More on Personal Growth
6 months ago
How I Stay Fit Despite Eating Fast Food and Drinking Alcohol
Here's me. Perfectionism is unnecessary.
This post isn't for people who gag at the prospect of eating french fries. I've been ridiculed for stating you can lose weight eating carbs and six-pack abs aren't good.
My family eats frozen processed meals and quick food most weeks (sometimes more). Clean eaters may think I'm unqualified to give fitness advice. I get it.
Hear me out, though. I’m a 44-year-old raising two busy kids with a weekly-traveling husband. Tutoring, dance, and guitar classes fill weeknights. I'm also juggling my job and freelancing.
I'm as worried and tired as my clients. I wish I ate only kale smoothies and salads. I can’t. Despite my mistakes, I'm fit. I won't promise you something just because it worked for me. But here’s a look at how I manage.
What I largely get right about eating
I have a flexible diet and track my daily intake. I count protein, fat, and carbs. Only on vacation or exceptional occasions do I not track.
My protein goal is 1 g per lb. I consume a lot of chicken breasts, eggs, turkey, and lean ground beef. I also occasionally drink protein shakes.
I eat 220–240 grams of carbs daily. My carb count depends on training volume and goals. I'm trying to lose weight slowly. If I want to lose weight faster, I cut carbs to 150-180.
My carbs include white rice, Daves Killer Bread, fruit, pasta, and veggies. I don't eat enough vegetables, so I take Athletic Greens. Also, V8.
Fat grams over 50 help me control my hormones. Recently, I've reached 70-80 grams. Cooking with olive oil. I eat daily dark chocolate. Eggs, butter, milk, and cheese contribute to the rest.
Those frozen meals? What can I say? Stouffer’s lasagna is sometimes needed. I order the healthiest fast food I can find (although I can never bring myself to order the salad). That's a chicken sandwich or a kid's hamburger. I rarely order fries. I eat slowly and savor each bite to feel full.
Potato chips and sugary cereals are in the pantry, but I'm not tempted. My kids eat them because I'd rather teach them moderation than total avoidance. If I eat them, I only eat one portion.
If you're not hungry and eating enough protein and fat, you won't want to eat everything in sight.
I drink once or twice a week. As a result, I rarely overdo it.
Food tracking is tedious and frustrating for many. Taking breaks and using estimates when eating out help. Not perfect, but realistic.
I practice a prolonged fast to enhance metabolic adaptability
Metabolic flexibility is the ability to switch between fuel sources (fat and carbs) based on activity intensity and time since eating. At rest or during low to moderate exertion, your body burns fat. Your body burns carbs after eating and during intense exercise.
Our metabolic flexibility can be hampered by lack of exercise, overeating, and stress. Our bodies become lousy fat burners, making weight loss difficult.
Once a week, I skip dinner (usually around 24 hours). Long-term fasting teaches my body to burn fat. It provides me one low-calorie day a week (I break the fast with a normal-sized dinner).
Fasting day helps me maintain my weight on weekends, when I typically overeat and drink.
Try an extended fast slowly. Delay breakfast by two hours. Next week, add two hours, etc. It takes practice to go that long without biting off your arm. I also suggest consulting your doctor.
I stay active.
I've always been active. As a child, I danced many nights a week, was on the high school dance team, and ran marathons in my 20s.
Often, I feel driven by an internal engine. Working from home makes it easy to exercise. If that’s not you, I get it. Everyone can benefit from raising their baseline.
After taking the kids to school, I walk two miles around the neighborhood. When I need to think, I switch off podcasts. First thing in the morning, I go for a walk.
I lift weights Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. 45 minutes is typical. I run 45-90 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday. I'm slow but reliable. On Saturdays and Sundays, I walk and add a short spin class if I'm not too tired.
I almost never forgo sleep.
I rarely stay up past 10 p.m., much to my night-owl husband's dismay. My 7-8-hour nights help me recover from workouts and handle stress. Without it, I'm grumpy.
I suppose sleep duration matters more than bedtime. Some people just can't fall asleep early. Internal clock and genetics determine sleep and wake hours.
Fitness and diet advice is often useless. Some of the advice is inaccurate, dangerous, or difficult to follow if you have a life. I want to throw a shoe at my screen when I see headlines promising to speed up my metabolism or help me lose fat.
I studied exercise physiology for years. No shortcuts exist. No medications or cleanses reset metabolism. I play the hand I'm dealt. I realize that just because something works for me, it won't for you.
If I wanted 15% body fat and ripped abs, I'd have to be stricter. I occasionally think I’d like to get there. But then I remember I’m happy with my life. I like fast food and beer. Pizza and margaritas are favorites (not every day).
