Woo hoo, I’m halfway through this two week challenge. The running is getting a little easier and I did a 35 minute run today. The daily meditation is feeling more like a routine, it’s the first thing I do when I wake up. Then I go for a run.
When I get back to work in a weeks time I hope I can maintain starting every morning with a meditation and some form of exercise (either a run or a climb).
Breakfast: Curried eggs on toast with avocado.
Sometimes I use my fitness pal to check the macros of a meal. I’m mostly just looking for total kJ and grams of protein. I don’t care about much else.
After my weight loss surgery the nutrionist only gave me 2 goals for each day: 60gm of protein and a daily multi vitamin. So I look for around 2,000 kJ and 20gm of protein in each meal.
But I find my fitness pal focuses too much on calory counting and it can be easy to feel bad or to skip a day.
Lunch: mushroom stroganoff. Dinner: Tandoori chicken sandwich. I met my < 7,000 kJ and 60gm of protein goal today.
3.49 km, 35 minutes, average page 10 minutes per km. The ankle didn’t take as long to warm today which was an awesome start to an awesome run. I’m really proud of this one.
More steps this year
I know we are only 3 days into the new year but my average is nearly double last years numbers.
I was going to use this blog to reflect on some goal setting for the year ahead but I didn’t achieve any of the goals I had set out last year. Im summary last year I said I’d do:
Beat the overweight label
Release a mobile app
Start a podcast
Pay off half of my credit card debt
Practice 4 magic ceremonies
I didn’t achieve any of these things but I still had an ok year and survived a pandemic. So instead of setting goals I’m going to set intentions.
I intend to be the best version of me for the next year. What do these intentions look like?
Continue therapy with my psychologist
Continue saving towards a house deposit
Continue paying off debt (I’ll get to 5k outstanding by the end of 2021 based on current rates, today it’s 15K outstanding)
Maintain a healthy lifestyle (climbing and running both 3 times a week)
Setting the bar low
By setting an intention to be my best me I’m already doing an awesome job and we are only 3 days into the new year.
The rest of the year still has too many questions for me to be able to set anything more. I’d still like to lose weight and beat the overweight label but I don’t care if I don’t achieve that this year. Surviving and looking after my health is more important than the number I see when I step on the scales.
I still want to write a book and release an app but again I’m not going to beat myself up this year if I don’t do them. I’ve always had a tendancy to over load my plate too much. Study + Work is already going to be plenty too much for me.
I’d like to try a different role this year, I’m leaning towards UX researcher but it’s also not the end of the world if this doesn’t happen either. Maintaining a job so I can continue to pay down debt is more important.
So yeah, I’ll set intentions this year and see how that goes. I’ve felt like 2020 was a shitty year but I did also learn some things about myself too.
Homemade cheats tonkotsu ramen. This does look pretty good in my opinion. It was very tasty too. I didn’t eat this serving size, I had a half serving. This was my partners serving (their big bowls are nicer). 2000-ish kJ, 30 gm of protein?
What makes it a cheats ramen? I use packet noodles. I use the really fancy japanese tonkotsu kind but it’s glorified instant noodles with better stock. I do the Char shu pork in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes and add toppings. I don’t do my own stock but I do cook the pork similar to the level 2 chef in this video (minus the flour and frying bit):
My afternoon was speant at my partners place. I went around at 2pm. We wen’t out to Akasha in five dock to pick up a case of little smith (an awesome session IPA beer).
They were feeling a bit under the weather, had enlarged tounsils from an infection and felt like a comfort soup. So ramen for dinner it was. We didn’t go climbing because of the unwellness. I started watching the queen’s gambit on netflix.
I had some chocolates and rice crackers as a snack.
Mexican chicken on veg, I know I’ve eaten meat twice today but I needed to use this chicken because it was close to it’s use by when I bought it. 1700 kJ, 40gm of protein.
My headache seems to have gone but today my period is in full swing. I’m sore from yesterday’s run, so today’s run was extra slow.
Cottage cheese and caramelised onions on toast, 1500 kJ 20gm of protein. Surprsingly tasty. I’m pleased with this morning’s experiment.
I noticed my muppet come up today, I wanted to get frustrated at things even though there was nothing to get frustrated at. Overall it’s been a good day but part of my brain wanted to bring it down. But this muppet has a tendancy to come up when I’m going through my period, which is useful to observe.
I’m giving myself another green tick for today, I didn’t do all of my physio and I didn’t go climbing but there’s still time this week for it.
Here’s to day 2 of being the best version of me. Started improving my sleep routine. I naturally woke up at 6am this morning. Let’s hope I can keep it up.
I still have the caffeine withdrawal headaches today, they’ve eased a little though. I got a run in this morning atleast. My average pace was just a little better than yesterday.
Avocado on toast with some of the chocolate truffles I bought yesterday. Mmmm, this is my comfort food. I’ve probably eaten my own body weight in avocado on toast since the pandemic started.
Energy: 2,000 kJ
Protein: 7 gm
I often buy a fancy loaf of sourdough, slice it up and put it in the fridge. It keeps for longer and I only ever use it for toast anyway.
