Office work is injurious to your health.
If you spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk, your health will suffer, your fitness will suffer, and you may be heading to an early grave. In fact over a 20 year period you are 60% more likely to die than someone who leads an active life, (defined as a couple of hours physical activity a day). A sedentary lifestyle can kill you.
A deskbound, sedentary lifestyle means that you will be far more likely to suffer from all kinds of nasty illnesses, including; heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, cancer, type 2 diabetes, depression, dementia, insomnia, poor circulation, back pain, neck pain, brittle bones, arthritis, gout, obesity, stomach problems…
However, there are some fairly easy changes you can make to your deskbound lifestyle to make up for the fact that for eight hours a day you’re mostly a potato. All you really need is a little bit of self-discipline, and you could transform your life by following some, (or all), of these simple suggestions.
- Use the stairs instead of the lift, (elevator). It’s far better for your health, elevators are full of germs, and I got trapped in a full elevator, which isn’t fun.
- Stand up at your desk. Don’t worry what others in the office think, stand up whenever you’re not actually typing on your screen. Anyway, I always used to stand while making phone calls ~ it adds empowerment to your voice. Stand on one leg, shift your weight, lift yourself on your toes and rock back on your heels.
- Take a five-minute break every hour just to walk around the office, make a coffee, go to the bathroom.
- Clean your desk and tidy your environment. The chances are that your desk has more germs on it than a toilet seat. A messy desk and your immediate environs makes you feel stressed ~ and you will be judged on your workspace. Remember, a tidy desk is a happy desk, and a happy desk is an efficient desk.
- Avoid stress by being organised ~ you probably need to learn some effective time management skills, and I’ll write another post on just that topic.
- Don’t eat or drink to relieve stress. Don’t snack on sweet stuffs, you may get bowel cancer. You aren’t actually hungry, you’re just stuffing your face because it makes you feel a little better for a little while. Emotional eating will just make you fat and unhealthy.
- Take a packed lunch to work ~ at least you’ll know what’s in it. Eating out every day, or buying your lunch from a fast food cart or take-out place is very bad for your health. You will get fat, you may get type 2 diabetes, you may get bowel cancer.
- Stay hydrated ~drink water, about a dozen cups, 3 litres, 6 pints or so, every day. Anything with caffeine in it is a diuretic and makes you lose water. Drinking a lot of water gives you a reminder to get up from your desk and walk to the bathroom.
- Get outside at lunchtime and during breaks ~ for a start your body needs the vitamin D you get from sunshine.
- Walk, don’t drive. Walking is one of the best exercises you can get, walking meditation is good, and driving is stressful. For Gods’ sakes, don’t take up power walking, it will make you look stupid.
- Move around whenever you can, and however you find it possible. Exercise at your desk. Stretch at your desk. Stand up at your desk and stretch. Go outside and stretch
- Practice breathing exercises and brief meditation.
- Don’t go to the pub / bar with colleagues after work. Drinking after work is dangerous and it marks you out as a drunkard / wastrel / slut / player.
- Go home and eat a healthy dinner. Your evening meal is very important for a healthy life.
- Don’t sit in front of the television in the evenings. Watching television is very bad for your mental and physical health, it also turns you into a boring vegetable. Under no circumstances sit in front of the television eating, drinking, and smoking ~ that will kill you.
- Ditch social media, (or most of it anyway). Facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc are all very bad for your health. They also turn your brain into mouldy old dough. Only narcissists use twitter, and only egotists use Facebook anyway.
- Get plenty of quality sleep. You may need between 7 to 9 hours good quality sleep a night. You can make up for sleep afterwards, but you cannot store sleep in advance. Get a routine, go to bed at the same time every night and get up and moving at the same time every morning.
- Have an outdoors active hobby / recreation at the weekends. Go for long walks, play golf, enjoy gardening, the list of outdoors things you can do at weekends is long, varied, and interesting.
Seems like a lot of fuss and effort, doesn’t it? OK, don’t bother to do any of this. Don’t make any changes to your sedentary life. Be a boring person, get sick, feel terrible, die before you should. With one exception I don’t give a damn if you follow any of this advice or not. It’s your life, such as it is, you are free to be a desk potato, if that’s what you really want.
But remember, if you just sit at your desk for eight hours a day, then you have to do a solid hour’s exercise in the evenings just to undo all the harm you’ve done to your body, mind, and spirit during the working day.
Get more exercise and have a nice life.
Easy Lifestyle Changes Could Save You A Small Fortune.
There some very basic things you can do which, added together, will save you a great deal of money. These changes to the way you live your life are not difficult, they’re not complicated, and they will not take up a lot of your time. In fact, all of these things are what my granny used to call; ‘basic common sense’. Get on with it, smell the roses, save yourself some money, and live a better life.
