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?

Is protein more satiating than carbohydrates or fat?

“A review of 38 studies concluded protein is more satiating than carbs and fats in the 10-20% of energy intake range but not above that, indicating the average satiety sweet spot is a protein intake of 20% of energy intake, corresponding to about 1.2 g/kg/d for non-strength training individuals. The effect was far stronger for self-reported satiety than actual eating behavior: ad libitum energy intake didn’t reliably decrease even at lower protein intakes. The optimum protein intake for satiety was closely in line with the optimal protein intake for body recomposition and health (1.2 – 1.6 g/kg/d).”

Menno Henselmans

Haha, that fascinating article pretty much sums my protein percentage up!

I have no medical conditions.

Please see a dietitian if you require advice on eating to assist management of illness.

I’ve been logging everything in My Fitness Pal over 4 years, (lost 35 kg and have maintained 3 years) and never really pay any attention to trying to achieve any particular macronutrient percentage.

My macros have consistently been an average of 20% protein, 30% fat, 50% carbs the whole time. This seems to coincide with the general recommendation from most national health departments.

I love how I was about to say through most of Henselman’s article, but what about fibre? Yep, at the end, he says how fruit and veg are good at filling you up.

You can use them to bulk up your plate and stomach with volume for very few calories.

And I find now that a 300 kilojoule piece of fruit is satiating and lets me stop eating whereas an 800 kilojoule biscuit/cookie makes me want another.

Sometimes, of course, I’m happy to use my calorie limit on a couple of biscuits. That’s a form of satiation too.

Other days, too, I’ll have a 400 kilojoule choc protein bar if I can feel I need it.

I learned a good word last week:

Interoception

“Research has begun to explore how our [lack of] awareness and perception of our body signals (known as interoception) contribute to disordered eating. Interoception includes perceiving various internal sensations from the body. It means noticing things like how quickly your heart is beating, how heavily you are breathing, how hot or cold you are, and whether you are feeling hungry or full.”

Melissa Barker and Rebecca Brewer

It’s risky just following the “intuitive eating” idea if you’re trying to watch your weight – but I’ve found it helps if you have some understanding of yourself and the caloric content of food you can choose to eat.

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.

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.