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Jett

Enjoying the Journey

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During the last challenge, I had a lot going on to distract me from my goals, because my wife was going through a health crisis. This time around, she's doing much better, but I know I have a big ol' work deadline coming up in late September, and it's likely that crunch time will impact my goals. I need to plan ahead to minimize the damage from that week.

 

One thing I really want to focus on is living in the moment and enjoying the day to day business of life. I noticed, during the last challenge and during the stress of trying to take care of my wife, the house, and everything else, that my focus can really narrow down into "did I check off the item from my to do list?" That's a survival method when there's a lot going on, but I don't want to fall into a pattern of that. It's happened to me before, especially during periods of high work stress. Weeks can pass, and I hardly notice any of them because I'm too much in my head. In the end, all I have to show for it is some checked boxes on a piece of paper. I want to combat this by being mindful and seeking out the small enjoyable moments throughout the day. Drinking a coffee, having a conversation with a friend, petting my cats... even just enjoying the view of the sunset while I'm driving home. (It was just that which put this thought into my head a few nights ago.)

 

With that in mind, here's my goals for the mid-term:

I want to lose weight, and build an exercise habit that will eventually translate into gaining strength and muscle.

I want to get outside more, and gain the functional endurance and flexibility to do pretty much whatever activity I desire.

I want to have more time to do things I enjoy.

I want to have a consistent sleep schedule that leaves me well-rested.

 

The specific challenge goals that are steps towards these results:
 

Fixing my sleep schedule:

I seriously need to improve my sleep schedule. It's gotten very out of whack during my wife's recovery. Due to a weird quirk of my circadian rhythm, it's extremely easy for me to lose a consistent bedtime. (My rhythm is set to about 24 hrs and 45 minutes, as near as I can tell. No idea why. I have to work to reset it every day with light therapy and melatonin, or my natural sleepiness and wakefulness cues quickly shift to nearly nocturnal. It can effect when I get hungry, too, but that's usually easier to correct.) I know from past experience that setting a strict bedtime and wake up time and forcing myself to stick to it is the best way to create a schedule that fits with my job and other goals.

For this challenge, my getting-ready-for-bed time is 10pm, and my must-be-in-bed time is 11pm. My wake up time is 8:30am.

This should allow me to be at work by 10am, which means I can leave at 6pm most days. So that should give me more time for working out, and other enjoyable evening activities.

If I stick to this 5 days out of 7, I will award myself 1 prize token. 3-4 days out of 7 gets 1/2 a token. I will have looser tolerances (about half an hour) towards the beginning of the challenge, but as it progresses I need to be more precise about when I get to bed and when I get up. The ideal is to follow this schedule every day of the week, always.

 

Walking daily after lunch:

The trigger for this action is returning from eating out with coworkers, or finishing my lunch and throwing away any trash. The walk doesn't need to be longer than 2 laps around the building, but I want to make it a habit that I do every weekday. For now, I'm not going to worry about the weekends - though I can make up a missed day on the weekend if I want. Each week that I do this, I earn 1 prize token. If I only do 3 or 4 walks that week, I can still earn 1/2 of a token.

 

Working out 2x per week:

Three times a week turned out to be too much to start out. This time, I just want to do the 1A and 1B work outs once each during the week. I'm going to target Monday as the first day, and Thursday as the second, but other days are acceptable as necessary. Each week that I do this, I earn 1 prize token. If I only do 1 workout that week, I can still earn 1/2 of a token.

 

No diet soda:

I should not drink any diet soda during the challenge month (9/17 - 10/14). If I succeed in this, I get two "prize tokens". I am allowed 2 "slip-ups", and after that I lose 1/2 of a token per diet soda ingested. Which means that if I were to drink 6 sodas total, I would get nothing. I'm also going to check my progress on this half way through, and get the first prize token at that point if I haven't messed it up.

EDIT: So far, I have used one of my two "freebies". I got 1 token for the first 2 weeks.

 

Track Food and Water intake:

Although this is a pretty good habit for me at this point, I obviously need to keep doing it. And I would like to reward myself for being consistent. So if I track both for the whole challenge, I get a bonus prize of 2 tokens. Much like with the diet soda, I'll let myself miss 2 total days without penalty, then start detracting 1/2 token for each missed food or water record. Like with the soda challenge, I'm checking in at the 2 week mark and getting the first prize then.

EDIT: So far, I have used both of my two "free misses". I got 1/2 a token for the first 2 weeks.

 

Outdoor Adventure: As usual, I want to go somewhere I normally don't and explore around.

EDIT: Went to the beach on Sept 23. It was a little chilly, but very nice! My prize for doing this is 2 prize tokens.

 

Bonus challenge: Organize and put away important papers! This has literally been on my to do list for two years, and my desk has been unusable for that long due to the mountain of papers on it! If I do this during the challenge, I get 1 prize token.

