Disorder In The House…

Set Thine House In Order…

Eating, eating disorders, and food psychology are areas, in my opinion, where there are still many more unknowns than knowns.

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Los Juilgeros Preserve, Fallbrook

Factors which can lead to the more common eating disorders are, in no particular order:

– a lack of sleep

– use of alcohol, narcotics, and stimulants

– stress

– blood sugar/insulin imbalances

– other hormone imbalances

– biological depression

– environmental depression

– a self-depreciative persona

– food selections

– social and peer behaviors

– social and peer expectations

– media habits

– parental influence

– spousal or romantic influence

Of course there are others I can’t think of off the top of my head, but my point is that the roots of eating disorders are complex, and I’ll suggest for people who live with one or more eating disorder that more than one these causes might be at play at different times, and that multiple causes might be at play much of the time.

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Veggie Spring Rolls.   Golden Kitchen  in Fallbrook

Expecting that an eating disorder can be traced to a single cause, and that cause can be addressed with a single fix or two is wishful thinking.   I say this not as a fitness trainer, but as a man who has lived with, and for the most part controlled, my binge eating tendencies through my entire adult life.

I can say that at one time or another, multiple reasons have contributed to my binge eating, and in different ways at different times.

What I have found most useful in controlling it, as odd as this may sound, is by simply being myself – the person I am deep down.   When I conduct my life as I truly aspire to be – by just being true to myself, however hard that might be, I find that my eating is more streamlined, more rhythmic, and more consistent.  This ideal, I suspect, might be superimposed over other behaviors and disorders which might manifest within any of us.

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Brown rice, brocc and some tofe.  I speak casually of my veggie delights…

I am not so naïve is to suggest that simply being a moral person is enough to reverse hormone imbalances, cascading pharmaceutical conflicts, diseases or other factors which can contribute to eating disorders.  I will suggest though, that living one’s life consistently with one’s values will always place that person in a better field position to receive or to accomplish anything good.  Be well…  rc

If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so.  Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this from David Lowrey.  Enjoy…

Memory Shot…

Aesthetics…

I have been hiking Monserate hill for 16 years.  I have seen it on days scorched and scarred under the strain of the summer sun.  I have also seen it on days when the sky, the clouds, and the colors of the hill and the colors on the hill contrast sharply, yet blend so brilliantly that I can’t imagine a more beautiful place.

When the whites, grays, and blues of the sky give texture to, and light up the colors of the growth, there are few places I would rather be.  On average though, the view from the top, even an ordinary day, still helps squelch the demons in my head.

Kinesis…

As the hill looks differently on different days, the way my body responds to the hill’s demands can also vary.  There are good days, when I feel strong getting to the top, and I feel like I own the hill.  There are also those not-so-good days, when the legs get heavy, my heart pounds, and my lungs burn to the point of wanting to stop.  On average though, even the days when it’s painful getting to the top, the fact the I got there, soothes my mood.

Crux Of Joy…

Rare is the day though, when a beautiful day and a strong outing intersect.  That happened today.  The look of the landscape and the trip to the top were each as good as good gets.  That they intersected on the same day was glorious.

I woke this day ready to blow my brains out, and I’m sorry the that scares or offends anyone.  I have allowed myself to get too caught up in the nonsense of the world these past few weeks.  By mid-day, and with the aid of a few cancellations, I knew I needed to take a dose of serotonin.

Though I often take my phone to this hill to check-in and post pictures on social media, today I left my phone behind – and had the best outing I have ever had, both aesthetically and physically.  By the time I reached the top, I was 3 complete universes away from presidential politics, trivial conversations turned toxic, and the caustic sounds of the motorcycles and meth heads on Main Street.

That I didn’t have my phone to take pictures or record my time made today this trip up that much sweeter.  I have no doubt this was my fastest outing in 16 years.  If there has been a more beautiful day of skies and new spring growth, I have never seen it.  Today was glorious, even if it couldn’t be quantified with pictures and a clock.  It was one of the best moments of my life in recent years.  It’s why Al Gore invented to word, stoke.

The only record of – the only truth that will ever be known about today’s outing will be  these words, perhaps to be read 10,000 years from now when some cyber-archeologist unearths my Facebook remains.  For me though, today was a memory shot – a moment in time that I will remember for the rest of my life.

