Archive for December, 2007

So far, so good

Posted in Transformation on December 30, 2007 by Dr. CJ

My day has played out mostly as I planned, save for the thunderous music while hitting the elliptical.  I didn’t want to bother my wife who was sleeping later.  Normally, I would use an mp3 player to keep me pumped throughout my workout, but we lost the USB cable that is needed to recharge the battery.  [I just ordered a replacement today]  I need my music, but managed to do okay without it today.  I sure could tell that I haven’t been on the elliptical for the past month.  But, as always, I’ll be right back in regular form in a week.


Body transformation – Who needs a New Year’s Resolution?

Posted in Getting started, Motivation on December 29, 2007 by Dr. CJ

As much as I hate the cliche’ nature of New Year’s Resolutions, I am setting myself up for one. I have been off my workout regimen for several weeks, thanks to recent illnesses, demands of work, and just plain lack of motivation. I have no doubt as to whether or not I will make a change. When I put my mind to it, I will do it. Unfortunately, I am suffering from that “inertia” of inactivity right now, and it’s killing me. I have been plotting my next round of my “transformation” but have been reluctant to put it into action, especially knowing that I’ll probably be a bit naughty on New Year’s Eve (Who doesn’t want to be?).

Too bad. No more excuses. I am starting now.

I will get my butt out of bed by 6:00 AM no matter how lazy I am feeling.


I will take a ‘before’ photo in the morning.


I will kick my ass on the elliptical with Blue October blaring throughout the house.


I will eat ‘clean’.


I will lift weights in the evening.


Most importantly, I will not give up.


Stay tuned . . .

10 Tenets of Effective Weight Loss – #4 – Must eat to lose weight

Posted in 10 tenets of effective weight loss on December 29, 2007 by Dr. CJ

4) You must keep eating to lose weight

It is well established that food intake is critical to metabolism. If you drastically cut your calorie intake, your body will go into “starvation” mode, not knowing when it might next see food. It’s basically a version of hibernation, such that your body’s metabolism slows down relative to the reduction in calorie intake. As a consequence, you will not lose weight the way you want to. In fact, when your body is in “starvation” mode and needs to acquire energy, it will sacrifice both muscle and fat indiscriminately in order to provide the needed energy. There goes your much-needed lean body mass, but your body doesn’t know better when it desperately needs energy.

Weight management is actually a fairly simple concept:

Energy balance

Tip the scale to the left, you’ll gain weight; tip it to the right, you’ll lose weight. Sure, you can make weight control extremely complicated, but if you haven’t succeeded with the basics yet, why would you bother doing so? Keep it simple initially, until you learn how your body responds.

How many calories do you need in a day? Energy need is calculated as the sum of your energy use from activities performed throughout the day and the amount of energy used to maintain normal bodily functions (basal metabolic rate).

Calculate your BMR (or resting metabolic rate – RMR) at:

For a lot of esoteric information on calculation of BMR, go to:

What works in weight loss

Posted in Success stories on December 27, 2007 by Dr. CJ

An amazing day in clinic today – I had two patients  of mine who succeeded with substantial weight loss (lucky to get one a week).  One was a lady in her 50’s who went from approximately 195 to 150 in the past 7 months; another was a guy in his 60’s who went from 300 to 270 in the past year.  Of course I had talked to both of them in the past about the need for weight loss, etc., but neither of them had any major medical comorbidities that made it a more pressing concern.

How’d they do it, you ask?  Simple, according to them.  #1: She cleaned up her diet, controlled portions, made healthy choices replacing processed food with natural foods.  #2: He controlled portion size and joined a fitness club where he walks/bikes/lifts weights.

Why do I mention these two individuals?  Because it is possible for anyone to make substantial changes in their lifestyle to achieve weight loss and improved fitness.   These individuals will enjoy a healthier, more energized life now that they’ve succeeded with weight loss, assuming they are able to maintain it.  Plus, they’ll be seeing me less often since their cholesterol panels and glucose values are markedly improved.  Isn’t that a worthwhile investment?

