My Marriage of Gluttony & Sloth must Divorce.

Photo by Joshua Chun on Unsplash

Being Conscious of Obesity and Weight Gain

I reflect often in my life that I was simply born with a gene that has given me a desire for movement and activity. 

So many are born without this same gene. 

The common gene that I have been born with, however, is that of eating too much of the wrong sugary foods, at the wrong times of day and also not being smart enough when choosing to exercise. 

This is where the gluttony comes in. 

At least I have managed to maintain my weight over the years. 

Many struggle with even finding the need to exercise, on a regular basis, and even eating a balanced diet. It’s hardly surprising though, as the explosion of imagery in the social media age, surely has had a massive influence on the foods we see, especially when commercially driven. 

According to the World Health Organization :

The worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly doubled between 1980 and 2008. According to country estimates for 2008, over 50% of both men and women in the WHO European Region were overweight, and roughly 23% of women and 20% of men were obese.

I’m also fully aware that I also fall into the privileged category of a westerner who not only overeats, and will overlook the contents of the fridge, and then make sure I check back again to see what I had forgotten is in there, only ten minutes later. Lolz. Admit it! You do it too, right? I knew it. 

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

Of course, I also take for granted the simplicity with which I can turn on the tap and access drinking water.  

The luck factor, in my case, is that I know I’m more or less maintaining the weight I have, as I simply feel weird if I don’t move my arse (or ass, as those funny Americans say, #lol). 

I’m convinced that if I didn’t feel compelled to have a moderately active life, I too would fall into an obese category. 

Giving up alcohol to live a better life

One adjustment I brought into my life more than 5+ years ago was giving up alcohol and then some 3 years ago – meat and traditional dairy milk products.

I will go into the subject of alcohol addiction in more details at a later date, most likely, as it has affected 22 years of my life. At the time of writing this I have been sober for just over 5 and a half years. 

If you see a common theme in my blogs about ‘feeling lucky / grateful’ it’s because it’s fortuitous that I’m still alive. That’s all I will divulge for now. 

At 36, I made the difficult choice of giving up, arguably, the most socially accepted drug in our world, namely alcohol. 

Weight Loss is a choice, but you have to make it! 

After giving up alcohol I was able to slowly start rebuilding my life again, albeit slowly, with an enormous loss of my identity. 

In the process, unknowingly, I also quickly lost a decent amount of weight that I hadn’t even realised I had been storing, especially on my thighs, where I just thought they had bulked through an active interest in cycling at that time in my life. 

I was wrong. I had been overweight and unfit mentally and physically.

I had made an enormous initial change, but little did I know that this was merely the early stages of the bigger picture.  

How healthy is a plant-based diet? 

At the time of writing this (February/ March 2019) I would describe my food choices as simply being plant-based. 

Photo by Heather Gill on Unsplash

When I visit the UK once a year, I may eat some locally caught fish from time to time and dairy chocolate once a year or so, but for the most part I eat vegan and vegetarian options instead of meat. I do eat eggs from time to time, as my levels of protein and my current diet of soy alternatives does concern me.  

With my pathetic amount of deep research (this is the sloth part of me, which as you have likely seen is more of a mental thing than physical), despite my interest in the subject of health and nutrition, I am often left with the puzzling questions, as I’m sure many of us are…

Am I eating the right things to enable me to do sport? 

Is this plant-based diet actually good for me? 

Why does my weight keep the same, yet I’m often active? 

Is eating an 8-banana smoothie with kale and ginger actually healthy?

Little did I know, I was about to receive some overdue answers, insight and, indeed, some Irish Inspiration. 

Thanks again for reading. More coming soon! TD

Do you feel lucky?

This blogpost is brought to you in association with

Steve O’Reilly

I’ll start this post off by happily admitting that I’m aware that I’m a lucky guy. 

I’m lucky in many ways. 

If you were born in the western world, like me, and you have the following things, one could indeed argue that perhaps you are lucky too. Let’s have a look if you have:

photo by Tom – ‘A lucky-list’

Certainly this checklist is not exhaustive. The point is if you checked the majority of these things, why is it then that even though we ‘should’ feel lucky, so many of us in the west often feel depressed, frustrated, and generally unhappy in our current lives? 

