Categories
mental health Weight Loss

Medical History

For the purposes of generating life insurance quotes and my own life admin I thought I would write down my medical history. I don’t believe this stuff needs to be private, does it? I’m 31, female, 155 cm tall and 87 kg. White collar worker, University qualified on a 120k salary per year.

As a kid

I had asthma from the ages of 4 to about 16. I also grew up as a the fat kid. When I was 2 I hit my eyebrow on a coffee table, I had to have 3 stitches. I needed glasses in school from the age of 14, I’m short sighted and have a mild astigmatism in one of eyes. I grew up in Tasmania.

Chronic Depression

I developed chronic depression during uni around the age of 21. I had just come back from a year on exchange in Sweden, had a bad break up and started failing my studies. I just couldn’t cope. I had 6 sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and mindfulness techniques to help. No anti depressants where prescribed. I moved to Sydney back in 2013, since then I’ve had minor relapses of depression but not a chronic episode. I’ve never been hospitalised. I was on anti depressants for a few months before my weight loss surgery in 2016. I’m currently going through schema therapy. There’s also this 8 years of depression post and the dark side of my mind post too if you’d like to read more.

Getting my teeth done

I got invisilign to straighten my teeth in 2014. I had a bunch of fillings done just before this. My dentist told me there was a long term risk of wear and tear with my old over bite. I thought it was worth fixing. I now don’t wear my retainer (my depression made it hard to stick to).

Sciatic Nerve issues

During Christmas in 2015, I was visiting family in Tassie. I developed a sciatic nerve problem and it was hard to sit down. I went through physio to help stretch it back out. It doesn’t impact my work duties today. I worked in supermarkets for 7 years going through highschool, towards the end of it I had hurt my back lifting some boxes. An xray showed a potential disk issue in my lower back. This probably fed into the sciatic nerve problem. I haven’t had an issue with this nerve since.

Weight Loss Surgery

Back in October 2016, I had gastric sleeve surgery. I had 80% of my stomach removed. I was 127 kg before the surgery. I got down the 75kg within 12 months after surgery and I’m now at 87 kg. I had my gall bladder removed in March 2020. This is a common complication after rapid weight loss. You can see some of my fat photos here. I get regular bloods to check my nutrition levels for this now.

Broken Ankle

At the end of 2017 I fell off a wall in door rock climbing. I was in hospital for a week, had 2 surgeries and couldn’t walk for 12 weeks. I had to have a third surgery at the 12 week mark to remove the two bolts holding my ankle together. I still have a bit of weakness/stiffness in the ankle, there’s a palte and a dozen screws still in there that I probably won’t remove. I’m currently doing physio to improve my ankle. It doesn’t impact my day to day work. You can read more about my broken ankle journey here if you like.

I’m also flat footed and have inner souls to support my feet.

Current Medication

I’m currently on the birth control (Levlen), I was previously on Normin but supplies of that dried up recently. I take melatonin to help me sleep at night. My vaccines are generally kept up to date. I’ve taken the flu vaccine nearly every year since I lived in Sweden.

Family History

There’s some family history of depression, obesity and kidney problems. Someone was allergic to some form of anaesthetic or pain killer but I haven’t had any issues with my previous surgeries.

Drugs

I’ve smoked some weed while in Amsterdam and in a previous share house someone would share a joint on occasion. I would have the occasional cigarette while out as a 18/19 year old. Someone once shared half a tablet of ecstasy with me. I don’t smoke or do drugs on any regular basis. I’ve never have had a regular habit of it either. I drink, mostly beer. I’ll have up to 5-6 standard drinks a week. I don’t regularly binge drink and I don’t drink every day. It’s usually a few social beers with friends on a Friday/Saturday.

Categories
Finances mental health Weight Loss

My Credit Card Addiction

Let me tell you the story of how my credit card addiction blew out to be 35K AUD in debt (that’s 1.8 million rupees, 19K pounds and 25K USD for any of my international visitors). And how I’m still struggling with paying it off today.

But would I have done anything different? Probably not.

Learning how to manage money is one of the hardest things to do in life. And I think you learn the most by taking the hard route. Experience it all first hand.

2008 – The Student Credit Card

My first credit card was a $500 one. I got it before I went on exchange in Sweden. It did help when I was at uni, traveling around or had an unexpected expense come up.

