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Live Like You Won The Lottery: How to Start Being Happy Today

Live Like You Won The Lottery: How to Start Being Happy Today

“Remember this; that very little is needed to make a happy life.”
Marcus Aurelius

At one time or another, most of us have stood in the shower and imagined what our lives would be like if we suddenly won the lottery. We choose a number (mine is 96 million), take out the taxes, then begin dividing it up—passing out houses, cars, and checks like candy. And not just to our family and friends, but to almost anyone who’s ever been kind to us.

Personally, I always give something to my fourth grade teacher, as well as to my mailman, and even the tow truck driver who once changed my tire for free. And, I don’t know about you, but it feels good when I pass out my monopoly money to those who need it. I mean, we’re happy to help, right? It makes us feel admired, and loved. At least for that one shower. I know I’m not alone, either. It’s a common dream that many of us share. The idea of instant happiness. The idea that somehow our life will take on a magical quality, if only we had the means to realize our dreams. We believe that if we could just get “there” we’d finally be happy.

And, of course, there in lies the problem with the lottery.

It’s not that we shouldn’t dream big or imagine possibilities. The problem comes when we buy into the illusion that everything we want is “out there,” instead of “right here” within us. The problem arises when we put off living in the meantime.It’s called “lottery thinking”—also known as always waiting for our ship to arrive. “If only I had this, then I would have that.” It’s waiting for all the stars to align just perfectly, so that we can begin living the life we think we deserve.

Unfortunately, when we live from this lie, we unwittingly buy-in to the idea that our life is somehow lacking in the meantime, like we’re forced to settle for some “less than acceptable” means of existence. Well, I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time to shatter this myth of what constitutes a happy life.

I’ll go so far as to say that we’ve already won the lottery. All we need to do is realize it.

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If you think I’m about to peddle some half-full glass of optimism, you’re right— I am. In fact, the quality of our thoughts are exactly what will determine the quality of our lives, or as Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” In other words, we don’t need to wait another second to feel as if we’ve won it all. We just need to change our perspective.

Here are four tips to get you started.

How To Win The Lotto Tip #1: Live In The Now

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

Buddha

The next time you’re in the shower, just enjoy the hot water. Stop thinking about what went wrong yesterday, or how tomorrow will be better. Just as it is impossible to be in two places at one time, the only thing it accomplishes is to zap us of today’s energy, while also robbing us of its joy.

As mystics and saints have been telling us since the dawn of time, it’s not Disneyland, but the NOW which is the happiest place on earth. It’s the only place where we can truly be present with our kids, enjoy nature, appreciate beauty, find solitude, discover love and be ourselves. It is also the home to peace, harmony and all the secrets of the universe.

How’s that for a Magic Kingdom?

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So, just how do we live in the Now? Again, ignore the past and forget the future.

Yes, we can learn from yesterday and plan for tomorrow, but then we must let it all go and live in the moment. This takes vigilance, which begins by mastering where we put our attention, a commitment to focusing on one thing at a time. That means appreciating who we’re with and what we’re doing. It means watching, listening, breathing, smiling, and accepting.

Living in the now is an art that ask us to slow down, go within, and find the stillness in our hearts. It is an art that asks us to treat every moment as sacred.

Cultivate this art and we’ll slowly begin to see that all the riches of the world are bundled up into the one single moment we’re living in.

How To Win The Lotto Tip #2: Find Your Purpose

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.”
Buddha

I know we’d all like to think if we struck it rich, we’d tell our boss to shove it and then go retire to our own private island in the Pacific Ocean. At the very least, there’d be no more rat race, working for the man, alarm clocks and time cards. We’d put up the “gone fishing” sign and start living the good life. Five star hotels. Private jets. Fine dining. Someone to iron our underwear.

While all that sounds wonderful, most of us know deep down in our hearts that there are just as many miserable rich people as there are miserable poor or middle-class people. And, I know we’d like to believe that being miserable wouldn’t be so bad if we were living in a seaside mansion, but the inescapable truth is this: money can’t buy happiness. Sorry, but the cliché is true, but, that’s okay, because real take-it-to-your-grave happiness comes at no cost and is accessible to anyone who is willing to take one simple, but challenging leap: to live the life you were meant to live.

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This is our call to do what excites us, moves us, and drives us to jump out of bed with purpose each morning. To live our purpose is to do what we would do if no one was watching. It’s to do what we were meant to do. It’s the reason we were born, and it should scare the hell out of us at the same time as it excites us.

Of course, we don’t always know what our purpose is. Sometimes we have to search for it. But, it’s out there. And it’s waiting. All we need to do is follow our intuition, pursue our passions, and chase our joys. Do that and eventually we will collide right into it. The most wonderful thing is that once we find our purpose, we’ll discover our talents, which, when shared with others, is how we will each make our difference in the world. That’s a jackpot we can all share.

