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 read this yesterday, by an alcohol-free woman who has made and is making big changes.

She writes:

 

“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.”

“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. I wouldn’t have got this far without discussing how to think differently about alcohol with others online.

But many people find the idea of attending AA meetings too confronting, though they do help many others.

To me, thinking you’ll always be fighting a permanent part of your being (“I’m an alcoholic”) 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.

Edited 20 March 2019 to include something about my participation in discussions online. That was a huge part of what helped, along with reading articles such as those in the Hello Sunday Morning newsletter.

 

How to quit smoking and get your shit together

Set aside a weekend for it. Prepare yourself for a really crappy Saturday. Get yourself some sleeping tablets for Saturday night.

Gear up for a couple of weeks beforehand, smoking normally. Have your last cigarette on a Friday night.

On Saturday, instead of getting up for a cigarette every half an hour, get up and do some tidying each time you have a craving.

Tidying, not thinking

Instead of sitting around thinking and letting your brain’s repetitive cigarette cravings torment you, keep your body busy so your brain has other activities to occupy it.

  • Wash stinky, smoke-smelling clothes.
  • Wipe down or mop ashy surfaces.
  • Hide ashtrays and lighters.
  • Go shopping to buy nice new drinks if you associate habitual drinks with cigarettes.
  • Clean pet areas.
  • Go for a walk to buy cleaning supplies and enjoy your breathing on the way.

 

I did this 4.5 years ago, and that weekend, I did and put away 7 loads of washing and did so much spring cleaning! A sparkling house and a new me!!

Relief

Saturday will have been easier in comparison than what you were dreading. You’ve probably got through plenty of bad days. If you know a really tough one is coming, you’re prepared.

Just do it and get that one crappy day over with. It’s hard, but it’s always going to be hard, and never going to get easier, so just fucking do it, then it’s done.

Come Sunday, the worst is over, you’ll feel proud of yourself, your future will be brighter and the day will be easier.

 

Within 6 hours

Your heart rate slows and your blood pressure becomes more stable.

Within a day
  • Almost all of the nicotine is out of your bloodstream.
  • The level of carbon monoxide in your blood has dropped and oxygen can more easily reach your heart and muscles.
  • Your fingertips become warmer and your hands steadier.

Quit Australia

 

Keep tidying. You may feel tired, but be happy, this is your crappy but transformative weekend that puts health money in your future bank.

You’ll sleep better Sunday night, and by Monday, you’ll know you’ve won the battle.  Any urges to smoke that pop up are just brain farts.  Challenge those thoughts. Don’t believe everything you think.

 

Keep Running Fatkids

A group of 27 My Fitness Pal runners around the world ran a 24-hour tribute relay “Run For Dennis”.

Dennis Ley (aka @KeepRunningFatboy) had run marathons in over half the US states, and his goal was to do them all. He chose his username from an “insult” a passer-by called him, and he turned it around to boost his determination.

He had been posting in the MFP Monthly Running Challenge threads often, every month since December 2016.

In January 2018 Dennis wrote a post on his profile about being kind to Tomorrow You. He wrote about how doing things like eating and drinking sensibly and looking after yourself are not punishments, but a lovely thing to do for the person you will wake up as. The person in the morning is the same person that has to deal with your behaviour the day or night before.

This thought process, together with friends doing Dry January, inspired me to try not drinking on February 1. I haven’t had a drink since. Dennis’s thoughts inspired many others in the Less Alcohol Challenge to moderate or quit their drinking.

In the MFP Monthly Running Challenge threads, Dennis’s wit, wisdom, and running achievements were very inspiring.

In late August Dennis passed away suddenly. This resulted in a flood of tributes and tribute runs in his memory, including Garygse running a marathon distance on his own in Texas the morning after we heard the news. Through our shock and sadness, we kept on running, inspired by Dennis, then the idea of a 24 hour relay tribute emerged. With Elise4270 help co-ordinating, we planned the relay.

On October 14 I started the relay off, doing the Melbourne Marathon, my third marathon, and my toughest due to the warm, sunny conditions. I started counting calories on MFP in April 2015, started running September 2015, and lost 80 lbs / 35 kg and reached goal weight by April 2016.

