Day Sixty: Morning Me vs. Evening Me

Morning Me doesn’t like Evening Me very much. But the feeling is mutual. It’s a Goofus and Gallant relationship.

Morning Me says “I have a plan and I’m going to stick to it!”

Evening Me says “Screw it, let’s eat cookies.”

Morning Me says “Let’s exercise and practice good habits!”

Evening Me says “Kid, you have no idea how the world works. It’s been a day. Cookies.”

Evening Me is not a bad guy, but Morning Me writes this blog, and is a little tired of waking up every morning and dealing with his shit.

I’m not sure what keeps Morning Me and Evening Me from communicating effectively; I think it’s Mid-Afternoon Oh God I’m Tired Me that is the… anti-bridge? Chasm? between the two. Mid-Afternoon Oh God I’m Tired Me is the 2-3 p.m. existential crisis that befalls me in a workday. Upon reflection, I believe it is the Jekyll/Hyde moment that heralds the transformation from Morning Me to Evening Me.

Morning Me vs. Evening Me is an afternoon battle

Upon reflection, I think that’s where the battle might be fought. I often think that siesta cultures sound… good. The idea of recharging in the mid-day so you can not be tired in the late afternoon and evening is a delightful concept. But then again, it’s not like the siesta countries are the happiest and most world-beating nations around, so it doesn’t look like siestas make things better or worse on a broad scale.

It’s an interesting thought, though: that it’s not a Morning Me versus Evening Me issue,  but an afternoon problem that manifests later in the day. I’ll have to noodle that around a little and see what comes of it.

In the interim, I need to keep telling Evening Me about favours for your future self. I think that might be language that tired, kind of myopic dude understands.



Day Fifty-Nine: Okay, Not Obsessing Is Kind of Hard

Today’s podcast comes with special soy-milk-maker and jingly cat background sounds! Enjoy!

Okay, you know how I had this whole weighing myself strategy? The daily “just a number” thing that I’m supposed to put out of my mind and not worry about?

Yeah. That’s harder than I thought.

I’ve been doing the weighing, which is stellar, and pats on the back for me. But the “fuggedaboutit” part of that weighing is not going as it should.

Folks, I am obsessing a bit. Just a bit.

Obsessing is kind of a default state.

Stuff gets in my head. I’ve lost sleep over irate Facebook comments. Imagined arguments that I haven’t had yet and probably never will, prey on me. I get head-loops of stuff all the time that are hard to shake.

So I should have known that this weight thing would not be as “fire and forget” as I set it up to be.

I’m going to persist; I don’t have any other ideas or better plans.

But I’m checking in to let you know that it’s not as easy to do the “just a number, forget it” thing as I thought it might be. I thought with that setup, I’d be poised to just log and disregard. I underestimated my brain’s ability to latch on.

While we’re on the subject of things that aren’t going perfectly, I’ve been slipping on the check-outs, too. They’ve become perfunctory rather than moments of focus.

So: some things to work on. It’s like the old “don’t think of an elephant” thing — focusing on putting something out of my head feels counterproductive. But I need to work on it. So I guess I’ll… un-work on it? Huh?


Day Fifty-Eight: Overloading

Okay, I know I’m overloading, taking on too much, right now. But I also know that I’m doing it within a limited window.

Here’s the thing — I think, and I know I’m abusing this term, but I think I’m a leeeetle bit manic-depressive. I definitely swing into cycles of high activity and productivity followed by lulls. The lulls usually accompanied by moroseness. So I’ve learned over decades to kind of manage this and not let the high phases write checks that my lull-phase ass can’t cash.

But I’m moving into a small window of time where a lot of my volunteer commitments are converging. And it’s in my nature to try to excel at certain things. Among other things, I’m going over the top for our upcoming radio station funding drive. I mean, check this out:

Fundraising Bonus Banner Overdrive

That’s pretty cool, yeah?

But among other things, I have to now print and frame photos of our cat, write some terrible songs, and down the line go to peoples’ homes and make waffles. I enjoy all of these things. But they’re commitments. I’m also helping set up and promote for some of the funding drive events. And manning the phones for a couple of shifts. And making breakfast for some volunteers one Saturday morning.

Overloading is no excuse

It’s going to be a lot… a fun lot, but still a lot. So I need to manage my time very carefully from now til the end of March. It’s important not to let this stuff excuse me from exercise, or to let myself stress-eat because I’ve gotten myself in an overloading pickle.

I’m also going to have to be firm on other commitments, including fun ones — saying no to things until I’m over this particular hump. I hate saying no! I’m very bad at it. Mind you, I’m also bad at saying yes to things too. I guess I’m just not very good at saying things.

At any rate, now’s the time to both buckle down and get self-aware about the consequences I’m lining up from overloading. I’m excited about these projects. I just need to be careful about managing them.

