I had 15 minutes of fame from my “before/after” photo from my first year of running.
It was featured in a story about me in the parkrun Australia newsletter.
The photo garnered an article in The Telegraph, UK.
It had 1,400+ likes on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Group One Year of Running.
My Imgur photo made “Viral” status and had nearly 200,000 views
It was posted on Reddit and had 10,000 points and 381 comments.
I lost 36 kg (80 lb) between April 2015 and April 2016 by eating whatever I felt like (in moderation) within my calorie limit, using the free My Fitness Pal app.
I had started feeling better and better after quitting smoking cigarettes cold turkey in May 2014 and have just kept going. In 2015 I started walking a bit more every day.
On 22 September 2015 I suddenly felt the urge to run for the first time in 30 years. 2 weeks later, I started doing parkrun on Saturdays when it started in my town and I have only missed parkrun 3 times since then. #loveparkrun
I ran 50 km in 6 hours on 10 June 2018.
Along the way, these are the goals I’ve made and completed:
Raise money for cerebral palsy and walk 10,000 steps a day for Steptember 2015.
Run 5 km. 5 December 2015.
Run 10 km. 6 March 2016.
Run 15 km by end of June 2016. 27 March 2016.
Run 5 km in under 30 minutes. 9 April 2016.
30 Day Planking Challenge. May 2016.
Run a half marathon. 26 June 2016.
Run 100 miles in August 2016. Done by 22 August 2016.
Run 1,000 km in 2016. Done by 27 August 2016.
Walk 35 km on 23 October 2016.
Run 100 miles in October 2016.
Run 10 km in under 55 minutes. 8 Jan 2017.
Run 30 km. Done 24 March 2017.
Walk 50 km on 6 May 2017.
Hike 80 km in 2 days. 10-11 June 2017.
Run my first marathon in my year of turning 50. Sunday 27 August 2017.
Run my 100th parkrun. 17 February 2018.
Run a half marathon run (or further) every month for a year. July 2017 to June 2018.
Run a 50 km run in 2018. Sunday 10 June 2018.
Hold a handstand for 10 seconds. 17 June 2018.
Draw every day for Inktober 2018.
No-Spend November, 2018.
Get onto the parkrun Australia Most Events List by running a parkrun at 20 different locations without driving or ever having gone for my licence. December 2018.
See how far I could walk on Boxing Day 2018. 51km!
Ran 2019 km in 2019.
1 year alcohol-free January 31, 2019.
Ran at least one 21.1 km run (or longer) every month for 2 years. 28 June 2019.
Writing all this is a reminder to myself that goals are achieved by making a little effort every day.
Don’t wait around for motivation. Just do it.
Challenge your thoughts.
Don’t believe everything you think.
Zenmode.org was started 20 June 2018.
“About Me” updated 15 September 2019.
Addition for a more complete picture:
- I was founder, owner, and administrator of The Australasian Skeptics Forum.
- I’ve studied at The University of Melbourne, and Deakin University.
- I studied painting and drawing under Howard Arkley and Christine Johnston.
- I’ve worked for local, state, and federal government in Arts, Environment, and Law.
- I’ve managed bookshops and currently work in finance.
- Zenmode post “Less Alcohol” was featured in an Australian Department of Health newsletter in April 2019.
I donated loads of my books over the past few years. I was tired of them gathering dust; wanted them to be loved by others; wanted more space in the study/library;
I freed myself of my snobbery of thinking owning lots of books made me a good thinker.
I kept ones I’d truly loved or find useful or know I’ll have desire and time to read.
I love putting old books in our local Book Swap free mini library and not taking any.
They’re always gone the next day.
Interesting and beautiful feeling.
Though I am still snobbish enough to point out this photo doesn’t show all of the ones I’ve got left.
That scary feeling when Facebook shows you an ad from something you looked at elsewhere?
