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Monday through Friday isn’t for everyone

With many physical offices closed for the foreseeable future, the regular workweek has seldom seemed like a more artificial construct for office workers. Commutes have been replaced by a short amble to the desk, if you aren’t just tapping away on your laptop from the heights of Mount Duvet. And the “weekend,” especially for those without children, has become a rather abstract concept.

With the world in flux, it’s not surprising that the shape of the workweek is shifting too. It wouldn’t be the first time. After the French Revolution, the government implemented a radical calendar: From 1793 to 1805, French workers operated on a 10-day week with one full day and one half day off. Stalin tried something similar: For 11 years, the Soviet Union had no weekends, working a five-day “continuous week” with staggered days off.

Obviously neither of those systems had staying power, and few would welcome similar state-mandated shifts in the workweek today. But there’s also no need for us to be so universally wedded to the five-days-on, two-days-off workweek. It’s a vestige of early 20th-century industrial labor, a far cry from the realities of the modern connected workplace. Technology has allowed us to be productive on our own time, yet somehow we’re still committed to that structure of a 40-hour week.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Remote work has given us more options for flexibility than ever before — and many are learning that one size doesn’t fit all. Now is a great time to consider whether the Monday-through-Friday workweek is truly right for you, or whether another structure works better for your needs and rhythms. Here are some options.

1. The four-day workweek

It sounds like a fantasy: full pay, full work output, and 80% as much time chained to your computer. It’s a relatively new concept, but the little data that exists on the four-day week is very promising. In early 2018, a New Zealand company called Perpetual Guardian ran an eight-week experiment with its 240 employees. Workers would set out to accomplish the same work for the same pay — with three days off rather than two.

The results were striking: Workers were more productive, more efficient, and happier. Two years on, the company has a permanent option of a four-day workweek (though the company retains the right to “withdraw” the extra day off if employees aren’t getting their work done). Since then, founder Andrew Barnes reports, revenue has increased by 6% and profitability by 12.5%. “This is a work revolution whose time has come,” Barnes wrote in Marker.

If you think that it could be the right option for you, try pitching it to your boss, but make sure you’ve given some careful thought ahead of time to exactly how it would work. First, consider who else it could affect and how your new schedule might affect everybody else on your time. Then, be prepared for tricky questions.

2. The early start

If you’re at your sharpest while the sun is still low in the sky, go with that instinct. Working from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. could be a fantastic way to maximize productivity and make the most of your early-bird body clock. While the rest of the world wakes up, you’ll have the quiet you need to focus and get a head start on the day’s tasks without interruptions from chatty colleagues or demanding clients. By the time your first morning Zoom calls starts, you’ll be prepared and hopefully in the right headspace.

There are other advantages: According to researchers from the University of Washington, managers often display a bias toward early birds. Even when total work hours were the same, employees who began earlier were consistently rated as better performers and more conscientious.

Working a slightly different schedule could give you more time to spend with nonworking members of your family. And outside of a pandemic, it’s also a sure-fire way of escaping rush hour traffic.

3. The 21-hour week

You probably can’t just march into your boss’s office and ask them to halve your hours. But if you’re considering going part-time and are able to take a pay cut, the benefits are huge: Voluntary part-time workers are often happier and feel better able to take care of themselves and their families.

In heterosexual couples, there’s a strong feminist argument for both partners to work part-time, if it’s financially feasible, in order to engage more equally in the emotional and physical labor of running a household and shared life. Women in the U.K. spend an average of 16.8 hours a week in paid work and 29.75 hours in unpaid work according to data from Eurostat. For men, the numbers are reversed at 29.16 hours of paid work and 16.1 hours unpaid. Balancing out the discrepancy could lead to a more equal sharing of childcare and other responsibilities, making it easier for women to succeed.

It’s one reason why the think tank New Economics Foundation has proposed a 21-hour week as the standard for the 21st century. They argue that it’s best for everyone: As well as creating more gender equality, it would help countries to decarbonize by cutting down on commutes, spread labor and resources more evenly, and make workers happier and more productive.

4. The five-hour workday

If you’re able to manage your own time, there’s no reason to be “on” for the standard eight-hour day. Digital marketer Felicia Sullivan advocates for working smarter rather than harder or longer. By gut-renovating her own workweek, she has managed to maintain a cool five-hour workday, five days a week. “I don’t get less done,” she writes. “I just do it in less time, freeing myself up for the things that matter.”

Her own strategies involve confining phone calls to Thursday and Tuesdays, mapping out blocks of time on her calendar, and avoiding task-switching at all costs. Sullivan also automates as many processes as possible.

One nonnegotiable part of her workday is a morning walk, Sullivan writes: “I take my walks in silence, free of distraction, because I know the rest of my day will be filled with noise. That lone hour gets my body moving, my head ready, and my heart anxious to dive into the work I absolutely love — in healthy moderation.”

5. The seven-day workweek

It sounds terrible, but hear me out: For some people, working a few hours every day can solve the conundrum of the pandemic weekend.

“When the world was put on lockdown, weekends quickly started to feel exactly like weekdays, only with less work and stimuli,” wrote Stephen Moore in Forge. “And I started feeling off. I was anxious, unsatisfied, bored.”

For Moore, waking up early on Saturday and Sunday to get in a few hours of work before lunch put a stop to 48 hours of “Netflix and doomscrolling,” he said. And it has done wonders for his mental health: “Working on the weekends actually helps me relax — when my workday is over, I can be fully off, knowing that I spent my morning being productive.”

This could work for some people even during non-pandemic times. More than 70% of American workers check their work email outside of office hours. If you’re already working far beyond your office hours, why not embrace it? That might mean working 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays and then slotting in eight hours of work spread over the weekend.

6. The 30-hour workweek

It’s easier to make the case for a 30-hour workweek than you might anticipate. That’s the lesson from one long-ranging Swedish study, where nurses at a Swedish retirement home were put on six-hour shifts with an eight-hour salary.

On the face of it, nursing seems like one of the professions least suited to a shorter workday. Patients often need support around the clock, and medical care can’t generally be rushed. But the retirement home found that its bottom line was barely affected, even after taking on more nurses to cover the extra hours. Over a year, nurses on the new schedule took half as much sick time and were almost three times less likely to take time off in a given two-week period. More than that, they were happier and more focused.

Those are the points to lead with if you’re considering proposing it to your employer: that with this new schedule, you’ll be a more productive, more satisfied employee. That’s a change that’s as helpful for them as it is for you.

7. The classic five and two

Love working 9 to 5, Monday to Friday? Great! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Source : Medium

You don’t feel like yourself but you can’t walk away

When you’re on the other side of a toxic relationship it can be so easy to look back and identify all of the red flags and signs that you missed.

However, when you are in the relationship it’s not nearly as easy. Normally we don’t go into a situation analyzing every single part of our partner’s behavior.

No, because instead we are getting excited when they call us and jumping at every chance to see them. We aren’t keeping a list of all the times we are putting forth effort while they reap the benefits because we like them. We aren’t keeping score.

