Day 764: Three days, two weeks.

Three days off! THREE DAYS! And I’m back to where I was two weeks ago. It’s astounding how fast backsliding goes.

Lesson learned, and unlike previous breaks, my determination is pretty solid to get back on that horse and make that ground back up again. My food is prepped for the day, my water jug is full, I’ve done some exercise. Let’s get back there and beyond!

The trend for January was great. Not replicable as it was based on a lot of early “easy” weight, but I can totally do that again. April is still viable, I just need to not take these breaks, and not listen to the little voice that enables them.

A little time reflecting on goals this morning will help too; I’m going to pull that Perfect Me sheet and take another look at it, and at some of those little phrases that help get me geared up.

Day 720: Living La Vida Sugar-Freea

Not really true, it just makes a good line. And I forgot and had a Brio yesterday, so there.

I feel good about the decision in general, though. I’ve been struggling to get and stay back on top for months now, so maybe a big bold play is exactly the thing to get me going in a new direction.

Yesterday went pretty well (but one day is also easy-peasy). I’m going to give myself a reasonable exception while visiting my folks because it’s easier to have a g_d cookie than to try to explain these sorts of things.

In general, though, I’m’a work on just quitting snacks/sweets. Without the “make it at home and then cookies are okay” workaround. Flat no to everything. It’s just easier that way.

Day 278: Fighting Crime

The worst thing about chasing a robber that has just stolen a bunch of stuff from students at the library is not the chase. It’s realizing that you’re going to catch him, and have no idea what you’re going to do.

Long story short: guy stole a bunch of stuff, I saw another staff member chase him out the building, I joined the chase. He was weighed down from stealing too much stuff. So I was gaining on him pretty sharpish and realized I had no idea what to do if I caught up. I’m not even sure, legally, what you can do to somebody who’s stolen stuff and is running away. And this was pretty obviously somebody who was marginalized and didn’t have a lot to lose, so the odds of things getting stabby were higher than I’d choose for baby’s first crime-fight.

Fortunately a bunch of fitter, fleeter student had caught on and caught up. So then it was a matter of kind of surrounding the guy, and he dropped everything and kept going. One of those everyone looks at everyone else moments, and nobody really wants to get in a fist fight with somebody who looks like they have something bloodborne that we don’t wanna get. So that was that.

And it turns out that while I was chasing this guy down, a partner was robbing my office. Irony!

So this thing kind of ties into yesterday’s thing, and a kind of meta-problem I have with figuring out where genetics and society end and personal decisions begin. I mean, I have direct personal experience from the last 48 hours of having unfortunate genetic-social triggers encouraging dumb behaviour. I can shout them down. But I can measure the distance between me, being able to resist dumb impulses, and somebody who can’t. It’s not a vast difference.

I’m angry that somebody stole my phone, and I was angry when I was running down the guy who stole a bunch of stuff from our students. But it’s hard for me to parse, sometimes, how people get to the point where they’re jacking laptops in a library. Or heisting phones they’ll never be able to do anything with.

I’m trying not to go on forever with this. But with a lot of things: booze, diet, exercise… I often wonder if I make the wrong decisions due to a moral or personal failing, or if I’m really fighting a hard upstream battle against my own brain chemistry and DNA. And that extrapolates out to other people as well. I struggle to understand what people are responsible for, and what a stew of bad luck, bad genetics and bad social structures drive people into.

 

Day 232: Solidarity and the Day/Night problem

Yesterday went really well until my wife returned from the beer festival, feeling great. She had stopped by the store because the beer festival had put her in a snackin’ mood.

This, of course, put ME in a snackin’ mood.

It was a very bad night for snacking. Despite my best intentions. I just don’t have a great reservoir of willpower when I’m tired and stressed and snacks are present.

And frankly, I’m getting a bit mentally weird about my wife drinking. This isn’t on her, it’s on me. But there’s kind of a “well, you’re off having a good time drinking, so I’m a’gonna X. For values of snacking, or playing games, or just generally goofing off. Resentfully goofing off. This isn’t amazingly mature.

The good news is my wife is actually getting a bit booze-fatigued after covering a lot of ground this summer for her podcast, and reveling in the sudden thrill of getting comped a lot as a podcast host.

So she’s on a break for the rest of the month, which means I’ll be supporting her on staying on the wagon. Or off the wagon. I can never remember how that goes. Anyway, I’ll be reminding her that she’s on a break periodically until September 1.

