23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert

One of the theories I find really interesting is the whole introvert/extrovert thing.  At first glance, you might think you know which category a person falls into, but it’s not as easy to judge as you might think.  Introvert doesn’t always mean hermit, and extrovert doesn’t always mean life of the party; there’s actually a lot more to it. 

One of my friends posted this article called “23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert” on Facebook the other day, and I found it really amusing.  Not only did it have me laughing out loud at the similarities I see in myself, but it also reaffirmed that I am definitely an introvert. 

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I’ve always thought of myself as an introvert because I much prefer being alone over being in a group of people, but the article talks about how “people are frequently unaware that they’re introverts –especially if they’re not shy – because they may not realize that being an introvert is about more than just cultivating time alone.” 

It goes on to say that it can be more important “to pay attention to whether they’re losing or gaining energy from being around others, even if the company of friends gives them pleasure.”  That’s the part that I find really poignant because of the truth behind it; it’s not that I consider myself an introvert because I don’t like being around people, I just certainly need my time alone to recharge as well.

Not all of the 23 signs applied to me, but here are some of the ones that did most:

1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.   Introverts are notoriously small talk-phobic, as they find idle chatter to be a source of anxiety, or at least annoyance. For many quiet types, chitchat can feel disingenuous.

This is so me.  I find small talk hugely uncomfortable and awkward.  Not only do I never know what to say, but I also don’t know where to look, how to act, or when to end it.  It feels fake and forced, and I hate it. 

2. You go to parties – but not to meet people.   If you’re an introvert, you may sometimes enjoy going to parties, but chances are, you’re not going because you’re excited to meet new people. At a party, most introverts would rather spend time with people they already know and feel comfortable around. If you happen to meet a new person that you connect with, great – but meeting people is rarely the goal.

This is so me too, and something I really struggled with in college.  I really enjoy going out, but unlike a lot of other people, I much prefer going to a friend’s house, a small house party, or out with a close group of friends than going to a huge gathering.  The fear of not knowing anyone and getting caught in an awkward situation with no one to talk to terrifies me. 

3. You often feel alone in a crowd.   Ever feel like an outsider in the middle of social gatherings and group activities, even with people you know?

Yup. 

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4. Networking makes you feel like a phony.   Networking (read: small-talk with the end goal of advancing your career) can feel particularly disingenuous for introverts, who crave authenticity in their interactions.

Absolutely true.  We have networking events at work all the time, and although I think about going because it might be good for my career, I never do.  It’s not that I’m not ambitious, I’d just so much rather talk to people in everyday situations or natural work engagements than in awkward, forced, inorganic set-ups.

5. You’ve been called “too intense.”    Do you have a penchant for philosophical conversations and a love of thought-provoking books and movies?  If so, you’re a textbook introvert. “Introverts like to jump into the deep end,” says Dembling.

I don’t think I dive off the deep end with philosophy, per se, but I think my sister and mom would call me intense every time I start spouting off about why people with arthritis shouldn’t eat grains, what foods give me a stomach ache and why, the ingredients on a box of macaroni and cheese and what they do to your body, or why CrossFit is awesome.  I’m into learning; whatever. 

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10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.   Do you start to get tired and unresponsive after you’ve been out and about for too long? It’s likely because you’re trying to conserve energy. Everything introverts do in the outside world causes them to expend energy, after which they’ll need to go back and replenish their stores in a quiet environment, says Dembling. Short of a quiet place to go, many introverts will resort to zoning out.

This is so me too.  Incredibly.  If I’m in a group too long, I become exhausted quickly.  I like working and having fun in groups of people but I can only handle so much of it.  The time I get to spend after work or at night home alone is probably my favorite time of the day. 

14. You screen all your calls – even from friends.   You may not pick up your phone, even from people you like, but you’ll call them back as soon as you’re mentally prepared and have gathered the energy for the conversation.  “To me, a ringing phone is like having somebody jump out of a closet and go ‘BOO!,’” says Dembling. “I do like having a long, nice phone call with a friend – as long as it’s not jumping out of the sky at me.”

