Motivation During The Holidays – I Doubt Very Much I Can Help You

It is barely the holiday season, really, but for me the tree has been up for two weeks and I’m sort of on holiday all the time anyway because I don’t have a job so I’m in the spirit.

And I actually really like the holidays – I have such a hard time relaxing most of the year but the lights, the smells, the cozy clothes of Christmas make me feel like yeah, I want to take it easy today.

The thing is I also really like working out and eating right.

So I’ve wound up bouncing back and forth unexpectedly – like the other day I had a healthy breakfast and did my marathon training then I was supposed to eat a meal, recover for a few hours, and do my strength training. Instead I had a beer then more beers then some cookies, played nostalgic video games then watched animated Christmas specials.

And the pie chart is I feel 20% guilty about it and 80% like hey, it’s the holidays, it’s what the holidays are for.

Because the truth is you can’t mess up a week’s progress in one day, you can’t mess up a month’s progress in a week, and you can’t mess up a year’s progress in a month. What matters is trending upwards over the long haul.

Where I think some will run into problems is if they typically view fitness as chore and exploit the holidays to take a break from it – ’cause you’re not getting back on track Monday, man, admit it. You’re gonna coast hard for a month and then at some point you’ll see your reflection (literally or metaphorically) and a lot of guilt and self-loathing is gonna hit you all at once. And that sucks. And all your positive habits will be broken and you’ll have to build up from scratch again with even less confidence you can be successful.

And the other side of that coin is the person so into their fitness they miss the holidays completely. Staying on-lock all the time and being a dick about your gains or your run-times or your energy or whatever makes you feel superior to friends and family who are merely having a good time and want you to join in.

I can’t say more because I honestly don’t know anyone like that – I don’t know anyone who under-indulges in anything – but I know they exist so if that’s you relax, take this time to dispel suspicion that you have an eating disorder. Or to maybe ask yourself if you have an eating disorder.

What matters is that you continue to not use exercise as a punishment. That’s the worst. If you’re having a big carby meal and bottles of wine don’t say I’ll work this off tomorrow or tell yourself it’s okay because you’ll do an extra class this week – it’s okay because it’s okay. It’s okay to eat and enjoy and celebrate. Then keep your gym schedule as normal and that should feel like a celebration too – body fueled up and mind relaxed.

How Eating For My Skin Saved My Life

I have bad skin.

That’s a phrase we all understand even though it’s really weird; because my skin is actually perfectly good in that’s it’s perfectly functional. It does all the things skin should do like protect my veins and muscles, regulate temperature, and filter toxins. When I say it’s bad we all know that means it’s not attractive. I have acne constantly. From 13 to 34 with no signs it’s going to ever truly clear up.

And my feeling that I could do something about it rather than merely suffer from it comes down to a friend who once said we wear what we eat instead of we are what we eat.

That little frame change made me think oh yeah, I should include and exclude foods based on their effect on my skin.

Even though I knew food effects things – things more important than skin included – I’d never thought of it the same as choosing to wear something. Choosing to wear something is a statement you want to make to the world about who you are. Even if you’re the kind of person who thinks I don’t care about that, I’ll wear pajama pants to the gas station you are making the statement that you’re the kind of person who wears pajama pants to the gas station. Which means we never have to listen to you about anything.

So with some Googling I formed a skin-friendly breakfast of bananas and walnuts; and I stopped including cheese in whatever I had for lunch like a burger or a wrap.

Such a simple thing but it represents a systematic shift in me. I ate like a nihilist before, I even made a video about it once.

See, people will answer the question why do you eat with the phrase I eat to live. Which isn’t true. Not only because people eat in a way that’s shortening their life in the long run but because it’s honestly not what they’re thinking. People eat to make hunger go away. Eating isn’t a pro, it’s an anti. It’s done to be anti-hunger, anti-boredom, whatever. That’s why people eat garbage, eating like nihilists, because nothing more than that matters.

And when I started picking foods for reasons other than hoping I’d enjoy them and not feel things, suddenly I thought about it more like equipping my body with the things it needs for the quests I undertake.

So when I was going through severe depression I figured I could deal with it the same way. I already understood that depression comes from neurotransmitters and neurotransmitters come from precursors in vitamins and minerals.

Meaning food.

And all it turned out to be was eggs, sardines, and expensive salt. Getting my daily dose of selenium, choline, zinc, and magnesium was the foundational change that gave me the emotional resilience to start getting up early, exercising, and looking forward to things in life that pulled me out of the depression.

And as I make sure I get all the foods – all the nutritional equipment – that I’ve prescribed myself it turns into a full day of eating where I don’t need much more but if I really want a treat in the evening occasionally that’s okay.

Interrogate Your Excuses

It’s easy to look at No Excuses memes and think you gotta be that person. And you tell yourself you will, you will be hardcore starting tomorrow or after the laundry or whatever. All the time I see people’s plan riding on the fact that they’re going to be perfect later.

Procrastination and excusing are perfectionism, it’s weird but it’s true. We’re putting things off because we feel we can’t do them well enough if we do them right now. We’ll suck, and we don’t want to suck.

At the root of every excuse is a feeling that we’re not good enough at the task at hand. But, somehow, usually when we’ve bought something specific, we will be good enough later.

That’s why most of the time when people procrastinate they do something they feel a sense of mastery over, something with skills and knowledge they already have. No one procrastinates on a work out by going sky diving.

