Goals for 2017

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Happy New Year !

My goal for 2016 was simple : get back into exercise, be lean again, and clean up diet.

I got with a group of friends to start running during the summer, and do routinely 35 km per week (5k, 10k, and 21k). The performance were good.. until it started snowing. Surprisingly, I like running in the snow in the woods. It’s a good time to reset the clock and I feel fresh after the run… although completely frozen.

Weight is under control, leaner than my martial art days. That’s something I’m not going to complain about.

For diet, I stopped eating processed foods and 90% of my foods come from cooking. Of course, there are foods like chocolate, soya products or bread that I can’t make at home. But the whole adventure has been fun: discovering all kinds of vegetables and fruits, knowing how to prepare them, and experiment with different recipes.

The year wasn’t perfect. I had to go a dozen times to the dentist, for cavities I delayed. This is extremely costly in Canada, where health insurance doesn’t cover dental costs. I’m still learning how to control blood sugar. Oh good times 🙂

The new year is upon us – and it’s time to start fresh. An opportunity to start new projects, to look forward, and reach for the stars. Because why not. Better be young, hungry and scrappy.

My goals for 2017 are simple: train for a marathon (amongst others), continue sharing good knowledge here, and continue working on applications and platforms like OutcomeReference. I hope to share the journey here and create a good community along the way. I also hope you succeed in your goals and have a happy, healthy 2017!

Of course, these goals won’t be possible without good foundations. When people start a new year, it’s about joining a gym and start lifting weights. Or join an aerobics class. Or maybe trying a new diet. If I have a suggestion, it’s to take a holistic view and remember that exercise alone won’t solve health issues. All these make a good foundation:

  • Moderate exercise (a good 90mn per week) will burn the fat, give you energy, and improve your immune system. Simply you can’t do without.
  • Diet is the response to any weight issues (and probably many other issues). If any doubt, look at the Mediterranean diet: olive oil, legumes, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and the occasional fish
  • Manage your stress. Stress can wreak havoc in your circadian rhythms, make you age faster, and make your life miserable, without you knowing it. Listen to music, take one or two hours completely off every week, spend time with friends.
  • And be conscious of environmental factors like indoor air pollution or chemicals exposure.

Of course, you can do more than these bare minimum foundations. If you have interesting ideas for 2017, let me know !

Looking out for each other

I’m going to make this quick.

It’s trendy to work on a beach in Thailand or in Bali for the winter.

It’s acceptable to move out to another city for your dream job. Not a lot of people think about it twice.

It’s fashionable to travel around the world and move around with just a backpack.

It’s ok to travel all the time and go see customers and prospects all around the country.

We fulfill our quest for self actualization.

That’s the American Dream and that’s what favorite Instagrammers and Youtubers like to talk about.

We lose out though on one important thing: having people around us who care.

I think this is something that’s rarely talked about and underestimated.

Have people around you who look out will help you when you move out with the heavy boxes. They will encourage you to see the doctor when you are coughing blood or when you have to go through a chemo session. They will also be there to support when you lose your job – knowing that otherwise you will finish that bottle of vodka and be filled with sadness. They will hug you when you’re going through a rough time with your spouse.

Looking out for each other is not as fashionable as getting a new iPhone. It’s not as exciting as going for a trip to Indonesia. But it might save your life next time you are faced with a challenge. And it will make you happy.

So if you want to spend 6 months to be a digital nomad, what if instead the better option is investing time and attention in friends? Inviting friends for a dinner at home and caring for them is less expensive than the air ticket and it will be definitively worth it in the long term.

This is true today. And it will still be true in 10 years.

So Look out for each other!

OutcomeReference.com : Linking Nutrition, Exercise and life choices to Health Outcomes

 

What is the ideal diet? What types of exercise should you do? What should you undertake to prevent mental disease? Those are common questions asked by millions of blogs and even more people every day, worldwide.

Unlike mathematics, there is no single answer. Delving into scientific studies such as those aggregated on pubmed help to separate the good from the bad. You type a keyword such as “diabetes” and it will show papers studying diabetes. However, this is not easy:

  • Health studies are published for scientists. Readability is low and challenging for those without relevant education
  • The vast majority of health studies are behind a “pay-wall”
  • There are different types of trial designs, from meta-analysis, double-blind randomized trials, cohort studies etc. Furthermore, the number of subjects vary wildly between studies, as well as age, weight range, athleticism of subjects, or study length. It takes a good eye to know which study has a better design and which ones are relevant to your case.
  • Studies on the same subject can use different metrics or biomarkers, making direct comparisons difficult
  • Studies on the same subject and with the same methodology can have conflicting results
  • Health studies, especially in nutrition, can be funded by corporations and have bias.

All these contribute to confusion. Media and bloggers then interpret findings to their likings, further increasing confusion.

Because of these issues, I have developed a reference portal OutcomeReference

OutcomeReference is a FREE, easy-to-use reference website aiming to show clearly the outcome of your health choices. 

Continue reading “OutcomeReference.com : Linking Nutrition, Exercise and life choices to Health Outcomes”

Good stress and Bad stress, Part I

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History of Stress

The term stress was borrowed from physics by the first stress researcher Hans Selye.  In physics, stress describes the force that produces strain on a physical body (i.e.: bending a piece of metal until it snaps occurs because of the force, or stress, exerted on it).

Hans Selye noticed that all his patients, regardless of disease, all looked under duress. He decided to name “stress”.

Continue reading “Good stress and Bad stress, Part I”

Saying No To Passive Entertainment

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How do you make everything happen? There’s work, money, friends and family, exercise, nutrition, sleep. So much to do, so little time.

My advice would be to drastically cut passive entertainment.

This is when you undertake an activity with little physical and mental activity. This goes from TV, Netflix, Youtube, social media to video games and drugs etc.

Continue reading “Saying No To Passive Entertainment”

Managing Your Physical Condition with Heart Rate Variability

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In a previous post, resting heart rate was shown to reflect physical and mental condition. A low resting heart rate correlates with good health compared to a high resting heart rate.

It becomes complex when you consider age. Older people have lower resting heart rate. And individuals with the same age, nutrition and overall fitness level can have vastly different heart rates. For instance, my maximum heart rate when running is around 172bpm while a friend has 200bpm, with the same heart rate sensor. It does not mean however that I am more or less fit than others.

Continue reading “Managing Your Physical Condition with Heart Rate Variability”

Accepting Imperfection

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One of my training goal is to be able to run 5 km in less than 20 minutes before the end of 2016.

I like a lot the idea of this goal. During the day, I would already imagine my legs powering me forward, the wind flowing, and the constant battle against the watch. I was already eager on sharing my success everywhere.

Recently, it started snowing. Sidewalks become a sliding game, shoes become soggy and fingers are frozen. And what was once beautiful green trails become cold, dark and snow paths like above. Result: I loose half of my speed!

Continue reading “Accepting Imperfection”