I have no idea why gastric bypass or lap band surgery came into my radar last week. was it some people I know who have had it done? or that I drove by a major medical university and they had a separate building with a big sign in front mentioning the entire facility was for gastric bypass? I really don’t know, but what I did realize is a few folks I know that have gone through one of the three major types of surgery to ideally provide systemic change for obesity and help with the overall quality of life – had somehow seemed to be just as big as when they went in before surgery. does this procedure really work in the long term? what percentage fail?
it was a bit like what I will write more about later, how over time, the small incremental gains can leave your mind thinking you look one way, yet, the reality is the image in one’s mind and the reality of facts don’t usually line up. it seems to be a bit like the modern media these days and you are asking, “where are the facts, what is the truth, why can’t people answer a question directly anymore?”
so I started poking into the surgery and realized without insurance and/or subsidies, the various forms of gastric/lap surgeries run from $15,000 to over $30,000. when I saw the amounts, I did a double take. “that much?”
perhaps this is simply a cross section where I am looking at the united states and how much we consume, how much packaging we have, and how much we throw away. I was ready to pick up all the plastic bottles at the running track yesterday, as I wager I could fill up a tank of gas…and if the trash is still there Wednesday…I will.
I digress. with food in the developed world, we suffer from the opposite issue we deal with in the 3rd world. there, simple things like clean potable and drinkable water, as well as food security beyond their last meal, are very real issues. in the farming area, they people are smaller sharecroppers and with lack of power, infrastructure, and labor you can have 80% of the crop rotting in the field. this is the very real problem in 3rd world nations. in developed nations, you will have 30-40 % of processed food being thrown in the trash. it is an amazing dichotomy when you look at the overall space, see the imbalance in humanity and realize we created this all by ourselves. the humor and sad irony is we want to blame everyone else and keep hoarding everything as somehow we think lots of stuff and food will make us happier?
so breaking simple common sense down to the basics.
· the united states health care is a giant commoditized system where my doctor friends love the idea of being a doctor and helping people, yet, are so tired of the avalanche of rules, regulations, lawsuits, and bureaucracy.
· the fitness industry and supplements is a multi-billion dollar space where people spend the money and somehow have a pill mentality that one simply has to ingest and all the elements of letting oneself go – will magically melt away
· cosmetic surgery is the fastest growing sector of medicine. the roots of the industry were in helping war, accident, and cancer victims fit back more into mainstream society. today, it is about altering external appearance to fit some model of “ideal” that will be out of fashion in 10 years.
· food supply – I still walk into grocery stores inside the USA and marvel and the size and choices of food in one place. I look at all the packaging, read the labels of the processing and then I ask, “how much of these products are not really necessary or a treat/snack?” then I step back and watch the store reduce very quickly to a few aisles of healthy and nutritious food.
· I look around at the size of people in the USA. not so much in the major cities or the affluent areas where people tend to take a bit better care of themselves with looking healthy (are they really healthier? I don’t know) but in the mainstream of the USA, we are a large nation, and I don’t see this trend changing unless something really bad happens and people start to go hungry. I never thought I would say it is possible in the USA – yet, my sad joke about taking agrowspace into the USA would be to teach people how to eat healthy and nutritious food.
· we have become a country where convenience and information have been and are being programmed for a few to send a message and everyone is forced to watch. what is interesting with the internet is that people can click a button and think they are actually part of something – feeling their vote counts and the process is really democratic in the nation. I wonder how many people pull back a bit and look at capitol hill, their state and local governments and go, “it is a big feed trough, and both sides are playing to get the spoils of victory….and no one is really accountable for anything anymore.” when Is the last time you heard a politician say, “I screwed up…made a mistake.” we are all humans and prone do stupid things, everyone will make mistakes…the problem is the image of the brand is so far out of whack with the reality of humanity these days.
· let’s say you got really big, gained a bit of weight, either by choice or by some medical issue. I get how easy it is to be an emotional eater, and how easy it is as you age to simply eat more and move less. somehow society says, “you are older, therefore you can’t and should not move like you used to.” there is a physical component that makes perfect sense with this…your body is aging. however, what I am seeing in the USA is lack of motion, lack of trying, and/or the fitness model really not doing much for the holistic approach of mind/body/soul in one space. the other sad reality is if you ask, “how many people really want to change?” the pie in the sky answer is “80%” and the reality is only a few percentage want to take the step. why? because there are no guarantees, it will usually take more time and be more difficult than you imagined, and many times past failures will come up and get into your mind to whisper, “you can’t do this!” nothing is further from the truth.
