Listen to the Music

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Yesterday, my PT returned from holiday to remind me of what hard work really means, and that I have slacked over the last three weeks. Therefore, as of right now, many things have changed. My morning snack has become breakfast. Breakfast has moved to lunch. This morning, I ran, strode and walked myself until I could do no more. Training to failure is not a recommended technique, but I don’t push enough. A lot has become habit, and that is never a good thing. Tuesday therefore has become the first day in a new regime.

You don’t need to wait until January to be dry, or start new resolutions. A Tuesday in September is just as relevant as a starting point. The key, of course, is that when that line is drawn, the race is run as if it mattered. I can feel bad habits slipping in: last night, for instance, I procrastinated for most of the evening when there was work to be done, and now I have a sizeable to do list which will only get larger because I’ve inserted exercise into the start of my day. However as the plan is to do this every day this week? I can at least now organise around it.

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Then it is all about not being distracted by Twitter, or daydreaming myself into inactivity (which can often happen) but settling down and getting the work done. That means the bedsheets get changed today as well as catchup from last week’s Patreon gubbins, before finally clearing the last of my desk area so I can prepare for video blogging next month. All three sites support it, and I may well end up doing supplementary content for all three ‘interests’ assuming I can set the computer up to my liking.

Needless to say, there’s a lot planned for the future.

Can’t Do

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On Friday evening, my husband suggested I watch a TED talk which has, quite literally, melted my brain.

What this talk does is explain how we lose weight.ย If you haven’t ever wondered where the fat goes when you get lighter, this talk is for you. Yes, you will get an exchange of fat for muscle, if your body has the ability to do so easily. However, most of your weight is exhaled.ย Yeah, just take a moment to grasp the amazing nature of that claim, and then watch this surfing Australian chemist BLOW YOUR MIND.ย Effectively it does not matter what else happens (within reason, of course) as long as you

a) eat less
b) exercise more and
c) KEEP BREATHING

The key is c) in this equation: the harder you work, the more you breathe, and (potentially) the more weight gets lost.ย Of course, this is hardly groundbreaking: however, what this explanation did for me was reinforce the basic point of exercise.

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I watch people at the gym pretending to do just that, far more often than should be the norm. By that, we’re talking about those who turn up, use equipment, but never push your heart-rate to a point where you have to breathe heavily.ย They don’t sweat, or indeed look as if there is any kind of removal from their comfort zones. This, by the strict definition of our science above, won’t let them lose weight. However, most of these people have no need to in the first place.ย These are the appearance exercisers: probably not eating enough to require major exertion, yet still aware their bodies need to be aired on a regular basis.

They look fit and healthy, but is this really true?

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I sweat like a pig when exercising, and always have. It is not pretty either, but what this does is make it aware to me whether the amount of effort expended is sufficient. As time has gone on, it takes increasing amounts of effort to reach the same point.ย However, on some days, you need very little.ย Those are the ones where I have breathing difficulties, or I’m less than 100% physically together. This scientific revelation means that every day has the potential for weight loss, if there’s the ability to grasp what body is capable of doing. Most significantly of all, steps have become completely irrelevant to my notion of exercise.

That will take some getting used to.

12k (which is my step goal) is achieved by a walk to and from the Gym, a couple of miles on the Octane machine and 30 minutes on the Treadmill. Except I could complete all of this and never really expend that much energy by doing so, and create the impression of exercise. Today therefore I made every step count,ย adding an incline to my workout, and almost fell off the treadmill. I can therefore attest that these 12,000 steps burnt a lot of calories, and that every subsequent time I go and exercise anywhere, that is what is going to happen.

Knowledge is a wonderful thing, but it is even better at that moment when you truly grasp the significance of what you have learnt, and then how to utilise that for yourself.

Look Away

Yesterday, something fractured in my head.

