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Fortune

Sorry, but somehow it just isn't funny. The obvious jokes won't do, for some reason. Sarcasm seems inappropriate, and even bitterness toward God, the universe, mankind, parents, society -- it just seems like silence is the most appropriate response. What else is there? We see, and we speak or we are silent.



Saini, 25 miles east of New Delhi, India. The little girl, aged one month in these photos, is named Lali, meaning "red". The condition is called craniofacial duplication, or diprosopus, and is exceedingly rare, but well-documented.



Such infants can have surprising functionality. Little Lali eats with both mouths, and all four eyes blink at the same time. Says the mother, Shushma Kumar Singh, "She's fed through one mouth and sucks her thumb with the other. We use whichever mouth is free to feed her."

Her parents have refused any special medical treatment for the baby.


Doctors in New Delhi wanted to take a CT scan to determine the state of the infant's internal organs. The father, Vinod Kumar Singh, declined the offer. "I don't feel the need of that at this stage as my daughter is behaving like a normal child, posing no problems," he says. "My baby is fine." Singh, 23, is a poor farm worker, married in February of 2007.

The village doctor, Brigdal Nagar, has grown exasperated with reporters. "She is very normal," the doctor once shouted, wagging a finger and shoving the father aside. "We don't need the media here. She's not an abnormal baby. It's just that she has two faces. And she's living a very normal life. And if she dies in the future, it's as God wishes."

The parents view her as an incarnation of the Hindu goddess of power, Shakti, or alternatively as Durga, the fiery three-eyed deity of valor. They installed loudspeakers outside their home, that blare religious hymns all day.

"Lali is God's gift to us," says Jaipal Singh of the local village council. "She has brought fame to our village." Head of the council is Daulat Ram, who hopes for a temple to Durga. "I am writing to the state government to provide money to build the temple and help the parents look after their daughter." The crowds of pilgrims have dwindled, however, and local curiosity seems to have been sated. Worshipers are rare.

On the other hand, consider Lakshmi, aged 2, of the state of Bahir, India. Analogous situation. Born with four arms and four legs, remnants of a parasitic twin, anacephalic.



Sometimes babies are born with only one body, and two brains.


An Egyptian girl, Manar Maged, victim of carniopagus parasiticus. The identical twin, unnamed, although having no body of her own could still smile, blink, look around and sleep independently, with a reportedly fully functional brain. Manar died of a brain infection after the twin was removed. Likewise with Rebeca Martinez of the Dominican Republic,

who bled to death after a corrective operation.

As for Lakshmi, surgeons have removed the limbs, transplanted a functioning kidney, and reconstructed the child's pelvis.



After recovering from the surgery, Lakshmi was able to stand for the first time in her life, "which is remarkable," said chief surgeon Sharan Patil.

Lakshmi will be taken back to her rural village in eastern Bihar. There, earlier, she had been worshipped by some Hindus as an incarnation of the eponymous four-armed goddess of grace and fortune.

What a pretty little girl.

Bodies. Sometimes when they go wrong it's nobody's fault. Sometimes it is. If you haven't been tending to what's important, consider how fortunate you have been, perhaps by contrasting your blessings with the fate of, say, certain innocent children. Then -- perhaps chagrined, perhaps shamed, slightly -- change your habits. Eat properly. Exercise sensibly. Celebrate the perfection of the form that you were given, originally, by reclaiming it as much as it is in your power to do so.

You can't really change your bones. But the composition of your flesh, muscle to fat -- that is so very changeable. Sensible diet, sensible exercise. How simple it sounds. If you'd like some help, well, that's what FitWorks is for. We make the best of what we're given. Anything less would be unworthy of our blessings.

Be excellent.

Here: CrossFitBurbank.com


FW
CrossFit Burbank

Looking Like Something Else

It's great to be what you are. Simplicity. How refreshing. Take cats, for instance, just looking like cats.




These cats, of course, it seems, while looking like cats, also look like ... well, they look like Hitler.


















It's great when a thing is what it is. It's also great when a thing looks like some other thing. Some of these cats look like Groucho. But that's good too.

This last cat is more of a Fatler than a Hitler, har. It would probably love to be Fitler. But they just feed it too much. Cats can't choose. We can. We feed ourselves.

Maybe you have a few extra pounds? -- or just not enough strength?  The way to look like something else is through sensible diet and sensible exercise. That's what competence is about. Changing appearance happens by changing behavior, so that we can do more, faster, better.

Be excellent.

Here: CrossFitBurbank.com


FW
CrossFit Burbank

Hunger

We see them in the supermarket line, with their basket absolutely full of cakes and muffins and soda pop and fatty meats. Those really obese people. Really really obese. An extra person-worth of weight. Some of us may feel pity; some may be judgmental; some may hardly have an opinion at all, except to make the observation and know something isn't right.

There's a cable show called Big Medicine. About very very fat people and their struggle. And it is a struggle. Obviously. Why? What is it about these poor folks that makes them force-feed themselves into obesity? Guilt, shame, self-loathing -- just abstract words and pop psychology. Everyone knows something about it, because everyone has issues. Most issues don’t show up so obviously though. But only a little self-examination makes every insight into this problem a cliché. People get fat because they eat more calories than they burn. People get very fat because of something emotional.

