That Weight Loss Thing

Several people asked about this when I revealed that I have lost over 40lbs since October last year.  My simple answer is “Ozempic” (which is true) but I need to give a little background, I think.

My long-suffering family doctor — a lovely man, by the way — has been hammering on at me about my weight for many years, yea even unto when it reached the upper-270s.  I’ve always responded flippantly to his worries, saying that I’ll do anything to address that concern as long as it didn’t involve

  • a change in diet, or
  • exercise.

Well, it all caught up with me when after studying the results of my last blood tests, he informed me that I was developing Type II diabetes.  He wasn’t kidding this time — I’d also developed the irritating-but-not-critical feelings of partial numbness in the soles of my feet, which is a symptom of diabetes and of advanced age (which is why you so often see old geezers wearing slippers around the house and sandals with socks outdoors — bare feet, apparently, are no longer an option lest one step on something sharp and doesn’t notice it).

Anyway, I still wasn’t interested in changing my diet or doing exercise, so he prescribed Ozempic.  It’s a once-weekly self-administered jab in the stomach.

What it did for me was reduce my appetite by about 60%.  Now I have to say that since my gastric surgery all those years ago, my appetite hasn’t been all that great anyway, but my food choices have been… deplorable.

What Ozempic did for me was reduce all food cravings — not eliminate them altogether, but make me less likely to eat (say) a whole slab of Dairy Milk over three days, and take two weeks to consume the same amount instead.

On regular foods, my portion sizes were reduced by about two thirds, and breakfast disappeared altogether, replaced by (maybe) a piece of cheese, a couple of grapes or a small handful of Honey-Nut Cheerios, and only if I felt really hungry.  (“Peckish” disappeared completely.)  I found myself becoming totally disinterested in feeding myself, much to New Wife’s concern.

Here’s the good part of all this:  I have been feeling better.  More energy, more stamina, and much less effort in just doing stuff like getting out of chairs or even just sitting up in bed.  Some people have reported that change in body shape has also resulted in change of personality, but that’s bullshit.  If your personality is going to change just because you’ve lost weight, then you have bigger problems to worry about.

Losing all that weight was a salutary event, but I was warned by FamDoc (and Doc Russia) that I needed to do at least some exercise because one of the side-effects of such radical weight loss is concomitant loss of muscle mass.

I’ve pretty much ignored that advice too, because to be frank, I’m heartily sick of my muscles.  I’ve always been a beefy kind of guy, even at Army weight (210lbs) — and I’m quite frankly sick of having to find shirts with an 18″ collar (since leaving high school), trousers that look like bell-bottoms (calf muscles) and shirts with sleeves that squashed my arms into stovepipes.  Cowboy boots?  Oy, I’ve been forced to get boots that are a half-size too big just so I can get my calves (again) into them.  Less muscle?  Fine.  I’m still as strong as I want to be — just this past weekend I helped Daughter pack some heavy stuff into her SUV, without any problems.

And so on.  My clothes fit better and feel more comfortable, and I’m using the first hole on my belts rather than the last one.  I may have to get some smaller clothes when I lose the last thirty-odd lbs I’m targeting, but then again maybe not.  Whatever.  If I end up walking around in baggy clothes, I don’t really care.  New Wife, however, may feel differently about it, but I have enough clothes that I bought when slimmer (and never threw away) that I shouldn’t need to change much.

It’s not all sunshine and light, however.  Belly fat has turned from a basketball into folds (okay enough under shirts, but ugh when uncovered), and my face has also become… well, droopy would be the best description.  (I know I know, exercise… shuddup.)

Anyway, that’s the story of the film so far.  Appalled by the cost of Ozempic, by the way, I switched to Rybelsus, which is a (foul-tasting) once-a-morning tablet, but it hasn’t worked as well, and I felt my weight starting to creep up again.  “Never mind,” says FamDoc, “I’ll just up the dosage of the Rybelsus.”

Except that the increased dosage of Rybelsus is more or less the same cost as Ozempic (~$220 per month ugh) so as of this very morning, I’ve gone back to the weekly jabs in the stomach.

(As an aside, I should point out that I am easily one of the least-squeamish people on the planet, and sticking a microscopically-thin needle into my own gut every week doesn’t bother me in the slightest.)

I really don’t care what people think of how I look, and maybe this is why I’m so blasé about this whole Ozempic/weight loss thing.  It was never about losing weight;  it was all about dealing with Type II diabetes, and that’s about it.

As with all activities of this nature, what has worked (or not worked) for me may not be the same for you.  So be my guest, if this is the road you want to walk down, but be careful.

New Bogeymen Required

Oy.  Here’s one to make us all do a desk faceplant:

While an increase in cancer risk has long been linked to smoking, red meat, environmental factors such as pollution and second hand smoke, and lifestyle habits like booze intake and weight, doctors are now looking at ultra processed foods, oral sex and vaping as some of the possible causes.

Any bets as to whether they’ll find what they’re looking for?

