• Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

Severine

Severine is Tardigrade Tough

Recommended Posts

Fifth challenge! This summer was really rough, so my last two challenges have been about survival and damage control. Tardigrades are very good at surviving, so thanks to my spirit animal's good example I have managed to avoid completely imploding, and I have (mostly) succeeded at treading water.

 

giphy.gif

 

Treading water is certainly better than imploding, but it's a crap progression strategy. This challenge is about getting unstuck and moving back in the right direction. There's still a lot going on, but I think (fingers crossed) the worst is behind me. I'm ready to take a gamble on that hope, and start making more ambitious plans. I have many long term goals: more weight loss, healthier eating, improving my rock climbing, running 5Ks and a Spartan race, more strength and flexibility, lower stress and better anxiety control. Career goals, relationship goals, personal goals, travel and adventure goals. The list goes on and on and I'm not going to accomplish any of it by just hunkering down and waiting for the storm to pass.

 

I love biology and biochemistry, so I figured for this challenge I could take some inspiration from scientific thinking and the natural world. Thinking about my own nutritional and health and behavioural challenges in a scientific and impartially analytical way is a tool that sometimes helps me understand and repair maladaptive behaviours.

 

Challenge 1: Eat Like an Organism, Not Like a Modern Consumer

  • Eat real food. Limit added sugars. Track food (to gather data and keep the analytical processes running!) and eat for hunger. Limit takeout to once per week.
  • Food issues are one of my biggest stumbling blocks. I have a history of emotional and disordered eating, I have a hard time resisting all the highly-palatable weaponized food that saturates modern life, and I'm really good at finding ways to rationalize individual bad choices in a way that, over time, adds up very predictably to unhealthy patterns. I need to stop letting food scientists and marketers get the better of me. I need to make rational food decisions based on legitimate physical needs, not on my mood or on cravings or inertia.
  • I know plenty about human digestion and nutrition and cell biology and that means I know how much damage I'm doing with my current eating patterns. I need to quash the denial, keep my brain turned on, and respect causality. If I eat crap I am undermining my body - everything from the immune system to basic organ function. 
  • I've done food-related challenges before on NF, and succeeded, but the past couple months have proved to me that I'm not done with needing them. So this time I want to focus on eating real food, eating for hunger and biochemical needs, and avoiding the urges to snack mindlessly on junk that's engineered to be irresistible. I do not want to be bested by the product development team of a corporate octopus.

 

Challenge 2: Act on Conclusive Data - Exercise Helps With Almost Everything

  • Minimum 30 minutes of non-work physical activity every day. Can be anything: stretching, walking, rowing, climbing, whatever.
  • Everyone knows how helpful exercise is, but although I have an active job, the season is going to start to wind down soon and I need to make sure I replace that automatic level of activity with an intentional level of activity so I don't have a sluggy winter like I did last year. I've already started to become more and more sedentary outside of work hours. I've been getting stiff, and sore, and part of that is the insomnia but it's also because I'm not stretching or going for runs or walks or doing any of the other stuff I used to do on top of work.
  • I know from personal experience, and also from a whole lot of quality research, that exercise improves my health and life in a lot of ways. The insomnia I'm struggling with now? It'd help. The anxiety and stress making my insomnia worse? It'd help. Energy levels and ability to resist cravings and mood and so on - it will help, and I will enjoy it and feel better, so it needs to happen.
  • This is a kind of boring and low-level goal, and I know that, but I am wary of over-reaching. I will say that I'm hoping to incorporate some challenging activity into this challenge - get back to some strength training, start running again - but I'm not making it part of the goal because especially with my insomnia and TMJ/maxillofacial pain issues still ongoing I don't want to set myself up for failure.