But yesterday was the classic evening me problem of a great day giving way to a terrible night. Got tired, willpower drooped, was given an excuse, and fared poorly. I got a bit contact drunk when my wife got home, and used her snacking as an excuse for my own.

So I’m a bit ashamed this morning, but again, it’s good to see that she’s also about to embark on a 10-day stint of super clean living. With both of us operating in tandem, we should have an excellent end of August.

 

Day 231: Half-Hearted

Work stress! So some sleep stuff last night. A weird thing where there’s a situation that isn’t my fault but the fallout is mine to have fun with. And everyone knows it’s not my fault. And everyone knows I’m doing as good a job as possible dealing with the fallout. So I’m — blameless? And professionally, actually kind of look good and on the ball for doing pretty much the best job that can be done in the situation.

So kind of a meh run this morning: to my credit, I powered through the full 10k, and will be building back up to another 18, then another half-mara in mid-September ideally. Part of the meh run is due to feeling blah, another is that I’m still technically in recovery from the half-mara (and heat exhaustion) a week ago.

Podcasts and powering through this morning. Sometimes you just gotta get it done.

It’s also going to be a work from home day, a bit… a conference call related to the abovementioned this morning, and some stuff around hiring.

This will be a good day to just keep things on track. As discussed yesterday, I’ve cut myself loose from attending a beerfest this afternoon, so I’ll be focusing on some other long-neglected projects. But I need to knuckle down and do food logging and pour myself a massive jug o’ water right now, just to make sure a blah start doesn’t translate into a whole bad day.

 

Day 220: Morning coffee

I love me my morning coffee. Sometimes I feel like it’s yet another addiction. I’ve quit caffeine before, but it never sticks. There’s also not a lot of super compelling reasons to quit, other than the vague idea that I don’t like being beholden to something.

Four pounds over my weight goals right now, but staying on top of the sobriety, running, and sleep has actually been going pretty well. I don’t know if I’m getting cocky, but the cat has been good for three days running now. Maybe my psychic intention to not get up has leaked over.

So will better sleep — assuming I’m (finally) on the path to better sleep — reduce my passion for coffee? It’s hard to say. But it’s definitely been a crutch in the recent past. Compensating for poor sleep.

On good sleep nights, though, I still crave that coffee.

So I’m not sure if coffee craving can be used as a gauge for anything other than my ongoing addiction to caffeine.

Morning coffee gives me cigarette nostalgia.

The only other down side of morning coffee is that sometimes… not often… it gives me a clear flashback to my smoking years.

I don’t “seem like a smoker,” apparently, but there y’go. I came to it later than a lot of people, but I was half-a-pack when I lived in Quebec for a while, then tapered off. Finally quit, with my wife, for good back around 2011.

And I don’t get the cravings very often. It used to be when drinking, but that’s resolved. On certain crisp mornings, though, there’s a definite sense memory around having a cigarette and a cup of coffee on the porch that really resonates.

There’s something about past vices, I guess. Nostalgia for the bad old days. Obviously, I’m happy about the progress I’m making, but what does it say that I keep mentally calling back to bad habits?

Day 166: Recovery Mode

My second day of recovery mode. I have to say: yesterday was pretty great, and I’m looking forward to another day today of taking it easy on myself before jumping back into the goals and drive of the usual.

Just so’s we’re clear: this is not a sobriety break. Nor a break from broad good sense. Still vegetarian. It’s an exercise and strict diet break. And this isn’t a great thing, but it’s a coping thing, and I’m okay with a coping thing right now.

Normally I’d be fretting more about surrounding circumstances, but there’s a lot of one-offs that led up to this. And I think I have learned lessons about overcommitment and capacity. And listening to that inner voice that says “too much, dumbass.”

So today’s my second/final “break day” for exercise and food. Oh, and sleep! Ducking in and out of the podcast today because it’s been late nights, so late mornings. Commitment to this project overall is unwavering, but commitment to not flaming out screaming is even higher.

 

Day 151: Food Reboot

Kind of a backwards day today. I went back to bed after waking up with the cat this morning. My wife’s alarm didn’t go off. And we were pretty tired after a big day yesterday. We’re building a Swedish-style daybed from plain lumber, which is exhilarating but turns out to be pretty exhausting to. Anyway: today, Day 151, is the food reboot. As discussed yesterday.

It’s time to stop dicking around with food. Food is now Job One. Well, sobriety is now Job One. Food is Co-Job-One. Food, and sobriety, share Job One status. I love them both equally.

