Decision Fatigue: The Limits of Willpower

Executive Function: A limited Resource
You may have heard that Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama and a number of other high powered decision makers have arranged their wardrobes so that they do not have to make the decision of what to wear on any given day. They wear the same thing every day, or at least, every working day. They are in the business of making decisions that will have an impact on their companies, organization, and community. There is a great deal of import placed on the decisions they make. Their choices come at an internal cost: the human capacity for decision making, or what Psychologists refer to as the Executive Function.

The Cost of Resisting Temptation
The Executive Function is also related to the psychology of habit forming and addiction studies. Leading clinicians have recently claimed that the ability of a person to resist temptation relies on a finite reserve, a limited resource. As a consequence, we see people respond differently under stress than they would when they are under no pressure to perform or are not experiencing anxiety.

College students are more likely to drink or to gain weight when pressured to study for exams. Vice and stress are intimately linked. People living in poverty in the U.S. are more likely to use drugs or alcohol, as are those whose work lives interrupt their private lives. You’ll probably notice that it is in the evening, after the day’s work is done, chores are completed and all the meaningful decisions have been made, that you are more likely to have that bowl of iced cream, that salty snack, a guilty cigarette or whatever temptation you’ve been resisting all day.

It’s not surprising then, that most diets fail. Once we have exhausted our executive function by resisting the powerful urge to consume high calorie foods, there is nothing left to stop us from giving in to our desires.

The Danger of Decision Fatigue
In a recent study by the National Academy of Sciences, researchers discovered that the types of choices made by judges were affected more by the time of day than they were by evidence and the testimony presented to them. Judicial decisions made early in the day were more likely to be favorable, and were so at about 65% of the time. Conversely, the decisions they made in the afternoon steadily dropped from 50% favorable to well near zero at the end of the day.

After a rest, a break and a meal, judges were refreshed. The sentences they imposed tended to improve, leaving some small hope for defendants facing the bench late in the day.

It’s a trend line that held true for the course of the study, about 1,500 cases. Again and again, the data showed that the facts of the case had less effect on the outcome than did the energy level of the presiding judge, or more precisely- how many important decisions they had already made that day.

Steps to Avoid Decision Fatigue
1.  Pre-make common choices the night before. Set your clothes out. Preset the coffee pot. Have your breakfast ready to go.

2. Make critical choices early in the day. The choices that are most consequential, that will have the most impact on you, your life and family should be made while you still have the energy (patience) to make them wisely.

3. Avoid making dicisions when you can make commitments instead. Stop telling yourself things like, ‘I will exercise very hard today,’ or ‘I will not purchase that frivolous item right now.’ Replace decision statements like those with commitment statements, such as; ‘I will become a fitter person,’ and ‘I will become a more thrifty shopper.’ In so doing you will turn a series of small decisions into one decision that you will have already made when the moment comes to act on it.

4. Important decisions that have to be made later in the day can wait until after you have a snack, and a break. Enjoy a meal and relax before making choices that require your Executive Function to be at its best.

5. Streamline your day. Like Zuckerberg and Obama, you too can eliminate needless complications. Decide what’s most important to you and eliminate the rest.

Sources:
http://jamesclear.com/willpower-decision-fatigue
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html?pagewanted=all

Pulling the Truth Out About Pull-Ups

How are everyone’s New Years Resolutions fairing thus far? The year is twenty days old and, according to some headline I saw recently, 95% of all people that made new years res’es have already let them lapse. We want to practice what we preached in our post about the topic. Specifically point number 3: Share And Be Accountable about your goals for the year. My personal goal for 2015 is to get in better shape and my specific goal in one area to achieve this is to be able to perform 25 pull-up in succession. There, I said. Seems rather daunting.

Why Pull-Ups

8300571385_5a16d61aa5_oGlad you asked. There are a number of reasons I choose this exercise in particular as a benchmark for my overall fitness.