You can get it mostly right and live a healthy life.
6 months ago
The Burnout Recovery Secrets Nobody Is Talking About
What works and what’s just more toxic positivity
Just keep at it; you’ll get it.
I closed the Zoom call and immediately dropped my head. Open tabs included material on inspiration, burnout, and recovery.
I searched everywhere for ways to avoid burnout.
It wasn't that I needed to keep going, change my routine, employ 8D audio playlists, or come up with fresh ideas. I had several ideas and a schedule. I knew what to do.
I wasn't interested. I kept reading, changing my self-care and mental health routines, and writing even though it was tiring.
Since burnout became a psychiatric illness in 2019, thousands have shared their experiences. It's spreading rapidly among writers.
What is the actual key to recovering from burnout?
Every A-list burnout story emphasizes prevention. Other lists provide repackaged self-care tips. More discuss mental health.
It's like the mid-2000s, when pink quotes about bubble baths saturated social media.
The self-care mania cost us all. Self-care is crucial, but utilizing it to address everything didn't work then or now.
How can you recover from burnout?
Are extended breaks actually good for you? Most people need a break every 62 days or so to avoid burnout.
Real-life burnout victims all took breaks. Perhaps not a long hiatus, but breaks nonetheless.
Burnout is slow and gradual. It takes little bits of your motivation and passion at a time. Sometimes it’s so slow that you barely notice or blame it on other things like stress and poor sleep.
Burnout doesn't come overnight; neither will recovery.
I don’t care what anyone else says the cure for burnout is. It has to be time because time is what gave us all burnout in the first place.
8 months ago
10 Alternatives to Smartphone Scrolling
"Don't let technology control you; manage your phone."
"Don't become a slave to technology," said Richard Branson. "Manage your phone, don't let it manage you."
Unfortunately, most people are addicted to smartphones.
Worrying smartphone statistics:
46% of smartphone users spend 5–6 hours daily on their device.
The average adult spends 3 hours 54 minutes per day on mobile devices.
We check our phones 150–344 times per day (every 4 minutes).
During the pandemic, children's daily smartphone use doubled.
Having a list of productive, healthy, and fulfilling replacement activities is an effective way to reduce smartphone use.
The more you practice these smartphone replacements, the less time you'll waste.
Most people say they 'don't have time' to learn new skills or read more. Lazy justification. The issue isn't time, but time management. Distractions and low-quality entertainment waste hours every day.
The majority of time is spent in low-quality ways, according to Richard Koch, author of The 80/20 Principle.
What if you swapped daily phone scrolling for skill-building?
There are dozens of skills to learn, from high-value skills to make more money to new languages and party tricks.
Learning a new skill will last for years, if not a lifetime, compared to scrolling through your phone.
Love documentaries. It's educational and relaxing. A good documentary helps you understand the world, broadens your mind, and inspires you to change.
Recent documentaries I liked include:
14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible
The Social Dilemma
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
Make money online
If you've ever complained about not earning enough money, put away your phone and get to work.
Instead of passively consuming mobile content, start creating it. Create something worthwhile. Freelance.
Internet makes starting a business or earning extra money easier than ever.
(Grand)parents didn't have this. Someone made them work 40+ hours. Few alternatives existed.
Today, all you need is internet and a monetizable skill. Use the internet instead of letting it distract you. Profit from it.
Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup For The Soul, said, "Everyone spends 2–3 hours a day watching TV." If you read that much, you'll be in the top 1% of your field."
Few people have more than two hours per day to read.
If you read 15 pages daily, you'd finish 27 books a year (as the average non-fiction book is about 200 pages).
Jack Canfield's quote remains relevant even though 15 pages can be read in 20–30 minutes per day. Most spend this time watching TV or on their phones.
What if you swapped 20 minutes of mindless scrolling for reading? You'd gain knowledge and skills.
Favorite books include:
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Stephen R. Covey
The War of Art — Steven Pressfield
The Psychology of Money — Morgan Housel
A New Earth — Eckart Tolle
All that screen time could've been spent organizing. It could have been used to clean, cook, or plan your week.
If you're always 'behind,' spend 15 minutes less on your phone to get organized.
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I'll spend the first four sharpening the ax," said Abraham Lincoln. Getting organized is like sharpening an ax, making each day more efficient.
Why not be creative instead of consuming others'? Do something creative, like:
Creative projects boost happiness, cognitive functioning, and reduce stress and anxiety. Creative pursuits induce a flow state, a powerful mental state.
This contrasts with smartphones' effects. Heavy smartphone use correlates with stress, depression, and anxiety.
