Pursuing Your Weird Hobbies: Part Duex

A while back, I wrote a post called “Pursue Your Weird Hobbies.” I’ve since deleted it, but essentially it was about the importance of pursuing your weird hobbies as part of a more holistic approach to healing your sense of self, and thus taming your tendency to stuff pies of pizza down your face every time you experience an emotion.

As a primary matter, weird hobbies take time. Less time = less time to eat yummy num nums. Because essentially, you are a sinner.

Also, weird hobbies instill a sense of (potentially weird) identity. Find a weird hobby, and you are no longer self identifying as a fat-ass, but as a basket weaver, or a stamp collector, or whatever freaky hobbyist you should choose to become.

Weird hobbies can be strange, enlightening, or even disturbing. My weird hobby is making little libertarian movies, and imagining that world enjoys them (when of course my analytics tell me otherwise).

But I’ll keep pursuing my weird hobbies! And in the spirit of #election2016, here is my little contribution. Let me know what you think 🙂

 

What weird hobbies keep you mentally sane?

Thanks for watching 🙂

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Happy Holler-ween

As the sluttiest of all holidays, Halloween is a great time to enjoy those weight loss results.

Here is what I look like now:

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neanderthal

And here is what I used to look like just a few years ago:

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yikes!

Just in case you think I’m particularly strong in the willpower department, I can assure you that I’m not.

I’m also not particularly hard-working, never deny myself chocolate, and NEVER exercise unless I actually want to (that said, I enjoy walking).

I’ve struggled with weight for a long time, and it took me a lifetime to figure out what works for me. For me, it boils down to three things:

  1. Keeping bad stuff out of the house;
  2. Setting myself up for success (ie.. understanding the reality of willpower depletion, and knowing my own weaknesses);
  3. Eating mostly veg, and a little bit of everything else

This is not just about looks.  It’s about empowerment,  mental health, and also physical health.  It’s about being a version of yourself that you are genuinely proud of.

Living a lifestyle that allows you to feel and look your best is not easy, but it’s also not that hard.  Every person deserves to look as beautiful and vivacious on the outside as they feel on the inside.  You just need to figure out what works for you. And never give up on yourself.  Past results are NOT binding! 

If you find yourself in a bad place now, just know that I’ve been there, and so have my friends and co-contributors to this blog. I don’t mean to say you’re not good enough as you are, but rather that you should live the full life you want to live.

You don’t have to lose a billion pounds this week, and you don’t have to run a marathon today.  Just make one small change and stick to it this week.  Next week, try another.

If I can do it, then anyone can do it.  Put in the effort now, and make the small changes.  By next Halloween, you’ll be strutting your stuff with the best of them 🙂

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Losing weight is hard. Maintaining it should not be.

People say that losing weight is easy, while maintaining weight loss is hard. Well, people say a lot of things. And since I’m a person, I’m going to say a thing also.

Losing weight is hard. Maintaining it should not be.  And if maintaining weight loss is hard, it probably means that you’re eating the wrong things.

Why is losing weight hard?

I can’t imagine how losing weight can be easy. I lost weight slowly over a period of two years. I had a goal in mind, and I never faltered. I’m still not 100% there, but I am closer every day.

And guess what. It was HARD as hell. It remains hard. Because in order to lose weight, no matter how you do it, you are starving in some sense. You need your body to use what it has by not giving it what it wants. And that’s hard.

Before your body starts losing weight, you need to burn through: 1) the glucose in your blood; 2) the glycogen in your muscles; and then and only then will it begin on fat reserves.

Sure, there are harder things than losing weight. And sure, there are things you can do to make it less hard. But it’s hard nonetheless, and I have no doubt that some days you will just want to give up.

Why Maintaining Weight Should Be Easy

How did you get heavy in the first place?

Chances are you ate too much crap. But that doesn’t mean it was entirely your fault. Yes, you made bad choices.  You probably either made:

  • very bad choices over a short period of time, OR
  • slightly bad choices over an extended period of time

But in any event, you were under the influence of the food industry, and also of silly FDA guidelines which don’t make much sense. You were getting unfit in an unfit world. And that’s OK.