 

It looks like a lot, but only the first 3 things are things I'm really struggling with. In keeping with my over-arching mindfulness goal, I'm hoping to find the joy in each of these goals. It's not just a checkbox to tic, but something to enrich my life. For example, I'm inspired by Tobbe to log food by taking pictures of it (and making it look appealing in the pics). Walking can be pleasant now that it's not boiling hot outside. Hopefully even working out can end up being an enjoyable experience. My intention is not to add to my stress by upping my expectations around each goal. Instead, it's a mindset I'm trying to cultivate.

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You got this. I love that you're mindful of the upcoming challenges without allowing them to halt your desire to grow. Be patient with yourself and with life.

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Moment of joy today: Took the time to mindfully enjoy my evening snack of a cookie and a cup of coffee. Usually I scarf these mindlessly while working, but today I put on the Cayman Islands Reef Cam for a few minutes to watch the fishies. The hurricane is really stirring up the water over there! The fish seem okay, but they were getting buffeted around a bit. A little bit less calming than it might normally have been, but an interesting break from work.

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Just sitting down, and allowing yourself to do "nothing" except drinking a cup of coffee for example, and not feeling stressed about all the other million thing you know you "should" be doing is great! I think it's super important to let yourself do that. If we never let ourselves just be in the moment we'll eventually accumulate too much stress and become seriously ill from it!

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On 9/10/2018 at 7:31 AM, Jett said:

Each week that I do this, I earn 1 prize token

 

I like your system with tokens! And I really like how you have build a little slack in to how you reward yourself those tokens!

 

But my biggest curiosity is how you'll use them when the challenge is over! :) 

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16 minutes ago, Tobbe said:

I like your system with tokens! And I really like how you have build a little slack in to how you reward yourself those tokens!

 

But my biggest curiosity is how you'll use them when the challenge is over! :) 

 

I've decided that each token is worth roughly $10 (USD), so I'm basically creating a stash of money that I'm allowed to use however I want! I tend to never spend money on myself, so this is a way to remind myself that I can and should do that from time to time. That's why they're called "prize" tokens, and must be earned - so that whatever I buy with them is a) not a necessity (I'd buy myself those anyway, of course), and b) will feel like something I worked for (so that I appreciate the item more).

 

I have a list on Amazon of stuff I'd like to get, things like books and tarot cards (I collect them). But if I save up a WHOLE bunch by the end of the challenge, I might do something larger, like going to an amusement park! We'll see. :P

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19 minutes ago, Jett said:

I've decided that each token is worth roughly $10 (USD),

 

Funny that you mention exactly $10 :) Made me think about this quote I read just a little while ago that I think was pretty good.

 

Quote

Consider two kids who each receive a ten-dollar allowance every week. One kid immediately blows his newfound riches on the first item he sees at the first presented opportunity. But the other kid knows that just because she has ten dollars to spend doesn’t mean she needs to part with it on the first opportunity that comes along. She will take her time and intentionally choose what she really wants.

 

Be like the latter child when it comes to the favorite not-the-most-healthy foods you choose to eat and enjoy. Choose to eat more of the foods that nourish and satisfy you, and consciously eat less of the other stuff. Not banning it or branding it with harmful labels but being selective about what you choose to indulge in, free from the monstrous weight of guilt that accompanies a good food/bad food dichotomy.

 - https://www.niashanks.com/problem-with-guilty-pleasure-foods/

 

I want to be able to do this more. What buggs me is that I used to be better at this. When presented with a big bowl of candy I used to be able to just eat the one or two pieces of my favorit candy and not even think about the rest of it. Now it's more like I start with my favorites, but then I can't stop and just continue eating all the candy even though I don't really enjoy it all that much. And I don't stop until it's all gone.

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15 hours ago, Tobbe said:

I want to be able to do this more. What buggs me is that I used to be better at this. When presented with a big bowl of candy I used to be able to just eat the one or two pieces of my favorit candy and not even think about the rest of it. Now it's more like I start with my favorites, but then I can't stop and just continue eating all the candy even though I don't really enjoy it all that much. And I don't stop until it's all gone.

 

It's something that I've struggled with, too. My parents were good models for me of eating in moderation. But my spouse and some of my friends grew up in poverty where you have to eat everything in front of you when it's there, because it won't be there for long. So now they have bad habits of overeating, and it's effected me, too. I was the same way: in a candy bowl situation, I would just eat a few pieces to enjoy the experience of having candy. And now I want to keep going, or I find myself eating more than I really want because I'm not paying attention. I've been able to improve this by taking just the portion I want from the candy bowl (or cake, pie, chips, whatever) and putting it on a plate, and then putting the rest away. If I can't do that (maybe it's at someone else's house or a party or something) then I move myself away from the source of snack food, and I avoid it until it's gone. It's possible to do that with the source right next to you, but it's much more difficult and takes more willpower.