The reality is that normally when you are in a relationship with a narcissist you aren’t going to realize it until you have a moment of clarity and start doing your own research.

However, if you aren’t sure, here are five signs that you are in a relationship with a narcissist.

Something within you hesitates to make future plans

When my narcissistic ex mentioned getting an apartment together I remember a flood of emotions and thoughts that came into my mind but the main one that I could identify was fear.

My partner never followed through on our plans and his promises. He claimed that moving in together would change things but I knew in my gut that moving in together was not going to make it better.

A narcissist doesn’t want to make plans because they want to be in full control. You can’t plan for a future unless you give up what you want because otherwise, it’s not going to happen.

Remember, when you are in a healthy relationship you will be excited to make future plans with your partner.

You are putting in 100% effort and getting nothing in return

Let me ask you if this sounds familiar.

You drive to their house

You are a slave to their schedule

You always apologizing and taking any blame

You are the only one fighting for the relationship

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist you will realize that your needs are never acknowledged or met and you have will be putting them first. Yet, the less they acknowledge you, the more you will do to try to get their attention and “love” again.

Your body is telling you something is wrong

Every day I would wake up sick to my stomach. My anxiety was so high I constantly felt like I was on high alert.

Although I was telling myself in my head that I had met the love of my life and I was so happy, my body was reacting completely differently.

Our bodies often tell us what we don’t want to face.

My gut told me that we wouldn’t have much time together and that I needed to get out. I just didn’t want to listen to it right away.

You don’t feel like yourself but you can’t walk away

In a healthy relationship, your partner will want to encourage you to be your best self.

When I was in a relationship with a narcissist it was the complete opposite. I didn’t feel supported. He constantly encouraged toxic behavior and would get frustrated when I didn’t want to party every night. At work, he would tell me that I would never get a promotion.

I felt like my heart was tearing in two every day that I woke up. It was easy to admit that I wasn’t happy and at one point I walked away, but quickly let the narcissist back into my life for a second chance, and then a third.

I didn’t realize at the time that I was in a trauma bond and that is why I was struggling so hard to let go.

What can you do if you are in this situation?

Having a relationship with someone who had narcissistic personality disorder affected my mental state for years after. The gaslighting and manipulation left me with PTSD and trauma that I am still working through to this very day.

If you are in this situation you have to get out. The more time that you spend with them the harder it is going to be to break out of the cycle and reclaim your life.

Once you end the relationship and identify that you were in an unhealthy and often abusive situation there are steps that you can take to start healing.

It’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to take a lot of working on your sense of self, but I promise you that it’s so much better on the other side.

So don’t fool yourself into thinking you can.

young woman told me she didn’t like her partner’s dress sense.

But when we explored her thoughts the problem was not his clothes — it was his behaviour on social occasions.

He could be opinionated and “rough around the edges” and that didn’t fit with the image she presented and wanted others to have of them as a couple.

“Am I being unfair?” she asked. “I know you’re supposed to let people be who they are. I just think he could try a little harder to rein it in.”

It was an interesting niggle, which often crops up when two people start to get serious about their relationship. They desperately want “their people” to like their partner so they become more conscious — even critical — of his or her appearance and behaviour.

But it’s not about being fair. It’s about being honest about what matters to you — for whatever reason. And it’s about seeing your partner clearly, accepting (and loving) who they are and recognising what you can change and what you can’t — and shouldn’t — touch.

Here’s a guide to help.

6 Things You’ll Never Change in a Partner

“Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.” ― Deborah Reber

1. Their history.

We all bring “baggage” into our relationships. Not just through our previous experiences with partners, but all the drama, wounds and scars we’ve picked from the cradle onwards.

While our histories shouldn’t be life-defining, they are hugely influential in who we are now. They affect our psychological health, our emotional capacity, our communication and conflict styles and the ways we’ve learned to love (or not). And then there’s our people. Our families, for better or worse, our old friends and the way those groups operate. So look (hard) before you sign on the dotted line. And be honest about your partner’s relationship with their people. Is it estranged, close, too close, enmeshed? Can you live with that?

2. The stuff (and people) they’re drawn to.

We all have our own quirks and (sometimes weird) interests. We know who we like to hang out with. People will often say they don’t like their partner’s friends — which is fair enough, but you need to be wary of the consequences if you try to separate them, even if your motivation is sound.

I recall a young woman who hated rugby who wanted her sports-mad partner to quit watching it so they could spend more time together. He tried, but the loss of both his passion, and the time that gave him with his mates, caused resentment. The moral of the story? You can’t control what and who someone else is drawn to, at least not without kickback. The best you can hope for is that they’re open to other things as well.

3. Their addictions.

Drugs, alcohol, porn, food, cigarettes…if your partner has an addictive problem, it’s theirs to own and theirs to decide what to do with. You can provide encouragement and support, but if they’re not up for working on it, you’ve already lost the race.

4. Their choices and regrets.

The choices people make and the things they have (or haven’t) done with their lives often stay with them for many years — and can be a source of angst between couples.

You can help to make it up to them (e.g. if your partner regrets never having travelled, you can plan a trip.) But you can’t change their choices or the way they feel about them. You can’t free them of guilt or shame or loss. Those things are for them to explore, accept and overcome.

5. Their capacity for love

Some people have seemingly unlimited capacity for love. Others have very little, which is often the fallout of their difficult or traumatic history. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle — we do our best, but we’re flawed: we don’t always get it right.

I’ve seen decent, well-meaning people have their hearts broken by people who struggle to love — because they’ve kept hoping, kept believing if they love them consistently enough, they will change. People can learn to love if they’re up for it: if they’re open to understanding what has made them this way and getting help for it. But, when they can’t do that (or refuse to try), you need to understand this is the way they are, and either decide to live with it or step away.

6. Their brand of crazy

We’re all a little crazy. We truly are. We all have complexities (even if we try to hide or bury them), unhelpful beliefs; dysfunctional ties that bind; negative, recurring thoughts; things that tap our vulnerabilities and trip us up.

Here’s the cool thing, though. The fact that we are all crazy doesn’t matter at all. It’s our ability to “get” each other, to tolerate and forgive, and to love in spite of it, that makes all the difference.

Source : Medium

That you can easily learn to join their club.

Charming people. They always have an exciting story to tell, and they have that seemingly innate ability to make you feel at ease in their company.

It seems some people were simply born like that.

When they enter a room, everyone notices their presence. They are like magnets, and when they talk, everyone hangs on every single word coming out of their mouth.

Many of us often wonder how those people can have such a magnetic personality. Is there a secret formula? How did they become how they are? Were they just born like that?

The answer is, we are all capable of engaging with others and igniting their interest in us.

There’s no secret formula to it. It all boils down to certain habits charming people have in common, that you can easily and effectively learn.

1. Charming People Give You Their Undivided Attention

Stop for a moment and think about two or three likable people you know.

