goals, happiness, running, marathon, ultramarathon, learning, work. self-care, handstands, drawing, splits, yoga

Not my New Year Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions are for people who aren’t already awesome.

In 2018 I made goals that continued my “relentless forward progress” which started when I was 48 in early 2015.

 

My 2018 fitness goal: To run a 50 km run. Any other running achievements will be cherries on top.

 

Done! Ran 50 km on June 10, 2018!

 

 
My 2018 learning goal: To complete iPhone Photo Academy, a photography course I’ve started recently. This will help me with my recent achievement of being accepted to sell my photography at a local gallery.

 

Done! Sold photos, digital drawings, and cards.  Plus I did 5 other courses (below).

 
My 2018 personal goal: To stay as happy as I am.

 

Done, and happier – I seem to have quit alcohol and gone 11 months alcohol-free. So much more productive and creative!

 

Do more cartwheels. 

 

Lots done! And lots of handstands, which I’d wanted to improve since I was a teenager!

 

 

In addition to these goals I also did the following things in 2018 that made me happy:

 

  • Helped found our town’s Running Club.
  • 5 minutes handstands/stretching/balance/core daily since June.
  • 5 minutes learning Greek every day. 103 days so far.
  • Drawing every day since late September.
  • Created a blog and have published 26 posts about health, running, decluttering, quitting addictions, weight loss, and transformation.
  • Continued to love my job.

 

In 2018 I did the following FutureLearn courses:

 

  • The Science of Endurance Training and Performance (University of Kent) 6 week course.
  • The Science of Nutrition (The Open University) 4 week course.
  • Brain and Behaviour: Regulating Body Weight (Purdue University) 3 week course.
  • The Musculoskeletal System: The Science of Staying Active into Old Age (University of Sheffield) 3 week course.
  • Digital Skills: Social Media (Accenture) 2 hours.

 

2018 Running Events:

 

  • 10/06/2018 50.1 km 6:04:21 (Ran this on my own at home, but it was my feature run for 2018.)
  • 26/08/2018 35.0 km run The Bloody Long Walk 3:59:41
  • 16/09/2018 21.2 km Connor’s Run and a Bit 2:22:28
  • 14/10/2018 43.2 km Melbourne Marathon 5:28:36
  • 04/11/2018 21.1 km Portland 3 Bays Half Marathon (HM) 2:09:45
  • 11/11/2018 21.1 km Hamilton Fun Run HM 2:12:06
  • 25/11/2018 21.1 km Run with the Wind HM 2:35:38
  • 02/12/2018 21.1 km Carman’s Women’s HM 2:08:08

 

I ran 2,118.7 km in 2018.

I did 7,041,449 steps – a total of 6,237 km – averaging 19,291.6 steps a day.

 

 In 2019, after 4 years of relentless forward progress, I want to consolidate and maintain what’s made me thrive in 2018, and enjoy the Zen.

 

Things that will make me happy in 2019:

 

  • A marathon in a major city interstate.
  • 48 km on my 48th month running anniversary in September.
  • Run 2019 km in 2019.
  • Average 18,000 steps daily, unless I keep swimming more regularly as I did in December.
  • 12 months alcohol free – Feb 1 2019 anniversary.
  • Keep maintaining my goal weight range for another year (It will be 3 years in April 2019.)
  • 5 minutes handstands/stretching/balance/core daily.
  • 5 minutes learning Greek on Duolingo every day.
  • Draw every day.
  • 2 blog posts every month.
  • Paint the kitchen.
  • Invite someone new to parkrun & walk/run with them.

 

These will mean I get outdoors, travel, keep running, keep strong, be creative, and keep my flexibility, strength, and balance, and stay happy.

changes, transformation, change, transitioning, health, fitness, self, true self, identity, logic, philosophy, science, psychology, neuroscience, soul

Transformation, Identity, and the “True Self” Myth

I am an ever-changing bundle of elements, emotions, thoughts, and experiences.

In 2011, Julian Baggini wrote about the problematic concept of true self in “The Ego Trick”.

He talked with Jnanamitra, who has lived as a man and a woman: “I feel like I’ve lived several lifetimes these days. It’s very weird to look back at my childhood and have a sense of that being me.”

