Skin and Bones

I don’t want to get in the middle of the fat-battle between Trooper York and Freeman Hunt, but my attention was directed to this Sports Illustrated “models taking their own pictures” post.

Some of these women strike me as too thin, where “too thin” is a purely aesthetic consideration. My friend (mentioned in the Stacked Decks post linked above) was very thin, too, and used to fret putting on five pounds here and there. But, in person, she didn’t look too skinny in person, usually. Meanwhile she had some other friends from back in the day who were the opposite type (shorter and curvier), who were clearly on the higher end of the BMI scale. They also looked fine in person.

I know “the camera adds ten pounds” but it also can subtract ten at certain angles. (There are angles on Chris Reeves in the Superman movies where he looks positively skinny, e.g.)

I’ve been thinking about weight lately because I haven’t lost any. (I lost about ten pounds last year just due to changes in lifestyle, but none since I started doing the treadmill.) I suspect if I keep drinking water I’ll lose weight, though. It seems to change your sense of taste and fullness.

Should be interesting.

(Snake) Oil and Water Mix

The Boy has been easing into a nutritional program to help with his diabetes and I have a rule that I don’t do unto my children what I wouldn’t myself endure, so I’ve been easing into the same program myself.

The first part of the program involves drinking distilled water at regular intervals. This is somewhat controversial, as you might discover if you were to Google it. But I have reason to trust the doctor I’m dealing with, who’s very knowledgeable about body chemistry.

Actually, water is an interesting sticking point for a lot of programs. You hear a lot about people being dehydrated, for example, but Adele Davis eschewed the eight-glasses-a-day meme saying she’d never met anyone who did that who wasn’t seriously deficient in some vitamins. (The water flushing water-soluble vitamins out of the system.) The IAHP warns against too much fluid on the basis of over-hydration leading to seizures. (One of the effects of a seizure is to push fluid out of the body with saliva and urination.)

Conventional medicine seems largley unconcerned with the quality of fluids–water, Gatorade, whatever, it’s all fluid, though most draw the line at soda–but alternative medicine hyperventilates over the water’s mineral quality, fluoridation, source, etc.

For myself, if I have a glass of water at my desk that I can easily refill, I’ll end up drinking a gallon in a day. But I have no dog in the what-sort-of-water-and-how-much race; I have no idea.

So, yesterday, I drank the prescribed amounts at the prescribed intervals for about 3/4s of the amount prescribed me. (I started late and ran out of time.)

Those of you who are regular readers know that part of my treadmill desk environment is to reduce some stiffness in my achilles’ tendons that I acquired during a particularly sedentary job. I had made great progress. The only stiffness I’d feel any more was after sitting for a while or sleeping; I’d take about a minute to loosen up. You also might recall that I was experiencing a bit of numbness from the early days from when I had overdone.

This morning I was walking around for several minutes and realized there was no stiffness at all in my tendons. Just a very slight ache. As I was writing this, I had to stop, get off the treadmill, take off my shoes and double-check my foot–numbness all gone.

Wild, eh?

Then, of course, I’ve reported on the stiffness in my back. (As I’ve mentioned, I’ve always been tight: Even during my martial arts years, with tons of stretching, I was never much of a kicker.) The downside of doing all the walking seemed to be that I had to make sure I did some periodic back stretches or I’d feel sort of locked at the waist. (And I’d forget to do those stretches; it’s been weeks since the last time.)

As of this morning–without a single stretch–I can now comfortably grab my legs just above my ankles.

That’s a hell of a placebo. I love a good placebo.

On the flipside, I was warned that this water regiment would likely lead to a cold due, allegedly, to the body using this water to flush out things it hasn’t been able to before. No cold yet, but a remarkable amount of goop in the throat.

Treadmill Desk, Week 11

Saturday: 40 minutes

My legs were tired, like workout tired, so I decided to cut it short today.

Sunday: 70 minutes

What a craptastic day. I’m not Joe the Plumber nor even Les the HVAC guy, and floundering around in the attic made me glad of that fact. Did something to my ankle, boding ill for this week’s walking.

