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Old 06-22-2010, 08:58 AM   #101
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Sensei and size

Keith, you are right and people that have never walked that road don't know, can't know and god willing will never have to know that kind of disability. I remember one Sensei (retired army) who was very obese and I heard people talking about him the last few years of his life. He was fighting colon cancer and on that medication. He didn’t talk about it much and not to strangers at all. He was one of those good sensei that some folks scoff at.

Last edited by Dennis Hooker : 06-22-2010 at 09:06 AM.

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Old 06-22-2010, 09:17 AM   #102
Cliff Judge
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Re: Sensei and size

I think I once heard Ellis say that Aikido is not a "complete physical culture." In my experience, Aikido training does not contain sufficient physical conditioning to support itself. When I go through periods where I cannot keep up a routine of extracurricular exercise, I find that my joints hurt more, I breathe harder, and my weight starts to slowly creep upward. When I am able to do some yoga, swimming, or weights regularly, everything just runs much more smoothly.

I also suspect that something about Aikido training encourages a rounder body with a heftier center section. This may simply be the fact that harder Aikido training requires drinking stronger beer.
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:22 AM   #103
David Orange
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
The prednisone does make one gain weight and sometimes it changes ones metabolism, ask anyone who has been on serious doses of that poison to keep them alive.
I've spent the last few years as a coordinator for a clinical study comparing thymectomy to prednisone as a treatment for myasthenia gravis, so I know something about both the disease and the medication and I really feel for people who face either one.

Our study goal is to determine whether thymectomy (removal of the thymus gland) ultimately allows the myasthenia gravis patient to get by with less prednisone or not. I previously thought the goal was to see whether prednisone alone could allow one to skip having his chest split open and the gelatinous blob that is the thymus gland dug out of his chest cavity. In fact, of course, neither is a desirable thing, but we just want to find out if one is better than the other. Thymectomy patients still get prednisone. The question is whether they can ultimately take less prednisone or not. Maybe those on prednisone-only will recover better. This has never been determined and I'm glad to be of some small assistance in the research. Mainly what I do is coordinate the shipment of prednisone and other supplies to our surgical centers around the world.

One thing I have learned is the devastating effects of prednisone and I'm thankful every day that I've never had to face that. Severe weight gain is one of the serious symptoms, but not the worst. Still, it's made me appreciate that looking at a seriously overweight person cannot tell you why that person is that way.

Still, I think it's important to remember the point of this discussion, which is that there seem to be many more seriously overweight teachers in American aikido than in other martial arts or in other nations. It's not an indictment of aikido, but of American aikido. And it's not a discussion of seriously old people (though in Japan the elderly generally don't become obese simply through getting older). It's really a question of why so many American aikido teachers in their prime years [40-60] are in such deplorable physical condition.

It should not be considered a reason for anyone to think that the discussion is aimed at him or her (especially those who are not recognized as "masters" [making their living by teaching aikido, or being paid to travel to seminars]). It's not about people from 6th kyu to 2nd or 3rd dan, who are, theoretically, still being shaped by the training. It's about those who have supposedly "mastered" the art and received the full transformative effects of a couple of decades or more of training. The question is why it seems that so many American sensei, who should have been tranformed in near-Ueshiba or Tohei status are, in fact, in horrendous condition.

Now, on the one hand, we don't really even know that this is true. It may be that we (or our friends in other nations) only notice those who stand out for such reasons. Or it may be that they have come to expect to see this in America and so do see it. It would take a lot of data collection. We would have to gather height, weight, age, aikido rank and years of aikido training along with a lot of information on injuries including type of injury, some way to measure severity and duration of the injury, etc. And for relevance, we would have to have the same information on a similar number of karate, judo and jujutsu teachers (and kung fu and tai chi/bagua/xing yi teachers)...to be able to say with real assurance that the condition is actually real.

However, based on my 35 years of aikido associations (and associations with karate, judo and other martial arts and artists, both in the US and Japan [where I also met countless international martial artists]), it does seem to be true.

And based on my own struggles with injuries and weight gain/loss, I'd have to say that Dan's assessment is really the most accurate. There's no reason for anyone to be defensive about it (and that is not a comment at Hooker Sensei or any particular poster). It's something to look at with intelligence and serious thought.

Best to all.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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Old 06-22-2010, 09:24 AM   #104
DonMagee
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I think like Don that alot of people have self imposed limitations or "excuses" for letting themselves off the hook, that are unnecessary. That is okay, as long as they are happy and it does not cause them discord or I don't waste my time whinning about it or asking for the "short cuts" to make things easier.