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6 hours ago, Jett said:

 

It's something that I've struggled with, too. My parents were good models for me of eating in moderation. But my spouse and some of my friends grew up in poverty where you have to eat everything in front of you when it's there, because it won't be there for long. So now they have bad habits of overeating, and it's effected me, too. I was the same way: in a candy bowl situation, I would just eat a few pieces to enjoy the experience of having candy. And now I want to keep going, or I find myself eating more than I really want because I'm not paying attention. I've been able to improve this by taking just the portion I want from the candy bowl (or cake, pie, chips, whatever) and putting it on a plate, and then putting the rest away. If I can't do that (maybe it's at someone else's house or a party or something) then I move myself away from the source of snack food, and I avoid it until it's gone. It's possible to do that with the source right next to you, but it's much more difficult and takes more willpower.

 

Wow! That describes my situation so well too! My parents have always been good models, but my wife's family and friends somehow have affected my behavior. I've tried all the strategies you mention, too. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't... I find it most difficult when we all sit down around a table at a friend's house for example, and all the food/candy/dessert is placed right in the middle of the table where everyone can reach it at all times. When everyone else is grabbing more and more it's really hard for me to not do the same. In those situations it's easiest if I can just leave the table. But at the same time I want to be able to sit there and listen to the conversations!

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1 hour ago, Tobbe said:

and all the food/candy/dessert is placed right in the middle of the table where everyone can reach it at all times.

 

We had a board game group and that was always the case (candies on the table etc). Then, when the games were held at our house, I changed it to light crackers, veggies with dip etc.

They were a bit grumpy at the beginning but then after some weeks it was ok and some of them adapted it when we were in their homes.

But maybe this is only accepted when you do this while beeing (slightly) overweight. Don't know why because it isn't healthier to eat a lot of candy, if you are a skinny person....

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1 hour ago, Arkania said:

But maybe this is only accepted when you do this while beeing (slightly) overweight. Don't know why because it isn't healthier to eat a lot of candy, if you are a skinny person...

 

Totally! I get that all the time. "You're so skinny! If I was that skinny I would only eat cake all day, every day!". Yeah, maybe you would. But you shouldn't! And I shouldn't either!

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12 hours ago, Tobbe said:

I find it most difficult when we all sit down around a table at a friend's house for example, and all the food/candy/dessert is placed right in the middle of the table where everyone can reach it at all times. When everyone else is grabbing more and more it's really hard for me to not do the same. In those situations it's easiest if I can just leave the table. But at the same time I want to be able to sit there and listen to the conversations!

 

Yeah, same. I think being part of the social group is more important than avoiding the snacking, but I do often push the snacks further away from me (helps if I'm sitting at one end) or put a plate over them once others have been eating for a while. It sometimes earns me a weird stare or a dirty look, but I just say "I'm trying to limit how much candy I eat, please take this away from me!" Usually my friends will be understanding about it and move the snacks a bit so they're not within reach of me. Yes, you might get that kind of push-back because you're skinny. I think, because I'm overweight, people tend to accept it more from me. It also helps a lot that my wife is usually there, and she struggles with the same thing (mindless snacking), so we both will sit on one end and then say "please move this away from us", and that way we have our own little snack-free corner.

 

I think part of it might be that people will see you limiting yourself, and feel self-conscious about how much they are eating. Especially since you're skinny, Tobbe. They might feel like, "If even the skinny guy won't eat a lot of this snack/sweet, then I probably shouldn't be, either..." But instead of taking the good example, they'll get mad at you and try to pull you down with them instead! Because if you do the same thing as them, then they don't have to feel guilty about it.

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26 minutes ago, Jett said:

and try to pull you down with them instead! Because if you do the same thing as them, then they don't have to feel guilty about it.

 

I know I can be kind of like this myself actually. Or... Not that I try to drag people down, but that I don't want to do my "sugar hits" alone. I just don't enjoy the "bad" food as much if I'm eating it on my own. It's more enjoyable to get that sugar high together with someone else.

 

Now, writing and thinking about it, it's not just the sugary foods, it's food in general. I'd never go out to a fancy restaurant on my own. I want to be able to enjoy the food with someone else. To share it, discuss it, and enjoy it together. And then later, also remember the restaurant, the situation and the food together.

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I think eating good-tasting food with friends and family is a great thing! It's definitely part of the human psyche to want to share food in an enjoyable way.

 

And that can turn into a bad situation if the food being eaten is not healthy and it's happening frequently. Especially when one person doesn't want to be eating so much unhealthy food, but peer pressure makes them feel like they have to go along with it. And then everyone else is like, "why do you have to make things less enjoyable" if you're the one who doesn't want to eat the same food, or go out as often.

