By Andrew Neitlich

Are you taking care of yourself?

By Andrew Neitlich

The recent discussion about weight loss got me thinking about selling, working with clients, and general vitality/energy.

I had been feeling lethargic lately, so I worked out with a boxing fitness trainer this morning. What a workout! After the 90 minutes of drive plus workout time, I felt great. Indeed, I got more done the rest of the day than normal. I was much more productive. And when I interacted with people I was more alert, on the ball, and enthusiastic.

Good eating can have the same effect for me. If I eat a big meatball sub (my favorite), I generally feel like a nap in the afternoon. But if I keep the portions smaller and a bit healthier, the afternoon is no problem.


It may sound obvious, but many of us (like me) live a bit unconsciously when it comes to taking care of ourselves. And that can lead to problems taking care of others.

What about you? Are you taking care of yourself?

  • Jason Batten

    Taking care of yourslef also means standing up for yourself.

    Don’t let clients push you around or let you bend your ethics. Slap some sense into them and charge for it, oh be sure to do it with a smile too :)

    Eat right, sleep well, charge high, work enough and keep number one (you) in great condition.

  • JaredWhite

    Yes, as I’ve modified my diet to be centered around natural, whole, quality foods and have been pro-active in taking lots of mini-breaks, keeping up with exercise, etc., I’ve been able to be much more alert and productive. I think we folks who have “brain” jobs tend to forget our bodies need to be kept fit and strong — otherwise our brains will eventually give way, usually when we need them the most!

  • Pigging out and taking a nap sounds ideal to me.

  • baron.pampa

    2JaredWhite – you’re right that we, who have “brain” jobs usualy forget about the body. But that can lead to procrastination, severe unproductivity and depression :(
    Our brain can’t work without the rest of the body – balanced nutrition is the key to productivity and creativity :)
    I found that keeping a log of meals helps me to 1) not overeat, 2) balance the sprouts and meats in my rations. Oh, and polyvitamies together with nootropics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nootropics) work wonders :)

  • webnology

    Lateley I have been training for a half marathon, and the effect on my general condition was amazing. I wasn’ t tired anymore, could do much more hours, and I was a much nicer person. Go running for 1 hour 3 times a week and you’ll feel amazing.

  • Kisan

    Meditation in the morning and evening (1 hr total), walking every day (1 hr) and listening to music while working will keep you healthy, wealthy and wise. :)

  • Staying alert. I’ve thought about ways to accomplish this so often over the past week it was weird to find this.

    Believe it or not, you’ve actually motivated me to jog to the mall down the road and sign a gym contract. It’s right around the corner and open nearly all hours, so I figure stopping in there whenever I have some thinking to do would be a great way to stay alert.

    Jason Batten already said everything else I might’ve.

  • Dr Livingston

    way too much coca cola is just about the one problem i have; been drinking the stuff since birth and god i wish i didn’t have the thirst for it :(

    apart from that my diets not too bad but i could do (a lot) more exercise…

  • Clenard

    Back in 2002 I was only 24 Years old and I was drinking 3-4 Mt. Dew’s a day + Smoking. One night I had some nasty Heart Palpitations that made me feel like I was having a Heart Attack or something…it was the first time it ever happened to me, so I didn’t know what it was. I ended up in the Hospital – only to hear the doctors tell me “I know you’re on Methamphetamines”…then went on to explain how people die left and right on meth, even after I explained “I would never touch that stuff”. Well, 2 weeks after that Hospital visit I went on the biggest diet ever and quit drinking Mt. Dew and any other Soda. Not only did I drop 60 Lbs.(yes, I was a bit overweight after a few years of no sports, working out, etc) – I got in the best shape of my life. I would walk 3+ miles in the morning, eat 5-6 small meals during the day and walk another 4+ miles at night… then straight to the gym 4-5 of those days a week. life was so much easier. I never stopped smoking – but I wish I had. Still wish I could for that matter lol

    Anyways, I ended up gaining about 35 Lbs. back after a big breakup with my girlfriend and ALOT of beer throughout the weeks and months to come. Luckily I haven’t drank for 8 months now and Smoking was cut by about 50%. I still have some of that weight I gained back but I’ve been getting back into working out and feeling MUCH better. I seem to learn at a much faster pace after working out as well. It seems my focus is there and my brain is ready to use it.