One key component, as many of us know by now is that what we eat and how much exercise we do plays a key role in our mental and physical well-being. 

I would also add here that despite not always being the most active person, I do, however feel strange if I do not do any exercise for 2 or 3 days at a time. 

Photo by Tom: On a bench-press

As a kid I was always running around and playing football at any opportunity I got. After three breakages in team sports I became interested in minimising the odds of any more damage and I remember focussing on running and going to the gym regularly in my early twenties.  

This gave me control of my time and now it was only myself to blame if I got injured.

My Mum always reminded me that, “When you were younger, as soon as you could walk you ran. That was it, you were off”. 

I’ve been doing this now, on and off, for over 20 years. 

Driven by the mental and physical challenges of sport

London to Paris 2011. I’m the fatty, third right.

The biggest challenge I set myself to date was back in 2011, when I joined my best buddy and some friends to cycle from London to Paris in 4 days, in order to raise awareness and money for Prostate Cancer, in honour of a family member who was affected.  The distance was around 550 km. It was an incredible experience. It was brutal and punishing. I was fit but not living a healthy lifestyle at the time. Nonetheless, the training for this journey and the motivation of a big event has always been fascinating to me. 

After this event I continued to cycle an average of around 100 miles a week for a couple of years, until I decided to leave Madrid, at some time in the summer of 2016. 

I love the physical and mental challenge of sport and fitness, and for that I will always feel lucky, as all aspects of my health benefit. There are many people, however, who do not share this passion or excitement for physical and mental challenges. Their health suffers as a result and the body and mind and muscles shuts down as a result of lack of consistent movement. 

I never want this to happen to me. I always want to find a balance of sport and relaxation and feeling that I can find a level of control.

Finding the balance in life is key

Steve O’Reilly, at adds, 

It’s all about achieving a balance in life. The body does not react well to extremes of any kind. In my training and consulting, one of the ideas I adhere to is the Japanese word called ‘kaizen’ which reflects the body’s need to constantly move forward. So, essentially, balance and progress are keys to progression. The body is either growing or dying, it’s never fixed. Being mindful of this simple truth is also fundamental to achieving your health goals, both mentally and physically.

This blog will continue and you can follow more of this journey with Steve and Tom here on Instagram:

Arriving in Bangkok

Photo by Tan Kaninthanond on Unsplash

I arrived in Thailand in August 2017, and spent the first week in the outskirts of Bangkok, as I was more than happy to stay out of tourist traps and the backpacking flow. I decided to lodge in a room near to the Airport Rail Link near to Hua Mak station, which became both a humbling and rather insightful experience.

Photo by LIM ENG on Unsplash

As an expat now living in Bangkok I knew absolutely nobody. I didn’t know how to order food apart from saying, “I’m vegetarian”. “Do you have any vegetarian food?” If I left the comfort of my air conditioned room to take a walk, I was absolutely lost and worried about having enough water while walking around the city.

These seem like strange and primitive fears when I think about it now, but I can honestly admit that I was feeling very out of place in my first week here. 

Embrace change for personal growth

The comfort zone had been fully exited and I was officially in a place where I was feeling like I needed a familiar cup of tea and someone to talk to, face to face, in my native language, or at least Spanish.

At the same time, however, I felt tremendously lucky, to see how many people are destined to live in unfortunate circumstances, with few opportunities. 

Photo by Alain Pham on Unsplash
A lucky Japanese cat

To be born in the UK has afforded me the luxury of a solid education and a desire to learn and travel, where I can expand my mind. So many people on our planet are not born with such luck, for which I have become spiritually and eternally grateful. 

Travel is the best education

Having such a supportive family is certainly one of the reasons that compelled me and has enabled me to focus on a career in education. I have always wanted to give back to others who are not as fortunate as myself. I have the teacher gene from my mother’s side but unfortunately not the finance skills from my father’s. 

Before coming to Asia and Thailand to continue my career in education I had spent 12 challenging years in Spain and I never thought I would come to live in Thailand, never mind studying Thai in Bangkok, as my third foreign language. I absolutely love it, although learning a new alphabet is a great challenge and whenever I try to speak Thai the natives think I’m funny, as I don’t generally pronounce the tones so well. 