Sure – it make sense, from the standpoint of biological fitness, for many of us to overeat when food is abundant. Who knows – you might even be genetically or culturally pre-disposed to this issue. And that sucks.

But pre-dispostion won’t keep a mindful and well-informed person fat. Because your fitness level is based more than anything on:

  • the foods you eat; AND
  • the habits you maintain.

The foods you eat are based on availability and your habits. And if you’ve been overweight, then the chances are the you probably formed some bad eating habits. And that’s OK. It’s hard to form fit habits in an unfit world.

But now that you’ve lost the weight, you’ve had the chance to build good habits! Or one would hope.

If you’ve truly build good habits – you can relax a little. All you need to do is maintain those good habits and you should maintain your loss. Of course old ways can come creeping back. So stay mindful.

But if you haven’t built good habits – you need to keep working. Not at losing weight, but at building those good habits. Because good habits are what you need to maintain your weight without suffering. Eating well needs to be your preference! And it can be.

FAQ’s

Are there factors other than good habits that might make maintenance hard? Sure. You might have sleeping issues, or hormonal issues. Or you might be largely sedentary due to a medical condition. But habits are important. You cannot stay fit without good habits.

Will your metabolism slow with age? Yes. You’ll need to make adjustments for all sorts of reasons: age, varying activity levels, etc. But now all you need to do is fill your body with good stuff, and you will stay at a healthy weight.

Take Notice

Maybe this all seems obvious, or easier said than done.

But it’s important to take notice of the power of habit. And it’s important for you to be able to look at yourself and figure out whether you’ve TRULY formed good habits – or whether, on the other hand, those habits are superficially or weakly engrained.

Because if you think maintaining your weight is hard, then it’s likely that your good habits aren’t strongly engrained in your mind.  In this case, it might be helpful for you to think about ways that you can further strengthen your habits. For more on habits, check out my post Why Emotional Eating is Actually Habitual Eating.

Until you ACTUALLY PREFER eating and living well, your weight might always be a struggle. So learning to hack that preference by delving into habit formation might just make your life awesome.

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Four Ways to Fight Apathy

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When I reached my highest weight, I felt nothing but apathy. It was as if every day was a cold rainy day, and I just didn’t want to get out of bed. At that time:

  • Getting into even decent shape seemed so far away that it felt more like a fantasy than an achievable goal; and
  • Getting into great shape was completely outside of the realm of possibilities.

The result? 

  • I fell into a complete state of apathy. And if things had gone a little differently, I might still be there today.
  • I wasted precious time dreaming of a fantasy transformation instead of slowly beginning to introduce the small changes that my body actually needed and wanted.

When does apathy strike?: 

Apathy tends to strike when the place where you WANT TO BE seems too far away from the place where you CURRENTLY ARE.

So naturally, you need to find ways to trick your brain into feeling:

  • that the road ahead of you isn’t so bad; AND
  • that you’re closer to where you want to be than you actually are.

Four Ways to Fight Apathy:

  1. Reduce your ambition. This seems counterintuitive, but it works. Try the “do one thing” rule
  2. Set SMALL Behavioral Goals. You can never control outcomes, but you can ALWAYS control behaviors. What is one SMALL behavior you can change every day for this entire week? Examples: have salad for lunch every day; do 50 crunches before bed; eat one probiotic food every day.
  3. Increase your motivation. See here.
  4. Chop up your outcome-based goals. To the extent you do focus on outcome-based goals, cut them up into bite sized chunks. This is important! See my post on Aiming for Eight.

What are some ways that you fight apathy?

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Spider Eggs – The New Superfood?

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hello >:)

Spiders can be creepy crawly. But did you know that a spoonful of their unborn young can help speed up your metabolism and even strengthen your bones?

Gross.  But is it worth it? I don’t know.

…I say that losing weight sucks. And we can all use a little help.

In theory – spider eggs shouldn’t be any grosser than let’s say chicken eggs or caviar. The idea just takes a little getting used to.

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Just think of it as Earth Caviar.

