Workouts Sep 12-13, 2014

Heavy Hula Hands Arm Hoops HoopRock
Heavy Hula Hands Arm Hoops MultiHoop
Heavy Hula Hands

Above are some of the songs I hooped or jumped to this weekend (Sep 12-13), demonstrating “Heavy Hula Hands”, Multiple Hoops, and Arm Hoops. All the songs from the most recent weekend can be viewed here.

Judge for yourself the kind of shape I’m in, my stamina, and whether I’m having fun or not. If I’m in better shape than you expect to be at 67, or if you don’t enjoy your workouts now, you should give hooping and jumping to music a try. I started exercising every day to feel good, but the real payoff might be the kind of shape I’m in going into old age. Either way, it’s the best possible way I know to get all your cardio and some of your resistance training.

These are products that I use in my workouts.

I publish videos of all the songs I jump to each weekend, including the ones that are muted because they contain copyrighted music. I claim to be in great shape and that HoopRock and JumpRock are the best forms of cardio exercise, so I want people to be able to judge for themselves and to see how much fun jumping and hooping can be.

Just hooping without any “add-ons” is actually plenty of exercise and more fun actually. But I’d like to burn off the remaining fat, and these offer an additional challenge and conquering them makes “just hooping” that much more fun because you have more control.

Here are some questions that have helped me over the years

When you don’t want to work out after work because you feel exhausted but it’s really just lethargy and angst, ask yourself “Do I want to keep on feeling like this? How much worse could working out actually be?”

And during the first few minutes when you’re tempted to quit and just go flop down on the couch “If I stop now, am I going to feel any better than I did before?”

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Workouts Sep 5-6, 2014

Heavier Hula Hands HoopRock JumpRock
Arm Hoops Heavy Hula Hands MultiHoop
Heavy Hula Hands Arm Hoops Heavy Hula Hands
HoopRock JumpRock

Above are some of the songs I hooped or jumped to this weekend (Sep 5-6), demonstrating “Heavy Hula Hands”, Multiple Hoops, and Arm Hoops. All the songs from the most recent weekend can be viewed here.

These are products that I use in my workouts.

I publish videos of all the songs I jump to each weekend, including the ones that are muted because they contain copyrighted music. I claim to be in great shape and that HoopRock and JumpRock are the best forms of cardio exercise, so I want people to be able to judge for themselves and to see how much fun jumping and hooping can be.

Just hooping without any “add-ons” is actually plenty of exercise and more fun actually. But I’d like to burn off the remaining fat, and these offer an additional challenge and conquering them makes “just hooping” that much more fun because you have more control.

Here are some questions that have helped me over the years

When you don’t want to work out after work because you feel exhausted but it’s really just lethargy and angst, ask yourself “Do I want to keep on feeling like this? How much worse could working out actually be?”

And during the first few minutes when you’re tempted to quit and just go flop down on the couch “If I stop now, am I going to feel any better than I did before?”

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Keeping The Hoop Down – Sep 3, 2014

As the hoop rotates faster it tends to rise up the torso especially when you’re moving around at the same time.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but it’s more enjoyable and there’s a feeling of more control if you keep it down around your hips.

Here’s a video on how I addressed the problem:

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Learning To Hoop – Sep 3, 2014

Some people think they can’t learn to hoop.

Not With That Attitude!!!

I’m pretty sure with some persistence and short practice sessions every day almost anyone can learn to hoop.

I hope this video will help

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Why HoopRock? – Sep 3, 2014

I could say it’s because of HoopRock, along with JumpRock, that I’m in this kind of shape at age 67. Even better, I’m in the best shape of my life and expect to improve on that to 68 and beyond. Retroactively that’s kind of sad, right now it’s great to have more agility and stamina than at any time in my life. Actually more agility and stamina that I would have ever dreamed possible for me.

But that’s totally subjective. You should watch the video and judge for yourself.

So a possible reason for why Hooprock? If I’m in better shape than you expect to be at 67.

But there’s an even better reason. Both JumpRock and HoopRock are fun. I don’t know how they could not be for anyone who nods their head or taps their toe to music. It takes a little practice every day, but with persistence comes skill and then fun.

Fun is actually the best reason why HoopRock.

