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The idea of pessimism can be incredible. I would say it is unanimously considered to be a “negative” trait in a person should they be a pessimist.

The traditional definition of pessimism is a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen; a lack of hope or confidence in people and the future. Wow that sounds terrible.

I must respectfully disagree. Now, I will attempt to convince you as to why I am not a negative Nancy.

A typical way to approach another is to expect the absolute most of them. Particularly in colleagues, family members, friends and even strangers. People should do their jobs well (we say), family members should treat us with care and respect (we say), friends should honor their commitments and be reliable and truthful (we say), and even strangers, we expect and assume a level of kindness and politeness from them.

Although this is a very optimistic outlook on our brothers and sisters, it is oddly setting us up for anger, disappointment and frustration. Colleagues make mistakes. Family members disrespect us. Friends flake out and hurt our feelings. Strangers are rude. We know this happens, and it happens ALL the time.

What if we decided to take a different outlook.

What if we expected our colleagues to make mistakes. Anticipated family members making rude and disrespectful statements. What if we assumed friends would bail out on dinner plans, and had an expectation that strangers were rude and unfriendly. Yes, this seems bleak to have these expectations of others, but the interesting twist is your emotional surprise when they exceed expectations. You are setting yourself up to be overjoyed with your colleague’s level of work ethic. Thrilled that a family member treated you with care and respect. Delighted when friends follow through on their commitments, and ultimately flattered when a stranger greets you warmly.

Essentially, you are pleasantly surprised when humanity exceeds your expectations, and you are not disappointed when they act up and make mistakes, like everyone does.

I would say the most important expectation is the one you set for yourself, due to the fact that your actions and decisions are entirely within your control. What you do, what you say, how you respond and react are all choices over which you have control. Set the bar VERY high for yourself. Be incredibly kind, overly delightful, have an indomitable work ethic, and a unwavering moral compass.

Expect the status quo from others, and help them grow and improve over time.  If there is a chance to influence or change a person’s poor mindset or attitude—with a conversation, with your own actions, with a little more context or explanation on your end—then take it. But if there isn’t, accept this person as they are. Don’t hate the haterDon’t throw more time after a lost cause. Our job is tough enough already. We don’t have time to think about what other people are thinking, even if it’s about us.

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I am currently in the midst of reading the book Switch authored by Chip and Dan Heath. I am 12 pages in, and I felt compelled to put my thoughts down on paper. Simply put: the book is fascinating.

The first 12 pages discuss the idea of changing behavior, and why it’s so difficult for most people.

The Heath Brothers essentially call everyone schizophrenic, and with good cause. They divvy up the brain into two parts, with a useful analogy from another book: The Happiness Hypothesis, into the Emotional part (the elephant), and the Rational part (the rider).

The rider holds the reigns as he sits on top of the elephant. He appears to be leading the elephant, and dictating which direction that they both move. However, the rider is so small, and the elephant ultimately has control over which direction the two of them go. If the rider and the elephant get into a disagreement as to which way to go, he (the rider) is powerless to stop the gigantic elephant, and will ultimately lose every time.

So how does this analogy of a man riding an elephant relate to willpower? That’s a great question. Let’s talk about that.

Consider the following scenario.

Researchers asked college students to participate in an interesting study that tested will power.

2 groups of students walked into a room that smelled AMAZING (a prerequisite for participating in this study was that the students had to enter the room after not having eaten for several hours). In the middle of the room sat two bowls on a table.

The first bowl was filled with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

The second bowl was filled with radishes.

Group 1 could only eat the cookies.

Group 2 could only eat the radishes.

The researchers said “You have to eat only what is in your group’s bowl. You cannot eat out of the other groups bowl.”

Group 1 was all like: “That sounds fantastic.”

Group 2 was all like: “This is the worst study ever.”

The researchers were testing will power. They left the students alone for quite a while, and then they came back. Both groups had followed the rules: Group 1 only ate cookies. Group 2 only ate radishes.

Then, a new group of researchers did something very interesting. They came into the room, and presented a puzzle to each student in each group. The researchers were sly and said that “they wanted to see if college students were better at finishing this puzzle than high school students.” So, naturally the spry, cocky college students were eager to show up the imaginary high schoolers.

The puzzle was, by design, impossible to finish, but what the researchers wanted to see was:

Did the radish eating group that had to restrain themselves from eating the cookies perform differently from the group that had free reign on eating freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, and had to expend virtually zero self-control?

The answer was yes..

Group 2 (radish group) spent 8 minutes trying to figure out the puzzle before giving up.

