Don’t Be a Scroll Zombie

Instagram. Snapchat. Facebook. Twitter.

These are the most popular social media sites.  They generate endless content that is constantly refreshed every time you pull down the screen.

You see that picture of somebody at the beach.  You see another on a different vacation.  Somebody else is having a baby.  Another is graduating with their next degree.  Your best friend got that new job at that big company.

All of these sites have one thing in common:  They constantly fill a “feed” with new content from your friends, families, and companies that you follow.

But they also have something else in common.

They turn you into a “Scroll Zombie.” 

They turn you into a mindless content consumer that opens their app and scrolls down to refresh their feed at every down time.

In a room with a couple of friends? Refresh and scroll.  In a crowded social setting where you don’t know anyone? Refresh and scroll.  Out to lunch with your significant other? Refresh and scroll.

That doesn’t mean that social networks are bad.  There is so much great content and knowledge to be discovered and spread through these networks.  People maintain relationships, build new ones, and rekindle old ones all alike on these social networks.

But our obsession with constantly scrolling for new content is growing by the day, and slowly affecting our outlook on life, ourselves, and our place in this world.

We see the updates of the people around us, and we feel ourselves wanting for more.  We see other people enjoying success and wish that it was us instead.

Becoming a “Scroll Zombie” that unconsciously and habitually checks for new content at every spare moments leaves us empty and unsatisfied.

All hope is not lost.  There is an answer to this plight that is plaguing modern society.

Deliberate, intentional living.

Choosing the life we live instead of having it chosen for us.

Choosing to use every moment of every day, to live a life of deliberate thoughts, words, and actions.

This is the core philosophy of Peak Lifestyle Design:  Choosing the life you live and creating a lifestyle that is designed specifically for you, to help you live your best life.

At the end of the day, life isn’t about living out somebody else’s plan.

You only have one life.  One life to live your best life.  One life to fuel your passions, accomplish your goals, and live out your dreams.

An old football coach used to say, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”

If you want to live a life of satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness, you have to start with step one: choose to live your life instead of having it chosen for you.

Shut-down social media for a day.  See the difference in your life.  See how much more time you have.  See how much more room you have to think.

Then try 3 days. Then a week. Then try something even crazier:  tell yourself you’ll check it at a set time each day, and then power it down.

Stop watching other people live their lives, and start living yours.  Design YOUR Peak Lifestyle, the best lifestyle you can live, and start living it out each day.  All it takes is one small step, and you’ll be climbing up the mountain to your Peak Lifestyle before you know it.

Look around on this site for ideas about where to focus, how to start designing your life, and why you should.

If this post adds value to your life, please leave a like on it to help spread the message and support the movement of intentional, deliberate living and the philosophy of Peak Lifestyle Design.  

Comment below and share your experience of powering down social media and getting more out of life.

The Whole(ish) Foods,$11/Week Lunch Meal Prep

I wanted to follow up to the Meal Prep Sunday post.  Here is the meal prep that I posted:

IMG_0794

This is for my wife and I for Monday – Friday, breakfast and lunch.  Looking specifically at the lunches, I’m going to detail my lunch and provide a breakdown on components, cost, and time it took to create it.

Lunch:

  • $2.30/meal
  • $11.52/week

Cost/Components:

  1. ($1.29) Strawberries
  2. ($.99) Blackberries
  3. ($.89) Cucumber
  4. ($1.49) Red/Orange/Yellow Peppers
  5. ($.49) Bread
  6. $(.89) Peanut Butter
  7. $(2.49) Almonds
  8. $(2.99) Hummus

Time/Procedure:

  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Procedure:
    • I tried to keep it as simple as possible.  I washed off the:
      • Strawberries
      • Blackberries
      • Cucumber
      • Red/Orange/Yellow Peppers
    • Then, I cut the:
      • Strawberries
      • Cucumber
      • Peppers
    • After cutting the fruits and vegetables, I distributed them equally amongst the meal prep containers.
    • Then, I made the peanut butter sandwiches. I cut them in half to fit in the containers.
    • Finally, I distributed the almonds evenly amongst the containers.
    • I closed the lid, then put my pre-packaged hummus on top of them in the fridge.