My problem is that I know that. So the weakness had to find yet another way around it which became doing something that feels like nothing. If there’s something I’m supposed to do and I know I’m not doing it I won’t let myself do something else – especially something enjoyable – so instead I wind up losing hours on the internet with a YouTube video in the background of my Twitter feed and I feel nothing.

I’m not telling myself a comforting lie like I can’t do important things until I have the right clothes or the weather is good – I’ve circumvented the impulse to make excuses because the comfort never really works and we all know it. Yet I wind up not doing things anyway.

It works for a second when you talk to others and they let you off the hook, like when you’re explaining that you didn’t go to the gym because of a documentary on elephants even though nobody asked, no one says that’s clearly a dumb excuse, friend even though you’re both thinking it.

Letting people slide with dumb excuses seems like an act of grace but that’s an excuse too. So many friendships are built on if I called you on your shit then I’d have to call myself on mine.

But when you’re alone, you know. You know you excused and procrastinated and now you need to block out those feelings too. So it’s back to anything where you don’t need to feel humble – maybe it’s the arrogance of needing to be seen doing something you’re good at or telling others you have it all figured out, or maybe it’s invisibility and feeling no one can judge you if you don’t remind them you exist. But either way it’s not humility – the willingness to be seen as you actually are.

Videos I Liked This Week

It’s so weird and fascinating to me that a likeable Newfoundlander who films himself playing video games is so personally and culturally influential. Maybe if technology weren’t isolating us we wouldn’t be here but… it’s still neat that we are here.

 

The term “Emotional Labour” has been loosed from interesting academia to misinterpretation and over use by pseudo-intellectual twats and because of that I’ve seen a lot of people labeling basic friendship and partnership and co-workership as “Emotional Labour”

Which is what this video is playing on.

 

People strawman Marxism? Say it ain’t so!

 

This channel is just so fucking good.

 

He did the trolley experiment! IRL!

 

Excuses become barriers.

 

And the subtle, secret intelligence of Dom Mazzetti

From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 2.2

Thou Shall Take Your Vitamins.

Which in this case means drinking things that taste like yard clippings.

 

The deeper spirit of Take Your Vitamins though is that most people get hung up on what they like and what you like is nowhere near the fucking point.

For one you can change what you like – people train themselves to like cigarettes and alcohol for years, they train so hard they seek professional help to untrain those cravings.

And second people never question if they really like something or if they merely want the absence of a craving. Let’s use soda as an example because it’s one I’m guilty of – I feel like having pop all the time. When the wanting comes up go ahead and get a soda. Then turn off everything. No video or TV, no music, no scrolling your phone, no nothing. And drink the soda.

Do you feel better? Do you feel the happiness that marketing and your dopamine system promised you? Probably not. You probably feel really underwhelmed and bored and kind of gross and you crave more distraction, because that’s all the soda really was.

You are actually suffering through the things you think you like and numbing it out with distraction.

…And if you’re willing to that for destructive things then go ahead and do it for constructive things. Like fiber shakes. Made from hemp.

Videos I Liked This Week

This is a re-watch. I didn’t (I don’t think) post this video the first time I watched it because I thought the conversation in the beginning was annoying but I still think about this video, and even quote it, all the time.

 

Another re-watch because I saw it in my side bar. You should have seen this by now too, it’s over 10 years old, but it’s the video that introduced me to Sam Harris and changed my thinking forever.

 

This video is proof that some of the best life advice is dating advice. People think dating advice is pick up lines and fashion but look at all the points of this video, there’s nothing superficial or cheesy about it. To be attractive – romantically or otherwise to draw people toward you – you have to have direction, purpose, ambition, standards, etc. Nothing cheesy about it.

 

Vsauce is great and all the first season of Mind Field is free now.

 

Hunter McIntyre is a dick. But he’s a dick I like, I guess. I saw one interview with him after the Crossfit Games and thought fuck this guy completely and clearly he does have some shitty attitudes and qualities. But some people are an acquired taste. And this interview is hysterical.

 

Really long, which I guess is the theme this week, but an all-purpose chat with Jeff is fucking dope. Drink in the knowledge.

 

This one is short. And extremely important. In Tim Ferris’ book Tools Of Titan there’s a work out for the glute medius that I constantly meant to look up and always forgot when I was planning a work out. Then thanks to Twitter I saw someone made a video of it. Suck it, books. But seriously do this work out everyday – your gluteus medius is probably shit.

 

And finally a new channel I discovered that’s awesome. I love The Grey and I think about it all the time so I watched this and a bunch more the channel and hombre is shining.

 

From Couch To Spartan Sprint – Exercise 1.3

The first Commandment is to Stay Inspired. This video deals with what to do when your inspiration is drained.

 

You need to be able to see the heroic version of yourself in – let’s make up a term – future hindsight. Keep in mind that you are at the beginning of the training montage, you are a walking before photo. When you feel like quitting don’t tell yourself I won’t quit, listen to your future self say I didn’t quit.

The book is already written, your best self is waiting on the later pages and you just have to keep turning ’em to get there.

And, this is weird for an aspiring woo woo fitness guru to say, remember that you’re not special. Meaning that you’re not different than millions of other people getting in shape. We have a terrible misconception of thinking our suffering is unique, our wounds are only our own like no one else, that everyone else is a normal person and we’re battling something unseen that’s much bigger.

And you’re just not that special, kid.

There’s no such thing as other people. Just people. Doing difficult, unseen things everyday, and you’re one of them. The belief that one is uniquely flawed is an excuse.