- Pay off all your credit and store card bills. The average interest rate on credit card debt is around 16%, with some banks charging as much as 79.9% per annum, this is just extortion and usury. Far better to borrow elsewhere, at a cheaper rate, and pay off your plastic.
- Use the internet and find cheaper providers for your gas, electricity, water, mobile phone, (cell phone), land line telephone, internet, cable television, and car insurance. Switch to the cheapest provider because customer service will always suck, no matter who you are with. And, by the way, do you really need all those rubbish TV channels?
- Lower the temperature of your heating, and raise the temperature of your air conditioning by a couple of degrees. We all pay far too much for heating and cooling our homes.
- Lower the temperature at which you wash your clothes. There is a 30C setting on my washing machine, (about 90F), and most of the time that’s what I use. This gets rid of most dirt and stains, but it does not get rid of germs, and it’s not hot enough to get whites clean. So, I still always wash my bed linen and whites at 90C, (about 200F). Mind you, I always use biological washing powder which works well at lower temperatures.
- Always make a shopping list. Far too many people go into a store and come out with a whole bunch of stuff they don’t really want or need, while forgetting the important thing they went in for. Make a shopping list and never, ever make impulse purchases.
- Try own-brand goods. Very often the own-brand products are just as good as the more expensive named-brands. Quite often own-brand products are made in the same factories and on the same production lines as named brands. Stores always try to make you buy the most expensive, premium goods.
- Never buy ‘designer labels’ ~ don’t be a logo whore, and who wants some other guy’s name on their clothes and shoes anyway? It’s pathetic.
- Learn to do DIY. I hate contractors, repair men, decorators, gardeners, with a passion. If it needs doing then 90% of the time I do it myself. Learn to decorate, put up a shelf, fix a leaky tap, (faucet), and save yourself an absolute fortune.
- Make your travel arrangements early and do it on the internet. Always shop around for the cheapest deal. Always pay by credit card. Get a brochure from the travel agent for information and to give you a comparison.
- Learn to drive properly. Almost everyone I know is a crap driver, especially women. Almost everyone I know drives too fast, races between the lights, uses the accelerator hard and the brakes hard, and sits in the wrong gear. Drive a little slower and learn what anticipation means and you will not only use less petrol, (gas), there will be much less wear and tear on your car.
- Don’t always buy the newest, top-of-the-range car. A low mileage used car, or the basic model in the new car range can save you thousands. Remember, the biggest cost of owning a car is depreciation. Most cars will lose between 50% – 60% of their value in the first 3 years. (Just don’t buy an Edsel ~ people will laugh.)
- Walk, don’t drive. If you don’t have far to go and don’t have much to carry, don’t drive, walk instead. That won’t only save you money, walking will do wonders for your health and fitness.
- Give up smoking / vaping. Both will seriously damage your health, both can kill you, and both will cost you a fortune. A pack of 20 cigarettes will cost you about £7 in the UK and about $7 in California, (USA prices vary by state). So, a 10 a day habit will cost you about £1,300 per annum in the UK and $1,300 a year in California ~ a lot of money for a disgusting habit that’s killing you.
- Cut down on your drinking. Too much booze will make you fat, ill, and temporarily or permanently stupid ~ it will eventually kill you. How much booze is too much? If you drink a bottle of wine a night, or 4 bottles of beer, or a quarter of a bottle of spirits, then you are drinking far too much. Decent booze is hellishly expensive.
- STOP GAMBLING. Gambling is exactly the same as throwing your hard-earned money in the trash. Gambling is an addiction, and all gamblers lose heavily over time, always, with no exceptions, (not even the Cincinnati Kid).
- Never, ever, join a gym, and if you have gym membership, then cancel it. Most people with gym memberships don’t go often enough to get their money’s worth. Gyms are poor value for money and bad places for most people to exercise ~ you’re breathing stale air, being made to listen to loud music, and you’re indoors under artificial lights. Nasty. Exercise for free instead.
- Plan ahead and buy stuff in the sales, at discount stores, and in thrift stores.
- Claim all your tax and other benefits. Use the internet at learn what you can really claim.
- Never use pay per view TV or TV services such as Netflix ~ this is just stupid. Do you really need to dumb down so much as to sit in front of the TV, and pay extra for the privilege, over and above whatever stupid cable subscription you are already paying for this crap?
- Never, ever buy extended warranties on things like a car, new washing machine, or television. These warranties are scams, not worth the paper they’re printed on, and cost a fortune.
- Stop buying expensive pre-prepared, ready meals. Learn to cook instead. ‘Ready meals’ are full of unmentionable crap, and are terrible value for money.
