2021 mid year check in

Old photo of mine from 2005

A lot has changed since the last time I posted here.

Right now is a transitional time for me. Back in the office full time and changed departments (promotion and trajectory plan included). Training the person to take my place and training myself for my new role.

For those who knew about the situation with my mom being accused of a felony she didn’t commit while a comptroller at a bank – it’s finally over. The appeals court acquitted her of 12 out of 14 charges. They kicked the last two back to the lower courts. The lower court judge was called out by the defense attorneys for possibly having to admit information he previously refused to allow in court should the DOJ decide to retrial the 2 counts. That information in itself essentially kills their case, which should have been allowed from the very start. Basically the DOJ had no case if that material was admitted, which also begs the question of how all of this BS even got past the hearing stages 9 years ago… So 10+ years later and after the untimely death of my father due to the stress of what happened it is all finally over. The DOJ dropped everything and took off the previous guilty conviction so my mom no longer has a felony on her file. The only thing this whole experience has left me with is a severe distrust of our system – not that there wasn’t plenty in the news over the past year to make me think otherwise already… There is no such thing as “justice”. It was always a witch hunt to point fingers and make the investors feel better. But now my mom can finally enjoy her retirement.

Despite every intention of having a No-Buy year most of my money was spent on medical costs, which derailed what should have been a good money-saving year. To date, I’ve spent near 3K on medical between doctor visits, PT, and medicines. However, I’ve not bought a lot outside of that – unless it was something that I believed would help my health overall.

Like many others, I did gain a little weight during COVID but not a huge amount. The areas of “stubborn fat” I had were increasing – like around my stomach. The lack of stamina, strength and sleep affected me. Those combined with a series of ailments that had me terrified for a while solidified why I needed to change something.

Diet

Note: I’m only writing this here because I’ve found what works for ME.

After researching various diets and conducting mini tests on myself to see where I’d see the most impact I found what works and what doesn’t. Clearly exercising isn’t enough. I don’t like calling it a diet even though that is the technical term for any regular eating pattern we have for ourselves. So I’ll just say: I’ve changed my eating pattern. What I figured out: gluten is not my friend. While I’m perfectly capable of eating gluten products (pasta, breads, my beloved donut binges in the first half of this year), I don’t feel well afterwards. Bloat, sluggishness and general discomfort always followed. Sugar is also on my reduce list. I’ve watched several documentaries lately on sugar and am a bit horrified now. Does that mean I’ll never eat a cookie again? No, actually I do eat a cookie each night after dinner because that’s the little dessert my husband and I finish a meal with (oreos dipped in our respective milk choices). What it means is I’m much more aware of what I’m eating and can make the best choices for myself. While I still love the donuts at Yum-yums (the name of the bakery I go to) I’m very much limiting that now to… maybe no more for this year, but don’t quote me on that. I ate way too many in Feb-Apr. So for the past month I’ve been eating low carb/gluten and low sugar, which means a lot more protein and fat. Who knew that I’d lose weight even while eating a whole avocado among other items for lunch each day? I was doubtful, but now understand the science better and know I’m making better choices due to seeing results. (I know this sounds like I’m going Keto, but that’s not the case. Keto is too strict for my liking.) The results so far have been quite impressive. I’m rarely bloated, have more energy, and my running pace jumped up significantly b/c I’m not bogged down by gluten sitting in my stomach like a brick, weighing me down. Not feeling sugar cravings as fiercely as I thought I would, which is comforting. I’ve lost weight in a slow and controlled manner that is equally comforting. There are no drastic weight shifts, which means this method of eating pattern change alone is helping since I’ve been exercising less lately than I was in April and May.

Another change to my eating pattern has been when I eat, i.e. – intermittent fasting. While IF can sound really difficult and daunting, I found it to be the easiest change I’ve made so far. Reducing carbs/sugar for a while before IF made this transition a lot less terrifying. Before I actively decided to do IF my eating window was 12/12, meaning I had a 12 hour fasting window and a 12 hour eating window. The jump to the most common daily IF routine of 16/8 was rather painless. This time frame works during the weekdays and then I do whatever I want (within reason) on the weekends. Allowing myself the freedom of eating what I want when I want on the weekends helps me keep my IF times during the week easily because I associate it with the work schedule. I eat at 11am or noon depending on when we had dinner the night before. This routine is easier to deal with the flurry of meetings I usually have in the mornings and not worry about when to fit in breakfast. Weekends are for breakfasts and now they feel more decadent and relaxing.

