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Monday, October 29, 2007

Update readers responses to The Weekend Australian's article: Why exercise doesn't work

I did not read the article, but discouraging people to exercise purely for aesthetics is so frustrating. Did he mention that we not only exercise purely for weight control, but for cardio health, bone density and so much more. I think it is quite negligent to write this sort of rubbish.
Nikki Garland

I read the WeekendAus article and found it very depressing! Esp the study that took a group of people and trained them for a marathon and they didn’t lose any weight! I do agree with their point about the “energy in – energy out = weight” equation being too simplistic tho – I have seen some of family members eat sparingly and move a lot and weigh a lot more than other of my family members who eat more and exercise much less. But the one point I think the article missed was that weight per se isn’t the only (or most important) thing – they completely neglected to look at body measurements and I wonder whether exercise changes these, even if it doesn’t reduce weight. That has certainly been my experience.


Just one observation. As a long distance runner, I note that after a very long run or a hard one, I may not feel hungry for hours. I eat anyway but exercise doesn’t necessarily increase appetite.
Now, on Sunday I went for a 2 hour run at 6.20am. Afterward I “reluctantly” had 2 small bagels with sour cream and smoked salmon, a little fruit, can of coke, cup cake, 3 cups of tea. I didn’t feel hungry again until 2.00pm. Had a light lunch ( Jap restaurant) and even lighter dinner (sardines on toast and a bit of cheese) I feel fine and have very little body fat, as all long distance runners do. Yet, there is still fat! I believe a small amount is necessary for long distance running...there by function, not intention.

People need less food than they think and exercise is not a bad thing - for any reason. I think we should eat small, exercise big.

When I went to hospital recently for a foot operation, I had wires coming off me everywhere, checking the condition of my heart. The Doctor declared he’d like to have my heart. I’ll be 55 y.o. this month.
Dennis Wylie

I saw the article and was a bit annoyed. It never mentioned that there are some like me who really get a buzz from exercise. It also failed to mention that for your own well-being doing something is good. To me the article tried to say that exercise has little bearing on weight loss when it is known that any thing that puts the energy equation in a debit position even a little bit is better than nothing at all. I thought that the Lance Armstrong physiology thing was interesting, if this is the case then why aren't we reading about this in the fitness mags. It was implied that you had to run or cycle heaps to burn sufficient weight, when we know that a balanced combo of aerobic activity and weights ( not necessarily the bodybuilder type program) will significantly help.....and also make you feel good. From my experience once you lift the feel good factor the rest can fall into place even if it does do slowly. Well that's my beef about the article. Thanks Virginia

Thanks for your articles. I enjoy reading them.
I didn’t read the Weekend Australian and I agree with you regarding it. Moderation in everything and yes, if training for a triathalon then that’s a different story. Apples for apples.
As far as daylight saving is concerned, Qld is too close to the equator for it to be of any advantage to us, but as it is we do have the choice to get up an hour early and have our walk in the cool of the morning in summer whereas with D.S. after work in the afternoon/evening it is still quite warm for comfortable walking.
With daylight saving we do not have that choice if we work and are controlled by the clock.
Keep up the good work Susie.



Hi Suzie, Regarding your comments about the article, my personal experience is that I actually feel like eating less when I exercise. And when I do eat I feel like eating more healthy choices of food like salads and fruit and drinking plenty of water. Apart from physically feeling that way I am psychologically more conscious of what I am eating so that I don't undo all the good work I have just done!
Popi Zappia

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Why our supermarkets control us

In Australia, there are two main supermarket chains. Occasionally you come across an independent supermarket but they are rare. This is quite unlike the States or the UK, countries with populations large enough to support specialised chains which feature certain types of food including organic, generic or mainstream brands.

What this means for us, is that our two major chains have enormous power over what we eat by stocking the products and locating them on the shelves exactly the way it suits their bigger business interests.

While this is unlikely to change anytime soon, being aware of it at least informs you so you can make a strong decision about the brands and types of foods you wish to purchase from these chains. If customers demand products, supermarkets have to stock them but if you do not ask, you will not get.

Where you can support your local grocers and fruit and vegetable markets and look high and low on mainstream supermarket shelves to track down the exact products and brands you are after. Don't let them control the way in which you and your family are able to eat-

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Susie is.....