How To Win The Lotto Tip #3: Spread The Love

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”
Mother Teresa

If you want to help another human being you don’t need to wait until you win 92 million dollars to start—you can do it right now. You don’t have to buy your mailman a car; buy him lunch or a cup of coffee. You want to thank an old teacher? Write a heartfelt letter. You want to help out your family and friends? Show them how much you care, and be there for them when they need it. It’s not about money, it’s about generosity of spirit.

Sure, a big fat check with lots of zeros is nice and all, but what people really want is someone to listen to them, and to acknowledge their feelings. They want what you are, not what you have. The best part is, the more we give away our love, the more we bring it back into our own lives, making us even richer. Yes, Sir Paul McCartney was right. “The love we take is equal to the love we make.”

How To Win The Lotto Tip #4: Add More Joy & Adventure Into Your Life

“Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
Winnie the Pooh

Okay, you really want to win the lotto? Keep the buck in your pocket and add more joy into your life. And while you’re at it, make the seeking of joy an adventure that will take you into as many different worlds as possible.

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In other words, try everything. The mandolin, the banjo and the Cha-Cha. Also, barefoot running, rollerblading to work, gardening, miming, yoga, spin class, and a pickup basketball game with strangers. Don’t just explore the ballet, either; stop for break dancers in the subway, and seven year-olds holding magic shows. If you can’t backpack across Europe, pitch a tent in the backyard. If you won’t bungee jump off a bridge, at least write poetry to your spouse. What matters is that we jump in somewhere, anywhere, bravely, boldly and with no apologies. What matters is that we speak up and join in. That we are the first to say hello, extend the hand, offer the hug, take the chance, make the move. It doesn’t matter if we’re working for world peace or planning a surprise party for our kids. What matters is that we choose to participate in as much of life as we can.

This is where true joy and happiness lives.

This is the true lottery jackpot.

And, whatever you do, don’t let the guy in the Learjet talk you into believing anything less—not even if he offers you Cristal champagne in a golden flute.

The real lottery is all there for your taking. All you need to do is step up and claim it.

Congratulations, you’re rich!

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Last Updated on November 15, 2019

Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

Wouldn’t you like to be able to eat twice as much as you do now without gaining weight? If so, I have good news for you because this is possible when you learn how to increase metabolism.

How Much Do You Know About Metabolism?

Before we get to the meat, let me say that metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body.[1] These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning, however, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with the metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn.

The metabolic rate is a rough estimate of how much energy your body needs to simply stay alive and perform all its biochemical reactions. These reactions require energy, aka burn calories.

Imagine that your brain alone consumes nearly 20% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure at rest),[2] your digestion and the detoxifying system come second, repairing tissues third and so on.

Staying alive is expensive for your body and its two main currencies are fats and sugars.

When I am talking about improving your metabolic rate (metabolism), I mean improving the amount of energy, your body requires to (pretty much) lay down in bed and do nothing for 24 hours.

Extra physical activity, extra thinking or fighting illness are things that require a lot of energy (burn a lot of calories) but they don’t really increase metabolism… actually they can decrease it.

Can You Naturally Change the Speed of Your Basal Metabolism?

The answer to this question is yes and you can also achieve an increase in metabolism and a drop in body fat by eating more.

Shocked? Well, I was too.

The way I came across this phenomenon is quite funny. Over my 10 years as a coach, I helped many busy professionals to naturally increase their metabolism by getting them leaner, fitter and stronger but, at the beginning of my career, I actually had no idea whether they were losing weight because of an increase in metabolism or because we created a calorie deficit with diet and exercise.

When I was training my clients regularly, they would lose weight. Every time I would take a few weeks of vacation, I would come back to London and find out that most of them gained back a generous amount of weight despite the fact that they were following their diet and they swapped our weight training sessions with cardio.

On the contrary, when they were going on vacation, they would do zero exercises and binge like there was no tomorrow but come back either lighter or weighing the same (but looking more muscular).

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Observing this phenomenon happening over and over again, got me curious about the mechanics of our metabolism and the ways to hack it.

Was it really possible that by relaxing and eating more food, someone could actually maintain his/her current weight or even be losing fat?

Driven by the desire to answer this question, I spent a good amount of years researching and testing different food strategies until I finally cracked the code to an improved metabolism that allows you to eat like a king and look like a Greek God.

Does Eating More Increase Metabolism?

Before I explain why eating more increases your metabolism, let me dig into something that I see people doing much more often: “eating less and moving more.”

It is quite common to see people embarking their yearly weight loss journey (usually after Christmas or Easter) by following very restrictive diets and bombarding their body with several hours of exercise per day.

