Three Books From 2015 I Will Reread

Some people asked me on Twitter what my top 5 books of 2015 were. I’m not sure about the last two, I’ve read more than 60 books last year, but I do have a top three that made the most impact on me. Here goes:

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

I read this during my Minimalism experiment and it was really eye opening (as was te experiment). In his words The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.

Buy it on Amazon: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Eat, Move, Sleep by Tom Rath

This also links to an experiment (about getting more energy). It’s a great read. It’s not a specific diet, or training schedule, or sleeping schedule. But I followed pretty much the ideas in this book and the effect it had on my energy, and even my life, was… well, profound might be an understatement. Read this, but more importantly, follow the advice. It’ll change yoru life!

Buy it on Amazon: Eat Move Sleep

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

I can’t stick to one thing for very long. While I know I should keep working to achieve something, it never hit home enough for me until I read this book. It perfectly illustrates the power of compounding interest. You can use this in every area of your life.

Buy it on Amazon: The Compound Effect

All of these had a big impact on me and I’m pretty sure they’ll be important to you, too. Let me know if/when you’ve read them. Love to hear from you.

My Energy Approach

My ideas to get more energy are to sleep a lot, which for me is more than 7 hours (I’m aiming for 7.5), do at least 20 minutes of workout every week, and eat better.

For that last part I read a book about food last week. It’s very strict in what you can and can’t eat, and I totally don’t feel like doing such a strict diet. I tried to adhere to their rule when doing grocery shopping last Saturday, reading the labels on all products I usually buy.

OMG, do they add sugar to everything? Suger, dextrosis, fructosis… sugar with every name possible. I’m not ready to completely change the way I eat, but it seems I can cut back on sugar very easily by just making a few changes. Also I’ll stop eat (most) dairy products. I drink a lot of milk and have no problem replacing that with water and tea. I’ll still eat bread (sugar in it), but I’ll stop with artificial sweeteners in my tea. I’ll stop eating many deserts, eat more potatoes and much more vegetables. And two pieces of fruit every day. And I’ll stop eating chips and any form of candy. And I’ll take some multi-vitamins every day, though maybe that’s overkill with the amount of vegetables and fruit I’ll be eating.

Most of these food choices are common sense, so no real surprises here, but if I took an honest look at what kind of garbage I regularly eat, I can do so much better by just making these changes.

In the end this experiment is about getting more energy, not about losing weight or a strict diet, even though a diet may have exactly the desired effect.

So:

  • Sleep more
  • Exercise more
  • Eat (much) better

and then:

  • Measure energy levels… somehow.

No rocket surgery here. 😉

Starting Point

My vitals, at this moment, are:

Length: 6’4″

I expect this won’t change much the next four weeks.

Weight: 212.4 lb (ouch)

I guess since I knew I was starting a healthy diet today, I decided to indulge a little more than usual, gaining too many pounds in almost two weeks. Again, I’m not weight watching, but I expect my weight or fat percentage to drop a little during this experiment.

I use a Microsoft Band 2 to monitor my sleep, daily steps and heart rate. I’ve been sleeping for over 7 hours every night for the last 3 nights, so I feel well rested at the moment. There’s a big discrepancy between the amount of restful sleep I get as measured between my Band 2 and my previous tracker, the Jawbone up 24. The Band seems to assign a much smaller amount to restful sleep. Nevertheless I’ll only use that device from now on. It says I average about 1:30 hours of restful sleep a night at the moment.

No after lunch dip today, even when sitting behind a computer, so I feel good.

My resting heart rate also measured by the Mircosoft Band 2 has been about 49 during the last week. Oh how I remember my golden years where it was around 40!

Now… if anybody knows of a more or less objective way to measure my energy don’t hesitate to tell me @4_weeks on Twitter!

For now, I feel energized. Not as much as I used to feel right before an important race (trained and well rested) where I’d literally be jumping up and down with excess energy, but definitely a 7/10.

Energy

I’ve been a little low on energy lately. For the next 4 week experiment I’d like to change that. For my energy level to improve, I intend to do the following:

  • Sleep more (7.5 to 8 hours, as opposed to 6.5),
  • Exercise (at least 20 minutes daily, I’ll make a schedule),
  • Eat better.

The first one is obvious.

The second one is doable. It’s logical that a trained person has more energy. I know a bit about endurance training and I’ll make a schedule that’ll improve my overal fitness, taking enough rest or recovery periods.

The last one, eating, will be my biggest hurdle. I know very little about food other than ‘snacks are bad’. So I’ll stop eating snacks. Other than that…

There’s so much contradictory food info on the internet (is milk healthy or not?), and since I have to start somewhere, I researched some food related books on Amazon. I settled on this one: It Starts With Food. It’s based on the Paleo diet, and it has some science in it to back up its claims.

It specifically mentions energy, so I’m interested in finding out what’s in it.

During the experiment I’ll report daily on: my energy level, food intake, sleep, resting heart rate, and weight. I’m curious how the regimen will affect me.

Low on Energy Problem

The Miracle Morning isn’t going as well as I’d hoped. I love having the mornings for myself. I love the clarity it brings through the meditation and focussing. I love that I have some uninterupted time to work on my personal projects.

But I also have very little energy during the day.

This is not a result of getting up earlier (I’m getting just as much sleep as I used to), but I’m noticing it more at work. Normally when I started to have less energy, it was time to go home from work anyway. Now I’ve got that problem a few hours earlier at work.

My next project will be all about getting more energy. After that, I fully intend to go back to the Miracle Morning, because I’m loving it very much.