I went upstairs into our bedroom and pulled out all the trousers that have been waiting to be tried on, once I’ve lost weight.ย Many of them now fit comfortably for the first time. A couple are never going to be large enough, others are simply too big. The realisation has finally registered that I could be waiting forever to fit into a size or style, or perhaps it is time to just accept what is here and live with the consequences. Therefore, there are four bags of clothes sitting by the front door, which simply won’t ever get worn.ย I was holding onto them out of misguided belief, in the end.

A lot of my life is retained on that principle, and finally there has emerged means of escape.

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I know what triggered this, that the second week of Mindfulness Training has started the process of meditation, and as soon as I quieten my mind to everything else, reality is simply unavoidable.ย I don’t need all these clothes when I live in a small and well-curated subset of one type of apparel. There is no need to keep things ‘in case of X’ when X is never going to happen, and if it did, I’d be better served just going out and buying what was required. I’m beginning to detest the excesses of materialism with a passion that was normally reserved for politics and stupidity. I don’t need anythingย except a notepad and pencil on most days, a basic PC as a luxury. Everything else is dangerous and potentially addictive, when all is said and done.

So, the house is going to lose a phenomenal amount of content and weight at the time of year when one is normally considering the excesses of Christmas and New Year. In fact, I am going to go fully digital for gifts this year with a number of exceptions who’ll get something hand-made and personal to them. I need to start planning now, on reflection, but it won’t be a huge task to get my arse in gear, especially when so much of my ‘old’ life is going out the door in the next couple of weeks. It is true what they say about de-cluttering, how cathartic it is to release from constraints of the past. It is also very comforting to know that deep down I’m beginning to accept what I am for the first time in my life, that there is no need to conform to anyone else’s view of what is right.

I realised when I began the Minimalism course that it had the potential to fundamentally alter what I am, because I had simply been too afraid before to listen to my basic self unhindered. Now that is happening, life is less about worry and anger than it ever was. Self-control is becoming a tool of liberation.

There’s a revelation in itself.

Knowing Me, Knowing You

header78Yesterday, I ate something I will not eat again. I now understand that my body loves certain foods but will effectively cripple me if I eat others, especially on an empty stomach. Let it not be said I do not understand how life without a gallbladder works.ย My plan therefore is bland, small and lots of water in between, followed by a VERY long walk somewhere for stamina. Camera is ready to take pictures. Think today is one I need to move, but not in a manner that might make me throw up. As much as I ascribe to the ‘if it is not hurting it is not working’ mentality, that does not work right now.

Time for gentle exercise and no recriminations.

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I realised quite quickly into this journey that although yes, I can live perfectly well without a bile regulation device, I cannot eat what I did any more, despite various people’s assertions to the contrary. It has taken four months for my body to reasonably adjust to the differential, but now I cannot digest certain foods that were problem free for my digestive system previously. Dietary choices therefore have shrunk and not remained constant. It is probably fortunate therefore that most of those foods aren’t exactly good for my system anyway, and losing them is no massive hardship.

Then I remind myself of the consequences had the organ remained in my body, and a loss of a few foods is academic. What I ought to do is get myself looked at for allergy testing, and make sure there’s nothing more sinister and long term at issue here. With my son’s allergies being of significant importance at present, it is entirely possible that my genetic material is at fault. That is something to add to the To Do list for next week. For now, however, it is time to get ready for my walk.

Two Tribes

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I was woken up at 6.30am yesterday morning by a news alert on my tablet, propped up next to the bed, announcing North Korea’s successful nuclear test. As a child, living through the most stressful part of the Cold War, this feeling of dread is not new. However, there is no such concern or worry this time around, even with the two world leaders who are in charge of the weapons right now. If it happens, there’s absolutely nothing I can do. That lesson was learnt a long time ago; obsessing about the end of the World has no real value. For the first time in my entire life, I’m more worried about enjoying the time I have as opposed to stressing about what is to come.

That’s a mindset shift I’m rather enjoying, as it happens.

Yesterday’s bike ride was a World away from the week before and there is no worry that I can’t keep improving on times as long as weather allows decent progress. Starting tomorrow I’ll be back in the shed, on Zwift, sticking another 10 miles a day on the legs. The only concern right now are elbows (struggling to get stronger as I hang for increasingly longer periods) and a persistent back niggle, which I’ll take to the Doctor if it doesn’t improve. Other than that, we’ll just keep going forward.