Learning Thai tones is a great challenge

One of the most important factors of self-development, when learning a foreign language is not just to try and learn new vocabulary and grammar in order to make oneself understood, but also to deal with the ridicule and humiliation when you are trying to get your ideas across and others may laugh at you.

It is a truly humbling experience to learn a foreign language, but as a teacher of English it’s paramount for me to also be humbled and become a stronger empath, to always try and understand first hand the frustrations of learning, from my students’ perspective.

I had certainly felt comfortable in Spain, but I was feeling too comfortable. I knew the language well, and most of the streets in the city but it had become predictable and boring. I was starting to actually feel sick of seeing the same neighbourhoods and streets. I think that’s when you have to decide to make a change.

I was not growing and my mind wasn’t stimulated. Opportunity wasn’t happening the way I wanted it to. 

Learning the Thai language to settle in Bangkok

In order to grow you have to be open to change and humility but I also believe one has to take action and make opportunities happen. Learning a new language is certainly an activity that falls within this experience and so, as I decided to revisit Thailand and start my new life and career I started learning Thai, as much as possible, to help myself prepare before moving to Bangkok.  

Are the British lazy linguists?

From my personal linguistic perspective, as a sign of respect and certainly to make life easier, it’s a high priority to start to learn the native language of your new home. I have never understood English expats who could not learn how to say pleasantries such as “Please” and “Thank you” – but then again, I have always been fascinated by languages, so I have natural curiosity.

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

At the end of the day I do believe that it also comes down to respect. The British tend to think that their mother tongue is far “superior” than other languages and are often spoiled by the amount of foreigners who visit the UK willing to learn English, and so apathy and laziness tend to supersede the need to empathise with the speaker, who is trying to survive.

I would happily even speculate that speakers of foreign languages have stronger emotional intelligence than those who do not choose to step out of their comfort zones to challenge themselves linguistically.

Many thanks for reading. 

Tom Dillon

Leaving the comfort zone of Madrid and Europe

Photo by Florian Wehde on Unsplash

For those of us who are lucky to have enough finances and a desire to take a few risks, coming to a new country and city, to make a new start and to try to integrate into a new culture isn’t the easiest thing to do. There are always moments which will challenge us when coming to a foreign country. The definition of leaving one’s comfort zone then becomes even more apparent, as it not only refers to the mental idea of becoming uncomfortable, but geographically and, of course, linguistically, also. 

Madrid and Spain had offered me so much

I had come to the conclusion that 12 years living in Madrid had reached its duration and that I was falling out of love with Europe. This is not to say that Madrid and Spain is a vibrant, friendly and scenic country, because it is, but I had just reached the milestones in my personal life and business, which meant I could consider the idea of becoming what is now known as a ‘Digital Nomad’, where as long as you can work online, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world.  I will go into this late 

I also felt that after hearing many Spanish natives tell me, matter-of-factly that they have, “The best food in the world!” without being able to confirm they have actually left the country to prove this, just started to irritate me.

(a paella is a common Spanish dish)
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This, of course, is a reflection of perhaps how I was feeling, after living in Spain for 12 years. I was feeling uninspired and unmotivated. That is not to say there aren’t many opportunities for business and work there in the education industry, as there are, but I needed to shake myself out of a depressive funk. 

Feeling paralysed requires massive change

I knew that I needed to embrace a completely new, 180-degree shift to kick my own arse, or ass, as the Americans say, lol. I had visited Thailand 16 years ago, when I was 25 and I had always wanted to discover more of Asia. 

I was willing to start learning another foreign language, which will be my third, albeit involving a totally new alphabet to the easy western languages.

I will go into much more detail later about addictions, being in business and taking risks, motivation levels and mental and physical health. All I can say for now, is that working for many years alone is not a healthy approach to growing in business or as an individual, but many of us suffer in silence. I honestly believe that if more of us spoke about our challenges the world will become a better place. There is a lot to tell…

Trying to build a legacy in education

Wow! It’s hard to know where to even start writing a blog to describe what I want to achieve with Show Me English.  After 11 years being involved as a CEO of an education company and the creator of such as huge project, it’s actually quite refreshing to think that I can continue to be creative and write about my experiences.

