We all try from time to time to accustom ourselves to useful: we go for a run at eight in the morning, and then come to our senses for half a day, mentally say goodbye to fast food and the next day we eat a huge pizza, decide to go to bed early, but suddenly a new season of our favorite TV series comes out, and the evening, to put it mildly, drags on. To understand that a healthy lifestyle “does not spam and actually works” (well, or does not work), you need a systematic approach, and there is not enough time, sometimes energy, sometimes money, but mostly patience and self-control. For two weeks, we tested the most popular healthy lifestyle rules on ourselves and honestly told what came of it.
Give up coffee, coca-cola and energy drinks
I got a caffeine withdrawal, but I could drink a cup of tea a day, which I did only three times. Before that, I drank from two to four cans of energy drinks daily. My love for them started by accident: one day I made the mistake that everybody ever makes - entered the wrong number in the vending machine and got an red bull instead of a chocolate bar. I liked its taste so much that I replaced many drinks and water with it. With the refusal from coffee and cola, things were much easier: I drank both of them no more than three times a week.
Before starting the experiment, I went to Google to see what awaited me. I was promised headaches, decreased appetite and increased thirst at first, and then - improved sleep, well-being and getting rid of anxiety. On the first day, I went to study the shelves of the store next to the office.
for anything interesting without caffeine. Sadly noting the appearance of a red bull without sugar, which I love very much, I grabbed some drink with aloe. It turned out to be not bad, but after drinking it, I still felt that something was missing. When I returned for a can of something else, the young man at the cash register asked me: "But what about the energy drink?.."
In the store, I took some kind of drink with aloe, and when I returned for something else, the young man at the checkout asked: "But what about the energy drink?.."
By the evening of the third day, my head began to hurt badly. When I finally got home, the pain was unbearable and even a pill didn’t ease my suffering. The only thing that helped me was to go to bed, for the first time in many, many years, a couple of hours earlier than midnight. Despite the early lights out, getting up in the morning the next day was insanely difficult, but waking up in the morning for me since childhood was a great test of willpower. Throughout the first week, I felt rather sleepy, but I didn't die - instead of a can of energy drink or a cup of coffee, I chose a ten-minute walk, a chocolate bar, or a little procrastination. My productivity declined: it was difficult to take on big things, concentrate and get things done quickly. Headaches periodically, every two to three days, returned. It was terrible, since the only thing that helped me at the very beginning was sleep. By the second half of the experiment, the headache was not so deadly, and the citramone tablet was enough to start living, not existing.
My experiment lasted even a little longer than planned, as I caught a cold and spent a couple of days at home with water and tea. I don't feel any serious changes in myself. I began to want to eat a little less, drink a little more, I still love sleep and a crib. True, now I do not remember the energetics at all until I see them. Perhaps you can compare this with attachment to a person, which disappears after some time after separation. What was strange to me was that I missed coffee a lot more. This was the first thing I bought on a cold morning after the end of the experiment.
Meditate 20 minutes a day
Deputy Chief Editor
In meditation, I was always frightened off by the air of "spirituality", the same prejudice still keeps me from practicing yoga. I understand that both practices are primarily training for the mind and body, that they do not have to be accompanied by the repetition of mantras, lighting incense sticks, and even more so reinforced by religious teachings, but I can’t, or rather, I didn’t even try to help myself. It was all the more interesting to step over my snobbery. Meditation practitioners and scientists promise that regular exercise can help combat anxiety, improve sleep and concentration, develop empathy, and generally increase stress tolerance. Exactly what is needed.
It is believed that to be more effective, you need to meditate for at least 15 minutes a day. I stopped at 20 minutes and chose two popular applications for classes - Calm and Headspace. Both have a limited set of free lessons of varying duration and focus: from simple relaxing meditation to practices aimed at
teach to treat yourself and others more kindly and more carefully. In Calm, a woman talked to me and you could select background sounds, and in Headspace, a man gave instructions in silence, and before the lesson they showed a short educational cartoon about the work of the brain.
The hardest part was finding a place for meditation: for the first lesson I had to hide in the bathroom
The most difficult thing was finding a place for meditation: for the first lesson I had to hide in the bathroom - there was no other space in the house where I could stay alone for half an hour. In order not to waste time in vain, and also not to freeze, I plunged into a warm bath. On another occasion, I sat right on the floor in a lotus position, huddled somewhere between the washing machine, plunger and cleaning products. Such a place cannot be called comfortable, but then it was surprisingly convenient for me. It is believed that during meditation it is worth allowing thoughts to come and go without hindrance, not to develop them, and instead focus on breathing and sensations in the body. It's not easy to do, and I'm still not sure what I'm doing. But there is no doubt that after 20 minutes of even, deep breathing, I feel better: calmer, lighter and even somehow more cheerful.