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Tomorrow all the joy I feel right now might bled from my veins before my coffee cools, and that’s okay, that’s how life is.  I always get through those difficult times when the weight of my depression seems insurmountable, because I always remember that it always passes – always.  I hope you can cling to that too.  Be well…  rc

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This is begins a new phase for me, and with this platform.   Though I will continue writing essays as time permits, I intend to post more frequently and with more varied musings on a variety of topics.

If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so.  Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this from Coconut Records.  Enjoy…

A Good Day For Schleprock…

Soccer Niece…

Last week my niece invited me to attend a soccer tournament in Las Vegas; a college showcase. Since Vegas is only a 5 hour drive I said yes, excited that she asked. She lives in Colorado so it would be nice to see her play, even if we wouldn’t have a chance to visit – team activities and all.

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Natalea “Bug” Cohen

After hanging up, I called my friend Brian and asked if he wanted to ride along. He was glad to join me. Brian and I have become road trip compadres over the last couple of years. I booked a room in Vegas using Travelocity, and secured digs at the Luxor for $64. Brian even offered the use of his truck for the trip.

Quick Trip Out…

Brian and I left for Vegas early Saturday morning. It was an easy drive out, and a great chance for Brian and I to catch up, and solve the world’s problems while Stroodle observed, occasionally rolling his eyes.

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Truth is, he doesn’t even have his permit yet…

We stopped only for lunch at The Mad Greek in Baker, CA. Possessing the social media habits of an 8th grade girl, it was important that I post pictures of dolmas and falafels from The Mad Greek on Instagram. Despite this olive pit-stop, we arrived at the soccer fields a couple of hours early, and relaxed under the shade of a tree while waiting for my niece’s team to arrive.

The girls showed up soon after. As they warmed up, I casually walked by and waived to my niece to acknowledge that I was there. She waived back as I continued walking, not wanting to interrupt her.

She and her team played well, but lost 1-0. When the game was over her team headed off in the opposite direction from where Brian and I had parked. That’s ok, I would try and see her prior to her game the following morning and give her a hug. I was there to show support, not take up her time. Brain, Stroodle and I headed to the Luxor to check in and spend what I hoped would be a quiet evening and enjoy a good meal.

Travelocity Sucks…

The front desk clerk at the Luxor reeked of you’re screwed buddy from the way he asked me,

“Did you book this reservation yourself…?”

I explained that I booked it through Travelocity.

“Uhm… yah. This happens from time to time with them” he explained.

After expanding his search, he clarified that my reservation was for the following night, and that he had no rooms – that Vegas probably had no rooms. This was the week of the Las Vegas Comicon, March Madness, and the largest high school soccer showcase in the western U.S. – even the Holiday Inns, Best Westerns, and Days Inns were sold out. The closest room we found was nearly an hour away at state line for $169.

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Now 5:00pm, our only realistic option was to go home, and forgo my niece’s morning game. I thought to myself, at least I got to wave to her and show her some family support. Brian and I hit the road and were home in 5 hours. Due to the late hour though, and that I live 20 miles south of Brian, he asked me to drop him off at his house, keep his truck for the night, and return it to him the following day. Made sense.

As I left Brian’s driveway the gas light came on. It was late. I was tired. I figured the truck would have no problem going 20 miles. Hey, it was mostly downhill anyway. Through heavy fog, I headed home.

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Looks much better on F than on E…

I was at the intersection of Old Highway 395 and I-15 when the truck ran out of gas. It was now 10:00pm. My choice was to leave my dog in the truck and walk about 5 miles to the closest gas station, or call a cab, keep my dog with me, and get the deed done. The cab arrived quickly. I explained what needed to be done when the cab driver replied,

“We ain’t allowed to carry hazardous cargo” referring to the can of gas I wanted to obtain.

I asked if for $40 he could refer to it as scarcely dangerous cargo instead. We were back at Brian’s truck with a can of gas within 25 minutes.

The fitness studio where I live and work is located in a historic building over the only bar on Main Street. Historic, of course, means old, and old means thin walls. When I arrived home, a live band was playing in the bar below me. On nights when they have live music, I usually stay with my mom.

