Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I put some of this in my BeginnerTriathlete blog and it got A LOT of agreement...granted, that is a site full of triathletes. So, I got HUGELY irritated at two issues I saw on TV, one yesterday, and one this morning. Yesterday I was getting on my bike trainer to ride cause it was raining outside. I turned on the TV to find something to watch while I pedaled away. Well, what was on as soon as I turned it on, the Rachel Ray show with Whoopi Goldberg as the guest. They were discussing the concept of a "Fat Tax" where workers must pay more their health coverage if they are obese. They hardly spent any time on it, and I'm not going to discuss the fat tax here, BUT, I found some of the comments of the two HUGELY ignorant, inaccurate. Watch it for yourself HERE, but the highlights that caught me to just lose it were these comments:

"Sometimes if people are eating the wrong food it's cause they don't have the money to buy the right ones." Whoopi Goldberg

"People don't understand that obesity is sometimes the only option for people...they can't afford broccoli and fresh fruits and vegetables. Government should be spending time to make good food more affordable for all of us." Rachel Ray

Interestingly enough, I was headed to the grocery store that afternoon, and I checked out the costs of some of the veggies and fruits, to include fresh, frozen, dried, and canned. I looked at the prices of canned beans, dried pasta, rices, and chicken (skinless). I then checked out the things like frozen pizza, potato chips, cupcakes, ice cream, store bought cookies, pre-made "meals" (frozen boxes and bags) and fruit snacks. GUESS WHAT FOLKS, you get MORE for your money when you buy the HEALTHY STUFF...truly you do. You forgo the twinkies, and you can get a whole 2lbs of bananas. You leave the frozen pizza and whip up some chicken, beans, and rice or some whole grain pasta and veggies, and you get more. The idea that "obesity" is the "only option" is so bogus, disgusting, and a cop out that I would love to debate Rachel Ray in person on it. The American Obesity Epidemic is caused because Americans are addicted to refined foods and fast food. They are more willing to wait in a 1/2 hour long fast food line than take the 10 minutes needed to cut up some veggies, put 'em on a tray and broil them for all of 10 minutes till they are ready to eat. The pure liquid, sugar calories that adults and kids pour into their bodies in the form of soft drinks and "gourmet" coffee are making them fat and more addicted to refined sugar. The trans fat and high calorie meals that the fast-food industry eagerly hands over for more cash than what it would cost for one to make something healthy themselves is clogging America's arteries, causing heart attacks, causing Type II adult-onset diabetes in adults and children alike, and leaves people winded doing just the simple chores of life. LAZINESS and lack of SELF-DISCIPLINE, not lack of money, is, in my opinion, the root of the American obesity problem. Americans have choices...and, as the Crusader in Indiana Jones and the Search for the Holy Grail said to the bad guy who picked the ornate and flashy grail from which to drink, "You chose...poorly" and death followed. Luckily for him, his death was quick. It won't be for those that do not choose to eat healthy and exercise.

