In A Rush?
It’s 2015! Similar to many folks, I get pretty reflective on this hallmark day. 2014 was an incredible for me, in every respect. Professionally, socially, physically, romantically – all in all, I feel blessed and very amped for the upcoming year. Nonetheless, I look back to the airline disasters, the ebola crisis, rehashed racial tensions, the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, and all the continued reminders of global terrorism and can’t help but feel defenseless against the chaos of life. Truth be told, we’re only in charge of a few variables in life. One of which is our lifestyle choices.
2015 should be a year in which we analyze small decisions we make related to our health and challenge ourselves to be just a tad better. In my own radical way, I jotted down 7 ideas for simple New Year resolutions. Disclaimer…In my own radical way…
1. Quit texting and driving – Prevent killing a pedestrian (or yourself)
Just don’t do it -> #YoureNOTthatIMPORTANT
I can’t wait for a day when texting while driving is as taboo as drinking and driving.
Unless you’re Vin Diesel, planning a strategic heist in Fast and Furious 13, or whatever they’re on now, there is almost nothing you direly need to be texting while driving.
You’re 23 X more likely to get in accident while texting and although real-time comparisons are all over the place, the general consensus states that texting/web surfing while driving is just as dangerous, if not more, than drinking while driving. Even those fellas from Mythbusters got down with it. Actually check this out -> hilarious yet horrifying experiment on young drivers in Belgium:
Current PSA’s about teen deaths related to texting while driving are pretty compelling but I’d like to introduce another component to it as well -> #YoureNOTthatIMPORTANT
Your girlfriend isn’t actually wondering where you are, nor does the 5 minute delay really matter.
Your friends will be fine, it’s normal to be stuck in traffic
Your boss isn’t going to fire you because you waited 5 minutes to text him
The party is actually already fun and you aren’t going to add that much to it
Just remember -> When you think “Shoot, I need to respond to this text asap!”, instead think “wait, I’m not important enough to risk the lives of other motorists!”
Because #youreNOTthatIMPORTANT unless, of course, you’re Vin Diesel in Fast and the Furious 13.
2. Practice Mindfulness – Prevent stress
Mindfulness meditation is literally the easiest way to enhance the 2015 version of you
If you google “Mindfulness” right now, you’ll be hit harder than googling the Kardashians. It’s no surprise either.
A once esoteric practice, Vipassana Meditation, literally means and is, the practice of ‘seeing things the way they really are’, is now a widespread, well-deserving, phenomena. A simple 5-10 minute/day ritual can lower your stress, protect against mental illness, improve your sleep, support weight loss, and much more.
I don’t claim to be an expert, but even a simple exercise in which you take a comfortable seat, sit up, take a deep breath, focus on your breaths, and practice controlling your attention can serve a solid starting point.
You’re likely not jazzed so check out this TED talk about the power of doing nothing.
Glasses up to my dear friend and meditation guru, Dr. Jamie Zimmerman. I love this article she wrote about getting meditation into schools – why not give our kids a valuable life tool instead of just more craft projects for grandparents?
3. Let yourself have Gluten – Prevent Self-diagnosed Celiac Disease
Consider just reducing your processed carbs – it’s cheaper and easier
Trends and counter culture know no limitation and I do think 2015 should be a year in which people actually take a step and ask if the gluten-free fad actually makes sense…
Rough estimates state that about 1 to 5 percent of Americans actually have Celiac disease. That’s not trivial, that’s well over 2 million Americans. Nonetheless, about 30% of American adults seek to decrease the amount of gluten in their diets and in these bizarre times, 1 in 4 American households contains a gluten-free individual…do the math.
Let’s be real, when we were kids, I don’t recall widespread hysteria from the gluten found in gushers or dunkaroos. Modern times just found a way to vilify gluten as a label for all things wrong with the American diet.
Seriously who thought of Dunkaroos? Just so legit.
Yet, I seem to run into more and more parents that claim they feel GREAT and have lost a ton of weight by going gluten free. Well sure, if you quit eating all foods with gluten, you’ll axe-out pastas, cookies, and other fun delights which aren’t friendly to your belly. But in 2015, when you’re hopping on a fad diet, take a second and consider the cost/benefits of what you’re up to.
For people with true gluten-intolerance, I love that there are more grocery store options. But for the rest of us, looking to feel great, maybe you just need to limit your refined carb intake! Or maybe you just need a labeled diet to stay disciplined…Go team South Beach-Paleo-Atkins-RawFood-Zone!
4. Don’t take your smartphone to the toilet – Prevent getting hemorrhoids
Instagram can wait. Or a picture of you scratching your bum may surface.