2012 – The First Job Credit Card

When I moved to Sydney in 2012/2013 that creditcard was joined with a second one. This new card had a $2000 limit. I used it to buy a new laptop, and a bluetooth speak. I still use that speaker. The laptop really should be recycled through e-waste.

I also got my teeth done the first few years I lived in Sydney.

Getting my teeth fixed cost me $8000 and it was all cycled on the credit card over 2 years. So I never really paid it off. I just constantly cycled money on it.

That 2k credit card soon slowly increased to 7k.

2014 – The half arsed credit card application

Then I thought about consolidating that 7k creditcard. I half applied for a card but didn’t finish the application process. But Citibank were so desperate to issue me credit, they called my employer to check my income.

Nek minnit, I had a freshly minted 15K credit card in my letter box. I should have just canceled the card.

Narrator: She didn’t cancel that credit card

2015 was a bad year for my debt

In 2015 I had around 14k in debt across 3 cards. I had moved in with a partner at the time, used a card to help with the purchasing of household stuff. Had a sciatic nerve problem flair up, decided a decent mattress was in order. It went straight on the credit card. Got a loan for a motorbike, all of the extra gear I bought for it went on the credit card.

I was just about to consolidate it all into one card and cancel all the others, when my dad asked to borrow 2k. I used the credit card to do it. He paid it back but it meant I didn’t cancel that 7k credit card. I kept it open.

There was a holiday (a motorbike road trip to cairns and back) all added to the credit card too.

2016 came weight loss surgery

I applied to pay for the $7000 excess for weight loss surgery out of my super, the application was declined because my doctor didn’t emphasis the life and death nature enough on the referral letter. I ended up using that remaining credit card to pay for it all.

This I wouldn’t change at all. It helped me lose 40kg. The gains in quality of life and earning potential have probably already paid for itself. You can read more here.

2017 – Personal loan 35K

In 2017, I decided I had enough of all of those credit cards. I had 35K in debt across 3-4 cards. I took out a personal loan, cancelled most of the cards. I kept the 2k one. I still couldn’t completely shake off that credit card addiction.

2018 – Had lots of shit happen

I broke my ankle at the end of 2017, which meant I didn’t work as much in 2018 due to recovery, there was 2 job changes and moving houses a few times. It was not a very stable time of my life.

2019 – finally some stability

2019 sees me land a job with Commbank, however there was some drama with how I ended up with that role too. Basically I thought I was going to move to Newcastle. but nope, that was cancelled at the last minute.

But my housemate had already found a new roomy to take my room. So I had to move again. That 2k credit card had slowly increased back up to 7k and I used part of it to help me move again. I’m really proud of my new furnishings though, I even got a photoshoot for it. It’s all second hand furniture and now I pay sweet fuck all rent in Sydney:

After a few months working at Commbank I transferred my personal loan from westpac to commbank and reconsolidated that 7k credit card into it.

I also had my gall bladder removed at the start of 2020. Only about 2k out of pocket, but it still went on the credit card.

Today – it’s 20k plus 2k in credit cards

Today my total personal loan debt is at 20k and I have a 2k credit card. I finished paying off my motorbike loan last month. Woohoo. It’s the first big debt I’ve acquired since moving to Sydney that I’ve now paid off.

I’ll have that 2k card paid off by October and I’m track to have that personal loan paid off by the end of next year.

I feel on track to domino all of my debts but oh boy, has it been a rollercoaster ride to get there. I don’t think there is much I would change because it’s all a part of how we learn about life and how to manage our money.

If I hadn’t gone on this rollercoaster, when I do become debt free I wouldn’t appreciate it as much if I hadn’t taken the hard way to get there.

This is not financial advice

Categories
Job hunting mental health Software Testing Technology Weight Loss

Discrimination in the Workplace

There are many forms of discrimination you could face when you are looking for work or in the workplace. Whether it’s based on;

  • Gender
  • Appearance
  • Family
  • Religion
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Age

Many of these forms of discrimination are illegal in many countries. Hiring Managers/Recruiters who work in Human Resources departments (HR) know how to protect their companies from potential lawsuits, so they won’t be directly discriminatory to your face. However you still might face indirect discrimination.