  1. To accomplish my goal I need to both lose weight and gain muscle. As with all body weight exercises gravity is what you’re working against. And the extent to which you’re working against it directly proportional to how much you weigh. I’m sure that I could do more pull-ups now – without putting on any muscle – if I had to drag 10 kilos less up to the bar each time.
  2. They’re intimidating. As part of our yearly fitness evaluations in grade school we all had to line up in the gym and perform the dreaded ‘dead hang’. Which meant getting up in front of the whole class, getting up on a chair and see how long we could hang from a bar with out chins above it. I always managed to find a way to miss that day of class and was both intimidated and slightly awed by the kids who could blithely hold themselves up above the bar for what seemed like hours on end when I could barely maintain 5 seconds. And to this day I’m amazed by the blokes at my gym who can just jump up, grab the bar and bounce up and down as if it were nothing.

    My least Favourite Day in School

    My least Favourite Day in School

  3. It’s Damn Efficient – I’ve been going to gyms for years. Most of that time has been wasted. That may be a little harsh, but I’m realizing that there are much, much more efficient ways to add muscle and tone my physique than the traditional weight lifting routines. What I’d do in the past is a few curls, maybe some lat pull-downs, barbell presses and some leg extensions if I was feeling really ambitious. These aren’t bad things to do per se, but when you only have a couple of hours each week to spend in the gym, they’re not the best way to really tear up your muscle fibers and instigate real change in one’s body. Pull-ups – and other body weight exercises – are. We’ll get into why below.

An (almost) Total Body Workout

To pull one’s entire mass above one’s arms and over a bar multiple times requires the coordinated firing of myriad muscle groups throughout the upper body and even the core. The biggest muscle is the Latissimus Dorsi or the lats. These are huge muscles (second only in size on the human body to the glutes) that stretch all the way from your hips, up your back and under your arms. These are the muscles most responsible for that classic ‘V’ shaped physique that women adore and men strive for.

If it was just the lats getting a go, the pull-up would be a great exercise. But there are so many more muscles in involved. Not least of which are your biceps (guns, yo), shoulder muscles like the Rhomboids and trapezius, forearm muscles and even your pectorals major.

Doesn’t working all of those big muscle groups in one motion seem much more efficient than going after them one at a time with lat pull-downs, curls, shoulder raises, etc.? I think so which is why I’m striving for 25 pull-ups in 2015. Right now I’m at… well, 0. But my gym has a great machine called the assisted pull-up machine that let’s you do a pull up but with assistance from below – so you can get used to the motion even if you’re not up to the strength level for an unassisted pull-up.

One more thing about pull-ups: there are literally dozens if not hundreds of variations of the exercise as demonstrated by this puny guy:

That’s inspiring. If you enjoyed this post stay tuned for our series on the most efficient exercises to kick-start your metabolism, lose weight and put on muscle fast. Here’s a quick preview of what’s to come:

Image courtesy of Mass Fusion

Image courtesy of  Mass Fusion

5 Real Life James Bond Gadgets

What is it about Ian Fleming’s timeless spy that most captures our imagination? His formidable derring-do, and the ability to remain cool, calm and collected in the face of certain death? The ridiculous ease he has bedding just about any woman who happens to 184hpahox722ojpgcross his path – even if they’re his sworn enemy? Bond’s unwavering fashion sense (excepting maybe this rather unbecoming sleepwear from the early seventies) and his capability to go perform death defying feats without ever ruffling his tux?

If I had to pick just one quality of the imitable double-0 that I’d like to have magically bestowed upon me it’d be… his perpetual randiness. Seriously, the dude is always, always up for a quick romp. Even if he’s been on the road for weeks, recently had his testicles pulverized by a bleedy eyed international arms dealer (ala Casino Royale) and just surfed a melting glacier in freezing waters; he never hesitates for one second to jump in the sack with Ivana Humpalot or whatever current femme fatale beckons. Personally, if I have too many pints or a hard day at the office I might have to tell Ivana to wait a little while – at least while I take a shower.

Though we can’t all be fictional super agents with unbreakable bones and unyielding libido, there are some aspects of James that are easier to emulate. We’re talking gadgets here. Let GFP be your Q. Here are five items available to anyone that Sean Connery would have killed for in his heyday.

Google Glass – Making X-Ray Vision Obsolete

Pierce Brosnan – as one of the more effeminate Bonds – used X-ray glasses to scope out what undergarments ladies were wearing in The World Is Not Enough. We wouldn’t mind a pair of those, but we’d much rather get our hands on google glass:

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Navigation, data, video.. the power of the internet in its entirety without ever lifting a finger. Your Bond-i-tude factor will jump 22% the second you put these on.