Over time, I moved to the room on the sofa to meditate, where taxes were imposed on me from all sides, and my husband playing Destiny stopped distracting from practice. I would like to think that this is also the result of regular training - that I have become a little better at concentrating. Almost every time I manage to relax: I notice this by the way the tension in the cervical spine goes away and the head tilts back a little, so I have to make a little effort on myself so that it does not lean back - this happens when you fall asleep on an airplane or car. In terms of applications, I liked the Headspace approach better: fun, simple, practical, like doing gymnastics, but for the brain.
I am sure that you cannot develop a habit through force. If you are unpleasant, bored and have to force yourself, nothing will work out, quit this business right away. Therefore, I arranged for myself "days off" when it was uncomfortable for me to meditate (I urgently needed to visit and drink wine) or I felt bad (after meditating on the bathroom floor, I fell ill with ARVI). I didn't blame myself for that. I'm not sure if I will continue to meditate every day, but I will definitely leave this habit behind me for days when I urgently need to let go or when I just want to sit quietly on the couch alone with myself and breathe deeply.
Go to bed at the same time, stop using electronic devices an hour before bedtime
editor of the section "Health"
As the editor of the material, on the sly, I have chosen a habit that I have long dreamed of acquiring: the others are already with me - except for refusing coffee (even though it sometimes makes me anxious). We have already written about the importance of sleep quality and methods to improve it.It is promised that by learning to fall asleep at the same time, you can establish circadian rhythms and, as a result, feel more alert. Falling asleep easier and faster will be helped by, among other things, avoiding the use of a phone, computer, tablet and other devices, the radiation from which the brain perceives as sunlight.
I didn’t want to set unattainable goals, so it was decided to go to bed around 11:30 pm, and an hour before that I had to tie up with the Internet and my own texts. On the first evening, I obediently put my laptop and phone away - I don't keep other gadgets. I took up the book Zadie Smith, abandoned back in the summer, and remembered how good it can be on the couch - with hot tea and without notifications about messages. I'll run ahead: just read Zadie Smith and Edward Frenkel's science pop "Love and Math" became the main achievement
experiment. Since I have been writing my dissertation on literature, I have read few "random" books for pleasure: in my rare free hours I want to talk with living people, drink wine or just lie there. And during those two weeks, I went through all the Taschen albums and a bunch of different artbooks, many of which remained untouched from the date of purchase.
When I started the experiment, for some reason I expected that everything would stop hurting at once, and the psyche would become iron
On the second evening of the experiment, I was happy to read again. On the third, a meeting with a friend in a bar was planned, but by itself it turned out that I was free at 11 pm and by midnight I was already asleep, which means that I almost did not deviate from the rule. In the morning it became a little easier to wake up, but I did not notice any other changes. At some point, of course, I began to violate the conditions: either the walk would drag on, or the department would require an urgent report (not to wake up for this at six in the morning). Sometimes nothing from the paper books came up and I just wanted to re-read a piece of "Eddie" by Limonov from a laptop for the night to maintain mental strength, and in the next tab there was a Facebook feed from time to time. One fine night I was overtaken by insomnia, which had happened only once before, and I did not sleep until half past five in the morning. From this, the regime was slightly violated, and gradually persistence came to naught, giving way to life. Dawn began later, and waking up was harder. Later I woke up - later I went to bed.
For failures, I did not scold myself and, whenever possible, continued to follow the rule. Not for the sake of minimizing the error in the experiment and not out of guilt (it came after the expiration of the period) - I just suddenly saw the result. When I decided to establish a regime, for some reason I expected that everything would stop hurting at once, and the psyche would become iron. Naturally, none of this happened, but there was a direct effect, for the sake of which scientists recommend sleeping “properly”: I felt cheerful all day. Even falling asleep at two in the morning and getting up at eight in the morning is apparently a cumulative effect. Earlier in the afternoon I wanted to sleep wildly, but now I have enough energy until late at night.