Do they constantly check their phone while you are talking to them? Do they continually redirect conversations to themselves so they can become the center of attention?

Probably not.

In fact, something these people have in common is they usually give you their undivided attention and make the conversation about you. They ask you intelligent questions and show a true interest in what’s going on in your life. They remember what you told them the last time you met.

Most importantly, you feel they genuinely like you.

They focus on being “interested” rather than appearing “interesting.”

How to apply this habit, in a nutshell:

Always make an effort to give your undivided attention to people. Put away your phone, make eye contact, and let them be the main subject of any conversation.

2. They Show You Genuine Admiration

“Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”
― Dale Carnegie

Years ago, I signed up for a course to study for a Business English certificate. Before signing up, I took a test and had an interview with one of the native-English-speaking teachers to assess my language level.

I remember I walked out of that school feeling particularly self-confident and motivated, though, at first, I didn’t quite understand why.

Then I thought about it for a while and realized what triggered that feeling.

During the interview, this teacher told me she had lived for more than ten years in Spain and never managed to become fluent in Spanish.

Then, she told me she admired how fluent I was in English, despite never having lived in an English-speaking country. She also asked me how I achieved such a level of fluency.

There was no trick. I was not some kind of genius. My mother had always spoken to me in English since I was a toddler.

However, that conversation made me feel good about myself anyway. She made me see something good about me.

See, people like that teacher make any interaction engaging and exciting because they remind us of some of our strengths, those things that we tend to forget or often take for granted.

Some people have this ability to open our eyes and show us that we are more than we think we are. They make us feel good about ourselves.

This automatically makes us want to spend more time talking with them and to know more about them too.

How to apply this habit, in a nutshell:

Don’t focus on convincing others of “How cool you are.” Be genuinely interested in others, and stop for a moment to appreciate their strengths. Learn to praise sincerely.

3. They Talk About Themselves Only When Asked To

Charming people usually speak about themselves only when asked to, or when they have something relevant to say they know will be of interest to you, without overwhelming you with too many details.

When they talk about themselves they never give you boring or shallow answers. They will always surprise you with something new. Something out of the ordinary.

They might mention their last trip to Thailand, or talk about the Japanese course they’re attending at the university, but only if prompted to.

Charming people talk about their passions and walk you through their experience almost bewitching you. Their passion for what they do is contagious and anytime you talk to them you feel that same ingrained motivation to pursue your dreams as they do.

If you ask their opinion, they will happily share their point of view, which is never shallow.

As a result, you feel they care about the interaction they’re having with you, and usually, they will give you a thoughtful answer which keeps the conversation engaging.

How to apply this habit, in a nutshell:

Get rid of the need to talk about yourself all the time. When answering a question about yourself, share something interesting and, most importantly, relevant to the conversation. When asked to share your opinion, don’t be glib, give a thoughtful and detailed answer.

4. They Follow Through

One common trait of genuinely charming people is they always stick to their word. They are not “all words and no action.”

Average people often say “Let me know if you need any help,” just to sound good and convey the impression they are kind. However, when it comes to the crunch and you turn to them for help, the answer will often be “I’d really love to help, but…”

There’s always a “but.”

You won’t find this with a charming person. If they say they will help, they will.

If they say: “We should go for a meal sometime,” you can bet that within a week or so, they will have contacted you to suggest when. Their words are not just empty gestures.

And this trait is almost contagious. By realizing just how lovely it is for someone to be “true to their word,” you will likely want to be the same, in turn, with others.

How to apply this habit, in a nutshell:

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. It’s simple. And it’s attractive.

5. They Are Not Afraid to Share Their Vulnerabilities

“To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect — and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are.”

— Brené Brown

Vulnerability is emotional exposure. It’s scary, I get it.

However, it’s also true that exposing our vulnerabilities creates intimacy and trust in our relationships. I guess you appreciate others more when they show their imperfect side or admit their mistakes.

It makes them more human somehow.

Likable people are not afraid to reveal their imperfections or how they have dealt with hard times. They don’t hide behind a mask. They learned to appreciate and embrace their authentic self and their imperfections, and there’s nothing more beautiful than that.

How to apply this habit, in a nutshell:

Exposing our vulnerabilities is scary. But it’s what lets us truly connect with people and makes us authentic. You can apply this by simply admitting a past mistake, sharing some of your biggest fears, or revealing one of your imperfections no one else knows about.

6. They Are Curious About You, More Than You Expected

As Thomas Oppong mentioned in one of his recent articles, one habit likable people have in common is they are curious about you and probably more than you expected.

If you think about it, curiosity is the main ingredient that keeps engaging conversations going.

Let’s be honest for a moment: when someone is curious about our job, passions, and goals — or whatever makes us tick — it makes them more likable to us. It usually makes us want to talk and spend more time with them.

It’s nice when others ask us open-ended questions about things we care about, like our career or our relationships.

People who show enthusiasm for your story, your passions, and most importantly, for what drives you, are interesting. It’s enjoyable to be in their company.

How to apply this habit, in a nutshell:

To show genuine curiosity, ask thoughtful questions to others. Understand what their passions are and go ahead with interesting, open-ended questions.

7. They Take Real Pleasure in Proactively Helping Others

Not long ago, a friend of mine — he is an architect — told me about a time he was driving and stopped to help a woman change the tire on her car. She offered to give him some money for his time and help, but he politely refused.

However, while he was changing the tire, the woman asked a few questions about him and where he worked. To him, it was just a normal conversation.

Two weeks later, he met a new client for the first time, who wanted him to design a new office block for his company. At the end of the meeting, the client shook his hand and told him, “My sister was right. You really are a charming man; it has been a pleasure to meet you and I feel in very safe hands.”

He then went on to explain to me that this man was the brother of the woman he had helped.

Charming people don’t preach or tell you how to do things, and they certainly don’t brag about their own lives and successes.

They take real pleasure in proactively helping you instead, without expecting anything in return. And they will likely refuse any “reward” offered.

And they are the ones helping you even if you don’t ask for it.

How to apply this habit, in a nutshell:

Helping others simply feels good. Try to do things for others without expecting anything in return. Believe me, life becomes much easier.

Giving their undivided attention, showing admiration, talking about themselves only when asked to, following through, sharing their vulnerabilities, being curious about others and offering their help, are all habits charming people usually have in common.

And it all comes down to this: they won’t directly tell you they are inherently good people. They will always let their actions talk for them instead.

If we were all wired that way, we would probably live in an easier world.

We would all join the charming people club.

Source : Medium

I didn’t even break a sweat

Like many, I struggled off and on with my weight throughout my life. It’s something I felt insecure about since middle school. Over the years, my weight has fluctuated up and down as I tried adding a regular physical activity or blending green smoothies, but then struggling in turn with depression, ultimately gaining all the weight back.

Most recently, I finally felt like I was getting my weight loss goal back on track as I signed up for fitness classes at Equinox. But after awhile progress slowed.

