Defend Your Health: A Self-Improvement Guide For Men

This article was co-written by two of Defend Europa writers: Darth and Borna.

Let’s be clear on one thing. Facts don’t care about your feelings. It is natural to be hurt when something doesn’t conform with your personal view on how something should be. However, it doesn’t work that way.

We are currently living in a society where people are being taught consciously, or unconsciously, that if we don’t like how something is, it should immediately be changed, or we have a right to complain about it. This has resulted in people finding excuses for making bad decisions or living very unhealthy (mental and physical) lifestyles. We intend to make some points that will hopefully improve your health and therefore happiness.

A recent high visibility campaign by Cancer Research made the very obvious point that obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer, behind smoking. This caused enormous controversy amongst individuals and groups within society. Some people went as far as to suggest that it was an advert to “fat shame” people. There are people who are overweight for genuinely medical reasons and the campaign was not an attack on people who have no control as to being overweight. However, seeing as obesity is (and has been for several years now) a bigger problem than malnutrition in the world, it is hardly an “attack” to suggest that obesity is a massive problem in our societies.The average global citizen has gained an average of 1.5 kilograms for each of the past 4 decades, which has resulted in the number of people who are considered obese, to rise from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million people in 2014. This trend, if it continues, will mean that by 2025, 20% of the world’s population will be obese.

From when I was born, till I was in my very early teens, the most important thing in my life was having fun through games. Most of these games were physically active; cycling, football, athletics, fighting with my brother. With the exception of the latter, it’s interesting how, as an adult, all of those activities go from a fun activity, to something that we can do to burn calories that were in that bacon double cheeseburger. As we get to adulthood, having a healthy lifestyle is important for a multitude of reasons other than looking good in a suit; coping with your employment demands, going out with your friends, being able to play with your children, completing housework, living to see (and being able to enjoy) your pension.

Now there are many excuses as to why someone can’t exercise; “I’m too tired, I don’t have the time, I’m self conscious..”. However having this mind set, will have the same result as someone who doesn’t brush their teeth. The issues won’t appear immediately, but when they do they are much harder to deal with.

We see men’s health magazines with men on the front cover sporting bulging biceps, defined pecs and a stomach that looks like someone has carved with a chisel. It can be difficult not to feel inadequate when you compare yourself to them, however these are guys who have made a conscious effort to look this way. They have made the decision that their body matters and they are going to look after it. Not everyone can look like these muscular models, but there are some things that we can do to ensure that we stay trim and stay in reasonable shape.

 

1) Eat Well

It’s not hard and it’s really not expensive. For example, a standard day:

Health food

Breakfast: Porridge

Lunch: An Omelette with peppers

Dinner: 2 grilled chicken breasts with mixed vegetables

Eat fruit or nuts in between meals for snacks.

Drink plenty of water.

(More carbohydrates may be necessary if you’re planning on doing a hard workout during your day)

The simpler you make your meals, the less time it takes to cook them and chances are the healthier they will be. In our busy lives, especially if you live on your own, a home made steak pie or lasagne is very enjoyable, however most wouldn’t have the time to set aside to make such a meal. When you’re doing your weekly or monthly shopping, utilise bulk buying when it comes your meat choices. When you’re at home, try separating things like chicken breasts in to sandwich bags, and pop them in the freezer. This means you can keep a large amount of food and can defrost what you need the night before you plan on cooking your meals.

It can be boring to eat the same thing twice, but if you’re a shift worker, cook one meal and split it in to two portions, so you don’t have to worry about being tempted to buy a takeaway when you’re at work. Eating a decent diet is actually where you see most of the results, if you are trying to lose weight. Whenever you speak to a bodybuilder, most will tell you that the secret to their physique is not the hours of exercise, but what they put in their body (not steroids).

The hardest thing in any diet is being disciplined in what you eat. As a result, don’t rule out having something that may not be as healthy. Pick a day and allow yourself to relax your diet on that day. Whether it’s eating cake, or going for that take away with your friends. Just don’t let that relaxation seep in to every day of the week, or you’re defeating the whole purpose of trying to eat healthy.

Here are some examples of healthy foods that everyone should include in their diets:

Kale – Green, mean and healthy, this plant is a super food.

Fish – The Japanese are among the healthiest peoples of the world, and fish is a mainstay of their cuisine.

Nuts, any type – Delicious, but be careful to not over eat them as it’s very easy.

Apples – An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Green and black tea – Mystical and ancient, these teas have long and healthy histories!