And voila! I completed the meal prep.

I would suggest this meal prep to anybody looking for a healthy, simple, and affordable meal prep that requires no cooking and working in plenty of whole and whole(ish) foods.

For full disclosure, the price is split between 2 people. For example, the bread was really $.89, but I only used half of the loaf for my sandwiches.  Therefore, I prorated the math for one person instead of two.

Also, the groceries were all purchased at Aldi.  The cost of fruits and vegetables can seasonally change, but the core ingredients should be comparable at similar stores.

Meal prep is the best step you can take to start Designing YOUR Peak Physical Lifestyle. Give it a try, and comment below how your experience goes.  Or, if you’ve meal prepped before, please share with me what preps you do and how you’ve enjoyed them.

If you’re tired of being a “Scroll Zombie” that is looking for something more in your life, follow Peak Lifestyle Design for updates about how you can start Designing YOUR Peak Lifestyle.  Also, please leave a like and comment below if this article added value to your life.

Meal Prep Sunday

The hardest part about eating healthy is convenience.

Eating healthy can seem like a chore.

It can be bland.  Unsatisfying. Difficult.  Expensive.

What do we do in response?  What do we do when we’ve made it through a long day of work, driving home, still having to make dinner?

We stop at the local fast food joint.  Or, we sit down at a restaurant.  We order that comfort dish.  We strive to get something that tastes good, is convenient, and most importantly: that we don’t have to cook.

However, eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard, inconvenient, or expensive.  You don’t have to be a gourmet chef with an expansive menu and spice cabinet to make Martha Stewart green with envy.

All you need to realize what you like, and make a plan to prepare it.

When I go to work in the week, I want my breakfast and lunch to be ready for the day.  I want to scoop it up, put it into my lunchbox, and be out the door.   I don’t want to think about it during the week.

The first step is planning what I like to eat.  Simple, whole(ish) foods is my top priority.  I want to get raw fruits and vegetables in my diet.  I also want to work in legumes, nuts, and whole grains.

My go-to lunch is very elementary:  strawberries, blackberries, cucumbers, red/yellow/orange peppers, hummus, almonds, and a peanut butter sandwich.  It’s quick to prepare, no utensils required, and I could eat it every day, 5 days per week, without getting tired of the variety and full flavors.

This is a simple meal prep that requires no cooking, but still hits a fair distribution of macronutrients and checks the boxes of whole(ish) foods.

A bonus is that it’s a very affordable meal prep.  When I did the math (I’ll break it down in a later post) it came up to $2.44/meal.  All of those whole foods, calories, and freshness for $2.44?  Sign me up.

Here’s what my meal prep ended up looking like:

IMG_0794.JPG

This is all a simple meal prep that anybody could do.

Here are the steps to a successful meal prep:

  1. Plan what you want to eat for breakfast and lunch for the week.
  2. Buy all of the ingredients.
  3. Create a plan to simultaneously prepare the breakfast and lunch.
    1. For example, I plan on cooking pasta for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday night while I do my breakfast and lunch meal prep.  Then, I’ll just need to do a prep on Wednesday night for the rest of the week and I’ll be squared away.
  4. Create your meal prep.

Try to have fun with creating your food.  I find it very relaxing and jam to my Spotify playlist when I’m making all of the food.  It’s almost therapeutic to set all of the meals as perfectly as I can.  The challenge of the “Instagram-worthy shot” is a fun mission I set out for myself.

The bottom line is meal prep is an essential component of Designing YOUR Peak Lifestyle.  It will help you eat healthier, save money, and get closer to living YOUR Peak Lifestyle.

