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Useful Health Information


For many of us, getting our lives back is also (as much as is possible) about getting our health back (it certainly was for me).  What follows is a list of products and information which were helpful in my quest for a better life.  I cannot guarantee you will see the same results, and you should of course consult whatever medical professionals you may consider appropriate before making significant changes in diet and exercise.  In other words, if you have a heart attack from doing what I did, accept the responsibility for your actions and don't blame me!  At a later date I will probably go in depth on some of these topics and/or products and add links to the articles, but for now, here is the quick version if you don't want to wait:


As we get older, our ability to heal slows down and our muscles become less efficient, losing about 1/3 of their maximum potential strength by the time we are in our seventies.  Of course, most of us have never in our lives even reached 50% of our maximum potential strength, so this means that when we are in our seventies (assuming there are no other health conditions to prevent it), most of us can be stronger than when we were 20.  You aren't weak because you are old, you are weak because you don't exercise.  Here are just some of the problems associated with "aging" that have for many people been completely resolved simply by exercising:

  • Incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Balance problems, needing to use a "walker", or being unable to walk
  • Needing help to stand up
  • Type II diabetes
  • Loss of bone density

Of course the causes of your problems may not be the same as others, so it may not work for you, or may only provide partial improvement.

Back Pain:

Making Your Pain Worse

It has been a while since I checked (I haven't needed to since I found the back program below), but from what I hear, this is still true.  If you have back pain and opt for surgery, the odds are 50/50 that you will have less pain or more pain after the surgery.  Note, not 50/50 that you will be cured of pain, rather 50/50 for less or more pain, in other words, half the surgery patients will feel worse after the surgery and half will feel better.  It may be a little worse or a little better, it may be a lot worse or a lot better.  I don't know about you, but a 50% chance they would make my back worse I wouldn't even consider.  When my back was at it's worst, it took me 30 minutes to crawl from the bed to the bathroom fifteen feet away.  This meant I had to seriously plan ahead in order to get to the toilet on time.

Something Which Actually Works

My back problems were serious, put me on disability for a while, left me in constant severe pain for over a year, doctors and physical therapy were useless.  This program claims a better than 90% success rate at controlling back pain for those who stay on the program, worked for me:

"Say Goodbye to Back Pain" available on VHS and DVD

not cheap (around $40 last I checked), but cheaper than one doctor visit depending on your insurance.  It took sixteen weeks to eliminate the back pain I had suffered from for over fifteen years.  Sixteen years later I SCUBA dive, do multi-day hikes alone in the mountains, build houses, and pretty much anything else I like.  My video tape of this program is constantly out on loan to friends.  Save money, check your local library (if they don't have it, you could ask them to buy it).  Various stores on and elsewhere on the internet carry it.

Getting fit

BMI or Body-Mass-Index

BMI is a meaningless and thoroughly discredited way of gauging fitness (Olympic caliber athletes often are classified as obese when using this value).  Don't bother to use it and question the value of any site or article which makes use of it.  It is used because it is an easy number for anyone to compute for themselves, unlike percentage of body fat which is meaningful but harder to measure.  Just because a number is easy to compute doesn't mean there is any point in computing it.

Weight Loss

Never try to lose weight, only try to lose excess fat.  It is easy to lose weight very quickly, particularly muscle.  The problem is you will be weaker, won't look better with less muscle, and the less muscle you have, the harder it is to keep from gaining fat.  The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns even when you are sleeping.  You only have to burn 600 calories of muscle to lose one pound of weight, where you have to burn 3500 calories of fat to lose one pound of weight.  If you are losing weight very fast (more than 1% of your body weight or one to two pounds per week), particularly if you do it without exercise, which do you think you are more likely to be burning, muscle or fat?  I'll give you a hint, it isn't the fat.

Fit Versus Fat or Thin

You can be fit or unfit regardless of whether you are fat or thin, by this I mean you can have good cardio-vascular fitness and strong muscles even if you are fat, and the research shows that a fat person who is fit will generally live longer than a thin person who is not.  In other words if you are thin but a couch potato, you may be in much worse health than the fat person sitting next to you.  Of course if you are fat and fit, you are still more likely to suffer from joint problems, type II diabetes and other issues than any thin person would be, so getting rid of the excess fat is still a good idea.  The reason we tend to focus on fat when we talk about fitness is that people who are fat are far more likely to be unfit.