“To help shed more light on these practices that are common yet not always well understood, today we’re introducing a new way to view and control your off-Facebook activity. Off-Facebook Activity lets you see a summary of the apps and websites that send us information about your activity, and clear this information from your account if you want to. ”
By Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer, Policy, and David Baser, Director of Product Management
Starting in Ireland, South Korea and Spain, Facebook will let you:
See a summary of the information other apps and websites have sent Facebook through our online business tools, like Facebook Pixel or Facebook Login;
Disconnect this information from your account if you want to; and
Choose to disconnect future off-Facebook activity from your account. You can do this for all of your off-Facebook activity, or just for specific apps and websites.
After a few months of testing and when it’s known to be working in Ireland, South Korea and Spain, data-sharing control will be made a feature for everyone.
I’m relieved, and really hope this means Google and Siri will try and one-up Facebook and make data sharing opt-in, not opt-out!
Rant about people who rant about Facebook:
So many people talk about Facebook as if they haven’t used Facebook since 2010.
I’ve set all my Facebook ad preferences and get cool stuff. I get things like requests for subjects for scientific studies (I’m doing one now, which has been very rewarding).
I get things like courses to study which are relevant to my interests, running or hiking events, environmental organisations’ announcements.
These ads are often from sites I’ve viewed on Google or my iPhone anyway.
Facebook will be letting you stop sharing with other apps, so that should mean not sharing Facebook data with Google or Apple/Siri, Microsoft.
But most people prefer to complain, or opt-out of Facebook completely, instead of using it as a tool like snail mail in all its permutations (paper junk mail supports that industry).
It would be better for those people if Facebook data-sharing was opt-in, yes.
Setting your ad preferences is a bit like setting Google alerts (notifications of new webpages that mention certain search words).
Ads can be indistinguishable from news these days anyway.
Event scientific studies that hit the health headlines are selling the fruits of their labour and hoping for income from paid downloads and/or journal subscriptions.
Do you know someone who is a binary thinker and just defaults to “Facebook is shit” for every discussion about it?
1. Be a relentlessly optimistic and logical realist.
2. Be curious. Learn, practice, share, teach; Learn, practice, share, teach; Circular Economy.
3. Email/communicate with local, state, national government workers and with politicians. Suggest ways to present sustainable policies to their colleagues and voters in a way that makes the people they represent like the ideas and understand how the voters will benefit.
4. Act Global. Online, share, encourage, and communicate information and technological and ideological developments. Be curious! Be part of sharing the circular economies in learning, open source policies, strategies, ideas, data, technology. Connect with innovators and activists.
5. Tell brands I’ve liked what they can do to be even better and transparent and make me recommend them even more.
6. Don’t subscribe to shop email newsletters because they tempt us to buy because something is “cheaper”.
7. Subscribe to alerts on circular economy, open source information, and sustainability in materials, technology, energy, recycling, transport, fashion, architecture, education.
8. Keep my finance spreadsheet updated including my list of any material things I need and only buy once I’ve researched the best product for my needs and situation.
9. Tell friends important things I’ve learned and make their lives easier and more fulfilling by giving them simple ways to be ethical and sustainable.
10. Re-use, repair, retain, redesign, upcycle clothes and goods. Only buy good quality, and ethically or second-hand. Vote with my note. Spend less so I can spend wisely on a few sustainable and ethical things that may cost as much as lots of fast fashion.
11. Act Local. Keep working with my local War on Waste group. Attend the nearby sustainable fashion festival and clothing swap; get ideas for a swap meet of our own. Keep sharing information about Repair Cafés. Learn about mending workshops, and gather interest and ideas to hold one, and hopefully more.
12. Keep walking for enjoyment and health and necessity (never ever had a driving licence since being old enough to get one in the 1980s and seeing my father devastated at hearing David Suzuki for the first time speak about climate change).