If you are a regular reader of my posts, you’ll know that I’m not one to put too much stock in shortcuts (see my post Seven Magic Pills to Regulate Your Appetite).

Even so, I’m not going to deny a tactic that might help you achieve your goal weight solely because it’s unconventional. We always need to be open to try new things.

Even if those new things consist of…. spider eggs.

Omelion – C 

The reason spider eggs work is because of a little compound called Omelion-C (O-C).

Like certain proteins, you body naturally creates Omelion-C every day. The only problem is that your body can only create small amounts – which will vary based on a number of factors including your age and genetics.

If you’re of East-Asian descent, you’re in luck. You naturally create the most Omelion-C of any other ethnic group. This might be why East-Asian people, as a whole, tend to be more petite. Bastards!

If you’re unlucky enough to be white, black, or anything other than East Asian – the amount of Omelion-C circulating in your blood is likely far too low to allow you to function at your optimal metabolic rate. Thanks ancestors!

But luckily there are Spider Eggs. Ugh.

How it Works

Well it doesn’t always.

First of all, you need to find the right species of spider. And even so, there’s a chance the spider egg diet might not work for you.

To protect the cute baby spiders from potential insect, bird, and mammal predators – CERTAIN species of spider eggs are wrapped in a special fat-rich membrane. That’s because some of these predators have a hard time digesting the fat. This has two effects on the predators:

  1. The eggs will pass right through the predator’s digestive system and still hatch; and
  2. The fat will make the predator immediately full and uneasy, therefore making it less likely to attempt at eating the spidery siblings and cousins.

In humans, this membrane acts very much the same, but also a little differently.

When this membrane comes in contact with proteins in the human body – it has two effects:

1. the fat-rich membrane increases your levels of satiety; AND

2. the membrane actually triggers a very light immune response which causes your body to flush not only the eggs, but also other toxins in your colon.

But many people are immune! That’s why eating spider eggs won’t work for everyone.

And not all species work! But luckily there are about 2,000 species to choose from. Here are a few species you can try, that are common in North America:

  • Arrowhead Orb Weaver
  • Basilica Orb Weaver
  • Cribellate Orb Weaver
  • Eastern Harvest Man
  • Jerry Orbach head Spider
  • Feather Legged Spider

Unfortunately!

Unfortunately – Spider Eggs haven’t made it to your local Whole Foods just yet, so you might have to try your local Russian food store or international market.

If you find them, you can dissolve them in tea, or even add them to your favorite green smoothie! Blending won’t hurt them, but excessive heat might.

..You can also buy certain species of spider eggs freeze dried on amazon.com. But many people say that the freeze dry process decreases the potency and effect.

I’m not sure myself. I haven’t tried Spider Eggs yet. But I’m working my way up to it.

If you do try any species of spider eggs, please let me know!

..And if you’ve heard of any other weird metabolism stimulating foods – share the wealth.

Happy April Fools!

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Body Shaming Boys: Wentworth Miller

When we think of body shaming, we usually think of lady-victims. But apparently, the internet knows no gender-limitations. Because the internet is a douche.

I don’t know who Wentworth Miller is, but apparently he’s British. He’s also an actor in a show called Prison Break. Whatever that is, it’s not The Walking Dead. And whoever he is, he’s not Rick Grimes. So immediately, my attention is lost.

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The only man I’ll ever love. 

In any event,  as if the indignity of not being Rick Grimes is not enough, Mr. Miller was recently the subject of a not-very-nice meme. It was about his weight, and Prison Break, and McDonalds. He came back with an epic response:

The Problem of the Internet

Sure, this IS an instance of body shaming. But it’s also a joke.

..It’s a joke at someone else’s expense. Which is never nice. But jokes are often mean. That’s why we make them. Jokes are aggressive. Should we expect the world stop making them?

I’m reminded of an episode of SpongeBob called “Squirrel Jokes.” Spongebob makes a killing telling jokes at Sandy the Squirrel’s expense. Sandy is sad, but Spongebob convinces her it’s no big deal. She concedes, until people (fish) begin treating her differently as a result of Spongebob’s act. Ultimately, she nearly kills Spongebob by purposely acting in a manner consistent with his caricature of her. Lesson learned!

