Posts Tagged ‘health’

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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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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