Fun might seem like the most trivial reason, but fun is the only reason I hooped and jumped enough to be in this kind of shape.

Fitness is also a great reason

True, but I talk about that in the video and demonstrate why I think HoopRock is great for toning and building muscle. I’ll do more posts specifically on the subject of how I think HoopRock and JumpRock are unique in that you work each side of the body against the other. And because you’re on your toes each side of your body is always in a flexed position from your toes up though just below the ribcage. As you move the angles and forces are constantly changing.

I plan to do more videos that get more specific about different aspects of HoopRock and JumpRock with posts to go with them.

 

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Workouts – Aug 29-31, 2014

Heavy Hula Hands
Heavy Hula Hands
Multi-Hoop
Multi-Hoop
Arm Hoops
Arm Hoops HoopRock
HoopRock
JumpRock

Although I’ll be adding more videos, above are some of the songs I hooped or jumped to this weekend (Aug 29-31), demonstrating “Heavy Hula Hands”, Multiple Hoops, and Arm Hoops. All the songs from the most recent weekend can be viewed here.

These are products that I use in my workouts.

I publish videos of all the songs I jump to each weekend, including the ones that are muted because they contain copyrighted music. I claim to be in great shape and that HoopRock and JumpRock are the best forms of cardio exercise, so I want people to be able to judge for themselves and to see how much fun jumping and hooping can be.

Just hooping without any “add-ons” is actually plenty of exercise and more fun actually. But I’d like to burn off the remaining fat, and these offer an additional challenge and conquering them makes “just hooping” that much more fun because you have more control.

Here are some questions that have helped me over the years

When you don’t want to work out after work because you feel exhausted but it’s really just lethargy and angst, ask yourself “Do I want to keep on feeling like this? How much worse could working out actually be?”

And during the first few minutes when you’re tempted to quit and just go flop down on the couch “If I stop now, am I going to feel any better than I did before?”

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Doing Weights – The Worst of Times, The Best of Times

In my post last night I wrote about doing weights and how hard it is to get started doing a workout with weights. Since tonight was a weights night and I just went through the experience I decided to post more on the subject. I failed many times when I was younger but I’ve been really successful for the last two years so I’m hoping I can describe the difference in a way that will help others with the same problem.

As I’ve said before and I’ll say often again:

I have never regretted doing a workout but I have often regretted not doing a workout

Knowing that, it should be easy. But instead it’s really hard. It can be so hard that sometimes you just cave. That’s a double loss. Not only do you lose the benefit, you regret it later. When you succeed, it’s a double win for the same reasons.

But here’s the thing.

Unless you’re different from me, it’s always going to be hard.

As hard as waking up and knowing the alarm clock is going to go off in five minutes and actually getting up when it does. Well, not quite that hard, but hard – and you don’t have a job on the line if you don’t show up for your weight session.

Ironically, accepting that makes it easier somehow. I’ve come to know that I’m not going to put up with the way I feel when I get home from work even on the days when it’s a weights night and I come home thinking “I’m just going to sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself”. Somehow I always end up doing the workout anyway even though I’m thinking “no way” right up to the minute I get up and go do it; although lately I don’t even go through the “no way” part.

It’s hard to put into words. There’s dread, angst, a sense of futility; it’s almost primal, like you’re afraid to start because then you’re committed, and what if you fail? Or maybe it’s the id, the infant that lives on in us all, feeling exhausted and not at all happy about lifting heavy objects; what the id doesn’t know is that the exhaustion is an illusion caused by low blood oxygen and probably a host of other chemical imbalances, all of which would be improved or corrected altogether by increasing the respiration and heart rate through exercise.

As best as I can describe it, the way I get past it is just to look at it as a temporary mental aberration. Just remember it’s nearly all about starting; once you do the sense of doom goes away. If you don’t, it lingers and gradually fades into regret until it happens so many times you give up altogether.

It’s not just you; it’s almost everyone (probably). You won’t come to any harm even though it feels like it. It’s like the Highlander, being killed is pretty painful I imagine, but he’s come back to life so many times he probably doesn’t even notice. That’s actually a pretty good comparison. A workout at the end of the work day is like coming back to life.

Anyway, you can’t fight blood chemistry, so:

Don’t waste time trying to talk yourself into feeling good or even ok about it, or worrying about why you can’t have a better attitude.