I really want to keep the regime under control. From time to time, a feeling of guilt even turns on in front of one's own eyes and other organs: why read reviews of shimmers and check Instagram at half past one in the morning - there is nothing to do? In general, I plan to finally buy a Kindle with a non-aggressive backlight and bury myself with it under the covers in the evenings.
Avoid foods with added sugar
editor of the section "Life"
For the experiment, I had to give up all food in the production of which sugar is used - only foods in which it is contained by nature were to be included in the diet. For example, I could pour honey on cottage cheese (it's a pity that I hate honey), but there are honey flakes - no. The conditions sounded depressing, but in practice everything is not so scary: they had to refuse mainly flour, semi-finished products, fast food, ketchup and other ready-made sauces, sweet drinks and desserts. This is a perfectly sensible and healthy approach to eating.Nutritionists also recommend limiting foods with added sugar: simple carbohydrates in large quantities cause serious harm. I did not set myself the task of completely abandoning sugar (I am sure that without it I would quickly collapse from fatigue). In addition, I did not really follow the daily norm: for breakfast or lunch, I usually ate bananas, in which there is quite a lot of it.
It quickly became clear that sugar was added everywhere - even where it seemed not needed: in canned corn, fish mousse, sausages or shrimp paste. Because of this, through inattention, I violated the conditions of the experiment a couple of times. The hardest part is that you cannot be sure of the composition of food that you do not cook yourself. The manufacturer of cereal and dried fruit bars proudly says that they do not add sugar to their products, but we cannot know for sure - dried fruits can be made with or without added sugar. In general, it was necessary to choose unambiguously "safe" options. In the cafe
For the first time in my life, I took a salad without dressing, and on a visit to my friends I brought hummus, a package of fresh carrots and nuts, so as not to be tempted by chips. But without sugar in the body, I tolerated alcohol much better - I drank dry wine and practically did not feel intoxication, and in the morning I felt as fresh as ever.
It quickly became clear that sugar is added everywhere - even where it seemed not needed
I expected that in the course of the experiment my eyes would stop swelling in the morning (but no - apparently, I also need to go to bed on time) and I would feel a little more cheerful (this is what happened, although the effect is not immediately noticeable). True, at first, for some reason, I was terribly hungry - perhaps this is a psychological moment, or maybe earlier, due to snacking on sandwiches and sweets, I did not notice how much I actually eat. It also seemed that thanks to the experiment, the enamel of the teeth became lighter, and although this is a subjective feeling, I am sure that the state of the teeth without sugar is only getting better. Quitting sugar requires first of all awareness and self-control - if you are okay with this, it is not difficult to cope. On the first day of the experiment, I refused the burgers that our art director Nikita brought to the office in honor of his birthday, and then declined the invitation for a piece of cake, although I love sweets terribly.
During the experiment, I finally stopped eating sandwiches for breakfast, started eating less sweets (I hope to finally get rid of this addiction) and, it seems, even imperceptibly lost some weight, although I did not strive for this at all. It turned out that if you spend a little more time looking for sugar-free ingredients, you can cook almost all the dishes I'm used to. I don’t think I can completely ditch the added sugar (how can you resist pizza at a friend’s party?), But hopefully I can finally start a more mindful diet - it never hurts.
Drink two liters of water a day
"Style" section editor
It has always amazed me that the issue of water is controversial. Can I drink while exercising? Should I compensate coffee with water? How much water is it allowed to drink with meals? Personally, I decided everything for myself: I almost never feel like drinking, and I don't force myself. This causes genuine horror in many people, so usually I just don't support the topic of water if it comes up. There are many more aggressive aquatic adepts around than it seems. Such people like to give unsolicited advice and exclaim every time: “You don't like fruits and don't drink water yet? There is definitely something wrong with you. " I associate this with the general "healthy" boom, the radical manifestations of which frighten me personally. Eating rules that contradict each other, tons of books about healthy lifestyles, green bloggers who elevate their lifestyle to the ultimate truth - I don't think this leads to a brighter future.
I don’t have a cooler at home, I don’t buy water for a walk, and in terms of taste there is no difference for me between Vittel and Sacred Spring. However, I do not think that I am less healthy than others. It is believed that if you drink a lot of water, you can improve the water balance in the body and, as a result, improve the condition of the skin, as well as support your metabolism and even get rid of headaches. Drinking as much water as possible is also advised for those who control nutrition.