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The historic El Real building.  Fallbrook, CA…

Now getting close 11:00pm I knew my mother was already asleep. Mom always attaches a chain lock to secure her door night. Staying with her was not an option. My choice now was to stay at my studio and attempt to sleep through the sounds of a live band 14 feet beneath me, or go to a local motel. The motel wanted $124 for a room. I chose to ride out the music.

Though the band below me was to quit playing at midnight, I guess with nothing else to do, they decided to stick around and jam for a couple hours more. I probably fell asleep by 3:00am.

On Friends & Family…

So, for the cost of 3 tanks of gas, lunch at the Mad Greek, an unused hotel room in Las Vegas, a cab ride, a cab driver bribe, a very long day, and a poor night’s sleep, I got to wave to my niece and watch her play soccer for 2 hours without ever speaking with or hugging her. Would I do it all again…? Of course because… family.

All in all, it had been an excellent day despite the cascading snags. I got to spend 16 hours with a good friend. We enjoyed good food, good conversation, spent time outdoors watching young women play soccer, and Stroodle got 16 hours of lap time. Best of all, the day didn’t end in an animated fist of smoke disguised as a hotel room.

The following morning, I received this note from Brian:

“No matter where we are, no matter what we do, we are together as family.
Yesterday was “Just Right”. It does not matter to me, whether I’m driving with you to Major Market or driving over 575 miles round trip to Las Vegas to watch your niece’s soccer game for 90 minutes, then back within 16 hours.

It was all good. From having Stroodle on our laps, the conversations, the lessons learned, testing our patience, learning more about forgiveness, and acceptance. It was just right, and things do happen for a reason. Thank you for The Mad Greek Experience!
Love You Man”

Not what we had planned, but a very good day indeed. Be well… rc

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Brian, dressed as “Joe” that day, and Stroodle, dressed as…

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Please check back in a few weeks to see what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from Heartless Bastards. Enjoy!

Abbondanza…

Malaise Isn’t A Sandwich Spread…

I’m reading The Limits of Power by Andrew Bacevich – again. It was published during the campaign between Obama and McCain. One of the book’s primary threads is the changing role of the presidency in post-World War II America.

The author lends time to Jimmy Carter’s malaise speech in 1979. Regardless of your thoughts on Carter as president, that speech remains the only instance in my lifetime where a president told the nation what we needed to hear, and asked us to adjust our behaviors in order to protect and sustain a reasonable standard of living. The speech had a short-lived effect though, and with it Carter handed the presidency to Ronald Reagan. It turns out America didn’t want to change its behaviors for very long in order to live as a less gluttonous society.

“It’s morning in America” was the starting gun fired by Reagan that would set in motion the quest for abundance that has expanded from the1980s to the present day. Retail culture, image culture, and fiscal culture joined together in a symbiotic disharmony that has become the social cancer we are now choosing not to treat. That quest for abundance by the masses, by the way, has largely shaped our policies abroad which most of us complain about. For more on that, read Bacevich’s very important book.

I doubt we will ever again see a president, nor a mainstream candidate speak to the American public as Carter did in July of 1979. With his malaise speech, Carter taught all politicians that, going forward, candor is not the best policy, and look at the shape we’re in today. Voters don’t elect austere presidents any more than 3rd graders would elect a strong-willed teacher were they given the chance. Talk of rainbows and unicorns will trump roll up your shirt sleeves every time.

As It Relates To Fitness…

The award winning documentary Bigger, Stronger, Faster is, I suspect, a malaise speech for the fitness community. It was one of the first things to get me thinking about, and to check my own behaviors and ideals as they relate to fitness and exercise.

Our national question for bigger, stronger, leaner is as inwardly gluttonous as our quest for better ear buds, dope shoes, wi-fi cars, and granite countertops. At the other end of the wellness spectrum, we also find people who could care less about exercise, and care more about portion size.  Whether it is 6-pack abs or bottomless fries, we just want more of it.  That math does not seem to add up.

I saw this asinine meme earlier this week, and I have seen others like it in recent years. This image is a reflection of everything wrong with fitness culture today which is simply a byproduct of culture at large.
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It’s one thing to suggest a 40-year woman pursue the beach body of her youth, despite that those transitions are rarely successful, and even when they are, they aren’t likely to be sustainable. It’s hard enough for a 16-year old boy to gain muscle when he’s working out like madman and eating everything but the family cat. Suggesting that granny go get guns is a bit over the top.

