- oh yea -- and heal the heck up from my surgery...
Yea, that list isn't stressful at all is it? I'm staying positive though (and allowing myself some caffeine to keep me moving). I have a plan. I'm going to work on the top two first. The dissertation is the biggie that's going to take the most work. If I could work out a post-doc or a job before April then I know the majority of the stress will come off my back. Heck I went to grad school six years ago for the specific reason that I didn't want to start job hunting -- oh yea, and cause I like science and I want people to call me Doctor.
So the plan for the week is to make some serious progress on my dissertation. I have once chapter done. I have the majority of another chapter done in the form of a grant that I submitted. I'm trying to do a really thorough literature review on prostate cancer and statin usage (which is what I study now). Hopefully I can swing that into another review article since I'm OCD and I have to make sure that I have every reference in it -- in an organized awesome table for quick reference. *NERD ALERT*
So that's the plan for the week. I've been catching up on Spark. I have a ton of new friends after being added to the Motivator page. I mostly follow blogs people post, so that takes a bit of reading, and I always try to give goodies to the newbies without any -- so I just spent an hour on Spark when I should be typing... buuuuut... yea. I still need to wake up.
I'm also waiting for some ace bandages to get out of the dryer before I go change my bandage this morning. Its still horrifying. No sugar coating it. I thought it was getting better. I definitely have some hard scar tissue forming at the edges of the open incision, and the doctor thinks its going to "slams shut" any day now. His words. Its apparently going to be bad until magically one day it decides to heal over in a day or two. *I thought that was happening on Saturday. I didn't have too much pain from it and I was able to comfortably snuggle with TJ on the couch and go out to dinner. But then it just started hurting again. Sunday it was bad. I almost didn't go out of the house to a Golden Globes party. So all in all, I'm not looking forward to the bandage change I have to go do... But I will. And I won't complain about it too much because whining is not allowed. Never has been, and I won't start now.
I did go out last night to a Golden Globes watch party with my girls. It was fun. We gossiped but the percocet and pain kept me a little out of the loop. I didn't realize how much the meds and pain were affecting me. I literally am starting to forget words. I forgot Velcro yesterday and the name of my friends rabbit even after she said his name like ten times. Its weird. Perfect time to write a 400 page thesis right? ;-)
It was nice to gossip though. What was with all the cleavage and see through mesh every woman was wearing? Eeep! SO could not wear any of those dresses. It was interesting to see all the skinny women talking about their Spanxs... and their multiple layers of Spanx. And the corsets... so a lot of those women were suffering just to look perfectly thin. One comment last week that threw me for a loop was on Fashion Police. George called Jennfier Lawrence (from the Hunger Games) a "bigger girl"! I and Kelly and Guilianna were like, WTF?!? She's a size 4/6~! And the Hollywood stylist was calling her a bigger girl! Now that is just ridiculous. Last night she had on this tiiiiiiiny waisted Dior dress with a belt around her middle and she looked like a size 0/2. He better eat his words tonight on Fashion Police. Its comments like that, that drive women to feel horrible about their bodies. I'm partially going to watch tonight to see if they call George on his comment again. She's literally a STICK!
So for the part "G" of my list above. I have a girl living with me. She was originally going to stay for three months and leave in November once she was done with classes. She didn't want to get a short term lease because in a college town, leases are from August to August, or you pay through the nose. I agreed to let her stay -- and let her get a puppy since her dog had just died from cancer. Now her dog is dumb. I don't say this lightly. This dog is DUUUUUUUUMB. And he's a puppy. And he's destructive. He's chewed the baseboards of the bathroom where she keeps him while she's at work. He chewed up my coffee table. He chewed up the doggy steps my little dogs use to get on the couch. He's eaten a lot of her shoes. He's eaten zippers off coats... He plays with rocks... He's dumb and bored and destructive.
Now November came and went and she decided to stay another month to help out at work. She was one of the undergrads in my science lab doing the grunt work. Then our lab manager quit cause my boss is crazy. So she decided to take over the lab manager job -- and continue to live with me. Without asking. Now I was thinking the $300 extra in rent would come in handy for my bills. But now with a serious boyfriend who likes to visit, the destruction the dog has caused (oh yea, he ate the comforter I had on the bed in the room she's staying in too!), and the fact that I need to have my house pristine once I start to sell... I need to ask her to move out.
She's planning on staying until April. My boss thinks I'm a new person since I'm allowing her to live with me which means I'm not a troll that hates people (his previous thoughts apparently -- he's crazy, remember). So this is causing me a bit of stress. I think I'm going to blame it on my parents -- specifically my mom. She's also crazy, so it makes for a convenient excuse. She was down here last week changing my bandages and flipped out over the damage to the house and the yard. Plus if she comes down, my guest room has a roommate living in it and I sleep on the couch. In the coming month or two my parents are going to have to come down to start helping me fix up the house to sell -- they're my co-signers on the loan. So its going to be stressful if everyone is here.
So I've decided I have to ask her to leave, and since she didn't ask it if was okay to stay in the first place... I think its okay. I just feel bad. My mom keeps telling me that I'm letting people abuse me and my willingness to help. I get it. I'm a provider. I like to make sure other people are happy... but in this case I think I have to stand up and ask her to move out... But its a confrontation I'm not looking forward too.
*Sigh* So that's my dilemma of the week. That and clean and talk to a realtor and write and contact a PI in StL about a postdoc... and heal. And not emotionally eat. No problem, right? ;-)
Friday, January 11, 2013
So now as a motivational member... what happens? Anyone else out there a motivator? I see there's the Spark page of other motivators... I guess my blogs might pop up more frequently from now on.
I went to see my plastic surgeon again. He seems to think that I'm healing up. The nurse freaked out and told him I had a giant hole -- which I sorta do... The doc seems to think there's improvement though, so *fingers crossed* its actually getting better.
Today started off really annoying. I got up late-ish even though I got out of bed at 7:00 -- I still wasn't ready 90 minutes later. I got myself all bandaged up into my dress, since I'm wearing a large ace bandage, and then realized it might just be a liiiiiittle too short for work. Couldn't find the right shoes... Ripped a pair of tights... and was running so late and annoyed I just left the house. Pippa was about 5 minutes late for my dog groomer's window of drop-offs. They didn't care, but it stressed me out.
Then I calmed the frick down once I got to work. There's officially 127 days until I graduate and the only progress I made today was to buy new windshield wiper blades and some liquid sand OPI nail polish 'cause my toes were not ready for this one day of sandal weather we're getting today!
So after "goodish" news from the doc... and becoming a Spark motivator -- my day has turned around. Well... let's be honest, it was the Spark thing and the new nail polish. Seche has a hologram glitter topcoat! *what, what!?!
TJ's coming down to take care of me this weekend after work, so that also improves my mood ;-)
So everyone have a good weekend! I'm purging my house of bad food that's leftover from my mom. I'm purging the negative thoughts, and I'm chomping at the bit to get to workout. I have never wanted to do a sit up so badly in my life! Haha... this arm thing should only be another 4-6 weeks *ugh. But then... then I will get some fitness minutes in!
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