Heck, the TV is full of ads/infomercials for all kinds of "aids" designed to prey on that psychology. I like that new weight shaker thing! lol!

There are many, many of the masses out there that simply do not want to take personal responsibility for themselves and discover there own potential and/or happiness.

I think Budo is designed to help us discover this, plain and simple. So, I do, like Don, have a hard time understanding, sometimes how we accept this in Budo.

On the other hand, I have also learned, and I think that Budo is also about acceptance and self.

that is, I can only be concerned with myself, and it is okay to grow old, mature, degrade, break down and have limitations.

I think budo exposes these, can make the raw and apparent.

tolerance is also a key component of budo. Learning to look past the superficial and see something greater than what lay at the surface.

There are many large girthed individuals that have taught me alot and have alot to offer. If I only saw them or their physical size and health...then it would be my loss.

I think a big part of budo is looking much deeper....deeper past all this superficial crap and seeing the whole.

"To thine ownself be true"

also, i think it depends on the situation.

I have different criteria for who I let do what with me.

For example, many individuals I learn budo from, I would not accept or want on my "team" professionally as physical conditioning and well rounded abilities are life and death.

I've been fortunate to be turning 45 this week and still able to do the things I am doing. That said, I am in a young man's business and I can see my days coming to an end soon! I am enjoying the hell out of it though.

It also has shown me the frailty of our bodies and how we must care for them if we want them to be there for us.

I think Don's point is, if I may Don....

It is okay to have limitations as long as they don't become excuses and lies to ourselves.
Exactly.

Many people throw in the towel at the slightest opportunity. So you have chronic pain and can't walk, do you still spend every night eating at taco bell and mcdonalds? Maybe mild exercise within your limits and a reasonable diet would help?

I shattered my ankle in judo a few years ago. It has never been right to this day. It hurts for no reason, twisting it the wrong way can bring me down in horrible pain, sometimes just walking is enough to make me feel like it is broken all over again. The doctors tell me that surgery could make it worse and I should wait until it is unbearable. I still train, I still run (although not as far or as often), and I have learned to adjust my training to adapt to the reality of my ankle (I tap out if you are screwing with it for example). This also sadly forced me to face the reality that I can't continue with my current diet with the slightly relaxed training schedule. I simply don't burn enough calories to eat like I did when I could use my ankle more often. I also spent time with physical therapists to help improve my ankle and did manage to get a lot of the problems resolved as long as I'm stringent in doing the work they showed me every single day. If I slack off for a week, my ankle is problematic again.

Likewise I have a friend who also broke his ankle badly in judo. Except in his case he used it as an excuse to quit judo, quit bjj, quit working out at the gym, quit running, etc. While I'm sure he has legitimate problems with his ankle, he was unwilling to even find a way to adjust his training to a tolerable level and instead simply stopped. This is a sad reality for almost everyone I personally know who complains about how they can't stay in shape. They all have a reason and none of them bat an eye at eating a steak, ribs, fries, a coke, and a piece of pie at dinner.

I've also torn my rotator cuff in my shoulder. If I do not do the exercises my therapist showed me at least twice a week my shoulder will hurt to the point where I can't lift anything. Even lifting my laptop off my desk will force me to take a knee in pain. So instead of using that as an excuse for quitting, I do the boring and sometimes painful exercises to keep my shoulder working.

I don't consider my problems to be disabilities. I consider them to be the reality of life. There are two options.

1) I can use it as an excuse.
2) I can learn how to work around the issue.

Last year I ran a small bjj club where I work. Because of running the club I was unable to train myself. Because I didn't adjust my diet to cope, I put on 10 pounds. My solution was to start doing the workouts with the students rather then just telling them what to do. I ran the warmups, I did the drills, I spared with them, and I found it was even harder because while I was doing all that I had to keep encouraging them. I think this might be more at the core of the instructor problem. Many instructors don't work out with their students. Sure it took some adjusting. Instead of grabbing a partner and doing 50 throws, I walked around to each group and did 10 throws on each of them (which was more throws then I would have done if I was in class). Like wise I had them each throw me so I could see what they were doing. Hell even my 70 year old judo coach would still get on the mat and do uchi komi and that man could hardly walk.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:37 AM   #105
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Sensei and size

David, I have had a thymectomy and as far as I am concerned it is the way to go. And I will say again, it is knowing how to eat and what to eat and not the amount you eat that is the key. I rode my bike and swim and went to the wellness center and worked out three or four times a week and taught (and did) Aikido but until I was taught about food nothing worked. Until I was in my late 40’s I went about 160 to 180 off and on, and them bam there it was. Now I am educated about my body and what works and what don’t. For folks that think I just can’t do it. You may be doing everything right by some standards but not for you. Look into food education it doesn’t make a bad ass martial art teacher any more a wimp or looser that having cancer would. Is there a dietician on here?

