Day 189: Cool Cool Sleep

What a difference a day and some thundershowers make. The heat and humidity broke yesterday, and left us with perfect sleeping weather. Cool cool sleep. It’s lovely. Well, almost lovely: the increased water regime has left me having to get up a few times in the night, which is suboptimal. I’m expecting my body will adjust.

Drinking 4L of water on a Saturday was less difficult than I expected. Just a matter of keeping an eye on the clock and mentally reminding myself to drink a cup, which is not that much, really, if I hadn’t in an hour or so. My folks are in town, so we all went out for dinner, too. This is actually a great opportunity to chug a ton of water if you look at it the right way. They keep filling it up!

Cool cool sleep and lukewarm sobriety

I’m hoping better rest will bolster my mental defenses. It’s been a weird few days for sobriety. Nothing terrible — not white-knuckling or anything — but it’s been “surgey” lately. “Hey, maybe it’s time to have a drink” kind of stuff.

And the rough part about not really having a capital-P problem is I probably could. I don’t have things bad to the point where I smell a grape and wake up in Mexico next to a crashed bus full of dead Dobermans. My wife tries a new beer, I sip it. I can deal. So surely, booze brain says, I can handle a whole beer?

But, as the really experienced sobernauts say, “play the tape forward.” It’s like skipping exercise for a day. It quickly becomes two, three, etc.

And at the end of the day, I’m happy. I’m happy not drinking. I’m happy right now. And I’ve been happy drinking, too, but I distinctly remember not being happy about my drinking.

So if I’m happy not drinking, and equally or less happy drinking, why not choose the option that’s healthier, less expensive, and ultimately less stressful?

That’s what I have to keep in mind when these little surges, er, surge.

Anyway: hopefully better rest will help reinforce the part of me that doesn’t let the niggling temptations pop up.

Day 188: Hot Hot Sleep

It’s hot. More accurately, it’s humid. We’re trying not to run the AC, because it’s expensive, and we’re not flush with cash. Also, the environment. But since we have an attic bedroom, this means hot hot sleep. It is no bueno. That, for those who don’t know, is the opposite of muy bueno.

So despite doing my best to do good pre-sleep things, last night was a very poor sleep night. Restless in general, up specifically twice for spans of time.

So it’s a rocky start this morning. Day 2 of my “Do All The Things And Three Litres Of Water A Day” challenge. Which needs a better name.

Day 1 went well. Drinking that much water is weird. There was a lot of shuttling back and forth to the bathroom.

Day 2 will be interesting, as I’ve hit the weekend, and, well, I don’t do well with regimes on the weekend. It’s not like I’m shackled to my desk and looking at a pitcher of water. So we’ll see how I make this work.

Hot hot sleep and cool, cool water

A while back, because it was on a crazy sale, I bought my wife a kind of novelty thing: it’s a pillow with a special zippered compartment. It comes with a specially shaped hot water bottle. So you set it all up and it’s a warm water pillow.

Now I’m wondering if I could put cold icy water in the pillow and have a supercooled pillow at night. That would be great, except it’s my wife’s pillow and I don’t think my genius would wind up benefiting me at all.

The solution is going to be moving to the guest room, turning on the AC, and sucking it up costwise on the really bad nights, I think. Because money’s important, but sleep and lifestyle are also pretty important.


Day 187: Weight and Heat

Having started this in the winter, I’m running into some new things that never occurred to me. One thing is that weight and heat are related, apparently. My weight has been fluctuating like crazy for the last few days, and I couldn’t figure out why.

Apparently, water retention can change with heat and humidity.

So that’s a relief, kind of.

Still running; the stressful news the other day was the I’ve been having recurring and acute pain in my right knee. The doctor kind of blithely said “it’s early arthritis” and sent me for an x-ray to confirm.

Which is depressing. I don’t want arthritis! I also don’t like pain.

So this is both sad, but also ups the ante for weight loss and diet. Obviously, shedding pounds is the best way to avoid making things worse. So on the bright (kind of) side: another motivator.

Weight and heat and motivation

It’s good that I exercise at 5:15 a.m., because I’d be a basket case if I was trying to do anything after work. I hate being hot, but I also hate that freon taste of air conditioning. Running outside would be a sweaty nightmare. Working out indoors would be an air conditioned nightmare. So morning exercise is really working out well for me.

It’s a crappy time to get remotivated to lose weight, because the heat and humidity are playing havoc with the scales. But the good news is that if I can get a good baseline now, I’ll be rocking it when the weather improves.

So I think I’m going to reset the 10-day challenge again, this time with arthritis in mind. After 36 hours of absorbing the information, it’s time to own it.

Also, in the spirit of really challenging myself, I’m going to try to bolt on good, regular water consumption. I have a water jug at work, and refill fountains that fill to 1.5 litres automatically. I think I can do the quasi-recommended 3 litres a day (based on some super shaky Internet science). So I’m’a try it.