2) Exercise

It doesn’t need to be Olympic level training.

health exercises

In essence, if you want to lose weight, you need to be burning more calories than you consume.

Cardiovascular activities such as running, cycling are great ways to burn a lot of calories and it keeps your body burning them long after you finish your workout. The argument against them is that they can take a long time to do a decent work out, so it becomes a chore to try and find the time to do a half or run or a 40 minute cycle. However, if you enjoy activities like that, go for it!

Body weight exercises are some of the best exercises you can do to work out your full body, without having to join a gym and can be done in very little time.

Press ups, plank hold, lunges, squats, burpees, dips, pull ups, hand stand press ups are just a few of the exercises that can be utilised in to a circuit programme.

Everything listed there would in theory require a bar (for the pull ups), a raised platform (for the dips) and a wall (for the hand stand press ups).

 

These are excellent and simple workouts for anyone who is a beginner at working out or is wanting to get fit and they don’t require any equipment at all. Both workouts will take between 15 and 20 minutes which includes your rest time. With the amount of time that many of us spend staring at our phones or the television on a daily basis, I don’t imagine that it would be very difficult to set aside some time to do a quick workout that will work your full body and keep you in good shape.

The great thing about circuit training, is the workout is as hard as you make it. If you get fitter, you are able to work harder and push out more reps in the time that is allocated for each exercise.

One of the best feelings around, is the endorphin hit that you receive after finishing a workout. This is why so many people choose to do their workout at the start of the day. It gets them set up and feeling energised for the rest of the day.

Workouts are also a great stress reliever. If you have had a difficult day at work, or you have been in an argument with someone, you can often find yourself feeling better and having a more positive outcome after a hard workout.

 

3) Stretching and Keeping a Good Posture

As Jordan Peterson says, stand up with your shoulders back.

health and benefits of good posture

Many people in the work-forces of the world spend their days sitting at desks, hunched over a computer for hours on end. Often times when the same people manage to get a break during their work day, their breaks at work consists of them sitting staring at their smart phone, with head bent over, giving them the “headless” look to passers by.

When you look about you today, when you are out walking, driving in your car or sitting on public transport, everyone is absorbed in their smart phones, oblivious to the world rushing past them. I would hazard a guess that if you took note of the amount of time spent sitting staring at your smart phone on a daily basis, you would surprise yourself. Over time, having your head bent forwards or sitting hunched over a computer can lead to standing and walking with a stooped posture, you normally see this with the elderly population (even the traffic sign for elderly people in Britain shows elderly people to walk with a stoop!).

This posture can lead to a number of issues in your life; pain, poor digestion, poor circulation and negative mood, amongst others. One of the biggest complaints people have with bad posture, is pain in their lower back. The lower back is one of the more difficult areas of your body to alleviate pain from and often results in people attending at the chiropractor for long and expensive sessions.

Contrary to popular belief, having good posture should not be a difficult thing. Your body naturally wants to be up right and strong. Many of the activities we partake in on a daily basis have forced our bodies to adapt to strange and uncomfortable positions.

Working on your posture does not need to take very much time out of your day.

This is an excellent guide to find out what kind of posture you are likely embedded in when you are sitting and standing. It also gives fantastic tips on how to fix your postures when sitting and walking. I guarantee you that if you can improve you sitting and standing postures, you will have others feeling more inclined to sort out their own slumped postures.

Having a strong and confident posture, will ultimately give you a stronger and more positive character and mind set. It will show when you are going for job interviews. People are more likely to take you seriously, if you can project a confident (but not arrogant) demeanour. It is also just as likely to be a good hit with the ladies. If you are speaking to someone and project a withdrawn and diminished character, a female is much less likely to be interested in going on a date with you.

Make a conscious effort to improve your posture and I guarantee that you will notice little differences in your life.

 

4) Spend Less Time on Social Media

It’s addictive and bad for you.

health and social media zombies

As I have already mentioned, how often do you look around you in public and see everyone bent over their smart phone, engrossed in the world which is made up of ones and zeros rather than the beautiful scenery and people that are around them?

You see these photographs that have gone viral, where a group of teenagers at a party or gathering are all looking at their phones, rather than interacting with each other. I have been guilty of using my smart phone when out with friends and family. In all honesty, if you have made the effort to spend time with your friends, why would you then ignore them, to speak to, or interact with other people who you can’t see, or perhaps don’t even know?