Rain Boots That Charge Your Phone

Who has time to charge their phone when fleeing from skiing assassins? Not Bond, and not I. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to juice up all your electronic devices on your person? The field of wearable tech is burgeoning and mobile carrier Orange debuted some wellies in 2010 that aren’t only fashionable, but can charge your phone while your wear them.

power boots indeed

Digital Recording Pen From Spycatcher

For just £150 you can have a real life piece of perfectly usable espionage gear. See what your office mates are up to or where the missus goes on shopping trips with this innocent looking pen/voice recorder. It records up to 18 hours of high quality audio.

Functional Hover Board

You may be thinking that this item would be more apt for a top 5 Marty McFly list, but c’mon, can’t you just see Daniel Craig confidently hovering on this bad boy? Shooting perps and sipping Martinis while gliding above a bed of molten lava? We want one.

Wenger Giant Swiss Army Knife

This one makes all the above trinkets moot. For, unlike the managerial Arsenal, this gadget doesn’t skimp on the stuff you’d need – in any situation. For just £911 you can have a knife that’ll fax your documents, pick up your kids from school and train your dog to read poetry.

This blade is ridiculous, the best part may be the customer reviews on Amazon, a perfect study in sarcasm.

There you have it: the GFP guide to becoming a modern, gadgetized James Bond. But you know what? If you really want to feel like the man himself, even for just an evening, then the easiest way to do so would be to arrange a meeting with one of our lovely Eastern European Escorts. Trust us, when you walk into your hotel lounge and are warmly greeted by any of the women here and get to whisk her away for a secret debriefing, you’ll feel just like Bond.

 

Saville Row at your Keyboard

At your Beck and Call

At your Beck and Call

Butterflies are to flowers as women are to malls.  But men and shopping?  Like alcohol and bodybuilding…never a good mix.  Perhaps it’s a holdover from the hunting-gathering days.  The typical guy just wants to get in, go for his “kill,” and get out; while women still love to stop and admire the flowers.

Spending a day at the shops? No thanks, but I still want that tailored, refined look. What to do? The Interwebs have the Answers.

For you, the fellow who drags his feet on his way to shop for a new suit, a godsend alternative to the tedious task of clothes shopping lies online.  Online clothes shopping for men in particular has been a growing phenomenon likely to be on an upward trend for the next several years.  Generous shipping and return policies, customization, expert advice, and competitive pricing have trounced resistance by answering the ubiquitous question. But the age old question remains:  “What about fit?”

Perfect Tailoring in a few clicks

Perfect Tailoring in a few clicks

A number of men’s online clothing stores offer clothes made-to-fit.  You’ll be surprised how much sharper you can get to look with a shirt perfectly tailored to your size and body shape rather than one just bought off the rack.  You think Daniel Craig, or even Pierce Brosnan, just picks up a size Large shirt before transforming into James Bond? No way, every inch of fabric on their persons has been planned, tailored and executed to perfectly compliment their body shapes. You can have that too, from home.

Shopping online allows you to “window browse” at your own time and space.  Instead of insincere, annoying sales talks, you get expert advice from real professional stylists.  Buying your clothes online affords you the luxury of trying purchases at home, seeing how that great navy jacket goes with your existing clothes, and even getting trusted opinions from your valued partner.  Plus the prices can’t be beat.  You can get a custom made suit for as much as or even less than a non-custom one from an upmarket gentleman’s store.

Try firing up your browser on a couple of these exclusive men’s made-to-fit clothes sites:

The Trunk Club

The Trunk Club promises premium clothing service with the same prices you get from upscale shops.  The difference here is that you get your own online personalized stylist who takes the guess work out of mixing and matching.  This fashion expert selects your wardrobe according to your preferred style and body type and delivers a trunk of suggestions for free.  You get to try on the suggested apparel at home, keep those you like, and return the rejected ones through free shipping.  It’s a two-way free shipping deal with this site. Fantastic, right?

