What I've Been Thinking About...
Last weekend, we were at a family party and while there, we had a great time catching up with everyone. At this point in our lives, everyone seems to have a child of their own and are feeling a bit stressed. We all needed some kid free time or even a few moments talking with other parents or adults. A simple conversation without having a kid hanging on your back or calling your name every 3 seconds is all we were looking for. That is not too much to ask for, is it? Unfortunately, those moments are few and far between!
During the party, when we did have a free moment or two, the chatter typically involved the struggles we are all facing raising a child. For some, it could be mood disturbances, for others it was their child's lack of sleep and having to get a sleep test conducted, or even the ever so common food allergy that afflicts more people than you would think. These conversations oftentimes resemble a therapy session or an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting. Instead of stating, "My name is Chris, I am an Alcoholic" it becomes "My name is Chris, I am a struggling parent". You share your trials and tribulations, they share theirs, and in the end, you all feel a little bit better. The tricky part is actually finding the time to have these conversations!
Fitness Tip of the Week
I ran into a guy this week who experienced a huge weight gain during the lockdowns. This man had a slight frame and went from 130-something to over 180 pounds. Packing on 50 pounds (roughly 40% of his initial bodyweight) during a 1-2 year period is quite alarming. He described his body as "looking like the letter D" and decided it was time for a change.
During this time, he visited Europe (I forget where to be exact) and came to the realization that food tastes better over there and as a result, he felt better. He decided he was going to come home and change his diet. The first thing he did was he went vegan. He saw a decrease in weight but didn't feel quite right. He introduced meat back into his diet and although it tasted great, it made his stomach feel awful. He came to realize that the vegan diet wasn't sustainable long term for him and the traditional diet he was eating was not going to improve his weight issue. So he thought about it and decided he would go vegan for a month, and then switch back to a more traditional diet and continue alternating back and forth each month. For him, this style of eating was something he could adhere to and his body responded well by dropping 20+ pounds.
The point of sharing this story is not to encourage a vegan diet, a meat diet, or any specific diet for that matter. The point is that when you embark on making a big lifestyle change, it is important to keep a few things in mind. The first is the experimentation process. You have to do a little research, test drive a few things, see how you respond, and continue gathering information in this manner. This takes time so patience is required. The second part is that just because something works, doesn't mean it will be sustainable. Most diets work if you adhere to the guidelines. Adherence rate will either make you or break you. If something is not sustainable long term, then I would advise you to look elsewhere and continue the experimentation process.
Social Media & A Childs Well-Being
As I was researching and preparing to write an article (Is Social Media Killing Youth Sports), I came across some interesting, albeit unfortunate, statistics conducted by The American Journal of Public Health. In 2015, they reported that screen based media is associated with low self-esteem, poor academic performance, obesity and a decrease in fitness. Heavy users of screen based media were less likely to be happy and more likely to have socioemotional difficulties. Young people who chatted on social web sites between 1-3 hours per day were half as likely to be happy than those who chatted for less than an hour per day.
This was seven years ago. Since that report, social media sites have become more addicting, "binge watching" Netflix or Amazon shows has become a thing, and Youtube is upgrading their user experience to grab your attention and never let go. This type of stimulation has some serious side effects. The more a child uses, the more a child craves. In addition to the mental effect, these services encourage sedentary behavior which is probably the last thing kids need in their lives.
What I've Been Reading...
The Afghanistan Papers by Craig Whitlock
During the occupation of Afghanistan, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction conducted interviews with soldiers and high ranking officials to compile a "Lessons Learned" information gathering project. The interviewees were very candid as they shared their thoughts and opinion on the conflict. They did not think that these interviews would get leaked in any way or released to the public. As it turns out, they were wrong. After a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was made and a three year battle in the courts, the details of these interviews were released. This book is a breakdown of what was discovered.
Winston Churchill once said that, "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies". It seems the Bush and Obama administration (and eventually Trump & Biden) took that advice to heart in regards to the conflict in Afghanistan. Everything about this 20+ year conflict seems messy and I am having a hard time understanding the rationale behind some of the things that were done, especially after reading these interviews. Either way, it is something I didn't know much about and it is worth the read!
Quote of the Week
"Only the dead have seen the end of war" -- George Santayana, 1922
I hope you all have an awesome week!