Day Fifty-Seven: Younger People

I had an amazing time at a LAN party on Saturday, with a bunch of younger people, by about 10-15 years. This was a bit of a hang-up for me. I tried not to let it get in the way, but man, getting older is a bit less fun sometimes.

This is, by the way, entirely my bad head. They were great. No fun was made and nobody was, like, mean or anything. I just have a complex about being older than people when I’m around people who are, well, younger.

Part of the issue is having younger hobbies, which in turn relates to not having kids. My wife and I are child-free. We’re absolutely for kids. Love ’em. Go ahead and have ’em. But we’ve chosen not to. And for that reason, we tend to hang out with other people who don’t have kids, and those people tend to be younger.

I’m also really interested in stuff that keeps me youthful, relatively speaking. Video games. Audio production. New music. This all keeps me current, in a way. As opposed to whittling and hitting hoops with sticks, or whatever.

Younger people are awesome.

And I like people in their 20s. They’re energetic and engaged and exploring. Nothing irritates me more than the now-typical people my age (40s) going on about millennials this and millennials that. It’s an age-old thing. Plato was doing it. The kids are all right.

But none of this keeps me from getting all into my own head and feeling old when I’m around younger people. Which is, again, entirely all in my own head.

No solution to this; observing it will hopefully be enough to inspire awareness, and ideally change.


Day Fifty-Six: Weight Loss Rates

It’s a pretty garbagey Internet, when you look at it. Content marketing has a lot to answer for; literal hordes of people generating whatever (especially on reasonably popular questions like weight loss rates) at about one cent a word to populate blogs to drive advertising.

So I’ll take the Centers for Disease Control as the most authoritative source on weight loss rates: losing 1-2 pounds a week steadily is the most successful way to control weight loss. And the general advice that this is a lifestyle thing, not a temporary “diet” thing, is good too.

Weight loss rates index to lifestyle changes

“Lifestyle change” is hard, though. So I’m looking at daily weighing as a kind of motivator for that. Hopefully — if all goes as planned — the “forget about it number” will just be a kind of second check-in in the morning.

I had a great time at a LAN party yesterday — more on that tomorrow — but man, there was a lot of bad food and some not-great food decisions. I slipped into the old habit of justifying bad food with not drinking. Again, lifestyle change is hard.

So the aim now is 1-2 pounds a week, stably, for the medium term.

And that’s about it for weighing — time to return to random topics for a bit.

Time for the weigh-in!

Day Fifty-Five: How to Weigh Yourself

Continuing on this quest for perfect weighing:

Essentially: the same time, every day, as naked as possible.

That’s really about it.

Obviously, your level of nakedness will depend on where you are when you do it (and your level of comfort). But you want consistent circumstances; for me, that tends to be first thing in the morning, right before showering. I might switch that up to “right after I get out of bed”, because that’s the absolutely most consistent time.

The daily weighing, weekly averaging should take care of fluctuations from there.

Saturday mornings are actually kind of weird for me, because it feels like it should be a lazy weekend morning. But due to the radio show, I actually leave the house about 40 minutes earlier than I do on weekdays, so I have less time than usual. So Saturday is my exercise break day, but I’m still going to try to weigh myself.



Day Fifty-Four: When to Weigh

When to weigh? I’m talking frequency here, not time of day — that might be tomorrow.

I’m coming from a place where I refused to weigh myself at all because it’s kind of a bullshit metric for health. Which I maintain is true… your weight isn’t an indicator of how healthy you are. I know a lot of guys that are skinnier than me whose asses I could kick by most metrics. I can run 5k in under 25 minutes, and sustain mixed cardio for 30. Neither of these things are Crossfit God stuff, but better than most folks can do.

So I’m not hung up on weight as a number as a perfect indicator of fitness.

That being said, it’s a metric, and as I said yesterday, I kind of need something that I can hang progress on. The whole “feel-look” thing doesn’t quite do it for me after fifty-plus days, so I’m looking for an actual number that I can hang my hat on. And as much as I hate it, weight does that.

When to weigh? Daily.

So here’s my daily weight. Again, public accountability. I’m going to add it to the main menu as well. The sheet will track weight, exercise, and an every-Sunday average.

Why the every-Sunday average? So I don’t make myself crazy with the daily weigh-in. I think it’d make me nuts to do it every day and take it super seriously.

There are two broad schools of thought (other than “don’t weigh): weigh daily, for maximum knowledge, or weigh weekly, to reduce stress. The current science seems to say daily weighing is most effective. Or, y’know, not, depending. It’s a mess.

But the compromise I’ve come to, which makes sense, is to weigh myself daily and try to put that out of my mind entirely. It’s just a number. Weight fluctuates, depending on what’s been going on with a bunch of stuff. Fuggedabout it. Log it and move on.