The result? Spongebob doesn’t stop making fun of Sandy. Instead, he starts making fun of everyone. No one feels like the sole victim, and everyone is happy.

The problem of the internet is that unlike Spongebob and Sandy, Miller and whoever made this meme are not friends. The meme-maker is anonymous, and to him Miller is just a face – he doesn’t know anything about his personal struggle.

At the same time, Miller is a public figure, and he made himself that way.

Kudos to Miller for speaking out. He took this negative comment, and turned it into a platform to talk about depression and suicide. He OWNED this situation – and that’s the best you can do.

But at the same time, the internet is calling this body shaming.

..And I have to wonder – is this really comparable to the body shaming that women experience on the daily? Isn’t this more comparable to the telling of a not nice joke? It’s rude, and it’s hurtful. But is it really the same issue?

  • Body shaming, as it applies to AVERAGE sized women is generally perpetuated by the media, not by a random person on their computer.
  • While men are also expected to fit into certain standards, I can’t imagine anyone on the street looking at Miller in that state and calling him fat
  • If anything, it’s in the contrast – the before photo is so thin

It’s About Being Nice

Anonymous people on the internet will take any opportunity to make a joke, forgetting (or not caring) that the subject of their joke is a real human being who might be affected by it.

I don’t think this is necessarily about body shaming. I think it’s about living in a very weird and interesting time where people have a platform to comment on anything, and often use that platform in a mean way. So really it’s about a bigger message.

Who knows – Miller could have been perfectly thin and picking his nose. Maybe there would have been a different meme.

Most people who “liked” or shared this meme probably thought nothing of it. It was just a tiny moment in their day.

But this is a great reminder of a basic courtesy – don’t say things about other people that you wouldn’t want said about you. Because when it comes to the internet, there IS someone on the other side.

..And don’t “like” or share those things either. (Unless of course it’s REALLY funny).

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Holiday Recovery

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Full disclosure: I’m Jewish. So while Christ doth not arise in my home, I recognize that he did visit many of my friends this weekend.

And when Christ arises, calories arise. So now it’s time for confession.

Tell it to me straight, glutton:

  • Did you have a second helping of ham?
  • Perhaps an extra leg of lamb?
  • A marshmallow pie?? An entire box Peeps?? A Lindt Chocolate bunny?
  • A Cadbury Caramel Egg?!?!
  • ALL OF THE ABOVE?!!!

I think all of those things are great, especially Cadbury Caramel eggs. I also think that holidays are meant to be enjoyed.

Gluttony may be a sin, but not in my book. I think it’s human nature to let yourself go every once in a while.

But now it’s Tuesday and it’s time to get back on track. Here are a few tips:

  1. Get rid of leftover candy. That’s assuming you have any left over 😉
    • I hate throwing out food, even candy.
    • If you don’t want to throw it out, bring it to work or put it in the freezer
    • But really, you should throw it out.
  2. Pencil in an extra workout this week. You don’t have to go crazy. But whatever your normal exercise regimen, add one extra session this week. This can even be moderate exercise – go for a long walk.
  3. Have a hearty salad for lunch for the remainder of the week. 
  4. Try to reduce your carbs by 50% for at least one or two days this week. If you’re still feeling bloated from the weekend, this might help.
  5. If you normally drink alcohol, take a break for the remainder of the week. Your body will thank you.

Remember: you don’t have to go crazy to make up for your “sins.” One or two holiday meals won’t make or break you. Implement one or two small changes from the above list and you should be back to your lent-sized self in no time.

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The Only Bread I Eat

Ok, not true. To be perfectly honest, I eat many breads.

But I do have a favorite:  Trader Joe’s 100% Rye Bread. Here is a photo of my lovely:

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On Taste

I can’t say that TJ’s 100% Rye is my absolute favorite by taste.

..Which isn’t to say it tastes anything other than wonderful. It’s just that bread is a tough category to compete in.