Remember, when you want to save money, when you want to stop wasting money, the internet is your friend. You may think you don’t have the time to spend on internet research, trust me, you do have loads of spare time, it’s just that you waste that too. Stop ruining your mind by watching hours of drivel on the TV, stop ruining your health by spending time in your usual sleazy pub / bar, and stop making excuses.
Never, ever, sign anything you don’t understand. Never, ever, trust a salesperson.
I wanted to be healthier, fitter, and look better, (or at least look as well as I could). Turns out I developed a sustainable plan for eating, exercise, and good health.
It all started on June 9th, when I came to the conclusion that I really, really, needed to give up coffee for a month Too much coffee was turning me into a mad dog. I’ve only had coffee on 2 days since then, and for me, coffee is now a drink only for after a special meal, with a special friend.
As I felt much better not drinking coffee I also resolved to cut all the junk out of my diet. This is easier said than done ~ most of the stuff we eat is full of salt, sugar, additives, colourings, and sundry crap. After a while I decided that I just had to stop eating a lot of processed, packaged, pre-prepared food. For me, there is also the big issue of Abstinence versus Control.
Then I wanted a couple of other things; to get a decent sun tan, and get some exercise. Ha! I could do both by going for long walks on the beach, in the sunshine.
So, 6 weeks ago I came up with this plan.
- Take a long walk every day it wasn’t raining. Walking is good for you. I bought a pedometer, and my long walk turned into 10 miles every day, which takes me about three-and-a-half hours. I also found I could do some upper-body isometric exercise while I was walking in the sunshine. Sun tan and exercise!
- No alcohol whatsoever. I am not supposed to drink anyway, and if you want to look as good as you can, then you need to give up booze, (and I mean completely), for 6 weeks. In fact you should stop drinking beer for the rest of your life.
- No wheat whatsoever. This includes wheat products like bread, cakes, noodles, pasta, and beer… Modern wheat is full of nasty stuff, piles on fat around your stomach, and will eventually harm your insides. Everybody should probably stop eating wheat.
- Take as little sugar as possible. This means cutting out all those canned, packaged, processed foods. Stop drinking soda completely. Quitting coffee and switching to green tea helps too. Not eating wheat products also cuts out a lot of sugar. Too much refined sugar will kill you anyway.
- Eat only healthy meals prepared at home. Unless you’ve bought the produce and cooked / prepared the meal yourself, you have no idea what you are eating. In any event, eating out is too likely to lead one down the road of overeating and booze. There are hundreds of quick and easy menus ~ hell just read my Food on Friday blog if you run out of ideas.
- No snacks, no grazing, no eating between meals, over large meals, cookies with coffee… And, do not have more than 3 meals in a day. In fact, do no have more than a light breakfast, light lunch, and reasonable evening meal in each day.
This eating plan is going to be a big problem for some people, it certainly was for me. I am one of those people who can give up stuff easily, but I can’t control how much stuff I want once I’ve started. Like most of us, once I start eating I want to eat more.
My solution was daily intermittent fasting, eating only 1 meal a day, my evening meal.
You will be surprised to know that I found this programme very easy to follow.
And when I checked my wight yesterday I found I had hit my target of 150 pounds, which means I have shed 3 pounds of flab, every week for 6 weeks. Add it up.
THE HUMAN TONGUE IS TUNED TO TASTE CARBOHYDRATES
If you have ever wondered why ‘diet foods’ taste bland and unsatisfying, it’s because your tongue isn’t picking up the taste of carbohydrates as there aren’t many carbs in diet food. Worse than that, when your tongue recognises carbs in your food, it sends pleasure signals to your brain. No carbohydrates on your fork, no fun for your pleasure centres. The people in white coats report that as well as the basic five ‘tastes’ of; sweet, sour, salty, savory, and bitter, the human tongue has a ‘sixth sense’ and can identify carbohydrates. Given that carbohydrates rapidly break down in the body, turning to sugar in the blood, the ‘taste’ of starches tells the brain to expect an instant hit of energy in the form of sugar.
Carbohydrates hit areas of the sensory system and brain that remain totally unaffected by artificial sweeteners. Crucially, this happens if you merely taste the carbs and don’t even swallow them. Dr Nicholas Grant from the University of Auckland’s Sport and Exercise Department says; ‘Carbohydrates are extremely powerful stimuli that have profound and immediate effects on the brain and the systems it controls.’ This sixth sense on the tongue for carbs might explain why sportsmen respond immediately to carbohydrate-rich food. It might also explain a lot about eating disorders.