I get a shocked look EVERYTIME I find a small hemorrhoid on a teenager during a sports physical. Because hemorrhoids only happen to the elderly right? Well not in today’s times of excessive sitting, straining, poor bowel habits, and decreased fiber intake. Yet another side effect from fad diets -> cough, gluten-free.
Anyway -> here’s your simple, small intervention: Quit bringing your smartphone into the bathroom. What a guilty, 1st world pleasure.
It actually isn’t rocket science, increased toilet time can lead to longer durations of straining and increased venous pressure down south. Before you know it, you’ll be secretly buying preparation H. Whoops.
Toggling Instagram filters can easily be done outside of the potty.
5. Wear a helmet when you snowboard – Prevent looking too cool…and dying
Just refuse to let your kids hit the slopes without one. You’re the parent = boss.
I fondly recall how lame bicycle helmets were when I was a kid. Only chumps sported a helmet while rocking their Schwinn back in ’94. I’m so glad times have changed and more people are aware of the clear life or death difference in protecting your skull – nowadays, I’d argue the average young lad, proudly protects his future 401-k-maker while cycling.
This trend needs to spread to winter sports and I think we’re nearly there. Over 600,000 ski/snowboarding related injuries occur each year, with about 20% being head injuries and helmets literally save lives.
Granted, some people argue that mandating helmets encroaches on individual rights and you can’t force anyone to wear a helmet.
Alright – then don’t ask for tax dollars if you need neuro-rehab from your brain injury Mr. Individual. We’re all responsible members of society right?
Parents just let your little snowboarders know they don’t look cool without a helmet. And the REALLY won’t look cool with a fracture skull or worse.
Give them an example like Halldor Helgason, the Icelandic snowboarder that smacked his head and lost consciousness after attempting a triple backflip in the Winter X-games -> He lived to ride another day thanks to his trusty helmet.
You could be the best rider, never thinking you’re going to fall, but you can’t control the punk kid that’s sliding out of control, straight into your head. That Hurley Nordic beanie won’t save you.
Btw – I stumbled across this nice graphic of proper helmet use. Is there anyone out there that actually needs a reminder that a few of these are improperly placed?
6. Stop drinking fruit juice – Prevent 2015 weight gain
It’s fine as a treat and in moderation, but really, dial it back America.
Think of it as soda and banish it from your grocery list. The beautifully marketed bottles, with pretty colors and price mark-ups, that obviously mean quality, present NO greater health benefit than simply eating the advertised fruit.
“Oh but bro – this can of Hipsterville Juice has magical berry blend in it! No added sugar bro, no added sugar bro!”
You don’t need to add any sugar when your Naked Juice Berry blast has 58 grams of sugar in it…P.S. an 8oz can of coke has about 39 grams. (Granted Naked Juice serving is 16oz but no one drinks half and no one drinks 2 cans of coke)
Most fruit juice is stripped of fiber and while many nutrients and vitamins are retained, the byproduct is a highly concentrated source of sugar and carbohydrates.
“Oh but my Chuck Norris Vitamix 3000 keeps all the fiber in place!”
Well, the average American doesn’t have a $500 juicer, so congrats on your PSA.
All in all, keep in mind that drinking juice that contains “7 apples” = 7 apples worth of sugar without all the fiber. Try eating 7 apples instead and tell me how far you get.
7. Hey ladies, lift weights – Prevent Osteoporosis
Aerobics are solid for your heart but your bone density is sitting out in the cold, lonely and crying.
This one has a special shout out to all those fitness savvy gals -> when you hit the gym, are you one of those lulu lemon-laden trendsetters in the aerobics-only section? Hey it’s commendable and everyone looks great in a little lulu.
Try this one for size and your grandma-future self will thank you – LIFT WEIGHTS.
It’s well documented that resistance training, providing the right mechanical stimulation for your muscles, can improve your bone health over time, more-so than aerobics.
Translation? Lifting weights improves your bone density. Osteoporosis is a bone disease defined by a decrease in bone mass/density giving you an increased risk of fractures. In the states, 4.5 million women over the age of 50 actually have osteoporosis of the hip. Grab your hips and tell them you’re going to defend their honor.
You don’t need to be She-Ra, but follow some simple tips and build yourself a skeletal defense against your one-day grandma bones.
All in all, small lifestyle changes don’t have to be difficult, expensive, or stressful. It’s all about asking questions, reading, and taking a moment to ask that voice in your head -> “Does this make sense?” Because often times, it totally doesn’t. HAPPY 2015 EVERYONE!