Bread is so damn good. I just want to eat all the bread in the world and then regurgitate it back up and then eat it all again. I want to spend 95% of my life eating bread, and the remaining 5% writing about eating bread. I want to marry a Channing Tatum shaped loaf of bread, and then I want to cheat on it with a hot steamy loaf of that impossibly delicious Honey Wheat Bushman from Outback Steakhouse.

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You know what I’m talking about…

Why TJ’s Rye is the Overall Winner

Clearly, I have bread issues. In general, if I start, I can’t stop. I also cannot keep ANY simple carbohydrates in the apartment, because I will eat all of them.

Yet – somehow, I find TJ’s 100% Rye to be PERFECT for my needs.

  • It gives me the carbohydrates I need to not die of sadness; AND YET…
  • I can stop eating it when I want to.

…I think that’s because unlike many commercial breads, it’s not designed specifically to addict you. Evidence? 

…the short ingredients list. 

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Unlike most commercial breads, TJ’s Rye contains zero percent crack.

So even though TJ’s Rye isn’t #1 in taste, it’s number 1 in my heart. More reasons:

  • The taste IS very good (but see pro-tips below)
  • It’s PERFECT for avocado toast (See recipe: “Avocado Toast on Fleek“)
  • High Satiety Factor
    • 100 calories
    • 3 grams fiber
    • 3 grams protein
  • It has NO artificial colors or preservatives
  • It keeps well in the freezer

Pro-tips:

  • This bread tastes a bit weird unless toasted. I toast it on a pan, either:
    • uncoated; or
    • lightly coated with non-stick Coconut Oil spray
  • This bread can be EXTREMELY crumbly, especially when not toasted. 
  • In general, I’ve found that breads from Trader Joe’s have fewer (or different) preservatives than your standards breads. Meaning, they will go bad more quickly than most.
    • Keep it in the fridge or freezer
    • Note: I haven’t had this specific problem with this specific bread, so maybe it’s fine. I have had other breads from TJ’s go bad VERY quickly.

If you have bread issues like I do, then give it a try. It might be a decent bread that you can eat regularly without gorging yourself.

If you don’t have a Trader Joe‘s near you, but you have another bread you recommend for these same reasons – share the wealth!

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A Diet Pill State of Mind

Between the ages of 12 and 16, my friends and I use to hunt down 18 year old boys in the mall. And not because we wanted their AOL screen names. We needed someone with I.D. to buy us diet pills.

I suppose eighteen year old boys like prepubescent girls, because we scored plenty of pills. In all fairness, I got my first period by age 10, so by 13, I easily looked 45.

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me, aged 13

..Those poor chumps probably thought they were helping out some nice MILF or widow.

Specifically, I recall:

  • Stackers;
  • Stacker II’s; and
  • Slim Quick (aka “slim death.”)

The ingredient I sought most = ephedra. Especially when stacked with caffeine.

Even at that age, we knew that most diet pills were BS. We had experience, and we had the beginnings of the internet.

DNA helix inside pill capsules

“No snake oil pills for me, my friend. I have dial-up.” 

Stacker II (with ephedra) was my jam. It was the only real pill. You could tell by the involuntary hand tremors and headaches. And also by how quickly it was pulled of the market.

…No worries – you could still score travel size bottles of the original formula at unscrupulous news stands for about a year after it was pulled.

At some point during this time…

I’m in the car with my mom on a warm Spring day. We’re driving past the recreation center, and I’m telling her about these new chips I bought at CVS.  They’re called Lays WOW! Chips and they have so few calories that I’ll probably eat a few bags.

Mom tries one. They DO taste good. “Can you get me these if you see them at Sam’s Club?” I ask.

Lays Wow! Chips contained a magical ingredient called Olestra (aka Olean). Olestra is a fat substitute that adds zero calories to foods. Zero ! ZERO !!!!!!

 

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90’s Kids – do you remember these chips? 

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You might recognize them from the warning on the bag..

In exchange for zero calories, Olestra blocks essential vitamins and minerals from entering you. Essentially, eating these chips will give you malabsorption.

