Friday, November 13, 2009

What I have to do.

I enjoy reading things about self-improvement. How to have more energy, a more positive attitude, more ambition, and the like. Here's what I know based on the latest information I've absorbed.

I must eat as little processed sugar as possible.

I must cut back on the coffee.

It is better to eat well-marbled meat than lean meat. (fat helps you digest protein and staves off hunger)

I must sleep 10 hours per night.

I must exercise regularly.

Evidently sugars make you fatter and unhealthier than anything else. In addition they seem to inspire mood swings in me. My temper becomes much shorter and as such I have learned that I had best not have any chocolate or cookies until after Cole, my son, has gone to bed. Lest I take my temper out on him.

For a little while I was obsessed with a particular snack. I learned it from my sister and she called it a Funky Monkey. You take a banana and peel it. Then you take a wrap and spread peanut butter on it. Then you wrap the wrap around the banana and slice it into inch-long pieces. Only I didn't slice it, I just ate it. Also I didn't use peanut butter, I used Nutella. I was having between two and three of these a day and I'm embarrassed to say that I grew a new stretch mark on my belly.

As for fat, well, read this book.

Turns out that since the 1970s since experts have been pushing us to eat fewer animal fats and more vegetable fats the numbers of death from heart disease have gone down, but the incidents of heart disease have not.

Apparently athletes in serious training are instructed by their coaches to get 10 hours of sleep a night. Can you imagine? Can you imagine only having 14 hours a day to accomplish everything you need to do? And yet by all accounts your quality of life during those 14 hours would improve. You would have more energy and greater clarity of thought.

Well we all secretly know about coffee, don't we? It's one of those socially acceptable drugs. Like alcohol. It does something in our brains and our brains decide that since this chemical does such a good job at something it normally has to work hard for, why bother doing it?

We've all been told since we were children that regular exercise is ever so important. All that good stuff, burning off excess energy so we don't store it as fat. It grants us, again, more energy and greater clarity of thought.

An experiment was performed recently where two elementary school classes were given tests. In one class the students just took the test, in the other class the students were given physical exercises to accomplish before given the test. The test was an academic one and the students who exercised first scored, on average, higher.

So out of the list above guess which thing doesn't inspire terror in me?

I am a caffeine addict. Why should I go through all that withdrawal in order to avoid something I like so much?

I love chocolate, but it's admittedly easier to avoid when one of your major day-to-day concerns is poverty. Also, Funky Monkeys are lousy in winter - the bananas aren't ripe and don't ripen well in these cold sun-weak days.

If I wanted to get 10 hours of sleep a night and still wake up when Cole wakes up, I'd have to go to sleep at 8:30, which necessarily means half an hour or so of downtime leading up to it. That Cole goes to sleep around 7:15 makes an early bedtime entirely unacceptable. I'm only free to watch my favorite TV shows and play my favorite video games after he goes to bed and having maybe 30 to 45 minutes to do so isn't going to happen.

On the other hand the experts say that my waking hours will be ever so much better.

Exercising regularly is something I actually kind of would like to do, but again, only so many hours in the day. Also I haven't really found something I enjoy enough to keep doing it on a regular basis. The last time I did was when I was taking Kung Fu lessons back in 2001. That was fun, but I was paying a dear price for the privilege.

On the other hand, the advice to eat more animal fats? Well, bring that on quickly and often!


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