Until San Francisco announced the stay-at-home order.

On March 16th, San Francisco announced a “shelter-in-place” order. Everyone was advised to stay at home and only leave for essential needs like food and medication. As I learned how to slow down and adjust to the new routine at home, I found that I actually was more successful than ever at achieving my weight loss goals as I developed these seven habits.


Even though I just called this a rule, I don’t mean to say you need to stick to this every single day. I try to live by the 80/20 rule. I went into this phase admitting I’m human. The only way to make lasting change is to understand this is not a diet, this is your life. Make small, incremental changes you can sustain for life instead of dramatic changes you’ll give up on in a few days.

How did I decide on a calorie limit?

I follow Jordan Syatt online, he has an insightful video on YouTube to help you calculate how many calories you should eat for fat loss. I encourage you to watch the full video but here’s the short answer so you can start now.

Take your goal body weight in pounds and multiple it by 12. Example: 150 lbs x 12 = 1800 calories a day.

For your protein intake, he recommends you take your goal body weight and multiply it by 1. Example: 150 lbs x 1 = 150g of protein per day. I rarely ever met this amount yet still achieved progress.

Track everything you eat and stick to your calorie limit 80–90% of the time for 30 days and you will see a difference on the scale and in your clothes.

It’s important to include foods you enjoy within your calorie limit. For example, I find a way to include french fries (specifically the Alexia brand) or a protein cookie nearly every day as a treat. The main reason most diets fail is people go to the extreme and eliminate every “bad food.” This might work for a while but eventually, your self-discipline will run out. This is a lifestyle, so find ways to incorporate foods you enjoy and you will find success.

All restaurants were closed. The only option for food was the grocery store. Not only did this save money, but it naturally encouraged good nutritional habits. While everyone was panicking and stocking up like crazy on canned foods, I shopped the abundant produce aisle.

And I mean everything. I used the free app Lose It! to scan and input every bite of food I consumed.

Tip for tracking: Buy a food scale. The only way to be exact with what you’re putting in your body is to measure. Measuring cups can be misleading, use weight in grams instead.

Most people have no clue how much they’re overeating. Simply by tracking what you eat for a week will help you lose weight. Once you realize how much a serving size actually is, you’ll start choosing healthier options.

Before the shelter-in-place order, I went to the gym 5–6 times a week, focusing primarily on strength training and reached 10,000 steps most days. During shelter-in-place, my activity dwindled to almost nothing. Rather than beating myself up about this, I chose to focus on one thing at a time. Physical activity was never a problem for me. Instead, I narrowed in on the most difficult part of weight loss: Food habits and the mindset behind them.

Spending all my time home alone, except for my cat, meant I had a lot of time to think. The motivation behind choosing unhealthy food vs a healthy one became obvious to me. I used a sweet treat or salty snack to ignore a stressful situation at work or feel better after a bad day. I allowed food to soothe my anxiety and depression. By working with a therapist, I learned better ways to cope with my stress and anxiety that didn’t involve food.

Despite the fact there is a world pandemic going on, I actually found more peace at home. I focused on my mental health, investing in myself, and making better decisions, all actions I know will lead to lifelong change including weight loss.

I believe in working with experts especially if you want to reach a new level. I knew I needed guidance so I searched a few nutritionists in my area, called and made an appointment.

The first nutritionist I met offered a few nuggets of wisdom, such as adding more protein into breakfast by drinking a protein shake. She also educated me about the plate method.

The plate method is based on a 9-in diameter plate to help you keep portions sizes in check. Fill 1/2 your plate with non-starchy vegetables, 1/4 with grain and starchy vegetables, and the last 1/4 is your lean protein. I’ll admit I’m still working on getting to this ideal plate but as I said before I aim for the 80/20 rule, not perfection.

Especially while we’re stuck in a rut at home, getting an informed outside opinion on your eating habits can give you exactly the perspective shift to change your eating habits.

I weigh myself every morning. Not because I expect to lose weight every day but because I like to look at the data. In quarantine, you’re the only accountability partner you have. It also helped me realize how and why weight fluctuates. For example, if I consumed more carbs one day the scale might go up a pound the following morning but eventually, it would go back down in a day or two.

I also highly recommend you take before and after progress measurements. The scale isn’t the full story. You may notice the scale doesn’t budge but you lose inches in your thighs and waist.

If you focus on food and psychology first, you will notice a difference in your clothes. Remember this isn’t temporary, it’s a lifestyle. Focus on small, attainable changes and give yourself time to see results.

You’ll lose the most in the first 2 months then less the following. I lost 15 pounds in the first 6 weeks, 2 pounds in May, and 3 pounds in June. You might feel disappointed with slow progress but it’s still progress.

If you take into account that your life will be throwing you off — especially in a pandemic — an average 2-pound weight loss per month actually is the average. Setting attainable expectations will keep you going. It doesn’t matter if you lose 30 pounds in the first month if you gain it back the next when you lose motivation — by setting attainable goals, you can continue to make small changes you can live with.


The Pandemic Was the Perfect Time to Reach My Weight Loss Goals.

In conclusion, after struggling with weight loss motivation, depression, fluctuation for years, it turned out that the shelter-in-place orders were just what I needed to develop these 7 sustainably healthy habits.

If you’re feeling unmotivated but still want to lose weight, you don’t need to go for all seven at once. The first habit I suggest you start with is tracking. Buy a food scale, download a food tracking app like Lose It! and track everything you eat for one week.

That’s it. Start with this one habit and you will learn so much about yourself. You’ll notice connections between what you eat and how you feel. You will make healthier choices and it only gets better from there.

Source : Medium

For those of you who don’t know Stephanie Buttermore, she’s a fitness influencer who was best known for her insane cheat day videos where she easily ate up to 10,000 calories in one day. If her name doesn’t ring a bell, just think of the fit girl who could sit in her car and finish an entire box of doughnuts by herself. I can almost hear a resounding “ahh” through the screen.

I used to watch her cheat day videos in awe — how could such a small person eat so much? And I thought I had a big appetite! I was so inspired that I even tried her 10,000 calorie challenge for myself. I failed miserably and tapped out at 7,000 calories.

However, behind the smiles in the cheat day videos lay a harsh reality — a side of her she was not showing the world. That she was constantly tired, cold and hungry. She had the ideal body every woman would kill for, but she wasn’t happy. That’s when she decided that enough is enough, she was going “all in”. In essence, she was eating to full satiety everyday with no restrictions. Her main goal was to fix her hunger. She was so tired of feeling hungry and fatigued all the time that she took a leap of faith and bravely started on her “all in” journey. As a fitness influencer, I can only imagine how difficult it must’ve been for her to make that decision. Gaining weight would have massive repercussions on her career and her following. Even when I was struggling with binge eating and decided to give up all control over food to eat intuitively, the idea of weight gain scared the crap out of me. And I’m just a nobody.