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Old 06-22-2010, 09:47 AM   #106
David Orange
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
What you want from your sensei is knowledge. I don't think size, fat, thin, short, tall, and stuff has much or any bearing on that ability to teach that knowledge, or even lead, in the dojo.
Yeah, but if, along with his "knowledge" the Sensei is passing along his attitudes and habits on food and the idea that once you hit a certain dan rank you no longer have to do ukemi...maybe his knowledge is dangerously flawed and dangerous, as well, to the students.

If that is the case, is he/she really suitable as a Sensei?

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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Old 06-22-2010, 09:55 AM   #107
David Orange
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
I remember one Sensei (retired army) who was very obese and I heard people talking about him the last few years of his life. He was fighting colon cancer and on that medication. He didn't talk about it much and not to strangers at all. He was one of those good sensei that some folks scoff at.
Point well taken.

Still, I think that the original point is that so many American aikido teachers seem to be overweight and approaching (or living) obesity. Surely, these serious cases exist, but it's hard to imagine that they explain all the overweight teachers.

I did live with a very serious back injury for several months in Japan. One of my favorite teachers told me "Fix it by doing aikido."

But I was in the state Keith described, where it was hard to go to the bathroom. I once got stuck in the shower because when I tried to step out, I felt like someone had put a knife in my back. I finally had to lower myself to the floor and literally crawl out of the bathtub before I could stand up again. I did live with serious shooting pain in my back and one leg for many months before I could once more walk normally and return to training. Being somewhat overweight then (largely due to my response to serious anxieties) contributed to the injury. But in fact a lot of it came from overwork in a serious "ab busting" program "developed by a chiropractor". A lot of my injury was just a factor of trying to keep up (at age 37/38) with guys in their 20s who were getting stronger and faster every day.

There really are no easy answers, but when food and drink are the main problems, I think we know it.

Best to you.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 06-22-2010, 10:22 AM   #108
David Orange
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
...until I was taught about food nothing worked. Until I was in my late 40's I went about 160 to 180 off and on, and them bam there it was.
Living in Japan, I got up and rode my bike to the dojo two mornings a week to teach, then rode home and got ready to ride to work. When I got off work, I'd ride home, then ride to the dojo for aikido or karate. And I also rode the bike to the dojo on Saturdays and Sundays.

And still I got overweight! Maybe because I was putting away the liquor and beer every single night....?

And then I got injured...and gained more weight! Even riding my bike everywhere and training something like 10 hours per week in the dojo and doing my own work on the side, I couldn't lose the weight.

Surprise?

What kind of food combination program did you get on?

I recently dropped a good bit of weight, but sort of got stuck in the mid-180s. Sounds like you found something effective. I'd like to know more about that.

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:29 AM   #109
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Sensei and size

David, I am not saying that there are not people fat from just over eating and too much libation, of course there are. But in many of the posts it is simply reduced to that simplistic reason, and it is just not that simple. People that use excuse are not that much different than the chest pounders that say "Look at me" I don't do it and you don't need to either.

Now to those big old boys who were born natural physical specimens of human beings I say "Hay give&gitter broke" but I can shoot your ass from 100 yards. The long distance form of irimi.

Last edited by Dennis Hooker : 06-22-2010 at 10:31 AM.

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Old 06-22-2010, 10:36 AM   #110
lbb
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Yeah, but if, along with his "knowledge" the Sensei is passing along his attitudes and habits on food and the idea that once you hit a certain dan rank you no longer have to do ukemi...maybe his knowledge is dangerously flawed and dangerous, as well, to the students.
The latter maybe, but I don't see where you'd get the former. I don't look to my sensei as a model for how to eat any more than I look to him for insights into politics, religion, interior decorating, or any other irrelevant matter. I don't know why anyone would.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:45 AM   #111
DH
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Re: Sensei and size

Simplistic reasons! It stands to reason that there must be simple reasons when the rest of humanity is slimmer than us.

Again, I think the topic is being derailed into individual cases so minute they are fractions of single percentages of an overall problem. It is all but meaningless as to why millions of people (and apparently so many older aikido teachers) are fat.

