Been so busy working on the new Simple Workout project (and it’s going to be amazing, like having your own personal trainer!), but I found a few things in my mailbox that you should definitely read.
Cultivate Your Crew
The first is from a new blog called FeelGooder, run by one of the most famous bloggers in the world, Darren Rowse. This particular article is by guest blogger Tara E. Nusz, and really nails the importance of friendships as well as how to handle them. While her experience is with female friendships, her points all apply to guys as well. Her seven main points, with my comments:
- Recognize the positives in others and spend time with them in environments that allow them to shine. We all have “that friend,” who don’t necessarily leave others awestruck. They may be a bit crude, or a little antisocial. Know who’s best to meet for nachos at the sportsbar and who to call up as a wingman.
- Recognize that not every friendship is necessarily for the long term. As much as we’d like to assume we’ll be buds forever, we all walk different paths. People change. Sometimes it’s them, sometimes it’s you.
- Establish equilibrium between give and take. I’d add to this, err on the side of giving more than you take. If your friend is truly a friend, they will at least show their appreciation.
- Avoid drama. This one speaks for itself. Where men are concerned, this is often displayed as aggressiveness or the old “f&$% ’em, I do what I want” trip (usually “what I want” involves antisocial behavior). Be a rock in your friendships just as you’d be the rock in your relationships.
- Set boundaries. See above. I’ve had friends whose behavior was clearly a notch more attention-seeking than mine, but we both recognized that and they’d tone it down when hanging out with me. It didn’t keep them from valuing the friendship.
- Recognize that your spouse doesn’t have to like your friends. Very important. As long as you’re observing #3, 4 and 5 above, you can resolve to keep your girlfriend away from your “less-social” buds without feeling guilty.
- Allow your friends to meet a need your spouse or family cannot. This is why you can do #6. We need male friendships. They give us an outlet that a night with the girlfriend can’t. No one person, not even the love of your life, can meet your every need.
Buddy Up for Better Health
I’ve mentioned Mark’s Daily Apple before—it’s a site that promotes primal lifestyle and diet, with an emphasis on science. Mark Sisson goes quite in-depth with his analyses, with lots of research, and this article on using the Buddy System to reach your fitness goals is no different:
The point of the buddy system (or cohort, if you can gather up a Primally minded posse) doesn’t revolve around the individual’s particular role in your life. It’s about the affirmation and accountability – the contact and the check-in. It’s about having someone expecting you at the assigned time for a workout. It’s about sharing in the celebration when you both resist temptation at your respective office holiday parties. It’s about exchanging strategies, pep talks, and well-timed humor.
When you make a new health commitment, you’ll at times be processing cravings and inclinations “unreasonable” in the context of your health goals. Maybe on a particularly stressful day, you’ll want to fall back into old, “comforting” habits that undo the good you’ve done the rest of the day. You might hit a new wall as you realize you need to develop new, healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with the stress and busyness of everyday life (or an unsupportive partner at home). That’s where it can help to have a health buddy – an empathetic sounding board and a calm, rational voice to talk you down from whatever tree you’re in. Later, when it’s his/her turn to have a down day, you can return the favor.
Go read the whole thing. Then find yourself a fitness buddy.
How to Use the Buddy Effect to Achieve Your Health Goals [Mark’s Daily Apple]
Cravings Controlling Your Life?
A second great post by Mark this week involves the psychology of cravings: when you just can’t get that Krispy Kreme out of your mind. Let’s face it, junk food has a huge psychological pull on us, especially here in America where advertising is rampant and most of it is for burger chains and pizza joints. Then the holidays come along, and we remember the sugary, starchy foods we gorged on as children and see them as a link to our youth. We know what we should be eating, but for some reason we’re tormented by what we want to eat.
Mark explores this, then offers strategies both simple and drastic to beat the torture of cravings:
In terms of strategies to lessen the feeling of deprivation and associated cravings, researchers confirm the out of sight, out of mind approach. Proximity matters in a big way. The more of a hassle it is to get to that favorite temptation, the less likely you’ll bother with it. Their study includes the old candy dish at the secretary’s desk scenario. Yet, battling those mental images matters, too. If your favorite food is all over the TV commercials, find something else to do on the days or evenings when you’re more prone to suggestion because of stress or a down mood.
When you do become taken in by a sudden urge to indulge, some research suggests that taking a brief walk can help. If the cravings are more than an occasional inconvenience, you might want to ask whether there’s something hormonal going on or if you have a nutritional deficiency. Particularly if you have a history of disordered eating, you might choose to explore some professional counseling.
Personally, I’ve never had a problem giving up specific foods, and junk food in particular has lost its luster (especially now that I can make my own tasty foods including chili, pizza and burgers, all of which are completely healthy). But I also have close friends who get downright depressed over dietary restrictions, so I can sympathize. If you’re one of those people, do yourself a favor and read this.
The Psychology of Giving Up Junk Food [Mark’s Daily Apple]