People spend 90% of their time indoors, according to research. This generation is the 'Indoor Generation'
We lack an active lifestyle, fresh air, and vitamin D3 due to our indoor lifestyle (generated through direct sunlight exposure). Mental and physical health issues result.
Put away your phone and get outside. Go on nature walks. Explore your city on foot (or by bike, as we do in Amsterdam) if you live in a city. Move around! Outdoors!
You can't spend your whole life staring at screens.
Okay, a smartphone is needed to listen to podcasts. When you use your phone to get smarter, you're more productive than 95% of people.
The Pomp Podcast (about cryptocurrencies)
The Joe Rogan Experience
Kwik Brain (by Jim Kwik)
Podcasts can be enjoyed while walking, cleaning, or doing laundry. Win-win.
I find journaling helpful for mental clarity. Writing helps organize thoughts.
Instead of reading internet opinions, comments, and discussions, look inward. Instead of Twitter or TikTok, look inward.
“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.” — Marcus Aurelius
Give your mind free reign with pen and paper. It will highlight important thoughts, emotions, or ideas.
Never write for another person. You want unfiltered writing. So you get the best ideas.
Find your best hobbies
List your best hobbies. I guarantee 95% of people won't list smartphone scrolling.
It's often low-quality entertainment. The dopamine spike is short-lived, and it leaves us feeling emotionally 'empty'
High-quality leisure sparks happiness. They make us happy and alive. Everyone has different interests, so these activities vary.
My favorite quality hobbies are:
Nature walks (especially the mountains)
Video game party
Watching a film with my girlfriend
Complexity learning (such as the blockchain and the universe)
This brings me joy. They make me feel more fulfilled and 'rich' than social media scrolling.
Make a list of your best hobbies to refer to when you're spending too much time on your phone.
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9 months ago
Take a look at The One, a Los Angeles estate with a whopping 105,000 square feet of living area.
The interiors of the 105,000-square-foot property, which sits on a five-acre parcel in the wealthy Los Angeles suburb of Bel Air and is suitably titled The One, have been a well guarded secret. We got an intimate look inside this world-record-breaking property, as well as the creative and aesthetic geniuses behind it.
The estate appears to float above the city, surrounded on three sides by a moat and a 400-foot-long running track. Completed over eight years—and requiring 600 workers to build—the home was designed by architect Paul McClean and interior designer Kathryn Rotondi, who were enlisted by owner and developer Nile Niami to help it live up to its standard.
"This endeavor seemed both exhilarating and daunting," McClean says. However, the home's remarkable location and McClean's long-standing relationship with Niami persuaded him to "build something unique and extraordinary" rather than just take on the job.
And McClean has more than delivered.
The home's main entrance leads to a variety of meeting places with magnificent 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, downtown Los Angeles, and the San Gabriel Mountains, thanks to its 26-foot-high ceilings. There is water at the entrance area, as well as a sculpture and a bridge. "We often employ water in our design approach because it provides a sensory change that helps you acclimatize to your environment," McClean explains.
Niami wanted a neutral palette that would enable the environment and vistas to shine, so she used black, white, and gray throughout the house.
McClean has combined the home's inside with outside "to create that quintessential L.A. lifestyle but on a larger scale," he says, drawing influence from the local environment and history of Los Angeles modernism. "We separated the entertaining spaces from the living portions to make the house feel more livable. The former are on the lowest level, which serves as a plinth for the rest of the house and minimizes its apparent mass."
The home's statistics, in addition to its eye-catching style, are equally impressive. There are 42 bathrooms, 21 bedrooms, a 5,500-square-foot master suite, a 30-car garage gallery with two car-display turntables, a four-lane bowling alley, a spa level, a 30-seat movie theater, a "philanthropy wing (with a capacity of 200) for charity galas, a 10,000-square-foot sky deck, and five swimming pools.
Rotondi, the creator of KFR Design, collaborated with Niami on the interior design to create different spaces that flow into one another despite the house's grandeur. "I was especially driven to 'wow factor' components in the hospitality business," Rotondi says, citing top luxury hotel brands such as Aman, Bulgari, and Baccarat as sources of inspiration. Meanwhile, the home's color scheme, soft textures, and lighting are a nod to Niami and McClean's favorite Tom Ford boutique on Rodeo Drive.
The house boasts an extraordinary collection of art, including a butterfly work by Stephen Wilson on the lower level and a Niclas Castello bespoke panel in black and silver in the office, thanks to a cooperation between Creative Art Partners and Art Angels. There is also a sizable collection of bespoke furniture pieces from byShowroom.
A house of this size will never be erected again in Los Angeles, thanks to recently enacted city rules, so The One will truly be one of a kind. "For all of us, this project has been such a long and instructive trip," McClean says. "It was exciting to develop and approached with excitement, but I don't think any of us knew how much effort and time it would take to finish the project."