 

Challenge 3: A Stressful Environment Limits A Creature's Ability to Thrive

  • Daily Journalling. Get treatment for medical issues. Step back from draining relationship. Sleep hygiene. Limit caffeine. 
  • Stress is often considered a mental or emotional issue, but the physical manifestations of stress are well documented in many organisms including humans. Some is helpful because it helps us perform when it matters. But too much stress, especially chronic stress, can be extremely destructive. I am particularly susceptible to it, it seems, and it's not getting better on its own.
  • My daily microjournalling is helpful, and defeating my insomnia would also obviously be nice, so those are two things I want to work on. The caffeine thing is an obvious complement to that. Sleep hygiene is incredibly boring (sigh) but I need to keep at it.
  • I have TMJ/maxillofacial pain from an as-yet unknown cause, and a lot of headaches probably caused by the muscle tension. I'm waiting to see a specialist for it (appointment is end of November), but in the meantime I also found a massage therapist who specializes in TMJ/maxillofacial conditions so I'm going to try her out. My assessment with her is on Thursday this week. I'm not sure how optimistic I am, but at this point it's worth a try - I am in pain every day pretty much nonstop. I'm good at coping with it/ignoring it, but it's affecting everything from my mood to my energy levels to my ability to focus. I need to get it treated.
  • The relationship part of this challenge is sad. I have a friendship that is very important to me but also really asymmetrical. I'll definitely need to write more about the details later on in the thread (because I just wrote a giant paragraph about it before realizing it didn't belong in my challenge description and deleting it) but the short version is that I need to pull back a little for my own good. I love him dearly and that will never change, but I need to scale back my level of friendship effort to be closer to the level of effort he's making. The current imbalance is unhealthy and keeps hurting me.

 

Various Other Stuff:

  • Therapy - I've been thinking about looking for a therapist for a while, as I've mentioned in previous challenges. I could use some help with stress management, and also with some emotional eating and body image stuff, and possibly with some social stuff I've been pondering lately that's related to the friendship I mentioned above. I'd like to explore the logistics of that this month and see if I can find anyone promising to make an appointment with.
  • Write out epic quest post - this is something I've meant to do for a while. I want to convert my various ramblings about long term ambitions into a cohesive and organized summary of my motivations and goals. It'd be good to make time to do that this month.
  • Household chores - I have a backlog of projects around the house and I'd feel good getting some of those done if I have time.
  • Reading! It helps with my stress and I want to do as much of it as possible.

 

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's one hell of a challenge! Definitely here for the ride and will be cheering you on :D And here to steal all your good ideas and breakthroughs ;) 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some sadness and happiness today: after I finished at the farm, we went to visit D's parents. D's dad has cancer - he's been battling it since 2008 when they diagnosed him with metastatic colon cancer and told him he had 6-18 months to live. Obviously the fact that he's still around is a victory, but it has a price; he's had 6 major surgeries (including brain surgery) because it keeps spreading, and he's been in chemo and radiation practically nonstop. Not a fun way to spend 8 years. But he was around to see his daughter married, and for the birth of his granddaughter (my niece) and more recently her first birthday. That meant a lot to him.

 

Anyway we found out today that during the latest scan they found more cancer in his brain: 4 distinct spots. For 3 spots or fewer they would have recommended surgery, but apparently clinical guidelines say that for more than 3 spots, surgery isn't recommended because if there are that many detectable spots they can assume there are multiple more too small to detect (so they wouldn't be able to remove them) which would make the surgery pointless suffering. So we're not sure what comes next. One of his doctors is recommending stopping cancer treatment. He's going to see one of his other doctors this week to see what they say. There's a chance more chemo might give him more time, but it's hard to say whether it's worth the agony of chemo for a thing that *might* give him some unknowable amount of extra time. Cancer sucks.

 

So that's the sadness. The happy part was that my niece was there and we had a lot of fun all hanging out with her, including D's dad who is completely enraptured by her and totally delighted by everything she does. She's walking now, and her parents are big American football fans and they recently taught her to throw up her arms and say "tahdon!" (her version of "touchdown") and it's pretty much the more adorable thing ever. It was really heartwarming to see D's dad happy. And when we talked about the medical stuff he seemed really calm. He's not afraid or resentful - mostly resigned and philosophical about it. If I'm ever in his position I hope I can be as dignified and strong.

 

For challenge stuff: I tracked my food and ate sensibly! I already noticed myself worrying about macro balance which is kind of ridiculous, since the fact that I ate all real food today was already such a huge improvement over recent weeks - the inability to celebrate the progress without immediately telling myself there's more I should be doing is a good example of my 'all or nothing' mentality. No wonder I sometimes decide I don't have the energy for food tracking - because anytime I do it, I feel compelled to also strive for a good macro/nutrient profile.

 

Currently browsing around youtube for some stretching routines that look good so I can do one before bed.