The Right Information

There is a lot of rubbish out there about weight loss and fitness.  As a result of some of my work in software, I know a great deal about nutrition.  To date, the only book I have read on the subject of nutrition, fitness and weight loss in which I did not find a single factual / technical error is the one listed below.  By this I mean that I do not know of any current, verified research which contradicts anything in this book, this is not true of ANY other book I have read on the subject (including some written by doctors).  During the time I have been on his email list, it has become clear that Tom Venuto (the author of this book) follows the research closely on a regular basis and updates his views accordingly.  While other books got me started, this one allowed me to take off the last 35lbs of excess body fat (the last part is always the hardest) in five months.  No pills for sale, no magic bullet.  If you aren't prepared to eat right most of the time and exercise regularly, don't waste your money, if you are ready, this will give you the best information available on how to do it right and in the quickest manner possible:

Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle  (this link should open in a new browser window or tab)

I already knew 95% of what is in this book, but the other 5% was critical to my success.  Don't be put off by the hype in the advertising or the fact that it is an electronic book, this is a comprehensive easy-to-read text on how to strip off excess body fat while getting fit.  It is in PDF format, readable on any standard computer (even works for me under Linux), and can be printed out if you feel you have to.  The link above will take you to a page with more information where you can purchase the book if you like what you see.  If you do decide to buy after following the link above, my company will receive some money from the sale.  If you don't like this site and don't wish to support it, by all means, search the internet, there are plenty of other sites which offer it for sale.  Don't let your dislike of me or this web site keep you from getting fit and/or getting your life back.

If you are ready to get fit, one reader who bought the above book recommended that people read this recent article of mine as well: Success Is Not An Option.  Another recent article: The Calorie Myth may also be helpful.

Exercise Equipment

I have mixed feelings about exercise equipment, I don't feel that it is really necessary to have such equipment as there are many ways to improvise effective gear, however, if you are in a hurry, some commercial equipment may allow you to complete your exercise program more quickly.  I found a "Total Gym" in very good condition at a used sporting goods store for around $200, this worked well for me for about a year, after which, I felt I needed something which would provide greater resistance, particularly for my legs.  I found it to be an excellent value at the used price, I have no idea what one costs new.  After using it for a year, I switched to a "Bow Flex" home gym, but I would recommend people start off the way I did.  It's just a waste of money to buy expensive equipment if  you don't use it (and most people don't follow through), if after a year you have been working out regularly without equipment or using less expensive equipment, then you will know if you are committed enough that it might be worth spending the money on the expensive equipment.



Just wanted to tell you I think the article titled "Success is not an Option"  is excellent.   It helped
my resolve to make the health changes written about in this article. I'm very deliberate and
determined about goals/things I decide to do, but needed a good pep
talk to get going on making
the health changes, as do many of us.  As a result of getting and
following the book (Burn The Fat Build Muscle), I have
received a constant unexpected boost of energy from following the
suggestions. (esp. eating every three hours and doing consistent cardio
weight training exercises). After three weeks of doing most of this, my slightly elevated blood pressure has
dropped to normal and the mild chronic headaches that went along with
it are gone,
probably due to all the walking. My four weekly work days are 14 hours
long (due to long work hours and lots of traveling), so previous to this change my three days
"off" were half wasted trying to recover energy and sleep. If someone
had told me that I would now feel this peppy all the time, despite my schedule, by raising my
metabolism rate
through proper diet and exercise, I would have been skeptical.

So thanks for doing the blog. I think that if people will take your
health suggestions seriously (and try the book no matter where they get it
from), they will
be pleased with the energy gain, which is probably the
real hidden treasure of the starve fat feed muscle method.   Maybe you
will never know how many good changes your blog will
trigger in people's lives, but hopefully they will write and tell you. 
Perhaps only a fraction of the people will.  I really do appreciate the
blog, and this information came to me just at the right time.Anon