Choose foods that you enjoy.  Keep it simple, with whole(ish) foods.  Add as much variety or keep as much monotony as you would like.

Don’t automatically follow somebody else’s meal prep and accept that it is going to work for you.  You have to prepare food that YOU want to eat, YOU’RE willing to prepare, and doing something that YOU WANT to be doing.

Meal prep is the best step you can take to start Designing YOUR Peak Physical Lifestyle. Give it a try, and comment below how your experience goes.  Or, if you’ve meal prepped before, please share with me what preps you do and how you’ve enjoyed them.

If you’re tired of being a “Scroll Zombie” that is looking for something more in your life, follow Peak Lifestyle Design for updates about how you can start Designing YOUR Peak Lifestyle.  Also, please leave a like and comment below if this article added value to your life.

 

How to Get Your Best Sleep Everyday

When you go to bed, you want to wake up refreshed and ready to face the day.

You want to do this consistently.

You want it to take the least amount of time, but the maximum amount of benefit.

However, if you’re like most people, you’re not getting the most out of your sleep.  You might be frustrated when you wake up in the morning and you don’t feel ready for the day.

Each morning turns into a hassle, each alarm clock alert a taunt as you struggle to open your eyes.  Your head rests against the side of your shower, and your eyes dangerously doze as you drive in on the morning commute.

Sound familiar?

The thing is, we all want better sleep.

The bad news?  Hardly any of us are getting the sleep that we deserve.

The good news? You can start getting better sleep tonight.  How?  By learning what different factors you need to monitor for your sleep.

Let’s start with the basics.

First, there is the quality versus quantity categories.  You’ll want to start by looking at the quantity first and quality second. 

Quantity is very simple.  You’ll need to experiment with how different amounts affect you.

The baseline recommendation is 8 hours of sleep per night for optimal physical, mental, and emotional health.

However, your individual needs will most likely vary.  There are two ways to focus on that.

The best way is to do something on your next consecutive days off.

Go to bed at night, and then try waking up without an alarm.  Log what time you went to bed, and what you woke up.  Do that again for the next day, then average the results.  If you got 10 hours of sleep the first night, but only 7 hours of sleep the second night, then you should shoot for a baseline of 8.5 hours of sleep per night, and adjust from there.

The second way to determine quantity is to start with 8 hours per night, and then experiment with decreasing/increasing time by 30 minutes over the course of a week.

You will intuitively know when the amount of sleep is working for you or against you.  There are some baseline “tests” that you can take to measure your brain activity and see if it improves based on sleep or gets worse.  These will be covered in a later post.

Once you settle on a quantity of sleep, then shift gears to looking at the quality of sleep.  

As I mentioned in my previous post, sleep is a very intuitive activity that all creatures have been doing since the dawn of time.  Now, modern sleep science has opened up a whole need world of possibilities for sleep, and it’s possible to get the consistently best sleep ever, every night. 

No supplements, no gimmicks, no short term solutions. 

All long-term, sustainable solutions that have been proven to help you sleep better.

How?

Sleep quality comes down to a variety of factors that were touched on in the Modern Sleep Problem article.

Quality sleep starts with:

  • Routine
    • Preparing for the next day
    • “Winding-down” process
  • Diet
  • Exercise

And moves on to:

  • Sleep environment
    • Brightness
    • Sheet Coverage
    • Temperature
    • Scent
    • Noise
  • Clothing Choice
  • Sleeping Position
  • Breathing
  • Mindset
  • Outlook for the Future
  • 10/2/1 Rule

We’ll touch on each point briefly, then wrap it all up at the end and recap the steps to take to establish your sleep health baseline.

Effective sleep starts at the beginning and end of each day with a regular routine.  I’ll cover this in greater detail, but you want to do the same sequence of activities in the morning and night.