This blog post is a deep dive into the the subtleties of discrimination so you can be more aware of it during the job hunting process. Topics covered include:

  • Women in Tech
  • Fatness and Bias
  • Mental Health
  • Local Experience

Women in Tech

Women still face discrimination in the tech industry. Trans folk even more so. I read a story about a female to male transition for a tech support worker. When he transitioned he visited an old client to help fix a computer. The client thought it was a new person and complained about how the women who use to help fix their computer didn’t know anything about tech. It was the exact same person.

Here’s another story about how a Husband came to understand the discrimination his Wife and Business Partner faces on a daily basis.

In my early career I avoided using my full name (Samantha Connelly) on my CV because of the gender association. If you look at my old 2014 CV, I have S. Connelly as my name.

Now that I have a reputation in the industry, I can’t hide my gender. I’m a little gender queer in my representation and could easily go by Sam (he/him) but I don’t suffer from gender dysphoria and don’t have a strong desire to change. I will remain female because I’m comfortable in my own skin (CIS). Also men’s fashion isn’t as fun as women’s fashion.

Fatness and Bias

I use to be 127kg (that’s 280 pounds for my US readers and 20 stone for my UK readers). I’m now around 83kg, at 160cm tall this still puts me in the Obese category. I had always grown up being the fat kid. I had weight loss surgery (gastric sleeve) in 2016.

People tend to think fat people are lazy and unmotivated. Back when I was fatter and saw someone else who was even larger, I use to thing, “well at least I’m not that fat”, but I’ve seen my mindset change first hand. I now have the same knee jerk, “ew, gross” reaction as everyone else.

Fatness itself is generally not cause for legal discrimination (unless it’s classified as a disability), however overweight people are less likely to be promoted to leadership positions because they are seen as less competent.

When was the last time you saw a fat leader in a tech company? That weight loss surgery has probably already paid for itself based on my increased in potential earning capacity and more leadership opportunities.

Mental Health

This time last year, I thought I was going to move to Newcastle to join a start up in a head of engineering role. After the offer had been made, someone on the board did “further research” into my history, and getting fired from Campaign Monitor came up.

They thought I had been fired because of my history of mental health impacting my performance. At the time I was recovering from a broken ankle and I had presented to the whole company about my struggles with depression.

However, the reason why I was let go was a mismatch of skills and expectations. It was an experimental Quality Coach role, through hiring me they discovered they actually wanted someone to help grow the test automation framework for the C# backend. This wasn’t my strength and we broke up on good terms.

I even presented at a conference of how I tried a quality coach role and failed at it. I put together this presentation with the help of my old boss from Campaign Monitor. I was super excited for this role back at the end of 2017.

Local Experience

Through my career coaching sessions and leading Sydney Testers over the last 4 years, I’ve spoken to many people who are looking for their first job here in Australia. They often get rejected for not having any “local experience”. I view this as a form of discrimination. It’s an excuse to not consider you as a candidate.

I can’t blame hiring managers for taking this mental shortcut. When you are dealing with 100’s of applicants and you want to get the list down to 4 to interview, you take many shortcuts to get there.

It does mean people often struggle to land that first job here. I’ve told people to invest in their online profile and networking to overcome this barrier.

Summary

I have no idea how other people over come other forms of discrimination (like agism and racism). But this blog is full of stories of things I’ve tried or heard that can help people put their best foot forward during the job hunting process.

If you’re an older disabled fat black mother working in tech good luck out there because society isn’t on your side.

What’s worked for you? Or did something backfire?

Categories
Finances mental health Sustainability Weight Loss

2020 goal setting

2019. What a year it’s been. There’s been a few ups and downs and I didn’t achieve as much as I had set out to when I did my last bout of goal setting. I didn’t write a book or release an app. I did however get a part time job with YOW! Conference, settle into a fufilling role (even though there was drama there), and spoke at 3 conferences.

One thing I realise, is I’m always trying to do too much. The theme for next years Mardi Gras is what matters. So, what matters to me? In terms of my personal well being I tend to view it accross 5 elements:

Health

Being healthy is the foundation to all elements of my well being. If I’m not looking after myself here, how can I grow in any other part of my well being? For me, this is physical health, mental health and sexual health.

Physical Health

The biggest thing I need to focus on for next year is beating the overweight category. I’ve beaten the obesity label once before but I’ve slipped back a little and I need to get on top of this. For my height, I need to be less than 65kg to beat the over weight label.

Mental Health

Next year will see me go through Schema Therapy. Here’s hoping it helps me correct an unhealthy mindset I have about myself.

