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8 Rules We Can Learn From the Greek Diet and Lifestyle

8 Rules We Can Learn From the Greek Diet and Lifestyle

The Greeks have given the world many gifts, ranging from politics to science as well as architecture. The Greeks have been drivers of so many important fields that are still so relevant today. While all of those things are wonderful in their own respect, let’s put Aristotle aside for a second and discuss Greek food.

Greek food belongs to the now-popular Mediterranean diet. The Greek diet emphasizes nutrition and lifestyle changes, such as engaging in physical activity, eating meals in social situations, and eating a wide range of foods. Many have studied the effects of a Mediterranean diet, leading the United States Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to endorse it in their 2015 Scientific Report.

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Since the Greek diet exemplifies many different aspects of the Mediterranean diet, it got me thinking about the 8 things that we can learn and appreciate from the Grecian lifestyle and diet.

1. Eat meals in social settings and gatherings

There was a reason that My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mamma Mia became such cultural sensations. Who could resist the Greek approach to food in these movies? Though I have only been to Greece once, what I most remember from my time there is how social their meals really were. Wandering through small towns, it was so common to see large groups of people coming together to enjoy their meals each and every day.

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2. Enjoy red wine (in moderation!)

The Greeks are really onto something here. Red wine is rich with phytonutrients, which support a range of cardiovascular and cognitive benefits. Several studies have shown that moderate consumption has beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. If you are already enjoying wine in your diet, know that a small glass a few times a week is doing good things for your overall health.

3. Eat a variety of foods

Try to eat the rainbow of fruits and vegetables! The Greek diet also emphasizes protein from fish, eggs, and poultry as well as legumes. For carbohydrates, choose whole grain options like bulgur, quinoa, and barley. Get your healthy fats from olive oil, nuts and seeds. Switching to these foods have been shown to have significant health effects.

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4. Get your probiotics

Don’t forget about the gut-promoting probiotics that is found in yogurt and cultured vegetables. Additionally, making the switch to Greek yogurt will not only ensure you get your probiotics, but also guarantee that you get an extra boost of protein in your diet.

5. Embrace healthy fats

Healthy fats help you look your best by promoting healthy hair, skin, and nail. Additionally, healthy fats support heart health. A recent study showed that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts significantly reduced the risk of combined heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease in people at risk for heart health problems by about 30%.

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6. Slow down and appreciate your meals

We are all on the go these days, and it directly impacts how we eat. We scarf down breakfast on our morning commute, eat lunch at our computers, and then collapse on the couch to eat dinner in front of the TV. I totally struggle to take a break from my computer and enjoy my lunch at work. However, this is so important. Paying attention to what you eat will help keep you from mindfully noshing on that bag of potato chips.

7. Engage in moderate physical activity

A morning run or evening walk are common place in Greece and in the Mediterranean in general. I mean, Greece was the birthplace of the Olympics after all! It isn’t too difficult for people in this region to reach the 150 minutes of recommended physical activity. While 150 minutes of cardio or resistance training per week may seem overwhelming at first, it breaks down to 30 minutes five times per week. Does 30 minutes seem like to much of a commitment? No worries. A variety of studies have shown that even 5 or 10 minutes have positive effects on health and cardiovascular risk.

8. Have a healthy relationship with food

It seems like everywhere you turn, there are negative discussions about food, leading to fear and anxiety being associated with food. It doesn’t help that fad diets distract us from fully developing a healthy relationship with food, but that is what’s so great with a Greek approach to food. A Mediterranean diet isn’t just another fad diet that forbids various food groups or encourages consumption of specific foods. Gluten-free or acai berry diets, anyone? Rather, the Mediterranean diet is holistic lifestyle that encourages a healthy relationship with food.

In this case, it really is “all Greek to me” is the way to go. Embrace the Greek approach to food and you will be on your way to a more healthful life.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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