Month: February 2016

The Grind

A contemporary sports figure remarked that there are no talented individuals, only people that are obsessed about attaining something. Of course, I disagree because I’ve seen a few people that were good in doing something on the first few tries. But then it got me thinking: What if a very talented person does not practice at all? Will he or she continue to excel?

Our daily lives are mostly routine – at least for most of us. Did it ever strike you that things became “routine”  because we already did them hundreds of times before? Let’s say we wake up, eat breakfast, and drive to work. It’s kinda boring to drive, right?  Wrong! I love to drive! But imagine your excitement if today is your first day of driving after passing the driver’s exam – wouldn’t it be a very exciting day?

Most of us can be good at something – almost anything – if our heart and mind is totally committed to it. I’m not good at math – but if I wanted to solve something mathematically – I use logical thinking and simple arithmetic to figure out the answer. My wife uses formulas which I don’t have the patience to deal with.

How do we save money? By starting today, and continuing to do it regularly for the next few days, months and years. Saving a little bit of money before spending it on routine expenses and things we want will increase our savings. It takes discipline and making saving money a routine part of our daily lives.

Want to excel in something? Spend at least one half hour to three hours a day, six days a week for at least a year. At the end of the year, you can be a consultant on the subject. Three more years and you’ll be an expert. What’s needed? Only the effort and time to learn and practice something. Of course, I assumed that you want to excel because you love the activity.

I admire some people who really excel in sport – some of them really head and shoulders above their contemporaries. I think sometimes about emulating their example. But then I have other priorities in life – so I move on to those things which i consider important. For example, i gave up golf because it takes at least four hours to play. My bicycle riding takes priority over chasing a little ball around a nice grassy course.

Everyday, we see a sampling of people who put in their time to be very good at something they want to do. Sometimes we need more than talent, wealth, (good looks?), muscles, brain, speed agility or flexibility. We need perseverance. We need to grind away at things to produce the gem of our lives.

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Moderation

Much has been said about moderation. One of my favorite diet tips is moderation in all things. You can eat anything you want as long as  you eat it in moderation. Have you heard that said before?

To a point, I agree – but there are things that we could not be moderate. For example – if we are diabetic it is best to avoid 80% or more of sugar and starches. That’s no longer moderation. For those with liver diseases – alcohol should be zero part of their diet. To a vegan, dairy and meat should be totally out or we would have to coin a new phrase, like “meat-loving vegan?” 

Water is something we should not be moderate about. We should drink a pint or two more over the recommended daily intake. Why should we? Because water washes away toxins, keeps us hydrated and ensure all our bodily systems work properly. Drinking water also helps us avoid drinking sugary and flavored drinks. We lose water also steadily every hour but we hardly notice it.

My recommendation (although I’m not a nutritionist nor a licensed health care practitioner – please consult with one if you want to improve your diet) is to eat less (as in – less than moderate portions) of starchy and sugary foods. Any excess starch in our bodies not used by the muscles or organs for energy turns into fat. We are told to avoid fat – but the real culprit is starch and sugar.

Some fruits are loaded with sugar. It is best to avoid eating them often. Bananas, oranges and grapes qualify for these sugary fruits. In this case, moderation may be defined as “half a banana or orange” per day.  Cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers are fruits too. Those may be eaten in moderation.

Sleep is another thing that is unique to each individual. Should we go moderate on sleep? I say we sleep a little longer than usual most days of the week. This could mean 7 hours of sleep at night with a half hour nap or 8 hours every night. Some people brag that all they need is five hours of sleep. Really? How’s their overall health? If they have some kind of illness, it’s probably from lack of rest or sleep.

Did you notice that most TV or magazine advertisement are usually of food that’s not exactly good for our overall health? Those can’t be eaten in moderation either. Maybe half a portion is fine. I love desserts but these days I learned to really stop myself from eating much because that would mean a pound gain in weight the following day.

I guess the bottom line is to avoid totally the food that are not appropriate to our current health. Eat plenty of the good choices – vegetables and fruits (the non-sugary types). Eat much less than the normal servings of carbohydrates, dairy and meat products. Finally, avoid processed foods as much as possible. Sleep in every now and then.

Buon appetito!

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