Not Fueled by Chocolate

As I
slide
towards
another birthday,
I am reminded that
increasing age diminishes
my ability to shed those
extra pounds that cluster
around the part of my body
that makes me look like
a pear.

An unfortunate side effect of getting older is that it is getting harder to maintain anything remotely resembling an hour glass figure.

A brisk thirty minute walk in the morning and forty-five minutes at the gym after lunch just isn’t enough exercise to make my clothes feel ‘less snug’. I’ve been forced to cut calories too, starting with the ultimate sacrifice – no dark chocolate snacks until the pudginess is brought into submission again. For some indefinite amount of time, my blog writing will Not Be Fueled by Chocolate.’

There are any number of articles and advertisements that suggest how to lose weight (many are for bogus diets or are designed to drain your bank account), but it is only in the last few years that researchers have identified how our body fat makes us fat. With the rise in obesity and diabetes, researchers have had increased incentive to investigate how fat cells work.

It has now been suggested that the number of fat cells in our bodies increases from infancy into our early twenties. After that age, we keep the same number of fat cells throughout our lives. Gaining or losing weight does not affect the number of fat cells.

Fat cells do many good, important jobs besides being able to store a lot of energy in a small space. Unfortunately, when we take in more calories than we burn by exercise, the extra calories make the fat cells larger.

Scientists now say that our bodies have THREE kinds of fat cells: white ones, brown ones and beige ones. White fat stores extra energy. Brown and beige fat cells burn chemical energy to create heat.

Brown fat is present in most adults, but adults with more brown fat are generally slimmer than those without. (That explains that skinny friend who doesn’t exercise and can eat whatever they like.) Unfortunately, as we age, the heat production ability of brown fat cells decreases. This causes a natural increase in weight.

Beige and brown fat activation are both triggered by exercise. Combined with a decrease in calories, this is still the best way to shrink fat cells.

Scientists are hopeful, though, that they can find other ways to enhance the function of brown and beige fat cells or cause white fat to turn into brown fat. They have evidence that exposure to cold temperatures (16 degrees C) triggers beige and brown fat activation, but they continue to search for the ‘silver bullet’ that could be the game changing treatment for diabetes and obesity.

Other interesting facts about fat and weight:
– a single study published in the journal ‘Obesity’ showed that a year after liposuction removed fat, the fat came back, but not in the areas it was removed from. An increased fat appearance was observed in the upper abdomen, shoulders and the back of the arms.
– about 10 percent of your fat cells die and are replaced each year.
don’t diet – think instead about how to satisfy your hunger for fewer calories. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. (Eat less chocolate…)
exercise (aerobic and strength training) – the more you do, the more calories are burned. The largest muscles (and therefore the largest calorie burners) are in the thighs, abdomen, chest, and arms.
one size does not fit all, so to speak. Researchers are trying to understand why one person may lose weight faster or slower than another, even when they eat the same diet and do the same exercise.
– the set-point theory of metabolism may be a myth. Studies suggest that if we lose weight, our metabolism shifts to a normal rate for that new weight.
walking for 30 minutes most days of the week, is as effective as a structured exercise done three to five days a week.
“low-fat” or “fat-free” food is not necessarily low calorie food. A bunch of low-fat cookies might have more calories than one or two regular cookies.

With that, I’ll go have a carrot…

Do share – are you an hour-glass, a banana, a strawberry, an apple or a pear shaped person?

Canadian Snowbirds – Renewing a Prescription Drug in Arizona

The fountain in Fountain Hills Arizona – on St Patrick’s Day. the water is tinted green.

Good News for Canadian Snowbirds! If you are going to run out of a prescription drug before you can get back to Canada, there could be a way you can get it refilled.

Take the remaining medication to a local Urgent Care (Primary Care Walk-in) Centre (we used the one nearest  to us, in Fountain Hills Arizona). Be sure the medication is in the original container with the label from the pharmacy that filled your prescription.

The Doctors or Nurse Practitioners will give you a similar check-up to what your doctor at home would do before renewing your prescription. There will, of course, be a fee for this service.

The prescription will be sent to a pharmacy of your choice for pick-up the next day.

Totally unrelated to this topic – I’ve edited the following popular Snowbird joke that circulates in emails. I made it an Alberta/Arizona joke instead of Minneapolis/Florida (though it is rather far fetched to think someone would choose to honeymoon in Arizona…)

An Alberta couple decided to go to Arizona to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Calgary and flew to Phoenix on Thursday. His wife would fly down the following day. The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an e-mail to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her e-mail address, and without realizing his error, sent the e-mail.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband’s funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack. The widow decided to check her e-mail since she was expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted. The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:

To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I’ve Arrived
Date: November 18, 2004

I know you’re surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send e-mails to your loved ones. I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
PS. Sure is freaking hot down here.
– Original Author Unknown –

The 2017 Alberta Flu Bug Arrives at my Door

purple monsterI shall take you to bed and have my way with you. I will make you ache, shake, and sweat until you moan and groan. I will make you beg me to stop! When I am finished you will be weak for days. Sincerely, The Flu.

I’ve been getting an Annual Flu shot since 2003, and up until now I have been flu-free. My luck ran out last Monday. I woke up feeling awful – fever, chills, whole body muscle pain,  intense fatigue, a cough, and skin so sensitive I could hardly stand to wear clothes. All these symptoms pointed to a flu virus.

The flu, in a nutshell:
At First I was afraid I was gonna die.
Now I’m afraid I won’t.
– Author Unknown –

For 3 days I shuffled from bed to couch and back to bed. By Day 4, the whole body symptoms had receded, but site specific rashes and inflammations popped up. I felt well enough, though, to get out of bed and go see the Doctor. He confirmed I had the flu. He pointed out that if I had consulted him earlier, he could have prescribed a flu medication to reduce the symptoms.  I pointed out that I would have consulted him earlier if his office had been mid way between my bed and the couch!

The very first blog post I wrote in November 2009 was about the H1N1 Flu (Swine flu), which had been declared a global flu pandemic.  The strain of influenza sweeping through Alberta this season is Influenza A H3N2, but with a twist. It was able to mutate over the course of a single flu season, which meant the effectiveness of my vaccine was decreased. The vaccine should have lessened the severity of the flu and hastened my recovery time, though. Other factors that affect the course of the flu are age, general heath, underlying medical conditions, immune system, nutrition, mental outlook and support systems.

Speaking of support systems, I have to thank The Car Guy for being Mr. Mom this past week; my Doctor, who, so far, has always erased my worst fears; and the pretty spring daffodils that are popping up in my yard… and Tim’s Iced Capps… and chocolate.

I’m also thankful this was the Alberta flu, not the Arizona flu. Or worse yet, the ‘in transit between Arizona and Alberta’ flu.

What is the difference between Bird Flu and Swine Flu?
For Bird Flu you need tweetment and for Swine Flu you need oinkment.
– SMSQuotesimage.com –

Have you ever had the flu? Do you get a flu shot?