About Me

I had 15 minutes of fame from my “before/after” photo from my first year of running.

A Year of Running

10 October 2015 to 22 September 2016

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.

Facebook rolling out the option to let you control data shared with apps and websites

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. ”

https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2019/08…book-activity/

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.

facebook data sharing google apple siri ios advertising targeting privacy opt-in opt-out settings social media information technology

What is shown to us can be a reflection of ourselves or what we want it to be.

Do you know someone who is a binary thinker and just defaults to “Facebook is shit” for every discussion about it?

Sustainability in eating, running, living

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.

Current interests helping me thrive

“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.

7. Prudence.
Classics, minimalist, style, linen, bargain, Prudence, white shirt,

Linen shirts from Target marked down after summer. $10 and $5. Amazing what classics you can pick up if you walk around a lot patiently and see so many things you can choose the best bargains for a style you’re after. Plus, I used $10 worth of flybuys points!

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?

logic, thinking, reason, psychology, cbt, compassion, patience, communication, skepticism, honesty,

The hidden years, logic, and why we hate clicking on links

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.

 

Thought Challenge:

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.

 

Further information:

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)

Transformation, Identity, and the “True Self” Myth (Zenmode)

 

zenmode running self-care anxiety sober quit alcohol marathon training work volunteering administration health medication

Self-care victory

Had two terrible nights sleep earlier in the week and was struggling a lot at work. Felt like people were demanding every minute of my time and I had too many responsibilities outside of work.

 

At 5:30 am I went for an angry, 80-minute run and thought of logical kick-arse ways to reduce a lot of time spent on administration, and implemented them when I got back.

 

This helped not just me but also others to have a limit set now on what we feel we can do.

 

I made it through the day without needing any sort of medication or self-medication, and only realised this when it was all over and it hadn’t even occurred to me to use any. Nearly 400 days alcohol-free. Not even any caffeine for over 4 months.

 

Instead of freaking out with anxiety I’d been proactive.

 

Proud of myself for not pulling out of any volunteer responsibilities completely, since I’m proud of what I’m involved in.

 

Thursday 28 February I realised I’d rather use the money I’ve saved for flights and accommodation (to do a marathon in April) on a faster computer for myself.

 

This will improve my quality of life immensely and reduce a lot of frustrations.

 

I also decided to build a stronger 30 km run base rather than max out my resources for 2 months yet again on a marathon that would mean my glute/piriformis pain would worsen just when it’s been a lot better.

 

This will mean regular, consistent running to look forward to and enjoy.

 

Feeling like I’ve actually won a marathon now!

Noosa National Park running walking trail view palm tree beach

Euphoric scenic run in Noosa Queensland on day 377 alcohol-free

Set out for my run at 5:10 am and it was 24C / 75F in the pre-dawn half-light. I was running gently to take in the scenery and so I didn’t trash myself in the “Feels like 31C” (89F) heat and 88% humidity which had made me quite unwell running 13 km quite hard 4 days earlier.

Four years ago when we were in Noosa, I was 35 kg overweight and barely walking a few thousand steps a day. But that was also when I was slowly trying to increase my activity.

A year ago I had aimed to run 4 km to Noosa then explore the National Park headland trail. But both times I ran there, only I got about 1 km into the park before having The Fear that if I didn’t start running back I’d need a toilet before I had found one.

This run was a victory venturing into the unknown (where there were loads of other people)!

I’d found a map showing toilets a few hundred metres past where I’d got before. I also brought my Camelbak containing chilled water, and was much more Zenned-out and calm, and able to enjoy every moment.

When I stopped drinking about a year ago, I started to lose my anxiety. That, and no fear of a toilet emergency were some of the reasons I enjoyed this.

On top of all this, the scenery was incredible, and I started to feel quite euphoric!

I paused a lot to take photos, and I’m happy with these ones.

Sunrise Noosa Parade bridge Weyba Creek running Queensland AustraliaNoosa Queensland Australia tropical plantsSunrise Noosa Parade bridge Sofitel Hastings Street running Queensland AustraliaNoosa Heads beach Queensland Australia running surfingBoardwalk Noosa National Park running walking trail view Queensland Australia trees beach oceanBoiling Pot Noosa National Park running walking trail view Queensland Australia trees beach oceanNoosa National Park running walking trail view Queensland Australia trees beach ocean tropical plantsNoosa National Park running walking trail view palm tree beachBeautiful Trail Noosa National Park running walking trail view Queensland Australia trees beach ocean sunriseNoosa National Park running walking trail view Queensland Australia trees beach oceanNoosa National Park running walking trail view Queensland Australia trees beach oceanDolphin Point Sunrise Noosa National Park running walking trail view Queensland Australia trees beach oceanNoosa National Park walking trail view running

I’d made a connection in the morning that each fairly typical glass of wine I used to drink had the same number of calories as two slices of bread.

Three glasses of wine a day (or a beer and two wines) plus the usual meals and snacks and no purposeful exercise for 5 years meant the weight steadily crept up and up, till I discovered how to count calories easily for free and started to move more.

Last year’s holiday began during my first month without drinking and I had been so proud to stick to not drinking during it, and happily surprised I found it so enjoyable.

This year, the distances walked and run seemed much shorter and I felt very light-hearted.

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, 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.

 

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