Baggini showed how Neuroscience and Psychology have studied humans and brains, and brains with injuries, dementia, mental or physical illness, and there is no part of the brain, body, or body chemistry which is the essential or controlling section.

The world’s religions have never shown definitive proof of a “soul” nor have never agreed on where it is before birth, during life, on life support, or after death.

 

“For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure, colour or sound, etc. I never catch myself, distinct from some such perception.”

– David Hume, Treatise of Human Nature, Book 1, Part 4, Section 6.

 

Nothing is permanent, be it identity or biology. 

Fashions and hairstyles change, beliefs change, relationships change, information changes. People do things like have cosmetic surgery, and can then later have their breast implants removed.

This morning I read about a new book in which 30 transgendered people voice their regrets on their transitioning.

That book appears to have a political and/or religious agenda, but the fact remains that people exist who regret making such changes.

I support those who want to change.

I support those who regret changing.

changes, transformation, change, transitioning, health, fitness, self, true self, identity, logic, philosophy, science, psychology, neuroscience, soul

Between the old and the new

 

How much of “you” is “you”?  Or are you a cliché?

 

Are you a geek, Goth, hippy, punk, leftie, conservative, clean-eater, Christian, alternative, party girl, introvert, runner, backpacker, dissociated, wine mom, meat-lover, foodie, or muso?

 

Do you even feel lost because you’re not any kind of social stereotype?

 

changes, transformation, change, transitioning, health, fitness, self, true self, identity, logic, philosophy, science, psychology, neuroscience, soul

No “true self”

 

I am an ever-changing bundle of elements, emotions, thoughts, and experiences. 

-Zenmode.

Social group pressure has something to do with desire to change and not change in any direction. We have a survival instinct to want to be part of a tribe for protection. Doubts also arise that are affect the flux of self/identity and feeling of belonging within a tribe. Religion, politics, fashion, family, health.

In 2019, James Fell writes about “The Willpower Myth: How Identity and Values are the True Regulators of Behavior”. In his new book on health and fitness, he explains that the alleged concept of Ego Depletion caused by a supposed draining of “willpower” has now been discredited by science.

I have issues with the concept of having a “true self”, but I like how James Fell brings up “identity change”.

Change definitely happens by questioning your thoughts, attitudes, and values, and turning small efforts into positive habits.

 

“Challenge your thoughts. Don’t believe everything you think.”

-Zenmode.

 

By making some sort of change every day, I quit smoking, lost 35 kg (80 lbs) and have maintained my goal weight nearly 3 years, gone from couch to running 3 marathons, and have been alcohol free 11 months.

In 2019 I’m hoping to keep changing, learning, adapting to new information, and thriving.

New Year Tidying Photos

I had 12 days off work over Xmas and New Year. I did lots of tidying.

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Bedroom chest of drawers

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Bedroom side cupboard #1

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Bedroom side cupboard #2

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Bedroom scene with Lady the Bengal rescue cat

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Hall

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Kitchen still needs painting

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Library/office mantelpiece

 

I also heard today that a new Netflix series has started called, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo”.

She’s got a bit of a decluttering cult going, which puts me off a bit, but her main concept was one I liked when I heard of it – only keeping things that “spark joy”. That was one way I sorted out all my wardrobe and room etc.
I had a look on Netflix and I watched the episode called “Emptynesters“.

I haven’t read her book, as some of it sounds a bit woo-woo, but the show was pretty cool.

It reminded me of me and my other half, and how decluttering our crap has brought us closer together.

This has all happened in tandem with quitting smoking, becoming more active, losing weight, and thinking about less alcohol.

An Adaptive Spiral.

 

walking, australia, endurance, jacaranda, walk,

I Walked 51 km (32 mi) on Boxing Day

I wasn’t even scoring bargains in malls!  I wanted to walk for 12 hours to see how far I could get, but after about 9 hours, during a fuel stop at McDonald’s for a chocolate frappé, I broke out in a sweat and felt dizzy, so I decided I should stop. It was 30 Celsius (86 F) at that point. Happy with that effort.

 

I started at 5:33 am by walking around our town’s lake. I thought I might end up doing that a few times on the day, but there were so many bugs in the air and I kept getting stones in my shoes, so I decided to stick to roads if I could.  I needed to do the walk in loops so I could come back to where I could make a toilet stop.  I went to the outskirts of town on 4 different loops, which required walking on the side of roads.

