Men often cop a bad reputation for being lazy. Sometime’s it’s from our partners or friends and other times it manifests as self-guilt.
Whatever the reason for being a “lazy man”, men are still quite often hard workers providing for their family (not always the sole provider, but still a provider none the less).
But are men really lazy or do we just like doing things a different way? If we can find an easier way to still fulfil our goals while balancing the act of working, resting and living then I believe it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
So here I will present some tips to help the “lazy man” live well, which involves very little effort compared to being a gym rat or a marathon runner. Keep in mind, if you want to live well and be healthy there will always be some effort involved and that’s fine. Once this fact is accepted we can work on creating a unique set of habits for ourselves.
Exercise is often associated with negative sentiment among lazy men. It’s often seen as either “you love it or you hate it”. But there are some misconceptions with what’s involved in exercise that can skew the perception towards the bad side.
It’s often thought that exercise needs to be intense and gruelling, producing enough sweat to fill a bucket, ending with you collapsed on the floor gasping for air, followed by a quick death.
The Australian Department of Health recommends 150 to 300 minutes of exercise per week which is 2 1/2 to 5 hours per week. While this may sound like a lot let’s first break that down into a daily amount.
2 1/2 hours per week is approximately 21 minutes per day while 5 hours per week is approximately 42 minutes per day. Both of those figures, or splitting the difference at 30 minutes per day isn’t much at all.
At a moderate walking pace of 5-6 KM per hour, it’s only a walking distance of 2.5 to 3 KM. Put in some headphones and walk around the neighbourhood and you can fit in an episode of your favourite podcast and get some alone time.
Now it’s important not to feel guilty about having alone time too, because remember being a better you for yourself is also being a better you for your family and children. If you have more energy to play soccer with them on the weekend or reduce your risk of middle age heart disease then everybody wins.
Another option – my personal favourite is cycling. Again the same time frame is all it takes but you can cover more distance, breath some fresh air and explore hidden gems of nature hiding in most neighbourhoods.
Regardless of what type of exercise, aim to get your heart rate up to at least 60-70% and if exercise is new to you and you are extremely unfit and/or overweight please see your GP for a check-up beforehand. There’s no shame at all in consulting with your GP and it usually only takes a few minutes out of your day.
Relationships with food can be a tricky one. Whether we are slim or overweight the largest problem with food is often psychological. Sure, physical cravings are a real thing but one of the largest problems with food is emotional eating. Eating based on thoughts or feelings.
The key to combatting this is to really get to know ourselves. When you get an urge to grab a pack of Tim-Tams from the cupboard pause first and ask yourself are you really hungry or is habit driving your actions. If the answer is habit then ask yourself what was the trigger for the habit.
The other part of eating well is the lazy man is terrible at planning. And when we fail to plan, we plan to fail as they say. But planning ahead can be quite easy, and it can also save you a bunch of money during the week if you often hit up the local deli or fast food restaurant for a burger and coke fix.
Once you know the key ingredients to a nutritional meal, and figure out a few simple shortcuts then meal planning for the week ahead isn’t difficult at all, nor does it take much time either.
Aim for a generous serving of protein in every meal, as well as a variety of mixed vegetables, and optionally some smart carbohydrates. This means avoid empty-carbs like white bread, white pasta and white rice. Aim for smarter alternates such as a low carb, high protein bread.
For protein, nothing beats a good serving of chicken breast. Very low fat and at bulk prices you can power 5 lunches with a bulk pack for $10 or less from most supermarkets. Use the oven and a glass dish to bake 1 KG of chicken breast (3-4 breasts) on a Sunday afternoon then grab a knife and hack away into smaller pieces.
You can add some steamed vegetables, and wholemeal pasta to make an easy reheatable meal at lunchtime. If your aim is to lose a lot of weight I recommend reducing any forms of high carbs like pasta until you are closer to your weight goals. Aim for 1/2 to 1 cup depending on if you are trying to lose weight or build muscle.
For vegetables, baby potatoes, carrots and greens like broccoli and peas are very easy and quick to steam and go with most forms of protein, red or white.
While most guides would simply stop at exercise and food, I believe mental health to be an integral part of proacting well being too.
And just like the first two, this need not take up a lot of your day either. The key for me is practising meditation first thing in the morning. Once it’s out the way, then it doesn’t matter what happens for the rest of the day.
While there are many guided meditation apps these days, you can’t go wrong with Headspace. Give it a try and if you haven’t looked into it before, it’s important to recognise there are often many pre-misconceptions with meditation too.
You don’t have to be a Buddhist sitting cross-legged on top of a mountain humming to meditate. Meditation is purely about conditioning healthy thinking habits in the mind. It does so by strengthening neural connections and creating better pathways to handle the ups and downs of experience emotions better.
Also, the better you are at handling your own mind, the better you are for your partner and children too. You will learn to be more objective and less reactive before getting angry at the kids for example. You can’t be mindful all the time but most of us can learn to be more mindful than we currently are.
Go Forth and Be Lazy
While these are a few tips for living well and being lazy, remember that there is no black and white, right or wrong way to do anything. Experiment and learn what works for you and always keep in mind that it takes a long time to create new habits.
Don’t give up after a short try, expect that it will take months or years. Don’t give up because you aren’t perfect, expect that being a little bit better is better than doing nothing at all.