This is understandable: there are no calories in water, and it gives an artificial feeling of satiety. "If you want to eat, drink some water." However, there is not a single qualitative study that would prove that two liters of water per day is a mandatory norm for a healthy person, and it is not clear if there is such a norm at all.
There is not a single serious study that has proven that two liters of water a day is a mandatory norm
If not for this experiment, I would hardly have started drinking water. Whether I will feel better, whether my weight or skin condition will change - perhaps this is what I wanted to find out in the first place. The best part is that there were those around me who sincerely wanted to help: I was advised to dilute the water with cinnamon, drink it with lemon, try more different types and much more. Out of habit, it turned out that I drank half a liter of water in the first half of the day and tried to fit the remaining one and a half almost before bedtime. Naturally, after such an amount of liquid I had drunk, I could not immediately go to bed. Later I changed my tactics and started drinking water in the office - where I spend most of my time.
To be honest, the feeling that I was literally drowning in water did not let me go until the very end, and I literally counted the days until the end of the experiment. At some point, it began to seem to me that my skin began to look too good for this time of year, but after analyzing the situation, I realized that perhaps it was more in the new Shiseido patches than in two liters of clean drinking water. I want to say that nothing has changed at all, except for the mood. The obligation to drink water put pressure on me psychologically, this is not a challenge. I would not want to repeat this - unless someone proves at a scientific level that a huge amount of water will make my life qualitatively better. In the meantime, I’ll probably return to the old attitude: if you don’t want something, it’s better not to force yourself.
editor of the "News" section
My mission was to do a ten-minute exercise every morning and do an hour-long workout three to four times a week. I must say right away that I did a total of six “big” workouts: apparently, this is my limit, because there was neither strength nor time for the fourth lesson a week. Everyone knows that it is cool to go in for sports regularly: a lot of publications - from scientific to glossy ones - give dozens of arguments in favor of morning exercises: physical fitness, healthy heart and blood vessels, vigor, good skin condition. Scientists recently found that an hour of physical activity every day reduces the risk of premature death, so everyone who plans to catch the second half of the century should get up off the couch more often.
A few steps from my house is the Yoga Federation, but in six months I reached it zero times. Therefore, I really assessed the situation and decided that I would study at home. I didn't have to go far for a workout guide - I opened our own material, in which girls talk about their favorite YouTube fitness channels, and chose two: Superhero Fitness with funny
Kira Lashe's workouts and Boho Beautiful yoga channel with classes of varying degrees of intensity against the backdrop of tropical landscapes. Lasche's workouts are short and lethal, so after them I switched to yoga: when the muscles are already warmed up by dancing and squats, the “dove pose” and other asanas for opening the hips, which I usually don't get, turn out much better.
There are a lot of advantages in home workouts: you don't need to think about what to wear, no one will look at you, and a couple of meters separates you from the shower
There are a lot of advantages in home workouts: you do not need to think about what to wear, no one will look at you, a couple of meters separates you from the shower with all the necessary cans, and if something is not clear, you can rewind and look at the explanation again. I already had a yoga mat (it got covered with a layer of dust), so I didn't have to buy additional equipment. In the second week of the experiment, my boyfriend brought a strange stepper trainer from his parents. I used it twice and it turned out to work well with watching the show.
The effect of the experiment was quite predictable: yes, charging in the morning makes me a person much faster than getting stuck in the phone, yes, after it it’s not so cold and I don’t really want to go back under the covers. I did not notice any serious changes in my body, although there is an opinion that my butt has decreased. At the same time, my hands became a little stronger: before I could push up zero times, and now as many as three. I will try my best to reinforce the habit of doing yoga exercises - of all the ways to start a weekday, this one seems to be the most painless.
Prepare healthy breakfasts every day
editor of the section "Beauty"
It's great that it was me who got the task to cook breakfast, because I don't know anything about my diet - it seems that when I'm hungry, I just eat everything edible that happens to be nearby. This, frankly, does not lead to anything good: most often I arrange one full meal a day and 50 snacks, so I always risk either overeating or not eating enough. So, for a little over two weeks, I made myself breakfast.
