weight loss

Are home schooled children leaner than traditionally schooled kids?

I saw the article Home schooled children leaner than traditionally schooled kids and just had to share and keep it.

It is just one study but it’s an important consideration. The impact of school on socialisation and health. The study makes clear these results came before the latest health standards were implemented at school but also makes clear the dependence you have on the school system when you’re kids are there.

It’s also important to remember that we haven’t heard the whole story

  • What’s the range and regularity? These are averages 
  • How much leaner? I didn’t see any numbers. 
  • What was classed as traditional
I’m not ripping apart the study. Just something I think of regularly in any study. Every report you get is biased but the bias is always slightly different. You will never get the full story so it’s work thinking a little deeper. 
An interesting question though. 

Why eating while moving can be bad for you?

Building on the idea that it’s not what you eat but the way that you eat it it’s important to explain the reasons why moving while eating can be bad for you. Knowing this can make sure it never is bad for you by empowering you to get all the benefits and not the problems.

Moving around conflicts with Digestion

Besides health and safety reasons like distracting you while doing dangerous things or encouraging you to spill liquids when you are working around high voltages its really an issue of your body finding it hard to move around while digesting food at the same time.


So it’s actually a resourcing issue. Moving requires more oxygen, energy, water and other nutrients which are all delivered in blood. So moving means more blood is delivered around the body. The faster you move and the higher its intensity the more blood that’s required.

Blood supply

The problem is that the stomach is generally the body system that requires the most nutrients and therefore blood. Moving is basically the only thing that requires more blood so these two systems often compete for a limited blood supply. It is why your pulse goes up when you exercise. It’s your bodies way of getting more blood around the body.

The same can happen when you eat, just at a much smaller scale. It’s why you often feel tired after a big meal. All the blood is being diverted to digest the food you ate so less is available.

This is why the most important factor in whether activity is ok or not is the intensity of the activity versus the difficulty of the meal to digest. This is about the size of the meal and type of food eaten.

High intensity exercise is fine when a meal is easy to digest meaning it is:

  • small
  • high in water content
  • low in bran and high fibre foods
  • low in protein
  • preferably liquified like soups, thinner soups preferred

Medium intensity exercise is preferred when your meal is moderately difficult to digest. Things like:

  • bits of softer food like cooked pasta and rice.
  • a medium size meal
  • thicker soups

Low intensity exercise is better when your meal is hard to digest. This includes:

  • a big meal
  • high protein content particularly tough meats like beef
  • lots of hard solid food: not liquified

I can see quickly how these lists can be misinterpreted so I’ll work on them over time. For now I hope their simplicity can be a useful guide. Common sense is always recommended, these details just complement.

Don’t challenge your stomach

The basic idea is that anything that’s a challenge for the digestive system will require more blood from the body. That puts it in conflict with the blood required by the movement system. If the blood required for both digestion and moving is greater than your body can provide then problems arise because one system or both won’t get enough. So either you can’t move as well as you like or your body can’t digest things properly.

The right balance

You must therefore find the right balance with the key being eating foods that are easy for your body to digest. That’s why liquified foods like soups and drinks are so good when you move. Your body just doesn’t have to do so much to digest them because they are already broken down. Reducing the challenge on your digestive system and thus your body and its ability to supply blood.

Stomach pains

Dehydration, whether it is caused by exercise or something else can cause pain while your body digests a meal. Tomorrow I will explain how I have learnt to deal with stomach pains from dehydration

Everyday activities

In two days I will explain how knowing all this helps me enjoy everyday activities more.

How to lose weight: It’s not what you eat but the way that you eat it.

An important reason I find it easy to keep my weight down is because the way that I eat my food is different than those who put weight on. I’ve talked about setting aside specific time to eat and doing nothing else. That’s one way but lots of people do that and I’m not talking about eating up side down either if you thought it would be something silly :-).

What I am talking about is of course something simple that anyone can do but the general advice from experts, until recently is not to do it. They were adamant that it won’t have much impact on weight loss. Have you guessed what it is yet?

The secret

Moving. Yep it’s as simple as that. Walking, dancing, playing. Anything that gets you physically active. Just try and move any chance you get. an obvious idea is to move while you eat, instead of sitting down to eat. Stand or better, move around.

There area  a few gotches though so I’ll go through a little of what I have found in my years of moving while eating. I do it all the time but I’ve spent time learning how to do it right.

I often move while I eat. Sacrilege I know but because I know sports science and know why it can be bad for you I also know how to make it work and get around the bad aspects so it won’t hurt you.

Burn calories while you consume them

The basic advantage of eating while moving when considering weight loss is relatively obvious. If you burn calories while you consume them then you’re obviously having a dent on your energy balance. Though this is no use if it is the only time you move or you move less at other times of the day as a result of moving while eating. The idea is just about increasing the opportunities in your day to burn calories. Make this effortless and the weight will simply come off. Sounds too simple to work but it does for me so why won’t it for you?

Over the years I’ve found so many situations where this works perfectly, complementing my life and even making me appreciate my food more instead of less.

I’ve been doing this for years without problems so I feel ready to share. I just need to explain why it can be bad for you so you can learn how to do it without problems too.

There are a number of reasons why eating on the move could be a problem. Firstly you should know the basics of what eating on the move means to me.

Health and Safety

I only eat while moving slowly and where it won’t be a safety hazard. As silly as it sounds its important to make this point.

Normal rules apply. Use common sense. If I’m doing something potentially dangerous like DIY I don’t technically eat and work at the same time. For example I will do some drilling, stop put the drill down, have a nibble or a drink, put the food or drink down and resume drilling.

I’m pretty safety conscious and I know what I am like when I am busy and follow someone elses instructions I can easily misinterpret things so I feel it’s worth being pretty clear.