Day 186: 10-Day Challenge Day One Again

On Day Five of this challenge, I had my first stumble — bad food logging yesterday. I have been knocked down, but I must get up again. And they are never going to keep me down! A lot of people don’t know that song is about binge drinking. So a terrible theme for sobriety. But it’s day one again.

I usually gloss over these things, but let’s unpack this:

  • I got some stressful news. Not life-threatening or anything, but potentially a long-term pain in the arse.
  • I ate stupid
  • I felt ashamed of eating stupid
  • I didn’t log my food because I didn’t want to revisit my shame at eating stupid.

Clearly, the wire that needs to be cut is the one between “stress” and “eating stupid.” That’s an unhealthy wire. But the arbitrariness of accountability is also a big thing. That really can’t stand.

Giving myself a break because I need a break is one thing; just kind of not logging because I’m not proud of what I’ve done is another.

So — call it hubris for saying the 10-day challenge was going well. I’m going to have to reset and start again.

Today is day one again.

I don’t have any answers about rewiring the stress-to-eating part of my brain. I think one of the genesises (geneses?) of the 10-Day Challenge and this whole project is I rewire through DOING, not through stating. I think I need to actually power through a number of stresses without turning to food. Then the circuits will reset. Obviously, I don’t know for sure.

So today is Day One of the 10-Day Challenge again. I think I just need to make runs at this until I get it locked down. Once again:

  • Weigh every morning
  • Exercise every day (light on Saturdays)
  • Log all my planned food in the morning; stick to that plan
  • Execute my evening checklist

That’s what I should be doing for the next 10 days. Straight. No exceptions.

Here I go again! On my own! TAKE IT AWAY WHITESNAKE

Day 185: 10-Day Challenge Part 5 – We’re Going To Need A Bigger Challenge

All right, so I’m halfway into my “get back on track” 10-day challenge, and it’s not all THAT challenging. I’m starting to feel a bit distracted. I think “doing what I should be doing in the first place” isn’t good enough. I need a bigger challenge.

My wife suggests 10 days without any sugar, which seems like a good haul. Maybe that’ll be the next re-up of 10 days.

It’s not that I’m not proud of getting back on track. I am. My weight has taken a weird sharp turn up in the last couple days — I suspect because I’m drinking more water — and I’m not feeling, well, like I’m accomplishing much with this challenge.

This is the eternal problem that I wrestle with: try hard, and get overwhelmed and burn out. Try too little, and feel like I’m not trying hard enough. Maybe that’s the thing. Maybe you never get it right. Maybe life is a constant flux between “working too hard” and “working too easy.” Is the bigger challenge just finding a level of work to settle at?

A bigger challenge: finding a personal productivity system

I made a couple of lame swings at process planning last night — mainly refreshing my memory of Gantt charts. But the projects I’m working on are solo, so there’s not much point to it. It’s a system to track dependencies. When I’m the sole dependency, it’s not very useful.

So I might look at other project systems today, but now I’m wondering if my to-do list future is more of a calendar problem than a list/chart problem. Maybe I just need to lock key dates into a calendar, set deadlines for myself, and crunch that way.

I’ve got a kayak lesson tonight, which I’m excited about. I’ve always been a canoeist. But again, this feels like — too many hobbies? Hm.

Day 184: 10-Day Challenge Day Four – To-Do Lists

The challenge is on! Yesterday’s food tracking and finance tracking was hard. I actually just looped back to adjust yesterday’s food entries, which I should not be doing. Today is back to work, though, so a much more controlled food experience.

Yesterday I started to open up the idea of re-starting my to-do list again. A personal one. I haven’t really had one for years. And I’m not sure if they’re helpful, ultimately.

I’ve been a sporadic to-do-lister in my life. I’ve tried pen and paper, various computer schemes, a variety of apps. In the end, I always wind up falling off.

I think, ultimately, and given everything on my plate, I’ve got an aversion to to-do lists for two reasons.

  • They’re terrifying
  • My brain is a natural triage machine

To-do lists scare me.

They do. Because things pile up so fast and so hard that I start to feel claustrophobic and panicked. And then there’s the freaking out, and waaaugh. Because I know I take on too much; that’s a given. But seeing it doesn’t help me get things done, necessarily. It just keeps me in a state of anxiety.

My brain is a triage machine.

The other thing about not having a to-do list is that it lets me organize myself naturally. As long as I’m not dropping any major balls, and nobody’s shouting at me, I’m probably all good. Other than owing people songs from months ago, which weighs on me daily, I feel pretty good about my commitments these days.

So maybe I’ve talked myself out of to-do lists again. I don’t know.

I think a project-based approach might be better… something like a GANTT chart to keep track of things like major volunteer duties and my side hustles.

So I might dip my toes into project management tools for some of my larger personal projects, but leave the day-to-day to-do lists for my brain to sort out.