· a bypass surgery costs about 30k. that is 30 year membership in a really nice gym. that is 150 year membership in the cheapest gym I have heard of. but people would rather live in the increasing size. the reality is probably more psychological in nature, something inside the people that doesn’t want to start, and the idea of making decent diet, a bit of motion and over time a reduction of weight to a healthy level is daunting – particularly in the age of instant gratification. what we see is images and people showing images that are basically bs reality. photoshopped and adjusted crud that are not reality except for a posed and staged second of someone’s life.
I have no idea what I typed, but I have come to a sad reality when I got back from Switzerland after sincerely trying to help a family in Santa Fe, that perhaps didn’t want to help themselves? the parents did and really got my support for trying to help their kids – yet – it wouldn’t matter if we built something and handed them the key – the hindsight is the project would have failed because unless I automated everything – getting someone to show up would not have happened. I don’t know of any money tree that you can put a seed in the ground, do nothing, and it will print money for you.
but I allowed myself to get beat up and run down trying to help others. in spring, I saw a photo of myself and went, “what the heck happened to you?”
so what does this all have to do with the price of tea in China? well…I went to a gym, a dear high school friend said, “looks like you have been eating well!” and I was like, “Woah, am I that fat?” he replied, “no, you are just big, you always were an athlete?” but I didn’t like feeling heavy, tired, or having snug clothing…so I did my bodyweight work and added weights and some cardio…and then tried to really bring systemic change into my diet. mind you, I love to cook and eat food. I also love heavier food and making sauces. probably not the best thing for healthy living when not in moderation.
so I went out and worked each day…and then a few weeks ago…I wondered if I could sprint and put interval work into the program. it took three months to get up to speed and strengthen what I had at my age….then I did the typical stupid thing and tried to run full speed. I tweaked my hamstring and have had to sort of run on the track with intervals. yesterday, I felt the frustration of not going 100% with one leg fine, the other at 50%, so I said, “why not work on stride and stretching – as the issue is not in the area of walking or jogging…but rather in taking my full range of motion to the limits. so I concentrated on the stride length and did a full workout.
yes, I was drained later in the day. but my body felt alive for the first time in a long time. while I might not be anywhere near as fast as I once was, I can still move beyond what society seems to say is, “you are old, just sit in a chair and eat.”
today…I can sense my body asking, “when are we going to do that again?” and I am thinking, “in two more days…it is not a workout one can do every day.”
and then I thought about myself and how I can understand how one can get giant and large and not really notice it, as a few forkfuls or a bag of chips sneaks up on you, much like what probably happens with alcohol or tobacco. the difference is that with food, your body is slowly crushing itself and you think, “wow this tastes so good!”
I have some weight I want off in the next few months. and the bigger issue is simply eating healthier and less – trying to make a systemic change so that as I age, while there is no guarantee for great health – doing something each day improves the overall quality of life. it is the same reason I pray and meditate each day. lately, the latter two seem like a struggle as well as one has to walk out of the noise filled world to get that inner balance.
but what I did learn and wonder, is how many people have ever taken themselves out to their max, and then realized what they thought was the max, was not? it is like my body today wondering, “can we get fast again and run with full strides too?”
time will tell. there is no reason to train like an athlete anymore. but there Is no reason to not take a bit of time and use the same techniques to maximize ones physical health.
ask yourself, “what would you do if someone handed you a free 30,000 USD?”
why is it ok for people to go into surgery and then what I realized is the surgery itself, really does not work as well as perhaps we want to think it does. everyone I know that had the procedure is right back where they were in a few years. I am not here to pick on or make fun of them, but I have to ask about simple common sense and change before we become a wall-e society for real.
while I did not run at 100% last night. I did learn I could run at full stride. today I know I will be able to run like I wish and between this sprint program and a more sensible diet…I will get to a space where my actual physical body and the image in my mind become the same.
it is sort of like all the work I am doing that makes little sense to most of the world. I am trying to be the same person no matter where I am…work, business, personal, private, spiritual…all the time.
yes, that will require me to put effort into each – every day – until the day I die.
here is to making tools so plants and people can grow to their optimal potential in the world. the beauty of life is we all get a choice to change. what is your choice for today?
there is one thing about life….it is never dull.