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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for April 12th, 2007

Half of customer e-mails dont get response: study

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Half of customer e-mails dont get response: study

So 50% do get a response. As many as that! Wow! Oh, it’s a survey. Not a measure of actual performance. And are those responses actually dealing with the issue raised or simply an autoresponder? If a store or service provider has made an effort to enrol me in some kind of customer loyalty program, I actually expect something in return – and I don’t just mean “rewards” or “points”. I mean actually listen to what I have to say. In the last week I have decided that a car wash company and camera supplier will simply not see me again. I wrote to them. I have been a good customer in the past. But they both chose to ignore me. Very well then. I will vote with my feet.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 12, 2007 at 1:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

What no-one is telling you about fat

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PBS

As they say “check local listings” but for this area the next broadcast is  Sunday, April 15, 2:00am on cable 27

Of all the people who try to lose weight, most cannot. Of the few that do, hardly any manage to keep it off permanently, and the majority gain that weight back faster than they lost it. If it was a simple matter of calories in being less than calories out then there would be no weight loss problem. But we have been studying and researching weight loss for many years, and there has been almost no progress in that time, except that we now know for certain that it is much more complicated than most people imagine.

For extremely obese people, stomach surgery does seem to hold some hope, but not because the size of the stomach is reduced but because a neural network is interrupted in the course of surgery. Because the truth is that the people who put on vast amounts of weight were convinced against all rational evidence that they were starving. No matter what they ate or how much, they always felt hungry.

I was told that I had type 2 diabetes some years ago. I got a meter and tested my blood regularly. I joined Weight Watchers and achieved lifetime membership. I lost over 40 pounds – about 20% of my body weight. I rode my bike, I ate smaller meals, I avoided the obvious dangers of baked goods and candy bars. I had a bike accident – on a bike path – and broke my wrist, so badly that I self diagnosed osteoporosis. This was later shown to be advanced through a bone density scan. I could not ride a bike with my forearm in a cast. The weight it took me over a year to lose came back in a couple of months. And has stayed. Those fat cells once brought into existence do not leave, at best they lie dormant. Once re-activated the process of weight loss is much harder.

The program concentrates on the misery, and on the science. But oddly none of the people featured seem to have got the linkage between transportation and weight. Obesity increased not just due to the advent of fast food and tv – though they played an important role. As our calorie intake increased, so did the amount of time we spent in cars. The boomer generation was the first that had almost universal motorisation – especially in North America. Look at a video of somewhere like Denmark and you will see lots more people on bikes than anywhere this side of the pond. Most of the exercise we saw last night was people on treadmills and stationary bikes. And usually in their own homes. One problem we all face – we do not like to be seen exercising when we are out of shape. As a fat old man on a bike, moving somewhat more slowly than the tyros in spandex, I felt out of place, and had to deal with some extraordinarily insensitive remarks at my workplace, where (among other things) we were supposedly encouraging self powered transportation.

And we all hate being weighed when we go to the doctor. And most doctors seem to be as bad as mine at dealing with this issue. Mine recently said just two words

“Eat less”

Thanks a lot, doc. That thought had never occurred to me.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 12, 2007 at 10:15 am

Posted in Weight loss