    People definately don’t worry about their health as much as they should though. I know alot of people who even think they’re eating healthy because they eat “diet” food and drinks from Grocery Stores or Fast Food joints… this doesn’t help the cause. Even if you’ve lost a few pounds – you’re not winning the fight. Try learning about REAL Organic Foods and switching to a healthier lifestyle. Switch from Milk to Soy Milk (Silk Enhanced tasted just like 2% milk!) in the morning too… honestly, this has been a great switch for me! With all the Omega’s – it gets you thinking better.

    Definately cut the soda though… no matter what horror stories you’ve heard about it – there’s ALOT more than those in the end. You never hear about the stress it puts on your heart – but this is definately the worst. Also, don’t say “well Coke is much less harmful than Mt. Dew” or “Diet Coke is much less harmful than Coke”. These are all false… just cut the soda completely out for 2 months and see how much healthier you feel!

    Great article Andrew! I believe this was so out-of-the-norm for Techies, yet so PERFECT to bring up. Everywhere I go – techies seem to have the WORST eating habits in the world lol

  • Clenard

    Oh yeah, just to clarify my daily regiment in 2002… I didn’t start out doing 3+ miles, etc. I SLOWLY built myself up to it. I started doing 5 minute walks in the morning… then moved to 5 in the morn and 5 in the evening. Then 10 in the morning – 5 in the evenening, etc. It took about 2 months to get to that 3+ miles, etc. NEVER go out and try to do something that big if you’ve never done it. You’re only pushing yourself to an early retirement from life. Let your entire body get used to Excercise Regiments… slowly grow into new Distances and continue to eat healthy. Someone who eats bad should NOT push themselves either. Definately consult a physician prior to taking any advice on working out. Life is given once and taken once… use it wisely while you still have it.

  • I used to lift weights every other day but was forced to stop due to wrist problems. Now I play tennis just about every day (not the best for wrists either, but its no where near as bad as the weights.)

    Avoid junk food and fast food, drink water instead of soda, eat a balanced diet, and stay active. Many people miss every single one of those points, and thats when they get in trouble.

  • EagleEyesDesign

    Yep. You all said it.

    I never had a choice. Did lame jobs for years, never had energy. Just ate too cheaply, not even junk food, lots of PB & J.

    Started “the Zone” & suddenly got brain smart. Took on web projects in the early web days and my earnings kept tripling each year for 5 years. That sure keeps one motivated.

    Day to day, if I don’t eat the best fuel every meal, my work grinds to a halt. Not just bad work – NO WORK gets done. I pretty much flop over! ha ha. It’s one heckuva personal trainer, having the ALL or NOTHING choice. But with rhe right fuel, my brain and attitude is happy and love to race thru projects, two at a time or I get bored, which helps me feel pretty darn good about life.

    For anyone trying to make the switch: You’re really not giving up anything except lousy days. – Christina

  • skeeterbug

    Christina, i mentioned THE ZONE about a week ago. your experience mirrors mine and it is typical. in fact, i have ZERO worries about gaining weight b/c i can easily control it using THE ZONE and my elyptical trainer.

    the zone is th eultimate moderate diet. i don’t even follow it to the “T” (not enough veggies and fruits, too much sugar), but i can always improve when the waist gets tight.

    leave the sodas alone, people. i think they contain about 45 grams of pure sugar – which is a LOT. when i drink soda, i drink soda flavored with splenda sweetener. diet rite isn’t the best out there, but the bang for no sugar buck is excellent! the splenda flavored diet hawaiian punch is also very good. i usually cut it with water b/c i don’t like super sweet anymore.

    the eyeball zone method is good enough for 9 out of 10 people. i haven’t weighed anything in years.

    i’m as cynical as it gets (b/c that is mostly the right way to be!), but this *is* the real deal and Christina and i get absolutely no benefit from sharing the truth.

    just do it!

    good luck.

  • WindUpDoll

    I had some health problems too that resolved themselves by diet & exercise. One thing that’s helped is having a small snack of nuts instead of chips.

    Even now, Doritos are the devil to me…

  • EagleEyesDesign

    Funny you should mention Doritos, WindUpDoll. I’ve been happy this week after discovering Simply Organic “All Seasons Salt.” (orange inside the bottle) Didn’t realize they had that flavor. Tastes like Dorrito seasoning to me. Amazon description A national brand found in health food stores.

