More Than a New Year Resolution.
NOW THAT THE PICTURE HAS YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE READ ON…
2019 is underway. I assume many of you are about to embark on the New Year, New Me, New Year Resolution health kick? Well I thought it may be useful for me to write, and you to read how I got myself into better shape.
Before I go on, I know that not everyone is interested in keeping healthy. That’s absolutely fine, this blog is maybe not for you and some of it may make you feel uncomfortable. Maybe if you stick around you can learn a thing about the damage a poor lifestyle is doing to you. But whatever you think, please do not go hating on me for preaching from the healthy lifestyle gospel. I'm trying to help in any small way I can.
So why listen to me? I am not a personal trainer or a nutritionist, or a doctor of any kind (yet). I am just an ordinary dad of three with a four beautiful reasons to maintain a vibrant, stimulated, healthy life. Those reasons go by the names of Julie, Lennon, Liam and Sian. That is my wife and my kids. So before you sit there, roll your eyes and go,
‘Here he goes, banging on about about healthy lifestyle! Put yir tap back on min!’
I want you to know why I feel it necessary for me to not give up on the healthy lifestyle.
If didn’t already know, when I was 20, I was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the tongue. That means I had a tumour, that means it was Cancer. It was removed with surgery and years later I’d find out that I have always had a condition called Lichenoid Dysplasia which is an inflammatory condition on my tongue. As with any inflammatory conditon, you cannot get rid of it, it's just there, but you can tame it or you can aggravate it and when you aggravate an inflamed area, the likelihood of a cancerous growth is increased massively. So being a Torry Loon, I started drinking regularly at the age of 15, by 17 I was smoking then drinking and smoking weed regularly. Three months after I turned twenty I’m hospital having surgery to remove a section of my tongue and my lymph nodes.
In short, my lifestyle choices gave me cancer. No hiding from it! Now I’m cancer free, but the Dysplasia is still there and in affect, it’s a gun to my head. So when you ask, ‘why does McBain not drink?’ I'll ask; Would you still drink if the risk was real and stakes were so high?
When you roll your eyes and say I’m, ‘Banging on about healthy lifestyle blah blah’ if you had first had experience of the worst possible outcome would you not want to warn people of the dangers of an unhealthy life?
So does that qualify me to share a thought or two? Good, now that I have your permission, read on.
I’m not trying to sell you anything, I don’t have anything to gain from this other than passing on a few things I've learned from continually studying my body and my mind throughout the years. There are no subscription fees or guarantees, I’m just a bloke who understands the basic truths that, bad choices make for bad health and nothing in this life comes without hard work and discipline.
So that is where I’d like to start. You will notice the dates on my before and afters, they are 4 years apart so firstly you should know; it takes more than a single year. Sorry to tell you that. It takes a lot longer than the twelve week ‘miracle work out and diet plan’ will claim it takes. Why? Because a real committed healthy lifestyle has NO END POINT. It’s a long term agreement between you and your body that you are going to treat it better and in return it will work better for you. It has everything to do with how your vital organs function, how your body battles illness and fights off disease, how your mind thinks clearer and frees itself of depression and has nothing to do with Abs, Muscles and Dress Sizes. If you can optimise the inside, the outside will take care of itself. I never set goals based on appearance. For me, it is all about feeling and thinking healthy and the bi-product of that is that you get yourself in decent shape as you do it.
I see pics like the one above a lot and they are either people I don’t know, so I don’t believe it or they are 12 week quick fix transformation gimmicks that requires supplements, drugs and gym memberships. I often think this kind of click baiting is very misleading and discouraging as it is NOT quick, it’s a long HARD road that is only possible through DISCIPLINE. The carby, doughy body you see in 2014 is a man with no DISCIPLINE and no idea about what is and is not good for MY body. All I had to do was get my mind right and educate myself. So here is a short summary of the most simple tips to get you off to a flier.
First of all it’s not A DIET, it’s YOUR DIET, the things you eat that fuel your body. Your body is different to mine and the next person so what works for me may not work for you. That is where trial and error comes in. But the basic thing is this; If your diet consists of high sugar, fatty, stodgy, processed food, your diet is shit and your body hates it, therefore it has work double hard to clear up that shit.
Your body is not a temple but it is a kind factory with little workers inside grafting their arses off to process what comes in and try to turn it to fuel to make you function, heal, fight off disease and illness and grow new brain cells. Simplified; When the workforce inside you is overworked to process copious amounts of carbohydrate, sugar and junk, it tries to save it for later thinking you might need it and then stores the excess as fat. The workforce Gaffer assumes you know something it doesn’t and a conversation like this happens in your stomach which is the factory floor,
‘Well he must be eating four Greggs steak bakes for a reason, maybe he’s not gonna get anymore food for a week? Turn it to fat and stick it on his chin.’ Says the Gaffer.