13. Activate for more public transport use and better footpaths and lighting in my area.
14. Activate for a running track in my town.
15. Activate for fair wages and unemployment benefits and universal basic income.
16. Absorb information from Ellen MacArthur, Greta Thunberg, Jeremy Rifkin, Rutger Bregman, Fashion Revolution, Slow Fashion Season, #CircularEconomy, The United Nations, The World Health Organisation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
17. Be prudent.
18. Embrace the Zen.
21. Draw daily.
22. Practice sustainable and ethical investment.
23. Call out injustice and illogic.
24. “Now is the time for civil disobedience” – Greta Thunberg.
25. Speak the unspoken.
26. Be awesome!
Crash dieting leads to a crash and burn.
Crash dieting fucks up your Leptin (satiety hormone) and Ghrelin (hunger hormone) for years. There’s lots of good science about this now. Leptin and Ghrelin are parts of our metabolism. (Fast weight loss also affects other elements of your metabolism, but these are the main ones and are simplest to explain.)
When your satiety (fullness) signals and your hunger signals are out of whack, that is when people can’t control their eating and binge and yo-yo.
All those “serial starters” crash diet, overeat, rinse and repeat.
Fast weight loss causes yo-yo weight gain
There’s no point doing a crazy diet you hate then going right back to eating the way you used to. Hello yo-yo!
And that’s assuming you can even stick to the crazy diet long enough to lose any weight!
Please talk to a doctor and/or dietitian about your health and dietary requirements regularly.
People seem to think “eating healthy” or “losing weight” means punishing yourself.
Kale, steamed chicken, and 6 hours in the gym a week… Sound familiar?
The endless hype about motivation is your weight loss worst enemy.
The idea is to learn how to eat sustainably for the rest of your life.
You don’t even need to “eat less and move more” (a saying which causes a lot of extremism). You could just do one or the other.
Eat back your exercise calories!
If you’re already eating less food overall every day, if you fuel the exercise you do, it’s still going to mean you will lose weight.
If you don’t eat exercise calories back, that’s when you lose muscle, get weaker, move less, get really hungry, and can end up with an eating disorder, or crashing and burning and failing to reach goal weight.
Then when you fail, you go back to your bad habits and gain more weight back than you lost because your hormones and your perception of food can’t regulate your hunger.
You don’t have to count calories to lose weight, but you need an understanding of the body’s general “Energy Equation”. (A calorie is a unit of energy.)
- Small men less than 15 lb overweight should eat at least 1500 calories a day when dieting, plus what they burn in exercise;
- Small women less than 15 lb overweight should eat a minimum of 1200 calories, plus what they burn in exercise.
If you’re taller and/or heavier, you need to eat more because you need more energy to move yourself around.
These calorie figures are the bare minimum you need to function normally while still losing weight.
There are a couple of other general guidelines about weight loss rates.
One is not to lose more than 1% of your body weight a week.
If you are around 10 kg or 20 lb overweight:
- To lose 1 kg = 28,000 kilojoule deficit: Should not take less than 4 weeks. E.g. 1000 kj or one Mars bar less a day than if you’re maintaining.
- To lose 1 lb = 3,500 calorie deficit: Should not take less than 2 weeks. E.g. 250 kcal a day less.
If you try to lose it faster, you’ll gain it back fast!
I’ve seen this too:
If you have 75+ lbs to lose 2 lbs/week is ideal (1,000 calorie daily deficit)
If you have 40-75 lbs to lose 1.5 lbs/week is ideal (750 calorie daily deficit)
If you have 25-40 lbs to lose 1 lbs/week is ideal (500 calorie daily deficit)
If you have 15 -25 lbs to lose 0.5 to 1.0 lbs/week is ideal (250-500 calorie daily deficit)
If you have less than 15 lbs to lose 0.5 lbs/week is ideal (250 calorie daily deficit)
Crash dieting causes people to crash and burn and regain more than they lost. They get weak and lose muscle mass and hence get a slower metabolism (lower Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)) and lose perspective on how much they need to maintain weight.
