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Buster Benson

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Health Month 2009 proposal
health month
Health Month is starting again in a little over 2 weeks!

I propose we start it at midnight on Monday, January 5th, to give us a couple days to recover from NYE and to shop and ease into it, and that it goes 4 weeks and ends on the evening of Sunday, Feb 1st, also at midnight.  I've spent the last couple hours reading through all of last year's blog posts and the Facebook group comments to figure out what we learned from last year (cause I forgot most of it). I'm more ready than ever to do this again in the new year.

I think in general, by the end, most people involved last year felt like they got something out of it, even if they quit early. Though the rules aren't perfect, it was at least better than doing nothing. And the fact that lots of people do it at once helps make it more fun and interesting than it otherwise would be.

As far as I can tell, these are the general rules, with some of the common exceptions listed in the second column. The last 3 items in the list were things that people talked about last year and enjoyed doing but they weren't quite officially part of the rules.  I think they should be.

If you participated in Health Month in previous years, and remember or think of anything else that should be added or removed from this list, let me know.

My proposal

What if we treated the rules of Health Month like a game, where if you follow the strict version of the rules you get a point for each rule per week, with a maximum of 16 points per week, or 64 for all 4 weeks.  Then, you can choose to break rules all you want, it just affects your points in the end.  This makes it a lot easier to create your own personal Health Month without having to have a bunch of different interpretations, exceptions, etc.

In addition to the rules, you still get 1 Amnesty Day, which, I think, should be altered to allow you to break as many rules as you want for that day.  That's what everyone did last year anyway.  If it's just breaking a single rule, you just lose a point that week.

And yeah, it's not going to be really entirely fair.  I mean, some people don't smoke, or drink, or aren't addicted to caffeine in the same way that we are, and it's gonna be easier for some people.  But this is all just a fun way of experimenting with health anyway, let's not take it too seriously. 

Okay, tear it apart.  We've still got 2 weeks to work out the kinks.

Also, if you wanna officially commit to doing it this year, we have a Health Month Facebook group, just add yourself to this discussion thread if you're really gonna do it.

I have two thoughts:

1) May as well start it morning of monday the 5th, no?

2) I don't think any alcohol, no matter what the perceived benefits, is really in the spirit of health month.

Okay, Monday the 5th works for me.

Well, the spirit of Health Month is to think about health more, and how it affects you, right? I am not going to drink any alcohol, but several people talked about drinking only wine last year and thought that that seemed like possible option considering that wine's a lot healthier than most alcohols.

Leaving my comments here instead of IM...

I don't get the points.

And no hobbies or finances - it's physical health! We can do a mental health month at another time of the year!

It's all related dude. And let's face it, we only have enough energy to focus on this one month a year.

i'm totally in this year

i'm ok with hobbies and finances, in fact i've already started working my finances out, it's one of my resolutions this year.

i think non fat plain yogurt should be ok to eat as a substitution for dairy. it doesn't really count as dairy really since it's so low in milk fat.

AND to make things harder for rick, i think he should try to not use the commitz just to see what might happen. (also i think he should do this when he isn't in town so that he doesn't try to kill me)

Re: i'm totally in this year

i think non fat plain yogurt should be ok to eat as a substitution for dairy

I agree!

AND to make things harder for rick, i think he should try to not use the commitz just to see what might happen</em< I plan on stopping the Commits for health month, but I don't think that should be in the rules for everyone because the number one good thing that could come out of this for anyone is to get people to quit smoking, so anything that helps with that should be allowed. But I am going to quit them. or try to.

despite the popularity of atkins et al, carbs are not inherently unhealthy. nothing is bad for you about pasta, rice, or bread. granted, there are healthier choices to be made (whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta etc).

i'm still in though :)

Yeah, it's more about habits than the inherent characteristics of various foods. Perhaps the only things that are really inherently unhealthy are high fructose corn syrup and crack.

I am unable to commit to blogging about it. Can the lenient rules allow me to just twitter about it once or twice for a single point?

Also, it's January! How am I supposed to exercise in January? It rains! The lenient rules should let me walk to the bus stop in the rain for a point or walk to work when it's dry out. Who exercises really.

Haha, sure.

Exercise... join the 100-pushup challenge with me:

I'm currently stuck on week three, but making a bit of progress each week.

i can totally do this as I have just completed a two and half week run through of the very things outlined. I was thinking about just continuing it as i feel so much better. I'm in.

I like the icon you picked for this post ;)

I'm starting on Jan 1, personally. I always hate having to go into February!

That was a picture from right after midnight when it started last year. I put my last cigarette out in my last beer. And I don't even smoke! (Or drink beer)

Sugar free nonfat yogurt? Seriously? This. Is not any definition of healthy.

Oh yeah? What do you suggest?

i like the idea of points, since i could take my point for not eating meat and double it on the exercise, which i want to step up - i don't eat meat at all, so that's easy!

does anyone have a membership to the davis BSC? i could use a workout partner in crime...

i want to do this but all the rules seem totally overwhelming. can i just work out and not drink and have that count?

YES! For 2 points a week.

ps. Your new crush sounds exciting. Meeting on trains is the most romantic way to meet, I think.

i ate a lot of ground lamb last year. i found it to be super flavorful, a great source of protein, and easy to prepare.

is that too red-meaty? it's really lean, i think of it more like lean pork.

I don't know enough to say. Research it and make the comparisons and see if it makes sense. Or, just dock yourself a point if you think it's not quite up to par.

Why didn't you post this to the lovely, pre-existing LJ group? http://community.livejournal.com/healthmonth

I posted my rules on there already - after reading Good Calories, Bad Calories this year I am 100% convinced that fat is good for you, so I am going to allow some cheeses (feta, goat), butter, and full-fat yogurt (zero-fat yogurt is very processed). I also like Ingo's idea of the lamb, I think lamb is good for you and it's delicious.

I'll understand if the fact that I'm using a modified rule set means that people won't allow me to do the "real" health month, but I'm really set on my no-granola, yes to pork loin rule. I love salads with lots of cheese, egg, and olive oil, and they are super duper good for you. My goal is to get my glycemic index under control which really means very few carbs or sugars.

Now that it's settled down a little, I think I will post it to the Health Month community. I'll add lamb to the meat section too, lean pork loin is already in there from your previous suggestion. I think it's worth considering taking out dried fruit too... what do you think?

Definitely stick with your altered rules and convince us to incorporate the ones that you think are universally helpful, and of course we're not going to draw a line between real and not real health month. Just do what you want to do and we'll all do the same. And hopefully we'll all feel healthier and happier in a short while.

I fought the law and I won

Parts I'll opt-out of:
No smoking
No caffeine
No illegal drugs
No bread or refined flour

well. Maybe it would be shorter to list the parts I'll opt-in...
1, 13, 14, 15, 16

fats are necessary for energy and the processing of vitamins! Whole milk yoghurt or nothin'! Also what will I put in my tea and coffee?

Specifically, though, I don't see the utility of The Law as a rule definer for drugs. I can still smoke Salvia Divinorum and visit other dimensions, but no gentle tokes? Preposterous. Maybe.

Re: I fought the law and I won

Salvia is crazy. I never knew the universe was a giant pealing book before.

I think that butter, margarine, salad dressing and bad fatty oils SHOULD go - but extra virgin olive oil is healthy and should stay with salads. You need fat to help digest the raw greens & fruits and maintain energy.
Black coffee is delicious - no one needs dairy!

Eggs should be included b/c they're so damned healthy!

i like the new system and flexibility. think i will board this crazy train.