To be continued…

Day 183: 10-Day Challenge – Day Three

Day Two went well, once again; the biggest challenge remains pre-logging food. It’s hard when you have a partner, and on weekends or non-working days.

Workdays are pretty simple; I can control my day, and my food intake, pretty much from waking up to dinner. But when you’re out and about with somebody, plans can change pretty quickly. Lunch gets pushed back, they want something different for dinner than what you had in mind, etc.

So keeping on track takes an extra helping of willpower and forbearance on not-work-days. I can do it, it’s just harder.

Still pretty excited about the half-marathon training, but I’m starting to move from “easy ramp up” to “longer, more difficult runs” in the next week or so. Eventually I’ll be doing long mileage on weekday mornings, which will be an interesting bridge to cross in terms of getting to work on time. I’ll also be crossing some interesting bridges, come to think of it.

Minor food quibbles aside, I’m not feeling a lot of pressure from this challenge, largely because it’s “do what I should,” not a great personal sacrifice or anything. So I’m happy to keep my nose down. One good aspect of it, is that it’s keeping me from having my usual holiday weekend food troubles.

I’m also back on track with my daily weight, but I suspect that might be dehydration from a big day out yesterday and not much water.

One thing I’m finding is that I might need to get back into personal to-do lists. Work is going well, with a stable, static to-do list I keep on my desktop there. I’ve never managed to make personal to-do lists work. I don’t know why. I feel like my life sort of stays on track; but with a chunk o’ stuff going on right now, it might be time to re-investigate that.

I had something pretty good working for a while, with Sublime Text 3, PlainTasks, and Sublime FTP. I was keeping a task file synched on my webhost and bouncing back and forth from home to the office. Then the sync stopped working, and it all became kind of a pain. I might try that approach again, but with Dropbox as the common point.


Day 182: 10-Day Challenge — Part Two

Day one went well! I’m opening some other tabs right now to get on top of the first issue on my checklist – finance. It’s been a rough month, financially, mainly due to municipal taxes coming due.

It helps with determination to get the side hustle going, though.

Sticking with the challenge, though: Day Two is aligning well. Daily weigh is done, exercise is done, and I’m about to log food and get the finances in order.

Pre-logging food is the hardest thing of all, I think. It’s hard not to deviate, especially on holidays and weekends when I’m at home. There are just so many snacking opportunities! So I’m trying to pre-log snacks; figure out what kind of snacking urges might strike, and make small windows for them.

Slow and steady exercise is today’s order, according to the half-marathon training. I’m looking up whether or not I can do other exercise on rest days — signs point to yes — and I think maintaining 30-minute medium-effort rows on non-running days is a good idea.

So this is generally a check-in day; things are going well, I’m looking forward to Day Two of this 10-day immersion back into good habits. I’ve also updated the ol’ checklist, if anyone wants to see that:

check-out checklist
Now with money and banjos!


I feel like this whole 10-day thing is part of a cycle of “try this until it sticks.” There’s got to be a balance between the whole ‘quitting smoking’ approach, where you just keep trying if you don’t succeed the first time, and recognizing when something absolutely doesn’t work for you.

No part of this feels like it can’t work for me. I think it’s just a matter of trying again. At least, that’s the phase I’m in right now. Keep getting up and taking another run at it until it gels.


Day 181: 10-Day Challenge Part One — Starting Stupid

Doing this at 4 a.m. is new, but I’ve been up most of the night with indigestion. So I figured I’d knock this out now, maybe go back to bed after, since I can’t sleep anyway. Let’s start the 10-day challenge in the worst way possible!

My wife and I went a bit food-crazy last night, and ordered some pizza; the pizza came wrong. What was supposed to be a meatless pizza, for me, showed up as a straight Hawaiian. We didn’t realize until I was halfway through a slice.

So I can’t start this challenge with half a pizza in the fridge, right?

Therefore, I ate a LOT of pizza.

Which is kind of how my dumb brain works. One last plunge into the abyss before the work begins.

‘Tany rate, it has been a really rough night for sleep, and I’m still intent on taking on this “do all the things” challenge over the next 10 days. Pretty psyched, actually.

The 10-day challenge is off to a bad start, frankly.

But that is kind of galvanizing in its own right.

So my middle of the night determination was to fast today; reset that clock. But it’s also Canada Day, and my wife wants to do a barbecue thing tonight. So it’s fruit and salad all day, and a modest vegan sausage and beans thing for dinner. Again, I want to reboot a bit, and then get back to a good diet and exercise for the rest of the nine days.

It’s also a rest day for running, so I’ll just get a “brisk walk-jog” in before the show, and that’s it for exercise.

So if I had to pick a day for gluttony induced insomnia, this isn’t a bad one.

It’s still insomnia, though, and it’s going to be a rough day that I need to brace myself for, moodwise.

So here’s to Day One! Let’s get this one under the belt, and then on to the next nine.