Sexual Health

I’ve always been reluctant to put sexual content on my blog, hoping to keep it professional. However I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t acknowledge it wasn’t an important part of my well being. I’m getting back into the kink scene by attending a few munches. This also helps build up a sense of community. The kink community was the first community I turned to when I first moved to Sydney 6 years ago.

Community

This is one of my personal values too. This also covers family. Nearly everything I do is driven by some sense of community. Next year I’ll be focusing on more board games, the kink community and professional networking. My biggest goal here will be focusing on building and engaging an online community through twitch and podcasting.

Career

I still want to release that app and write a book, however these goals are a bit further down the priority list and I don’t mind if I don’t achieve the book next year. The app is going to help me grow as a software engineer and is more important for growing my side business.

Financial

I’m making progress here. I aim to pay off half my credit card debt by the end of the year. I’ll continue to chip away at it at least.

Spiritual

I’ve tried giving myself spirtual goals before (say establish a daily meditation habit), but that’s always felt more of a mental health thing. I think next year I’m going to explore pagan/magic/druidary by practicing atleast 4 ceremonies that align with each 3 month interval of the year. I read a book yesterday on Australian Druidary and it’s inspired me to try it next year.

Summary

So in summary; I have 5 goals that touch all 5 elements of my well being:

  1. Beat the overweight label
  2. Release a mobile app
  3. Start a podcast
  4. Pay off half of my credit card debt
  5. Practice 4 magic ceremonies

2020 should be a year of focus and vision (haha, get it?). What matters to you for the next year?

Categories
Sustainability Weight Loss

My 3/4 Vegan March challenge

I’ve let my weight creep up a bit lately. I got down to 75kg but I’m now hovering around 79kg. This is a far cry from the 127kg I was a few years ago but it’s still on the borderline of overweight/obese according to the BMI indicator. I’m going to try a 3/4 vegan diet for March. I’ve done a vegetarian diet for a few weeks before as a challenge and I’m been meaning to try this one out for a while.

The challenge: for the month of March, I will pick vegan for 3/4 of my meals.

Dietary requirements

Because of the stomach restrictions (I have 1/3 of a stomach) my main dietary requirements are to get to 60 grams of protein a day and have a daily multi vitamin. I should probably try to avoid going over 6000kj too but I’m not going to focus on counting calories. I’m not going to beat myself up if I have a few days over this.

Rough Food Plan

Breakfast

  • True protein shake – 30 gm of protein
  • 1/2 English muffin with avocado and cherry tomatoes

Technically the protein shake isn’t vegan, it is from whey but this is one of the few compromises I’ll make to help me reach my nutritional goals. True protein sources their milk from happy grass fed cows in New Zealand. You should try out their sample flavour packs. I’ve got 2 flavours floating around; vanilla and coconut. I’ll probably alternate these so I’m not getting bored.

Lunch

Some sort of bean or lentil curry (20 grams of protein). I’ve been rocking my lentil curries recently. I could totally do these as meal prep on the Sunday and take them into work during the week.

Afternoon

Home made hummus and carrot sticks (10 grams of protein). I’ve been munchin on this awesome combo lately. Again I need to do meal prep on the Sunday or day before for this but it’s super tasty.

Dinner

Some sort of salad or soup. Edamame could be fun. Mushy peas is also a nice easy staple when I’m cooking for just myself and my tiny stomach. up to 10 grams of protein (it’s not really needed for this meal because I should have already have reached my target protein amount).

No Alcohol

I’ve had the best success with my weight loss when I’ve had a dry month or two. March will be no exception for me. I will allow myself tasters because there are too many craft beers in Sydney to not try but I won’t have a whole one myself. I might be able to stretch a whiskey on the rocks if a special occasion comes up.

Meetup events

There’s always beer and pizza at meetup events, and I now get paid to attend them – le sigh. This creates a huge temptation to each too much, drink too much and stay out too late at the pub afterwards. This challenge will help my avoid those unhealthy situations.

Friday evening steak

I go over to my partner’s place every friday and we usually enjoy a nice home cooked meal. I don’t feel inclined to force veganism on them so I’ll make sure we have some really nice grass fed sustainable beef to eat instead. This will make sure my iron levels don’t drop too. This is where the 3/4 vegan challenge comes in, there will be some compromises.

If someone else cooks for me

I will be grateful for the food no matter what it is. If they ask for my preferences I may say vegetarian or that I’m trying a vegan challenge at the moment but I won’t be asking anyone to accommodate this.