But Alan the Woodworker has cobbled me up some arm sleeves for the treadmill! I’ll have to put up a before and after to show how it looks. (I’m Blake the computer guy for Alan, so, you know….)

Monday: 0 minutes

My ankle was still tweaked this morning. Alan came over and the wooden sleeves didn’t fit. Just one of those days, I guess.

Tuesday: 390 minutes.

My ankle’s still a little bit tweaked but treadmill walking doesn’t seem to bother it. (I sort of thought I’d end up doing less time, but before I knew it, six-and-a-half hours were gone.)

Wednesday: 340 minutes.

I’ve got my new sleeves, so the desk is much more stable. Yeah!

Thursday: 400 minutes

Off to a slow start this week but ending strong. Interestingly, the piled-up-books-on-top-of-styrofoam-with-a-board-on-top was pretty stable; the new sleeves are rock solid. I’m recklessly balancing martini glasses on the edge, just for giggles.

Friday: 305 minutes

Total: 1505 minutes. 25 hours. Not bad for a week when I hurt my ankle.

Site Reorientation!

Lately, people have been coming here for the treadmill desk posts, so I feel like I should play to that audience.

Problem is, I’ve never been able to form a cohesive “lifestyle”. You ever notice that? Everybody who hawks a book on exercise or diet, talks about “lifestyle”. (As Carlin used to say, “Genghis Khan had an active outdoor lifestyle.”)

I’m just a guy walkin’ on a treadmill. I don’t go to meetings to talk about the treadmill-desk lifestyle. I don’t know anybody else who does this, and don’t really care to. I mean, I wouldn’t object if someone I knew did it. (“The treadmill-desk is my bit! We’re through!”) But I don’t seek an overarching theme or purpose or motif in my life.

So I’m going to probably let you treadmill-desk enthusiasts down, just as I do the pointy-breast seekers.

But I will field any treadmill-desk questions you might have. (I’ll field any breast questions you have, too, but I’m unlikely to have any significant insight on that subject.)

And someday maybe we can all get together and not walk somewhere.

Treadmill Desk, Day 26

230 minutes so far today. (UPDATE: 270 minutes by the end of the day.) I’m posting at 7PM so I might get some more time in before the night is up. But since Althouse posted on the treadmill desk, I thought I’d summarize my experience to date. (For those of you just joining in, this is day 26 since I “got serious”. I actually did over three weeks of a trial, and then reset the counter when my new treadmill arrived. So I’ve been doing this for 2 months now.)

I’ve been detailing my trek on my blog under keyword [sic] “treadmill desk”. But rather than make you go through that, I’ll spell out my strategy:

1. Buy a cheap treadmill–I mean, really cheap (
2. Fiddle with the height of the board by stacking books underneath. (Some people carve wood rests or what have you, but I have no talent in that area, plus I kind of like the “change on a whim” feel. What seems good today may not tomorrow.)

3. Give it a try for several weeks. Try to run through all your daily tasks, including the ones tht require the greatest concentration and steadiest hands. If you can only do 90% of your work while walking, make sure you have a way to do that other 10% without disrupting things too much.

4. While you’re doing this, note the issues you’re having so that when the time comes for a better treadmill, you’ll know exactly what you want.

In my case, my cheap ($50) treadmill overheated, which forced my hand to buying a new one sooner than I would’ve liked. I had a hard time running it for more than an hour. It was also really loud and really hot. I finally went with a new Sole machine that gets put into hotels, with a two year warranty. Very quiet, doesn’t seem to radiate heat.

My big mistakes were: pushing myself to hit the eight hour mark as soon as possible, which resulted in a lot of stiffness that wouldn’t have occurred had I built up more slowly; also, I didn’t wear shoes at all at first, though I’m not sure if that would have been such a big deal had I not forced myself to the eight hour mark.

The benefits have been that a stiffness in my ankles and feet that had been building for years has almost completely gone away in the past two months. I don’t find myself imbued with lots of energy that others seem to have–at least not yet–but one doesn’t fall asleep at a treadmill desk, either.

