Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

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I watched the unveiling of the Slimpossible Season 4 contestants. There were 10 men and 11 women. I commend the organisers for making the show livelier. This was one of the things I thought needed to be done. They used to be so serious! This time, the contestants had short video clips introducing themselves and in the unveiling show, they came onto the catwalk dancing  and generally making fun.
The contestants seem younger than in previous years, and quite heavy. One guy was even 176 kilos (388 pounds), but he seemed rather tall, so maybe he was not as far from his ideal weight as some of the others who weighed less.

The “weigh” he was Camp America commandant los...

The “weigh” he was Camp America commandant loses more than 50 pounds with help from friends Army Sgt. 1st Class Danny Carreras, Sgt. 1st Class Guillermo Santiago and Master Sgt. Orlando Negron of Headquarters and Headquarters Company of 525th Military Police Battalion, walk as part of a daily exercise routine to promote health and lose weight. – JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Spc. David McLean (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the auditions, there was a lady of 20 who weighed 100 or 101 kilos. She was with her mother who weighed, 97 kilos. No, it’s not genetics, it’s bad eating habits taught by mother to daughter.

This season also had a Doctor who weighed 120kg (264 pounds). At 41, he was the oldest competitor. His wife won last season of Slimpossible. I did not watch the final episode of the last season, but I later saw or heard comments that the husband of the lady who had won was quite big himself. So he showed up this year and became one of the competitors. I felt this was inappropriate. After winning the competition last year, could the wife not simply apply the things she learnt during the competition in her own home and help the husband lose weight? And doesn’t a doctor know how to lose weight? But maybe he is not a medical doctor.

Also at the auditions, there was a guy in his thirties, I think, who weighed 127 kg. He said he had had three heart attacks due to his weight. He also said that ‘surprisingly’ his weight kept going up. Surprisingly? The show host, Lilian Muli-Kanene,  said the guy had not been cleared by the medical team to take part in Slimpossible 4.

Losing weight really is not a complex thing.  In fact, when you weigh 127 kg (and you are not commensurately tall or muscular) you only really need to do only one thing. Yes, ONE: change your eating habits. Eat less of certain things and replace them with better things.

If you are not grossly overweight, then you can add exercise to improve your fitness and health and also to lose weight faster. Now, of course there are those who say that there are psychological factors behind eating habits and so on. If that is so, then get the relevant help and start eating properly.

Anyway, I am happy that the Slimpossible has been made more lively.
I am happy that men have now been included in the competition, so that weight loss is not made to look like it’s something for women only.
I am happy that there is a Kenyan TV show encouraging weight loss.

Some stats:

Lightest female: 101.6 kg (224 lb)
Heaviest female: 158.2 kg (348 lb)
Average weight, females: 126.9 kg (279 lb)

Lightest male: 110.3 kg (243 lb)
Heaviest male: 176 kg (387 lb)
Average weight, males: 132.9 kg (292 lb)

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I got to watch another episode of Slimpossible Season 3, that I talked about here. There were a number of interesting things in this episode.

First, this time, there was no recorded weight gain. In fact, all the contestants lost weight. In the previous two episodes, there had been cases of no weight loss or even some of weight gain! A friend of mine had argued that the weight increase may have been due to muscle gain, but I really doubted that for three reasons:

  • First, gaining muscle is not something so simple, that an overweight person who has only recently started exercising can do. If it was, many more people would be muscular.
  • Secondly, from the exercises we are shown the contestants doing and from the diet tips we have been shown, muscle gain was highly unlikely, especially a lady gaining half a kilo of muscle in a week.
  • Third, one of the contestants said she got injured and had presumably slackened in their exercising, and had therefore gained weight.

This week, the ladies the ladies all lost weight, and the show host made mention of that. I think one of them had lost as much as 2.5 kilos in a week. I later wondered if the weighing scale at the studio had been tampered with, to save the image of the show.