Here are 4 lessons I’ve learned from following her amazing all-in journey:

1. Remember your why

If you’ve been jumping from one diet to the next only to feel like a failure when you put the weight back on, or you’ve been engaging in disordered eating behaviour and you’re constantly unhappy with your body — it’s time to call a truce with your body.

When you’re relearning how to listen to your body, you may overeat. You’ve been depriving yourself of the simplest pleasure of eating for so long that your body acts like an excited child eating ice cream for the first time. You’ll eat all the cake because your body doesn’t know if you’ll get to eat it again. All of this will inevitably result in some weight gain until your body finally realises that all the food you love are here to stay. Then you’ll stop acting so crazy around food. Before you reach this stage, you’ll have to go through the hardest part — coping with weight gain.

Gaining weight is not easy in a fatphobic society where we’ve been taught that being fat is bad. The fear of gaining weight, of being judged and knowing that you’ll never meet society’s standard of beauty may drive you to go back to your old ways. Dieting and restricting food from your life is comfortable because even if you’re unhappy with how your body looks right now, there’s still the promise that you’ll eventually get the body of your dreams. It’s just there on the horizons, within your reach. Giving up dieting is uncomfortable because you’ll have to accept the reality that the body you’ve always wanted is no longer within your grasp. This is a tough pill to swallow when diet culture has taught us that we’ll only be good enough if we’re skinny. When you commit to stop dieting, there will come a point in time where you’ll want to turn back and go back to what’s comfortable — the relentless pursuit of weight-loss.

When the tempting seductress of diet culture calls your name, Stephanie Buttermore stresses the importance of remembering your why.

Stephanie Buttermore was motivated by her desire to feel normal around food again. She didn’t want to go back to the dark days of feeling hungry all the time. So ask yourself the following questions:

Why do you want to stop dieting?

Why do you want to stop being afraid of food?

We all want to achieve the thin ideal, but at what cost?

If you’re constantly waging a war with food and your body at the expense of your quality of life and mental wellbeing, consider what you value more. When you decide to give up on the pursuit of weight-loss, never lose sight of your why. Don’t succumb to the lies of diet culture that your dream body is just within your grasp if you go on that last diet. There’s no miracle diet that will cure all the dissatisfaction you feel with your body.

2. Setpoint weight theory

She made a video explaining the science behind her “all in” journey. To summarise, all of us have a genetically predetermined weight range that our body wants to be at. Think of it as a thermostat. When our weight falls below the lower limit of that range, our body will fight against us to bring our weight back up to its natural setpoint. This means making us obsessed with food, releasing more ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and less leptin (the hormone that makes us feel full). These are biological responses that ensure that we maintain our weight in its natural weight range. Don’t hold it against your body, it can’t differentiate between a diet and actual starvation and is just trying to keep you alive!

Everything Stephanie Buttermore experienced is in line with this proven theory. When she was at her lightest, she was always thinking about food and constantly hungry. When she first went all in, she was eating 5000 calories a day. After gaining 35 lbs and overshooting her setpoint, her appetite decreased and she felt less hungry. She only needed ~2000 calories to feel full and satisfied. Her body naturally reduced her appetite to bring her weight back down to its natural range.

The next time you consider embarking on a new fad diet, keep in mind that your body will fight against you if you lose weight too quickly. So think twice before you decide to go on another diet. Trying to fight biology is an uphill battle you won’t win. More often than not, you’ll gain back the weight and then some.

3. Less is more

When it comes to exercising control over the food you eat, less is more. Ironically, the less you try to control the food you’re eating, the more self-control you have around food.

Stephanie Buttermore had a question addressed to her by a viewer on how she had the self-control not to finish an entire box of cookies after eating one. To this, she replied that she simply no longer has the desire to.

In the past, eating one doughnut would’ve triggered her to finish the entire box. For those of us who have been following her, the sight of her finishing a box of doughnuts in one sitting is not unusual. Now, she feels satisfied after having a couple of bites. The difference in her eating behaviour is most noticeable in her latest videos. In this one, she took a bite out of three doughnuts and put them away because she was craving turkey soup. In her Miami vlog, she shared her doughnuts with two other people and only took a couple of bites out of each. Who replaced Stephanie Buttermore with this imposter!

How often have we eaten one doughnut, told ourselves “fuck it, diet starts tomorrow” then proceed to finish all the doughnuts? This is known as “last supper eating” — eating as if it’s your last supper. When you know that you can have doughnuts anytime, you won’t engage in last supper eating because you know that it’s always there when you want it. Stephanie Buttermore no longer does cheat day videos, probably because when you allow yourself to have “bad” food anytime you want, you don’t need to dedicate an entire day to gorge on them. Oftentimes, the reason we lose control around food is that we don’t know when is the next time we can have it again. Giving yourself permission to eat is key to regaining control around food. The more you control food, the more food controls you.

4. Happiness does not hinge on your weight

In typical before and after shots, the model is seen looking unhappy in her before shot, then smiling widely in her after shot. That’s what diet culture is selling us! That losing weight is the key to being happy. We think to ourselves “when I lose weight, then I’ll be happy.” Truth is, if you’re not happy with who you are now, changing your exterior won’t make a difference. Your happiness is not conditional on the size of your body. By having this mentality, you’re essentially putting your happiness on hold for something that may or may not happen.

Stephanie Buttermore’s before and after shot is not the traditional one diet culture shows us. It’s like hers is in reverse — she was unhappy at her skinniest but happy at her heaviest. This shows that happiness does not hinge on your weight.

Happiness comes from within. And it starts right now.

Stephanie Buttermore has taught us how to have a healthy relationship with food and our bodies. She gave up dieting for a better quality of life and taught us the most important lesson of all — that we should never sacrifice our happiness and wellbeing just to look a certain way.

Source : Medium

Here’s what I learned from the biggest mistake of my life.

I cheated on my husband at my bachelorette party, and it was the biggest mistake of my life.

That night, I felt anxious before my girlfriends and I had even arrived at the bar.

Once we were seated, I didn’t sip my drink. Instead, I gulped down cocktail after cocktail to take the edge off my mounting unease.

“Last night out before you’re a missus!” My friend Jaz, who knew me as a party animal, whooped as I downed yet another strawberry daiquiri. She winked and gestured to the barman for a refill. “We’re only just getting started!”

To the cheering friends around me, my eagerness to get plastered made it look like I was in the mood to revel. But I wasn’t drinking to celebrate my imminent marriage.

Instead, I was drinking to escape the voice in my head that warned: “Angie! You’re not ready to commit!”

I was getting cold feet

An hour into the drinking session, I excused myself to go to the restroom. My legs wobbled beneath me when I stood up.

In the quiet cubicle, I took my time. I needed to be alone. I didn’t understand why, but I felt overcome by a powerful mix of anger and grief. My friends were too rambunctious with happiness, too excited on my behalf.

Deep down, I felt jealous of their carefree lives. Why were they so keen to celebrate the end of my freedom? I wanted nothing more than to go to bed in a stupor, away from their banter and laughter and high hopes for my future.