Any tips?

Have you tried a vegan challenge before? What worked/didn’t work for you? Do you have any ideas for quick solo meals that work for a tiny stomach? I’d love to hear them.

Categories
Technology Weight Loss

Let’s talk about bias

We are all biased in someway. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Biases can be considered the mental shortcuts we take to help us make sense of the world. Unfortunately these biases can make it harder for some people to progress in life or to experience the same opportunities offered to others.

Fatness and bias

There are so many elements of bias and discrimination out there. I will run the risk of coming across as insensitive if I talk about something I don’t full comprehend. So I will talk about bias from my own perspective, I once was really obese. Like BMI of 47 category 3 morbidly obese, I’m now at a borderline overweight/obese BMI of 30:

Levels of obesity, you can check out my fat transformation photos here:
https://bughuntersam.com/40-kg-down/

Our society has a large amount of bias against fat people. You only have to watch the latest news article about the obesity epidemic to see how the media shames headless fat people. As a society we are viscerally disgusted with fat people; we think they are lazy, un motivated, poorly educated and the scum of the earth.

Behold the headless fat person you are disgusted over:

Discrimination

Fat people get paid less, are offered less leadership opportunities and are publicly shamed. Often women experience more discrimination because of their weight compared to men.

“As long as we are all terrified of becoming fat, this will go on. Yes, we are terrified. Because we all know how fat people are treated in this society.”

https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/aug/30/demoted-dismissed-weight-size-ceiling-work-discrimination

Mindset change

When I was fatter and I saw another fat person I would think to myself, “well, at least I’m not that fat”. I would wrap myself up in my own irrational thinking and find comfort in not feeling, “that fat”. Now that I’m smaller my mindset has changed. I am completely disgusted with how much my mindset has changed. I now think the same nasty knee jerk reaction thoughts as everyone else, “eww, gross, how can they let themselves get that big?”. I try to balance that with empathy but I hate how easy these thoughts come now.

I changed one aspect of my appearance

The weight loss surgery (gastric sleeve) I had probably has nearly paid for itself in just the increased earning potential gained from losing weight. On top of the improvement of quality of life later on down the track too. I can’t say for certain but the more I read about bias the more it seems like it was worth it. Other parts of my appearance are a little more challenging to alter. Most people aren’t as lucky as me to be in a situation where they have the financial gains to go through what I did. Most fat people are poor.

What will change?

Probably nothing, your career is basically screwed if you are an overweight older black disabled women working in tech. How much more discrimination can I add there?

Not that I’m trying to be grim but the long term prospects don’t look good. Some aspects of our appearance are more within our control than others but many aren’t.

When was the last time you were disgusted by headless fat bodies in the news?

Categories
depression mental health mindfulness Weight Loss

How an offhand comment can trigger a depressive episode

I had a low day on Friday. I’ve had a persistent headache and fatigue for a few months now and a head cold on Friday brought out the worse of it. I’ve lived with depression for eight years now so I know when to have a day off to take it easy. Friday started with a 2 hour struggle to get out of bed. It was one of those days.

When I’m in these low moods my obsessive nature and harsh internal self critic can get completely hooked on little comments that people make. This blog is a reflection on this internal thought process to help you understand what might be going through a depressed person’s head.

The comment

In conversation someone mentioned something about, “… being a big girl”, it was related to me being able to look after myself. I responded with “I use to be a lot bigger” and someone else in the conversation added, “keep away from the pork and you’ll stay that way”. In the moment I didn’t think anything of it. But my obsessive nature got hooked and over the afternoon I couldn’t let it go.

The obsession

I became completely obsessed over everything I had eaten recently infront of said company. I replayed the dinner we had recently over and over and over in my head. I counted every calorie, it came out to about 2000KJ and 10gm of protein. Then my internal harsh critic got on board. It starting saying to me, “you are fat, lazy good for nothing, completely worthless, you should just curl up and die”. So now there was a battle going on in my head, the obsessor just going over and over and the critic telling me I’m worthless. Normally these thoughts aren’t that loud but they get overwhelming on low days.

My obsessor wanted to figure out how to write a response to those comments. This blog post is an attempt at pleasing the obsessor because I am still thinking about it after 4 days.

