I think we can all agree that it is pretty easy to say all the right things. As human beings it’s in our nature to tell people what they want to hear and this includes ourselves. Here’s a little story about a guy named Paul. Let me know if this sounds at all familiar.
The peoples names have been changed in order to protect their privacy.
Paul hops on the scale one Saturday morning. “YIKES” he says to himself. “I’ve gained twenty pounds. When the hell did this happen?”
He grabs a handful of skin from around the mid section. Dang he thinks, this is not cool. Paul takes one more good look in the mirror. Gives his best guerrilla flex and wonders where the heck all his muscle went. He goes on to lather up his beard with shaving cream and gets ready for a shave. His first day on the new job so he wants to look fresh. He loves his beard, so this is sort of a tough moment for him.
His eyes look up to the ceiling and he strokes his chin a little bit. His mind wanders and a quintessential movie thought-bubble appears above his head. He’s imagining the days of his youth. Constantly active, running outside barefoot, climbing trees, eating whatever the heck he wants. He day dreams for a minute about buying a fat frog ice cream popsicle from the ice cream man.
His mind drifts a bit to his teenage years (don’t worry, Paul is keeping it PG). Still active, playing more organized sports, still eating whatever, added a few beers into the routine… come on, we all did it. But still in pretty darn good shape.
College rolls around, Paul adds a little weight but is still staying in pretty good shape. A little less active but he’s working out in the gym andgoing on a few runs here and there but school, studying, homework, and girls are taking up more of his time now.
Paul graduates from college and shit gets real. He sends out a ton of applications looking to land any job he can find. His dream is to be the CEO of a well-known company and make tons of money. He gets his foot in the door at a pretty solid gig and is making good money. He’s married now and expecting his first baby so the finances are important. Bills to pay and people to take care of. Responsibilities are at an all time high.
Work and his commute take up most of his time and he’s less active than ever. An occasional workout thrown in randomly throughout the week if he’s not to exhausted from the day and a weekend walk with the wifey, if they have the time. Still eating whatever he wants but he realizes he’s getting a bit older and try’s to eat better. Low fat this, whole-grain that, diet drinks, he thinks he’s doing pretty well for the most part. The weekends sometimes get the best of him he admits but other than that he feels he’s doing well.
Pauls bubble bursts and he focuses in on his beard in the mirror. This time it’s full of shaving cream. He takes his first stroke with a razor and as he does he says to himself,“starting Monday I’m on my diet, working out 5 days a week, and that’s that.”
He rinses off the razor blade in the sink below him and watches the stubble wash down the drain. He looks back in the mirror at his now baby-bottom smooth left cheek. “Damn,” he thinks to himself. I loved that beard. I wish I didn’t shave it.
Lesson #1: If you want to grow a beard don’t buy a razor and if you want to eat healthier don’t by junk food
Seems simple enough right? If you want to grow a beard don’t buy a razor. If you don’t have a razor you can’t shave your face, therefore, it makes growing a beard that much easier. Don’t worry, this post isn’t about how to grow a beard. It’s about how to get healthier, mind, body, and spirit.
If you want to start eating healthier don’t buy shitty food. There’s a pretty good chance that if food is in your house someone is going to eat it. There’s an even better chance that someone will be you. A good solution is a kitchen make-over. Out with the bad and in with the good.
- Grab a large trash bag.
- Open up the pantry, cabinets, fridge, and freezer (not all at one time)
- Have at it. Start throwing junk away.
Now here’s a few things that might be going through your head that keep you from throwing some items away as you’re staring down all that junk.
- I hate wasting food
- So and so likes this, so I have to keep it.
- I’ll keep it for a special occasion.
If you hate wasting food, chuck it in a bag and donate it. I’m sure a food bank is more than happy to take it. If so and so likes a certain food and you feel the need to keep it, explain to them your health and wellness goals. They’re family, I’m sure they will be more than happy to support you and agree to take it out of the house. Chances are they’ll be motivated to join you as well. If you’re telling yourself it’s for a special occasion throw it out anyway and either have someone bring it during that “special occasion” and then take it home with them.
Some items to look for when performing a kitchen makeover include the following.
The usual suspects: Those obvious junk food items like chips, candy, chocolate, soda & other sweetened beverages, frozen dinners, margarine, flavored nuts, instant foods (ex: mashed potato’s), baked goods (little debbie), cake mix’s, and alcohol.
The magicians: The foods you necessarily wouldn’t think are bad for you or that have a sneaky label. Be on the look out for “organic” cookies and other processed times, “whole grains”, “low-fat” which usually means added sugar or words we can not pronounce.
Sweetened yogurt, fruit juices, granola, breakfast cereals, corn, peanut butter (read most labels.. weird stuff in there), crackers, bagels, bread, and frozen yogurt.
The ninja’s: Those items that you don’t even see because you hardly use them, they’re hiding behind other times, or you just plain never think about. This includes condiments like BBQ sauce, ketchup, and other sweetened sauces. Salad dressings, croutons/bread crumbs, processed meats (bologna, most deli meats), cream cheese, and buttery spreads like “I can’t believe it’s not butter.”
A good rule of thumb if you are unsure about an item look at the label. One ingredient definitely keep it, two and it’s probably good, three that’s ok as long as you can pronounce them, anymore than that then definitely toss it.
Now what the hell do you do now that the cupboards are empty, the pantry is naked (not literally), and the fridge and freezer have nothing in it but cold air? No worries. I got you. Here is a one week paleo shopping list and meal plan at your disposal.