Group 1 (cookie group) spend over 2x; 19 minutes, trying to figure out the puzzle before giving up.

Very interesting.

A quote from the initial pages of the book switch will wrap this discussion up:

“They ran out of self control. In studies like this one, psychologiests have discovered that self-control is an exhaustible resource. Similar to sets at a gym, your first repetition is easy. Your muscles are fresh. But with each additional repetition, your muscles get more exhausted, until you can’t lift the weight anymore. The radish eaters had drained their self-control by resisting the cookies. So, when their internal elephants (emotional side) started complaining about the puzzle task — it’s too hard, this isn’t fun, we aren’t good at this, we’re hungry–Their riders didn’t have enough strength to yank on the reigns for more than eight minutes. Meanwhile, the cookie eaters had a fresh, untaxed rider atop their elephant, and fought off the complaints of their elephant for 19 minutes. Self control is an exhaustible resource”

I’ll leave it at that. Think about this in your own life.

Have you ever slept in after hitting snooze 12 times, overeaten, procrastinated, tried to quit something and failed, missed a workout, said/did something that you regret after getting angry, abandoned a hobby because you didn’t have time?

I’m going to read about the 3 ways to control the rider and the elephant, and I’ll summarize that for you soon.

For now, eliminate the unnecessary laboring over reversible decisions.

Lay your clothes out the night before. Have your breakfast for the next morning predetermined. Minimize your options for eating out. If the decision is reversible, do not lament over the choice. Make the damn decision and move on. Save your will power and self control for the decisions that matter.

Until next time.

 

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The following is a lesson that really hit home for me that I read today from Precision Nutrition coaching.

In essence, it asks the reader to figure out what is progress? What are you ACTUALLY trying to accomplish as a result of X? This could be nutrition. This could be exercise. This could be meditation. Hell, this could be trying to rekindle a damaged relationship, or pursuing a career path.

The article below is specific to health and wellness, but it can be applied to all aspects of life.

Please enjoy:

Imagine you’ve already changed

Imagine that tonight, as you sleep, your world magically changes.

You wake up tomorrow morning with everything you’ve ever wanted.

Every life change, every goal, everything you’ve ever strived for has been achieved.

You don’t how know this wondrous transformation occurred — you were asleep, after all — but you know it’s perfect.

You open your eyes, yawn, and look around.

Now answer a question for us:

How will you know that your life has changed? Which things are different?

What is “progress”?

If you’re going somewhere, how will you know when you get there?

And how will you know that you’re on track to your destination?

At PN (Precision Nutrition), we like to focus on three important measures of progress:

  • Body composition: How much lean mass and body fat do you have?
  • Health: Are your body systems operating well?
  • Fitness and athletic performance: How do you perform in the gym or in your chosen activities?

In other words: How do you look, feel, and perform?

On your measurement days, we ask for body weight, body girths, and photos. While these numbers are helpful, they’re only a small part of what you’ll improve in PN Coaching.

For instance, using the three measures of progress above, you might also improve:

  • strength
  • your blood profile (e.g., triglycerides, cholesterol)
  • speed
  • work capacity
  • recovery
  • immune system

You’re here for your own reasons.

Your journey — and your body — is unique.

What counts as “progress” to you will be different than what determines “progress” for someone else.

Track other kinds of progress

It’s hard to see “progress” in daily life because you see yourself every day.

But you can easily measure other types of progress, depending on your goals:

  • Can you lift 10 pounds more today than you could last month?
  • Can you run 5 minutes longer than you could last week?
  • Have you been virus-free this year — after getting 6 colds last year?
  • Has your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol gone down from your last blood test?

While these are “hard facts”, other types of progress are intangible. And some can really surprise you.

For instance, here’s what some of our previous clients said improved:

  • “I walk tall now.”
  • “My posture is better.”
  • “I’m so much happier on the inside.”
  • “I’ve become a better father / husband.”
  • “I feel healthy.”
  • “I feel confident in my food decisions.”
  • “I’m more organized.”
  • “I’m stronger…inside and out.”
  • “I’m determined.”
  • “I’m more focused.”

Track what’s important to YOU

PN Coaching is YOUR journey. So track what’s important and meaningful to YOU.

Ask yourself:

  • What will tell me that I am getting better at doing what I want to do?
  • How do I know I’m on track to my Destination Postcard?
  • If I get what I want, how will I know?

Look for progress everywhere

You never know where progress may lurk. Keep an open mind, and hunt for it.

