One Mom in the Middle…
of parenting… of her career… of life…

Exercise IS important

Published 10.25.2016
I've ranted her a few times about medical professionals who downplay the importance of movement in weight loss and maintenance. Of course, these individuals use the term exercise, but I am deliberately using the term movement instead because while I'm not convinced that organized, structured movement (aka exercise) is required for weight loss and successful maintenance, I think overall movement is. What do I mean by movement? Mostly, I mean not being sedentary, in other words, not sitting on your duff for the majority of the day.

There's a reason I bang on here every so often about my standing desk— the phrase standing desk includes treadmill desks and stationary standing desks — I remain convinced that non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is a critical variable in altering the energy balance. Unless you're training for some sporting event, most people don't exercise more than an hour or so a day.

I noted in June that a friend dragged my a gyn with her and we both wound up signing up. I've made going part of my routine, she has not. I go five days a week at this point for at least an 60-75 minutes (depending on whether I do weights or not) each of those days. However, that leaves roughly 16 remaining waking hours. If I sit for most of those hours, I will mostly negate the benefit of going to the gym. If instead I stand (as I am now or pedal, though again, I recognize that few will ever have access to a bike desk), then even though the movement doesn't expend much energy, it does expend more than sitting. In addition, others have made this point as well, once standing, I tend to move around more.
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Vitamin D level target

Published 10.24.2016
After publishing the previous piece, it was pointed out to me that I did not actually discuss how I chose my target serum vitamin D level of 46 ng/mg (nanograms per milliliter), which corresponds to 115 nmol/L (nanomole per liter). I chose that level based on the information presented in this Dr. Greger video. As I always do when I link to a Greger video or blog, I acknowledge that the doctor has a distinct bias towards veganism. The answer to just about every question for Greger amounts to, "Eat more plants," or "Eat only plants."

In the video, he discussed what the “natural” level of serum vitamin D levels for humans, using the values seen in hunter-gatherers in Africa. The human race began under the African sun, so the thinking is that the "natural" human level of vitamin D is found in people who have lifestyles that have them outside most of the day wearing very little.

Per Greger, the normal human serum vitamin D level is greater than 100 nmol/L. In this video, the effect of vitamin D levels are not represented as a U curve, which would mean that too much is as dangerous as too low, but rather a backwards J curve. A backwards J curve means too little is bad, but then once the body has enough, the benefit levels off. Harm does not occur until you go much higher in level.
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Osteo Update

Published 10.21.2016
Today I saw my osteoporosis specialist. It was just the annual check up, she'd ordered a few blood tests and a urine test. All tests were normal according to the doctor, and as nothing in medical condition has changed over the past year, there was very little to discuss.

Except that is, until I asked specifically about my vitamin D level, which was measured at 54 ng/ml which corresponds to 135 nmol/iter. My target vitamin D level, as I've written previously, was 46 ng/ml, which means I overshot a bit. The doctor told me to back off the 4000 IUs dosage I've been taking because now that, "I'm replete" with vitamin D, there's no point in having excess.

I asked if excess vitamin D could be a problem, and her answer was yes, vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium (Ca), which can cause problems such as kidney stones. Too much vitamin D can cause other problems as well. However, since I'm not taking Ca supplements, she allowed that that was less of a risk for me. I didn't say that I wouldn't cut back, but I did note that my fingernails are much stronger on the higher dose, and if I notice that they soften on a lower dose I'll jump it back up.
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Supplements are Unregulated Drugs

Published 10.17.2016
I've ranted about supplements previously, so I will try not to belabor the point. Supplement use is one of those topics that sets me off. So before beginning, let me re-iterate and emphasize: I am not a medical professional of any sort. The opinions presented here represent my personal experiences as well as my learning from scholarly papers or other sources. Nothing written here should be considered medical advice.

Supplementation should NEVER be necessary— at ANY age, contrary to what this women claims. If her diet was better balanced, she'd have no need to hork down handfuls of supplements. Supplementation is not necessary as you age either, unless prescribed by a real doctor— meaning an actual licensed, practicing MD. Supplements are drugs, and interact with the other drugs that too many elderly wind up taking.

There should be no reason to supplement if your diet is healthy. especially if you're eating a so-called "ancestral" or "paleo" diet. Or are we pretending now that great-grandma or paleolithic humans popped supplement pills? Hint: They didn't. You got what you needed from food. And if you don't overly restrict one macronutrient then your body will have all it needs to be healthy.
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NFL ratings and reasons

Published 10.16.2016
I have kept to my resolution not to watch American football this season— and my husband for the most part is still with me, though occasionally he choosing to watch "his team," which is perfectly fine. Again, as I said in my in my original piece, football is not illegal and begrudge no one their indulgence in a sport they enjoy.