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Clothes are selected from over fifty high-end brands such as Billy Reid, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Barbour, to name a few.  Prices are competitively similar as those in brick-and-mortar stores.  The site states, “denim prices are $170–$250, casual shirts $100–$200, and sweaters $100–$300.”  No premium added for the stylist; so your personal styling service comes for free.

Indochino

Suits, shirts, and pants are all tailored to fit you with Indochino’s customization system.  A tailor’s kit containing their fabrics and a measuring tape are all you need to jumpstart your way to a dapper self.  An on-site video instruction provides assistance in getting detailed measurements for your apparel.  You will need to ask someone, however, to take your measurements.  With your measurements in their database including your choice of design and fabric from the numerous styles on offer, you get to wear your custom suit, wrinkle-free, straight out of the box within four weeks.

Indochino is especially big on details.  They offer forty-character monogramming on the inside of your blazer (you can actually have your motto sewn in there!) and choices of linings, lapels, pockets, and buttons.  These customization options are all for free.  The site also carries a wide selection of manly fashion essentials such as cuff links, ties, tie clips, and pocket squares.

Shipping is free for orders over U$150.00.  The company ships globally except for some listed countries.  In case a suit needs some minor alterations, a U$75.00 credit goes to you for local tailoring adjustments.  Under certain conditions, you can get a free remake of your suit should it prove unalterable or even a full refund for one not done to your satisfaction.

J.Hilburn

Hilburn, on the other hand, keeps the whole clothing experience more up-close and personal.  Before you can order or shop from their wide selections of custom shirts, jackets, pants, and suits, a personal stylist, “free of charge and under no obligation,”  is assigned to you  to get your measurements.  This stylist is a trained professional who can advice you on the latest silhouettes, fabrics, and colors for building up a wardrobe of clothes that fit you to a T. Oh yeah, and a great majority of the stylist consultants just happen to be smart, attractive women. We’re actually thinking of asking some of our GFP girls if they’d be interested in becoming stylists. How awesome of a date would that be? Get measured, fitted out and then… Give us an email at info@girlsfromparadise.com if this is something you’d be interested in.

The whole idea of a personal stylist is in keeping with the store’s promise of giving you “the best fitting shirt you have ever worn.”  Once you get your first custom shirt down pat, you can order the rest online without the intervention of your stylist, should you wish to do so.  Your next purchases will always come made out specifically to your measurements on their database.

If you don’t want a personal stylist paying you a visit, the J. Hilburn site has its range of ready-to-wear clothing you can order from.  There’s even an online look-book from which you can get ideas or purchase the clothes right off their model dude’s back.

Shipping of returned items is free of charge.  An ample 90-day period is given for returns for which the store gives a full refund.

After seeing yourself in clothes kitted out specifically for you, you will probably never want to go running back to a store for a shirt off the rack.  Clothes make the man and ladies do love a sharp dresser.  Notice that appreciative gleam in their eye with your custom duds on.

Hey, did we mention that men and shopping don’t mix?  Nix that.  It’s a new age; online shopping could just become a man’s new diversion.

 

Eating Your Way To High Testosterone

“Clothes make the man…” –  Mark Twain.  Well, it seems Twain was a little off the mark here.  If this venerable author only knew where his manhood stood on, he would have amended his famous quote.  Today, we know that testosterone makes the man first.

Eat right or your celery won't be the only thing going limp.

Eat right or your celery won’t be the only thing going limp.

What makes a man a man is the hormone called testosterone.  Take a good chunk off it and all things mannish go out of whack.  A man deprived of a good testosterone count can start growing a bit of boob (gynecomastia), lose his woody often, get depressed, weaken, lose his hair, and even (horrors!) find sex a bother.  No man wants to be a shade of his former self; so, if you’ve hit the new golden age of thirty, it’s time to give some serious thought to boosting your testosterone levels.

A majority of men start to see a drop in their hormone levels by the time they reach their forties. Decreasing hormonal levels are a natural part of aging.  The aging phenomenon, however, is starting to creep up the younger set.  Our more toxic environment is leading to testosterone reduction beginning with guys only in their late twenties and thirties.  What to do?  What to do?