You’ll find that it’s easier to let yourself go slowly if you can find small signs of everyday progress.

 

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This is just a life update I wanted to share with the world.

So I’ve been given the privilege of being a part of a Precision Nutrition coaching group.

It’s a one year program geared towards consistent behavioral change, and practicing these behavioral changes as it relates to nutrition and lifestyle. Long story short: It’s effective and impossible to fail if you give it the time of day.

Every few weeks you get ONE habit. One habit to master. The first one was “making time” to simply read the lessons, which take about 5 minutes.

(More info at http://www.precisionnutrition.com/)

Long story short, my second habit is “Eating Slowly”. So, naturally I take the challenge on head first as a cocky fitness professional.

The goal is to add 5 minutes to your meals, and eat with ZERO distractions. No phone. No laptops. No television. Initially, not even conversation if it interferes with your awareness and mindfulness of what you are doing: eating slowly. Savoring every bite.

It’s ridiculously challenging for me. I ate 7 scrambled eggs, 6 sausage links and drank 2 cup of coffee in 6 minutes. The goal over time is 20-30 minutes per meal. Savoring EVERY BITE.

I realized my time allotment to eating reflects accurately the way in which I eat: typically 2-3 breaths per meal, whilst checking e-mail and watching “This is us” with my beautiful fiance.

One lesson that will make you understand just how interesting, and highly valuable this platform is, would be an exercise in patience and awareness from my recent lesson plan which you will find below:

_________________________________________________________________________________________

“Eat a raisin… really, really slowly

At some point in the next few days, grab a handful of raisins. (If you hate raisins, try dried cranberries, fresh berries, or a few chunks of fresh fruit.)

Book 15 minutes with no interruptions or distractions to complete the following task.

(If you can’t find 15 quiet minutes alone, then either you’re a father of a newborn, you’re in a trench in a war zone, or you may want to re-evaluate some things in your life.)

Set your raisins out in front of you and look at them. Pick one up and inspect it closely. Notice how each raisin is unique.

Sniff the raisin. Does it smell like anything? If yes, what? Can you identify the scent?

Pop the raisin into your mouth. Roll it around a bit, feeling the texture.

Bite into it. Notice what happens to your taste buds. Chew it slowly. Does the taste change as you chew? Chew the raisin 15 times.

Then swallow the raisin and repeat with the rest of the raisins.

Observe carefully

After doing this exercise, ask yourself:

What did I notice?
What did I experience?
Don’t worry — we aren’t going to make you eat all your meals like this!

This exercise simply shows you how much more you can experience and enjoy your food when you slow down, pay attention, and eat mindfully.”

_________________________________________________________________________________________

It’s incredible. I did this with a salad from Panera Bread. I took 22 minutes. Probably the longest single course meal I have ever had in my adult life. Those salads typically don’t satisfy me, and this time I was completely content following a mindful eating protocol.

It’s a very simple way to not over eat, and actually pay attention to what you are eating. If I successfully eat like this, I never find myself wanting second plates, or even dessert. Try it and I am sure you won’t either.

It makes sense. My body has time to recognize that I am eating, rather than me shoveling 3 plates of food in to my mouth before it even reaches my stomach. (Read more about the process of digestion here)

Do it and think about every bite you take. Every time you chew. The flavors. The textures. How delicious (or maybe disgusting) your meal is.

Just try it. An easy quote from my current lesson to summarize this is: “Eat slowly and deliberately without distraction”.

I’ll be back with another update at some point. Until then, my habit is to eat my food more like a koala, and less like a vacuum cleaner.

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Original Props to Fat Head Pizza

I missed pizza when I started eating in a low-carbohydrate fashion. Crustless pizza was garbage. This crust was a life saver (not to mention absolutely delicious), and I only recently came across it.

You will need:

Parchment Paper
Whole milk mozzarella cheese
Full fat cream cheese
Almond meal/flour
Eggs
Garlic Salt or any seasonings you like in a bread/dough (basil, oregano, salt, pepper are good ideas)

In a large bowl, add:

1 1/2 cups whole milk mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp Full fat cream cheese
(microwave above ingredients for ~90sec, mix with a fork, microwave for another 90s).

