My original and highly misinformed definition of wellness was something along the lines of putting peanut butter on your face overnight to rejuvenate your skin. This would then somehow miraculously turn your life around within 24 hours. What does this have to do with actual wellness? Who knows. I had no clue as to what this category of personal development was about. What wellness really means is making it a goal and priority in your life to be in an overall good state of health. This has personally been an uphill battle for me like many others. To be on a consistent path where I prioritize my life so my health comes first is very difficult. Men in particular have it tougher for reasons I will explain below.
Wellness for men
Considering the fact that we have jobs, families, bad habits, and addictions, putting all of that to the side to ensure you are having a kale smoothie in the morning, every morning, is not as easy as it sounds. We stay up late, we binge on garbage food, and we waste time with ease. There has to be a better way to turn over a new leaf and focus on our health. In my opinion, this is especially more difficult for men.
Women deal with the societal pressure of looking good at all times. The easiest way to look good is to simply be healthy. Men receive a lot more leeway. I was once at a dinner party and I saw a couple. The woman was in good shape. If I had to guess from her appearance, she juiced everyday and went to sleep early at night. Her date was probably 40 pounds overweight and did not look particularly appealing. Think of a Louis C.K. type. The only compliment I can give him is he had a well groomed beard and a properly ironed shirt on.
When I asked a female friend what she thought of the guy, her response was “He’s not bad at all”. Perhaps I am shallow but the standard for men is shockingly low. When your date looks like she binges on spinach, and you look like you binge on onion rings, yet we consider the couple to be a good match physically, something is wrong.
Society has made it acceptable for men to carry more fat than recommended, be border-line abusive with alcohol, and eat meat to show off their manliness to the masses. Every commercial I see geared towards guys, it’s always a group of semi-macho sports fanatics watching a football game with hot wings sitting somewhere off to the side. They are shown as being loud, unattractive, overweight, messy, and obnoxious. The media has created a terrible image of us and has pushed unhealthy habits onto my fellow Y chromosome brothers.
How men approach health and the accepted standard of their physical and mental conditioning needs to change. I want to outline in this blog post on why men should care about wellness and how it can be pursued with ease.
Life with no wellness in mind
Here is a snapshot of my life not long ago.
Every single meal I would consume, either dairy, poultry, fish, or beef was found somewhere on my plate. My post-workout smoothies would have milk in it. I always felt fatigued. The number of times I would go to sleep by 10:00pm per year would be less than five. On average, I would get maybe 5-6 hours of rest per night.
My free time was spent on YouTube, watching television, or consuming politics. When I would go to the gym, I would push my body to the limit. My workouts would last up to 2 hours. There was generally no cardio involved. I would be sore for 3-4 days and at most maybe get two workouts in per week. Since I worked out, I figured I deserved a reward so I ate a combination of fatty, fried, meaty, dairy-filled food.
I would not read personal development books. I wouldn’t read at all actually. My time was spent consuming empty calories. These empty calories did not only apply to the food I ate but also to the information I took in. Yes, most YouTube videos you watch in the middle of the night are empty mental calories. You will never utilize your new found knowledge after spending 40 minutes watching Buzzfeed’s take on The Top 10 Most Dangerous Jellyfish.
All I had was my single job as an accountant. I did not do other side hustles. I certainly wanted to. Credit card debt was hovering over me like a bad cloud for a few years at that point and I was doing nothing about it. I clearly wanted to be better physically, mentally, and financially but I could not get over the hump of my own inertia.
If I had to guess, I was like the vast majority of every other guy in America. I was lethargic, tired, and a chronic procrastinator. Wellness was clearly not in the stars for me.
Here is what my life is like now.
I wake up every morning at around 5:00am. My day has to absolutely start with some kind of smoothie. The concoction varies but the usual suspects include kale, almond milk, and blueberries. Kale is the multivitamin of vegetables. Blueberries are filled with fiber and antioxidants. Almond milk is packed with vitamin D.
I read something everyday. Whether it’s a personal development book or literature on nutrition, I get in about 20 pages of content a day. I also write around 500 words each day for my personal blog. During the evenings, if I am on YouTube, I avoid politics and junk content completely.
I absolutely need to work out at least three times a week regardless of what I do. It can be weights or a light jog but I need to log in three sessions. Also, my intensity is low this way I am not too sore to convince myself I should sleep in the next morning instead of going out for a 30 minute run before work.
My diet is revamped. I no longer consume animal products. My food is completely plant-based. Notice I did not say vegan. Diet coke and cake can be vegan. I do my best to avoid junk.