Before the big T-drop, you’ve got to take some precautionary measures to drastically slow down the process so that you’re still left with a good size count when you become a grandpa…one hot grandpa.  If you’re in the drop zone already, there’s still many ways to boost your manhood without immediately resorting to hormone replacement therapy, which we discussed five brilliant way to do in our last article.  Think ten times before you leap into opting for medical treatment of this nature.  The whys cannot be handled in this article but thorough research on your part should help you make a more educated decision.

Let’s opt for a more natural course in tackling this man problem.  There are many lifestyle changes you can make to help regulate and boost your hormone production.  Some of these require good sleeping habits, less stress, good quality time at the gym, and holding on binge drinking.  One of the most effective lifestyle changes you can make is of course on your diet.  The road to being a manly man starts at your fridge.

Food can be your best friend for boosting your T’s, especially if they contain healthy fats, protein, and the good kind of cholesterol.  As much as possible, choose to eat organic, pesticide-free foods.  Look for these A-list compounds and enzymes in food that can improve your machismo:

 

Apigenin

Apigenin is a flavanoid present in some herbs and vegetables that increase StAR (Steroidogenic Acute Regulatory Protein), a certain protein heavily involved in testosterone production.  StAR is responsible for transporting good cholesterol into cells which is used for manufacturing hormones.

Celery and parsley are particularly rich with apigenin that not only increases StAR levels but also inhibits the thromboxane A2 enzyme from hampering with hormone production.  The A2 enzyme reduces the amount of cholesterol that can be converted into testosterone; so, top your grocery list with the apigenin-rich celery and parsley.  A bit of gossip:  Peter North’s (the porn star) secret to his voluminous ejaculate has been rumoured to be celery.  True or not, it will never hurt to load up on these greens.

Cholesterol

The GFP way to load up on good cholesterol

Cholesterol is not all evil; there’s a good side to it.  For testosterone production to occur, cholesterol must be absorbed by cells and transformed to testosterone.  Cholesterol should be sourced from good fats like olive oil; coconut oil; avocado; eggs; cod liver oil; wild salmon; and believe-it-or-not, bacon!  Yes, bacon because it has saturated animal fats and cholesterol.  Of course, with fats, moderation is still key and the bacon is best from free-range pastured pigs.

Zinc

High cacao percentage chocolate is loaded with Zinc.

High cacao percentage chocolate is loaded with Zinc.

Zinc kicks up that T-cell production along with muscle growth, physical endurance, and sperm production.   Food high in zinc includes raw chocolate, pumpkin seeds, spinach, wheat germ, cashew nuts, mung beans, and red meat from grass-fed animals.  The emphasis on eating grass-fed and free-range animals and their by-products couldn’t be impressed more.  Commercially fed animals eat feeds with synthetic ingredients which increase estrogen levels, not testosterone.

Oysters are classic aphrodisiacs and contain high levels of zinc.  These, however, have ceased to be safe food because oysters absorb a lot of toxins from the water.  Eat these only if sure they come from clean waters.

 DIM (Diindolylmethane) from I3C (Indole 3-Carbinol)

DIM is a product of I3C which is an abundant naturally-occurring chemical compound in cruciferous vegetables.  DIM does not exactly boost your macho hormones but they do reduce your feminine ones.  It stops the aromatase enzyme from converting free testosterone into estrogen and flushes out estrogenic material from the liver.

Good examples of testosterone boosting food containing I3C and therefore, diindolylmethane in abundance are broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage.


Vitamins  A, C, D, and E

Vitamin C indirectly shores up testosterone by lowering levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.  A lowered cortisol level improves testosterone production.  Mandarin oranges, lemons, and pomelos have lots of vitamin C.  These are also a good source of Vitamin A, another essential for testosterone production.  Hold the grapefruit, however.  This is one citrus that is the exception.  Grapefruit can make it hard for the liver to break down estrogen so you can strike this off your good fruits list.

Asparagus is rich in Vitamin E, folic acid, and potassium.  This is why asparagus is touted as a natural aphrodisiac and a testosterone booster as well.

 

Bromelain

Bromelain is a mixture of enzymes that breaks protein and therefore aids effectively in upping the man hormone.  Pineapples and bananas are especially rich with this enzyme.

Just keep these essential nutrients in mind when formulating your “I’m the man” diet plan. Add variety to your eating through more research.   With a good diet, you are on your healthy way to naturally maintaining or recovering your testosterone levels.