Losing muscle and feeling weak means less non-exercise activity thermogenesis (N.E.A.T.), so it lowers total daily energy expenditure. You feel lethargic so you don’t do as many little walks or jobs at home or work.
To keep losing weight they eat even less, and so it spirals downward towards hormone disruption & bingeing it back, and/or developing an eating disorder.
The massive and aggressive competition in the diet industry is a huge cause of so much yo-yo dieting, obesity, and eating disorders.
The diet industry feeds itself on the harmful goal of fast weight loss, offering fad diets, diet scams, quick fixes, and crash diets.
Cutting out all fat, carbohydrates, vegetables, or sugar, can lead to deprivation that is unsustainable.
Fast weight loss is bad.
Extreme diets are bad.
All those “Biggest Loser” contestants gaining all the weight back weren’t learning anything about weight maintenance being on the show.
Sustainable eating does not mean punishing yourself.
It takes quite a while to think this through.
It can be very hard to switch to having a mindset of sustainable eating when all around are advertisements offering fast and extremist solutions.
Once you notice this you see it everywhere.
We can’t change our mind about this easily, especially when society, family, and media teach us this mindset. Also genetics, biology and evolution.
Eat what sustains you as long as possible.
Here’s what’s sustaining me:
- Volume Eating. Fruit and veg have fibre which makes you feel full, and they bulk up the size of your meal and add very few calories.
- Protein and fat (and fibre) can make you feel fuller.
- My macronutrients are usually around 50% carbohydrates, 30% fat, 20% protein, and that keeps me very healthy, active, and happy.
- Most days lately, I love eating Greek yoghurt, cereal biscuits, fruit, vegetable and pasta Napolitano, vegetable protein/seafood/chicken with rice/noodles/potato, more veg, and dessert or chocolate depending on my day’s exercise.
- Some days (after a big sweat, perhaps), I need some salty chips, and maybe a chocolate protein drink.
- Some days, I like pizza (which can have all the micro and macronutrients you need AND not have too many calories).
If I deprived myself of things I love, I would never have lasted the distance.
What sustains you?
Again, see a doctor and/or dietitian about your health and dietary requirements regularly.
When you are maintaining your weight and tracking calorie intake, you can’t get the maths exactly right. Some days your intake will be higher than your energy intake.
I go by my weekly calorie limit, and make sure I stick to it, and also track my weight daily so I get data for the weight trend. If you can tweak smaller fluctuations, you don’t need to make larger changes.
Having a higher calorie day here and there balances out over the week if you have some lower calorie days. That’s how Intermittent Fasting works, in all its varying personas.
You can also gauge your calorie deficit by your weight loss via the scale and tweak that way.
Just don’t be a “Biggest Loser” wannabe because they gained it all back!
The slower you lose as you get close to your goal, the higher the chances of having hormones and habits that mean you can handle maintaining your goal weight for longer. This process is also aided by regular week-long diet breaks / refeeds of eating at maintenance calories, which let your hunger hormones settle down.
People set a weight loss goal deadline, and starve themselves to get there, not realising that they want to get there so quickly because starving themselves is so awful. A snake eating its tail.
Someone had to tell me something similar after I’d been using My Fitness Pal to track calorie intake for about 6 months and not eating my exercise calories back. A hard lesson to learn. But I really appreciate what he said now so much.
If you enjoy the process you can stick to the process.
I lost 35 kg and have kept it off 3 years 3 months so far. This is what I’m loving doing currently.
I did a 2 day 60 km bushwalking event (with about 5 km of running at the end) a few weeks ago, rested A LOT, and last Friday I ran a half marathon. That means I’ve now run at least one half marathon distance run (21.1 km or longer) every month for 2 years. Longest run was 50 km. Happy! Practicing not running too much or too hard so I can keep running without injury.