For example, at night you might want to: –> Put away your phone –> set your lunch and breakfast for the next day –> prepare your clothes for the next day –> get all of your materials together –> take a shower –> brush your teeth –> dim the lights –> read 20 minutes of fiction (more on this later) –> journal for 10 minutes –> envision yourself falling asleep and waking on the first alarm the next day –> go to bed.

In the morning, you might: –> Wake up on the first alarm –> Check your phone for texts/email –> read the morning news for 10 minutes –> shower –> brush teeth –> get dressed –> eat breakfast –> write for 20 minutes –> drive to work.

Diet will be covered in extensive detail, but the summary is a simple message from Michael Pollan:  Eat (whole) food, mostly plants, not too much. 

Exercise has tremendous benefits on stress levels, sleep quality, and overall health.  This will also be covered in extensive detail, but exercise can be a simple 20 minute walk in the morning, on your lunch hour, when you get home from work, after dinner, or during the late evening.

Listen to your favorite album, better yourself through listening to an audiobook or a favorite podcast, or spend the time reflecting and thinking deeply.  Whatever you do, try to walk for at least 20 minutes on top of any other weight lifting, team sports, or group exercise you might do for that day.

Your routine will entirely depend on your schedule, goals, priorities, and lifestyle.  The key point is you want it to be the same every morning and night so your body realizes when its time to go to bed and when its time to wake up.  This will help your circadian rhythm adjust itself.

You have to plan your sleep environment.  You want the room to be as dark as you can make it.  No nightlights, minimal lightness from alarm clocks, and you should use black-out curtains if you need them.

Your sheets should be a smooth cotton or silk as the bedsheet and first sheet.  You want to be between cotton/silk layers when you go to bed.  If you want to add blankets, add them on top of that layer, so you can keep the cool cotton layers on you.

Humans sleep better in the cold.  Keeping your room at 68 degrees or under would be ideal.  You can use air conditioning or a fan in the summer, and a furnace or space heater in the winter.

Lavender is associated with helping people sleep deeper and longer.  A small sniff of 100% therapeutic grade lavender essential oil will do the trick, or you can rub a little on your wrists.

Finally, you sleep better when you have “white noise” in the background.  White noise has been shown to help you sleep better and deeper.  It works because your brain focuses on that sound, and it drowns out any other ambient noises that might be heard during the night, keeping you sleeping and waking up feeling rested.

The clothing you wear (or don’t wear) to bed can make a big impact on how well you sleep.  Ideally, you want to sleep in minimal clothing to help get the best sleep.  A basic cotton t-shirt and cotton pants work best.  Avoid heavy materials that will cause you retain heat, such as wool.

When you go to sleep, try to focus on your breathing.  Your mind will naturally wander, and that is ok.  Each time your mind wanders, gently come back to your breathing. It should generally take you less than 20 minutes to fall asleep.

Focus on your breathing in and out.  You could try a technique like the Dr. Andrew Weil 4-7-8 breathing technique where you take a 4 second inhale, 7 second hold, and 8 second exhale.  You repeat until you fall asleep.

Mindset and your outlook for tomorrow can have an outsized impact on your sleep.  Focus on two key areas to get the best sleep:

  1. What is your reason for getting out of bed tomorrow? Your family? Important work? Major project?
  2. Believe you are going to sleep, and be optimistic that you’re going to get the best sleep of your life tonight because you are choosing to get the best sleep you can.

The 10-3-1 Rule is simple and effective for getting your body physically and physiologically ready for the next day.  Stop drinking caffeine 10 hours before your bed time, stop eating 3 hours before your bed time, and have no more blue light 1 hour before bed.  Follow these simple rules and watch your sleep quality deepen tremendously while falling asleep quicker than ever before.

There are a lot of different factors that go into measuring your sleep baseline, and it might seem overwhelming.  But, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be.

When measuring your sleep, answer these 4 simple questions:

  1. How long did I sleep?
  2. How many times did I wake up during the night?
  3. How many times did I hit snooze?
  4. Did I wake up feeling refreshed?

