I blogged not too long ago about Zen and the Fine Art of Procrastination and some ways around it. There’s the practice, and then there’s the mentality.
Not everyone procrastinates for the same reasons. Some do it because there’s a huge, ugly item and they just DON’T want to do it, so they’re putting it off because they don’t want to. That simple. Other times it’s more like “My to-do list is so long, I’m overwhelmed, I keep getting interrupted by people demanding my attention, I’m fried. I think I’m going to go do something mindless until the headache goes away.”
I usually wind up in the latter camp, the point of reaching such high levels of stress that accomplishing anything is meaningless because I’m too frazzled to focus. Thinking straight at that point is a joke.
When you reach that state, it’s best to find your zen. Just breathe. Take a five minute walk, go meditate, make some tea. I’m drinking a nice blend from Teavana right now.
When I’m done with this blog post (which is one item on my lengthy to-do list), I plan to tackle the rest, fully energized and having had some tea. After all, if I can bite off one item, it means I’ve accomplished something and some of the stress should go away, right? Easy does it.
Signing off from the Land of No More Procrastination.
I’m a software engineer. I’ve been in my career for almost fifteen years now, and have spent way, way, way too much of my time seated at a desk, bent over a keyboard typing out code.
Obviously this isn’t healthy. We weren’t designed for long periods of sitting day in and day out, eating processed food, and sitting in traffic to and from this experience. It’s not ideal. It’s not conducive to our well-beings.
Okay, so you may be thinking, “Yeah, no kidding, Tea-Addicted Geek, so what the heck do I do about it?” Great question! I’m here to share with you based on years of experimentation and pain what has worked for me.
- Park as far away from your building as possible and walk.
- STAIRS. Walk them. Ditto with Escalators. Up AND down. It drives me nuts to watch fellow fitness coaches just STANDING there on an escalator going down! I am used to taking absolutely every advantage I have to be active, and this is one of those things.
- Get. Up. Walk away from your desk. Grab water. Grab tea. Drink it. If this means frequent bathroom breaks, GREAT! Even better: take the time to walk to your co-workers versus sending them emails. You’ll look more proactive AND you’ll be on your feet more.
- Go for walks during lunch breaks, indoors or outdoors. No place to do it? Walk up and down the stairs.
- Get up earlier and work out before going to work. For some this may be challenging. I am NOT a morning person, and some mornings for me are better than others.
- Bag your lunch. You’ll save money AND you won’t be eating crap (or tempted to do so).
- Join any wellness, fitness classes or programs your workplace provides. My own place of employment will be offering a series of Zumba classes this month.
- Do exercises at your desk. Visit those links and see what works for you!
- STRETCH. My neck and shoulders are prone to strain and injury due to my occupation, and stretching every hour helps. I also recommend rumble rollers or foam rollers. Worth. Every. Penny.
- If you can take public transportation to work, DO SO. It’s not only green, but it’s also giving you more chances to be active and on your feet! It could (and does) make the caloric burn difference. When I have a job in downtown Boston, I burn an extra 200-400 calories per day on average according to my Bodybugg. It takes 3500 calories to burn in order to lose a pound, that’s 500 calories PER DAY extra to burn. See how much that could help?
- Tips on healthy snacks at work: hummus and veggies, pieces of fruit, rice cakes, meal bars (watch the sugar!!), and smoothies. I sometimes bring a travel blender into work in order to make my Shakeology protein smoothies.
- Find out if any of your co-workers are into fitness, maybe organize a regular group walk. It’s social, it’s fun, and it can only help you and others in the long run.
If you work in a career like, odds are likely not everyone will be as mindful as you. They may want to eat crap, sit around, and be perfectly happy about that. Some may even make fun of you or try to sabotage your success. Don’t let them! It’s YOUR life, not theirs, and they’re perfectly welcome to do what they want with theirs. In the end, YOU have to live with your body, your health, and your happiness.
And who knows? Maybe one of them will join you for a quick walk around the building.
It’s been a while since I had a controversial post up, let alone a good rant, so let’s hit a frequently visited issue:
Yes, already I can hear many of you screaming and running away in terror.
Soy is a common allergen, and by that I mean that there are people who have a genuine allergy or intolerance to soy. There are also some health conditions such as gout under which people should not consume it. But food allergies and health contraindicators exist elsewhere with gluten, nuts, shellfish, eggs, and dairy. I would never argue on this basis that gluten and nuts are evil and should be shunned by the world’s populace, but for some reason soy seems to be a nice target for some people to hit on. Question is…why?
All issues of the meat and dairy industry and their biased studies aside (money talks, people!), the idea that soy negatively impacts hormones and causes weird issues like “manboobs” has long been debunked by university studies. Yet like the “complete protein” nonsense, people recite this bit of information like gospel.
The only time you should be avoiding soy is when it’s unclear that it’s non-GMO. And GMO anything for that matter isn’t good, but that’s a topic for a whole other post (coming to a blog near you!). Beyond avoiding GMO sources, soy is an excellent protein and has been shown to decrease breast cancer risk, not increase it.
There’s also the debate as to fermented vs non-fermented soy foods, and that too has been shown to be hogwash.