Easy workout for Northerner’s

Posted in Cardio exercise on December 26, 2007 by Dr. CJ

Living in Minnesota has its perks once in a while – it all depends on how you look at it. I came home from Christmas at my wife’s family’s house this morning to a driveway full of snow (about 4 inches). Some may consider that a big burden (enough to invest in a snowblower!), but to me that looks like a great workout. Think about it: fresh air, no gasoline, one-time investment in a shovel (unless you break one like I did today), no sweaty machines to wipe off.  I confess, I actually do own a snowblower – a hand-me-down in barely workable condition.  It’s only been used three times in the past 2 years – in situations where I was pressed for time.  But I’ll tell you, it sure feels a lot better to clear that driveway by my own power.

New Year’s Fitness Resolutions

Posted in Getting started, New Year's Resolutions on December 26, 2007 by Dr. CJ

It’s that time of year again – to re-focus our efforts on what we feel are priorities.  I think it’s safe to say that health/fitness is among the most oft-repeated resolutions.  I’m not sure what their source is, but our official US government website has a list of the “most popular” resolutions.  Of the 13 resolutions mentioned, 5 are directly related to fitness issues.  No surprise there.  But, as mentioned in my “False Hope Syndrome” post, there’s a reason for the same resolution showing up on the list year after year. 

Go ahead and eat those cookies and sweets leftover from the big Christmas party, go have fun at your New Year’s Eve party, watch all the college football bowl games you can handle . . . as long as you commit to making a change in your lifestyle once you get all of this badness out of your system.  You don’t have to give up all your indulgences once you commit to a healthier lifestyle – you simply make them rare indulgences. 

In fact, the majority of people in bodybuilding, high levels of fitness, etc. hold onto a regular “cheat meal” as part of their training plan.  They have recognized that sticking to an ultra-healthy diet can be tiring and counter-productive.  Whether it’s once a week or once a month, allow yourself to splurge on a favorite food once in a while.  Then you can refocus your efforts on your fitness plan and not feel imprisoned.

Your New Year’s Resolution should be reasonable – few will succeed with an overly dramatic resolution, such as “I will not eat any more sweets” or “I will exercise every day”.  Your body may demand a gradual change, rather than an abrupt change.  Be satisfied that you’re starting in the right direction at first, then worry about perfecting things. 

Good Luck!

Holiday healthcare

Posted in Routine ailments on December 25, 2007 by Dr. CJ

I haven’t been in medicine for very long, but it doesn’t take long to figure out the disturbing pattern of hospital admissions around the holidays: very few patients in the hospital ON a holiday but many more before and after the holiday. 

Now, I completely understand someone not wanting to be in the hospital on a holiday – that part is not disturbing to me.  It’s the poor judgment surrounding the other admissions.  A holiday is a sort of “weeder” day – it weeds out the unnecessary admissions.  But, it also keeps legitimate people out of the hospital when they should be seeking care – the classic being someone with chest pain who just blames it on heartburn from the recent poor eating habits.  Far too many people have the attitude of “I’ll just wait until after Christmas before getting this checked out.”  Another factor with the holidays, of course, is that there will be no routine scheduled elective surgeries, especially one that would require overnight admission. 

There are reasons for an increase in admissions after the holidays, too, but I think a lot of it is just plain stubbornness.  The term “Holiday heart” has been applied to atrial fibrillation occurring around the holidays because of increased alcohol intake.  There often is a spike in admissions for congestive heart failure, also, because of increased salt intake (just have to indulge in that ham). 

Just please don’t be the admission for alcohol-related issues, e.g. injuries, alcohol poisoning, etc.  Trust me, you’ll look pretty stupid when it was because of your own drinking . . . and no one will be happy to cater to you in the hospital. 

Be responsible and seek attention when it is needed.  Don’t try to tough it out longer than you would at any other time of the year.  Merry Christmas!