The good news is that because this happens direct from the mouth to the brain, you don’t even have to swallow the bread / potatoes / rice / beans to get this particular jolt. Studies have shown that having a carbohydrate-rich drink and using it as a mouthwash, (spit the stuff out), improves performance during strenuous exercise without giving your body all those calories. This does not work with sugar-based solutions, just carbohydrates. Sugar and carbohydrates together works even better as an energy mouthwash, allegedly. MRI studies show that sweet carbohydrate solution swished around the mouth activates the areas of the human brain linked to ‘sight’ and ‘reward.’ The carbohydrate taste is completely different to the sweet taste, so the brain receives two separate signals. Motor output and therefore physical performance are improved, just by the brain telling the body that there’s energy on the way.
The bad news is that, if a sportsman doesn’t ingest the carbohydrates the brain will tell the body that it has more reserves of energy than actually exist. Great for weight-loss, bad if you’re running a marathon. The other bad news is that carb-rich foods stimulate the areas in the brain involved with cravings. I know people who have a craving for carbohydrates such as; bread, chocolate, cakes…. It isn’t pretty.
Because just tasting carbohydrates on your tongue sends signals to the pleasure centres in the brain, people can become addicted to carbohydrate-rich foods. These include, (but are not limited to): bread, bagels, biscuits, cakes, cereal, chocolate, cookies, crackers, danish, french fries, fruits and fruit juices, ice cream, potato chips, (crisps), pasta, potatoes, pretzels, rice, pies, popcorn, sugary drinks, and sweetcorn. Carbohydrate addiction is a recognised medical condition.
Some respected psychologists, doctors, dieticians, and food scientists, claim the carbohydrates, sweets, (candy), and chocolate are as addictive as cigarettes. Eating too many hot dogs is just another form of substance addiction. The sugar rush created when we eat these foods stimulates the same areas of the brain that respond to nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs. The problem is that carbohydrates and sugars are like other addictive drugs in that the ‘addict’ has to consume ever larger amounts of the chemical of their choice to get a satisfactory hit. Consuming ever larger amounts of carbs and sugars makes people fat, obese, morbidly obese and dead.
So, the parts of the brain that respond to carbohydrates are the same areas that are linked to alcoholism, smoking, substance abuse and dependence. That does not sound good.
It just gets worse. The brain is run on things called neurotransmitters, which allow signals to pass between nerve cells. When you take cocaine, smoke, drink booze, eat carbohydrates, a neurotransmitter called dopamine is created. Dopamine goes right to the pleasure centres of the brain. The reason dopamine is created from carbs is because the release of insulin into the blood causes a huge blood sugar spike. This is particularly bad when we eat wheat products, potatoes, and corn starch. It’s even worse than that for diabetics because they can go into shock and die from eating too many high-glycemic carbohydrates. Too many carbohydrates, alcohol and too much tobacco are leading you on the path to type 2 diabetes anyway.
The question is, is a low carbohydrate diet the answer? Perhaps that depends on how bad your addictions are. However, too many carbohydrates are really bad for the human body, whatever way you look at it. Refined carbohydrates, principally from wheat flour, corn flour and corn starch are toxic. The blood sugar produced is responsible for visceral fat. The infamous ‘beer belly.’ If you have a beer belly, not only do you look disgusting, you are also unhealthy. Visceral fat, (omentum fat), affects your body’s ability to produce insulin, which is essential for the proper digestion of sugar in the blood, and you’re back on your way to type 2 diabetes again.
Depending on who and what you read, it takes from 3 to 28 days to detoxify your body and kick an addiction to carbohydrates. Personally, being very familiar with 12-step self-help programmes, I am more inclined to think that it takes 28 days to kick your carb addiction. That will mean giving up on wheat products, potatoes, corn sugars, refined table sugar, fizzy drinks, and, (because of cross addiction), probably booze and cigarettes for 28 days. Allegedly, the half-dozen foods you should almost never eat if you have a weight booze, tobacco, carbohydrate problem and would like to lose your belly fat are;
- Concentrated fruit juice drinks. These are nothing but sugar-water.
- Highly processed foods like TV dinners, candy, and chocolate ice creams. Often full of corn syrup and / or dextrose which are very bad for you.
- Margarine. This stuff is full of trans-fats, which can give you heart disease, increase bad cholesterol, and kill you. Butter is better.
- Wheat and wheat products, including whole wheat. Bread, pasta, pizza, cake, cookies and other comfort foods.
- Processed soy. Soy milk, tofu, vegetarian ‘meats’ etc… 95% of soya grown in the USA is genetically modified. This stuff is unhealthy.
- Corn and corn products. Especially GM corn. Genetically modified corn is just as bad as ‘modern’ wheat when it comes to toxins your body does not like.
The bottom line is, Highly refined foods are full of bad stuff. Too much carbohydrate is going to kill your chances of being a manly man,