 

I also did some research on local therapists and I found some potentially promising people who take my insurance. So the next step is to send out some emails or make some calls and see if I click with anyone.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cancer really is a bitch :( Glad there were some positives to the day as well though, your niece sounds so cute. Hugs to all involved. 

 

Good work with the tracking and recognising your tendency to over-do it! Anything is better than nothing after all. Good luck with the therapist search, good ones can make such a difference. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So sorry to hear about all that sadness, but I'm glad there was a moment of happiness in all of that. 

Good luck with the therapy thing! So glad you're taking the steps you need for your physical and mental health! For a lot of people even admitting the need for therapy is a struggle, so I think you're doing great!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just got home from work and I'm totally knackered. Got my exercise in earlier today, though, and eating was a tad decadent (mmmm, brie) but it was all real food, and I tracked it. Woo! Also I psyched myself up and called the therapy person who looks most promising. Left a message and he called back just a few minutes ago. He might have an opening in the next couple of weeks so we'll see how that goes. He also said I have "the least terrible insurance provider in Massachusetts" which made me laugh, and made me like him more. Fuck the American health care system. Medical care should not be a product.

 

Went with L to the six week followup appointment with their surgeon, and everything looks good! Also the surgeon's office is near this amazing French bakery so I got an actual proper croissant and a real baguette and that made me very happy.

 

Work was exhausting but harvesting by myself is always kind of pleasant, especially in the evenings. 

 

I'm not sure if the stretching routine I did last night actually helped, but I have to say it felt really good to set time aside to do something self-care oriented. Going to try to go to bed really early tonight.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Severine said:

Went with L to the six week followup appointment with their surgeon, and everything looks good! Also the surgeon's office is near this amazing French bakery so I got an actual proper croissant and a real baguette and that made me very happy.

 

Yay! And yum! God I love croissants...

a47187dfa53dcea36d6966db28dc5f05.jpg

40 minutes ago, Severine said:

He also said I have "the least terrible insurance provider in Massachusetts" which made me laugh, and made me like him more. Also fuck the entire American "health care" system. Medical care should not be a product.

Haha he sounds promising. but yeah, American health care scares me. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 25/9/2016 at 7:50 AM, Severine said:

Eat Like an Organism

I like this. A lot. Maybe if we would better listen to our bodies...

 

On 26/9/2016 at 3:21 AM, Severine said:

the inability to celebrate the progress without immediately telling myself

I think everybody has problems with self-criticism. It is not easy to change that, but even the minimum improvement is worthy.

 

I find it so sweet that you identify with tardigrades. I know not much people will think as I do, but I find them so cute. And they're the living image of resilience.

jglqm6g2hfdjkn2vesvo.gif

 

Good luck with the challenge!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cancer is the fucking worst. :( Hugs to you and your family. 

 

High fives for researching therapists and finding one who probably doesn't suck!

 

23 hours ago, Severine said:

Also the surgeon's office is near this amazing French bakery so I got an actual proper croissant and a real baguette and that made me very happy.

Oooooh where is this? I'll have to investigate if I ever make it back up.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, fleaball said:

Oooooh where is this? I'll have to investigate if I ever make it back up.

 

It's Clear Flour in Brookline. So far and annoying to get to from our place, so we pretty much never go there unless we have to be in the area for another reason. But their stuff is amazing. They're always rated tops in Boston and a few years ago they were on a list of the best 10 baguettes in America. Closest thing I've found around here to real French baking.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Severine said:

 

It's Clear Flour in Brookline. So far and annoying from our place, so we pretty much never go there unless we have to be in the area for another reason. But their stuff is amazing. They're always rated tops in Boston and a few years ago they were on a list of the best 10 baguettes in America. Closest thing I've found around here to real French baking.

Nooooo Brookline why. D: I was really hoping you'd say it was in Boston proper or something. (My family lives toward the end of the orange line and I am lazy.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, fleaball said:

Nooooo Brookline why. D: I was really hoping you'd say it was in Boston proper or something. (My family lives toward the end of the orange line and I am lazy.)

 

Yeah Brookline is an upscale wasteland that is well connected to nothing and easily accessed by no one. Damn them for hoarding the good baguettes all the way over there.