Just start, even though it seems horrible, because if you do you’ll find that starting is the only part that is.

Get past that often enough and the workout itself will become easier and seem shorter. Plus the id starts to realize there’s a treat in store at the end and doesn’t cry so hard.

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Workouts: Aug 22 – 23, 2014

Heavy Hula Hands
Multi-Hoops
Arm Hoops
These are products that I actually use in my workouts.

These are some of the songs I hooped to this weekend, demonstrating “Heavy Hula Hands”, Multiple Hoops, and Arm Hoops. Unfortunately there’s no sound because of copyright issues. Next week I’ll have licensed or royalty-free music.

Just hooping without any “add-ons” is actually plenty of exercise and more fun actually. But I’d like to burn off the remaining fat, and these offer an additional challenge and conquering them makes “just hooping” that much more fun because you have more control.

These days I get in two sessions of 45 minutes or on Monday and Tuesday, 90 minutes on Friday night and 100-120 minutes on Saturday morning. Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday I do weights.

For me, the hooping and jumping is easy because it’s fun and always brings me out of my after work funk within minutes. Weights are not so much fun and I didn’t do them for the first ten years after I started jumping. Finally I started again about two years ago and I actually get better results than when I was in my 40′s and 50′s. I think it’s because jumping built my core over those ten years so that at the point when I would fade 20 years ago I can keep on going.

For me there’s no question that I’m going to exercise at some point, usually after work, nearly every day. It’s not about being fit, it’s about taking your day back from the fatigue that work leaves you with. Sometimes, on weight nights, I don’t want to start so, so bad. But by now I know so well that exercise is the very thing that will get rid of the very feeling that makes it so hard to start, so I can just get up and do it, and never once have I afterwards been sorry that I did.

When you don’t want to work out, ask yourself “Do I want to keep on feeling like this? How much worse could working out actually be?”

And during the first few minutes when you’re tempted to quit and just go flop down on the couch “If I stop now, am I going to feel any better than I did before?”

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Burned Out After Work? Do The Hardest Thing You Can Think Of

If you’re burned out after work, probably the hardest thing to do is exercise. You just feel so exhausted or bored or depressed, or any combination of the three, maybe to the point you perversely almost don’t want to feel better. Two or three hours of sleep would be nice, but you’re too frayed around the edges.

I know without any doubt exercise is the only way to get re-energized and get back my sense of well-being. It’s worked without fail for the last thirty-six years. Over and over again and still to this day I’m amazed at how I could feel so bad and thirty minutes later feel so good.

 Even after all these years I sometimes think I’m too exhausted to exercise after work, at least on nights I do weights. But if it’s a hoop and jump night I don’t have a problem even though I’m no less “exhausted” because I know within a minute of starting I’ll begin to feel better. Tonight is an example. As I sit here typing this I feel great; refreshed and energized – otherwise, believe me, I would not be sitting here typing this, especially not on a Monday night.

It’s an indication of how special hooping and jumping are to me and how much fun that I’m ready and willing to start in spite of how I feel. When it comes to weights I sometimes do decide to blow it off, but usually within about half an hour I realize I don’t want to keep feeling like I do, so I go ahead and do the weights, and I feel good, and one part of my mind is amazed once again.

Why is it such an effort when I know it’s going to make me feel good? And why is it different for hooping and jumping than it is for doing weights or riding a stationary bike.

It’s such an effort because you can’t control how chemistry affects your thoughts and mood.  If the chemical balance is off from a day of sedentary stress your thinking is impaired and you probably feel exhausted. It’s impossible to be in a good mood and even though you know it will make you feel better, it’s very difficult to force yourself to exercise, not least because even if you do it tonight you have to do it tomorrow night, and the next, and so on – your current mood makes that seem like an endless nightmare.

When I first tried to establish the habit of exercising after work every day, for about the first month, even though I knew very well that riding would make me feel better, I had to force myself to carry out the miniscule commitment I had made, to get on and just start, then quit whenever I wanted. Really perversely, I knew that once I got started I would keep going so I would actually end up exercising, which is what I didn’t want – I said it was perverse – that’s mood for you. But even though you can’t fight chemistry you can trick it. I would do some double-think and tell myself that today I actually was just too exhausted and so would stop after a few minutes. And then of course I would end up doing the whole ride and feeling good, and stupid for having doubted.