Like many, for the past few months I have been completely obsessed with Face Book. The narcissistic streak that is rather common for all members of the Y generation has well and truly emerged in this Generation X'er, as we are all encouraged to tell the online community about our hopes, dreams and secrets and create a personally engineered pictorial life story to match - preferably one that is updated daily.

Like many, I have too spent (or wasted) many an hour searching through lists and lists of 'friends'; looking for those from my past who may have embarked on a truly remarkable life path to emerge or just in case the love of my life was actually the boyfriend I had in high school. Alas though, thus far, this has been far from the truth. Of all the past that has come flooding back in recent weeks I have to admit, there is little of it I have missed nor am keen to invite back into my present life.

Perhaps sticking with reality and the very concept of 'moving on' is the key to a satisfying present and Face Book is merely cyberspaces way of dragging us back, albeit temporarily, to delay the move into an unknown and sometimes daunting future.

When my true love told me last night that he is far too busy to talk to me on Face Book and that he will just call me if he wants to speak to me, I realised that perhaps just living life rather than searching for it in the past online is the secret he obviously already knows. Susie is now, done with Face Book and I think the phone is ringing......

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Are you really surprised the Wallabies are out of the World Cup?

Last week at the pub I was nearly taken out by a rugby fan when I dared say that I thought the Australians would be booted out of the World Cup by the South Africans or by the Brits. The guy looked at me as if I was a member of Al Qaeda and I quickly learnt to keep my opinions on rugby to my self.

So, on waking this morning I am not at all surprised to see the results back from the World Cup plastered all over the front of the Sunday papers and seriously, are you?

I am constantly amazed at how little insight men have into the actual psychological dynamics of high level sporting teams. Great teams are not determined by the number of Mark Gasnier's they have (just look at the Dragons!), nor are they decided upon by how much money is invested in their development and preparation (just look at Australian rugby!).

Great teams are developed, yes developed, when the coaching staff has the unique ability to nurture each individual player to the same level of focus, commitment and motivation, at the exact right time for every single game or competition.

That is the difference between good and great teams. Wayne Bennett is the classic example of a coach who has this ability. The players listen when he speaks and he commands a respect from all who cross his path - he is a man that can make good teams great. Todd Louden from NSW rugby is another, as shown in his work this year with the Bulls in the Super 14 competition. He has the amazing ability to lift players spirits to that far beyond their natural ability and as a result creates a team dynamic that far outweighs any skills that can be drilled into players at training. As a result each individual in the team is at one with himself, leaving him available to align with the teams goals for every game and session. The energy such a team creates is so great that the team can do anything it sets its mind to.

A great coach is cool, collected, self regulated and in such an intense focus for his craft the few manage to infiltrate his world or mind. The players one interest in this special man is to catch their own personal glimpse of his greatness, for that too will improve their game beyond any development program they themselves could embark on.

In retrospect this is the clear weakness of the Wallabies. Not only does the coach fail to demand respect from the players or the public for that matter, the Wallabies are not a mentally tough group that understand nor appreciate the privileged position they are in, nor do they have the absolute desire to be the best for themselves, their country or their teammates. The Wallabies live for months of the year in an isolated holiday camp in paradise and whether they win or lose they return to their multimillion dollar north shore mansions and look forward to the Australian Summer that awaits them.

Take the South Africans on the other hand; whether they win or lose they return to a tough country where they still work the land and witness suffering and poverty every single day of their lives. They spend much more time giving back to their religious families and are expected to give whatever they can back to their local communities.

The Wallabies cannot be blamed for their failure to perform at the World Cup. If Australian rugby had any insight into these dynamics, they would never have given John Connelly the job of coaching an underdone side to the World Cup. The trouble is, we cannot be sure that they will learn their lesson this time.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Do you know what is in food?

Can you believe that even though we eat it everyday, few of us really know what food is made up of? How many of you know how cheese is made? Or where the different cuts of meat actually come from off the animal? Or what carbs, proteins and fats really are?

Basic nutrition needs to be drilled into us when we are kids. Forget this idea of fruits and vegetables and breads and cereals - the 5 food groups. That was the most confusing thing that health professionals ever put together. It is all about carbs, proteins and fats. They are what food is made up of and the balance of them determines if we are going to be fat or skinny - it is as simple as that.

So it is time to ditch the wood work, legal studies and society and leisure and get the carbs, proteins and fats back in the curriculum. If we understood what we were eating, we may be better at managing it.