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What can snooker tell us about obesity? Yes, it might actually have health benefits part two

If you haven’t already Read Part one of this three part series.

Snooker is physically a much more accessible sport than most others. Few people cannot play pool or snooker. That’s a very good thing because many who struggle with their weight do so because they can’t relate to the role models out there. In snooker I just see normal guys. Not superfit athletes pounding the pavement but guys walking around a table and standing around most of the day.

In part two I look at just why snooker could help you understand how to create a calorie deficit through normal life.

Weight Loss: Losing weight is like paying off a loan: part two

In part one I introduced the idea that excess weight is energy loaned to you representing a debt you have to pay off. So you could learn from your experiences of paying off other loans and debts. The question being what works for you. You are who you are so you need to work with what you have.

I can already see some interesting insights coming out of this analysis but I, and I expect you, don’t have the time to fully explore them now. What I wanted to explore is the mindset that works for you in paying off debts. My experience tells me that I must live my life while paying my debts. If I focus too hard on paying my debts and stop having a life then I’m not happy.

Being unhappy for too long is it’s own problem and a form of debt. If I’m happy I can put up with the challenges of debt, even over years and decades. So finding ways to be happy while I pay my debts is where I should put most of my effort. It’s a challenge with a real worthwhile end. Something that is motivating in itself because the result is a smile on my face and more laughing through the day.

This in essence is my roundabout way of considering weight loss plans and approaches. I’m not a fan at all of the fanatical diet and trying to lose the weight of an elephant in two minutes. I’d rather feel that I enjoyed putting the weight on so I’m damn well going to enjoy losing it. I’ll definitely learn something while I lose the weight, That way I won’t fear gaining it next time. I will be in charge.

Seeing the weight as a debt may help you transfer your learning from dealing with financial debts to dealing with energy debts and weight loss. It will also remind you that you probably do well at things you joy primarily because you want to do them and so you do them regularly, maybe over years. So you may also notice that regular payments are the best way to pay of long term debts. Having fun in between ensures you keep up the payments not matter how hard they are to deliver.

I hope this helps in some way. Let me know what you think. Is debt a good metaphor? it feels right.

What can snooker tell us about obesity? Yes, it might actually have health benefits part one

Snooker is probably the last sport that you would consider to be in any way healthy, let alone teach you anything weight loss or how it prevent obesity. I was so surprised myself when I realised something very basic about snooker.

I cannot name a single snooker number one or world champion that had serious trouble with their weight during their triumphs.

Find out why I think this happens and how it can help you in part one of What can snooker tell us about obesity over on my other blog the competitive urge.

Weight Loss: Losing weight is like paying off a loan: part one

Ok, this is a chance to have, hopefully a little fun by looking at the challenge of weight loss from a different angle. My career has been about solving problems. I’m in IT so that’s basically the deal. So when I come across a particularly difficult challenge that I haven’t conquered yet I’ve learnt that approaching the challenge from a different angle can make all the difference. A change is as good as a rest they say 🙂

So here I am just giving you a chance to think differently about weight loss to see what insights, motivation and support you can get from it.

While walking my dog last night I struck upon the idea that losing weight can be compared to paying off a big loan because

  • It takes a long time.
  • You need to set up a payment plan with regular payments
  • You have to learn to trust your payment plan and forget about it otherwise you go crazy
  • The more you pay off the loan each time the faster it gets paid off

The value here is that it allows you to think about your weight loss in a different way. The only long term success I have had is through managing the pressure and stress the challenge presents. Big debts only get paid off if you suddenly get a windfall or if you diligently pay them off over time.

For you your weight represents a loan of energy so it’s like an energy debt you’ve got to pay back. Size is relative so some debts get paid off sooner, some later. Smaller debts take say a month, 6 months or a year to pay off. Larger ones take a few years and really big ones like your mortgage take decades.

Think about how you pay each of these debts off. Some you might put a specific effort in and pay them off early because the end is in sight. A month or two of effort or less will do it or will take such a chunk out of the debt it was worth it. Smaller debts fit this category. Larger debts don’t really work like that. You have to accept they’re going to take a long time. Simply because you’ve got to get on with your life in between.

Larger debts require that you have a life in between. If you don’t then you have nothing to distract you from the debt and how it is getting in your way. It might not even bother you but everyone else might keep reminding you about it or you keep finding things you can’t do because you have less spare cash or in terms of weight, spare energy.

In part two I will consider this metaphor in a little more depth. Let me know what you think so far. Is this an interesting metaphor and does it help you see how you can tackle your weight?

Caffeine and migraine: Report: Today it has made me nervous!!!

Just a quick report.