While microwaving, prep a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Then, to the bowl of recently melted mozzarella and cream cheese add:
3/4 cup almond meal/flour
1 egg

  • Wet hands with warm water, and then mix above ingredients into a big dough ball (adding seasonings if desired here)
  • Spread the dough onto the cookie sheet with parchment paper into desired shape
    • Usually one serving of this stuff will fill half of a standard cookie sheet in a rectangular shape. You could always be like me and make 2 servings, fill up the cookie sheet, and have pizza for days, for 4 people, or for 1 Mike Wernert.
  • Add Garlic Salt & additional seasonings on top if not during the dough mixing process.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes at 425 degrees
    • Check every few minutes for bubbling, and poke holes in the bubbles with a fork, unless you like inconsistent, weirdly shaped crust/bread.
    • ***WHILE COOKING, saute any desired pizza toppings in a skillet (I usually add basil, oregano, salt & pepper to these toppings, and it works quite well)
  • Pull out of the oven once its browning and has risen slightly, but keep the oven on
  • Add desired sauces, cheeses, oils, and recently prepped toppings from skillet
  • Place back into the oven until cheese melts (maybe 5 or so minutes).
  • Remove from oven, let it sit for a few minutes on top of a towel on a counter top
  • Cut it up into desired shapes/sizes, and eat all of it. It’s freaking amazing.

Nutritional info in entire pizza dough portion (based on my math from nutritional labels):

  • 1 egg = 5g fat, 6g pro, 0 cho (carbohydrates)
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese = 10g fat, 2g pro, 1g cho
  • 3/4 cup almond flour = 45g fat, 21g pro, 15g cho (9g fiber)
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese = 48g fat, 42g protein, 0g cho

Totaling:

  • 110g Fat (990 kcal)
  • 16g Carbohydrate  (64 kcal)
    • 9g Fiber
  • 71g Protein (284 kcal)
  •  1,338 kcals
  • 74% Fat, 21% Protein, 5% Carbohydrate

Yay low-carb pizza. Fat bombbbbbb.

Enjoy!

 

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This excerpt comes from Dr. Seth Roberts. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California-Berkeley and  at Tsinghua University. I originally came across this piece in The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss (which I HIGHLY recommend reading) and found it incredibly eye-opening.

The initial segments of the chapter that Dr. Roberts wrote discusses his path to better sleep (by simply standing more often) and curing his own acne (by simply changing his diet). He walks through a very clearly outlined and simple methodology as to how to analyze and identify cause-and-effect/trial-and-error as it relates to (whether on purpose or on accident) self-experimentation. Ultimately, this is about taking matters in to your own hands, and telling you why you should consider doing so.

The text I will be referencing perfectly highlights why conventional research will never test the simple, low-tech and low-cost interventions, because there is no money to be made in such areas.

Dr. Roberts states:

“Acne illustrates the problem. The dermatological party belief is that diet doesn’t cause acne. According to a website of the American Academy of Dermatology, ‘extensive scientific studies’ show that it’s a ‘myth’ that ‘acne is caused by diet’. According to ‘guidelines for care’ for dermatologists published in 2007, ‘dietary restriction (of either specific foods or food classes) has not been demonstrated to be of benefit in the treatment of acne’. But in fact, there is overwhelming evidence linking diet and acne. Starting in the 1970s, a Connecticut doctor named William Danby collected evidence linking dairy consumption and acne; it is telling that Danby wasn’t a professional scientist. When his patients gave up dairy, it often helped (their acne). In 2002, six scientists (not one a dermatologist) published a paper with the Weston Price-like conclusion that two isolated groups of people (Kitava Islanders and Ache hunter-gatherers) had no acne at all. These six scientists had examined more than 1,000 subjects over the age of 10 and found no acne. When these groups of people left their communities and ate differently, they did get acne. These observations suggested that a lot of acne–maybe all of it–can be cured and prevented by diet.

Why is the official line (of dermatologists) so wrong? Because painstaking research needed to show the many ways diet causes acne is the sort of research that professional researchers can’t do and won’t do. They can’t do it because the research would be to hard to fund (no one makes money when patients avoid dairy) and because the trial-and-error involved would take too long to complete per publication/study. They don’t want do it because it would be low-tech, low-cost and very useful–and therefore low status. While research doctors in other specialties study high-tech expensive treatments, they would be doing low-cost studies analyzing the cause-and-effect of what happens when you avoid certain foods. Humiliating. Colleagues in other specialties might make fun of them. So, to justify their avoidance of embarrassment, the whole profession tells the rest of us, based on ‘extensive scientific studies,’ that black is white. Self-experimentation allows acne sufferers to ignore the strange claims of dermatologists, and not to mention their dangerous drugs (such as Accutane). Persons with acne can simply change their diets until they figure out what foods cause the acne problems (and they are far more self-motivated to do so!).”