It is shameful to suggest, as the image above does, that looking like this into one’s 70s is a choice. Though there are people in their 70s, 80s, and even into their 90s who maintain aesthetically pleasing physiques that (may) also function well, they are rare exceptions.

We get old. We break down. Skin wrinkles. Hair grays. We gain weight. We receive diseases. We slow down. We weaken. We die, though there is some choice in this at some levels. Dick Lamm’s famous assertion that people have a “duty to die and get out of the way” should be the first amendment to the Golden Rule. Although Lamm said it in the context of the terminally ill artificially extending their lives, I have always appreciated that statement as the only fools fight aging doctrine.

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Truth to power:  Dick Lamm…

Every Meme Has Two Of Me…

Notwithstanding to any of this is the underlying message in these social media memes and in modern social values in general, suggests that looking good makes us better people. I assure you, our prisons are full of well-crafted triceps and 6-pack abs.

Within reasonable bounds, functioning well physically while we live is as much a responsibly as dying and getting out of the way when the living ain’t so good. The Confucian ideal that families, communities, and businesses all function better when we take care of ourselves physically has been long lost, though I guess it was never really a part of western culture to begin with.

Fixed Not Educated…

What Jimmy Carter couldn’t do to the consumption culture that began expanding through the 70s, from the highest office in the land, I know I have no chance of doing to the fitness culture of the current decade from the lowest blog on earth.

When our quest for abundance positions us into a places we no longer recognize and that drown out rational thinking, people don’t want to be educated to change, they simply wish to be fixed.  They look to, and depend leadership to do the fixin’.

I lead a microscopic sample of the fitness community, and my voice doesn’t carry. I wish though, I could better help people understand that, whether it’s the quest for more muscle or the quest for bottomless fries at Red Robin, our relentless American quest for more isn’t serving us too well. Be well. Jhciacb
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Please check back in a few weeks to see what happens when I hit the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from The Meters. Enjoy!

Sniffing With My Eyes…

It finally happened.  After 10 year of blogging, after writing 350 essays, each approximately 1,000 words, I sat down to write this morning, and I had nothing to say.   Nada.  Zip.  Blanca.  I know, I know, praise be to Allah, right…?

Could be the well has run dry.  Could be the pump is broken.  More likely though, the guy with his hand on the pump handle also has it on too many other things of late; work, mom, friendships, exercise, meditation, and the stewarding and walking of his mammal.

I do a lot of that these days; the dog walking that is.  Stroodle walks in a style that he and I call, Comando.  That is, Stroodle walks off leash.  He just sniffs his way in the best possible direction as I keep him out of fights, and offer him small bites of animal protein when we are done.

A veterinarian once told me that we (humans) see beauty with our eye, and a dog sees aesthetic beauty with his nose.  This ideal brings me much peace, as Stroolde and I spend time together daily, appreciating beauty wherever we may go.

Rather than force an essay this week — one which just isn’t there, I’m going share some of my favorite iPhone pictures from the last couple of years, many of which were taken on sniffing hunts with Stroodle.

From Nederland to Moss Landing, central Utah, Carlsbad, Pt. Lobos, and right here in Fallbrook, I hope you enjoy.  I hope to have a new essay up in a week or two.  Be well… Jhciacb

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Please check back in two weeks to see what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this from Ronnie Land & Slim Chance.  Enjoy!

Throwback Thursday…

TBT…

Social media has given us Throwback Thursday; an idea from which we can reflect on and share people, moments, or situations from our past. I enjoy seeing what others have to share. I also sharing my own experiences. In times when social media can be chaotic, clumsy, and ridiculous, TBT is simple fun.

Like some kind deconstructive self-evolutionist, I spend much of my internal life reflecting on fingerprints of others; the persons and moments which have been most pivotal in my life. There is one person though, who has had more influence in my life than anyone.

The Person, The Place, And The Cause…

I was waiting outside Russel Dorren’s homeroom class in the west building of Cherry Creek High School in 1976. The kid standing next to me was a year older. He and I knew each other casually through the weight room of the local recreation center. He was short, had pale skin, wore tight fitting Levis, had a small waist, and shoulders so wide that they stretched the back of his tucked in flannel shirt to extremes. He was Scott Rupert.