When I started running, I started posting in the MFP Monthly Running Challenge threads in the Challenges forum in MFP Community.

I got to know many of these lovely, informative, inspiring, supportive, and fun people in the threads, including KeepRunningFatboy. I’d made friends with him on Facebook which was how I heard of his passing.

Dennis liked a Seinfeld clip about Tomorrow Guy who “always screws Evening Guy”. Time and time zones certainly screwed with us on the relay. Juliet3455’s half marathon ended up being the day before we started the relay, and shanaber also ran early due to time zone calculation difficulties. But we got there in the end! I’m including juliet3455 and shanaber because I like exceptions to the rule, and RunsonEspresso and marisap2010 ran at some point during the time period so let’s agree cancels out the “missing” hours.

We started Australian Eastern Daylight Savings time 7 am on Sunday 14 October 2018 (20:00 GMT / 13:00 Los Angeles time on 13 October 2018).

The list of participants who ran in tribute:

GMT – Hour – Runner

2000 0 (2001-2100 GMT) – @Orphia 42.2 km

2100 1 – Orphia

2130 1.5 – Orphia

2200 2 – Orphia

2230 2.5 – Orphia

2300 3 – Orphia

2330 3.5 – Orphia

2400 4 – Orphia

0030 4.5 – Orphia

0100 5 – Orphia, @garygse

0130 5.5 – garygse

0200 6 – @bubblegum2fitness 2.5 miles

0230 6.5 – @HonuNui 7.2 miles

0300 7 – HonuNui

0330 7.5 – HonuNui

0400 8 – HonuNui

0430 8.5 – HonuNui

0500 9 – @juliet3455 21.2 km

0530 9.5 – juliet3455, @shanaber

0600 10 – juliet3455, @RunsonEspresso

0630 10.5 – juliet3455, @marisap2010

0700 11 – juliet3455

0730 11.5 – juliet3455

0800 12 – @_nikkiwolf_ 16.47 km

0830 12.5 – _nikkiwolf_

0900 13 – _nikkiwolf_

0930 13.5 – _nikkiwolf

1000 14 – @workaholic_nurse 5.57 miles

1030 14.5 – workaholic_nurse

1100 15 – @girlinahat 5.5 miles, workaholic_nurse

1130 15.5 – girlinahat, @Teresa502 5.55 miles

1200 16 – girlinahat, @Scott6255, @Tramboman 10.5 km, Teresa502

1230 16.5 – girlinahat, Scott6255, Tramboman

1300 17 – Scott6255, @kevaasen, Tramboman

1330 17.5 – @Elise4270, @kgirlhart , Scott6255, kevaasen

1400 18 – Elise4270, kgirlhart

1430 18.5 – Elise4270

1500 19 – @OSUbuckeye906

1530 19.5 – OSUbuckeye906

1600 20 – @RunRachelleRun 1.94 miles

1630 20.5 – @Marissaxzxzxz 5.05 miles (4-5 pm GMT), kevaasen

1700 21 – Marissaxzxzxz

1730 21.5 – @Avidkeo 3 km

1800 22 – Avidkeo, @rusgolden

1830 22.5 – rusgolden, @MobyCarp 8 miles

1900 23 – @bubblegum2fitness 3 miles, @Butterchop 6.2 miles, MobyCarp

1930 23.5 – bubblegum2fitness, Butterchop, @ctlaws44, MobyCarp

2000 24 – @biketheworld, ctlaws44

2030 24.5 – biketheworld

2100 25 – @MegaMooseEsq 10.4 miles, @sarahthes

2130 25.5 – MegaMooseEsq, sarahthes, @katharmonic 2.8 miles

2200 26 – MegaMooseEsq, katharmonic

2230 26.5 – MegaMooseEsq

We plan to keep running and add US marathons to Dennis’s tally to continue the memory of his goal. The first one is Scott6255 doing Houston Texas January 20 2019, then Garygse doing Phoenix Arizona February 9 2019, followed by MobyCarp doing his fourth Boston marathon in April.

I’m not religious, but I feel a part of something bigger after this. Dennis had big goals. Thank you, Dennis.