Instead, I loitered by the hand dryer, delaying my return to the bar. I took deep breaths to try to ease the tightness in my chest. What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I happy?

I felt certain I loved my husband-to-be, Jayden. At the same time, a part of me resented him for wanting to tie me down.

After our wedding, we planned to move back to his hometown. I pictured myself, decade after decade, supporting his hobbies, prioritizing his career, having sex the way he liked it.

Had my future been decided? Would that be my life?

Not that Jayden was selfish — he wasn’t telepathic, that’s all. A perpetual people-pleaser since childhood, I’d never learned to pipe up and ask him for what I wanted.

(Unlike him, I didn’t even know what I wanted!)

But I understood that unless I got the hang of expressing my needs soon, we’d run into serious problems.

I made an awful, drunken mistake

I’d started making my way back to the bar when a dark-haired stranger approached me. He was clean-shaven, his shirt was crisply ironed, and he smelt of sandalwood cologne.

“Have I seen you somewhere before?” he asked.

I knew he hadn’t; it was nothing more than a chat-up line. I felt a wave of anger and grief wash over me again.

But I wasn’t angry at the stranger, whose interest was mildly flattering. I was angry at myself, at Jayden, and at my oblivious friends who couldn’t see I wasn’t ready for marriage.

“Have I seen you somewhere before?” the stranger repeated.

“Yes,” I replied, unsteady on my feet. Then, in a senseless moment of drunken self-sabotage, I lurched forward and kissed him.

We ended up back in the grimy restroom cubicle. He unzipped the back of my dress while I unbuttoned his jeans.

The sex was soulless and unsatisfying, and it was over within a few minutes.

Why I went through with the wedding

I walked down the aisle on my wedding day feeling sick to my stomach. I knew that with every step I took, time was running out. I had to save my fiancé from myself before it was too late.

Halfway down the aisle, I wanted to turn back and run.

I wanted to sob and to scream, to crush the white roses in my bouquet, to tear up the tulle skirt of my wedding dress.

My heart blazed with shame. My conscience shrieked: “Abort!”

But all eyes were on me. I couldn’t do it.

Then I reached the altar and looked up at my husband-to-be, who had no idea how I’d betrayed him. I saw his eyes shining with pride and adoration where there should have been disgust.

I’d never been big on strength, resolve or courage, but at that moment, every trace of those qualities left me.

As he took my trembling hands in his, I convinced myself I had a duty to protect him from the trauma of learning what I’d done.

I didn’t deserve to marry Jayden, but neither did he deserve to have his heart broken.

You’ll destroy him if you tell the truth, Angie. That’s how I justified my silence. Why burden a good man with so much pain?

So I vowed to be faithful to him, forsaking all others. My voice shook but gave nothing away. I wept when we shared our first kiss as husband and wife.

“I’m crying happy tears!” I insisted when he cradled my face. He trusted me, so he believed that lie — just as he believed all the others that would come after.

At the reception, I drank too much Merlot and ended up dry-heaving over the toilet, head spinning.

“What’s the matter, Angie?” My best friend and bridesmaid, Nina, knelt beside me, rubbing my back.

“I’m hormonal.” I rattled off every excuse I could think of. “Getting married is one big emotional whirlwind. I’m not good with crowds and being in the limelight is freaking intense.”

All those statements were accurate to an extent. But the principal reason for my anguish? I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone, not even Nina.

Instead, I reassured her that nothing was wrong and forced a smile for the rest of the night.

How my husband found out

Ultimately, it was Nina who plucked the truth out of me a couple years later. She’d noticed I’d been growing more and more unhappy.

One Friday evening, she invited me around for dinner. I showed up with plenty to drink, as usual, and proceeded to drown my sorrows.

A few hours later, I woke up on the couch wearing her nightgown. I learned she’d showered and changed me after I got blackout drunk and vomited over myself.

“I can tell you’re in pain, Angie.” She hugged me as I cried into her shoulder. “I know you! I see the signs. You smoke a lot more than you used to. You eat way more takeout. And these days, you never attend a social event without drinking yourself stupid. What the heck is going on, girl? What’s wrong?”

Under her expectant gaze, my defenses broke down. I was so tired of suffering. I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed someone to hear me out, to absolve me.

Begging Nina not to hate me, I admitted what had happened at the bachelorette party. I explained how, through two years of marriage, I’d continued keeping the truth from Jayden.

Her body froze. She pulled away from me. Her next words made my blood run cold. “Angie. Either you tell him, or I will.”

“What?” I couldn’t breathe. I’d never felt so close to a panic attack. “But he’s innocent, Nina! He doesn’t deserve to go through hell because of me. I don’t want to ruin his life because of my stupid mistake.”

“You think you’re doing him a favor by lying? Are you delusional? You’re keeping the truth from him. That’s wrong! You’re manipulating him into believing he lives in a different reality.”

Bawling, I buried my head in my hands. Nina grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me.

“Listen, Angie! You don’t want to hurt him. I get it. But the fact that you cheated on him shows you guys have problems. If you refuse to be honest, you have no hope in hell of repairing your relationship.” She closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. “Like I said. Either you tell him, or I will.”

I wish I could say I had the guts to fix my own marriage. But I couldn’t bear the thought of facing Jayden. So I chose the cowardly option — just as I’d done for the past two years.

“You tell him,” I whimpered.

Nina tutted, shook her head, and picked up the phone.

What I learned

A week after Nina’s phone call, Jayden filed for divorce. I do not blame him in the slightest. I agreed to divorce him, feeling a mixture of devastation and relief.

It’s now been several years since I came clean to Nina, and I’ve come to believe she was right to push for honesty.

I thought I was protecting Jayden by keeping my transgression a secret. In reality, I was robbing him of the right to choose whether he wanted to be with me.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I’d confessed my fling earlier. Would Jayden have forgiven me? Would he have worked through our relationship issues?

Maybe, but that’s pointless speculation about a hypothetical situation. By lying throughout our brief marriage, I irreversibly damaged his trust in me.

Currently, I’m in therapy, and I expect I will be for a long time.

I’m working on reducing my alcohol consumption, as I drink far too much to self-medicate.

I’ve also started addressing my people-pleasing issues. I struggle to identify and express my own wishes in relationships. I’ve realized I need to get better at asking for what I want, otherwise, I end up feeling resentful.

At the bachelorette party, my resentment manifested as cheating. I wanted to regain a sense of control in my relationship with Jayden, and I went about it in the most immature way possible.

So if I’ve learned anything from my mistake, it’s the importance of not burying your feelings. Repressed feelings can burst out of you unexpectedly in the form of hurtful, thoughtless actions.

Jayden didn’t need me to cheat; he needed me to face him and have an honest conversation.

Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is speak up and say how you feel.