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Cherry Creek West Senior High School

Scott was the only kid in school with that bodybuilder look; broad shoulders, a small waist, and round arms barely contained by sleeves. We see that look everywhere today, but in the 1970s it was rare, especially in high school.

Waiting for the classroom to open, Scott invited me to workout with him sometime at the 20th Street Gym in downtown Denver – a more serious weight room he had discovered. He described it as the “Gold’s Gym of Colorado”.

A week or so later, I stepped out of my comfort zone and went with Scott to the 20th Street Gym. It took 3 bus connections and about 90 minutes to get there one evening after school. I walked in and the place smelled of effort and intensity – what others might have called sweat. Disco music provided a faint soundtrack, but was good accompaniment behind the rhythm of clanging weights.

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20th Street: The Gold’s Gym Of Colorado…

I had never seen such a concentration of bodybuilders. I immediately keyed in on one man, John Suddemeyer. John wasn’t big, but he had a very tight physique; vascular, and athletic.  He had what bodybuilders of the day called the finished look.

Through the evening Scott would point out all the local bodybuilders and powerlifters who comprised the regulars. There was JT LaSasso, whose acne covered back left droplets of blood on the bench press after set he performed. Rich Clench, Mr. Colorado, with arms that looked more like adult water wings. Steve Ponzi, a local powerlifter who made his living bouncing at bars and collecting hard money loans. Finally, there was Al Mack. Al had a 22” neck and more resembled a brown bag full of bowling balls than a human being. Al Mack would become an early mentor to Scott.

My 132 lb. high school frame felt very out of place, but I stuck around and trained legs and shoulders, feeling inadequate while Scott and Al Mack did 45 minutes of uninterrupted pull-ups. Mostly, I used the time to observe. I learned more that night by watching others, than I had in my previous 2 years at my local rec center gym.

Fast Forward…

Sometime after that 1st workout at 20th Street, I decided I would put all my eggs in one basket, and cover that basket. Due to the long bus commute, I couldn’t train at 20th Street too often, but frequently enough so I could keep observing, and keep learning. Inspired and better educated, I would transfer what I learned at 20th Street to my rec center workouts. Within a year I weighed 165 lbs.

Scott would later runaway release himself from high school on his own recognizance, and head to Brownwood, TX to learn from world class powerlifter, Doug Young. When he returned from Texas Scott was larger, stronger, and better informed. Scott would share that knowledge with anyone who would listen. I listened.

Scott spoke of Doug Young’s unusually slow eccentric (negative) phase of the bench press. In Scott’s words (paraphrased), lowering the bar to the chest more slowly, provided a better opportunity to connect with one’s power zone for an increased maximum lift. That ideal – the slow negative, changed my life forever.

Over time I would make my own study of slow negatives based on Young’s technique. I dissected it, studied it, and applied slow negatives to virtually every strength exercise I would ever perform or teach.

From that study I would understand that slow negatives, a full range of motion, and a very slow transition during the cross-bridge cycle, are superior for stimulating muscular growth, increased strength, and the best dividend of all, an increased awareness and command of one’s physicality which applies to all functional movement beyond the gym doors.

I have made a good livelihood teaching the value of slow negatives in strength training.

Sir, Yes Sir…

Scott would go on the enlist in the United States Marine Corps, and have an excellent career. Now retired, Scott and his wife live in Las Vegas where he continues to powerlift and train with weights regularly. Through social media, Scott and I reconnected a few years back and I am grateful.

Nearly 40 years after he took me to the 20th Street Gym, and decades after he taught me about Doug Young’s slow bench press style, I can say Scott’s presence in my life has impacted me more, and steered the direction of my life more than any other influence.

Fingerprinting…

We are the sum of many influences; from the date and zip code of our birth, to who we meet and when we meet them. Whether we realize it or not, we are guided through life by the presence of others. I’m certain Scott will read this, though I’m pretty sure he’s had no idea how much his presence influenced my life.

As we are guided by the influence of others, we should care to remember that we also do a fair bit influencing – of leaving our own marks on others wherever we may go. I know the fingerprints I have left behind haven’t always been clean, but I try hard these days, to be cautious when I touch the lives of anyone else. Be well… rc

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Please check back in a few weeks to see what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from Bad Company – one more fingerprint Scott left on my life. Enjoy…