I have always been deeply conscious of, and often troubled with trying to understand both non native learners of English and a native audience, by that I mean I am writing for the following reasons:

  1. to optimise the function of SEO, undoubtedly.
  2. to enable higher level students, who learn English either as a foreign or second language – to have no more excuses for something to read.
  3. As a creative person, I feel obliged to educate, not just my immediate and future students but also anyone who may benefit from reading about the reality and struggles as an entrepreneur in the ed-tech space, or even for anyone who is going through some difficult times, they don’t need to be related to the ed-tech space, as such.
  4. writing my ideas into a blog is also a purging mental activity, which I will surely benefit from

Regarding point number 3 there, I would also like to take this opportunity to pass on what I read and learn to others, as I’m fully aware that there are so many people nowadays who really do suffer in their day-to –day existence, and by people, I don’t mean the impoverished souls I see every day on the streets of Bangkok, I’m referring to westerners who, like myself, have deeper and more troubling existential and psychological issues they want to address and are looking for answers.

My ultimate goal on my chosen educational path in life, is primarily to help those poor individuals who need education, for free, simply eliciting the question of: How do I cover my cost?

Understanding my purpose as an educator

It has taken me substantial and repeated failure on so many levels to understand that one’s mental and physical health is the foundation of what keeps us going, in often a lonely world. To be able to bring my project together, as an ed-tech entrepreneur has meant spending the best part of a decade, alone, to create educational video and written content and build a platform, which can be scaled. This has come at a significant price, yet I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

I heard someone say recently, that we want to take good care of our teeth more than we want to take care of our minds, but why is that? If we are not looking after ourselves mentally, is it such a surprise that we suffer physically as a result?

The last years have driven me to the awakened realisation that, as an educator, I simply need to research more and more about my own mind, spirituality, and what drives the human condition.

I would describe myself as an existentialist who is always trying to understand why I’m here, and a futurist, as I’m profoundly fascinated by the concept of technology and where its intriguing curve is going to leave our generation and others.

What I learn and what I think will help others I’m more than happy to pass on. This is my purpose and I feel, to some extent, my responsibility. I believe that’s all one can do in life to achieve purpose and happiness, is simply to give back and serve, to be useful to others who don’t have what I have been born with.

Being able to educate others brings mutual smiles!

Some great books to give you insight

If you are looking for answers and often find yourself trying to understand life’s puzzling challenges you might want to check out the following books.

  1. Taking The Red Pill: Science Philosophy and Religion in the Matrix. (Glenn Yeffeth)

This is one for all science fiction lovers who are looking for some choice essays into the key points raised in the film, including The Singularity, by Ray Kurzweil.

  1. The Power of Now: (Eckhart Tolle)

This guy is a total dude, who just tells you to chill out, as there is only NOW in our lives. Worrying about the past is pointless, as it simply feeds the ego, and the notion of the future is equally futile – and merely an extension of the present moment. This has changed my life a tonne.

  1. Start with Why (Simon Sinek)

A very popular guy right now, explains that it’s not WHAT you’re selling, or evenWHAT you do in your life, it’s all about WHY.

  1. Sapiens (Yuval Noah Harari)

This gent is growing in popularity at the moment, due to his insights of humanity and why we, as sapiens, have succeeded, where other species have failed.

  1. Jab Jab Jab Right Hook (Gary Vaynerchuck)

I totally love this guy, some may not, and that’s totally OK with myself and Gary V. He’s essentially a marketing practitioner and highly successful entrepreneur, who releases a daily video show on YouTube, dropping huge value to all those involved in digital marketing, sales and social media. This guy is an absolute must watch for anyone trying to hustle and make it, in any industry. #garyvaynerchuck #vaynersports #

Have a look here to see more:

  1. The Rise of the Robots (Martin Ford)

This is a fascinating read, trying to tackle many pending questions regarding the threats or benefits of AI and automation and whose jobs will be impacted as a result.

I hope this list can help others who are interested in similar topics as myself and do drop me a line if there’s anything you feel like sharing. Critics and trolls will no doubt appear but I’ve failed enough and learned enough to expose my feelings here with the mantra of….

“Create nothing and never be criticised”.

Ciao for now. TD