I haven’t been tracking my weight, particularly, so I can’t speak to that. It has improved my appetite, however.

Treadmill Reboot

Well, the Sole S77 arrived on Tuesday.

After the initial vicissitudes from the previous delivery, the parts in this shipment came in a Food Lion bag, sans a few crucial pieces.


I got all the screws, though the manual suggests there should be more of one type there’s no place to put the extra ones it suggests are needed. So I think that’s a typo.

However, no Allen wrenches. No lube. And as Orlando Jones would helpfully remind us: “There’s always time for lubricant.” I thought there was supposed to be a heart monitor but I’m not sure that that’s the case. One of the arm fittings (they cover the wires from the console to the arm) was a real challenge to put on, and the other seems just grossly mismatched.

The Flower and I put it together, though, which was fun.

I called the Sole and the woman was genuinely horrified at the situation, though she wasn’t able to send out a new kit. I’m supposed to be contacted by tech support before the end of the week.

This seems less than optimal. But I’m hanging tight–and I’m using the machine as it is, because I’m not going very fast.

I thought initially it was mashed up at LAX–the box was fairly trashed (again!)–and I thought maybe they had inspected at the airport (I guess it wouldn’t have to be LAX) and not bothered to put it back right.

Now I’m thinking this was a return product and it got returned and then shipped out to me without being inspected.

That aside, the machine itself is quite impressive, compared to the one I’ve been using. (Similar model here.) Granted, that one was half the cost of mine new, and I bought mine off Craig’s List for $50. So, no complaints against the old ProForm, and I understand the new ones are better.

However! The Sole S77 is a good example of getting what you pay for (relative to the cheaper Proform).

  • It’s really quiet. You can’t hear the motor at all. Just the sound of the belt as it moves around, and sometimes not even that. (I haven’t figured out what the magic is that makes it quiet.)
  • It’s smooth. You set the speed and it transitions smoothly from whereever you are to where you want to be.
  • It’s safe. The Proform had some plastic pieces at the end that I could get my feet under if I pulled a George Jetson. This may have been a factor of it being a fold-up (the S77 isn’t) or of sloppy construction or just of being used, though.

Although it’s not a big issue for me, the S77 is defnitely fancier. The console has a music widget that I’ll never use, and some built-in fans that are somewhat useful. Even though I have no heart monitor, you can grap these little motorcycle-like handles on the console to take your pulse, which is kind of cool.

Sort of amusingly, the Proform had a speed problem: It was highly uneven at low speeds. (Maybe at high speeds, too, but I didn’t use it at high speeds.) I adjusted to this unconsciously; it never bothered me. The new one is so much smoother I can use it at higher speeds easily. But–this is the sort of funny part–I may develop a program to alter the speeds randomly. My theory is that the speed change is probably good for the brain, though I’m extrapolating from this and other experiments.

The only thing I overlooked–a hazard of exclusively shopping online–is that there are buttons on the arms (for speed and elevation). The desk would smoosh those buttons, though they’re well protected and it might not matter. Rather than risk it, I took some styrofoam and carved it to fit over the arm, without touching the buttons.

I was thinking about doing something more elaborate but so far I’m happy with what I have.

Apart from tht, it still remains to be seen about how Sole responds to the issues, but this is a really fine machine for the purpose, at least on the surface.

Anyway, tomorrow I should be able to do a full day of walking and working. I’m thinking of resetting my counter to Day 1, since it’s the first day I’ll be able to do the full monty.

Weekend Update

I did treadmill over the weekend, but I’m hampered by the stopping of the treadmill.

The new one comes tomorrow, allegedly.

Meanwhile, it’s pretty much all Olympics all the time. Everyone’s staying up late and looks like they’ve been beaten with a stick all day, but there are only a few more days to go.

Kelly@LoadedQuestions and I once postulated forming a luge team. (Lying down: how hard can it be?) She likes to point out that there’s no luging at the summer Olympics, but I say that’s the best way to medal.

I’ll post a review of Mirrors later (The Boy sez “it’s great!”) and try to finish my combat system post, too.