If you could put the entire country on a prolonged balanced diet I would be willing to bet the statistical average would reveal the lack of any real problems beyond over eating.
I bet we would find those who magically got down to ideal weight would be in the upper ninety percentile

Meanwhile, at least percentage wise; you have the rest of the entire planet less fat than us.
But...we do like our reasons.
Oh well.
Dan
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:57 AM   #112
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Simplistic reasons! It stands to reason that there must be simple reasons when the rest of humanity is slimmer than us.

Again, I think the topic is being derailed into individual cases so minute they are fractions of single percentages of an overall problem. It is all but meaningless as to why millions of people (and apparently so many older aikido teachers) are fat.

If you could put the entire country on a prolonged balanced diet I would be willing to bet the statistical average would reveal the lack of any real problems beyond over eating.
I bet we would find those who magically got down to ideal weight would be in the upper ninety percentile

Meanwhile, at least percentage wise; you have the rest of the entire planet less fat than us.
But...we do like our reasons.
Oh well.
Dan
And right you are Dan. People eating diet foods that make clams that are not true may give some people a since of doing right, but that food is not helping them. We live in an over processed and nutrition poor food country. There are a lot of people living off what they can afford and not what they need and eating less of it don't make much of a difference. Dan I know you to be a well educated, intelligent and traveled man and I can't help but thing most of what you are saying is just poking me in the ribs trying to get a rise. Won't work NO NO OH NO. You won't get a rise from me (ass hole)

Love Ya, mean it
Dennis

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Old 06-22-2010, 11:00 AM   #113
Buck
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Yeah, but if, along with his "knowledge" the Sensei is passing along his attitudes and habits on food and the idea that once you hit a certain dan rank you no longer have to do ukemi...maybe his knowledge is dangerously flawed and dangerous, as well, to the students.

If that is the case, is he/she really suitable as a Sensei?

David
Good point! That opens up a new field of discussion. How much influence should or shouldn't a sensei have? In terms of diet, or anything for that matter, how much does or should a sensei have outside of strictly teaching Aikido culture and technique. That in turn expands this thread from the topic of sensei and size to dojo and size.

Is it than a large sizes dojo a matter of birds of a feather, or large minds think alike, or the power of influence of a sensei to change a person's life style-eating habits. Same for dojo's that are thin and have a variety of sized people?

Just a thought: let's take a highly active health conscious sensei. The sensei models a very over-all healthy lifestyle. That is, the sensei doesn't smoke, doesn't do recreational drugs or alcohol, exercise fanatic, has an extreme strict diet highly conscious of what they eat and how much; low carbs, low fat, low cholesterol, high supplement intake, wheat grass, you get the picture. They exercise more than 10 hrs (as an example) a week excluding Aikido practice. In a nutshell, a super fit sensei. Will students who seeking Aikido walk through this sensei's dojo doors, being over weight by 10 or so lbs, will be influenced to lose those extra pounds? Will the sensei influence them to change their life style via his attitude and lifestyle? Or do students with healthily eating habits who walk into a dojo where (for what ever reason) the sensei is over weight are influenced to become over weight? How many students are not influenced either way? Does age and life experience insulate or amplify such influence? I am just musing on this line of thought. It would be interesting to know more.

Though I have never been in a dojo where the size of the sensei and students was homogenous, fat or thin. I have not been to dojos outside North America. The dojo's I have been to and demos, seminars I seen and been at, have always been a mix. But now, I am interested in finding such a dojo and looking into it more closely, just because.

Dave thanks for bring up that point.

Last edited by Buck : 06-22-2010 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:10 AM   #114
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Sensei and size

Once (15 years ago) I sat in front of 50 or so college students for Sunday morning class after the "request" Saturday night party. Many tried to keep up with Sensei and I was looking at young red puffy eyes and a few sick one and I made a resolution never to do that to young folks again and I have not. They do sometimes follow where they should not a take bad advice and examples from teachers. To those I set a bad example for I as forgiveness. I like my Aikido and I think it has something of value and I will give all I can. But for life, mine has been far from exemplary please don’t follow my lead there.