Good intentions

I know those comments come from good intentions, people say these things because they care. The only nutritional goals I stick too (under the advice of my weight loss clinics nutritionist) is to get 60gm of protein a day and to take my daily multivitamin. I’ve had a lifetime of people commenting on my weight. I thought I had developed a thick skin for it, obviously I hadn’t. Or maybe it just hurts more the closer to home it is?

Self Compassion

I’m at a stage now where I can try to practice self compassion (I try but it’s hard). I would catch these thoughts and tell myself, “that’s not a very nice thing to say Sam, you are one of most proactive people I know. You are so far from lazy and worthless it isn’t funny. Look, you even had lunch with someone who thanked you for your help with their CV recently and they are starting a new job soon because of you. Remember that Buddhist monk on youtube? Try and practice letting go.” Here is the youtube video I was thinking of:

How to be supportive

If someone has opened up about their mental health and they raise something like this with you, please don’t feel like you need to censor yourself. That is stressful and not healthy. Often when these things come up for me, I never raise them with the person who caused the trigger because I know deep down it’s just my mind overreacting. So being open and empathetic if someone does raise this is all I ask for.

Please be mindful of how your words can hurt. It reminds me of the common rhyme about sticks and stones I was told about as a kid. Here’s my new version:

Sticks and stones may break my bones 

But harsh words from a loved one

Can make me wish I was dead

I’m grateful I’ve never been suicidal but I still live with this kind of depression on a fairly regular basis. My partner has probably seen me go through about 4 or 5 episodes now over a 2 year period.

I’m grateful I can be this open about this huge cause of internal stress. A lot of people who struggle with similar things aren’t as blunt as I am and keep the struggle to themselves.

Categories
Conferences Craft Beer Finances mental health Technology Weight Loss

Goal setting for 2019

I’m starting my goal setting early. I wrote this blog for goal setting for 2018. On reflection; I haven’t slipped back into obesity at least, which I was super concerned about as I spent the first six months of 2018 recovering from a broken ankle. Here’s my thinking behind my goal setting for 2019 and why I’m starting early.

Brainstorm everything I want to do

As an exercise, I listed everything I want to do and then asked myself, What do I have time to do? What is more important? What aligns the most with my personal values? I’ve had to eliminate a lot of extra curricular ideas and I still feel like I have a lot on my plate 🙁 .

This is a handwritten note of me brainstorming everything I want to do. I have things like learning Australian sign language, Japanese, podcasting, a masters in statistics and live testing as things I'd love to do but don't have the time for.
I don’t have enough time to do all the things I’d like to do

I then came up with the following list of things that are really important to me. They are themed around personal, career, family and financial goals:

  • Beat the overweight label (personal)
  • Maintain a daily meditation practice
  • Write a book (career)
  • Teach my Nan digital marketing (career and family)
  • Launch an app
  • Pay off half of my credit card debt (financial)
  • Speak at one international conference and take my Mum
  • Brew two whole grain beers
  • Keep Sydney Testers going
  • Create enough content to run a 3 day workshop

Why start the goal setting early?

I’m going to focus on developing my morning habit for the rest of this year. I’m going to get up early, meditate and write before heading off to work. If I can do this for the rest of the year, I’ll be in a good place to expand it come 2019. The green in the following table is this minimum commitment:

My ideal morning starts at 5:30, followed by exercise from 6 for up to hour. Next will be a twenty minute meditation from 7 flowwed by half an hour of writing from 7:30. I'll have breakfast at some point and be ready for work from 8:30 AM

I’ve put together an idea of what my ideal morning and ideal week looks like. If I do not put aside time to do things that are important to me, it’ll never get done. I reflected on what I could squeeze in. Unfortunately things like studying Japanese just don’t fit in financially and time wise. So here’s my ideal week to work towards in 2019:

My ideal week taken from a screenshot of a spreadsheet, please excuse the lack of transcribing here as I think the main information here is also covered in my external accountability section

There are some goals that I haven’t put aside any weekly or morning time for but they can’t easily be chipped away with a daily/weekly habit.

Keep goals measurable but hard to achieve

Everyone seems to be talking about Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for goal setting these days. One of the important things with OKRs is that they are hard to achieve. When you reflect back on your goals you should be able to say you hit up to 80% of your objective. If you hit 100% you actually set your goals to easy. For example, I’m going to work towards beating the overweight label but I’m not going to consider myself a failure if I only get halfway there. By listing up my ideal morning/week it gives me an ideal to work towards but by highlighting my minimum commitments I won’t beat myself up if I have a bad week or two.