I’m telling you, it’s the blood chemistry. When you’re exhausted from a day of sedentary stress you’re just not thinking right and you’ll tell yourself anything to get out of any kind of effort. But if you do make the effort and keep it up day after day for a month or six weeks then if finally sinks in how good you actually could feel and will be feeling in a little while if you just do the workout so it’s not a big effort anymore; then it just becomes what you do. It sounds too good to be true, but I’ve benefited from it every day over all those years.

But the commitment to at least start every night is important. If I hadn’t made it then I wouldn’t have kept it up and I’d be in much poorer shape today and certainly fatter. If you want to start hooping and jumping then just commit to practicing a few minutes every night. Those are the only “exercises” I know that are actually fun, so of course that’s what I would do.

If you feel really awful or even semi-awful after work, think about it. Realistically, can exercising be any worse?

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The Joys of HoopRock & JumpRock – Eat Right to Sleep Tight

Don’t get the idea this post has anything to do with nutrition.  Not that nutrition isn’t important, but I think all things being equal, calories are calories, vitamins are vitamins, and trace elements are trace elements. Get too few or too many of any of them and you’ll feel less than optimal and compromise your health. Trying to micro-manage the issue, like most things in life, is tiresome. In particular I don’t want to hear things like I will live 30 seconds longer each time I eat a beet instead of an ice cream bar. I will actually give you 30 seconds to get out of eating a beet; you can even keep the ice cream bar.

All things are not equal of course. If you eat twenty ice cream bars a day and somehow manage to exercise enough to burn off the excess calories from the ice cream and the other food you’ll need to get the nutritional elements you’re missing there’s still a good chance you’ll end up with diabetes; and in my case I know for a fact that if I eat lots of, not sugar and fat per se, but “junk food”, I’ll feel terrible, even if I exercise off the calories – and the older I get, the truer it is.

And that takes me into my real topic, how what you eat affects the way you feel. It’s one that I’ve been involuntarily researching for a little over fifty years; let’s jump into the third person and back to about 1963 and look in on a fifteen year old boy shortly before supper. Incredibly, even though it is before supper, he’s doing his homework. What could the matter be? Maybe it’s raining outside or …; I actually can’t think of any other reason, and that one wouldn’t have done it, so why I was doing my homework before supper will forever be lost to history.

We seem to be back in the first person, so why fight it. Anyway, there I was, and this is even more incredible, I was enjoying my homework. To be fair, it was geometry, so I got to draw stuff with compasses and straight edges and make little tic marks, but still, it was homework.

That’s actually the most important part of the story. I was interested in what I was doing. The before supper part, while extremely weird, is only important because of the timing.

So I was engrossed in what I was doing when my mother called me to supper. The exact menu for that meal is also lost to the ages, but it undoubtedly included meat, bread, and potatoes with either peas or green beans. The meat would be beef (commonly hamburgers, my personal favorite at that and most ages), fried chicken, fried pork chops, fried calves liver, fried chicken liver, or rarely, a real treat, fried catfish livers; both of the latter two being deeply breaded so the crust was nice and crispy. Sometimes deeply breaded fried catfish.

Occasionally we had the despised creamed eggs on toast – despised because there was no real meat, only bacon, which only counts with eggs, hash browns and lots and lots of biscuits. As an aside, I can’t even begin to tell you how delicious creamed eggs on toast sounds to me now – the creamy sauce with the chopped-up hard boiled eggs, the yolks powdered to sprinkle on top. I’d take it even without the bacon.

Ok, I think I got a little distracted there. For dessert it would be pie, cake, or chocolate chip cookies with ice cream. It might not surprise you to learn I always had seconds of everything, including dessert – chocolate chip cookies until my father made me stop – which was always on the one I intended to stop on anyway – I’m sure he did it just to irritate me; the chances I didn’t have seconds on this night are literally so miniscule as to not be worth considering.

After supper I was anxious to get back to my geometry homework. I want to go all eighties right now so bad and say NOT!!!, but I can’t say for sure whether or not I literally got up from the supper table looking forward to my homework; I don’t even remember whether my sister and I had to do the supper dishes.