Sleep

One common theme I found while doing a lot of research on diets and IF was the importance of sleep, which is something I’ve always severely lacked. I started medication this year for RLS (restless leg syndrome) because that’s been one of the biggest deterrents to my sleep. However, even with the medication, stress and poor eating habits still hampered my sleep. So I created a proper sleep routine. No food after 8 pm. Bed by 10 pm no matter what and hopefully asleep by 11 because it’s always taken me a while to decompress. Reading in bed at 10 until I can’t make sense of the sentences anymore has been working. I also broke my No-Buy and bought two sets of silk PJs from Quince as well as a sleep mask. The mask is meh and I’ll be researching for a better one. I wanted proper PJs because I needed something other than an old tee shirt to create a habit: I am putting on the SLEEP clothes now, which means I’m going to SLEEP soon. The PJs have helped with the horrendous heat wave we’ve had here lately so that’s a plus.

Exercise

Due to the disturbing health issues I encountered in late May into June my goal of running 3 miles per week was stunted for a while. At first, I was devastated by this but I could not run due to the type of pain I was experiencing at the time. I would try running, but feel worse so I simply stopped running and walked – when I could feel well enough to do even that. However, when I changed my eating habits I upped my walking again. When I started running again I wasn’t running for as long – 1 mile versus 3 miles previously. But my pace greatly changed. The one mile I run nowadays is 1 minute faster than any of the 3 miles I used to run. My average pace range before- even for 1 of the 3 miles I used to run was 9:30-9:55. The one mile pace now is on average 8:30-8:45.

Aside from that significant change, I bought new running shoes. My cushy running shoes were causing back pain when I was walking. That really confused me. Over 10 years ago when I was running my best I remember I’d changed to wearing zero-drop shoes, so I started my research again for the current kinds of zero-drop shoes available. My legs aren’t strong enough to run in barefoot style shoes so I’d need a little stacking. I settled on Newtons because they are zero-drop with a comfortable enough stack underneath. They also have “lugs” on the forefoot that help train the runner to use more of a fore to mid foot strike versus a heel strike. After my first run in those, my calves were not happy, but were fine the next day. The cushion stack at the bottom was just enough to keep me from destroying my calves entirely, but the lugs clearly made me push myself in them more. This also contributed to my pace being significantly better than before.

Shopping/Minimalism

Clearly I’ve bought what go against my No-Buy, but so far I don’t feel like I’ve wasted anything (time, nor money) from these purchases:

  • Supplements – Weird, but I was never a supplement person before, so this is technically an additional cost in my life, albeit one that I think is helpful to my health. I bought vitamins and collagen supplements. The vitamins weren’t helpful so when I finished the bottle, that was it. I’ve noticed a difference in hair/skin and joints with the collagen. Instead of getting more vitamins I ordered magnesium supplements in an effort to help with RLS and sleep. Conversely, I stopped buying allergy medicine. I quit taking Allegra 180 every day. Since I was diagnosed with acute chronic sinusitis 10+ years ago I was told I’d be on allergy pills for the rest of my life. Although now it’s more than obvious that doctor advice wasn’t sound because I’ve been fine without it! I had some light-headedness when I quit because halting a decade of histamine blockers caused a bit of backlash. After that phase I’ve not had any major issues and only took the allergy pills once for a week when I had a sinusitis flare up. Although I’m taking more pills now in the form of supplements, I’m glad to be off of a medication (I know it’s OTC but it’s still a drug). Now I just use the RLS medicine, which I hope I can be rid of this year as well.
  • Shoes – The Newtons I mentioned above. Also bought another pair of Allbirds – the wool pipers – and a pair of Vivobarefoot shoes on the way. Initially, I wanted a casual zero-drop shoe and the pipers have a 2mm drop plus the light stacking underneath so they’re not bad. Anyone who has followed me long enough knows I rather like barefoot style shoes and zero-drop styles. Within the barefoot styles I’ve gone back and forth between Lems and Vivobarefoot. The Lems I bought last year are already falling apart, which indicates a quality control issue on their end. (Customer reviews confirm that.) My first Lems didn’t come apart so quickly. Going back to Vivos now. Since I’m in a new position at work I no longer need half the shoes I had because they were more professional/business style for customer visits and conferences. I purged 4 pairs recently and hope other people get good use out of them.
  • PJs – mentioned above.
  • Upcoming expensive purchase – on the way. Keeping quiet about this one until I’ve used it for a while to determine if it was worth the expense or if I’m a gullible fool. Overall, the past 3-4 months I’ve been seriously doubting why I’m on mediations I’ve taken. Doubting our overall healthcare system, and realizing I need a new doctor because he’s a tired old man. When my more concerning issues came up in May he put me on a drug at a dose that was high enough for a 250 lb man not a 128 lb woman. Details matter with drug dosing! The drug did nothing for me and only made me feel worse so then I was referred to another old man specialist who didn’t even look at me when I explained my problems. He threw me on a steroid for 2 weeks and said that should take care of it. What?! After that my symptoms came back so neither medication from either old man worked, which has brought me to the conclusion: stop trusting in old. men. Do not trust them because they are considered knowledgeable and supposedly know what’s best for me even though my gut said: why the sh*t are you recommending that each time I saw any of them. As a result, my research has led me to the expensive purchase I received shipping confirmation for today. If I try this and realize I’m the stupid one at the end of the day – so be it, but I’m still going to look for a new doctor. Btw, I’m still going to PT for my shoulder, which has gotten 90% better. I can raise my arm up and outward again! I told my PT about the medication dosing and she looked horrified.