Two obvious tendencies appeared in the first couple of days - oatmeal required attention and time, and I was late for work, but my energy and ability to concentrate became noticeably greater. But there is one thing (this is the second tendency): the need to cook in the morning is inhumanly infuriating, and since I refused the cereals generously sprinkled with sugar, I had to choose between healthy food and a clean stove - I must say, in favor of the former. By the fifth day, I guessed that oatmeal with yogurt or an omelet could be cooked in the evening, then in the morning all that was left was to crawl to the refrigerator. Repeatedly
I tried to make a sandwich, but because of the rush in the morning, it turns out to be an incredible freak, not making me want to eat it. Lightly toasting bread (not lightly - I fell asleep on a chair and everything burned out), mashed avocados, discover that the neighbors ate your cheese at night and get upset - it's too many worries to start the day.
intuitive thing, and it is not worth following it strictly according to popular recommendations
I know that many people do not want to eat in the morning, especially those who are always sleep deprived like me, but during the day the appetite grows, and in the evening there is a grandiose hunger, which entails insomnia. In general, impressive breakfasts help break the vicious circle. The most fashionable protein breakfasts did not suit me especially: the plump shakshuka in the morning made me want to immediately go to chill-out, and not start a vigorous working day. The queen of breakfasts is ascetic oatmeal: I have always loved it, and in these two (hellish) weeks I fell in love even more. You can always mix nuts or fruits into oatmeal, it does not irritate my touchy stomach and really is a dope for the next four hours.
Unfortunately, in the morning I need (or want) more calories than can fit in me in the form of oatmeal, so in the last three days I switched to a ruddy baguette with butter and do not regret anything. This does not save you from a midday sandwich, but overeating in the evenings has become very rare - a few hours before bedtime, there are enough harmless drinks or fruits. It is not necessary to stuff food into yourself every day at 09:00 - after two weeks of testing, I found out that before 11 in the morning I do not feel like eating at all.This is how the midday sandwich came into my life: apparently, the body has already resigned itself to the fact that it will not be able to sleep, and naturally demands to fill the firebox at the same time.
The joy of the first week from overcoming oneself was replaced by the understanding that the diet is an intuitive thing, and it is not worth following it strictly according to popular recommendations: this is very disturbing and does not add to well-being. But I liked the nonviolent introduction of the habit of eating tightly in the first half of the day and it seemed that I even succeeded. The diet does not work completely without sleep and physical activity, and with this I have not so much problems, but a completely absent relationship. But if I know when, how much and what I eat, I can answer before my conscience for burgers and donuts. Overeating that results from imbalances in food intake is now easier to distinguish from the desire to pamper yourself.
Walk 8 thousand steps a day
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends active exercise, such as walking, for at least 150 minutes per week in addition to exercise to maintain health. In practice, this recommendation usually takes the form of advice to take at least 8, or even 10 thousand steps daily. For some, such a norm will seem nonsense - one way to work for many takes a lot of energy. But there are others - those who sit almost all day (and then also lie all night). I am one of the latter: it so happened that I live very close to work and spend the lion's share of the time on it. For me to walk more than a couple of thousand steps on a weekday is a real feat, although I really like to walk and, whenever possible, always choose a walking route. You need to do this: sitting for a long time in the same position will not do anything good.
At first, my task sounded like this: to take 8 thousand steps a day and go out for short walks during the working day. I failed the second part of the plan right away - my work does not allow me to be distracted for a long time. But I didn’t give up hope: I installed Google Fit, set a goal and started fulfilling the norm. It is estimated that the steps I need take 40 minutes a day. Either the application cannot count, or I walk slowly, but I could not cover the required distance in less than an hour and a half. So, I moved diligently: in the country
in the rain back and forth along a short illuminated street, in the cold around the area, along squares and side streets. Every day, despite hunger, cold or fatigue, I measured my five kilometers, even if it meant that I would get home closer to ten o'clock in the evening.
For me to walk more than a couple of thousand steps on a weekday is a real feat
The latter became the main problem, since all my time was spent working and walking. Keeping track of your health is important, but partly pointless when there is no more strength left for anything. It is nevertheless very pleasant to walk: it is nice to stretch your body, it is nice to meet local dogs every day (now I know where a very cute pug walks), it is nice to look around and unload your head. Often, I played my favorite podcast as an accompaniment - and the time flew by.
The application, meanwhile, reported flattering statistics: according to its calculations, I was more active than 84% of the Moscow population (many do not even suspect that they have Google Fit, literally following every step). This spurred me on no less than the cherished circles with a check mark. The main thing that I realized is that one small decision leads to many changes at once. For two weeks I did not feel healthier or fitter, but I ate outside the house instead of ordering pizza, went to the store to cook at home, accompanied my friends to the subway, communicating with him more than usual. And this is already a good result, you must agree.