By midday, it was 26 Celsius (79 F). In the last few hours of walking my mission was to try to go where I knew there would be a bit of shade, and the last 3 loops were shorter ones on footpaths nearer the CBD.

 

Before I started: I had high protein Greek yoghurt, 3 oat breakfast biscuits, juice, decaf coffee, water.

I was drinking water from my Camelbak throughout the day.

Food:

9 km: Oat protein bar

15 km: Jelly babies

22 km: Egg & bacon McMuffin, orange juice

33 km: 350 ml lemon squash

37 km: Cheeseburger, fries, lemonade

50 km: Ordered a chocolate frappé and drank it before/after stopping at 51 km.

Dinner: Chicken & veg sweet & sour Hokkien noodles, prawn crackers, crisps, icecream, fudge, and chocolate.

 

Looking at that list, I think I should have eaten something else at about 45 km then I wouldn’t have felt like I was going to pass out at 50 km.  But when you’re feeling tired and crappy but want to keep going, eating sometimes seems like it takes too much time and energy.  Stupid “exercise brains”!

 

 

Random info:

 

 

  • I saw two hares and a mouse/rat.
  • At 32 km I ran into a good running buddy who was walking her dog and we walked about 1 km together which was lovely.
  • I applied 50+ sunscreen beforehand, and twice during my walk, and wore a wide hat and sunglasses: no sunburn, slight tan.
  • My Garmin Fenix 5 still had 58% battery left.
  • Sore thighs.
  • Hotspot or blister on my right heel sole.

 

 

McDonald’s is near home. While I was waiting and starting to feel terrible, I didn’t think of calling anyone to come and get me because I didn’t think I’d have to wait long for the drink. I had to wait 10 minutes for my frappé, but I felt a bit better as soon as I had some and started walking home.

 

I actually got outside our house and my watch said 50.7 km so I went round the corner and back to make it 51 km (32 mi).

 

This meant it was my walking distance personal best by 1 km, and quicker than my first 50 km walk by 30 minutes.

Alcohol, drinking, Prosecco, health, sobriety, running, parkrun, transformation, weight loss

My first sober Xmas in 20 years

Xmas lunch today was interesting. My first sober Xmas in 20 years!

After a lovely parkrun at 8:00 am with family and parkrun family, family met up again for a late lunch. 2 out of 7 people were drinking alcohol. Those 2 may have only had 2 glasses of bubbly each.

4 of us shared a non-alcoholic sparkling Cabernet of some sort. There was definitely no alcohol in it. Not sure if it was the large lunch or some sort of woo “body memory” of Xmasses past, or the heat here in Australia, but I felt a bit woozy for a while after my meal, and we hadn’t even had dessert!

I also had a Facebook memory pop up today of me drinking champagne at Xmas in 2011. I looked very, very tired and very puffy, and had an awfully strained smile on my face.

If today’s sort of tiredness happened when I wasn’t drinking alcohol, I can see why I always felt so crappy after a few hours drinking and eating.

Luckily, the tiredness today wore off, unlike in days of yore where I’d feel crap till I started drinking again the next night.  Feeling great this evening, and had a very happy day.

There is a whole culture and in-crowd “mystique” to alcohol and its products. So much pretension associated with particular brands of drinks and their rarity or pedigree. Wine snobbery always makes you feel bad.

I’m looking at it as being kind of like Philately (Stamp Collecting).

I’m not interested in Stamp Collecting in the slightest. A workmate spends hours in his stamp club discussing rare stamps.

I’d rather do something I’m interested in.

I’m not interested in drinking or how much someone paid for something I’d rather tip down the kitchen sink than drink.

At work this Xmas we were all given a bottle of posh-pedigree Coonawarra bubbly. Last year we got the same thing, but this year it was a year older. I would have LOVED that last year. This year I gave it to my Mum. Her eyes lit up, and she was absolutely thrilled She said it was such a treat she’d have it at Xmas dinner, and I was very happy she was happy.

Then I told my food/wine snob sister (whom I love dearly I should add) and she basically dismissed it as not good enough and said “I’m bringing a Hyacinth Buckét 2014 Rouge Plonque” (or whatever) “we’ll have that instead”.

You can’t win the wine snob game!