The wee worker replies, ‘The chin's full Gaff.’
‘Well make another one!’ the gaffer replies, getting stressed because now the Irn Bru has washed down to the factory floor flooding the crammed stomach.
‘Fuck sakes!’ Says gaffer, ‘There must be an emergency ahead, sorry lads, I need you all on overtime! No breaks today we need to get this gone.’
The workers are pissed off because he’s been saying that for years, especially the last few Christmas weeks, how could they be having to process more food? They are still ‘gas processing’ the junk he’s had over the last week.
‘Right, use what you can to hydrate and pump the rest to the bladder, turn the sugar to fat and put it in the love handles and belly. The carbs we can use for a wee bit of energy but he’s not gonna need it because he, A) he doesn’t move that much and B) we are gonna have to shut him down in half an hour till we recover from this load. In fact, I need to phone the Captain.’
The Captain is the Brain. Gaffer givers him a buzz. Brain answers rapid style, talking fast as fuck, ‘sugar rush’, thinks the gaffer.
‘YES!’ Brain quickly replies.
‘I need you to send a warning yawn to the big fella in about twenty minutes so he goes for a nap and we can get to work on this. We can’t run the you and his gut at the same time. We just cant do it captain. We don’t have the power!’
Brain replies, ’BUT I FEEL GREAT! BUZZING, FULL OF ENERGY, WAS HOPING YOU’D CALL ACTUALLY WANTED TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT THE SUBCONTRACTOR WHO WILL BE ARRIV……’
‘Sorry,' The Gaffer cuts him off, 'Not now Captain, we have a situation.’ Gaffer hangs up. Two yum-yums are now slipping there way into the already full factory.
15 mins pass and the workforce are flat out, and then Brain sends the Yawn alarm. Gaffer says,
‘Thats 5 mins early!’ He phones the brain back, the phone rings out. Upstairs the brain is stumbling about the skull, trying to close the curtains (the eyes) and the rate of YPH (Yawns per hour) are upped.
At this point you fall into a nap. This allows the factory to process the sticky junk you’ve just eaten. It takes any nutritional value it can get and uses it in your engine, the leftover is turned to shit, literal shit. What they cannot process is put into fat stores around the body. Where the stores a full they make new ones. If they can’t make new ones they stick it in the arteries. After a few years of this mayhem, a cowboy sub contractor arrives offering assistance in running the factory.
He runs a company called 'Franks Free Radicals' TM. Now Frank is a big shiny pink bulb that looks healthy and is fairly pleasant to all the workforce. He claims that he and his free radicals will come along and collaborate with the worker cells to get rid of the excess glucose and 'what not'. They are glad for the help and let him set up his workshop in the bowel. After a few months they are amazed at his impact, the sugar is going straight to him, they don’t need to to turn it to fat anymore, but they cant use it for energy either which is a drag, but the big fella (you) is not feeling good. Frank is now being called 'Frank The Tank' and is turning into a right fat cunt, getting bigger by the day and actually starting to cause you some of discomfort. The gaffer goes to check it out. His face drops. Straight to the phone he goes and phones the Captain,
‘Yes what is it?’
‘You need to make him go to the doctor Immediately. Frank, the sub contractor, is putting us out of business. He has become…Malignant.'
Capatiain goes silent. He sighs, then says,
‘Ok put some blood in his next stool as a warning sign and I will send him some fear and worry.’
And that is how it goes my friends. Your body is overworked when trying to process any food, when it gets no nutritional value from that hard work, it gets sick. Bad things can show up and thrive in this highly toxic, unnatural environment.
That is a humorous wee story but the process of eating junk food is no joke. The focus of your new years resolution should never be on the ripped abs, the big arms or the small waist. The plan for your new healthy outlook should be on preserving your factory and prolonging your time on earth. Focus on healthy inside, help the workers with a good balanced diet of fruit, veg, water, proteins and complex carbs and it will run like a dream. The results on the outside will be plain to see.
Diet wise for me, there was some trial and error along the way. I have found that I feel at my best doing a Ketogenic lifestyle which I will do a stand alone blog on as it is complicated. Lately I have also been researching a lot about the benefits of ditching meat, so I am going to try that this year but again it is all about research, trail and error. Main thing is for me, as it will be with you is that some dietary habits will work, some will not, some forms of exercise work, some will not so continually educate yourself on what types of food do for you and how. There are so many good blogs and websites full of information on nurtrion you can read and I will attach a few at the bottom for you to get started.