Yesterday I tried having two teaspoons of coffee instead of one. Not a huge change for most people but a lot for me. Oh, and it was normal coffee not decaf. I’ve moved on a long way in my tolerance this past year.

I can’t help but notice how tense I have been since yesterday. Totally abnormal for me. This has been a really relaxing weekend with the Australian Open on just sorting out the house and chilling.

My pulse is faster than normal, my stomach feels like it almost has a knot in it. No matter what I do to relax the feeling is still there. I’ve tried a little meditation, seen a film at the cinema and also distracted myself with house stuff. Normally that’s plenty to let me relax. Even a nice lay in this morning had no effect.

I also felt more tired than normal by the evening yesterday. Needing a little cola to perk me up. That is not me at all. I rarely flag later in the day unless I have a really busy day and at the end of a busy week. I shouldn’t feel like that this weekend, it’s been particularly relaxing and stress free.

Though the feelings I have been having are common when I have when I have more caffeine than usual and are why I want to build up my tolerance. I just felt I should record this to compare with next time and see if it’s a trend. These symptoms reflect what I hear caffeine though I may have misunderstood or remembered the symptoms of excess caffeine incorrectly so I want to check my facts. Overall I want to understand what good and bad things caffeine can do.

I see it as a tool to train your nervous system. Overload it, but it isn’t without risks and I’m not in favour of using chemicals to achieve results. So often the risks out weight the benefits. I build my tolerance to caffeine so that it doesn’t affect me like it is right now. Though I don’t want to increase my dose forever. I just want to find out the balance that’s right for me.


Nurturing The Brain – Part I, Caffeine: A useful summary of what caffeine is and how it effects the brain.


Tackling Diabetes through exercise

At university I learnt how much exercise can do for Diabetes, particularly Type II. Since then I have spent a lot of time researching further to really understand the topic. It just sounds too good to be true.

The great thing is that all the evidence backs up what I learnt. Since then I’ve been searching for the best way to share what I have found. My blog seems the best way.

What is diabetes

In Greek Diabetes means sweet urine because the main sympton is an inability to control blood sugar levels. This is because the cell mechanisms for regulating blood sugar have been disrupted.

In type 1 diabetes this is because your body can’t produce insulin. Insulin helps regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. So an inability to produce insulin leads to an inability to control sugar levels. The only treatment is injections of insulin.

The most common form of Diabetes, Type 2, is a disease of our modern sedentary lifestyles because our bodies have developed insulin resistance. Meaning that they can produce insulin but the cells of the body no longer respond correctly to it. Disrupting our ability to control blood sugar. Many people have this condition without even knowing because it develops slowly over many years.

Listening to Radio 5 live (10th Feb 2014) I heard details about Diabetes in the UK. The problems of Diabetes include:

  • 100 amputations a week
  • leading cause of renal failure
  • leading cause of blindness

This is why it is so important to understand Diabetes and how to prevent it.

The value of activity in preventing problems is highlighted by a conversation with a patient. She asked her doctor what to do if sugar levels are high? Here doctor advised that she go for a walk.

Doctors could prescribe medicines but these all have side effects. The beauty of walking is that it is natural.

How does exercise help?

The main story of how exercise helps with diabetes is explained in Heart disease and diabetes: Move out of their way: This is a key article linking coronary heart disease (CHD), Diabetes and insulin resistance and explains in depth how diabetes causes damage to the body and how exercise fixes the problem.

Diabetes type II is primarily about insulin resistance. So the key question is Can you reverse insulin resistance

diabetes type 2 is conisidered a self inflicted disease. Brad thompson of oncolytics explains that type 2 diabetes is nothing to do with genetics and everything to do with lifestyle. That’s what is clear these days. Brad is an expert in micro biology and cell dynamics so he explains the issue very well.

The benefits of exercise tie in to the effect of physical inactivity on disease worldwide  and the pandemic of physical inactivity

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Useful reading

I have found so much useful information it seemed wrong to hide it.

Useful references

A good night of sleep is like hosing down your filthy brain

Why animals sleep remains one of the enduring mysteries of biology, but new research suggests the primary reason might be to allow cerebrospinal fluid to wash all the gunk out from between your brain cells.

Read more

The researchers interpretation is that this is literally a cleaning process after a busy day. I would wonder if it’s also a restocking process. Clearing out the clutter from the brain cells but also providing fresh nutrients and items not so easily replaced while the brain is in use.

I just found a TED presentation that describes this research even further and exploring the idea I suggested.

Jeff Iliff: One more reason to get a good night’s sleep

The question of course is how to get good quality sleep? I get the impression from the presentation that new drugs will be the solution but why not just use movement in your daily life to improve the quality of your sleep.