Source : Medium

7 Bollywood Celebs Who Went From Fat To Fit

Not everyone is gifted with skinny bodies. These stars have faced some weight issues in the past too. But the fit body is everything when it comes to showing business, so they did their best to achieve a dream shape! Let’s face it, we can’t help but admire their struggles on the way to hot bodies. Just sit back and take a look at Bollywood divas who went from flab to fab.

 

Sonakshi Sinha
fat to fit_1
Her weight loss journey from a plump teen to a hot diva wasn’t an easy task, Sonakshi never really cared about those extra pounds as a kid. In fact, if it wasn’t for her co-star Salman Khan, she would never lose almost 30 kg for her first movie. Some simple mantras helped her lose those extra kilos even though she used to weigh almost 90.

 

Sonam Kapoor
fat to fit_2
Today’s Bollywood style icon once weighed around 86 kg! Yes, you read it right. Sonam put on some weight while she was studying in Singapore, but shortly after the leading role proposal, she managed to lose almost 35 kg by working out and going on a strict diet. And of course, Sonam Kapoor stunned everyone with her tremendous weight loss when she made an entry in the world of glam.

 

Kareena Kapoor
fat to fit_3
Bollywood diva worked hard to flaunt her sexy size zero figure in Tashan. Women all over the world might have spent some sleepless nights hoping to achieve such weight loss results. She was one of the first women in Bollywood with size-zero figure. She lost around 28 kg, but now she is not such a big fan of size-zero and still manages to look toned and fit.

 

Alia Bhatt
fat to fit_4
A stunning Bollywood star who made her debut in “Student of the Year” wasn’t as thin as she is now. Alia was asked to lose 20 kg in 6 months in order to look the part. So, she rose to the challenge and shaded 16 kg in 3 months. Hats off, Alia!

 

Parineeti Chopra
fat to fit_5
Priyanka’s cousin admits that before entering Bollywood she had some weight issues and weighed 86 kg. She realized that her acting skills alone are not enough for show biz and thus began her slimming endeavor.

 

Aishwarya Rai
fat to fit_6
Aishwarya Rai’s post pregnancy weight gain got a lot of media criticism. She ignored haters making her family the main priority. But she got into shape shortly and came back flaunting her sexy curves and fit body again. Her weight loss secret is healthy food and regular yoga.

 

Zarine Khan
fat to fit_7
She is an inspiration for everyone who struggles to lose extra kilos. Considering her flawless figure now, it’s quite hard to believe Zarine used to weigh 100 kg! When she decided to fulfill her ambition of becoming a model she lost all those oodles of fat already within a year. With right diet and exercise, she managed to reduce her weight to 57 kilos. Well done, Zarine!

Does the early bird really catch the worm?

I’ve always disliked morning sex — and I’ve never quite understood why it’s “a thing” in general.

Bad morning breath alone is enough of a turn off for me let alone stinky armpits and — stinky EVERYTHING.

My libido just isn’t there for me in the mornings. Never has been. It’s simply not awake or even close to raring to go until the afternoon or evening.

But within my marriage — this element of a sleepy libido has been an issue.

By the time my husband and I finally get in a bed — alone together — we’re absolutely exhausted. After taking care of all of our daily responsibilities including running a small business and spending time with our children, we are simply spent.

Sexual stimulation within a relationship doesn’t come easy after a long day of laboring through chores and responsibilities.

For me, personally, I need to be ‘in the mood’ — meaning I’ve had a little bit of unwinding time to refocus my mind from kids, computer work, dishes, and washing dirty underwear to a much different kind of dirty mindset.

Housework isn’t a turn on for me. Kids jumping on me and farting on me isn’t a firestarter in the libido department for me either.

I need time to chill after all of those things. I need time to shrug off that feeling of just being a mom, maid, chef, and general go-to person who hasn’t even had a moment alone all day.

As a result of all this, nighttime sex often gets shoved to the wayside and when it does happen, one or both of us are distracted, wound up, or so focused on trying to be quiet (librarian sex!) that intercourse just isn’t as good as it could be.

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So — one morning I decided to do something different. I decided to take some initiative and play around with the dreaded morning sex idea. I forced myself to get out of my comfort zone and give it a go.

I got up early while the kids were still sleeping, brushed my teeth, took my underwear off, and climbed back into bed with my husband to wake him up in a very unexpected way.

It took a minute, but he was pleasantly surprised by my unusual overture.

My sex drive wasn’t terribly strong at first, but the act of doing something new and the pleasing response from my husband was enough to start getting me in the mood.

And so…a a few days later, I initiated morning sex again.

And it was nice. Perhaps not completely fulfilling for me but there’s definitely potential there to warm up to this routine.

Another perk with the early morning sex is that the sun is barely rising and the kids are already asleep. It’s also a great way to get the heart and endorphins pumping for the rest of the day.

And, yes, it is difficult to wake up and get into the groove of morning sex when you’ve been in a deep sleep all night, but it’s also challenging to muster up the energy to connect sexually with your partner when you’re dead tired at night.

Morning sex is turning into a viable solution to connecting with my husband. It’s something new, something different, and it’s my small way of letting my partner know that in the midst of being responsible, hard-working people and parents we can still find those little nuggets of time to be lovers again.

Source : Medium

The Surprising Science of Female Sexual Vocalizations

When I was a teenager and just getting my sexual bearings, coming to sexual maturity and experimenting around, I found the idea of women moaning during sex to be quite odd, to say the least. Honestly, for a few years there I thought it was something that was done in porno movies, a sort of exaggeration of pleasure in the way that lipstick is an exaggeration of red, blood-filled and aroused lips or the way that foundation is an exaggeration of smooth, blemish-free skin that nobody really has.

To me, these were all relics of people trying to embellish certain traits to make themselves more sexually appealing. And thus, I already had a very infantile grasp of the concept of sexual competition. I think we all did, at that age, as we felt around for ourselves within ourselves, discovering who we really were, who we were to become, and as we nervously felt around the bodies of others on occasion. I figured it was just another case of life imitating art and art imitating life in a cycle that regurgitates what we see into what we practice, and what we practice then becomes what we see, and thus gets regurgitated into what we broadcast, and the cycle continues.

The Reality Check

It wouldn’t be until years and years later that I would discover something truly fascinating, that sexual vocalizations are actually built into our biology. If I were to ask you to recall instances when you’ve heard heterosexual couples having sex and asked you which partner was the loudest vocally, which one would you say? In truth, some men are very vocal (and many women love this, by the way) and some women aren’t vocal at all, but on a whole, in every culture, whether you’re on the far eastern reaches of Asia, up north in Finland, or even down south in the rainforests of the Amazon, all over the globe, women are the louder sex when it comes to, well, sex.

Cue Meg Ryan’s epic performance from When Harry Met Sally where she had an orgasm in the restaurant sitting across from actor Billy Crystal, a moment that would basically go down in cinematic history.

But such performances aren’t just a work of art, like that in When Harry Met Sally or those found in pornographic movies and they certainly aren’t a modern thing. Dating as far back as The Kama Sutra the ancient Indian text that deals with erotica, sexuality, and personal fulfillment, mentions of ‘how to’ moan and moan properly can be found. Yes, throughout human history, women seem to have always been the louder sex. It raises quite the puzzling question…why?