Chicken pesto pasta
If you are reading food labels make sure to watch out for servings per pack. This one said it had 2, and even with my tiny stomach after weight loss surgery I ate the whole thing:
Energy: 3,500 kJ
Protein: 33 gm
After lunch I went for a walk, if I wasn’t doing this challenge I would have bought some cake along the way. Huzzah, the journal is helping. I did walk past a street library and picked up a few books though:
1/4 Waterball (aka tiny watermelon, isn’t it so cute 😀 )
I made a bean chilli. I cooked a homemade tomato sauce all day to add to the chilli. My housemate is vegan and it’s helped me explore more vegan recipes.
I won’t calculate the macros for this but I think it’s less than 1,000 kJ and 10 to 15 gm of protein.
This evening I watched A Fistful of Dollars. I’m making my way through classic films with great soundtracks. On a side note, film 4 on that list is Pather Panchali (an old black and white bollywood film), I have not been able to find it with english sub titles. If any of my indian visitors can find a copy that I can access please let me know :).
I didn’t do my physio today but I’m still going to give myself a big giant green tick for a day well spent. I may have eaten a little more chocolate than I told you about but shh, I won’t tell if you don’t ;).
I’ve got the next two weeks off work and no plans to do anything. I’ve given myself the goal of being the best version of myself over that time. I’ll be posting a daily journal of my progress.
This series will be a little different to my regular content.
Over the next two weeks I’ll do:
Drink only water
Have a 2/3 Vegetarian diet
Go rock climbing 3 times a week
Set up my sleep routine
Do daily meditation/journaling
Go for a daily run/walk
Do my physio exercises
Take my daily multi vitamins
Brush my teeth
Only play vidoe games after doing some writing
As I go through each day, I’ll make sure to tick it off on my white board. These are regular habits that I SHOULD have, but have slipped during the year. And yes, I do need a reminder to brush my teeth, I didn’t brush them for 6 months this year.
These daily posts will be a reflection of my thoughts of how that day went. I’m publishing these for my own accountability.
The drinking only water is my biggest challenge for the next two weeks. The headaches from no coffee today have started to set in but they aren’t that bad. I’ve kicked the coffee habit before. But this also means no craft beer over the next two weeks :(.
I did a big grocery shop for the week ahead. I’d been on a holiday/staying at my partners place over the last week and had no fresh produce. Today’s shop was just under $130. I hope I get to use all of this produce over the next week.
There was a bunch of reduced goods for sale at my local woolworths. Some salads and chicken were on sale, the hemp burgers look interesting to try and I had to restock on some spices.
My first meal was after the grocery shopping was at around 12:30pm (I had slept in this morning), It was a spinach and feta scroll and some cocoa dusted truffles. I microwaved the scroll for 30 seconds because it was a little stale.
Here’s the macro’s for that meal:
Energy: 1,600 kJ
Protein: 8.5 gm
Fat: 18.5 gm
Sugar: 15 gm
Now there’s nothing wrong with having chocolate. If I wasn’t doing this challenge over the next two weeks, I would have eaten the whole packet over the day (so this blog is already working). Instead I’m having one serve per day (there’s 5 serves in a packet, 1 serve is approx 3 truffles).
It was a late lunch at 3:30PM after some rock climbing. Pumpkin and fetta tabbouleh salad, heated for 45 seconds in the microwave. I like the added warmth.
Energy: 1,300 kJ
Protein: 16 gm
Fat: 15.5 gm
Carbs: 28 gm
Sugars: 5.5 gm
Went for a run
It wasn’t a long or hard run, I followed the getting started guided run on the Nike run app and it made me feel good. It’ll be good to see how I improve even just over 2 weeks.
Dinner was the second spinach scroll and chicken proscuitto. There were meant to be 2 servings in the chicken but the vegies didn’t look great. So I ended eating up both. I also had a can of diet kirks lemonade.
Energy: 3000 kJ
Protein: 60 gm
I know I said only water but I had this in the fridge before I started this, and the caffeine withdrawel headaches were making it hard to focus on Soul (a pixar film I watched after dinner.).
Overall it was a great day. I got a climb in, started running again and ate pretty well. I over ate for dinner, I was meant to put aside half of it for tomorrow but oh well. Life goes on.
I did have a bowel movement at 2pm, I know this may seem like too much info but monitoring these movements is one indication of my health. It was a 1 to 2 on the bristol stool scale. Since having my gall bladder removed this year, if I have a bad food day I’m more often between the 5 to 7 on the scale, so it’s nice not to be there. I hope today’s food improves it for tomorrow.
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, 160 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 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 my eyes. I grew up in Tasmania.
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.
At the end of 2017 I fell off a wall indoor 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 plate 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.
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.
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.
I don’t smoke or do drugs. I might have smoked half a joint while in Amsterdam when I was 20. 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. I use to smoke socially when going out as a 18-19 year old.
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.
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.
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 CFS 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 personal financial advice, but seriously; paying off credit card debts feels fucking fantastic
There are many forms of discrimination you could face when you are looking for work or in the workplace. Whether it’s based on;
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Next year will see me go through Schema Therapy. Here’s hoping it helps me correct an unhealthy mindset I have about myself.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So in summary; I have 5 goals that touch all 5 elements of my well being:
Beat the overweight label
Release a mobile app
Start a podcast
Pay off half of my credit card debt
Practice 4 magic ceremonies
2020 should be a year of focus and vision (haha, get it?). What matters to you for the next year?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.