    I have to make my own Spelt crackers (can’t eat wheat and spelt is an early version of wheat). And with the seasoning it tastes like Doritos to me. Also sprinkled lightly on nuts. Dang that’s good stuff.

    The seasoning DOES contain cane sugar. But for me that is fine, I eat a few crackers and I’m done. Regular sugar (made from corn) makes you eat and eat and eat. You really can’t eat just one, cuz our brains don’t get the “I’m Full” trigger with corn sugar or syrup. It’s not lack of willpower, it’s the way our brain works. I can’t eat corn products or my gut swells badly, but if corn tortilla chips are at a party you can NOT hold me back from eating the whole bowl. It’s seriously addictive.

    I got carded the other night and it was bright sunlight outside and the concert guy was looking me over suspiciously. I’m nearly 40. How sweet is that! It’s a pain sometimes to find the time to eat well, but then it’s not so bad sometimes when that happens.
    – Christina

  • dsandall

    For the last 5 years I have made my personal fitness & health a priority. I got back into running as a ‘me time’ activity, and have done 4 marathons (26.2 miles) and one ultra-marathon (100km) since; with many more to come. To be honest, if I don’t get out for at least one 3 or 4 hour run a week, I’m a cranky bugger. My runs & yoga are part of my weekly routine that rarely are sacrificed for work as I know that I’m way more productive when I’m fit and healthy.

    I don’t eat deep fried foods (8 years with no McDonalds, which I used to have at least twice a week!); and try to eat foods with the least amount of processing. I’m by no means a saint, as I let my sweet tooth have its day after I complete big events (like two ice cream treats after my ultramarathon!).

    Oh, and no soda for me either, again, used to drink a litre of coke a day. I still have my espresso though, it’s truly the nectar of the gods.

    Dwayne – certified running junkie :-)

  • WindUpDoll

    Thanks EagleEyesDesign/Christina.

    I’m definitately going to look for All Seasons Salt when I hit the organic grocery this week. I’ve got a friend with Celiac disease – if you like beer, you should check out this stuff from Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee. Don’t know where you’re at, but they’re trying to go national in the US. http://www.newgrist.com/.

    You’re right about eating well taking time – I plan out my meals for the week (or try to). That way I’m not tempted to say Screw it and pick up stuff I shouldn’t be eating on the way home from work!

  • skeeterbug


    eating decent doesn’t have to take up too much time. i’m 5’10” and 175-180 lbs – here’s a typical working day (my diet can get uglier on weekends due tolack of structure):

    before work: a nonfat flavored yogurt and a string cheese (how’s that for fast!). this gets me through to lunch, ~4 hrs, with no hunger pains.

    lunch: two spicy chicken soft tacos at taco bell – $2.13 out the door.

    2-3 hours later: 1 zone bar.

    dinner: lots of options, but typically it is fried chicken w/o the skin and some fruits, veggies less often. it might be some steak or some hamburger. i might eat ONE roll with dinner.

    i need to get back into a small handfull of peanuts with every meal – that is actually one of my favorite foods when i’m in the zone. i can *feel* the difference between peanuts and no peanuts (or almonds or guacamole or macadamia nuts).

    my other lunch that i eat a lot is two mcdonald’s double cheeseburgers w/o the cheese and pickles. $2.13 out the door.

    the visual method actually works quite well…

    protein: the size of your palm
    carbs: two fists worth of fruits, LOTS of veggies or minimal breads, pastas and the like (to taste, not to fill up on).
    fat: small handfull of peanuts or other mfat.

    a snack is half of the above.

    eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, drink lots of water and get some cardio going…

    you will be amazed.

    i got a coworker on the zone and…

    1. she felt better
    2. she wasn’t hungry all the time
    3. she lost 3 lbs the first week
    4. she still complained she didn’t lose 5 lbs until i reminded her how AMAZING it was to have the first three items in this list AT THE SAME TIME!

    you have the knowledge now… use it.

    eat to feel good… not to medicate emotions.

  • Layla

    Skeeterbug: Are you serious? Have you actually stepped back and looked at the crap your eating? Anyone that calls 2 double cheeseburgers healthy is kidding themselves, including you. No one USA is the fattest nation in the world with all of these fad diets. SMH.