Then, track your data over the course of the week. 

Not getting enough sleep? Hitting snooze too much? Feeling groggy in the morning?

Follow the steps outlined above to improve your sleep.

The step after that? Keep tracking your sleep. Watch it improve week by week, day by day.

Pick 1 step at a time.  Implement it one day or week at a time.  Before you know it, you’ll be implementing all of the steps, and you’ll be getting the best sleep of your life.  You’ll be one pivotal step closer to living your Peak Lifestyle.

Most importantly?  You’re finally designing the life you want to live, not living the one chosen for you. 

Do you like what you’ve read here?  Are you tired of being a “Scroll Zombie”?  Do you want to choose the life you’re living?  Subscribe below to join the movement and learn about how to Design your own Peak Lifestyle.

Have any thoughts or comments to share about what I wrote above? Please let me know below.

 

The Modern Sleep Problem

The “Sleep Health” industry is gigantic, with two main players manning the chess board.

First, you have the mattress industry.  Everybody is wanting to sell you the best, new and improved mattress.

They’ll dazzle you with all of the newest statistics, scare you with all of the facts about dust and dirt, and then ask you to buy a new mattress every 7 years.

Then, you have the scarier side of the sleep industry:  supplements.

“Take this to improve your sleep!”

“Non-habit forming, drug-free sleep aid!”

“Guaranteed to have a better night’s sleep, or your money back!”

Here is this concept — sleep — that humans have been doing since the beginning of our existence.  It is a natural, intuitive process.  You wake in the morning, are conscious and active throughout the day, and retire in the evening and go to sleep.

It is a basic and simple process, and one that we’ve done for literally tens of thousands of years.

So why is it so complicated now?

There are a multitude of factors about why sleep is so complicated.  Several of the main issues are:

  1. Caffeine Culture.
  2. Blue Light from screens.
  3. Lack of a “wind-down” before bed.
  4. Too much artificial light in the bedroom.
  5. Not sleeping on a consistent schedule.
  6. Over-consuming processed foods.
  7. High stress/anxiety levels.

 

Caffeine Culture is running especially rampant.

Most people have caffeine in the morning when they wake up, a second dose of coffee or tea after their first jolt awake, then another bit of caffeine with their lunch or immediately after it.

Then they have one to make it through the home stretch at work, upon returning home and having some more of it to get them through the day.

The problem with this Caffeine Culture is that it never allows the body to settle down and find its natural Circadian Rhythm, which is the internal process in which your body tells you when to feel awake and when to go to bed.

We create a cycle of constant highs and lows, ups and downs, peaks and valleys.

A further disruption to our sleep culture is the “blue” LED light that is emitted from our smartphones, laptops, and TVs.

This is another disruptor of our circadian rhythm, furthering confusing our bodies about when it is time to be awake or asleep.

When you’re checking your phone before you fall asleep, and then watching videos for an hour before bed, it confuses your body into thinking its still daylight.

The problems go on and on, but the question remains:  what does this mean for our sleep?

In my next post, I’m going to tell you exactly how to establish the baseline for your sleep and what areas to start improving in.

Do you want to live your best life?  Are you tired of being a “Scroll Zombie”, mindlessly checking news feeds and wishing there was more to your life?  If you want to learn how to stop having your life chosen for you and how to start choosing the life that you want to live, Subscribe to Peak Lifestyle Design and learn how you can design the life that you’ve always dreamed of living. 

 

The Physical Domain: SED3

Healthcare is an industry.  Billions upon billions of dollars are poured into striving towards the human ideal.

Think of all of the new diet programs you’ve heard of over the years.

The Ketogenic Diet.  The Vegan Diet.  The Paleo Diet.  Whole30.  Weight-Watchers.  The Atkins Diet.

There are so many different diets, that it can be support thousands of full-time authors, vloggers, and diet-evangelists  that’s sole job is to work as an author.