Second part of the rant. This morning I saw this article featured on FOX News about how studies have shown that obese 10-year olds have the arteries of a 45-year old and how they are showing signs of pre-mature aging. It was such a sad article....and in its closing the author writes "The time has come to seriously deal with the issue of childhood obesity and physical inactivity on a governmental and parental level." I least at the parental level (not a big fan of growing governmental regulation in everything). It must be addressed. What got me MAD was that the lady discussing it with the Fox News reporter, and not mentioned in the article, was that the answer was prescription DRUGS...she even said that we're seeing that "diet and exercise" are not enough. Did she quote a study for that?? NO. Come on, let's look at history...before we knew about all of the evils of this that or the other (and so much of it didn't even exist), kids weren't stuck just in front of the TV and video games. Competitive sports were encouraged, even if a kid lost--no "self-esteem" or "PC" issues (maybe it explains why the new generation of kids are more "depressed" as they get older--they never lost, then they meet the real world and found out that losing is part of it). Kids played kick the can, "Cowboys and Indians," and pickup basketball, and football. Now they do the same thing, don't they? Sure...just with a Wii...
I think, of all the aspects of the obesity epidemic, the children is the most sad and infuriating. I see children all the time that are 10 or under and weight more than I do. They waddle when they walk, and most of the time they're sucking down a coke or Mom and Dad are handing them a burger. Did you know that a McDonald's Happy Meal will not mold or be eaten by bugs if left for, oh, 2-3 years? It looks exactly the same--just hard...nothing touches do I know. My Mom has one she uses as an example for health fairs she does and in promotion for a healthy way to get your full day's worth of NATURAL vitamins (Juice Plus+, <--click for more info). That Happy Meal she has still "looks" happy--hasn't changed AT ALL, minus hard. And she lives in Houston, if it's going to mold, it will mold there, if it's going to get bugs, it'll get bugs there. My brother left some food in his closet in High School and was invaded by THOUSANDS if not MILLIONS of fruit flies or ants...but did they touch the open McDonald's bag...not a chance. And people eat that? They feed it to their kids? If nature won't touch it, chances are, we probably shouldn't. Parents are fully responsible for setting their kids up for success in the food realm. Drugs are NOT the answer for normal kids...only for real diseases that were NOT brought on by the obesity in the first place. A healthy diet and regular exercise will do the trick! Play sports, serve up vegetables in a tasty, but fun way (and covered in cheese doesn't equal "fun" it equals "FAT"). It is terrible that predictions say that many parents will outlive their children because their children are just plain obese. Give the kids a chance, teach them what right looks like, and if later on in life they chose to be a couch potato and eat themselves to death, you did what you could to prevent it...but for right now, set the right example...they may not like you know, but their "self esteem" is going to be better when they can run around and be the star, not waddle around. "Instant" gratification in thinking that we can truly HAVE our cake and EAT it too by maintaining a poor diet, little exercise, and then just pop a pill or have cosmetic surgery done and be fine...not only is this erroneous, it doesn't go at the heart of the issue--one must choose to be healthy.

Health comes in the form of WHOLE food, veggies, fruits, whole grains, and lean meat. It means not touching fried food, ignoring the donut at church, drinking water instead of sodas, and taking some time to buy fresh and cook fresh. I'm single, I'm busy, but I eat healthy, homemade meals for virtually every meal of my day. When my peers are headed to the closest Mexican food restaurant, I'm having a healthy sandwich or wrap, an apple, and some carrots with about 32ozs of water. Takes some planning, but I save MUCH more time by not going out, not to mention money. A healthy life comes by healthy choices and self-discipline...but it also means a long life with fewer boundaries and limits! I WANT to be that 75 year old, spunky old woman running across the finish line at a triathlon or a marathon...I won't be the fastest, but I will be healthy enough to do it and finish smiling. Take that journey with me. Eat healthy, have the sweets in moderation, and structure good solid aerobic and muscular strength exercises within your schedule. If I can train for triathlons, and soon an Ironman, with the job I have--most of you can go for a few mile walk or knock out some push-ups and sit-ups. It's a choice. In the end, it's your choices that matter--not the government regulating you from yourself. . Just remember, choose wisely...sometimes the right "grail" is the most plain and humble, but with it comes long life! (corny analogy, but I like it!) Choose to live healthy and long, or choose to eat yourself to death.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This is going to be an "all over the place" long blog post since I've been horrible at posting lately.
1. Ironman Florida: I got to Florida on Thursday morning. I flew into Pensacola, got a car, and drove to Panama City Beach. It was a nice and scenic drive--so much more green than where I am. I got to condo complex where I was staying with a friend of mine who was racing. She had been at a press conference with the pros because she had raised some significant money for Janus Charity Challenge for cancer research. We linked up, grabbed some lunch, went down to the Ironman Expo...I could feel the excitement of it all. That evening we went to a get together/dinner with several of the folks, and that was enjoyable. The sunset was just awesome and beautiful. It was much cooler than I had expected Florida to be, though. Friday morning we got up and headed down to the Gatorade practice swim and I swam about 1000 meters of the swim course. The water was SO CLEAR compared to the BROWN and GREEN waters of Texas lakes! It was fairly choppy compared to the previous day and how race day would end up. But, I was glad it was choppy as that gave me a good taste of what it can be like out there. Was not disconcerted at all, and it was one less unknown for next year out of the way. I went to a little tri talk with another friend of mine and gleaned some decent information. My friend who was racing got registered for next year and later we got her bike and transition bags checked in and we met up with some friends again. I went to the volunteer meeting that evening and it was unorganized at best. But, I knew when I needed to be the next day, and that's what mattered. Then it was off to bed before race day. On race Saturday I got up with Sue (my friend) to help her take her gear down to transition and get bodymarked. The condo was close enough that we walked back afterwards so she could get her wetsuit on, and then it was back down to the swim start. Once she headed into the corral for the racers I found a spot to watch and saw the pros head out, observed the National Anthem, and then the racers were OFF for their first loop of the two-loop swim. It was awesome to watch the mass start, and the entire time you could see this big massive "school" of swimmers heading out and around the buoys. The excitement in the air was incredible and I cheered for friends of mine as I saw them come out of the first lap and then I made my way to the bike out location so I could cheer on everyone starting the bike. I stayed there till the last racers made it off on the bike. Myself and two of my other friends then linked up to make it out to the out and back part of the course where, with cowbells in hand, we cheered on a great majority of the racers. Throughout all of this I was imagining myself doing it next year! By the time we made it back Sue had already started the run, she was doing great!! I caught some of my other friends coming in off the bike and starting the run as well, it was awesome to cheer for them. We then had a little bit of a break before we would cheer for runners coming into the last lap of the marathon. Sue was doing awesome and then it was time for our volunteer shifts. I got my volunteer wrist band and t-shirt and got directed to the finish line tape where every racer came through. Four of us manned the spot so we had two finish line tapes available to try and have one for every runner. It was amazing to see the smiles, the tears, the elation, the managed pain, and the utter joy as competitors raced across the finish line. Some ran, some walked, some limped, some came with a kid in tow, some where husband and wife racers, and it was awesome. I got to hold the tape for many of my friends, and that was fun!! In fact, the last one to come through at 13:59 for me was my friend Sue! Couldn't have planned it better!! She was elated and had a great time, cutting 2 hours off the first time she did it. A group of us that were her cheering section helped her back. It was a great great day! Too much to capture, but so inspiring and exciting for next year! Great job racers!! The next day was up and early to get registered, and I did it without any second thought!! In fact, today was when I could finalize my registration and it is DONE!

