We’ve all heard the phrase you are your own worst critic. It’s a saying that’s been done to death, people may roll their eyes at it, or shrug it off but it is never more relevant when you are feeling down. Whether it is academics, body image, job performance or relationship status, we humans are exceptionally brilliant at finding problems where there are none or brilliant at just plain feeling awful about ourselves.
So it’s time for me, Liz a.k.a Captain Confidence, and Fitness extraordinaire (because fitness is both about physical and mental/emotional well-being) to tell you how sad thinking works, what to do to make yourself happy again and who to call.
Spiralling in negative thinking is also something that happens quite a bit. First it may be feeling slightly insecure about job performance but then it can quickly lead to how unintelligent you are and then why no one *really* likes you and that can also be attributed to how awful you look. See how easy it is to spiral?
This may be true at more instances than at others, but I bet that anyone that has been dumped or fired or bullied has had these awful thoughts. So why would mother nature give us the ability to do this? Well my thinking is that this is actually evolution and somewhere along the line we needed this! The ability to apologise and ‘feel bad’ is found in many other social animals apart from ourselves, and this is mostly due to the need to get along in groups. (For more on morality and animals check out Frans de Waal’s TEDTalk). I don’t think we could function as a society if we didn’t have the ability to feel poorly about ourselves, because everybody would be self-righteous and entitled. This is probably why you have fights over food or mates in solitary animals.
But enough with the monkey business (see what I did there :P), it’s all well and good to know that it is normal and ‘evolved’ to have negative feelings about ourselves, but it doesn’t really help. You know what does help? Tea, a good book, some great friends, parents to vent to, an animal to cuddle up to, sad or funny TV, crying it out, going for a walk/run, chocolate (but only in small doses! You don’t want food to be your source of comfort, because that can end badly), Tumblr and of course the Gay Geek blog! I think you get the picture, just distract yourself!
We need to step back from it and look at ‘the problem’ (if there is one or not is actually something you should think about) and see where it truly lies and how can it be improved. Think about it this way, when you are in a cycle of negative thoughts you are likely to be emotional and in most situations that isn’t a way to approach a problem.
We also have to break the cycle of negative thoughts!
A theory on how depression actually comes about is due to neurological connections! Like learning a new language or memorising your shopping list, your brain actually makes more cells and connect it to the appropriate part of your brain to do those things the more you think about/practice them. More connections means that it is easier and faster to access sad memories and feelings. This also means that you are more likely to spiral and take drastic action! In fact, the reason why people cut themselves is because they are in the spiral or a storm of unhappiness and that pain physically and neurologically breaks you out of it! But of course just successfully distracting yourself has the same effect. So save yourself the pain and just watch TV!
Whether you have depression or are just feeling sad, distracting yourself (safely) and looking at problems from a less emotional light is always a good idea.
To get more factual information or to just talk to someone go to any of these sites, and ring any of these numbers:
http://www.beyondblue.org.au/ 1300 22 4636
http://www.lifeline.org.au/ 13 11 44
http://www.kidshelp.com.au/ 1800 55 1800
These numbers and sites aren’t just for people who have depression, it really is for anyone who is feeling sad. Their focus is to make your day just a bit brighter and to help you out even a tiny bit.
We cannot make it through life alone, we weren’t built for it, evolution dictated that – so just talk and be merry!
In my time of blogging about exercise, never have I covered the gear you need. Luckily you won’t have to read sentence after sentence on what you
should have need. My job has been done in this groovy infographic by besthealthdegrees. It has nearly every thing a geek should own! (Click to enlarge.)
All it is missing is some Matrix sunglasses (seriously, why is it in that movie everyone had amazing sunglasses?), some sunscreen and a water bottle from a fandom of your choice with some
With this gear, motivation has never come easier! Now I need to see a man about installing a desk on my excercise bike…
Fact of life: there will always be douches at the gym. It is always these douches that will ruin the gym experience and I think some people don’t want to go to the gym because of these douches and their judgmental douche attitude. Knowing this, you now can take steps to make sure you aren’t one of these douches. Or you can read along and feel/share my pain.
I will split these up into the order of when you will see these douche behaviours at the gym. These are the ones I have personally experienced and if you yourself have been a victim of gym douchiness please comment below.
1. Girls with Makeup
This isn’t a douchy behaviour that will hinder me at the gym but it’s still a vain douche thing to do. I’m going to put it out there: if you are working out with make up on, just stop.