Social media has been dominant in our lives for just over a decade now. With early giants such as Myspace and Bebo, having fallen by the wayside now to be overtaken by the likes Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Social media is a wonderful thing for being able to keep in contact with friends who you may not be able to see face to face, or family members who may live in another country or continent. However it has become so much more than that. Social media has become about how many “likes” and “retweets” you can get from a photo or video with your friends. Should this item go “viral” in the social media world, you could become an internet celebrity and achieve that 15 minutes of fame that everyone wishes to grab hold of.

However, there is a more nefarious side to social media that has become more evident in more recent years.

A recent interview with Ex-Facebook’s executive Chamath Palihapitiya at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, revealed a worrying message about the negative effects that social media is having on society.

The interview, which took place in November 2017, explored how Facebook’s initial designers had used the concept of dopamine hits to keep users coming back for more.

“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse. No cooperation. Misinformation. Mistruth. And it’s not an American problem. This is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem. So we are in a really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion.”

He also went on to say that social networks were “destroying how society works”.

 

Studies on social media effects have shown to have several negative effects on us.

It is addictive. There is no getting around this fact. Have you ever found yourself absent mindedly opening a social media app briefly, closing it and then opening it again a short time later, with no actual reason for doing it?

Studies have also shown that people can go through a kind of withdrawal when they make a conscious effort to stop using it. A study by Swansea University found these worrying results.

Study author Phil Reed said:

“We have known for some time that people who are over-dependent on digital devices report feelings of anxiety when they are stopped from using them, but now we can see that these psychological effects are accompanied by actual physiological changes.”

 

Social media also allows us to create a bubble of our real lives. It gives us the ability to only put the best aspects of our lives on show to the world. It creates a false image that we are all incredibly successful and happy people with no real negative things going on.

It is possible to fall in to the trap of comparing our actual life (with its ups and downs), to a friend’s sanitised and predominately happy social media life. This can be incredibly depressing, as you begin to think that the people you are friends with on Facebook or Twitter, to have a far more successful and happy life than you. This can breed resentment and jealousy and can ultimately result in depression.

It can also breed feelings of isolation. We see our associates and friends having a great time with friends and family at really cool events and parties. We then compare this to our own time, spent watching Netflix or playing video games. It can give us the impression that we have very few worthwhile and fulfilling parts to our life.

So in summary, to this point. Spend less time on social media and do fulfilling things! Read books, go out and explore the world that you are lucky to be living in. Spend time with your friends and family, as they will not always be there for you to enjoy their time and life experiences.

 

5) Stop Watching Porn

health and porn do not go together

 

Pornography has never been more accessible. A recent study by Covenant Eyes, a company which makes software, allowing parents to track and blog their kids internet use, showed the following results:

• In 2015, worldwide, there were more than 2 billion web searches for porn.

• 20 percent of mobile-device searches are for porn.

• 90 percent of boys and 60 percent of girls are exposed to Internet porn by age 18.

• 56 percent of divorces involve one spouse (almost always the man) having an obsessive interest in online porn.

• Compared with faithful spouses, adulterers are more than twice as likely to be regular viewers of online porn.

 

Other statistics surrounding pornography include:

• Porn sites attract more visitors each month than Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter combined.

• 30 percent of Internet content is porn.

• 88 percent of porn contains violence against women.

• From 2005 to 2013, searches for “teen porn” tripled to 500,000 a day.

 

It is clear from these statistics alone, that we as a society have an unhealthy obsession with pornography. What is even more worrying is the statistic that shows 56% of divorces involve someone having an obsessive interest in porn.

Pornography allows us to explore and enter in to your deepest sexual desires, without having to include anyone else. It allows us to fulfil a fantasy that might otherwise be considered inappropriate or strange. Often when we watch porn, we were consciously or sub consciously imagining ourself having sex with the female, or male, that is on screen. We are allowing ourselves to imagine our ideal sexual experiences, without having to engage with another human.

What this means, is time after time of watching pornographic videos, we are rewiring our brain to think that this is what a sexual experience should be like. Studies have shown that young male adults have expressed difficulty in achieving an erection during a sexual encounter with a female, when they should have no reason not to, being a young healthy male.
When you take sex with a real life partner, and replace it with a fantasy counter with a female who you have never and likely will never meet, you are creating an unhealthy expectation of what sex should be like. If and when you are lucky enough to meet someone who is willing to have sex with you, and you have been spending a large amount of time watching and participating in pornographic material online, you are very likely to be disappointed with the outcome. Most sexual encounters do not pan out the way that pornography would have you believe. It creates an unhealthy expectation for how sex should be with your partner.