2. Elections. I'm an American Politics major, I can't avoid discussing this issue, though I don't feel like spending entirely too much time on it. Here are my thoughts: I personally am not a fan of the President-Elect. I didn't vote for him and I disagree with his positions. I was an educated voter, not an emotional voter. In the same light, despite my pretty significant disagreements, I will acknowledge the historical significance of it. Race has never been an influence on my voting preferences. It should not be the motivator for any voting preference, against or for a candidate. So, now America is going to get something new. I will not wish failure upon the new administration. That goes against the core of who I am as a patriotic American. The administration fails, we fail. I wish and pray for a prosperous and successful America. To wish failure to make a point that someone was a wrong choice does not benefit. Now, that doesn't mean that when I see what I feel are wrong policy choices that do not benefit America that I won't say something and criticize. But, hate can't be part of it. It irritates me to all get out that some would wish evil and perpetuate hate because their choice didn't win. That is not the way to do it. As a Christian I will pray for the President; I will hold my leaders at all levels accountable and continue to do my civic duty and communicate with both the executive and legislative branches as are my rights as a citizen. Forward momentum is necessary. Forward thinking, forward preparation, and the pursuit of preserving the values and foundation that make us free Americans, that's what I want to do. So, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, don't think you're done with your civic duty. It's only just begun. Continue to raise your voice, continue to demand accountability of our leaders, and continue to educate yourself on the issues that are vital to the nations forward progress, national security, and continued preservation of American freedom.

3. Vet's Day weekend: Phew has it been a busy one!! Friday and Saturday I was in Houston for the Army/Rice football game. Unfortunately Army lost, but they kept it interesting and it was only a one touchdown lost. Sunday was church and dinner with a friend at McCormick and Schmicks in Austin--the restaurant has a generous free meal for veterans, so that was enjoyable. Today has been some recovery from the busy days, but I did get some housecleaning and workouts in the mix!

I will try to be better at posting, but just seem to be quite busy. Next weekend is the San Antonio 1/2 Marathon and I'm looking forward to that being a fun race and time with some good friends!