“What I think about when I think about running”

Richard Anderson on running:

In April, I started the Couch to 5K training program. As I write this, I’m in week 7, having missed some time due to travel, injury, and other issues. I run because I want to be in better shape. I want to lose weight, and stave off an early death from a life spent sitting. I do not run because I like it. In fact, I hate running.

I run twice a week. I use the Nike Plus app. When I rate the run I never ever ever use anything above the middle face with the flat mouth. I don’t smile. I convinced myself I do this for fresh air and so I can sleep better.

This and the “look better naked” mantra is the only reason I exercise. There is no mindfulness. There is no zen moment. There’s only a feeling that this sucks and that I’m doing this for the right reasons.

Muscles Scare Away Middle-Upper Class

…Carl Stempel, for example, writing in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport, argues that upper middle class Americans avoid “excessive displays of strength,” viewing the bodybuilder look as vulgar overcompensation for wounded manhood. The so-called dominant classes, Stempel writes—especially those like my friends and myself, richer in fancy degrees than in actual dollars—tend to express dominance through strenuous aerobic sports that display moral character, self-control, and self-development, rather than physical dominance. By chasing pure strength, in other words, packing on all that muscle, I had violated the unspoken prejudices—and dearly held self-definitions—of my social group.

I question the overcompensation angle, but then I thought of Planet Fitness’s “Lunk Alarm.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the upper class rejection of strength training is part overcompensation and part fear.

Foodie High Ground

Food writers Jane Black and Brent Cunningham went to Huntington Alabama, the town where Jamie Oliver went to film his food-reality show and tried to change the lunch program and get people to eat better food. This feature, Servings of Small Change, discusses some of the things they faced while embedded in town and working on their book.


You’re sitting with people, and they’re really poor, and their lives, because they are poor, are very chaotic. Somebody’s brother is in jail, somebody is on drugs, somebody is working the night shift at the gas station, the kid has ADHD. And you’re sitting there going, “Have you thought about whole grains?” It sounds, to them, like somebody saying, “Oh, my private jet broke down.”

There’s always been an element of food snobbery mixed in with what should be about health. This discussion of food has been drifting from nutrition and towards supporting local farmers and artisinal crafts that charge a premium. Foodies have been unable to talk about this stuff without appearing self-righteous.

Filled With Goodness

Junk food masquerading as health food:

Call them Trojan horse foods: nutritiously pleasing ingredients (oats, yogurts) that conceal a whole host of junk. We struggle to think of them as unhealthy, because they seem so pure, so wholesome, so stocked with goodness. We want them to be healthy because we have certain dietary cravings, and these foods taste so, so good. And they taste so, so good, of course, because they’re filled with the dietary equivalents of marauding Greeks. Namely, sugar, sugar, and more sugar.

“Healthy Skepticism”

Healthy Skepticism – My Critique of HealthKit as Both iOS Dev and Registered Nurse:

…interoperability is technically challenging no matter who attempts it. Apple clearly has the capacity to tackle the technical issues if it really wanted to. The central problem for interoperability is one of motivation. Who has the power to compel all the hospitals and EHR vendors in the US to open up read/write access to their medical records?

In my estimation, there are only two entities capable of doing so. The first and obvious one is the government. If Meaningful Use ever mandates one-hundred-percent interoperability, then the industry would have no choice but to comply.

The second entity would be a for-profit company that offers healthcare providers a mutually-benefical partnership. This company would compel hospitals to allow them access, but with a carrot instead of a stick. If there was a way that hospitals could benefit from partnering with an open EHR framework, then they might happily allow their siloed data to flow freely between competing institutions.

All the smartest engineers are figuring out how to get you to click on like buttons and advertising, but sounds like they could be heavily used elsewhere for the good of society.

Dr. Oz the Cheerleader

Dr. Oz on the role of his show.