What I do remember is that when I got to my desk I was not even remotely interested in geometry or doing homework of any sort. Now true, my real families, like Donna Reed, My Three Sons, or even, God forbid, the Real McCoy’s – not that I had anything against them, but who wants to live in a shack – were on the TV, at least if it was Thursday night, and even if it wasn’t, there pretty much wasn’t a time slot, even with only three channels, that didn’t have something on that I would prefer watching to doing homework or most anything else. It had been like that since 1953, both the best and worst year of my life up to the long ago here and now of 1963. The year I fell in love with television at first sight and the first year of the hated school which cut deeply into my watching time. Morning game shows and afternoon reruns weren’t going to watch themselves. Actually I  think reruns in 1953 would be an anachronism but something was on. The only thing I can remember for sure in the afternoons was a show of taped  musical segments by artists like Liberace, Brenda Lee, and Snookie Lanson.

That ramble may seem irrelevant, but I want you to get an idea of where my priorities lay, right down to how much I remember, in spite of that lapse about afternoon shows when I was six, about television between then up to and including high school and college. Even with that slacker attitude, on that particular night before supper I was interested in my geometry homework to a degree that would have outweighed all the TV families past and present. But after I ate a big meal I could care less.

When I realized this I immediately changed my ways and started eating reasonably at every meal – NOT!!! I thought to myself, and I literally remember this, at least enough to paraphrase “Huh, I bet if I ate lighter meals I would be less lethargic. Too bad there’s no way to do that.”

Over the years, that same observation came to me many times, and sometimes I actually tried to do something about it, like resolving to never eat until I was full, or to have one or two mouthfuls at a time at frequent intervals during the day; the idea being to only run on a half tank so the lethargy is never triggered.

Sometimes I’d be successful for several days in a row, and when I was I found that I also felt better overall. I would also eat relatively clean during those periods and it usually seemed to take about three days to start feeling noticeably better than the normal day-to-day.

But eventually something would break the chain. Typically I would be trying to test the limits of what I could eat in the evening before bed, and get it wrong. Depending on how badly I got it wrong I would sleep poorly that night and / or feel lousy the next morning. Then you get demoralized and so forth. The reasons are endless and all lead to you not wanting to worry about eating the things that you like. Then I would try to get back on track and there would be endless days when for some reason or another I would eat more than I should every night and resolve to do better every morning, after I somehow make it through the day, which is still a mystery to me in spite of all the times I’ve done it.

I sometimes picture my life on two parallel tracks. One is the guy who eats clean all the time and feels good all the time. The other is me. Sometimes I could get closer to the other track and sometimes I could actually get there and stay for a while. It’s like a great dream that you could actually make come true every day for the rest of your life if you just would.

And after all these years I seem to be closing in on being able to do that. Partly it’s the cumulative effect of all the mornings I felt good and the mornings I felt lousy finally pushing me to make the choices to control that the night before. The clearest comparisons being between how I would feel commuting to and arriving at work each morning, both physically and mentally; I was a different person – forcing every thought and motion into being on bad days, interested and engaged on the good; and how that carried through the rest of the day. On the bad days even after recovering from the incredible lethargy of arrival I would feel desperately tired sometime in the afternoons; on the good days there would be a gradual let down from the energy of the morning and a mild afternoon energy slump, but not bad at all.

That’s the kind of thing I was thinking of when I passed on pizza when my wife and granddaughter had it the other night. That’s something that never happens. The best I can do is to limit myself to two pieces which doesn’t help at all because I actually eat four or five.  In spite of that I usually feel fine when I finish and when I go to bed, which is probably part of the problem. But it’s for sure I will not feel fine during at least part of the night and for sure I won’t feel great the next morning. And that’s if I’m lucky – chances are I will sleep fitfully or not at all for the last three hours of the night and feel awful when I get up. Even though it was a Friday night, it was the clarity of thinking of so many work day differences that made me pass. Even though I can hoop and jump it away on Saturday morning, it’s much better to start off feeling good, and I had just had five unbroken days of feeling how good that could be.