 

Maybe the best course of action here is to talk about it. Tell your friends you want to eat healthier - not necessarily for weight loss, but for overall health. Tell them you don't look down on them for their eating, but your health is important to you. Ask them if they can help you stick to your goals. And listen to them if they have concerns about this, whether they think that this will impact your social times together, or anything else... Sometimes all it takes to improve things is for everyone to hear each other's side of the story.

 

Fortunately, I haven't often needed to do this lately. Most of the time that I've done social things with friends, it's either been at my house, where I have control over the snacks, or it's been going out for lunch at work, and one of the other guys in the group is also trying to lose weight. So we've compromised on whether we're going to a healthy place or not, based on group input, and it's mostly worked out well. (Our work lunch group also contains a vegan, which is probably the more difficult thing to figure out!)

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24 minutes ago, Jett said:

Tell your friends you want to eat healthier

 

I'm not really sure I really want to eat healthier though. I love all the unhealthy foods! What I'm 100% sure about though is that I want to stop the binges. And I want to be able to stop eating the candy that I don't really enjoy anyway. And I want to be able to stop stuffing my face with chips, popcorn and other snacks before the bowl is empty. I want to be able to eat just a few chips and be content with that. Not crave the rest of the bag as well.

 

Ohh, well, there will be plenty of opportunities to work with this the coming days... My wife's birthday is tomorrow and she was talking about baking some fresh bread for breakfast. Then she wanted pizza for dinner and was also thinking of baking some kind of birthday cake or dessert. (She has the day off from work tomorrow.)

And the day after tomorrow she wanted to bake an apple pie to bring to work, and I'm sure there'll be leftovers that she brings home in the evening.

Finally, on Sunday we have family coming over to celebrate her birthday, so again, birthday food with cookies, cake etc...

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Well, have you been honest with your friends and family that binging/not being able to stop is the problem? Again, I think asking for help from them is a good step. Tell them "I want to eat just one piece of cake. I know I'm skinny, but it's not healthy for me to eat more than one at a time." Something like that. That way they don't feel judged, but instead feel empowered to help you do something you need to do.

 

I hope it goes well! To be honest, all these strategies are things I need to work on, as well. It's embarrassing to bring up the need for help with moderation with people who don't know about it. But every time I've told people, "I need to limit how much of this food I'm eating, please help me by moving it away from where I am so I'm not tempted", it's not really been a problem. Plus, once I've said out loud that I don't want to eat more than a certain amount, then I feel like there's positive peer pressure to stick to that! (Even if they probably don't care either way, lol.)

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Lunch: a veggie and salmon wrap:

 IMG_20180912_145321225.thumb.jpg.d4f1dbf312a126a75bbc118d3e20a2b4.jpg

 

It was supposed to have cheese and a sour cream sauce, but I asked for them to be left off because of my intolerance to dairy. The downside is that it's not that tasty without a sauce. I had a small packet of salsa in my desk, which helped a little. If I get it again I need to remember to get some of the restaurant's own fantastic salsa to eat with it.

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51 minutes ago, Jett said:

Well, have you been honest with your friends and family that binging/not being able to stop is the problem?

 

No I haven't. I haven't told any of my friends I have any kind of problem with food. (I don't really have a lot of friends. Most people we socialize with are my wife's friends.)

 

Thanks for all your help, input and wise words! You do seem very well educated in this area, so I really value what you have to say Hug

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2 minutes ago, Jett said:

Lunch: a veggie and salmon wrap:

 

That wrap looks delicious Yummy But yeah, I agree, it's always tastier with a sauce! (Most things are, if you ask me! :D)

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2 hours ago, Tobbe said:

Thanks for all your help, input and wise words! You do seem very well educated in this area, so I really value what you have to say Hug

 

Aww. Any wisdom I have about it is just from dealing with similar issues (my own and my wife's). I'm glad it's helpful.

 

Today's moment of joy: Looking up silly gifs of jumping spider dances. Seriously, look at this:

 

Spider_204.0.gif

 

It's so cute! I never thought I'd say that about a spider.

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Here's another favorite from yesterday:

giphy.webp

 

I'm kind of sad that I didn't take a pic of dinner from last night; my wife made a really tasty bibimbap bowl. Oh well, I'll try to remember next time...

 

Today is my "refeed" day, after 2 days of quite low calorie intake. Went to a fast food restaurant with my work friends and we got hot dogs and split a great big thing of chili cheese fries. So I guess my moment of joy today is spending time with friends, although office drama kind of soured that interaction. (One of my friends played a prank on another coworker that backfired, and people were feeling frustrated about that...)

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No one needs office drama in their life... Another thing to add to the list of perks of working from home! No drama!

 

But yeah, always nice to spend time with friends. I'm glad you got to enjoy that :) 

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