"The Heart of the Matter"

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Transcripts: 499.3 to 499.5

Week: 499.3 Guest: James Strassner, F.T. Topic: Post-Holiday Fitness - Part One Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

ROEDER: This is a three part series on getting in shape after the holidays. My guest is Fitness Technologist Jim Strassner from Baltimore, Maryland.

ROEDER: Jim, I'd like to talk to you about those of us who keep entering the new year bloated from our holiday excesses. Walk us through the steps of safely undoing some of the damage we've perpetrated upon our helpless bodies.

STRASSNER: What we're going to have to do is realize and face what we've done and want to change it and that means that we're going to have to seek out, find ways of changing this and pretty much we know how to do that anyway from what we've seen on television, what we've heard and all that and it's true what we've seen and what we've heard and that is that we've just got to turn it around and the first thing we have to do is say no to whatever it is that we want to indulge in. Now what we've got to do is make a plan and start doing it and that is changing what we eat, and changing our lifestyle, our activity style and getting out there and working.

ROEDER: Okay. Now first place, I assume the basics then that you're talking about are things like you've got to eat in moderation and you've got to lower your fat content.

STRASSNER: Absolutely.

ROEDER: When was it written that holiday food would have high fat content? That must be written someplace very sacred because have you ever heard anyone who put on a low-fat Christmas?

STRASSNER: It's a generational thing. It was always a reward to eat and to eat something that is filling and all fats have salt in them, they retain water, one thing leads to the other and you get this reward feeling where you feel full and satiated. That's something that we learn when we're very young. It's a reward kind of thing. You do this well. You reward yourself with eating, sitting down and doting on yourself that you've done something well especially if it's something that required a work ethic. So now we sit, we've done something well, we sit, we take care of ourselves and we get all warm and cozy and fat because that feels good but what doesn't feel good is when we get up and look at ourselves in the mirror and go "Oh, this isn't pretty." And now we face the fact that we've done something, we've indulged ourselves and now we want to turn this around because we're constantly bombarded with being healthy, being slim, that that is healthy and that's best for you and we all want to live. We've got to meet a balance point. No matter what you eat, it's got a price on it.

ROEDER: John McDougall, one of my favorite guests, makes a point that in America we feast three times a day and that feasts in other cultures, maybe they take place once every six months or once a year and the rest of the time it's a health maintaining diet. In America we've become affluent enough and food is accessible enough that's it's a three times a day feast or maybe five times a day feast.

STRASSNER: Yeah, because as I say, generationally we have always associated reward with food.

ROEDER: So we actually feel an emotional emptiness if we don't fulfill that self-reward.

STRASSNER: Absolutely.

ROEDER: Join me for part two on post-holiday fitness with Jim Strassner.


Week: 499.4 Guest: James Strassner, F.T. Topic: Post-Holiday Fitness - Part Two Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

ROEDER: This is part two in a three part series on getting into shape after the holidays. My guest is Fitness Technologist Jim Strassner from Baltimore, Maryland.

ROEDER: So here I am. I've emerged from the holidays. I ate too much. I would love to look like a marathon runner sometime before next Saturday. That's probably unsafe so how does the average person who's overindulged and is maybe not grossly overweight but recognizes they have some repairs to do, what's the safe way to get started on the exercise side?

STRASSNER: Safe way to get started is do it gradually. Do it gradually. Anything that is done well over a long period of time is done with a gradual progressive adaptation and the best way you can do that is to start off slowly, start on a regimen of maybe walking and some easy running and stopping when you feel tired. You want to walk every day for about 40 minutes. Okay? Depends on the person - when you start on a regimen like this, you want to go to your doctor, you want to have blood tests taken, you want your respiratory levels determined, that kind of thing. Whether you're at risk for heart attack, you want to know all of this that you've got going for you and going against you so that you know where you are when you start. A doctor, especially young doctors now who are studying physiology more and more and nutrition more and more are getting a sense of where the balance point is, where this one patient will be able to do this because of his history and his blood workups and his respiratory levels and all that kind of thing. And each person has a different point where they can start. Age, genetics, all of that figures into it but it's all very quickly done in a lab.