What can be done about emotions? That's a whole different topic. But it's generally best to deal with reality. Change the behavior. Change the conditions. New practice, new result. That's how things will be different. Just as form follows function, emotions follow behavior. Try it and see.

The morbidly obese are just as bright as any of us. It's unlikely that we'll have a whole lot of new insights for them. They will have given their circumstances much more thought than most of us. But health is what competence is all about, and a huge component of health is diet. Perhaps the biggest part. So let’s look at the matter.

The big excuse to eat is hunger. It’s not really hunger, but it’s called that. A briefly-empty stomach. Real hunger of course is a craving not for calories but for nutrients, and for available energy. Like real thirst isn’t about coffee. But it’s all so emotional, and that means that hunger is job one. So let's just assume that identifying emotional hunger with real hunger is a useful theory, and see where it leads us.

There are three general issues: 1) calories, 2) satiation and 3) the glycemic index. No matter what the theory is about obesity, a basic perusal of the laws of thermodynamics will convince us that every weight problem comes down to calories -- an example of the conservation of mass/energy. Calories will either be used, or stored. What we know is that energy will not simply disappear. If you take in more calories than you use, the remainder will be stored as fat -- ignoring of course destructive instances such as diabetes or tumors. If you take in fewer calories than you use, you’ll burn stored fat. Pretty straightforward, for all that there are a few complications.

Of course, calories are used for more than just movement. Sometimes exercise is not the answer, because energy just evaporates as heat. That's what we call a fast metabolism. It's wasteful. Likewise, sometimes, due to an imbalanced insulin reaction, no amount of exercise will burn off the fat, because the adipose tissue is pathological, and will not release free fatty acids. Cut back on the industrial carbs -- the refined carbs, starches and sugars.   The secret behind the mystery is that it's not about calories, it's about insulin.  Industrial carbs spike insulin, which is the Keeper of the Keys.  But this is a topic for another time.

Upshot: how do we stop taking in excessive calories? Well, from a behavioral -- that is, from an effective -- perspective, we deal with hunger by 1) ignoring it, which is a bootstraps solution, or by 2) feeding it with intelligent alternatives to the unhealthful choices that have previously ruined our lives. So: fill up with foods that are actually good for us. Bulky, nutrient-dense and calorie-poor foods. For instance, vegetables. Broccoli and cauliflower and the like. Balanced out of course with sufficient energy, from good fats -- olive oil, say.

These things are sort of bland, so use spices. Not sauces -- spices, and garnishes, and flavor enhancers like garlic and ginger and pepper and herbs and so on. And yes, go ahead and splash in a bit of olive oil. Just remember that you're on a budget. The body is an economy, and you are not a Communist: there are rules and limits that conform to reality, rather than to some insane theory under which huge and malevolent empires have deluded themselves. The major thing to cut out is the factory carbs. Never eat white rice, white bread, or even bread in general. Not if you have a toxic insulinemia problem.

Part of this filling-up process is about satiation. Some foods are more satisfying than others. Raw fruits score very high on the satiation scale. So do boiled potatoes, and lean meats. So there may be a place for these, in some meals. Same with oils. Google "satiation scale" for more examples.

Then there’s the glycemic index. It’s just a way of calculating how quickly food gets digested and sugar enters the bloodstream -- whence it will be turned into fat, if it enters at a fast rate, or into energy if at a slow rate. Like an IV drip. Low GI is good. High GI, up to 100, is bad. There are books you can buy that list the numbers. Anything over 33, or 40, or 50, or whatever your compromise point is, as a special treat. Ask yourself, and answer honestly, if you must have potato chips to be happy, and how often. If you must have them ... then have them. On a budget. In moderation. Or ice cream or bagels or rice or meat or whatever it is that’s made you so fat. Because it was not nutritious food that did the damage. Look up glycemic load for an indication of actual serving sizes.

How about making some livable rules for yourself? How about planning out your meals? This time, serious. You know what your heroin is. Identify it, and replace it with something that’s not poisonous to you. But consider that a pound of cherries has about 200 calories -- and cherries have a glycemic value of 22 -- that is VERY GOOD!!! A pound of strawberries has fewer than 120 calories -- strawberries have a glycemic value of 32 -- which is also Very Good. Good things are good.

Point is, you could eat, say, big bowls of these delightfully tasty and wholesome foods, which have very few calories and a superb effect on energy, every few hours all day long, and still eat only half of a normal daily calorie intake.

Just get started. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about getting serious. It’s about having a system, a philosophy, a paradigm that is generally correct, or at least yields some positive-seeming results, even if it’s not perfectly right. There is virtue in trying to do right.

The alternative is giving up and dying early and in pain, if you don’t get a handle on your out-of-control behaviors. Does no one love you, that this would be okay? It's a harsh way to say it. Too real, perhaps. But sometimes honesty has to be blunt. Exercise alone does the job for only a lucky few.

No, all this isn't about you. Most likely not. But you know people, or see them. They crave health and beauty as we all do. We're the lucky ones, if we are. If you have a gut, or thighs, or a butt, it's not that huge a deal. Just sort of. But it's too much, maybe, to get rid of on your own. Well? Ask for help.

Be excellent.

Here: CrossFitBurbank.com


FW
CrossFit Burbank
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