Despite the short-term effectiveness of this approach, in the long run, if the goal is to increase metabolism and lose a lot of fat over an extended period of time, this simply won’t work.

As I have mentioned before, eating fewer calories and exercising more are energy-consuming activities for your body. In the first case, your body needs to use its own energy reserves to top up the missing energy it needs to fully function; and in the second, it takes your body extra energy to contract your muscles.

In both cases, your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure at rest) doesn’t vary much; therefore your metabolism stays unchanged.[3]

A different scenario happens when you eat less and move more for an extended period of time (weeks or months). In that case, your metabolism will slow down because your body is receiving a “we have little access to food and we need to run away from threats” signal.

Your metabolism is like your bank account.

To understand this concept, let’s imagine that you have $4,000 coming into your bank account each and every month. The money you spend on housing, transport, food and leisure are calibrated according to this monthly income.

Now, imagine that a rich uncle starts to send you $1,000 each day. What would you do? Probably, you would save that money for the first two or three days but, when you notice that $1,000 keep on coming every single day, you would likely start to spend more right?

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What if, instead of a rich uncle sending you money, a poor uncle needed your financial help to pay for the treatments of his illness? You would probably try your best to adjust your spending according to your old $4,000 monthly budget.

That’s exactly how your body reasons:

More Resources Coming in = More Energy Released (Improved Metabolism)

Fewer Resources Coming in = Less Energy Released (Decreased Metabolism)

Note that activities like weight training[4] and high-intensity interval training (HIIT),[5] when combined with an increase in nutrient-rich foods, will also improve your metabolism.

For this reason, today, when I coach a new client, I always start by increasing their daily food intake and their physical activities. Usually, people are quite confused because they come to me to lose weight and I tell them to eat more but, without fail, the next weekly weight-check shows a lower number.

Be aware that not all foods are equal and only certain foods have the power to increase metabolism to a noticeable extent.

Foods That Increase Metabolism

Doubling up on Snickers bars won’t improve your metabolism and you know that. What you may not know is that certain foods that are marked as “healthy” doesn’t help you with increasing your metabolism. They also make you gain weight.

Before giving you a list of foods to eat or avoid, let me explain a simple principle of human biochemistry.

Your body uses energy from three (or four) main sources:

  • Sugars: whether you eat a Snickers bar or a banana, the carbohydrates contained in both get absorbed in the gut and become blood glucose (the basic form of sugar our body utilizes as a source of energy).[6]
    When blood glucose is present in the bloodstream (elevated levels), the body always uses it as its primary source of energy. When blood glucose levels drop (this phenomenon happens when you’re using these sugars to fuel a physical activity or when your pancreas produced a spike of insulin and stores that glucose into fat and muscles), your body starts to release fatty acids into the bloodstream to use as a source of energy.
  • Fatty acids: either from your own fat cells (adipocytes) or from whatever fat-containing foods you ate in the past 2-3 hours. Fatty acids are a slower and more consistent form of energy than sugars that your body can utilise.
  • Amino acids: Amino acids are the broken-down form of proteins. Proteins cannot be used by the body as a source of energy, not even in their broken-down form. Your body can transform amino acids into glucose with a process called gluconeogenesis.[7] This is a very inefficient process where a decent amount of energy gets wasted (and that’s a good thing for us but I’ll get to that later).
  • Ketones: when you don’t feed your body any source of carbs (or proteins in excess), your liver produces an alternative source of energy called Ketones. It can replace the need for glucose (most of it at least).[8]

Now that you know the four energy sources the body can use to fuel its metabolism, let’s get to the meat (quite literally).

To make this simple for you, I am going to divide foods into three categories:

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  1. Red Flags – Avoid the red foods because they slow your metabolism. They are usually extremely low in micronutrients and high in antinutrients (agents that are highly toxic). They are highly processed or spike your insulin levels (therefore stopping your fat burning process).
  2. Orange Foods – Limit your consumption of orange foods. The orange foods on the list are suboptimal choices but they don’t have a negative impact on your metabolism when consumed in moderation. In fact, they contain a decent amount of micronutrients and, if eaten in small amounts, they shouldn’t stop your fat burning process.
  3. Green Foods – These are foods to consume most. Green foods will improve your metabolism and should be the main bulk of your diet.

Next, I’ll get into details exactly what foods to eat and avoid:

Sugars and Carbs

Sugars do not directly improve metabolism because they stop the process of fat utilisation. There is an exception to this rule though. When you eat a diet extremely low in carbohydrates and sugars for an extended period of time (two to six days onwards), introducing carbohydrates and sugars can actually improve metabolism quite a bit.

Unfortunately, for most of us that love eating bread, pasta, fruit and yoghurt, unless we were on a low-carb diet for the past few days, these foods are not an optimal choice.

