Archive for March, 2017
Most of these posts I write are lessons I am trying to teach myself and I think others could benefit from. Today’s post is no different.
I have two examples of how hidden calories can become a problem. The first one is one I did to myself, the second was one that I did to my wife.
Both of them involve... peanut butter.
Did that sound really dramatic? I hope so.
I noticed this week that I have a habit that could be dangerous if I was trying to cut down on my caloric intake. Every time I make my son a peanut butter sandwich I give myself a bite of peanut butter for the effort. That can add up considering that 2 tablespoons of peanut butter is 200 calories.
I also make my wife protein shakes on a regular basis. She asked me how much peanut butter I used and I realized it was way more than she does when she makes her own.
Maybe an added 100-150 calories here and there does not sound like a big deal, but it can add up. Especially if you do it consistently over time. An extra 150 calories per day would lead to a 15.6 pound weight gain in a year.
Three things to learn from my mistakes.
First, is to watch out for the BLTs. The Bites, Licks, and Tastes that you put into your body. All the little bites you take when cooking, licking spoons, and other taste tests you do count.
Second, is that it matters who prepares your food. That is why it is crucial to prepare your food as often as you can. Restaurants do not have your waistline in mind when they prepare your food. Their main mission is taste, so calories can pile up pretty quick.
Third, is that small changes can work for you or against you. I mentioned above about how they can work against you. But those same pounds you put on, can be taken off by eliminating 150 calories/day. You could eat 150 calories less, burn 150 off, or a do a combo of the two.
PS- Peanut butter is still delicious, I regret nothing.
Are you sitting down? I have some news for you. Stand up!
A recent study of older women (average age of 79) published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who are sedentary have shorter life spans and are more likely to have high blood pressure, a history of chronic disease, lower physical performance scores, and are more likely to have experienced a fall in the past 12 months. The researchers found that the most sedentary women were biologically 8 years older than their actual age.
Another study in the same journal studied dementia risk in sedentary people. They studied people who were carriers of dementia markers and those who were not. The subjects with the markers for dementia developed dementia more often, but being sedentary greatly increased the risk of getting dementia for those who did not have the markers.
On a non-scientific note, I was talking to a physical therapist about the types of patients he sees. He said that 90% of what he sees is posture related ailments, the majority of them from sitting.
This is scary stuff! But it also means we can take control of our health by addressing the problem.
The first step is obvious- avoid sitting all day long! If you have a desk job this can be a challenge, but make it a priority to get up and stretch, walk around, etc… at least once an hour but the more often the better.
The second option is to address your desk area. There are stand up desks, adjustable desks that go from standing to sitting, sitting on and exercise ball, practicing good office ergonomics, etc…
The third thing to do is to address your posture. This might mean being more aware of your body position or doing more stretches and foam rolling to problem areas.
The fourth thing to look at is your leisure time activities. If you are sitting all day at work, then coming home and sitting on the couch or in front of a computer the remainder of the day that will catch up to you one day.
If you need more in depth instruction on some of these things or you would like someone to come speak at your office and address these topics, I highly recommend Dr. Nancy Harden from Flexibility For Life. I call her the Muscle Whisperer, she does pretty amazing work.
It is very easy to get caught up in the day to day grind of your life. Going to work, errands, social commitments, TV, etc... all take up time, energy, and focus. This leaves you with very little left in the tank to do something very important.
It is absolutely crucial to think about your future.
Will your future self thank you in 20 years for what you are doing now? That steady diet of fast food will probably get a now, while putting all that money into a 401k would get a yes.
Thinking long term also helps you avoid getting caught up in short term fad diets and fad workouts. Are you really going to NEVER have a piece of bread again? Is that crazy workout where you keep hurting yourself going to be part of your routine in 20 years?
This hits home for me because I keep getting hurt doing jiujitsu. Some little stuff like broken toes, up to bigger stuff like tearing a ligament in my knee a month ago. Well someone tore it for me, but I was there when it happened 🙂
My choice now is to quit or change the way I train at jiujitsu. The way I have been doing it is very physical, never wanting to tap out, and win at all costs mentality. Don’t think 60 year old me will be able to do that. I am choosing to train smarter, not harder.
The same thing applies to the way I treat my body overall. Performing more mobility/stretching, getting more sleep, cutting down on caffeine. These are all things I am doing now that will pay off in later years.
A big goal for me is to be that spry old man that can run circles around the whippersnappers in the neighborhood. I want to be strong, fit, and pain free for as long as I possible can.
Look at the choices you are making as bank transactions. Are you making more deposits or withdrawals in your long term health account?
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I was listening to author A.J. Jacobs talk about his creative process when he is writing. He is a really interesting guy and goes all in with his book projects. One of his books is his saga of trying to follow every rule in the Bible for a year and another one where he read all 33 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
You would think a guy like that would have no trouble with writer’s block, but it happens to him quite frequently. He has a simple, but effective technique he uses to combat writer’s block.
He just sits down and starts writing.
The writing could be complete nonsense, but the physical act of writing gets the creative juices flowing. The old fake it until you make it technique.
He based his actions on this quote by Habitat For Humanity Founder Millard Fuller:
“It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking, than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting.”
That is a great point! Your mind will eventually catch up to your actions, but you have to start first.
Science has proven that if you are upset, but if you can force your face into a smile it will trick your brain into becoming happier. Or if you are feeling insecure in a situation, ask yourself “What would a confident person do?” Then do whatever you come up with!
This all sounds crazy, but I have seen it come true over and over with exercise. It’s been proven both with myself and with my boot campers. I tell my clients, to just show up and the magic will happen. If you make it to the workout, you will make it happen.
Try asking yourself questions that are framed by your goals. Questions like “What would someone who loves to exercise do here?” or “What meals would a really fit person prepare today?”
It's only crazy if it doesn't work.
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I was reading an article about why Japanese children do so well in math compared to other countries. The reason was not what I thought it would be.
The kids do so well in math because their teachers allow them to struggle the longest with problems.
That sounds kind of counter productive at first, but it makes sense. It is hard to watch kids struggle! Have you ever watched a small child “help” with dinner, tie shoes, dress themselves, or learn how to walk? Your first instinct is to help them out and do it for them. You don’t want them to suffer through the process.
But the struggle is vital to make change and progress. Otherwise they will never learn to do things on their own.
We need to struggle to move forward. And that is especially true in exercise.
You have to continually struggle to get better, the workouts should not be a breeze every time, and some days you may even wonder why you try. Those feelings are natural and happen to everybody.
The one thing you must avoid is comparison to others. No one knows what all you have going on and vice versa you knowing about them. We all struggle in different ways and handle the struggles in our own personal manner.
Next time you are struggling, embrace it and don't give in. The struggle is helping you reach your goals, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.