Secondly, when this season started, the host had said the competition was to last 12 weeks. This is now the 13th week, and there was no mention of a finale. I wondered if the extension was done to allow the contestants to actually lose weight, this being a weight loss programme and all. Maybe the counting was interrupted by the London Olympics.

The third thing was that there were some ladies from previous seasons who were invited to Friday’s show. They weighed in as well, and one of them allegedly weighed 65 kilos. My wife and I really doubted this figure, based on our visual assessment of the lady in question and a comparison with people we know who weigh around 65 kilos.

Fourth, I noted that this time there were no diet tips for viewers at home. In at least one previous episode, they showed a sample allegedly healthy breakfast which included tea with added sugar. There was no mention of restricting the amount of added sugar. Maybe it should have been no surprise that the contestants were gaining weight.

Fifth, as the programme was ending on Friday, they listed what the competition winners would get. There was no mention of the prize money that had been publicised earlier on and that was there in at least the previous season.


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I was pleased to catch the unveiling of the final seventeen contestants of Season 3 of Citizen TV’s Slimpossible. Not surprisingly, the ladies were weighty! Sadly, a few were quite young – one was even 18! There was a 120kg mother of two and another mother of six who said she had been told that unless she lost weight, she would not live more than two years more. She weighed 142kg.

At some point, I wanted to know approximately how much weight was being borne by whatever the ladies were siting on. I had been writing down their weights as they stepped on the weighing scale on the studio. So I calculated their average weight, and it came to 108kg. Let’s contemplate that for a few moments. 108kg. Per person. And this was an average, meaning that for the one who weighed 90.5 kilos, others had to carry her share of the 17 or so kilos between her and the average. At the point I finished my initial calculation, there were 14 ladies who had weighed in. Two more came in, weighing 105 and 111 kilos respectively, so the average weight stayed neatly the same.

Then came Naomi. You could see that she was too wide for her height. I actually thought, these are the people who change survey results. The figures were going to be altered. Mathematical figures, that is. Well, hopefully the bodies of the contestants as well, but not right away. Naomi said she had been trying to lose weight because of various problems. She was asked, like the ladies before her, to step on the weighing scale. The figures on the screen counted. 96, 99, 103, 107… It finally stopped at a whopping 158 kilos. Let us put that in some perspective. The sixteen ladies before, averaged 108kilos. Sixteen ladies, remember. Naomi came in, and, mathematically speaking, it is like she gave 3 kilos to each of the sixteen ladies  before her, telling them “Here, 108 kilos is not enough, take 3 more,” and then remained with 3 kilos for herself. She single-handedly changed the average weight of the group of seventeen to 111kilos. Good thing she was here to lose weight. I expect to see more of her around. Well, less and less of her. Ok, both more and less of her.

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Eat Food – 001

I wrote earlier this week that I would write 104 posts between this week and December 2012. I counted and numbered that post as the first one. A friend of mine responded and said that that was a (clever?) way of wasting one post. Her possible implication was that, I was resorting to trickery to fill my quota of posts. That I was anticipating difficulty in writing the intended number of posts, and was thus just writing something in order to count one off. She is a good friend of mine so she knew she could get away with such thinly veiled accusations. Well, just to please others who may harbour such thoughts, and to remove all doubt, I will ignore that earlier post, for purposes of counting, and count this one as 001. Before you think that I am repeating the alleged trick and writing another pointless post, let me get on with this.
“Look at that!” Absalom said.
Davis glanced at Absalom and saw that his attention was on the TV across the living room. There was a show on about an overweight woman. She weighed about 400 kilos. Her weight was becoming a threat to her life. She was to undergo one of those operations to reduce her stomach size.
“Maybe it is genetics that cause such weight” Davis said.
“Maybe,” Absalom replied, “but I think it is just food.”
A doctor on the show addressed this question.
“How do you get this way?” he asked on behalf of the audience.
“You eat yourself this way,” he answered.
“See!” Absalom said.
“That woman weighs 400 kilos!” Davis said. “I weigh about 75 kilos. So she weighs more than five of me!”
“Yup! Can you imagine!”
“How does someone eat that much?” Davis said, lifting to his mouth the calabash of porridge that he was holding with both hands.