Discussing blind tasting of wines yesterday, I learned about this event:

“The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976—known as the Judgment of Paris—was a wine competition organized in Paris on 24 May 1976 by Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant, in which French judges carried out two blind tasting comparisons: one of top-quality Chardonnays and another of red wines (Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California).[1] A Californian wine rated best in each category, which caused surprise as France was generally regarded as being the foremost producer of the world’s best wines. Spurrier sold only French wine and believed that the California wines would not win.[2]”

“Criticism of the event suggested that wine tastings lacked scientific validity due to the subjectivity of taste in human beings. Indeed, the organizer of the competition, Steven Spurrier, said, “The results of a blind tasting cannot be predicted and will not even be reproduced the next day by the same panel tasting the same wines.”[4] In one case it was reported that a “side-by-side chart of best-to-worst rankings of 18 wines by a roster of experienced tasters showed about as much consistency as a table of random numbers.”[5][6]”
– Wikipedia

I’ve also often read about many other blind tastings where sommeliers can’t tell expensive from cheap wine.

I read a great blog post by Ultraviolet Sobriety this week which summed up the Christmas Myth:

Christmas time is the time when people with drinking problems blend in the best. It’s considered normal to drink heavily. Everyone seems to be doing it. There are pictures, ads and images of it everywhere. You may not even notice them. I never did until I became teetotal. Exotic brands of alcohol in overpriced, pretentiously flavoured mixers and the decadence of Christmas are synonymous.

“Except…. they are not. Or shouldn’t be. That’s just what we are drip-fed currently. Perpetuating this belief around the dependence of fun upon booze consumption makes a few people very rich indeed…. and this deep yet false cultural belief makes a LOT of people very sick indeed. Physically unwell, mentally unwell, spirituality unwell, socially unwell.” – Ultraviolet Sobriety

My Google app this morning showed me an article about the non-alcoholic drinks market boom in Australia.

Our supermarket AF/NA drinks section seems to get bigger every month, with bubbly, sparkling apple & grape juices, NA beers.

It’s not just Australia. Heineken are promoting a NA beer. And UK friends were talking about non-alcoholic Kopparberg cider yesterday too.

Companies are now making money from the non-drinking culture.  But at least it’s better people make money from something that doesn’t often ruin people’s lives.

I’ve been making friends on Word Press  and on My Fitness Pal by discussing using less alcohol.  Is it becoming cool, or do I only think it’s cool now I’m doing it? Hahaha!  It was probably always cool!

walking, decluttering, cleaning, minimalism, work, changes, fibonacci, transformation, weight loss, health, happiness, sustainability

An Adaptive Spiral

Turning small efforts into daily habits results in beautiful things.

 

NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) is the term for activity other than purposeful exercise. E.g. Walking, cleaning, trips to the fridge, playing with your kids, etc.

 

NEAT accounts for a higher percentage of your daily energy expenditure than intentional exercise even if you work out 5-6 hours a week.

 

Increasing your NEAT can make a huge difference to your health and environment.

 

  • Wear comfortable shoes: You’re not in pain or grumpy; better relationships; better posture; you can walk around without hindrance; more NEAT.
  • Bring your lunch to work: Saves money eating out, and you can spend the rest of your lunch hour walking / doing errands.
  • Wear a backpack rather than carry a shoulder bag: You’re more inclined to go for a walk; you walk more easily and quickly; you don’t hunch one shoulder to keep a bag on it (my physiotherapist pointed this out and now I see people with lopsided shoulders everywhere).
  • Bringing lunch and drinks to work means more trips to the office kitchen: Saves money; more NEAT.
  • Put dishes away one at a time: NEAT; and it also doesn’t increase power bills.
  • Put laundry away one item at a time: NEAT!
  • Walk your office mail to admin on another floor instead of putting it in your floor’s mail-out tray: Saves admin staff having to carry it or forget it, and I get more floors climbed.
  • Walk to the shops when you need something (rather than waiting till you have a long list then drive).

 

One of my realisations was to just stop whining to others to do tasks and just get off my butt and do them myself. No arguments; better relationships!

 

More NEAT meant decluttering, and more space!

 

All this NEAT led to feeling better, doing more purposeful exercise, eating according to my calorie limit, losing weight, running, feeling better, round and round…

 

An adaptive spiral.