Long term, this is likely to result in you being very unhappy in relationships, unable to overcome the expectations that you have created from watching porn. It can be difficult to stop watching porn, if you have been indulging in it for many years and there are people who are addicted to watching it. However the busier you keep your mind and body with other meaningful and worthwhile ventures, you are more likely able to overcome the obsession that is ultimately controlling your sexual desires.

Watching porn is a destructive habit that robs young men of their virility, their sexual energy and their libido. It is a very effective way of actually feminising men, because: what better way to cuck yourself, than to jerk off to watching ANOTHER man pleasure a ravishing woman?

What we men need to realise is that porn has never been around in this form before. Before the advent of the internet only pictures from magazines or the odd nude photo would do the trick, with high speed internet, there is an enormous amount of content out there, unfortunately. This impacts in a variety of ways:

– It de-sensitises our dopamine receptors so inevitably men descend down the rabbit hole of increasingly more violent/bizarre fantasies.

– It saps our energy and drains motivation.

– It gives you a false sense of accomplishment, because the brain is tricked into thinking that you have been out banging all the women who appeared on screen.

– It’s a great way to get erectile dysfunction.

 

Fortunately there are many ways to fight this, and to quit.

One great way to do so is through the NoFap community, which was created around quitting porn. Here, men who have quit and men who are in the process of doing so share their stories; their trials and tribulations, and how to overcome them. https://www.nofap.com/forum/index.php

Another way is to find it within yourself to respect yourself enough to quit. Let’s ask ourselves: if someone saw you doing it and you felt ashamed for that, is such a thing really worth doing?

 

6) Read More

No, seriously. We must work on our bodies and our health, of course, but we must also keep our minds sharp and focused. Here’s a reading list that will help with this.

1. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Jordan B. Peterson): Dr. Peterson’s recent rise to fame is well deserved, his deep knowledge of psychology and his call to take personal responsibility are a message that every young man needs to hear.

2. King: The 4 Layer Approach to Becoming the Strongest Version of Yourself (Elliot Hulse): Personal coach, YouTube sensation, lifestyle guru, Elliot Hulse is a well rounded and passionate man whose message of ‘becoming the best version of yourself’ is intoxicating and helpful.

3. Universally Preferable Behaviour (Stefan Molyneux): A brutally rational essay on how ethics are an intrinsically secular human characteristic and how people from all around the world can agree on a few basic tenets of human rights.

4. Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill): A famous book by a famous author, this is a must read for anyone looking to improve their mental processes and to feel better about life in general, the power of our thoughts must not be underestimated.

5. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (Dale Carnegie): In this day and age and this fast lifestyle, worry is a constant companion, in this book Carnegie takes the reader on a journey through life and shows how worrying is a futility and action is the only way forward.

6. The Art of The Argument (Stefan Molyneux): A skill that has seemingly been lost by the majority in the developed world. The author rediscovers the civil art of constructive argumentation.

7. How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie): a must read about intra-personal relationships and about how simple it is to practice being in another person’s shoes.

 

7) Life Hacks

1. Switch sweets with fruit. Instead of that chocolate bar, eat an apple or a banana. You’ll feel much fuller and the hunger will go away all the while also satisfying your sweet tooth.

2. Drink a cup of water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and lemon in the morning. It will shock you awake and clear your stomach of any leftovers from yesterday.

3. Cycle to work (within reason). If your place of work is relatively close cycling there will wake you up in the morning, burn calories that would otherwise have stayed snugly un-burned, clear your head and you’ll be saving some money on transportation.

4. Drink green tea while or after you eat something. The Chinese have been doing it for thousands of years and their health thanks them for it. It helps with digestion and quickens the process as well as providing anti-oxidants to combat the free radicals left over after eating.

5. Avoid liquid calories. This is one of the main reasons why people find it hard to lose weight or track their calorie intake, they forget to include the liquid calories. These are the easiest to over-indulge in, so drinking water, tea or coffee instead is preferable.

6. Keep yourself hydrated. At least two litres of water a day does the trick, yet people rarely get enough and this is a big reason why we feel, fatigued and why it can be hard to lose weight. Water intake is incredibly important.

7. Only drink liquids from glass and metal containers or cups. Because plastic secretes toxic chemicals, however small the amount, these chemicals contribute to the feminization of men.