What I want to pay attention to is the weekly average, and the trendlines.

This way, I hopefully won’t make myself crazy with the daily weight, but I won’t be staking everything on a weekly weigh-in, either.

Day Fifty-Three: Weighing Myself

I haven’t been weighing myself. “Weighing yourself is bullshit!” I proudly proclaimed to my wife, at the start of the year. “It’s just a number! I choose to measure myself on how I look, and how I feel!”

Folks, it’s the end of February. It’s time to start weighing myself.

Now don’t get me wrong — I still think it’s a bullshit metric. But it’s a metric, and frankly, I don’t think I look or feel much fitter than I did at the start of January. Maybe, hopefully, there are some big changes going on inside me, what with the not drinking and not eating as much junk.

Weighing myself versus “feeling different”

Part of it is weight gives me a number that I can look back to. I feel the way I feel, all the time. There’s no way to feel other than how you’re feeling in the moment. It’s hard to remember feelings the same way you can look at a number.

So maybe I feel a whole lot better now than I did in January. But short of keeping diaries — which is a good idea, and I’m all for it, but it’s not something I’m doing — I don’t have an easily referenced record of feelings.

Therefore, I’m reluctantly reversing my position on weighing myself. But I want to weigh myself right, if you know what I mean.

Over the next few days, I’m going to look into the science of weighing oneself. How often? What time of day? Clothed or unclothed? If I’m going to badger myself into doing it, I might as well badger myself into doing it right.

I still think it’s kind of bullshit. It’s possible to lose all kind of weight and be super unhealthy. I mean, heroin is a thing, am I right? But I’m feeling like having some sort of external tracking motivator would be good for me, and that’s the most convenient option on the table.

201.2 pounds, incidentally.

Day Fifty-Two: I Hate Yoga

Maybe “hate” is too strong a word, but I strongly disfavour yoga.

Because I am bad at it.

And it makes me feel bad.

Yoga is one of those things in the unattainable category for me: I tried yoga at many points in the past, but have more or less written it off. I don’t have the time, or the inclination.

I especially don’t have the flexibility.

“Anyone can do yoga!” say people who have never seen me attempt yoga. On the surface, I look yoga-capable: I have the standard number of appendages, I’m a bit overweight but not obese, I’m capable of a full range of motion.

But I am not flexible.

I am inflexible.

I am anti-flexible. 

My body has the inverse flexibility required to do yoga.

I hate yoga, and I need to be okay with it.

I tried yoga this morning — again. It was a humiliating half-hour of being reminded of my stretching limits and how absolutely terrible they are.

And I think I need to get to a place where it’s okay to hate yoga. It’s an aspiration I’ve failed at many times and at some point I’ll have to let go of. I don’t intend to, like, swear I’ll never do it — people get into stuff later in life — but I need to not feel bad that I’m bad at yoga.

“And what,” says my stupid internal dialogue, “what if this is just the realization you require in order to free your mind for yoga, grasshopper?”

“Shut up, internal dialogue,” says my external dialogue.

I think most people have a yoga. An aspirational thing you think you should be doing and you think your life would be better if you did. But you can’t. For time reasons, money reasons, family reasons.

You can’t eat all the squirrels. Uncle Rodney said that before he was taken away and we never spoke of him again. I guess yoga is one squirrel I’ll probably never eat, and I have to be fine with that.


Day Fifty-One: Return to Routine

A return to routine. It’s great to be away, but it’s also great to be home. As much as we planned for the weekend, and managed to stick more or less to those plans, it’s still more of a ‘controlled fail’ than a raging success.

So it’s good to be home, because this is where the real work happens.

The long weekend in a nutshell:

Sobriety: 100%

Exercise: 50%

Diet: 50%

…the latter two meaning that there was a lot of walking on Saturday and Sunday, but not enough on Monday. Similarly, food was well planned for Saturday and Sunday, but kind of fell apart a bit on Monday. We planned for the time away, but not for the return home.

My wife is a big fan of Frugalwoods, and one of their axioms is to always have several meals ready to go in the freezer. We’re doing something similar, with the additional twist that we’re actually calculating calories for recipes and storing those, so we can freeze portions and easily call back what they do for us in terms of diet.

My gut says I still need to focus harder on food — ha ha — for the next while. It’s not hard but it does require rigour, which isn’t always my forte.

So I’m back!

Return to routine is a return to ambition

Being a bit rested and refreshed also helps me reset my sights on the goals I set a while back. It’s easy to set goals, hard to achieve them. But even maintaining a passion for them can be difficult. I’ll happily take a weekend of diet and exercise setbacks if it’s an isolated thing. I planned for it, I granted myself permission, and now I feel like I can really bear back down on what I want. Let’s go.