I’m currently busy being a coach/run leader for our Running Club (I’m also Secretary), one of our parkrun Run Directors (my third year doing that), and happy being involved as an artist & volunteer at a gallery for local artists. And working in a financial planning office 4 days a week.
Writing regularly about running, weight loss, logic, self-care, the joys of freedom from alcohol, and more on zenmode.org
I’m obsessed with sustainability, and doing a 3-month “Slow Fashion Challenge” and not buying any new clothes, and involved in groups and arranging a mending/swap event.
Studying a course on The Fashion Revolution & the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030, and devouring information on The Circular Economy, and on recycling in Australia/globally. Sharing what I’m discovering in our local War on Waste group and page, and pretty much everywhere.
I created a spreadsheet/pic of all the types of recycling and their collection points in town that’s being shared around.
Sustainability in eating, running, living. Perhaps obsessiveness about moderation, hahaha.
If you’ve read this far, I appreciate your interest. Hope you’re thriving and loving life too.
12 Illogical Reasons You Might Have For Believing in Acupuncture:
1) “It’s an ancient tradition.” (Appeal to Antiquity fallacy.) Slavery is an ancient tradition, but does being old mean something is good?
2) “Eastern Medicine works when Western Medicine fails.” (Appeal to the Orient. False dichotomy.) There are neurosurgeons in Asia, and cardiologists, obstetricians, radiologists, gynaecologists, and do I have to go on? Your belief is condescending, racist superstition.
3) “I had instant relief.” (White coat syndrome. Confirmation Bias.) People think tinfoil hats instantly stop “mind control.” People feel better when someone says they’re praying for them. They think this will help, so the expectation is enough for them to relax when the ritual starts.
4) “I got better.” (Correlation is not Causation.) Your ailment was mild, vague, ; you may have been using other therapies, ; it was an imaginary ailment “cured” by an imaginary cure, and/or it cleared up of its own accord, and/or it seems better but the underlying condition won’t have changed and will recur.
5) “It works for me”. (The Placebo Effect.) Without proof of its mechanism for healing, you’re expecting me to assume the universal laws of Pphysics rearrange themselves magically in your presence.
6) “Chi pathways are real.” (Bald assertion.) There is no mechanism by which acupuncture works, unless you believe in spirit/Chi/energy against all known laws of Physics, and if you do, then you must believe in Voodoo, since that’s an old tradition of pushing pins into forms to alter spirits. In which case, I have some Bitcoin to sell you.
7) “It helped the Chinese for thousands of years.” (1. 6. & 3.) Mao Zedong exaggerated it mostly from obscure ancient bloodletting superstitions to promote patriotism. The Communist Party suppressed any negative study results about it. Then it waned in favour of modern medicine to aid national health and productivity, and now they’re trying to revive it again because superstitious beliefs make money.
8) “It helped my dog.” (Confirmation Bias. Correlation is not Causation.) Your dog’s ailment was vague, non-acute, you may have been using other therapies, it was an imaginary ailment “cured” by an imaginary cure, and/or it cleared up of its own accord, and/or you think the dog seems better but the underlying condition won’t have changed and will recur.
9) “It helps lots of people.” (Appeal to Popularity.) Lots of people believe throwing spilled salt over their shoulder gives them good luck. Does that mean it works? Kidding oneself isn’t logical no matter how many people do it.
10) “I have been (or I have been seeing) an acupuncturist for 20 years.” (Sunk Cost Fallacy.) Believing and investing in something for a long time isn’t evidence of a cure any more than putting $10 on Black 15 all evening and every Roulette spin for 20 years is any evidence that you should keep doing it.
11) “Alternative Medicine is better because Big Pharma are just after people’s money.” (Diversionary tactic. Missing the point.) I’m not going to say, “Big Alternative Medicine are just after your money”, though it sells billions through supplements, treatments, media. You must give good evidence of any treatment’s mechanism of healing.
