Making a few essential changes

So over the past couple months I’ve been systematically picking at a few different areas in my life to try and navigate my way to a better version of me.  I don’t really share this as a prescription that I wish other people to fall in line with or to gain any unnecessary attention, but rather just to pause and reflect on what’s been going on so far and to document this moment in my life to look back on at a later date.

Social media

I’ve basically cut out Facebook and Twitter out of my life almost entirely — perhaps the only exception is a few times a week just checking for event invitations that people send me.  Even that little bit of time on Facebook is barely tolerable because of the drug-like draw that I feel to drop an hour or two in endlessly scrolling through the timeline and the videos.

I’ve mentioned before my reasons for leaving Facebook, largely because I don’t like being manipulated and spied on by larger corporations for the sake of advertising to me with precisely targeted ads and draw me in to buy things I don’t necessarily need.  Additionally, and probably the most significant reason, is to reduce that time-wasting element from my life.

I do have one exception — and that’s Instagram, which I continue to use solely for posting about things that I’m up to, but even that amounts to minimal activity and I don’t spend countless minutes or hours mindlessly scrolling through, killing time or placating my mind’s need to be occupied.

Gaming

This is a tough one for me — I love video games.  Love them.  Almost too much — to the point of sacking away hours of time, lost to reaching that next level or achieving that next goal.  At this point I still haven’t entirely removed them from my life — once in a while when I have some much-needed down time, I’ll blow an hour or two on Battlefront II, blowing away Rebel or Imperial forces in multiplayer mode.  But perhaps the more significant timesink that I’ve removed from my life is Pokémon Go — I used to play that every day and drop a couple hours while walking or eating lunch or whatever.

The one thing that I started observing in myself, is the feeling of being compelled to have to complete certain objectives or tasks every single day — always anchored to the game and having to make time to do those sorts of things.  Tired of the feeling of obligation to the game, I stopped playing and removed the app (and its companion app Wizards Unite).

There’s nothing inherently wrong with those games — and I have no problem with others playing those games for whatever reason they choose.  For me, however, I reached a point where I just wanted to uproot those things out of my life and focus on trying to be more present in this moment without the distraction or draw from the games.

Diet & Fitness

I’ve had a rollercoaster relationship with all things health, nutrition, and fitness — but then again, who hasn’t am I right? Three years ago I ran two marathons, a half marathon, a ten-miler, and a few 5k and 10k races and was in the best shape I’d ever been in since my early 20s and weighed in around 185 pounds.  However after I finished Twin Cities Marathon in the fall of 2016, I proclaimed “I’m done” and stopped running almost entirely, and with it counting calories and eating/drinking with moderation.

Last weekend my cousin happened to stop by and in casual conversation said he was doing “the 4-hour body” diet and lost 40 pounds in 30 days.

Say what?!? 

He even went on to say that last Saturday he ate and drank over 4,000 calories, including nearly an entire pizza, a few beers, and a whole host of other things.

You’re shitting me now.  Just stop.

Curious about what he did and the book that he picked this up from, I quick searched for a summary of the diet and read someone’s summary of The Four Hour Body on Medium to give me a head start while I waited for the book to arrive.  I read the basic premise of what to do and what not to do and thought, “hey, I can do that.  That doesn’t seem that bad.”

So Monday I started eating really simple, specific meals:  lean proteins, lots of legumes (beans), vegetables (particularly spinach, I enjoy it raw), some regular doses of kimchi with my food, and that’s about it.  No white foods (bread, pasta,  potatoes, rice, etc except for cauliflower and cabbage), no sugar, no fruit, don’t drink your calories. It’s a relatively simple recipe to follow; not that interesting really and lacks variety.  In fact, I think, it takes a bit of creative thinking to spice things up a bit — but that’s extra credit.  Tim Ferriss actually says in his book to keep it simple and eat the same meals every day.  After four days of being on this diet, I’ve lost five pounds already. Pretty crazy.

So you follow this basic routine for six days out of the week: lean meats, legumes, and vegetables — all of which you can eat as much of it as you want. Everything else is pretty much off limits.

Except for Saturday.  That day you can eat as much as you want and whatever you want. Binge away. Eat like all of the foods are going out of style. Eat a whole pizza. Drink three or four beers. Devour a whole bag of chips and salsa.  Snack on two huge doughnuts. Eat it all.  This binge day triggers something in your body to help keep your metabolism engaged and according to Tim Ferriss, is a required part of the diet.  You are required to consume all the wrong things and as much as you want one day a week.

That’s a plan I can get behind.

To do damage control on that day (to maximize your weight loss) there are a few things that you need to integrate into your binge day, namely starting out your day with 30g of protein (your normal breakfast routine), doing 90 seconds of muscle-stimulating exercises right before your meals and 90 minutes afterward. The exercises are pretty basic stuff that you can do anywhere (as he says, preferably in the bathroom stall if you’re in public) — 30-50 air squats, 30-50 wall presses, and 30-50 chest pulls with one of those compression bands, something you can fit in your pocket.

There are also some supplements you can take before meals and at the end of the day, but my take on it is that they’re at your own discretion (optional). These supplements are: Polisocanol (20-25 mg), Alpha-Lipoic Acid (100-300 mg), Green tea flavanols (decaf, 325+ mg), and Garlic extract (200+ mg) — together makes “PAGG”.  Before breakfast, lunch, and dinner you do the AGG portion of PAGG.  Before bed you do PAG (but no green tea extract).  Additionally, and most importantly, you take one day off a week and one week off every two months from the supplements. Tim Ferriss also says it’s important to take B Complex while using the supplements.

Frankly I feel skeptical about taking supplements — so I’m going to try two weeks without supplements and then try two weeks on and see if there are any measurable results or if it makes me feel any different (positive or negative).  But one thing he made clear, is that you don’t have to do them —  you can focus solely on the diet portion of the plan and be successful; it just might take a little longer to achieve your goals.  The supplements apparently maximize the impact of all your choices and expedite fat loss.

I’m excited to see my progress after 30 days and see how far this takes me.

So that’s much of the change that I’ve been working on. It’s a lot of little things, but I think they’ll add up to some pretty big changes and hope to see some significant improvements in my life, being more mindful, more healthy, and more present in this moment living a more full life.

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