Until very recently I was doing a full time summer job and this meant I had to get to the gym by 6:00 am, my gym happens to be an all women’s gym. This isn’t by any large bit of planning, it’s just the closest gym to my house. Anyway, when I get there, there are only about 4 women working out – so pretty empty for a two-storey gym. I then go to the locker room and there I see three girls all applying their makeup and straightening their hair! This isn’t after they have finished but just as they are about to work out. I know this because they are always on the treadmills next to me.
So my question is WHY?! Excluding you there are five other women sweating it out and about 2 staff members. Why is it so important to impress these seven people? Is it a comfort thing? Because I know that you probably had to get up extra early to do all of that and that isn’t exactly comfortable. Also we sweat at the gym and because we are running – it is impossible for that not to happen – so why would you want to worry about runny mascara? That also doesn’t sound comfortable to me.
There is also the question of straightening your hair. WHY are you straightening your hair that goes up into a pony tail and that will get messy as you work out anyway? I hope you do realise you will probably want to straighten your hair afterwards?
Actually if you are a girl that wears make up at the gym and/or straightens hair at the gym, can you tell me why? I promise I won’t attack you, it is just so baffling to me!
2. People who judge/make things a competition
I’ve been going to the gym long enough that I put myself through decent levels of difficultness. In other words you can say that I’m in the healthy/average category of fitness. I’m pretty proud of that considering how rubbish I was two years back.
I like to push myself and feel a sense of achievement when I get to a higher level/can go for a longer time. So as you can see this is about personal achievement. I thought that is the way to go about the gym, but apparently not!
So, so, so many people have to look at your screen as you are working out! It is ridiculous. There are middle aged women smirking slightly because they cycle faster than me, or can run faster than me. It’s also annoying when they are doing the smirking thing, and running faster than you but are also running on flat road. Lady, if you stopped looking at my freaking screen and looked at the gradient of my treadmill you will see that I’m running uphill.
If I do happen to go faster than Miss Screen Peeker beside me, she amps up her speed. This is quite hilarious as they tend to overdo this and two minutes later have to go back to walking pace while I keep my pace.
3. Stealing Showers
This has only happened to me once, but it was enough of a douche move that deserves to be on the list.
So I had just finished my work out and I went to the locker to grab my things for the shower. I put my things, neatly folded on shower stall bench and hung up my towel. This also happen to be the last shower stall available. I then realised I forgot my water bottle. I quickly got out of the locker room and grabbed it. As I returned I see my clothes on the bench outside the stalls but no towel, I turned to where the shower was and I saw that it was still unoccupied and my towel was still hanging over the shower door. .
So logically I took my clothes and moved to the shower area. As soon as I got to the door, this chick, from out of freaking nowhere cuts me off and says “Sorry, but this is my stall.” She then proceeds to close the door in my face. What a cow.
She didn’t explicitly say it, but I can put two and two together, and so I say she is probably the same chick who put all my clothes out of the stall. At least they were still neatly folded (note sarcasm).
4. People taking up more room at mirrors then necessary.
In the gym locker room I’m at there is a mirror the length of the wall and then there is a counter underneath as long as the mirror is. There is ample space but for whatever reason, some people still take up a third of that space.
So imagine that there is woman just putting her make up on after she has hit the gym. She has the contents of her makeup bag strewn left and right of her and also has her face towel and water bottle a mile away from her, leaving plenty of space between the items. She has her giant gym bag on the counter, which is just… there. She doesn’t need it right now or even 15 minutes later. She needs it after she has gotten herself prepped to leave the gym – it could have been perfectly fine on the floor. This woman is also standing in front of one of the three hairdryers. Two of the hairdryers are currently in use. She has finished using the one she is in front of, but can’t even shuffle two steps so someone else can use it. Now try to factor personal space between the woman’s items and your own and there goes a third of the space.
Usually you will meet one of these people in the peak hours, sometimes even two. It’s just a really douche thing to do! There is no other explanation except for being selfish and inconsiderate of others.
Take note of these four things and avoid it like the plague, unless you aspire to be a douche. Also be prepared for this sort of behaviour – it’s a douchy world out there ladies and gents.
If you have experienced any of these kinds of behaviour or have other things to add to this list, please just comment, I am always fascinated by the level and amount of gym douche bags in the world.
If you are like me, the diagram above makes absolutely no sense. But I’m here today to try and clarify what is a Metabolism and how you can speed things along.
If you are a trying to shift or put on the extra pounds you would know what/have heard of a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is. It’s that little annoying invisible system that regulates your body burn rate of the daily intake of food, and burn rate of fat stores.