Woops.  I guess the secret’s out.  Sorry, guys.  I guess that’s why I like text messaging so much – there’s no surprises. 

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16. You have a constantly running inner monologue.   “Extroverts don’t have the same internal talking as we do,” says Olsen Laney. “Most introverts need to think first and talk later.”

This might sound weird, but this one is partially the reason I started this blog.  Every time I do/see/hear something, I think about who I can tell about it, what I can write about it, or how I could recreate it.  Sometimes I have so much running through my head that I have to whip out my phone and write it down before I either forget or it consumes my entire being.  It’s a little bit mentally draining, but at least I’ve found an outlet for it. 

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22. You’re a writer.   Introverts are often better at communicating in writing than in person, and many are drawn to the solitary, creative profession of writing. Most introverts – like “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling – say that they feel most creatively charged when they have time to be alone with their thoughts.

Yup.  (See the one before this.)  I would so much rather communicate fully through writing than orally.  I have to think everything through so hard before it comes out of my mouth, and writing allows me to do that. 

23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity.  Introverts can move around their introverted “set point” which determines how they need to balance solitude with social activity. But when they move too much – possibly by over-exerting themselves with too much socializing and busyness – they get stressed and need to come back to themselves. This may manifest as going through periods of heightened social activity, and then balancing it out with a period of inwardness and solitude. 

This is something I’ve seen so much of this summer.  I love being on the go and packing my days with fun things to do (and I’ve gotten better at doing so), but I also need to schedule some time for myself or I burn out fast.  As long as I make sure to balance my alone time, I’m good to go, but if I don’t, I start to feel tired, anxious, and hugely overwhelmed. 

If this stuff interests you, be sure to check out the rest of the article to see if you have any of these traits.  Do you consider yourself and introvert or an extrovert – and why?


Skip The Diet

One of the things I really feel strongly about is the word “diet.” I don’t ever consider myself to be on a diet in the traditional sense. Of course, I have a diet… and it consists mainly of meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, dark chocolate, and other things that generally make me feel good. We all have diets. If we didn’t, we’d die. That’s how it works. Some of us have diets that are healthier than others, but even if you’re eating McDonald’s cheeseburgers every day, then to me, that’s your diet.  I’ve talked before about how even though my diet (choice of foods) falls pretty closely in line with the Paleo diet and I look to that community for recipe ideas, I still don’t classify myself as being on a Paleo diet.

In the Hungry for Change documentary I talked about last week, they were very clear: Diets don’t work.

Their reasoning, which I completely agree with and encourage you to go listen to for yourself, is that diets don’t work because they are inherently flawed. They violate natural laws, and most importantly, they are temporary.

Diets are often built around cutting out foods that some scientist or celebrity or author or health professional decided make people fat. Most often, diets cut out whole food groups that we need in order to survive, like carbohydrates or fats. People want to look good, so they follow the diet guidelines, but fad diets are rarely the right approach. They only lead people to starve themselves or deprive themselves of certain foods, instead of figuring out what it is that actually works for them.

The only reason I cut ever out whole food groups is because:

  1. They’re proven to be bad for us (like highly processed food-like chemicals) or
  2. They do (or I think they might) give me stomach aches.

The thing is: just because certain foods give me stomach aches doesn’t mean there’s a reason you necessarily have to cut them out.  And just because eating/not eating certain foods might give me more energy/make me lose weight/help me feel better/etc. doesn’t mean they will necessarily do the same thing for you.  So creating a cookie cutter diet and suggesting we would all be better off if we followed it is, in my opinion, ludicrous. 

The best diet is the one that works for you; the one that makes you feel your healthiest and will allow you to live the longest.  And even though some of us need more fats or less carbs or can tolerate dairy better than others, the thing that has been consistently proven time and time again is that a healthy diet is the best diet, so start there. 

Eat clean, whole, fresh foods.  Avoid processed crap.  The rest will work itself out as you figure out what your body needs. 

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Questions:

What are your thoughts on diets?

What generally makes up your own personal diet?