 

Today I was thinking that NEAT is sort of like doing the “right” thing:

 

 

  • You walk to the bin instead of leaving rubbish on the table – more calories burned; tidy house.
  • I just walked two sides of a triangle along the path instead of taking the short cut across a carpark – safer; more calories burned.
  • I walk the long way to & from work – less carbon emissions; save money; more calories burned.

 

 

Doing the “right” thing has so many benefits!

Losing 80 lb / 35 kg using My Fitness Pal (easy calorie-counting app), running, and participating in community discussions led me to not having drunk alcohol since January 31 2018.

Not drinking meant not needing as much time in bed trying to sleep. Now I sleep more soundly and don’t wake as often, which means I have more time to do nice things.

On Thursday after my run, study, and drawing, I still had lots of time to spare before my last day of work for the year:

  • I put away some things I’d left in the hall after doing some rearranging around the house.
  • I walked to the hardware shop and bought some picture hooks and hung prints of my son’s artwork properly in my yoga room (his room when he comes home).
  • I tidied my room and wiped down all the surfaces free of dust.

And when I came home, it all looked lovely and I was facing 12 days holiday!

 

As each day passes, we can make appropriate and sustainable growth, change, and habits that beautify the overall picture. 

 

An adaptive spiral.

 

IMG_0604

drinking alcohol in moderation

Less alcohol

I drank 2-3 large drinks a day pretty much every day for many years.  At the start of 2018, I had 3 of my running friends do alcohol-free months which made me start to think I should really take on a new challenge.

Then another friend wrote about “Being kind to Tomorrow You”. He made me realise that not drinking is a lovely, sympathetic gesture towards the person we are now, and whom we will wake up as.

I don’t look at a day without alcohol as a punishment for drinking too much.  A night off is a treat for Tomorrow You. You’ll wake up without guilt about last night’s drinking, and without a headache or hangover.  A night off will be an achievement you can be proud of all day.

On February 1 I decided I’d take it one day at a time and see how I went.  One day led to the next, and soon it was my birthday.  Instead of celebrating with a drink, I felt it would be a more significant occasion if I didn’t drink on my birthday for the first time in 30 years.

I also celebrated other milestones (decluttering my room; running my first 50 km run) without drinking.  I found I was enjoying my “streak” and my natural highs much more than a couple of hours “buzz” then many hours feeling crap.

I’ve now passed the 9 months alcohol-free mark.

I always felt “fine” as a daily drinker, but I didn’t know how much better I could actually feel!

  1. No guilt, fear, or foreboding about what the drinking is doing to me.
  2. Sleeping soundly.
  3. Better memory.
  4. Huge boost in creativity.
  5. No mood swings.
  6. Better relationships.
  7. More money!

 

I have an app set up, “Nomo”, which tells me I’ve already saved over $1,600 by not spending the $40 per week I used to spend on alcohol.

I am not an alcoholic. I read this yesterday, by an alcohol-free woman who has made and is making big changes.

She writes:

“Somehow, I made it. The odds were overwhelmingly against me – as I kept reading and being told. Some fanatics declared ‘once an alcoholic always an alcoholic’ and I realised that was why so many people cannot beat the stigmas and are overwhelmed before they even start.” Hello Sunday Morning

Sure, it can be helpful discussing not drinking with like-minded others, especially considering that:

 

“From school, to uni, and at work, at sports and weddings, funerals or even community events – it’s always been a prolific and revered part of any social connections.”

But thinking you’ll always be fighting a permanent part of your being seems very unhelpful and defeatist.

I choose to think that alcohol is a form of chemistry that can be fun… for a while, but it has side-effects that snowball with consumption, and increased consumption is one of those side-effects.

Don’t blame it on yourself. Blame the alcohol chemistry.

Once you’re free of the alcohol, you’re free to be whatever you want to be.

I found it easier to quit rather than to moderate, or have regular days off, with a disclaimer.  The way I “quit” was by thinking I’m not quitting forever. I can drink whenever I want. I choose not to for now.  I felt that the occasional drink is how I became a daily drinker. It’s too hard to drink then quit, repeatedly, considering how hard I found it to quit for one day for all those years.

Thanks for reading.

The “Silly Season” is coming up.  Instead of letting it all go to shit, how about checking in here and discussing ways to be prudent and moderate?

If you have quit, or are able to moderate your drinking, maybe others reading would like to hear about it.