  • LiQ

    I would be more apathetic if I wasn’t so lethargic…

  • WindUpDoll

    Gotta agree with Layla on the cheesburgers… I think that’s a touch more than the size of the palm of your hand of protien. Although, they are pretty thin…

    And I assume that when you say fried chicken, you mean the pan-fried, small amount of fat kind and not the drop it in a big huge tub of fat till it floats kind. ;-)

    When I mentioned taking time, it’s not like I’m laboring over things for hours. I just use some weekend time to take the thinking of what to eat out of my busy week, when I know I’ll be far more tempted to go for convenience. Actual food consumption takes me far less time than it should, unfortunately.

  • Lots of talk about diet and exercise, which is great.

    But, so little talk of mental health, spirit, and happiness. Being thin and having energy isn’t the same as being happy.

    Meditation is the root of all of these life-improving ideas. After all, you have to be awfully body-unaware to suddenly realize that you need to go on a diet. I agree with the above comment that meditation morning and night key!

  • Adriana

    I read somewhere that meditation can cause psychotic side effects, which is why I’ve always been to afraid to try it.

  • WindUpDoll

    I’ve been taking yoga weekly for about 2 years, which has meditation components. I’ve never heard about psychotic side effects. Haven’t experienced them either. At least, I don’t THINK I’ve experienced them. ;-)

    There are also many different ways to meditate, so I’m sure there’s a school of thought/technique that you would be comfortable with.

    I know for me, things slid gradually. I wasn’t as aware of myself – I didn’t realize I needed to go on a diet, I simply realized I needed to use my noggin more than I was. I found it to be a domino-effect – once I was aware of my diet, I became more aware of my attitude, perceptions, feelings, etc. I think before when I let my diet go, I let exercise go, I let stress-relievers like meditation go, and things slid.

    For me, it’s all connected.

  • baileysemt

    I find myself just naturally meditating (or what I think is meditating) as I work out. I either walk 2-3 miles, or exercycle for 45 minutes, both of which are well suited to meditating. Well, it’s serious thinking/reflective time. And I try to really get in the moment and be acutely aware of how my body feels as I move. It’s neat because as I get stronger, I feel differently, and that change is also a measuring stick for how I am progressing.

    Speaking of mental health, whenever I can, I pack up and spend a couple hours at a nearby state forest. I take a pen, paper and chair, and write. There is something about being out in nature for me — that is where I can totally let go & relax. Even if I am truly working, it doesn’t feel like work when I’m at the state forest. Although I much prefer to take no work at all and just totally decompress. :)

    Diet — once I figured out that processed carbs were the root of all evil for my metabolism (YMMV!) it’s been a lot easier to regulate my blood sugars, choose smarter fuels and lose weight. I’ve cut potatoes, pasta and bread from my diet. (Well, I will eat bread if it’s on a sandwich I buy, but I don’t have loaves of anything bread-like in the house!) My weak spots are Pepsi and gourmet ice cream. :) I can so easily drink a Pepsi, or eat a 1/2 pint of ice cream, in a day. (It used to be 70-100 oz. of Pepsi a day, so having cut it back to 20 oz. a day, if that, is great) When I want to lose weight or feel TRULY GOOD though, those are a no-no.

    After years and years of drinking tons of soda every day, I finally realized that usually when I picked up a Pepsi, it is because I was thirsty… but the Pepsi makes me thirstier! Literally! As I drink it! So I’ve been trying to pay closer attention to my body and figure out if I have a taste for the soda, or if I am actually thirsty. If I’m thirsty, I pour a big glass of ice water. Water can take me a long way through a day. If I am good about drinking plenty of water every time my body sends the “thirsty” signal, pretty soon I’m 3/4 of the way through the day and haven’t even gotten to the point of thinking about a soda!

    (Then comes the late-night munchies & carb cravings, which I’ve had since I was a wee little girl… enter ice cream… ugh)

    Nice to see I am not the only one who has “woken up” to taking care of herself, and who wrestles with it day to day. :)

  • dreamworld

    I myself just started back exercising. Im taking some karate class and I jog at least 5miles every other day, just to get myself back on track. I am having trouble figuring out what diet route I want to go Vegan, Lacto-Vegan, or Lacto-ovo. I want to select a diet that will completement my workout schedule.

  • Relaxing and reflection are excellent, but meditation is a particular state of mindfulness – it’s training for the mind. It can bring health and joy, for sure.

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