Or look at the fitness industry.

Apparel, equipment, Big Box gym memberships.  Planet Fitness, LA Fitness, Gold’s Gym.

Even our sleep is an industry now!  Go through any Midwestern American town and you’ll find more mattress stores than barber shops.

Is this all a problem?

Yes and no.

This trend of capitalizing on consumer trends shows that the market (i.e. you and me) want to improve how we sleep, exercise, and diet.

People naturally want to improve themselves.  We all have this innate desire to live our best lives.

Now, I’m not making a point and speaking against gym-goers, diet followers, or mattress salesmen.

However, I am making the point that there is so much information when it comes to your health, that it can be hard to wrap your head around what to focus on.

Underneath this avalanche of information, it can seem confusing, perplexing, and overwhelming.

Do we follow X diet or Z diet?

Do I do this exercise program or that exercise program?

What type of sleep supplement should I take for the best sleep every night?

Disregard the specifics that we all jump to.  Don’t accept a certain program, product, or routine as dogma.  Every program, product, or routine will have people that had success with it.

What these different program, products, and routines fail to consider one crucial factor is this:  the successful people in this program are not you, and you are unique and need an individually created system to succeed.

You might say, “Ok, that sounds great.  How do I start with creating an individual system for myself?”

It starts with the three foundational areas for your physical life:

  1. Sleep
  2. Diet
  3. Exercise

The best way to begin creating your own program is to break your life down to its fundamental pieces.  Your physical life starts with sleep, diet, and exercise.

What can you do today to help with this?

Track how much sleep over the next week.  Record when you go to bed and when you wake up.  If you have a fitness tracker, use that data.  Record how you feel each day when you wake up, and see how that relates to how much sleep you got.

Track what you eat over the next week.  Eat like you’ve been normally eating.  Write down what you ate, how much of it you ate, and when you ate it.

Track your exercise over the week.  If you have to walk to school or at work, record it.  If you already exercise, record it.  Doing yard work for 3 hours on Saturday?  Record it.

The goal with recording all of these fundamental activities is simple:  establish your baseline.

Once you have a baseline of data to draw upon, then you can start the exciting next step:  Designing your Peak Lifestyle.

Interested in learning more about Designing your Peak Lifestyle and how to start improving your sleep, exercise, and diet?

Subscribe below to learn more and stay updated on how to start Designing your Peak Lifestyle today.

The Physical Domain

Our physical bodies are the foundation of our lives.

When we feel good, we give out good.  We’re happier people.  We act with more kindness.

Think about all of the times you’ve felt tired, sluggish, unable to move forward or do anything.

What results do you end up getting out of life?  What type of lifestyle do you end up living?  Far below your Peak Lifestyle.

You become a “Scroll Zombie”.  You refresh your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds.  You look for everybody’s Snap Story. You flip on whatever is on Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube.

You’re hungry for more.  You want to feel good.  You want that enviable energy that some people seem like “they’re just born with”.

I’m going to let you in on what you already know:  they’re not born with it.  Those people that seem like they have time to workout, cook the right food, get enough sleep, all while balancing a million other things aren’t any different from you and me.

168 hours.  That’s the amount of time we all have in a week.  The difference in time between the people that can accomplish everything in that amount of time and the people that can’t seem to get it together?

Here’s the secret, the difference between those who have it all versus those who are left wanting for it all.

Building your ideal physical form starts with prioritizing your time and figuring out what’s important to you.

Do you want to design your Peak Lifestyle, and live a life of deliberate, conscious choice? 

Of course you do.  That’s why you’re here.

You’re hungry for more out of this life, more out of this world.

You want to design your best life, and live out your life to your fullest potential.

Interested in learning about the different parts of the Physical Domain, and about what to prioritize?

Choose to build your body into the best it can be.

You can attain your Peak Lifestyle through Peak Lifestyle Design.  Subscribe below to learn how.

 

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