8 months ago
10 hard lessons from founding a startup.
Here is the ugly stuff, read this if you have a founder in your life or are trying to become one. Your call.
#1 You'll try to talk yourself to sleep, but it won't always work.
As founders, we're all driven. Good and bad, you're restless. Success requires resistance and discipline. Your startup will be on your mind 24/7, and not everyone will have the patience to listen to your worries, ideas, and coffee runs. You become more self-sufficient than ever before.
#2 No one will understand what you're going through unless they've been a founder.
Some of my closest friends don't understand the work that goes into starting a business, and we can't blame them.
#3 You'll feel alienated.
Your problems aren't common; calling your bestie won't help. You must search hard for the right resources. It alienates you from conversations you no longer relate to. (No 4th of July, no long weekends!)
#4 Since you're your "own boss," people assume you have lots of free time.
Do you agree? I was on a webinar with lots of new entrepreneurs, and one woman said, "I started my own business so I could have more time for myself." This may be true for some lucky people, and you can be flexible with your schedule. If you want your business to succeed, you'll probably be its slave for a while.
#5 No time for illness or family emergencies.
Both last month. Oh, no! Physically and emotionally withdrawing at the worst times will give you perspective. I learned this the hard way because I was too stubborn to postpone an important interview. I thought if I rested all day and only took one call, I'd be fine. Nope. I had a fever and my mind wasn't as sharp, so my performance and audience interaction suffered. Nope. Better to delay than miss out.
Oh, and setting a "OoO" makes you cringe.
#6 Good luck with your mental health, perfectionists.
When building a startup, it's difficult to accept that there won't be enough time to do everything. You can't make them all, not perfectly. You must learn to accept things that are done but not perfect.
#7 As a founder, you'll make mistakes, but you'll want to make them quickly so you can learn.
Hard lessons are learned quicker. You'll need to pivot and try new things often; some won't work, and it's best to discover them sooner rather than later.
#8 Pyramid schemes abound.
I didn't realize how bad it was until I started a company. You must spy and constantly research. As a founder, you'll receive many emails from people claiming to "support" you. Be wary and keep your eyes open. When it's too good to be true. Some "companies" will try to get you to pay for "competitions" to "pitch at events." Don't do it.
#9 Keep your competitor research to a minimum.
Actually, competition is good. It means there's a market for those solutions. However, this can be mentally exhausting too. Learn about their geography and updates, but that's it.
#10 You'll feel guilty taking vacation.
I don't know what to say, but I no longer enjoy watching TV, and that's okay. Pay attention to things that enrich you, bring you joy, and have fun. It boosts creativity.
Being a startup founder may be one of the hardest professional challenges you face, but it's also a great learning experience. Your passion will take you places you never imagined and open doors to opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise. You'll meet amazing people. No regrets, no complaints. It's a roller coaster, but the good days are great.
Miss anything? Comment below
13 days ago
The stunning new free AI image tool is called Leonardo AI.
Leonardo—The New Midjourney?
Users are comparing the new cowboy to Midjourney.
Leonardo.AI creates great photographs and has several unique capabilities I haven't seen in other AI image systems.
Midjourney's quality photographs are evident in the community feed.
Create Pictures Using Models
You can make graphics using platform models when you first enter the app (website):
Luma, Leonardo creative, Deliberate 1.1.
Clicking a model displays its description and samples:
Click Generate With This Model.
Then you can add your prompt, alter models, photos, sizes, and guide scale in a sleek UI.
Leonardo's Canvas editor lets you change created images by hovering over them:
The editor opens with masking, erasing, and picture download.
Develop Your Own Models
I've never seen anything like Leonardo's model training feature.
Upload a handful of similar photographs and save them as a model for future images. Share your model with the community.
You can make photos using your own model and a community-shared set of fine-tuned models:
Obtain Leonardo access
Leonardo is currently free.
Visit Leonardo.ai and click "Get Early Access" to receive access.
Add your email to receive a link to join the discord channel. Simply describe yourself and fill out a form to join the discord channel.
Please go to 👑│introductions to make an introduction and ✨│priority-early-access will be unlocked, you must fill out a form and in 24 hours or a little more (due to demand), the invitation will be sent to you by email.
I got access in two hours, so hopefully you can too.
I know there are many AI generative platforms, some free and some expensive, but Midjourney produces the most artistically stunning images and art.
Leonardo is the closest I've seen to Midjourney, but Midjourney is still the leader.
It's free now.
Leonardo's fine-tuned model selections, model creation, image manipulation, and output speed and quality make it a great AI image toolbox addition.