More and more, instead of between great and terrible it’s become a choice between feeling great and less than great. If you can feel great and you know how to make that happen, why would you accept feeling less? The answer, up to now, is it’s not an intentional choice. It’s a misjudgment on how much I can get away with eating the evening before.

For me the only way to do that successfully is to avoid seductive foods like chips, candy, pastry, cookies. I can’t resist trying to eat as much as I can get away with, and I’m usually wrong about how much that is. Even if I’m not, I’m almost certainly going to feel less good the next morning than otherwise. And even when I’m “eating clean” the evenings are the time I’m most likely to slip, so if I can avoid that option entirely instead of teasing myself I’m better off.

When I say I “eat clean” that’s a relative term. I avoid the foods that make me feel bad but I can and do eat pizza if it’s early and there’s a limited supply, and I still eat hamburgers, also not late at night. And I drink cokes – I’d drink more than I do if it weren’t for the calories. It’s not so much the sugar in candy and what-not that seems to bother me, it’s trying to digest the ingredients.

And I do still eat after supper. Usually some unsalted peanuts, raisins, and a coke or light beer. Even then I can overdo it, but peanuts and raisins doesn’t have the seductive power of say a fun-size “Snickers Peanut Butter Squared” – does that even qualify as a name? I’ve had maybe two of those, and they’re more or less like cocaine for your taste buds. That was a few weeks ago. My wife got more, and I was looking at one last night – just looking of course. One hundred thirty calories in a squared weighing less than an ounce. I could almost drink a coke for that.

How is feeling better when you eat better related to “The Joys of HoopRock and JumpRock”? Not only do I feel better when I jump/hoop in the morning depending on what I eat the night before, but being able to burn off the fat without hard-core dieting is encouragement to cut the calories where I can, thus the relative ease with which I avoided the squared bar. Overall I find that the more I lower my body fat the more incentive I have to cut my calorie intake even though I don’t actually diet. So I go for the high value targets, like 130 calorie squared bars, and how likely is it I would eat just one, or even two? I’m probably wrong about eating just the two before, unless we ran out.

What does this all mean? That depends on how you process the fact that it seems I’m finally getting some consistent success in controlling how I feel through what I eat from repeated exposure to cause and effect; I’m hoping you and others, no matter how few or many that may be can benefit from my experience in some way so they don’t to beat their heads against the wall so repeatedly for so long.

You have to laugh at my “insights” in 1963, but it’s actually tragic when you take the entire developed world into account that so much potential is thwarted by satisfying an urge essential to survival with what our body, depending on deliciousness and texture as the criteria, craves - ”Snickers Peanut Butter Squared” fun size bars and the like; conveniently also serving as a more than adequate source for the supply of body fat to be stored against the coming winter or next famine, which for all our body knows, could be any time. Essential before agriculture was invented, crippling now, both physically and mentally.

Of course it’s even more tragic when you take the entire world into account that at the same time in history so many people don’t have enough to eat; potential cheated by malnutrition and death. But that’s a different subject on which it would be pretentious to suggest any sort of solution, even if I had a clue, which I don’t.

Back to the topic I do have first hand knowledge of, the earlier you can take control, not to lose weight or to be healthy, but just because of how you feel, the more days you have ahead of you to enjoy feeling great in the morning and better all day long. And at any given moment aren’t you almost by definition happier when you feel good than when you feel bad? So while eating clean is no guarantee you’ll be happy, it pretty much guarantees you’ll be happier. Too bad life is more complicated than that. I can remember when I absolutely had to have my 10 AM Danish from the catering truck, with coffee and followed by the fourth or fifth cigarette of the day, or I definitely was not happy. Good times!!!

Last but not least. Take your Metamucil if you need it. I used to get more and more frequent episodes in the night where there would seem to be a knot / blockage in what felt like my stomach but was actually lower down. Unpleasantness for at least 18 hours would follow. That stopped after I started taking Metamucil – you can try store brands, but they don’t seem to dissolve as well - after every meal. It seems like a hassle, but it’s so much easier than the alternative, and it works so well I could tell all kinds of crude jokes about people not believing and taking pictures, but I’ve grown. After a while having to take it before every meal, or as often as you need is only slightly annoying, not rising to the level of an actual hassle. Now brushing your teeth, that’s a hassle, and don’t even get me started on flossing.

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