12) “Scientific studies show Acupuncture works.” (Appeal to Authority.) Do you understand the scientific method? Quality scientific studies show that there are NO good studies giving evidence for it.
That’s 12 reasons you might believe in acupuncture that are not logical.
Now try to give me 12 different reasons why you still think it is.
PainScience on Acupuncture:
Wikipedia Logical fallacies:
“Whole of Life” list of cool things I’m enjoying doing and exploring.
1. Circular economy.
2. Recycling industry boom.
3. Local recycling collection points.
4. Did a CPR course.
5. 2 Day hiking event in the mountains last weekend. Superlatives are lacking.
6. Not getting distracted by other subjects when I go to look up something online.
8. Been making and bringing my lunches to work for months like I’m a proper grown-up.
9. Running regularly for joy not kudos.
10. Researching before buying things.
11. Tax planning.
12. Using Scholl Eulactol balm twice daily which has fixed my heels after they became dry and cracked from wearing Birkenstocks all summer.
13. Not replying in anger when someone makes an extremist comment.
14. Not checking the news outlets as often to avoid joining angry mobs or giving extremist clickbait articles any ad revenue.
15. Duolingo Greek lesson daily for 263 days so far.
16. Drawing daily for 10 months now.
17. Sewing pockets on things.
Also, some thoughts I haven’t had time to put into a separate blog post:
A. Fear of guilt or regret as a driver for action can help with:
B. Caterpillars in the stomach that people get when faced with doing something new.
C. People’s cognitive dissonance between:
Guilt about being unfit and overweight; and
Wanting to feel fit and healthy.
D. A can help us by being able to recognise when we’re doing B and C.
What’s got you thinking lately?
In 1999, my life purpose changed. Instead of avidly devouring information telling me WHAT to think, for the next 20 years I’ve spent all my spare time learning HOW to think.
I began to investigate the many types of Logical Fallacies and Cognitive Biases and how to recognise them being used by others, and, very importantly, when I was using fallacious reasoning myself.
I learned that we all simplify ideas into concepts that are easily explained due to the fundamental nature of communication, and that simplifications are nearly always wrong.
I learned that thinking about thinking is physically tiring, and to try and be compassionate and patient when trying to explain new information to someone.
Ideas and beliefs can be tribal, and some of the most anxious moments come from questioning things that bind us to our tribe(s).
Ideas are tribal and also genetic (nurture and nature). We have an instinctual, genetic reaction to rejecting different explanations that seem a threat to our tribal bonds, and that are an imposition on our time and energy.
Fight or flight is in our nature: We fearfully avoid or flee from rethinking beliefs, or we fight aggressively to defend them.
Rarely do we think it’s worth the time “re-wiring” a conclusion our neurons have already recorded (though we are also creatures of doubt and uncertainty, and this can help being open to new explanations).
I’ve loved reading about the scientific method and the history of how global standards of evidence and methods of proof, testing, and analysis have improved and been built upon exponentially.
I’m aware of how pride is important in our standards of evidence. We can be proud of our tribal or patriotic beliefs, our emotional breakthroughs, and our “Sunk Costs” (time spent maintaining a habit).
I’m also aware that I’m proud of what I’ve been learning and practising, and that makes me vulnerable, and sometimes appear aggressive or defensive.
I have some bad memories of being verbally abused for questioning an idea when I’ve tried to explain HOW to think logically about that idea.
I have learned and must remember that before, during, and beyond all this, honesty, patience, and compassion are the key to meaningful communication.
Did you notice I didn’t write about the reason why we hate clicking on links?
Maybe what I DID write about might make you think of some reasons.
Cognitive Bias Cheat Sheet (Possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.)
List of fallacies (Wikipedia)
About Me (Zenmode)
How I lost weight (Zenmode)
The Psychology of Running (Zenmode)
An Adaptive Spiral (Zenmode)
Less Alcohol (Zenmode)
How I started running (Zenmode)
How to spot a weight loss scam (Zenmode)