In the first weeks of the season, I was able to finish a painting project, but otherwise the extra time in my schedule has been spent reading or writing. In particular, the additional time writing has resulted in more postings at my websites, which is a good thing. But my dream of being able to finish long languishing projects, for the most part, has not been realized.

However, that's not why I decided to write this piece. The reason for this second entry about "hand egg" is that NFL ratings are down for the year. Ratings are down, and the articles offer every excuse imaginable, except that people are turning away from the NFL because of the brutality of the game.
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Body positive, or mind think?

Published 10.13.2016
Can you be "body positive" and still want to lose weight? Some say no. I call nonsense, and I'm not alone. I will say that I am body positive if I'm attempting to lose weight, no matter what anyone else thinks. Losing weight was part of my effort during and after menopause to become a healthier, happier me. I've written a number of times how I changed my diet and daily movement, so I won't go through it again here, readers can check the archive if they are interested.

Body positive does not mean you have the attitude that, "you do you" and "I'll do me." Watching this video made me think again, "How exhausting it must be to live this way." The following is a quote from the video:

Do not look me in the eye, tell me you are on Weight Watchers and then tell me that you are body positive

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Kevin Hall Answers Low Carb Skepticism

Published 10.11.2016
Kevin Hall, researcher at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and author of a recent study partially funded by Gary Taubes' Nutrition Science (NuSi) that disproved Taubes hypothesis about obesity, recently appeared on Jimmy Moore's podcast. I've written about the study and reactions to it previously.

I'm not a fan of Moore's podcast, not least because of the many, many ads he includes in them. I get why he does that, don't misunderstand., but I skip past as best I can (which is ironic, given that I have ads on this site… I like to think they aren't so invasive, but that's a subjective benchmark.) However, this episode was a surprisingly informative one.
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Fat-Shaming is having a moment

Published 10.4.2016
Thanks to the orange tinted candidate for the US presidency, fat-shaming is having a moment in the mainstream press. The issue of fat-shaming isn't unknown in the popular or mainstream press, but Donald Trump's rude and crude comments about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado have caused a spurt of articles about the topic. Overall, this is a good thing.

Gina Kolata in the
New York Times interviews Rebecca Puhl, an obesity researcher and Health at Every Size (HAES) proponent. I've written previously that I'm not a huge fan of HAES, but I am absolutely agains fat-shaming. Everyone should be treated with respect, and no one should be mocked for their appearance. If you're happy being fat, than I am happy for you. Where I fall off the wagon is when weight is said to be beyond a person's control. I know this to be untrue, and so I object every time I read it— whether the person spouting the nonsense has an MD, Ph.D or not.

In her article, Kolata catalogues the genera horribleness of fat-shaming and its effects— and she also notes that many fat people have the same attitudes. In my experience, most people don't want to be obese, thus fat people often stigmatize themselves. But what is "fat" in that comment?

Kolata provides no definition for obesity or fat. Someone whose body mass index (BMI) is greater than 30 is considered obese— but in my experience, most people seea difference between being 50 pounds overweight and being 150 pounds overweight. Having read extensively blogs in the "fatosphere," "paleosphere," and the low carb community, my impression is for women, roughly 300 pounds is when the body starts to be unable to compensate for the excess weight. For men, the number is is roughly 400 pounds. Obviously, height is a factor, and there are men and women heavier than that who are healthy. However, that's the anecdotal evidence I've seen and read.
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Tell me again Vegans don't need supplements…

Published 9.30.2016
Veganism is only possible in our modern world of supplements and fortified foods. Vegans MUST supplement to be healthy—and the doctor (Dr Greger) prescribing this is a vegan himself.

I have written previously about vegans needing supplements, but only in that a vitamin B12 supplement is essential. B12 isn't found in any plant foods, and a B12 deficit can have devastating effects on heart and brain health. Well, it turns out that B12 isn't the only essential supplement for vegans— particularly aging vegans. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a long chain omega three fatty acid that is important for brain health, as the human brain is roughly 50% fat.

DHA is not found in plants, but it is found in dairy, eggs and especially fish. Fish oil supplements are an attempt to increase omega three fatty acids— though obviously vegans would have no interest in fish oil, and recent news on fish oil supplements has not been good. If you want omega three fatty acids from fish, then you should eat fish.

Shorter chain omega three fatty acids such as linoleic acid are found in plants, and a healthy body will manufacture the longer chain fatty acids from the shorter chain fatty acids. However, the rate of transformation varies by individual and with age.

As we age, our ability to make the long chain omega-3s, like DHA, from the short chain omega-3s in plant foods, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and greens, may decline. And so, researchers compared DHA levels to brain volumes in the Framingham study, and lower DHA levels were associated with smaller brain volumes.

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