“Well,” said Absalom, using a word that usually meant that he was choosing his words as he spoke, “it’s not merely a matter of eating. It’s also what you eat.”
Davis said nothing.
“I read something on the Web,” Absalom continued, “some guy called Michael Pollan or something like that said ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.'”
Davis laughed. “Kwani what else do people eat, if not food? Unless they are facing starvation, in which case such advice would not be applicable.”
“The guy argues that nowadays people eat ‘food products’. Man-made things. He was addressing an American audience, but it still applies to us to a certain extent”
“Which food products are these?”
“An obvious one would be something like soda. It is man-made. It does not occur in nature. And it makes you fat. Processed food generally.”
“So I should not be having this porridge because your wife made it? It is woman-made. It does not occur in nature.”
“Yes and no. Some people argue against consuming grains. They say the human digestive system has not evolved to process grains. Only food that hunter-gatherer communities could find in nature. But being a Bible-believer, I would not go that far, since the Israelites ate bread and so on.”
“You said Yes and No. What is the No part?” Davis said, sipping his porridge, undeterred.
“The No part is that the porridge has undergone very little processing. Just some grinding and addition of water and heating,
as opposed to breakfast cereal, cornflakes, for example, that has things added to it to achieve a certain texture and taste. You can barely recognise it as maize. To put it simply, some people say that if you cannot say ‘I am eating dash’ to your grandmother and she knows what you are talking about, then you should not eat it.”
Davis put his hand to his ear as if he was talking on telephone. “Grandma, I am eating a banana! I am eating meat! I am eating deep-fried chicken with chips!” he said.
The two laughed.

“So why should we not eat processed food? Si it has been calculated to give us optimum nutrition?”
“It has been calculated to give the manufacturers profits, and to just comply with regulation, and to capitalise on your assumptions. These people who advertise are in business. They want to make a dollar. So if you have been led to believe that fat is bad for you, they will make food that they can say is ‘fat-free,’ or ‘sugar-free’ but they may add other things so that the ‘food’ still tastes good to you.”
“Eh!” Davis said, setting down the empty calabash. “Are you implying fat is not bad?”
“Not necessarily. I found it interesting the number of times the Maasai are cited on web sites regarding nutrition and stuff.
The Maasai traditionally live on meat and milk. Red meat at that. And they are fine and lean. Eskimos apparently live on fish
and seals, that are quite fat. And they are fine. Without vegetables, since vegetables don’t grow in the North pole.”

“This conversation is becoming wider than I expected. Let us narrow it down” Davis said. “Question: What should we eat?”
“Let me say something before I answer that directly. You know like we were taught in school that carbohydrates give us energy? When you consume carbohydrates or sugar and you do not spend energy, then the carbohydrates are stored as fat. So if you sit around watching TV or Facebooking and taking soda, you will grow fatter and fatter. So now, to answer your question, we should generally eat protein to build our bodies, fats, and enough carbohydrates for our normal energy expenditure. If you spend little energy, then eat less carbohydrates. If you exercise regularly, then eat enough to power your exercises. Too much carbohydrates will simply make you fat. And unneeded sugar from soda and biscuits etc will also just make you fat.”
“So you are saying I should just eat meat, fruits, vegetables and some bread if I want to inua machuma*,” said Davis, standing.
“Well, yes, but I would not say bread. I think you actually get some carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables as well, which could suffice. Avoid putting things in your body that your body does not need. They will make you fat and/or unwell.”
“Let me go home and see what hopefully natural food my wife has prepared,” said Davis as he turned towards the door.
Absalom’s attention was on the TV again.
Davis looked. The overweight woman had undergone the surgery, but had died of a heart attack a few days later. She was just under 30.
* inua machuma – Swahili. Literally, ‘lift metals’. To pump iron.

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