In short make a simple promise to your body that you will not abuse it anymore and have the DISCIPLINE to hold yourself to account. Here are two first steps I would highly recommend..
While you are fighting (and it is a hell of a fight) to wean yourself off sugar and bread, keep researching for a way of eating healthy that you can manage and then commit to it. If it ain’t working, change it, educate yourself further. If you maintain the discipline, confidence in your discipline will grow and then you can maybe treat yourself. But understand yourself well enough to know your weakness’s. Then with discipline in full swing, obviously, treat yourself from time to time but now, the junk food you just ate is not your lifestyle anymore and you return to your state of healthy eating immediately. Trust me, once you come off sugar, you will want to stay off it as I promise you, you will feel so much better in mind and function better in body.
I am not just 35 years old, I am TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND years old at least, and so are you. As I touched on in my last blog, ‘What Are You Bred For’, our bodies are designed and have evolved to be constantly on the move. Hunting, gathering, foraging, running from predators and enemies, climbing trees, hiding on cliffs, hiking for miles and miles in pursuit of food and survival. You are not made to sit on your arse. As humankind it is only in the last 50 to 60 years of this existence that we have become increasingly inactive. We have no need to move our bodies for anything and this is even more of an issue now with technology doing most of our physical labour. We barely even walk anywhere now. Exercise is so important for so many reasons I can’t even begin to tell you why. For a start it takes us back to a more primal active state, releasing the endorphins to make you more alert and awake. It gets your blood moving fast around your body, healing and nourishing every body organ and crucially; it burns fat.
The first tip for exercise is that you must try and find a form of physical activity you enjoy. If you hate the exercise you will not stick it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t push yourself to do certain workouts. Give as much as you can in everything you try and as you get fitter and stronger you will begin to enjoy the workouts as much as you enjoy the results of the workouts. There are so many sports and activities you can try that will get your heart rate up. I personally love to run. It’s free, there are no memberships and there are no opening times or closing times. All you need is a pair of trainers and the open road. Whatever you decide to do, the important thing is consistency and again DISCIPLINE. Make daily exercise as routine as brushing your teeth! Accept that physical activity is meant to be tough, accept that it is also as non negotiable as healthy food, your body NEEDS it.
Don’t have time to exercise? Make time. No excuses. I have three kids, a wife, a dog, a job, I cook, I clean, I am studying a Psychology Degree, I’m writing blogs like this, I am training for a marathon and an utramarathon, I do weight training, I am developing a documentary, I am producing music for people. How do I fit it all in? It’s DISCIPLINE remember, I MAKE THE TIME. I Get up at 5am and either go to the gym or I work on my studies and writing till the sun comes up and then I go running. This blog was started at 5am this very morning with a coffee. No excuses, I made the time. Extend your waking hours and get after it.
One thing that people often lack is the motivation to get started. At this time of year we are a little more motivated as we have most likely over indulged and the New Year is seen as New dawn blah blah. The difficulty is staying motivated, EVERY SINGLE DAY. One thing that helps is to realise what I said earlier, this has NO END POINT. You’ve made a deal with your body remember. So to keep motivated, surround yourself with good influence and motivated people. If you can't find any in your life this time next month, go online. By using Social Media you can be motivated by some of the most uncommon, motivated people on earth. Follow some people that will motivate you to get going. So when the alarm goes off and you open one blurry eye to check your news feed, you have people there who are getting after it all the time. On Instagram I follow men like Jocko Wilink, David Goggins, Joe Rogan and Cameron Hanes . Hanes has a great slogan which is, ‘NO ONE CARES, WORK HARDER.’ I love it, and I use it when I am feebly trying to excuse my lack of productivity when studying, making art or working out. Basically it means no excuses, get it done.
So thats it folks, DISCIPLINE, EDUCATION, STIMULATION, COMMITMENT and MOTIVATION are key.
My New Years resolution is to try and motivate more people in to fulfilling their potential by challenging myself continually. Wether it be creative goals, life goals or health and fitness goals I really want to see more people I know getting after their dreams and aspirations and becoming the best version of themselves. A life free of mediocrity because lurking under the rock of mediocrity is the serpent of depression and all the his creepy crawly pals like anxiety and and wekaness. No one wants them in their lives. We want a life that has meaning and that can only come about through sustained stimulation. A stimulated human is a content human and a content human makes a difference to everyone around them.
Remember the workers in your body, help them out because without them you and your mind don't stand a chance.
Have a very Happy New Year!
Sean x x
Here are some of useful sites full of info on workouts and diet that I use.