Some other tips that might come in handy when grocery shopping:
- How to dominate your farmers market
- Grocery shopping on the cheap
- What should I but organic and what should I not?
Most importantly, remember if you open up your fridge and you have to choose between ice cream and broccoli, ice cream is probably going to win more times than not. Get rid of that sucker and leave yourself with no choice.
Lesson #2: If you want to grow a beard don’t buy a razor and how to make sure you exercise
I’ve found the three biggest things that get in the way of developing the exercise habit are
- I don’t have the time
- I don’t know what to do, it’s boring, I’m not seeing results.
- I’m to exhausted after work
Let’s handle these short and sweet.
I don’t have the time really just means it’s not a priority. So gut check time. If exercising is not a priority for you there is nothing wrong with that. If you’re ok with sneaking in a couple workouts here and there that’s cool but if you are really looking to improve your health and well-being it’s going to have to be a priority.
Evaluate how you are spending your time. Take a week and log each day in a journal. Hour to hour write what you are doing with your time. From the minute you get out of bed to the minute you go to sleep. Track exactly what you are doing with your day and how long each activity takes you. Most of us have pretty routine days. The time we get up, go to work, eat a meal, etc… so a week log will give you a great idea of where you can fit in a workout.
Next evaluate what exactly it is you are doing every hour. Are you going to happy hour every thursday? Being social is awesome but maybe you can be social and workout? Grab some buds for some exercise, check out a Crossfit, or take a yoga class.
Watching some TV for an hour every night? Sub in some home based workouts.
Weekends are the best opportunity to get a workout in. Most work long hours Monday through Friday but Saturday and Sunday are usually an easy place to fit in an hour workout. If you can squeeze another one in on a Wednesday you’ve got three. Now that ain’t bad.
The most important thing is to schedule it. Make it an appointment with yourself and don’t let anything get in the way.
I don’t know what to do, It’s boring, I’m not seeing results.
If you don’t know what to do you have a couple of options. You can hire a trainer, take a group glass, or check out some of the examples here, here, or here. Hell, you can even design your own workout by using this bada** list and checking out the exercise video’s.
It’s boring Then make it fun. If running is boring don’t do it. If lifting weights is boring don’t do it. Find activities you like and get active. If you are not sure what you like experiment and figure it out. Try rock climbing, surfing, kayaking, adult gymnastics. I find that most people who say working out is boring just need to make it social. I would highly suggest taking a group class, trying a Crossfit gym, or inviting friends to the park to get some activity in.
I’m not seeing results You might just be looking at the wrong markers. If the scale is the only thing you are using try other methods. Take body measurements, get a body fat test done, go to your doctor and see how your blood pressure and cholesterol are doing. Pay attention to how you are feeling as well. Do you have more energy? Are you happier? I also hear people say they are not seeing results and the next minute they’re telling me how lose their clothes are fitting. Hmmmmm.
Lastly, most of the “I’m not seeing results crowd” also belongs in the “I’m not very patient crowd.” It takes time. Remind yourself that there is no downside to exercising and eating healthier. Engaging in those activities consistently is only a positive thing.
Lesson #3: If you want to grow a beard don’t buy a razor and if you want to be happier stop doing sh*t you hate
I wish it was more complicated than that but it’s really not. Google it up if you don’t believe me. You’ll find a a gazillion… YES, a gazillion (more than a bazillion) studies that show race, money, environment, health, and looks don’t factor in very much when it comes to our happiness. I know what you’re thinking. Your mind probably went right to the money.
“If I had a million bucks at be happy as all get up.” But most studies show that any amount of money over 75,000 dollars per year adds very little to more happiness. As long as there is enough to pay the bills with a little wiggle room to spend leisurely we are really happy (1).
As human beings we are naturally social animals. So what is commonly found to bring more happiness is the following.
- Savoring the little moments each day. From reading a bedtime story to your kiddo to sipping tea with a friend on a nice night.
- Avoiding comparisons. Never evaluating yourself against someone else. What they have, how they look, what they’re good at. Focusing more on who you are, what you are good at, and things within your control.
- Placing money low on the list The more emphasis we place on money the less happy we seem to be. If all we think about is getting it, how much we have, how much we don’t have, we seem to be less happy.
- Setting meaningful goals Setting achievable goals that evoke pleasure in pursuing them creates more happiness.
- Taking initiative Whether it be at work, home, or somewhere else in our life. When we take action or “get started” in new activities we are interested in.
- Being social Spending more time with loved ones, friends, and family is highly correlated to more happiness. Especially for those in a strong marriage.
- Faking it By this I mean smiling, laughing, and trying to be happy even on the darkest of days.
- Gratitude Those that give thanks, express gratitude, and appreciate the good in their life are the happiest. Start a gratitude journal today. You won’t regret it.
- Exercise We’ve all felt that endorphin rush from a productive exercise session. It’s a natural mood enhancer. So find things you love and get active.
- Volunteering Those that spend even just a small amount of time volunteering experience more happiness. If you don’t have time to volunteer try random acts of kinds like buying the person behind you a cup of coffee, paying for someone’s lunch randomly, or helping someone carry their groceries to their car.
Moral of the story
- If you want to grow a beard don’t buy a razor.
- If you want to eat healthier don’t buy crappy food.
- If you want to start exercising make it a priority.
- If you want to be happier do more of what you love and less of what you don’t.
So lets here it. Where are guys specifically struggling? How can I help?