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Old 06-22-2010, 11:12 AM   #115
DH
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
And right you are Dan. People eating diet foods that make clams that are not true may give some people a since of doing right, but that food is not helping them. We live in an over processed and nutrition poor food country. There are a lot of people living off what they can afford and not what they need and eating less of it don't make much of a difference. Dan I know you to be a well educated, intelligent and traveled man and I can't help but thing most of what you are saying is just poking me in the ribs trying to get a rise. Won't work NO NO OH NO. You won't get a rise from me (ass hole)

Love Ya, mean it
Dennis
That's inappropriate Dennis.
I am trying to get you to see past individual cases. Trying to get you to look past cases that are so small a percentage that they are not a significant factor percentage wise
The reasons have to be larger to account for the shear numbers of people that are fat,.
I gave personal examples of both sides of the spectrum than asked that we discuss a bigger picture than individual anecdotes that's all.

Look, in either case insulting me personally for a reasonable argument in trying to get YOU to broaden the discussion to encompass tens of millions of people is uncalled for. I am quite surprised.
Dan
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:20 AM   #116
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Sensei and size

Dan, sometimes we (you and me) have a since of humor that gets cross wise. Off line could you offer some names, other than mine, hell I'm looking more and more like Brad Pitt everyday. Oh and many countries have opted for our culture and food processing mistakes and are getting overall bigger and fatter, Japan is one.

No insult was intended I am surprised you took it that way!

Last edited by Dennis Hooker : 06-22-2010 at 11:26 AM.

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Old 06-22-2010, 11:25 AM   #117
DH
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Re: Sensei and size

Thats a relief!!
I thought to myself "What did I say?"
That's why I use smiley faces. Others do a very good job in writing. Unfortunately I do not possess that skill.

I can offer you "other examples of teachers" but why would I? I wasn't interested in talking about individuals in the first place, that was Mary's idea. I think it is indicative of a broader problem that has nothing to with aikido. I've met Aikido teachers who were in great shape and other arts teachers who were fat.
Beyond that I stated my points.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 06-22-2010 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:51 AM   #118
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Sensei and size

For anyone that got the impression I have been attacking anyone please know I have not done so intentionally I am just not well schooled in such things. And I do respect Dan Harder and his hard work and skill.

I will leave now.

Dennis

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Old 06-22-2010, 11:59 AM   #119
DH
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Re: Sensei and size

Naw
As I would like to see more of us do; Dennis and I just chit chatted in P.M. ( now THAT is good Budo)
Anyway, it's all good and was indeed a joke in the first place.
So, let's not let that derail the discussion.
Cheers
Dan
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:49 AM   #120
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Sensei and size

Not conclusive yet but worth a read

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/healt...,3574449.story

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Old 06-23-2010, 09:35 AM   #121
David Orange
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
Not conclusive yet but worth a read

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/healt...,3574449.story
Can you provide some reference to the food combining source?

Thanks.

David

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Old 06-23-2010, 10:24 AM   #122
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Sensei and size

Here is a short one David. http://www.ehow.com/how_5032365_eat-...binations.html

I follow the eating plan approved my my doctor, dietician and the wellness center after blood test blood gas tests a physical like none I ever had.

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Old 06-23-2010, 08:04 PM   #123
David Orange
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Re: Sensei and size

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
Here is a short one David. http://www.ehow.com/how_5032365_eat-...binations.html

I follow the eating plan approved my my doctor, dietician and the wellness center after blood test blood gas tests a physical like none I ever had.
Thanks! I'll look into that.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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Old 06-24-2010, 06:48 AM   #124
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Sensei and size

My last post on this and I'm just saying please don't always be judgemental on the issue because we don't always know and why should we.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37831468...and_nutrition/

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Old 06-24-2010, 10:52 AM   #125
DH
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Re: Sensei and size

Dennis
While that remains a good point, the flip side is to recognize that it is the vast majority of people sittng on their butts and eating too much that drive the numbers.
America is stuck in an "I am entitled, I deserve this or that" mentaility instead of a get out and make something of yourself strength. This thread is a great example of taking a national problem involving almost a hundred million people and reducing it to the almost miniscule percentage of medical issues.
I am sensitive to it, because of family members who have no excuse whatsever, yet I have "heard" every excuse possible. As I wrote; after the stomach surgery, and the incredible weight loss, she put it all back two years later...by carrying too much food to her face. The other person just sits on his ass all day.

We can't jump to the bleeding heart to excuse all, when most of the people are 'self made" from too much food and far too little exercise.
I eat the same food (well, I don't do fast food joints) most everyone else does and I am fine. But fast food is a choice, and by now an educated choice. People know its bad for them and do it anyway.
And sitting on our asses should be listed as a favorite past time or a national sport as far as I can see.
So, present company excluded and the small percentage of peope left out with real medical problems...tell us what you think of the rest of the 90 odd percent who chose to live a bad lifestyle-with no excuses?
Dan
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