Sugars like fructose (found in fruit or commercial sugar) actually decrease metabolism and should be limited. Heavily processed sugars and carbohydrates should be also limited. Here is the colour list of sugars and carbs that affect metabolism:

Red Flag Sugary Foods You Should Avoid:
  • Dried fruit
  • Commercial and packaged corn
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • All sorts of candies and lookalike
  • Packaged fruit juices and purees
  • Sugary dairy products like flavoured yoghurt, condensed milk etc
Orange Sugary Foods You Should Limit:
  • Bread and flour-based products
  • Milk and also vegan milk alternatives that are sweetened
  • Most fruit (exceptions are in the green list below)
  • Potatoes and potato starch products
  • Oatmeals and other grains
Green Sugary and Carb-Containing Foods That Improve Metabolism
  • All berries except strawberries
  • Tubers like squash, carrots, parsnips etc
  • Sweet potatoes
  • White rice
  • All green vegetables

Fats

Fatty acids and fats, in general, can improve or decrease metabolism depending on their composition.

Red Flag Fatty Foods You Should Avoid:
  • Margarine and hydrogenated fat
  • Lard
  • Gmo oils
  • Most vegetable oils from seeds and peanut oil
Orange Fatty Foods You Should Limit:
  • Nuts
  • Meat fat
  • Nut oils (macadamia, almond, cashew etc..)
  • Seeds
Green Fatty Foods You Should Eat Daily
  • Extra virgin olive oil (non-heated)
  • Avocado
  • Coconut oil
  • Butter (organic)
  • Egg yolks (free-range)
  • Bone marrow

The fatty foods in the green section tend to be very effective in increasing metabolism, especially in the absence of carbohydrates because they stimulate the production of ketones (I’ll talk about this later).

Bear in mind that 1 gram of fat has 2.5 times the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrates; therefore “eating more fats” to increase metabolism should be done very gradually to avoid weight gain.

Proteins

Eating food not only sends regulatory signals to your brain about abundance vs scarcity of resources, but it can also increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).[9] It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.

Protein causes the largest rise in TEF.[10] It increases your metabolic rate by 15-30%, compared to 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fats

Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating, in fact, a study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet.[11]

Also, proteins help preserve muscle mass.[12] The more muscle mass we have, the higher our basal metabolism is.

For these reasons, the first nutritional advice I usually give to clients is to reduce sugars and increase proteins. This quick swap is often enough to kickstart their metabolism and commence the fat burning process.

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Red Protein Sources That Should Be Avoided
  • Cheap whey proteins
  • Soy proteins
  • GMO meat
  • GMO eggs
  • Packaged meat
Orange Protein Source to Be Limited
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned fish
  • Canned meat
  • Gluten-rich products like Seitan
  • Farmed fish
Green Protein Sources to Have Daily
  • Free-range meat
  • Free-range eggs
  • Wild meat and fish
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Collagen and beef protein hydrolyzed

Note that this is a general categorisation of the foods that, when added to your diet, have the power to increase or decrease metabolism. There are some specific foods and supplements worth mentioning because they have been proven to improve metabolism by increasing thyroid output or resting heart rate, they are as follows.

Other Foods and Supplements

Cold water

Drinking water may temporarily speed up your metabolism. Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 litres) of water increases resting metabolism by 10-30% for about an hour.[13]

This is not a surprise since our body is made up mainly by water and proper hydration is key to a fast metabolism. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature.

MCT Oils or Powders

Medium-chain triglycerides or MCT have been shown to improve metabolism by stimulating Ketone production.[14] Coconut oil contains MCT fats and, when used as a replacement for cooking oil can help you improve metabolism.

You can buy the concentrated version of MCT oils and eat it separately to further enhance this effect. Either way, coconut oil or pure MCT oil can be a great addition to your diet if you’re following a ketogenic or intermittent fasting protocol.

Caffeine

Caffeine and coffee have been shown to improve metabolism by improving heart rate and, therefore improving calorie consumption.[15]

Green Tea

Green tea

is thought to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and to reduce fat production and absorption.[16]

Bottom Line

In this article, I just covered the basics of food and metabolism but, there are many other non-food related things you can do to improve your metabolism, like improving your sleep quality and following certain exercise routines.

For now, just know that making small and gradual changes to your diet can increase your metabolism and improve your general health. Starting from changing one habit at a time is always the best strategy to accomplish any goal.

Once you improve your diet, your hydration and your supplementation you can think about testing more advanced “bio-hacks” or techniques like ice baths and fasted HIIT training.

And remember, having a higher metabolism doesn’t only help you lose weight and keep it off but it also give you more energy and a feeling of vibrancy. If you give it time, it really is worth the investment.

Featured photo credit: Fitsum Admasu via unsplash.com

Reference

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