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Readers connecting with Upstate humorist Jeff Kramer

Jeff KramerThe home page for the blogging platform, WordPress on Wednesday featured Upstate humorist Jeff Kramer's recent column detailing his efforts to get serious about his health. So, readers and writers from all corners of the globe were introduced to Kramer and the academic medical center that is helping him get healthy. More than 900 readers visited the What's Up at Upstate blog on Wednesday, and more than 800 visited through lunchtime Thursday.

Dozens of the new readers left encouraging comments, which I am excerpting below. Kramer answered some of them, too! (Read them all -- and add your own -- by scrolling to the bottom of Kramer's column and clicking on "comments.")

Jeffrey Crews writes: "Great piece! What would you give as your No. 1 fitness goal?"

And Kramer responds: "Two big goals, Jeffrey. The first one is that if I am ever again fallen by illness, as we all surely will be, I never want a doctor to look at me and blame the problem on me being too heavy. There‘s a lot of medical bias against overweight people, and frankly a lot of it is justifiable. My doctor was dead-on when he told me I‘d feel a lot better if I lost 20 pounds. I want to take weight off the table as medical issue -- permanently.

"My other goal is to have my knee improve to the point I can tolerate running a 5K or 10K with my 11-year-old daughter. That would be a great feeling."

Damon Corrigan writes: "We are remarkably similar. I am 6-2, and weigh about 360. I have a skinny sleep doctor that says my apnea is caused by being over weight. I have not had the wake up call that you did yet, though. I tell myself I am young (43, now), that my knees don‘t hurt that bad, and those little things I feel in my chest sometimes aren‘t really a sign of anything. Blood sugar is good, cholesterol is good, things are sailing right along…eventually I will dump this weight that I have put on since I got married 20 years ago. But it never happens.

"My wife keeps telling me that counting calories will get me where I want to go – but man, it‘s work doing that, and I haven‘t a clue where to get started. I want to be motivated to do this, but…but…but.

"But nothing. It has to be done. Aside from the emergency, how did you start? Was the emergency really the only mitigating factor? What things did your tell yourself in the night that you were going to do?

"Thank you for the post. It triggered (yet another) heart to heart talk with myself about what I need to do. It just seems so overwhelming."

And Kramer responds: "Thanks for writing. From your post I sense you understand the seriousness of what‘s at stake and that excuse-making is part of your problem. I know this will sound New Agey, but you have to shut off that negative dialogue with yourself. You don‘t need an emergency to do that.

"In practical terms I simplified my diet to counteract that overwhelming feeling you speak of. I typically allow myself two snacks a day, and I only give myself four options: a handful of raw almonds, a nonfat yogurt, a piece of fruit, or, if I‘m really hungry, peanut butter on whole grain toast. That‘s it. I use snacks for fuel, not fun, and to reinforce my focus on healthy eating.

"Drink water and little else.

"Tell yourself that no matter what the scale says on any given day, you will always eat intelligently and exercise regularly. I believe that is key. The mindset needs to be that you are being good to yourself for the rest of your life … not punishing yourself for past behavior.

"Yes, counting calories is a drag, but so what? Anything worth doing involves some effort. At least with calorie counting there is reasonable certainty that after a month or two you won‘t need to: Your body will tell you how much you can eat to still lose weight. In general, the whole weight loss thing gets easier and more rewarding as you progress. I swear.

"Lastly, find your inner-contrarian. There is a huge weight loss industry dedicated to making this stuff more complicated than it needs to be. Don‘t buy into it. There is a massive food and beverage industry that works overtime getting people to over- consume and eat garbage. Don‘t be their tool.

"Good luck! Shoot me a note sometime to tell me how you‘re doing."

Among the other comments:

"You‘re still very funny. Now your wit is just as lean and sharp as you are," Audare writes.

"You can eat 3,000 calories a day and lose weight? I hate you! All I have to do is 'breathe' and I gain weight. There is truly no justice in the world. If I could eat 3,000 calories, I would be in 7th heaven. Anyway, once I get past my jealousy of you, I can adopt a couple of your points and that is shaving off a few points off the top, even if it is 100 a day and consistently riding my bike. Best of all, you didn‘t lose your sense of humor," says Etomczyk.

"You can find a way to do this, and it doesn‘t have to involve convincing yourself that you have to give up everything forever. Good thoughts to you," says Pat Steer.

"What I find helpful is looking at something sinful, like a piece of chocolate cake,and seeing the ingredients. Would I really like to eat a whole stick of butter? Do I relish the thought of three eggs? How would I feel about consuming 2 cups of sugar? That image helps me and I hope it helps you to," Ronnie writes.

"I am your new fan! May I borrow some of your words and phrases? Just a little. Cause I feel the same way," says Maribeth2.

"You sound exactly like my dad who has lost 60 pounds and can tell you the sugar and carb content of most foods on the planet. I admire you," says the blogger, I Made You a MixTape.

"Thanks for the laughter, Jeff. Your courage and humor show all of us that a few small changes can make a big difference in our lives — especially, when you think about it, for those who love us. You made my morning," Tripsfor2 says.

"Making eating changes is the hardest thing anyone can do. It takes a lot of will power! Keep up the good work," says Lana.

Read Jeff Kramer's column.

Read all of the comments.