I’ll wrap this post up with a few more quotes just to keep your brain going:

“All of life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”

– Richard Feynman

“Often the less there is to justify a traditional custom or a traditional wisdom, the harder it is to get rid of it.”

– Mark Twain

Until next time.

 

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P.A.G.G

Daily:
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: AGG
Bed: PAG (no ECGC)

Dosing:
Policosanol: 20-25mg
ALA: 100-300mg
Green Tea Extract: 325mg+ ECGC
Garlic Extract: 200mg+

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Bulletproof coffee is all the rage. Fat is back. Eat bacon like a glutton. Make it rain with pots of liquid, golden, REAL butter.

Anyways. Bulletproof coffee typically includes some combination of the following:

  • 8 oz high quality coffee
  • Coconut oil or MCT oil
  • Butter
  • Blend it all up, and you’ve got a very rich and creamy coffee that is very calorically dense, and can, depending on your diet of choice, keep you sated and full for hours.

I tend to make mine taste un-freaking-believable though. Don’t get me wrong, the coffee above isn’t bad, but mine blows it out of the scalding hot water.

Here is how I prep my twist on bulletproof coffee.

You will need:

  1. ~30g of chocolate whey protein (preferrably grass fed). Lucky’s Market (you local louisvillians) has some very good chocolate whey protein, and so does BlueBonnet on Amazon. However, the bluebonnet only needs 1 scoop (28 mornings of coffee per tub), rather than 2 of the lucky’s brand.
    • Obviously, if you have a brand you prefer, or a high-quality chocolate whey protein you already swear by, just use that! Pea, hemp, whatever. You do you, just make sure it’s around 25-30g.
    • The protein adds leaps and bounds of fullness and satiety to this recipe. It staves off hunger for hours, and only adds about 100-120kcal to the drink.
  2. 1 tsp cinnamon (aids in decreasing the glycemic response of the protein you use, and makes it taste fabulous).
  3. 2 tbsp (or more if you’re all about high fat diets; I use 4 tbsp) of grass-fed butter. I use Unsalted Kerrygold which can be found basically anywhere now, which is fantastic.
  4. 2 tbsp (or more, again, if you just love saturated fat and understand that it isn’t bad for you) of coconut oil (MCT oil is fine, but coconut oil lasts FOREVER and seems to be much cheaper, and melts all the same when you pour coffee over it).
  5. 1 cup of coffee (which will just be poured over the above ingredients).

bulletproofcoffeeI don’t blend it. Blenders are big, and annoying, and loud, and you have to clean them, and their just blah.

I mix it inside of a Stanley Thermos. I add ingredients 1-4 into my thermos, while my coffee is brewing. Then, once the coffee is done, I simply pour the coffee over the fat, protein and cinnamon, until its about 1/2 inch from the top of the cup, then seal the lid, and shake!

  • WARNING: When you first seal it and begin shaking, keep a finger on top of the lid, and only shake about 20-30 times. Then open the lid to release the pressure within. If you shake it like 1,000 times and then open it to take your first drink, it will explode violently (trust me) and you will take a fat bomb to the face.
  • Do not fill it to the brim either. That’s just silly.
  • Seal it, shake it 20-30 times, pop the lid and release the pressure, and then reseal and shake for about 30-45 additional seconds.
  • Following the mixture of all components, prepare for the most wonderful, fatty, rich and chocolatey cup of coffee you have ever had. It tastes like french toast.

Enjoy!

 

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Simple Taco Seasoning!

I am simply posting this so that I can easily find it on the internet. I have a horribly organized notes section on my iPhone, and feel that this will be easier to reference for the future. Simple, real ingredients to make a taco seasoning (per lb of ground beef).

I make this each meal, but it could simply be made several times over and stored in a Tupperware for consistent use!

2 TBSP Chili Powder

1 TBSP Oregano Flakes

1 TBSP Cumin Powder

1 TBSP Paprika (optional if you aren’t a fan of spicy)

1 TBSP Onion Powder

1 TBSP Garlic Powder

…and a dash of salt and pepper to taste!

Throw this on top of your browned ground beef, and add about 1/4-1/3 cup of water. Let it simmer for a few minutes, while mix it around a few times, and ta-da! Chow down. Usable on steak and vegetables as well!

TacoSaladI tend to pile it on top of a bed of greens, fajita veggies, black or refried beans, sliced avocado, a bit of shredded cheese, and a gorgeous, full fat dollop of sour cream to finish it off.

You do you though.

Enjoy.

 

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