What situations?

The main situations I eat while moving are while doing house work, particularly:

  • washing up,
  • loading the dishwasher and washing machine
  • cooking.

Though not while doing things where my hands won’t be clean like

  • hoovering
  • cleaning

I only do certain types of activities when I eat and generally it’s stuff that:

  • has low intensity
  • doesn’t require much thought

Enjoy the experience

That means I can focus most of my attention on my meal and thus fulfil the principle I laid out of setting aside time specifically for eating so you can enjoy the experience.

Kick back

These mundane chores are now a chance for me to kick back and do something I enjoy. My senses tune into the food not the boring task at hand. At the same time I get something done that needs to be done.

Multitask: Don’t add work more to your busy day

This fulfils the next principle of not adding even more work to your day. Quite the opposite. You have now combined tasks, eating and chores and burnt calories in the process. Achieving three tasks for the price of one.

Multitasking. That’s how I roll and why it works. Over time I have found more and more situations where this works and so my life has become easier and easier. Weight loss and the strengthening act of moving is built more and more into my day.

Putting it to work

Thanks for popping by. I hope this helps and please let me know what you do with this information. These points have freed up my life a lot. I just get stuff done and have more time for fun yet I’m much more active throughout the day. Though it’s taken time to figure out how to apply the ideas. Absolutely get in tough if you want to know more.

Want more?

This is the first in a series of posts on weightloss. If you like this then checkout the other articles listed below.

How to exercise more in normal life. Toddlers and Ikea part two

Following up last week’s visit we went back today to get one of the items we saw last week.

It was another good time. Much less effort this time since we knew what we wanted.

I took the stuff to the car and loaded it while my life and little one got their food.

Worked like clockwork really.

  • He was entertained. 
    • He loved it. 
    • He liked their toys in the restaurant. 
    • Once he finished his dinner he had great fun pulling around a truck he found.
  • We got out got stuff done
    • freed up the weekend
    • can build it while watching the Australian Open 🙂
  • Hassle free. 
    • it was virtually empty
    • No queueing
    • Parked right out front.
    • Plenty of seats in the restaurant
It’s not the biggest deal but options like this can really make the difference in a busy week with a toddler. I can see how we can sort out the living room over time without it being a huge chore. 
Of course finding the actual stuff in the Ikea warehouse is the real challenge but that’s just IKEA isn’t it 🙂

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?

Get fit to make the most of every minute

The point of cell your sole is to make you fit enough to chase what makes you happy. It’s also about the reverse. Chasing what you love and finding the activity in it. Let the activity itself make you strong.

Chores have value

You may not love shopping but you might love good food or entertaining others. You do what you can on the web to save time but going out to the shops, walking around and browsing also makes you healthy. So all you have to do is make it fun, even realising that chores like this are good for you and get you where you want to be can motivate you to do them. The point is you’re not adding chores to your life. You’re just using what’s there to maximise your health and your fun.

Find activity in things you love

Even better is when you start to find the activity and movement in the stuff you love. I love tennis. Obviously to play it is being active but watching it can be too. I happily sat in the wimbledon queue waiting for the chance to watch some tennis. It’s more effort than it sounds. I had to

  • get to London
  • then get across to Wimbledon. That’s a ton of walking to and from stations.
  • Then from Wimbledon station to the ground,
  • then all the way to the back of the queue. It’s a suprisingly long way before you even start actually queueing.
  • Queue to get in
  • Then once you get in the grounds the walking doesn’t really stop.

So, most of the time you are either walking or standing. That’s a lot of effort but I’d do it again because it is part of something I love. So I play tennis so I can enjoy more days like these. The rigours of playing prepare me well for the rigours of watching and other trips. In fact I never miss a day of work because I’m lucky enough to be able to play Tennis at work. It doesn’t matter if it’s Snow, sleet or whatever I still like to play. I’m not the only one.

The point is about what you enjoy this much. is it dancing, cooking, gardening, acting, singing. We all have our passions and all passions have activity and movement.

Get fit for days out

It’s the same story for loads of common life events and like visiting theme parks, Gigs, sports events. The great thing is that when you think about it this way you realise that much of the live fun stuff involves a lot of movement. Of course that sounds tiring but it’s also generally the most fun you will have for a while. So my best form of weight loss and health motivation is to book a cool event to go to, for me its tennis, for others and football match or maybe the good food show. Then get in training for all the moving, carrying and general activity you’re going to do.

You see. You might not consider yourself or your life very active and you might consider most of your fun to be sedentary. Given the list I just gave do you still feel that is true. Or atleast are these ideas of fun that you actually look forward to and would like to do more of?

I’m just pointing out that fitter people find these things easier than those who aren’t fit and that getting fit just means doing these things or things like them. It doesn’t mean running around. Shopping, playing with your kids, taking the dog for a walk. They’re all things we all do that can help towards a big or a small day of fun.

I’ll leave you with another example. My wife, not the fitness fanatic that I am, loves singing and music in general. She recently saw her favourite band Muse live and absolutely loved it. She gets tingles each time she remembers the experience. The one regret she has is staying seated the whole time. She just wanted to get up and dance, or even just stand. She has never wanted to do that in her life but this time she just felt it would make the whole thing even better. Even for the 3 hours of the gig. That really surprised me. I know it can really make a different it just wasn’t something I would expect her to say. So next time she sees them live she wants to be able to stand. All she needs to do is stand more throughout the day and it’ll be a breeze. It’s that simple but our lives and jobs get in the way.

So the question is. How can we add that little bit more standing, walking and moving into our days so that we can get more out of our time off and essentially smile more?

What do you do to be that bit more active. Walk a different way to work, park a little further or visit a fun trip and just see where that takes you. Let me know in the comments below.