How to exercise more in normal life. Toddlers and Ikea

Visiting Ikea

Visiting Ikea

So I just want to be more active in general but most decisions now involve a toddler!! Big challenge huh. Being active is in some ways easier because he keeps you on your toes all the time. The problem is getting anything useful done. He’s at that stage where he needs a lot of attention, is very inquisitive and constantly wants you to do stuff.

At the same time my wife and I have been talking about things we want to do to our home. It’s great having ideas but it just adds a ton more stuff to do doesn’t it. So last night we tried to get a bunch of things done all in one event and it turned out really well.

The things we wanted to achieve were:

  • Get some ideas for the lounge
  • Have a nice cheap meal out
  • Have a change of scenery, don’t stay at home all the time
  • Do a bunch more walking and moving than usual
  • Free up our weekends for fun stuff

In all it was a really good experience and broke up the week. Too often we just go home, cook dinner and put the little one to bed. A good normal routine but dull. Just being out of the house made things more interesting for us and more fun for him and saves his toys at home for another day so he doesn’t tire of them or of being at home.

During our visit we saw a bunch of useful things to give us ideas. We didn’t buy anything because that wasn’t the point and our little man loved it too. He kept trying out the beds and pretending to go to sleep, was he trying to tell us something :-). and it was a lot of fun chasing him round the store to wear him out.



Dinner was actually really good too. I’ve eaten at IKEA a couple of times but I had forgotten what the food was like and for the price I was quite impressed mainly because it was different than you get anywhere else. I had salmon and spinach lasagne which is kinda nice for like £2.50 or something. Nate, our little one, loved it because he had cool pasta shapes with a little sauce. My wife had gravy with her meal and he loved dipping chips into that and it was so much less fuss feeding him out of the house than it can be at home. We also sat next to their play area in case he wanted to take a break.

So we achieved all we wanted and during a week night so we didn’t have to leave this all to the weekend and freed up some time for fun instead. We’re obviously lucky to live in a city with an IKEA but it’s not the only time we’ve done this kind of thing. Garden centres like Frosts are good too but the food there is a lot more expensive.

You notice how I didn’t talk about the walking and exercise. It’s all we did but we didn’t notice it either which was the point. The idea was to Get stuff done, live your life, have fun and use the activity that comes with it with no extra effort or time needed. As a result we saved time and energy instead of creating more work.

I bet you do the same kind of thing so feel free to tell me about it. Maybe you can give me some more ideas I can try out and it always helps to have more options.

Weight loss: Avoid empty experiences. Make the most of each experience.

One specific thing I have changed is a focus on being in the moment more. I am a confessed workaholic always on the go. Previously I often rushed meals not really noticing what I was eating. So often I would pick something that filled me up instead of something that tasted good. I focused on quantity over quality.

These days I make sure I take time each day to properly enjoy food or anything else fun. I didn’t realise before but my brain can only process so much information at once. Taste and other sensations are just part of the information the brain can process. If there is too much information flowing around these simple information like this can get loss in all the noise just like anything else.

So I tried an experiment to see if I could really appreciate a meal while also reading something interesting like Facebook. I found I couldn’t because I was too distracted by reading. I could enjoy strong flavoured foods, generally fast food type stuff but not the really special stuff with more subtle flavours. What I also found is that if I didn’t appreciate the taste and sensation of the meal then it felt like I hadn’t eaten at all. To the point that I was still hungry.

My stomach might not have been crying out for food but my mind was because it was expecting some food based entertainment. So I reach for a biscuit, get another drink or pop to the shop for food even though I had already eaten a full meal.

This got me thinking. Is it then possible to completely forget a meal? So I carried on doing the normal things I do at the same time as eating. True enough I started to notice times when I couldn’t remember whether I had eaten. I was not yet hungry but the meal time had passed. You know that situation when you weigh up whether you will be really hungry if you don’t eat. I checked with my wife what I had eaten. Even when she reminded me of the meal I had enjoyed including a whole pizza I couldn’t remember the experience of eating it all. It was my favourite pizza as well but I had rushed eating it. Paying no attention. I felt like I had been robbed of a special moment. It seemed weird but I felt empty.

Food does have a special place in my heart. But now I was in that unhappy place where I couldn’t or shouldn’t eat anything more. I had eaten plenty but I felt empty because I couldn’t remember it. I had the urge all night for more. I paid attention to breakfast I can tell you. That was a special meal that day 🙂

Experiences like these remind me to make sure I experience my food and other special moments because they really are good for my soul as well as my body. This small change has made a huge difference. I can really feel just how much it helps me to enjoy my food more and as a consequence, eat less.

So tell me am I alone or have you experienced this yourself or anything like it? Does paying more attention to your meal help you enjoy it more and maybe crave less extra food?