Health Buzzwords

I came across the awesomest (not a word, but it should be) picture on Instagram the other day.   I feel like I’m always saying on here: “just because it’s [gluten-free] doesn’t mean it’s healthy!” but I wonder if anyone actually hears me, so…

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Do you hear me now?!

The media and food manufacturers are constantly bombarding us with all kinds of catchy phrases, like fat-free, low-carb, sugar-free, all-natural, gluten free, organic etc.  And a lot of the time, it does exactly what they want it to do: gets you to buy their product. 

But the truth is: IT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S GOOD FOR YOU!  (Or that it will make you skinner, if that’s what you’re going for.)

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When manufacturers take these compounds out of your food, they have to replace it with something else.  It’s science.  Usually, they replace it with something artificial, and often, the replacement is going to be even worse for you than if they left the original compound in in the first place. 

I watched a fabulous documentary on Netflix recently called Hungry For Change, where they discussed this exact topic.  In food manufacturing, fat free often means they’ve replaced the fat with sugar.  Your body uses sugar for fuel at first, but when you consume more sugar than your body needs (and we all do! most of us in excess), it is converted and stored… as fat.  So, while it’s factually correct for companies to say that their food is fat free, it’s also hugely misleading.   It may be fat free, but it’s also what’s making you fat. 

And in case you think I’m just trying to scare you, listen to this stat from the documentary: The average person eats 150lbs of sugar per year.  ONE-HUNDRED-FIFTY POUNDS OF SUGAR PER YEAR. 

It’s not fat that makes you fat, people  We need fats.  It’s sugar that makes you fat.  And it’s cheap and easy to make foods that contain sugar.  And it’s clever and effective to label something fat-free and not mention the added sugar. 

BOOM.  They’ve got us. 

So don’t be naïve.  Don’t believe everything you read/hear/see.  Do your research (I totally recommend watching that documentary, to start), and whenever possible, choose real, whole foods over anything that has to be packaged or marketed.

”The simpler I get, the healthier I get. If it’s made in a garden, I eat it.  If it’s made in a lab, it takes a lab to digest it. And if it has a shelf life longer than me, I don’t eat it.”


Why Do You Do It?

Last night, I was browsing through a few blogs on my favorites bar, and I came across a post called What Keeps You Paleo Motivated?  that really struck a chord with me. 

Whenever you decide to make a change in your lifestyle – whether it be to eat better, exercise more, quit smoking, get more sleep, or whatever else – it takes some serious motivation.  The post above talks about a few peoples’ individual motivations for choosing to eat paleo: they want to lose weight, fit into their jeans, succeed at living healthier, stop farting at work (seriously), ease their stomach pains… 

Clearly, it’s different for everyone (be thankful you’re not the guy who wants to stop farting audibly in front of his coworkers), and this motivation certainly changes over time.   At first, you may decide to eat better because you want to lose weight, but once it’s off, you may also realize that you’d felt crappy for a long time and now see that you never want to go back there. 

The piece of the article that really resonated with me though was this:

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For me, the answer to the question about what motivates me is feeling good.  When I eat better, drink water, and work out regularly, I feel better.  If I want to eat a bagel or an ice cream cone, I can… but I know what the consequences will be.  And when I don’t eat those things, it’s not because I can’t because I’m on some diet, or because someone told me I couldn’t… it’s because I choose not to. 

Of course, this mainly applies to eating for me, but it could apply to anything that you’re needing motivation for in your life.  Do you want to lose weight?  Then make the choice to eat healthier and do it.  Do you want to have more energy, stop bone loss, and get stronger?  Then make the choice to exercise at least a little bit every single day and do it.  Do you want to live longer?  Then make the choice to quit smoking/limit drinking/stop tanning/etc. and follow through.  Do you want to be happier? Then get out of that bad relationship, quit that dead-end job, or move to an apartment on the beach and get happy

Framing things out in this way really does help me feel less like a victim and more like a success story.  I don’t want to have stomach aches, so I choose to eat well as often as I possibly can.  I want to be fit and healthy, so I choose to get up early and workout.  I want to live a long life, so I choose to forego tanning, drink a lot of water, and learn about things that are good for me. 