If the World goes tits up, at least I’m physically ready for the challenge.

Panic

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I’m going to admit that the last week’s been tougher than any I can remember for a while. Mentally I’ve had some really complex issues bubbling along in the background, and it has meant I’m now behind with Patreon work. The problem mostly has manifested in creativity (or the total lack of it) and having to write content when there is neither inspiration nor ability to do so. However, I am at least now up to date with Pledges and promised stuff, and so today the plan is simple: get as much done as I can before shoving myself back on track. It will help considerably that school begins on Tuesday, thus returning a large portion of the day when I don’t need to worry about other people requiring my assistance.

In fact, yesterday was so bad I took myself out of the house for a long walk in local woods as a way to detach from the issues and to try and find some equilibrium. I feel a lot more comfortable this morning as a result, and hopefully this will allow a measure of organization to break out across Sunday. It will help enormously that I have everything ready to go in at leas some pre-planned state, including all the content for the next 10 days. There’s some vital back end work that need to take place too and once I can get my head around that, everything will become a lot easier.

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I never realised how much work would be involved in the Patreon, and now I have a measure of it I’m happy to admit where I fail. It is a reasonably easy task to get myself back on track too, and all it needs is a good morning’s worth of effort and then an afternoon of application and I’m ready to go again. I’m sad I didn’t pick up more Patrons last month but I have some new people on board and that is enough until everything returns to a semblance of normality. Then I really need to spend some time making space in the house for stuff and clearing out things I don’t need. I started in the early Summer and it was never finished to my satisfaction.

Space isn’t being used nearly as effectively as it should be, and I need to fix that as a matter of priority. I’m going out on a bike ride early today instead of late, to make the most of adrenaline. Lots of things are being shifted about and reassessed in the hope that this will improve the situation. If I wanted any indicator of the fact things are different, last night’s sleep record has me waking only once. It’s the first time I have done so for several months. In fact, I feel more refreshed waking up this morning than I have for quite some time.

Time to capitalise.

Rise

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Playtime is officially over.

Once breakfast (and written obligations for the AM) are dealt with, its off to the Gym (Push Day) and then back to knock off some backstage gubbins. Tomorrow is another bike ride. Monday’s a Bank Holiday here and so will involve getting my daughter’s school uniform sorted, and more stuff chucked out of the house: there’s a rapidly increasing pile of crap outside which shows that finally, everybody else is on the same page as I am in terms of regeneration and improvement.

Then, I have the task of trying to pull in more Patreons. I’d hoped to hit 30 by the end of August, which may yet still be doable. It involves selling myself quite hard, but I think that’s a task I’m up to, and so starting today there will be a series of posts on the Writing site to act as a sales pitch, in the hope I can get people involved. These will then be used as articles that form the content for promoted Twitter tweets starting in September. There’s a plan to everything, it is just extracting the digit to make it work.

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Leaves on trees are already starting the transformation from green to gold, red and yellow. This is the earliest Autumn I can recall for a while, but it is perhaps unsurprising on the back of what was a really warm winter. If I needed reminding of how much the Earth is changing, it will remind me on the walk to the Gym and back, in the forest tomorrow when we ride. I know I can’t change decades of systematic abuse by other people, but I can make sure I’m prepared with my family to cope with what may be to come. Once upon a time I would have shirked at responsibility, but not any more.

On the day my son’s GCSE results were published (A’s to C’s, he was unbelievably happy and that’s frankly all that matters) I was eating breakfast when I heard a cry from next door. Our elderly neighbour had fallen, and could not get up, and so the family mounted a rescue mission (via a lifted fence panel) to get her up and about. Last night her daughter knocked on our door to thank us for our thought and care, and to state she’ll be getting her mother to a doctor to check that everything is okay. Once upon a time I’d have not put two and two together and grasped there was a problem to begin with. I like being this aware, and long may that continue.

Here’s to a future full of positive action.