Youtube watching has moved beyond the ASMR and Korean homebodies to minimalism and wardrobes. It is quite amusing that even across cultures the white/grey/black color scheme seems to be the most prevalent among minimalists. I did find one channel that eschews that and encourages people to find the best colors for their skin using color therapy. This fascinated me because I’ve naturally been changing my wardrobe from its predominantly black attire to more muted mid-tones that better suit my skin tone and hair color. Since I was already doing this I was rather excited to see someone else show others in a technical format how to better assess this for themselves. I’ll be testing this out soon. That being said, I did learn 2 valuable lessons recently from both the color minimalist and a more traditional white/black-tee-and-jeans minimalist: stop dressing for the fantasy self and admit sunk-cost defeat.

Fantasy self says: I’ll wear this when I go to a wedding, a formal event, a Christmas party, or any other someday event. Fantasy dressing is the “one day when….” type of dressing versus knowing for a fact what one wears regardless of the situation. I’m not dismissing the need for speciality clothes in special situations – especially when necessary for work, but I do think fantasy self shopping is more prevalent than we realize. It is the same as holding on to any item with that “just in case” thought attached to it. I had several “one day when….” clothes still and some of them were expensive, which tied into another reason to stop holding on to them: sunk cost.

Sunk cost bias: But I spent so much on this, I should keep it until… This then ties into the “one day when” dressing. I definitely had clothes in this category as well. The idea of “throwing away” the money one spent on an expensive item was false. There was nothing to throw away, the money is gone. Neither selling nor donating will give it back the value it once had. Selling is only mildly better for soothing the hurt ego of what was spent, but the realization that we value our things more than they are worth, especially if they cost us more than we believed we should have spent on them is the problem. I don’t know why I didn’t realize this before now. However, understanding the value is only what I put on it allowed me to let go of items I no longer needed. Would I buy this again and if so, for how much is a good question to ask of the clothes and things with sunk-cost bias.

Lastly, Ecospheres are the new terrariums. At least that’s what my husband would have people believe. He watches youtube channels about people making various kinds of ecospheres and recently made one himself. Get a jar. Go to a local natural area with some form of water. Scoop up some dirt from the edge of the water, a few plants, twigs, and some of the water itself. Tightly seal and never open. Watch nature take its course. We have a big jar in our dining room window and after a week the murky pond water became completely clear. We have a snail who is actually rather fast underwater, cleaning the glass and eating algae off the wooden sticks. The little plants have new roots reaching down into the soil at the bottom and growing leaves above the water line. Z now wants to go to the beach to make a saltwater ecosphere.

Thanks for reading this digest of sorts of what’s been going on with me. I almost deleted this journal, but decided it would be nice to get the thoughts out into a public forum of sorts. I write a lot constantly in my personal paper journal about the details, observations and research of all the above. Compressing it into this recap has been therapeutic.

1 thought on “2021 mid year check in”

  1. I am so sorry to hear about everything your mom has gone through. Our legal system is so often cruel and unjust. (The most well-known example of something similar in the Second Circuit is US v. Litvak, and that ended up going up to the Second Circuit twice, which is truly absurd.) For the first few years of my career I had been somewhat insulated from the unjust things that happen when a US district court judge or federal prosecutor’s office (or both) behaves in a way that is just… not right under the circumstances, but at this point I’ve seen my own examples. My practice is almost entirely civil litigation-focused, so the most typical type of harm that results is just money and extra legal fees, but even then a lot happens that shouldn’t.

    I’m also back in the office full-time, which has been quite an adjustment. My energy levels for the office and running errands on the weekend are still far from what they used to be. I’ve also been putting a lot of work recently into reversing some of the not-so-good health effects of the COVID lockdown lifestyle (and also from my over-reliance on restaurant food from before the pandemic), though I haven’t figured out what will work best for me yet. I’m glad your shoulder is feeling better now!

    My recent Youtube habits include a lot of those music and captions-only/no talking mostly-Japanese vlogs. They seem to be so good about cooking balanced meals with a number of dishes and a soup, and their style of vlogs is so calming!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.