08/30/08 227 W, 1 I - + 12 - 12 Waistlines

Let’s talk about a big topic. Let’s talk about big bellies. Gather enough firemen in a single spot and you’ll observe expanded waistlines. I’ve seen it in Baltimore. I saw it in Winston-Salem. I see it when I look in the mirror. Big belly. Forget weight, forget cholesterol. The latest word is waist size. That’s what they say is the single best indicator of "at risk." Riding without a seat belt? That’s at risk. Standing in traffic without a vest? That’s at risk. Working a fire without PPE? That’s at risk.

If you, or your bud, or your team member, or your family member has a big belly, they’re at risk. Plain, simple, maybe brutal, maybe embarrassing. Many factors conspire to aid the expansion of waistlines. From our genes to our appetites, there are many reasons for girth growth. Regrettably, there’s rarely a quick fix. It’s lifestyle changes, maybe drastic, maybe small steps. But all pointing in the direction of better health.

Where should we go with this topic? Don’t know. Seems worthy to raise. Firefighter, rescue thyself. Mike, get healthier. I’m interested in lengthening the likelihood of my time on this planet. Hope you are too.

You are right, there are no quick fixes, contrary to what you see on TV. Everyone that I know that has lost a significant amount of weight has usually gained it all back and then some. I have gone through that a few times. Over the past 3 years, however, I have gone from 365 to 285 by doing what I can- cut intake gradually. What have I done? Cut out most snacks, breads, candies, cakes, etc. And, get this, I have gone from margaritas at every opportunity to about 2-3 a year (did not even drink one for my birthday). Some of the things I do wrong (or don’t do)-

1. I seldom exercise anymore. Too many 36 hour shifts, extra shifts, and late nights working on a degree. If I had the equipment available at work I might try, but call volume and move ups will prevent that on a regular basis.
2. While I never eat on my days off past 1800, trying for regular meals on work days is a test of the impossible. And what is available on the run? Yep, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, etc. Salads are better, but I have grown weary of throwing away the majority of a salad I just bought. Same goes for bringing food from home. After I re-heat it the second time and don’;t get to eat it, it goes in the garbage.

I have noticed a reduction in the ‘gut factor’ around some FDs, but it seems to remain consistent around EMS circles. Those that don’t have them sometimes get them, those that have them seldom get rid of them. While many fire stations I go in have exercise equipment, it is a rarity that I see it in EMS stations in my travels, and even then there is seldom time to use it.
DJ (Web Site) - 08/30/08 - 18:12

I’m glad to see that physical fitness has been made more of a priority at the RFD then it has in the past. However, it has to be made a priority in “the minds” over cleaning the windows or cutting the grass.

I completely understand that these are things that have to be done. But, they aren’t given an alotted time to be completed, whereas “PT” is; 0930-1100 or 1600-1730. The windows can wait, but your heart can’t. Stop drinking a 2 liter of Coke a day, cut out the pack of cigarettes a day because you’re not helping yourself, your body will thank you if you did.

Get with the program, because you’re going to become a statistic. How many more of our Brothers have to pass for you to realize that it CAN/WILL happen here?
Silver - 08/30/08 - 23:20

Crossfit it works!
addicted to pain - 08/31/08 - 00:02

cutting the grass is exercise!!! – oh, i forgot, you’re riding, not like the manual, non-gas, non-electric manual model we had in the old days

but seriously, sleep deprivation and stress have been proven to be a contributor to weight gain

(and the $1.98 chicken biscuit special at bojangles doesn’t help either (special sign on the counter – wonder if it’s still running?))
ordered cases of beans and rice that only need to be reheated (eden organic) to avoid the temptation and try to eat healthier when there’s no time to cook

i need to get back on the treadmill daily
cornerhydrant - 08/31/08 - 04:16

i must switch back to green tea (w/o sugar) instead of coffee and that very addictive pepsi i’ve been drinking all summer (terrible habit), since studies have shown that cathechins in green tea protect lungs from smoke, as well as being formaldehyde scavengers (which is a component of smoke anyway) – i’ve got papers on this somewhere – the component that is the most active in protecting the lungs is Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg)
cornerhydrant - 08/31/08 - 07:01

Uh-oh. I can see it now. Someone, somwhere, is going to say that we do not need those expensive SCBA, just make the firefighters drink green tea with EGCg.
DJ (Email) - 08/31/08 - 08:21

What about diet drinks? Good, bad, otherwise?
Just-a-jake - 08/31/08 - 10:52

Well, I have heard good and bad. Too much sodium. And lately I have read that they make you eat more due to cravings. I don’t drink too many diet drinks. What I did was cut down on sugar in tea- used to do 2 cups of sugar for 1 gallon, now I do 1 1/2 cups.
DJ (Web Site) - 08/31/08 - 11:53

43 years old and 183 pounds. Run 2-3 miles every other day, jog 3 miles with a 45 pound weight vest in 36 minutes twice a month and run steps with the 45 pound vest once a month. Perform strength training every 3rd day. No soft drinks; water and cut gatorade only. No junk food. Stick to vegetables, turkey, fish and chicken. No burgers or steaks. There are some very interesting diet facts on yahoo news almost weekly. They had a special on diet drinks about two weeks ago. Their advice: steer clear of them. They cause you to crave junk foods to satisfy your hunger. They stated that you might as well just drink a regular soft drink to soothe the cravings.
It seems that all emergency services agencies are experiencing the same waistline issues. Is it more classroom lectures and no practicals? Is it two, three and four times the workload that keeps one at a desk more often than out in the field? I read somewhere last month where I believe it is Bowman and Grey was issued a grant to study why firefighters refuse to perform physical fitness. Can’t wait to read the results of this one. But I can say that we are getting better. I do see many fire, police and ems personnel performing PT. The paid staffs are fortunate to have a period to perform PT. Our volunteer staff is really suffering. You can’t make them perform PT, only encourage them. At least get out and walk guys and gals!
Apache1 (Email) - 08/31/08 - 12:02

On the subject of walking, one of the most compelling comments I have read runs something like this: as you would no more skip a night’s sleep, you should no more skip 30 minutes of walking a day.
Legeros - 08/31/08 - 12:11

I know a guy that drinks a 2 liter of Coke a day. I offered him help, buy two 16 oz. Coke’s, drink one at lunch and one at dinner. Drink water in between and hopefully you’ll break the habit. I’m hoping he goes for it, and stays on the weights, because it’ll help motivate others.
Silver - 08/31/08 - 21:09

For a chuckle, found this this morning. http://laughlines.blogs.nytimes.com/2008..

And for those who find themselves salivating, the State Fair is only a month away!
Legeros - 09/07/08 - 07:47

Not even going this year. It has changed very little the past 50 or so years, so I doubt I miss anything.
DJ - 09/07/08 - 10:27

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