A high BMR means that those skinny-minnie people who can binge on chips and chocolate really do find it hard to put on weight. And for those with a low BMR, sometimes hours at a gym can lead to endless frustration. I, like the vast majority of ladies trying to fight the flab, feel like I am cursed with the BMR of a funeral march. Please keep in mind though, that a low BMR is no excuse, it is very rare that someone’s BMR will keep them at the overweight level if they are eating a balanced diet and excersising regularily. However, I’m here to tell you a few tricks to get you BMR to move faster!
But before all that, what exactly is a BMR? Maria Packard, from Dieticians Association of Australia explains: “Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the absolute minimum amount of energy you need for your body to exist and function. You need energy to keep your heart beating, to regulate your body temperature and to repair cells.” So in other words, pretty darn important!
Now , everyone knows that your metabolic rate is heavily determined on genetics. But that doesn’t mean it determines you to a life of slow/low burn rate of energy. There are ways to boost your BMR! And you don’t even have to go to the gym (although exercise does help ><’’).
Have Brekkie: We’ve all heard it before: don’t skip breakfast. Having breakfast jump starts your metabolism for the day and without it your system takes a longer time to warm up (therefore conserving more energy rather than burning it). Although there have been studies suggesting that a ten minute bit of exercise before breaking the fast can also jolt your metabolism awake.
Go H2O: This is another saying we’ve all heard before, especially Australians. Your body needs water to operate, and even mild dehydration can significantly decrease your metabolic rate. Apparently, we can mistake thirst for hunger! So drinking water and keeping hydrated makes sure we don’t overeat! Drinking ice-cold water has a metabolism boosting effect, as our bodies work to warm it up.
Green tea : is also superb for burning up unwanted fats. What is has is flavonoid epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and this stimulates the central nervous system into releasing fat into the blood stream to use as fuel. Other drinks with caffeine have can also increase metabolic rate to a small extent, but please remember to counteract the diuretic effect with water.
Garlic: I know that this idea is not for everyone, but it is a miracle maker for your metabolism. It also regulates blood pressure and lowers cholesterol.
Chilli: Eating chilli temporarily raises body temperature and thus metabolism and you can thank the capsaicin it contains for that.
Cinnamon: It has been found that one quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon each day shows significant improvements on your glucose metabolism, keeping blood sugar stable. But I would not recommend the cinnamon challenge.
Eat more often, but smaller amounts. What this means is instead of having a massive lunch, try to disperse it through morning tea and afternoon tea. If you have five smaller meals a day, rather than 3 big ones, it makes your metabolism work throughout the day. It’s unhealthy and unsustainable to eat nothing or very little to lose the extra kilos. By drastically reducing your overall food intake, or going for long periods without eating, slows your metabolism to a crawl as your body tries to conserve energy. So skipping meals irregularly can make you heavier, rather than lighter in the long run! AND when you go back to eating normally, your BMR can keep itself in that crawling pace. You should keep snacking to keep your digestive juices flowing. But I don’t mean on chocolate or crisps! Grab a piece of fruit, or a slice of peanut butter bread (fibres and low GI*). This leads me to my next point!
Eat all the colours of the rainbow! What this means is to eat healthily of course and the colour would come from most of veggies and fruit you should be eating. Now here is a little tid-bit of science. We have in our bodies “the thermic effect”. Foods which induces a high thermic effect (e.g. proteins and vegetables) makes your body work harder to digest the food. Conversely things with low thermic effect, such as fats are easier to digest and your body is not burning as much energy. One gram of fat produces 9 calories (kcal), compared to 4 kcal from protein or carbohydrate. Your body works harder to digest foods with a high thermic effect, such as proteins and fibrous vegetables, than it does to break down foods with a low thermic effect, such as fats.
Exercise: I know it’s heart and back breaking for some people to do, but any activity elevates your heart rate will increase your metabolism. And this isn’t only during, but it lasts hours after you finished your work out. It doesn’t even have to be hours of exercise! Scientists at the Heriot-Watt University in Scotland found that four to six 30-second sprints every two days significantly increased the body’s ability to metabolise sugars. It could also be an effective way to cut the risk of diabetes.
So with these handy little tips go forth and keep that metabolic rate running faster than ever before.
* A low Glycaemic Index, or a low GI, helps to keep the hunger pangs away. It does this by providing a gradual and continuous supply of energy. In addition, your body has to work longer and harder to process them