Some facts about soy:
- * It’s a complete protein, and some have argued is the most superior plant protein.
- * 25g a day may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol in studies when replacing animal protein with soy.
- * Soy has a long and rich history in Asian countries contrary to some of the claims made against it. In fact, I suspect much of the propaganda against soy started around WWII due to its association with the Japanese.
- * Cow’s milk provides more than nine times as much saturated fat as soy beverages, so is far more likely to contribute to heart disease.
- * Soy beverages provide more than 10 times as much essential fatty acids as cow’s milk, and so provide a far healthier quality of fat.
- * For all of people’s claims that soy milk will cause hormonal issues, they fail to realize that cow’s milk actually is far more damaging in terms of hormones. In the dairy industry, a cow is perpetually kept pregnant in order to produce milk, and these hormones–along with other crap injected into the cow–can affect our health when we consume the milk from said cow. Why soy gets the most attention is beyond me…oh right, money talks. :-/
- * Soy beverages are cholesterol-free, while cow’s milk contains 34 mg of cholesterol per cup.
- * Soy beverages lower both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, while cow’s milk raises both total and LDL cholesterol levels.
- * Soy beverages contain numerous protective phytochemicals that may protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and osteoporosis. Cow’s milk contains no phytochemicals.
Now, I’m a firm believer in not putting any of your eggs into one nutritional basket, everything in moderation, common sense, etc, so I’m not suggesting to go out and eat 500 pounds of soy a day–let alone telling people who have a genuine allergy to soy that they should start consuming it. There are many, many sources of plant-based proteins out there besides soy which are quite excellent. I’m a big fan of quinoa, for instance. But I think people can rest assured that eating soy won’t cause you to get cancer, manboobs, blue hair, or an uncontrollable urge to start “to-fu fighting”.
Carbs are fuel. They provide glucose which is necessary for our brains to function. A low-carb diet is only reasonable for short term, and even in the P90X meal plan it is not recommended for longer than four weeks. And you know what? I TRUST the people who came up with the entire concept of P90X, all the research they poured into it, and how they determined would be the best way to condition your body for that program. And if they say long term low carb is bad, well gee…ya know?
Carbs, like sugar, have been maligned and miscategorized by lumping them all in with the unhealthy varieties. Table sugar is NOT the same as fruit sugar. Healthy carbs include fruit, quinoa, lentils, and whole grains. You can see my earlier rant on that topic for more information on healthy carbs and how fruit is the best, like ever.
Unhealthy carbs include white/refined flour, processed foods, sugar, and other derivatives. How can you tell if a food is healthy? Well, is it rich in micronutrients? Fruit is healthy, oils are not. Read a nutritional label for ANY oil and you tell me if it has any value whatsoever. Ditto with processed sugars. There you go, simple as that. Added sugars in general are just bad, bad, bad. And then there’s “sweetened fruit”. Fruit’s already sweet! Your taste buds must be burnt out to tolerate the mass amounts of sugar and HFCS in your food. Eat real food, detox, stop putting crap into your body!
Stop the madness! FUEL your body with REAL FOOD! In the long run you will not have enough energy for your workouts if you deprive yourself of carbs. Putting your body into a state of ketosis over an extended period of time just isn’t healthy, period. There are plenty of examples out there of people who eat high carb, low fat diets whose bodies have a low percentage of fat and they are extremely fit.
Thankfully people are getting sane and are also weighing in on this issue. But when I see people giving out advice like “only eat 20g of carbs or less per day” as a means of losing fat and gaining muscle, I have to wonder where their brains are. Then I realize…oh yeah, not enough glucose makes you loopy. And naturally too much of the crappy refined sugars have similar effects.
Ideally, I think an excellent balance of carbs, protein, and fat percentage from calories is 70-15-15. Some go 80-10-10 or even 90-5-5. Heck, even 65-20-15 isn’t all that bad, either. But the bulk of what you eat, calorie-wise, should be from carbs, pure and simple. And that doesn’t mean bread, pasta, and other assorted crap. That means brown rice, quinoa, fruit, lentils, potatoes. Some varieties of bread and pasta are healthier than others, but the bulk of it is junk food and best ignored.
At least that’s what the Guardian has reported on.
Apparently if you want to restrict what foods you eat so that you feel and look healthier, it’s a mental disorder. Here’s a quote from the article:
Orthorexics commonly have rigid rules around eating. Refusing to touch sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soya, corn and dairy foods is just the start of their diet restrictions. Any foods that have come into contact with pesticides, herbicides or contain artificial additives are also out.
So…if I avoid stuff which is BAD for me, I’m mentally ill? Seriously? I should eat stuff that contains pesticides, stuff my body is seriously intolerant to, stuff that will undoubtedly make me unhealthy because otherwise I’m not sane?
I think this is one of those occasions where I am forced to say, “Honey, I’d rather be crazy than be what you consider to be ‘sane’.” Unfortunately the culture I live in makes me feel this way often.
Come, join me in my insanity. I eat tasty things that make me feel and look healthy. I don’t even starve myself in order to do it! Surely I must be nuts. We’ll make Shakeology smoothies together. I’m clearly bananas for smoothies!