Daily Weight is a thing. Every day now. I’ve slacked off on it for Reasons, but it really has to be a daily thing. So that’s back.

Food planning is also now A Thing. Again, to be done in the morning and stuck to in the day.

A goal is now A Thing. 175 lbs. by 2018. That’s 25 pounds and well within a healthy weight for me. December 31 is 213 days away.  That’s 0.12 pounds a day. That does not seem that bad.

So I’m going to work from daily weight and an established goal line set at .012 pounds a day rather than the weekly tabulation. Because maybe I do need to freak out a little. For now.

Food reboot is essential, and it’s entirely doable.

Here’s the thing, and I’ve said this before: I am a smart guy. I understand how this stuff works. I’m not sure why I keep letting it get out from under me. But I now have The Science behind me: sobriety doesn’t lead to weight loss if food isn’t under control. Exercise doesn’t lead to weight loss if food is under control.

I’ve got to get food under control! Food reboot is the thing I must do.

So like I said, it’s Backwards Day today; I’m recording the podcast before exercise and coffee. I know I’ve sworn to stay off electronics before exercise. But today I’m all jazzed up and kind of angry at my weight so I think I’ll persevere.

 

Day 145: Habit-forming people (and others)

So I’ve forgotten — plain forgotten, not rebelling — to weigh myself the last couple of days. Which is annoying, because according to the habit-forming theory, it should be a habit by now.

I’ve been reading up on habits and habit-forming behaviour, and most of it is, well, goofy made-up bullcrap. Or really bad science. Or a bit of both. The old “21 days” thing, for instance, is not true. The article I just linked promptly descends into made-up bullcrap, of course.

I’m beginning to wonder if some people are just “habit people” and some people aren’t. Maybe I need to course correct periodically, and that’s just how I am.

Habit-forming for some, tiny correction flags for others!

Things like yesterday; not picking up my phone or otherwise going online before exercise in the morning _should_ be a no-brainer. It should be a habit. But I still need, despite knowing the benefits and doing it (well, not doing it) regularly, occasional “resets” when I drift back into the behaviour.

And maybe that’s just how I’m wired. Maybe I’ll be great about weighing myself for weeks, get distracted or stop for some reason, and it will take overt effort to get me back on it.

Now, there’s “habits” and there’s issues. I’m not saying I can “drift back into drinking for a while and then get back out of it.” That’s a commitment. Diet is kind of similar, and I think my course corrections aren’t staying on top of the drift sometimes. But habit-forming doesn’t seem to be in my readily accessible DNA.

So I’m going to keep doing the good things I do, but I’m not going to beat myself up over them not becoming “habits.” They’re actions. And aren’t actions better than habits, anyway? Intention, rather than reflex, as an indicator of commitment and success.

 

Day 144: Puttering

I get up pretty early — 5 a.m., most days. The theory is this lets me get a lot done before I have to head to work. The truth is that I’ve been sinking into “puttering mode” in the morning.

I’ll get up, sure, but spend about half an hour just kind of dithering around. I mean, here’s the list of things that need to happen for me to go running:

  • Put on shoes
  • Get house key
  • Set up music on phone
  • Go

And rowing is pretty much the same, minus the house key.

So there’s not much reason it’s taking me til 5:30-5:40 to get out of the house. It’s just… puttering.

There actually is a “putter factor,” which pertains to running, which is whether or not my phone is charged. I use it for music, and for run tracking, and a few iOS updates ago, battery life became negligible. The phone can’t run for more than 45 minutes if the battery is less than 60%.

So the one big note is I do need to make sure the phone is charging on pre-running nights. That’s a huge factor in terms of puttering.

Other than that, the key — and we’ve covered this before, but I’ve gotten bad about it again — is to NOT DO ELECTRONICS.

Don’t touch a puttering device until after I’ve exercised.

I mean, other than “turn on music, start run tracker,” obviously.

But I really, really need to stay away from the phone/iPad/computer until my day is well and truly started. Because it is the Black Attention Hole. From its depths it is almost impossible to emerge.

Email. Facebook. Twitter. Work email. The entire Internet in general. It is all a giant distraction machine.

Now, puttering is infinite, and I can find any number of OTHER puttering opportunities (how long has it been since I re-organized the silverware drawer?). But the Internet is 100% the puttering enemy. It must be stopped.

Because I’m not getting up at 5 a.m. to read about American political outrages or think about work. I’m getting up at 5 a.m. to get my day started.