External Accountability

There’s no point in setting vague goals that you don’t tell anyone about. To ensure external accountability with my goals I’m going to;

  • Pay for a personal trainer for a twice a week weight lifting session
  • Go climbing with my partner every Wednesday and Saturday
  • Pay for a publisher’s time to help keep me focused on writing

How will you go about goal setting for next year? What measures will you take to ensure accountability? Please let me know.

Categories
mental health Weight Loss

Are you Hungry? Try the Carrot Test

Have you ever found yourself with a strong desire to eat almost anything and thought to yourself, “why do I want eat?”, “Am I really hungry?”? Often the drivers for eating are emotions; we could be bored, stressed or feeling low. We could be looking for that quick comfort and unfortunately a lot of what we eat is unconscious; we do it without even thinking. It’s habit that feeds our desire to eat, here is an article on 5 reasons why you can’t stop eating.

Afternoon Boredom

I get this desire nearly every afternoon around 3PM when I’m at work, I just want to stuff my face. Sometimes anything will do. There’s been the occasion where I’ve pigged out on plain salada biscuits before. I’ve now started bringing baby carrots and baby cucumbers to work and sitting them on my desk for when that desire hits. I call it the carrot test. If I’m not hungry enough to eat something bland like a carrot/cucumber then I’m not really hungry. Sometimes I’m just bored/tired and looking to take my mind off work. I might be thirsty and confusing it for hunger. So after eating a carrot and having a glass of water I recheck with that desire. If it still exists, I’ll reach for some fruit. Carrots are my choice because they are a low energy density food. If I binge on carrots, how much damage can I really do?

Carrot from a farm
Mmm, carrots.

The Carrot Test fails when there’s chocolate

Carrots can’t help me in the face of chocolate. I will stuff my face when there are these tasty morsels floating around. Sometimes I can’t help myself. I’ve always struggled when I’ve been in situations where there was ample food around. At a social gathering I’d be tempted to try everything and go back for seconds or thirds. Having most of my stomach removed has helped quell this desire some. My stomach physically doesn’t have the space to try everything, it has helped me curb my behaviour a little. There’s still situations where I find myself loosing control of what I eat but now the damage I can do to myself is reduced. I no longer feel guilty when this occurs, I’m trying to practice self compassion with my thinking but it’s a slow journey.

How do you control those desires? What habits do you try to form around food?

Categories
Weight Loss

Too fat to climb

Have you ever thought, “I’m too fat/injured/old/lazy to do that thing”? “I’m too fat” is still a pretty common thought that I have even after losing nearly 50kg with the help of weight loss surgery. My partner suggested rock climbing as an activity we could do together. We were both obese when he put forward this suggestion and my initial thought was, “I’m too fat for that, I’m just going to fall but I guess I’ll give it a go”. I wasn’t very good on my first session but atleast I didn’t fall off the wall. I enjoyed it so much that I signed up for membership and I’ve been climbing now for 3 months. The progress is slow, I’m still on mostly level 0, I’m often the fattest person in the gym and I’ve even seen many first time climbers make more progress in their first session than I have seen in 3 months. But I try not to care and I’m still enjoying it.

Another activity that I’ve been exploring is running. I don’t like it much yet but I’ve heard people grow to enjoy it. I’m exploring the Nike Run app. I’ve had many failures trying to start this program but that’s ok. The first set back was a foot injury that’s pretty common with being flat footed. Went to my podiatrist, got some new inner souls and stretches for the injury. The second time I started the program I had too many other things happening that it just wasn’t sticking. This third time I started I got through 2 weeks of the program, dropped off a little in week 3 but atleast picked it back up for week 4. Talking about being too fat to run, I was researching tips for getting started. I came across a support group for fat people wanting to get into running. Once I get through this Nike Run getting started program I’ll look into joining too fat to run. Today my run involved running to grumpy doughnuts for a passionfruit filled doughnuts. OMG, was so yummy. Check out their Instagram here.

There are no secrets to living a healthy lifestyle. Try a bunch of activities to see what you enjoy. Get friends and family involved. The list of things that I’d like to try include; pole dancing, rowing, roller derby and swing dancing.

So if you find yourself saying I’m too fat, just give it a go and listen to your body. Don’t push yourself too hard and you might surprise yourself with what you can do.