Of course they will, because doctors are busybody killjoys who just love telling people how to run their own lives.

Oh, and let’s not forget:

More “Health” Bullshit

Turns out that this “YOU HAVE TO WALK 10,000 STEPS A DAY OR YOU’RE GONNA DIEEEEEE!!!” mantra is absolute bollocks.  Actually, I always knew this instinctively, but here’s the !Science!:

By analyzing data on tens of thousands of people across four continents compiled between 15 existing studies, a team of researchers has landed on a more comfortable figure: the optimal number is probably closer to 6,000 steps per day, depending on your age.

Anything more is unlikely to further reduce your chances of stumbling into an early grave.

“So, what we saw was this incremental reduction in risk as steps increase, until it levels off,” said University of Massachusetts Amherst epidemiologist Amanda Paluch when the study was released in March 2022.

“And the leveling occurred at different step values for older versus younger adults.”

So… 10,000?

Half a century ago, the Yamasa Clock and Instrument Company in Japan sought to cash in on the buzz left by the 1964 Tokyo Olympics by producing a pedometer they called ‘Manpo-kei’ – a word that translates into 10,000 steps.

Why 10,000? Good old fashioned marketing. It’s a nice, round number that sounds taxing enough to be a goal, but achievable enough to be worth striving for. What it doesn’t have going for it is any scientific backing.

Yeah, but for the Health Nazis, that’s all they needed to boss us around.  It’s like that “drink 100 gallons of water a day” (or whatever bullshit “round” number they came up with for that bit of nannying);  everyone knows (or should know) that too much water is about as bad for you as too little.

Funny thing, that:  humans actually have a trigger mechanism to tell you when to drink.  It’s called “feeling thirsty”, and we’ve somehow managed to survive as a species for thousands of years by relying on it.  Also, we know when to stop, because we start feeling “full”, but clearly we have to ignore our bodies and keep on chugging back the water… until our overworked kidneys say “Fuck this nonsense” and quit.

As will our hearts when, as senior citizens (or “useless mouth-breathers” as the yoof calls us), we end up dying because those useless and as it turns out, dangerous extra few thousand steps will tax that organ into failure.

Every doctor or “health professional” or “fitness expert” who has ever insisted on the “10,000 steps and/or x liters of water per day” regime needs to get strapped to a scaffold and flogged, say, 10,000 lashes with a bullwhip.

Is that too much?  I dunno, but it’s a nice round number.

Health Warning

Well, that sucks:

Men are more likely to fracture their penis at Christmas, doctors say.  German medics discovered rates of the eye-watering injury spike over the festive period.

Here’s the background:

Although the penis is not a bone, it can fracture when the appendage is subject to sharp, blunt force. Afterwards, the penis usually resembles an ‘aubergine’, turning purple and swollen.

Ah, so that’s what this emoji means…

…and this one means it’s crying, therefore broken?

Okay, never mind all that.  Here are the Three Major Reasons why you might break your dick over the Christmas period:

  • at the office Christmas party, you get too keen trying to shag that chick from Accounting in the upright position (you know,the one with humongous tatas), and slam into the wall by mistake
  • it’s the only time of year when the old lady relents and gives you a pity fuck, and you can’t remember how it works after so long a layoff [sic]
  • when you get your annual hand job (see above), instead of acting like a lady, she goes all Boston Strangler on your manhood.

Feel free to add your own ideas, in Comments.

I’ve Always Said That

…and now, there’s !SCIENCE! to prove it:

Ditching a bra could make your breasts perkier, experts have claimed.

Women’s health specialists and plastic surgeons have suggested that the tight pressure from a bra can weaken tissues around the breasts over time, causing them to droop.

The uplifted look is also said to be due to the gradual strengthening of back muscles that happens when you’re unsupported, improving posture.

I’ve always thought you can tell the difference between habitual bra-wearers and the freedom-lovers the minute things go natural.

I know, I know:  we need evidence.  Here ya go:

Read more

We Suck!

…at hospitals anyway, according to some organization:

Researchers at the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London examined data on 38 developed countries.

The experts focused on four key patient safety indicators for their rankings: maternal mortality, treatable mortality, adverse effects of medical treatment and neonatal disorders.

For those who are too lazy to follow the link, here’s the table:

Yeah, I know:  our hospitals are ranked lower because we take on more hopeless cases than most other countries will accept.  (Whenever you read about some Third-World mope who needs to have the extra toes growing out of his neck removed, it’s always off to the U.S. and not to Sweden, because they just won’t take the case.)

I also note with some skepticism the high rank of the Netherlands, which is the absolute last place where I’d go to hospital because of the Dutchies’ fondness for involuntary euthanasia.

Finally, not being of a medical bent myself, I have no idea whether the criteria of “maternal mortality, treatable mortality, adverse effects of medical treatment and neonatal disorders” are the best pointers towards judgement of hospital quality;  I’ll leave that to my Sawbones Readers to comment on.