It’s especially curious given that much of modern evolutionary theory tends to paint women as the shy, coy, bashful sex who are much less inclined to cut loose and be wild women in the sack. If the prudish portraits of women were true under Darwinian evolutionary theory, wouldn’t we expect to see the opposite? Research is starting to unearth new information that jeopardizes the old ‘standard model’ of evolutionary sex and is beginning to paint a picture that we’re a lot more like bonobos than originally thought; we’re a lot less monogamous than ole’ Darwin would like us to believe and a lot more promiscuous.

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Our Primate Relatives

Among species of primates, humans aren’t the only ones with a loud, proud vocalizing female when sex takes place. Primatologist Meredith Small thinks she might have some of the answers to our question. A sample of 550 primate vocalizations was taken and the results became strikingly clear as they were analyzed, such vocal sounds aren’t made in any other situation a primate might find themselves in. They’re reserved specifically for sex.

What’s more, in primates, vocalizations can communicate a lot about the female in question, namely, overall health, fertility, and place in the ovulatory cycle, cueing men in on what they’re likely to get out of a sexual encounter with said female. In a sense, it’s advertising and a form of strategy to bring in new males in order to try and mate with them. This means that while mating with one male, a female might be sending signals to other males to advertise her robust sexual health and try to capitalize on any other guys who may have gotten turned on and want to get in on the action. The whole thing reeks of a gangbang in the making. There’s a whole lot more to this story that we’ll return to after a brief interlude back into the world of human sexual vocalizations…

The Standard Model of Evolutionary Sex

Most of us by now know the so-called ‘standard model’ of the theory of sexual evolution, the idea that women have a limited number of ova, men have billions of sperm, thus men are basically indiscriminate and ready to pounce on anything that even remotely looks warm and slightly resembles the same species, while women are much more selective about their choosings and who they mate with because, in the end, they can only have one or two children a year while the boys can inseminate countless females. Women want one stand-up guy, they tend to be more lovey-dovey and in line with romantic type thinking, men want an abundance of women and tend to be more in line with sexual thinking and poof, the two constantly come into conflict over these general preferences which lead us in opposite directions.

Let’s turn this theory on its head, shall we?

The Sperm Wars

One of the first major challenges to the ‘standard model’ came from a book titled Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles (available here through an affiliate link) in which the idea of the coy female who sought to mate with the one, the best partner she could find began to come under theoretical siege.

Sperm Wars was quite controversial, in its day, and it still is today for the fact that it spells out in plain English that in the battles of evolutionary theory, women would make out better by sleeping with more than one man and ‘pitching’ the seed of the less genetically fit man. Alas, the tides of revolutionary war had turned and now men were starting to feel the brunt of scientific explanations (note: not justifications) for normatively bad behavior.

It seems that women might have just as much to gain as men from copulating with multiple males, from extra-pair copulations (read: infidelity), and even ethically non-monogamist sex, something we’re starting to see more and more of in the post-Christian era, a time when our sex lives are no longer dictated by the powerful whims of the church.

In short, we’ve even discovered all sorts of mechanisms such as ‘kamakaze sperm’ which don’t actually try to impregnate ova, but rather, they seek to find other men’s sperm and destroy them, allowing their fellow comrades in tails to reach the finish line and become another human life in due course.

Around 40% of a man’s sperm are thought to be ‘fighter sperm’ or ‘kamakaze sperm’ that don’t actually try to impregnate women, instead, they basically act like a blocker in football and try to allow other sperm to reach the end zone. The almost-militant strategy is all-too-real and it all takes place unconsciously at the level of our cells. What’s even more interesting, if a man suspects his partner has been unfaithful in a modern relationship setup, the number of ‘kamakaze sperm’ increases so that the man would have the more likely advantage when it comes to the reproductive battle.

Come Hither

As is noted in the book by Christopher Ryan Ph.D. titled Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships, from which I draw many of these references, the female vocalizations is likely a call to any nearby males in humans, too:

British primatologist Stuart Semple found that, “In a wide variety of species, females vocalize just before, during or immediately after they mate. These vocalizations,” Semple says, “are particularly common among the primates and evidence is now accumulating that by calling, a female incites males in her group….” Precisely. There’s a good reason the sound of a woman enjoying a sexual encounter entices a heterosexual man. Her “copulation call” is a potential invitation to come hither, thus provoking sperm competition.”

And now it all starts to come together. I hate to use this term, but it fits, women moan as a mating call to additional males. Some have suggested that it’s to maximize sexual encounters and let the sperm do their work and provide her with the best possible offspring, regardless of who sticks around to raise the children, however, it should be noted, that for most of human history, children were raised in groups and paternity (the nuclear family unit) is an extremely modern invention.

It All Comes Together in the End…

What’s more, in species that are more monogamous, female copulatory vocalizations (moaning) was less emphatic, less intense, less complex, and generally less powerful than in species that were more polygynous or otherwise non-monogamous species. That is, if such vocalizations were present at all.

There seems to be a relationship between sexual non-monogamy and the frequency and vibrance of copulation calls which are thought to signal other men and get them aroused to come to join in on the action.

This raises the question: where do humans fall on this scale between monogamous and non-monogamous? What do we want? Do we actually want monogamy? I tend to think not and there’s a growing body of scientific literature supplanting the old body of scientific literature that suggests that animals and humans are a lot less monogamous than we thought. As has been noted in The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People, only three percent of species have turned out to be truly monogamous; even species of birds that we once thought to be totally monogamous have turned out to be anything but. We’re starting to discover that a whole lot more animals are fathered by extra-pair copulations (infidelity) than previously had been believed, as we drive a split into the concepts of social monogamy and sexual monogamy.

If we were to observe polyamorous relationships today from a third-party lens, only seeing parts of what was going on, we might come to the same conclusions that those are just monogamous couples, because like my relationship, we practice social monogamy. That is, people tend to think we’re a run-of-the-mill, monogamous group of people who are just friends with only a few trusted parties ever becoming privy to our little secret.

All of this means that both animals and humans are likely much less monogamous than we have always thought and the idea of a secure, happy, lasting, loving, monogamous relationship might be much more myth than reality (sorry for bursting anyone’s bubbles). The truth is, this might run much deeper into the fabric of our DNA that we want to admit. But fear not, non-monogamy isn’t all that bad. In fact, it’s much, much preferable to the monogamous relationships I’ve been in. I actually really enjoy non-monogamy and just accepting that we don’t have to be rigid monogamists, embracing our natural, human roots and accepting that maybe we weren’t designed for the lifelong romance that’s the stuff of novels and stories. I’m okay with this.

In the end, women moan because humans are likely not at all a monogamous species. We sometimes just like to pretend we are, but our biology is rooted in non-monogamous practices, up to and including copulatory vocal responses.

Source : Medium