For optimists, this is excellent news. Why wait 30+ years to develop IBS, Chrohns, or bowel cancer? ..You can experience painful bloody stool within hours, no strings attached. In related news, here are Lays Wow! Chips topping off a list of Five Foods that Cause Anal Leakage. Arguably, this is not a list that any major food product should aspire to…

Let’s not miss the silver linings here. Low calories = good. Fatty taste = awesome. And while anal leakage sucks, it might contribute to even more weight loss!

A Diet Pill State of Mind

Why have I shared these two anecdotes together in one post? 

Well, riddle me this…

..In the epic quest for weight loss, does it really MATTER  whether you rely on death pills as opposed to POTATO CHIPS THAT OPENLY MAKE YOUR ASS BLEED?!

Really, these two stories are the same. They illustrate the 26 years I spent searching for a magical weight loss solution. And yet all of that time, beautiful, delicious, colorful whole foods were right under my nose.

The Diet Pill Mindset

These stories reflect what I call the “Diet Pill State of Mind.”
..And in my experience, it’s not a helpful mindset to have.

Does this mean that you absolutely MUST take a 100% whole foods based approach to weight loss? No! …It doesn’t mean anything.

I think you can lose weight fast, OR you can lose weight slow. You can lose weight:

  • doing paleo
  • doing weight watchers
  • drinking slim fast shakes
  • eating nothing but pickles
  • drinking your own urine
  • doing isogenix
  • eating nothing but three pretzels all day long for 17 days straight

I don’t know what the right thing is for you. Because:

  • I don’t know where you are starting,
  • I don’t know HOW you became overweight in the first place; AND
  • I don’t know what your goals are

I also believe that weight loss is very different from weight maintenance.

When it comes to weight loss, I say do what works for you. Who cares how crazy or stupid  it is, provided that:

  • it doesn’t give you nutritional deficiencies; and
  • it doesn’t give you an electrolyte imbalance ; and
  • it doesn’t kill you

BUT! When it comes to maintenance, you MUST get onto whole foods. You can’t waste your beautiful life dieting. You need to (mostly) eat foods that come from the earth.

Another Thing I know

As you can see, I don’t know much. But what I DO know is this: a diet pill state of mind was NOT helpful for me.

..I needed to get on to whole foods in order to experience what I believe humans beings are meant to experience when it comes to food and satiety.

Slowly ridding myself of processed foods was the ONLY thing that worked for me. And I hope you find what works for you.

Here are a few articles that might help:

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Reading with Your Ears

Books are such a gift. Aside from that chocolate crispy layer of an ice cream cake, there is NOTHING better on this planet than listening to a great book while going for a nice walk.

It doesn’t hurt that this is my view:

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Audiobooks and Podcasts

Audiobooks and podcasts are FANTASTIC tools when it comes to achieving your fitness goals. This is especially true if you’re not the biggest fan of exercise. For more details on why, check out my post on Temptation Bundling and also my Serial Challenge for Gym Haters.

You don’t have to suffer while you exercise. If you keep a healthy diet, a nice walk with a book is just fine to keep you in shape.

Additional benefits:

  • For awkward people – You’ll always have new things to talk about
  • For premature geriatrics – Music is loud
  • For people who hate exercise – A compelling book means a 30 minute walk becomes two hours
  • For people who want to impress other people – Your friends will wonder how you got so fit AND so smart

Pro-Tips

Pro-tip: If you’re buying from Audible.com, listen to a sample first. Make sure you like the narration.

Pro-pro-tip: Audiobooks are expensive. Many local libraries provide free remote access to a wide variety of audiobooks.  Call your library to find out if they offer this service.

Here is my audio-reading list from the past few months:

  • “Bold” by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
  • “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan
  • “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan
  • “Go Wild” by John Ratey & David Perlmutter
  • “Thinking in Pictures” by Temple Grandin
  • “The Autistic Brain” by Temple Grandin

I highly recommend any of the books from this list. I especially enjoyed the Temple Grandin books.

If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear.  My preference is non-fiction, but I’m open.

And now, for my walk 🙂

Happy “reading”!

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