ROEDER: For some people, doesn't exercise increase their appetite?

STRASSNER: Very few people. Most people when they exercise will find that their appetite decreases and this is a chemical situation inside the body that is produced through exercise and the chemicals that are released during exercise.

ROEDER: So perhaps this refers in some degree to what we talked to earlier that in some people, exercise may increase their appetite because it increases their desire for a reward for their efforts more than the actual physiology.

STRASSNER: It may do that.

ROEDER: But that's psychological, not physiological.

STRASSNER: Right. And that may happen only at the beginning but if its continually done, the workout routine, the exercise routine, if it's constantly done, gradually and building, 90% of the cases have shown that the appetite actually start decreasing because of the chemicals that are released in the body through exercising.

ROEDER: Now again, the premise of our discussion is someone who overindulged on the holidays and is trying to get back in shape. What are the warning signs that need to be paid attention to to let someone know that they may be trying to get going too quickly on this?

STRASSNER: The person will experience shortness of breath, they will become somewhat defeated emotionally because they expect that they can do this much work and they aren't able to sustain that. ROEDER: Join me for part three on post-holiday fitness with Jim Strassner.


Week: 499.5 Guest: James Strassner, F.T. Topic: Post-Holiday Fitness - Part Three Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: This is part three in a three part series on getting back into shape after the holidays with my yearly post-holiday guest Fitness Technologist Jim Strassner from Baltimore, Maryland.

STRASSNER: When one starts on a regimen to offset what they've eaten, they've got to be realistic, they've got to realize Rome wasn't built in a day and you have to take it a step at a time. It's good to do this with someone else working out with you. If you start out on your own, chances are after a few days you're going to feel defeated because in this country we base everything on immediate gratification. We expect that if we got fat this fast, that we can lose it that fast and it isn't going to happen. It takes a lot longer to take it off than it did to put it on. It's facing reality, it's facing the fact that whatever you're going to undertake to make you look as good as you want, it doesn't come automatically and it doesn't come in a couple days. You've got to be willing to work hard at what you want to get out of this.

NEMA: Does the thought of how much exercise it takes to burn up one cheeseburger help you to eat in moderation?

STRASSNER: Absolutely. It's interesting. I saw something not too long ago in a health and fitness magazine. It was a chart that showed what each one of these products required in exercise to burn it up completely and what's interesting with say a McDonald's double cheeseburger - it was a lot of work. It wasn't an unbearable amount but when you looked at this chart and you saw how long it took to get this burned up completely by jogging, by walking, by running, whatever the activity was, each activity had of course a different amount of time associated with it because of the amount of work that is expended for that activity, you looked at this chart and you thought maybe I don't want to eat that cheeseburger because I don't know that I'll have the time to burn it up. And it's good to read something like that. I almost thought about producing one of these charts because it does help you to make the determination maybe not to eat this, to eat something else because not that you don't want to do the work but will I have the time to do it and burn it up. NEMA: Now certainly the American public more than any time in history is inundated with the information that keeps repeating the message - exercise, low-fat diet, reduce salt intake - some of these things fluctuate a little bit from study to study but the basic picture remains that now and it's everywhere. The message is everywhere. Is the American public, as a result of this message being everywhere, in better condition now than the American public was 40 years ago?


NEMA: Why is that?

STRASSNER: Because I think the American public generally is in denial about most of everything. I really do.

NEMA: I'd have to deny that.

STRASSNER: I think anybody who reads that will think - "That doesn't pertain to me." But it's true. Studies have been done in the past two years that have shown that American children are now fatter than they've ever been, are now eating more than they ever have and are doing less work to burn it up and that's because of the way we're developing technologically. It becomes easier every year to push a button.


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