Make path to learning easier by speedwalking it

June 1, 2007

My little boys listen to their mother too much. They have taken to telling me I need to lose weight. I am already painfully aware of this fact every time I put on a belt, but the whole family likes to remind me. How thoughtful.

My little boys listen to their mother too much. They have taken to telling me I need to lose weight. I am already painfully aware of this fact every time I put on a belt, but the whole family likes to remind me. How thoughtful. The boys have also come up with the solution: Fitness Made Simple. I should become a Fitness Personality, like John Baseball, the guy on TV. They also watch too much TV.

I have another problem: CME videos. My group has purchased several DVD CME courses with credits for every member in the group. This is a reasonably priced way to get CME, but it has one major drawback. You have to actually watch the videos. There is no better way for me to relax and catch a nap than to put in one of these programs after work.

Last fall, I came up with the perfect solution: exercise at home while I watch the videos. I immediately went to work setting up my Ultimate Personal CME/Exercise Center in my home office. This was easy, because it fed my deepest, darkest personal addiction. I like to shop for good cheap used stuff. In no time at all, I found a great used treadmill, a basic cheap DVD player, refurbished cordless headphones, and a nice TV. By September, I had it all set up in my office and ready to go.

Every year at the RSNA meeting, I go out to dinner with John Hayes, editor of this magazine. Since he lives in California and I am in Virginia, this is the one time a year we can sit and talk casually face to face. This year, he got around to telling me how he had lost 50 gazillion pounds on his new diet. I had to admit, you could see the difference. [Ed. note: Hayes bicycles to work in hilly San Francisco.]

Right then and there, I decided on my 2007 New Year's Resolution: I would actually use my Ultimate Personal CME/Exercise Center. Four weeks later, the first week in January, I started using my perfect system. My wife has a problem with a four-month lag between setup and ignition, but procrastination is an art form for me.

Since January, I have been getting up at 5:15, turning on the coffeepot, doing some crunches and pushups, fixing my coffee, and then jumping on the treadmill to see what fabulous information the folks at Educational Symposia have to teach me today. Do I want a lecture in ski sweaters on CT angio or an MRI talk done in a Hawaiian shirt? I feel pretty good because I am killing two birds with one stone, at a bargain price.

The results have been good, if not overwhelming. To be sure, I am not wasting away, but I have found this to be a very nice way to keep current. I still prefer going to the places where these lectures are being recorded and seeing them myself, but my partners frown on my taking every other week off to go to a course.

If I could get my diet under control, I suspect my system would work far better. My plan is to perfect the exercise/CME program this year and make a radical change in diet next year. Experts say you don't want to rush things when you make major life changes. I think I'm on the right track.

Deana does not agree. She says any exercise you can do while drinking a cup of coffee is not real exercise. She has a problem with someone who says he is trying to lose weight but eats Taco Bell and Thickburgers for lunch. I have to admit, I don't look like a Fitness Personality yet. But my belt is actually a little easier to get on, and it is nearly impossible to fall asleep watching a CME course while trudging on a treadmill.

Dr. Tipler is a private-practice radiologist in Staunton, VA. He can be reached by fax at 540/332-4491 or by e-mail at btipler@medicaltees.com.