Aside from my current career in the accounting field, I run theveganmindset.com and work as a real estate agent. The real estate career helped me claw my way out of credit card debt that had been haunting me for a long time.
How long did this 360 shift in my life take? About three years with the help of a solid partner in life. I want to talk about the original catalyst that helped set my focus, ambition, and wellness into motion.
A plant-based lifestyle should be the foundation
If you look into the nutrition niche, every other diet and fad is considered to be revolutionary. Regiments centered around obscure ideas such as only eating animal fat or refraining completely from rice are somehow seen as groundbreaking and should be looked upon as gospel when it comes to health. I never understood how eating animal fats only, which clog up your arteries, is somehow the next level of dieting. Speaking of gospel and religion, the greatest diet and way of life is found right in the bible within the first few pages. God instructs Adam and Eve to be vegan. Not to push religion on anyone but it’s just funny how the most read book on planet earth answers the age old question of “What kind of diet should I have?”. It definitely isn’t keto or atkins.
When the top cardiologist in the world, Dr. Kim Williams, is vegan, you know it’s a good idea. Aside from the health benefits of being plant-based such as lower risk for heart disease and diabetes, on a practical day-to-day basis, this regiment has profound effects on your general conditioning. I only drink coffee now because I simply like the taste. Before being plant-based, I would consume 4 cups of coffee per day just to keep the motor running.
The level of energy you have is absurd. You are awake and aware. Your mind does not feel fuzzy or clouded and your body feels tremendously light. When I wasn’t vegan, food and it’s effects were an obstacle I would have to deal with. Aside from having to get through your day job, interpersonal relationships, and mundane issues , food was another problem to pile onto your list of predicaments. Why? All that meat, dairy, and saturated fat would slow you down, make you feel like crap, and have you living with a constant sense of drowsiness. You would be fighting through “the itis” on an hourly basis. Once you replace bad food with plant-based food, your difficult setting in life goes from hard to easy.
If you want some tips on how to go vegan, I create this helpful guide for newbies: How To Become a Vegan : A Guide For Beginners
Constant Personal Development
Once your physical diet is cleaned up, your mental diet needs order as well. The only way to truly develop your character, your attitude, and your overall happiness in life is through self-awareness. I don’t mean that in a Eckhart Tolle kind of way. I am referring to a more mechanical way. Suppose you are putting a chair together. You know that for the chair to work properly, piece “A” has to be connected to piece “B”. IKEA gives you an instruction manual to make sure you are putting the parts together accordingly. This is exactly how your mental diet should be designed.
For your mind and emotions to work properly, be an architect with how you build out your mental function. Here are some practical tips I can convey to assist you on making sure your mental infrastructure is designed with precision:
- Never worry about things you cannot control. Anxiety is costly and exhausting. There is no point in being an anxious or nervous wreck over things that are outside of your authority.
- The thing which worries you the most that is able to be resolved should be the first item you tackle everyday. 80% of our problems come from 20% of your projects. Focus on that 20% and complete outstanding tasks which are dragging your happiness down.
- Stop looking at other people. Jealousy is powerful and torturous. There is one particular account I used to follow on Instagram. The guy wears $20k+ watches and sports immaculate clothing. When I used to follow him, I would get envious and it would weigh me down. I later found out his family is going through life-altering lawsuits for various reasons. His perceived wealth has a darker side to it with massive legal troubles. My point is you should not be jealous of someone because you really do not know what they are going through in life.
Personal development is really rather simple. Focus on yourself, fix what is fixable, and be a nice person to everyone. Avoid gossip, be oblivious to jealousy, and stay humble. If you do these things, not only will your own character develop, but the friends surrounding you will increase over time.
Wellness is not simply eating grapefruit for breakfast following a long jog. It is an entire lifestyle choice starting with the food on your plate and ending with your approach to life. As my advice goes, do the following to truly reach your wellness potential each day:
- Go vegan. You will feel great, look way better than you do now, and live life without negative karma following you around. It is the most simple nutritional choice you can make and requires very little effort on your park.
- 80% of your worries come from 20% of your problems. Resolve that 20%.
- Avoid looking at what others have and focus on bettering yourself. Anxiety and jealousy will eat away at you. Your time is better spent figuring out ways to improve yourself instead of letting pettiness take control of your personal narrative.
And there you have it. Prioritizing wellness as a man can go a long way. Make it a habit so the quality of your life is better and your overall mental state is happier.