Sometimes, it’s not easy.  Sometimes I say to myself ‘why are you bothering with all of this?’  Most people don’t spend half their Sundays cooking food for the week.  Most people don’t research restaurants before they go to make sure they can find something on the menu that won’t upset their stomach.  Most people don’t skip the bun on a burger.  Most people don’t get up at the crack of dawn to go to the gym and run around like a maniac.  So why should I make my life so much harder to do all of these things when I don’t have to? 

The answer is: because I choose to!

So, friends, what motivates you?  You may not eat paleo, but there has got to be something that you choose to go out of your way to do because you know it’s worth it. 

So… why do you do it?


Change Your Attitude

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been feeling a little blah – really tired, and not motivated to workout at all.  I think it’s just because I’ve been go-go-going all the time for the past couple of months, and I need a break, but it still sort of gives you an uneasy feeling when you’re not yourself. 

Then, the other night, I came across this picture on Instagram:

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I don’t remember this quote from the movie, so I could be taking it totally out of context, but still, I believe it.  When you’re faced with something, you can either dwell on it, worry about it, and stress over it (like I usually do), or you can choose to look at it from a positive perspective, tackle it head on, and overcome it. 

Sure, me feeling a little less-than-energized certainly isn’t the biggest problem going on in the world right now, but it’s still applicable.  I could lay in my bed and cry about how lazy I feel, or I can just embrace it, take some time off, rest, relax, and recover.  And that’s what I’m going to do!  

Attitude change #1:  I did make it to the gym yesterday morning, but my neck was killing me, and I really just wasn’t feeling it (again), so I did some heavy 5×5 shoulder presses and a WOD with 5 rounds of 9 cleans, 6 push presses, and 3 overhead squats at 55lbs and called it a day.  Normally, I would’ve beat myself up over the fact that it wasn’t as “intense’” as I would’ve liked, but instead, I gave myself a lot of credit for just getting out of bed and moving around a bit.

Attitude change #2: For breakfast, (after going back and forth with the whole should I?/shouldn’t I? debate a million times) I decided to stop at Dunkin Donuts and get a chocolate chip bagel.  Normally, I would abstain because of the inevitable stomach ache, and then the whole feeling-bad-because-I-knew-that-would-happen thing… But you know what?  I wanted a bagel.  So I got a bagel.  And I enjoyed every bite of it.

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Attitude change #3: Instead of sitting at my desk during lunch, wishing I was at home/in bed/at the beach/anywhere-but-here, I took my food and my book outside to the picnic table.  I brought chicken (with crushed red pepper), and brussels sprouts and broccoli (with sundried-tomato and basil spices and olive oil) that I roasted in the oven, plus carrots, figs, and a dark chocolate square, and it was delicious. 

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I read a bit, and then my friend joined me while we ate – and it’s seriously amazing what a few minutes to yourself, some delicious, nutritious food, a little bit of sunshine, and good company can do for you!

My afternoon snack was a sliced Fuji apple with a handful of fruit and nut candy crunchies… delicious.

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Attitude change #4: I had plans to workout with my friend after work, but when the day ended, all I wanted to do was go home and veg.  That initially made me feel like a huge slacker, but instead of feeling bad about it, I decided to enjoy it.  Free time doesn’t always come about that easily, so why not take advantage of an evening with nothing to do and just… do nothing?

For dinner, I heated up another serving of meatloaf + mashed cauliflower, this time adding green beans to the mix.  To cook them, all I did was put them in a bowl with a little water and microwave them for a few minutes… easy peasy!

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The rest of the night was spent on the couch… thoroughly relaxing.  I caught up on a couple TV shows, read a little of my book, and got to bed early. 

This morning, my alarm went off at the usual time… and I promptly turned it off and went back to bed for two more hours.  I woke up the second time feeling like a million bucks – and not guilty at all.  

There’s almost nothing you can’t overcome with the right outlook, so if you’re facing challenges right now – whether they’re big or small – I’d encourage you to change your attitude about it too.  You will be surprised what just a small shift in perspective can do for you!

Have a great day!


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