 

Life Changing Habits

– Exercise: It’s been said before but it needs to be repeated. Exercise is incredibly important and if taken up seriously and consistently it will transform any individual.

– Meditation: It may seem silly on it’s face but it has been linked to reducing stress significantly, sharpening one’s mind, improving memory and sleep, removing brain fog, improving focus… the list goes on. This is a worthwhile habit and it’s easy to do. 2 sessions of 10 minutes a day is enough to reap the benefits.

– Cold Showers: These are daunting, but that’s the point. This is an extremely effective way of getting out of one’s comfort zone. It also has numerous health benefits. But its power lies in improving one’s ability to withstand discomfort. Which is a skill that is being lost in the modern world.

 

8) Treat Others As You Would Have Them Treat You

Now I want to be clear. This is not a different way of saying “Be nice to others.” In our society that revolves so tightly around social media, it has never been easier to interact with a large number of people, perhaps on the other side of the world. This can be a great tool, as you can learn about events that are taking place on the other side of the globe, without having to wait on the MSM to decide to report on the matters (or not at all).

However, by being behind a computer or smart phone and often times behind an anonymous profile, it can be incredibly easy to speak to people in a way that you would never consider speaking to someone if you happened to meet them on the street. If you bump in to someone when walking down a busy high street in your city, if it has not been intentional, generally you and the individual apologise in passing and continue on your journey.

However a culture has developed where people will now purposely or metaphorically, walk in to someone, to get a reaction, justifying them to act in an unpleasant manner and feel morally superior. There is nothing to be gained from this in the long run. It does not make you a better person. Just think twice before you say something that you may regret down the line. Especially online, all it takes is for someone to screenshot a tweet that you have written and it can make you look really silly in the future.

I am not for a second stating that you should not stand up for yourself when you are unfairly treated by someone else. You should always be willing to stand up for yourself and for your own beliefs, providing that you are not representing an indefensible position. There are ways to treat someone who is treating you unjustly. In legal terms, when it comes to assault, you are generally allowed to defend yourself using reasonable force. In other words, use enough force to end the confrontation before it escalates, but not so much force that you can become the person who lands in a cell for the night.

Don’t ever give someone something that they can use against you to claim moral superiority in an argument, because you know they will. It doesn’t matter if it’s from a day ago or 6 years ago, there are people who will use something like that against you to gain an upper hand. We also have moved away from a society that was very tight knit, post World War. How many of you know your neighbours? How many times have you had a conversation or a coffee with one of your neighbours?

We now live in such a busy world, that the people who live literally through the wall from us, are often strangers. Make a conscious effort to get to know your neighbours, because it is an excellent way of growing closer as a community. It also can be someone that you can grow to trust and possibly speak to if a difficult situation arises.

It may also alleviate any potential issues that can arise from neighbours living in close proximity. Living noise is often a pet annoyance of people who live in apartment complexes or tenements. If you know and speak with your neighbours, there is less of a chance of ill feeling arising due to someone making a little too much noise during the night, or when someone has a group of people over for a party.

Gentlemen. And I use the word gentlemen, because this is how we should be when we are around a lady. We live in a world of radical feminism, where women expect to be treated exactly the same as men and anything less is demeaning and sexist. However, there is nothing wrong with treating a lady with the level of respect you would like to be treated with in return. There is nothing wrong with making a little bit of effort when it comes to your relationship. When you meet someone for a first date, making a good impression is always a winning recipe. But don’t do anything that you wouldn’t be willing to do after the 22nd date with the lady.

When it comes to confrontation, don’t always assume you are right, even if you think you are. Arguments often extend unnecessarily due to one or both people being unwilling to actually listen to each other, or due to a combination or pride and determination to win the argument. If you are willing to listen to you partner’s point of view and try and understand why they are unhappy with you, it will be easier to resolve the conflict and will ultimately improve your relationship and your understanding of each other.

The best way to sum up this point is: “How would I expect someone to react and speak to me if I was upset at them?”

 


 

This is not an exhaustive list of points to help improve your life. There are many very important things that have not been discussed. Many of the books that have been recommended are written by people who have become experts in their field and have gone in to far more depth than we have in this article.

It is good for us to strive to better ourselves. If we lead by example and promote a healthier lifestyle, others people are likely to look to us for help to improve their lives. Ultimately it will be of benefit to everyone around us, if we can improve ourselves.

 

 

 

Borna
Croat student, activist, Identitarian at heart