 

One of my best friends used to live within walking distance of Forest Hills stop so I used to take the stupid orange line all the time. I'm assuming you mean the other end though. I think I only went up there maybe once...the north side of Boston is a hazy place for me, mostly covered by the unexplored fog-of-war.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Severine said:

 

Yeah Brookline is an upscale wasteland that is well connected to nothing and easily accessed by no one. Damn them for hoarding the good baguettes all the way over there.

 

One of my best friends used to live within walking distance of Forest Hills stop so I used to take the stupid orange line all the time. I'm assuming you mean the other end though. I think I only went up there maybe once...the north side of Boston is a hazy place for me, mostly covered by the unexplored fog-of-war.

Seriously! I had to go to Brookline for an interview once, and after I waited forfuckingever for the appropriate green line train, we only went a few stops before they kicked everyone off the train and it switched to a different one and I had to wait again? And then get lost in Brookline? And wind up being 15 minutes late? Fuck Brookline. 

 

Ah. Yeah. Other end. That's kind of hilarious because I've rarely been to the other side of the city. I went to JP once when a friend moved there and beyond that... nah. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Severine said:

Damn them for hoarding the good baguettes all the way over there.

 

Giving how insanely, ridiculously good real baguettes are (I mean, they have 4 ingredients - the most basic banal ingredients ever - how can they be so good? WHAT SORCERY IS THIS???) I'm sure they planned it that way. 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, fleaball said:

Ah. Yeah. Other end. That's kind of hilarious because I've rarely been to the other side of the city. I went to JP once when a friend moved there and beyond that... nah. 

 

Excellent, well now that we've both staked out our turf on opposite ends of the city, we can begin our gang war, Sharks v. Jets style. Except I can't snap my fingers so that probably means I automatically lose any and all musical gang wars. Damn it.

 

Quick recap of today: exercise was a nice half-hour walk with L and a friend of ours who came over for dinner. I ate over my calorie target (not that I have one for this challenge but I have one in my head) but none of it was convenience food and I tracked it all. Tracking when I'm over target is always hard for me because a part of me would prefer to pretend it never happened. So I am happy I did it. For stress relief I'm journaling every night and I knocked some annoying tasks off the to-do list today and that was a good morale boost. Business partner created extra accounting work for me today by using the wrong credit card to pay for something and then forgetting to charge one of our customers sales tax, but I didn't let it get to me and I'm proud of myself for keeping it in perspective. Sure it's another 30 minutes of work, but that's not worth ruining a whole evening over. It was also good to have our friend over, and I made plans to hang out with him Friday night, so that'll be fun. He and I are also going to Philly for a weekend in October (for a concert and some other stuff), so we talked a bit about that and I'm looking forward to the trip.

 

Also, you all have me thinking about baguettes and financiers now. And upon further reflection I think it's probably for the best that the delicious bakery is far away and annoying to get to.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've only seen like the first ten minutes or so of West Side Story. I couldn't make it through. Maybe we both lose?

 

Hooray for friends and journaling and tracking! And I guess hooray for Brookline being a pain in the ass and denying you pastries and deliciousness.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, fleaball said:

I've only seen like the first ten minutes or so of West Side Story. I couldn't make it through. Maybe we both lose?

 

I've only seen it because when I was 20 the girl I was dating found out I'd never seen it and drunkenly and hilariously ranted about how it was part of the cultural zeitgeist and I would never get pop culture references unless I saw it blah blah blah. She owned it, so we ended up watching it right then while completely drunk. I thought it was stupid (and also surprisingly violent and disturbing) and I made snarky commentary through the whole thing and she kept telling me I was being a nihilistic snob and it was hilarious and we started making out sometime about halfway through so I have no idea how it ends. Probably everyone dies? I'm assuming it's not a happy ending.

 

Edited to add: but hey, now I can make West Side Story jokes/references (at least about the first half of the movie) so I guess she was right about it being useful. I should send her an email :D 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Severine said:

I ate over my calorie target (not that I have one for this challenge but I have one in my head) but none of it was convenience food and I tracked it all. Tracking when I'm over target is always hard for me because a part of me would prefer to pretend it never happened. So I am happy I did it.

This used to be a problem for me too, even on low carb (and now keto) when the exact calories don't really matter.  OK, the exact calories never really matter as our bodies are not mechanistic, etc.  Still, a psychological issue that was making me unhappy.  I got over it by disrupting the eating, as well as recording, by means of intermittent fasting.  Works great for my body and my head! :D 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.