“My job on the show, I feel, on the show, is to be a cheerleader for the audience,” he said. “And when they don’t think they have hope, when they don’t think they can make it happen, I want to look and I do look everywhere, including at alternative healing traditions, for any evidence that might be supportive to them.”

We need less cheerleaders and more coaches.

“Facebook Might Be Making Women Feel Bad About Their Bodies”

After gazing at one tight, toned body after another, the researchers say, a woman using Facebook might be apt to develop a “poor body image.”

Who are these women with tight, toned bodies – and will they accept my friend request?

It would be a stretch to say Facebook causes eating disorders.

Here it comes.

But the researchers say that negative feelings generated from looking at other people’s photos could form the “first steps” toward disordered eating, or risky behaviors that sometimes can compound into a clinical eating disorder.

I am on another round of anti-Facebook sentiment and I think I feel better without the apps on my devices. There’s a little less anxiety.

Coming In Sick

This Ted Rall comic was timely since I took a sick day yesterday.

More than one in four Americans go to work even when they’re sick because they are afraid of losing their jobs. Nearly 20% of Americans say they come to work when they’re sick, no matter what. And 17% of workers report that only doctor’s direct orders would keep them home.

I wonder how many boardrooms conspire to restrict sick time – I think most of the jobs in which people are afraid to come in tend to be entry-level positions.

Related: You come to work sick = You’re Gaëten Dugas

My position is still the same – I think you’re selfish if you come in sick and expose healthy people to your illness. Stealing somebody’s health is one of the worst things you can do.


Bob Costas bowing out of olympic coverage exposes what we already know – a lot of people come to work sick.

“Presenteeism” is the term researchers have come up with to describe workers turning up to work when they’re sick. Unsurprisingly, these workers tend to be less productive than their healthy co-workers and might make their colleagues sick in the process.

I call it “selfishness”.

Good to the Last Drop

I thought I’d give The Magazine another try. It helps that they deliver issues to Kindle.

Anyway, this article explores the use and marketing of caffeine products in marathons and how it’s dangerous.

“The very spot where you can see the finish line first is where these people get sudden death. It’s unbelievable,” he says. “The added rush of adrenaline that you know you’re going to finish. That’s where their heart stops.”

It’s a serious problem with a solution marathon runners won’t want to hear. Stop running marathons.

The Meaning of the Word ‘Organic’

Dr. Mike Eades:

My gripe with the term “organic” is that in the minds of many, probably most, it equates with good. Sugar is bad, but organic pure cane sugar is okay because it is, well, organic. It doesn’t matter that plain old sugar is also pure cane sugar – it’s not organic.

So people will pay more to kill themselves with organic pure cane sugar than they will to do the deed with ordinary pure cane sugar. If something is bad for you, it’s bad for you whether it’s organic or not. And therein lies the problem.

Even Cinnabon calls it “goo”

A profile of Kat Cole, the 35-year old leader of Cinnabon.

A batch of Classic Rolls starts as a rectangular slab of dough that’s fed into a machine roller and stretched to a yard wide. The dough sheet is slathered with a half-pound of margarine, the beginning of a sweet schmear that is known at Cinnabon as “the goo.” The choice of margarine has nothing to do with calories. The oil-based fat holds up better than butter under the oven’s heat, so the goo doesn’t ooze out into the bottom of the pan.

There’s criticism of how Cinnabon is immoral, that it’s contributing to the obesity epidemic by normalizing excess. But come on – you know Cinnabons aren’t good for you. If you eat them that’s on you.

Also, the underlying implication here, I think, is how corporations often use human nature against itself for higher gain. Why else mention over and over again and put it in the title in a story about Cinnabon, that she’s worked for Hooters? They’re trying to sexualize Cole, get you to imagine her in a Hooters outfit, and imply that Hooters is evil by relying on its reputation as…how shall I put it – not family friendly. And Cinnabon is evil because it’s making people fat. And she’s in the center of it, as some kind of mastermind of human brain short circuitry.