New Year, New Me... Again?

It's that time of year again! Well, it was 4 weeks ago. Today is January 31st, 2023. The New Year celebrations were dampened by the sudden loss of a family member, but I'm still glad that despite the circumstances, my wife and I were able to see some familiar faces. As a bonus, the food was good too!

Work/Everyday Update

Last week, I traveled with my work colleagues to Laracon EU 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal. The weather was absolutely gorgeous; sunny with highs around 17ºC. The warmth radiating beneath the off-white table umbrellas at cafés around the city was refreshing. The conference itself wasn't all that special but I'm glad I got to spend a few days with the majority of my Dutch coworkers from within my department. I learned a lot about how they view the world and interact in a more relaxed social setting. As a bonus, I got to listen to them speak Dutch basically the entire time. I can't say I specifically learned anything, but I am getting better at listening.

Speaking of learning Dutch, I started Dutch lessons a few weeks ago. I'm attending a course in the evenings twice a week for 2 hours. The class is 2 months long and there are 8 other students. At the end of the class I should know how to introduce myself and participate in the mico-conversations that make up so much of our lives. Arguably the most important topic to master from this course is numbers and I feel that I have a decent handle on those. The other language topics revolve around simple verbs and talking about yourself. Those topics are pretty well covered by various language learning apps, but the refresher with other people is welcome.

Back on the Fasting Train? 🚂

This week, I jumped back on the fasting train. I'm going all out and proceeding directly to my previous schedule. No passing "GO!", and no devouring seven bags of Doritos first. I've allotted five meals per week, at dinner time, on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. I'm writing this over 40 hours into the first fast of the week and feeling okay.

When I first moved from America, it was easy to stay busy with various different oddities and not be drawn in by the ever-present allure of carbs and calories. I could go for a walk and learn the layout of the streets in my new home. I didn't have a debit card that I could use so all of my food purchases were made with cash. This limited my meals somewhat as the ATM had much more restricted hours inside of a nearby shop. I'm not certain since I don't have a scale anymore, but I think I lost at least a couple of kilograms (5~ lbs maybe?).

Eventually things settled down. I developed a routine. At first, I was still walking a ton and that justified increasing my meals to compensate. I discovered the delicious joy of paprika flavored potato chips. I started eating lunch at work a couple of times a week. First just soup, then graduating to a grilled cheese sandwich, then two! And perhaps a snack in the afternoon...

It was all getting to be too much. I felt sluggish. I still feel sluggish. I dread going out in the cold to walk for an hour. There's nothing I want more in those moments than to flop on the couch with a plate of hot food and something interesting to watch. As I finish onboarding at work, my responsibilities are increasing as well. More stress, tighter deadlines, etc. If I want to continue performing at a level that I can personally be proud of, I cannot ignore the effect my diet has on the rest of my lifestyle. I'm not one to make goals, perhaps because I rarely achieve them, but I do have a direction in mind.

First, I want to continue fasting at least 140 hours per week for the remainder of the year. Ideally it would be closer to 160, but I'm going to allow for some grace around holidays and special events. Second, I want to exercise in some capacity every day. Preferably for about an hour. So far, I've actually done pretty good on that front! Third, though perhaps more of an extension of number two, I want to join an amateur football club by the end of the year. This means I will need to be able to run/jog for at least 5-10 minutes without needing to catch my breath. My asthma may get in the way, but I have an entire year to work that out. Finally, I want to be able to wear my favorite coat that my wife bought for me a few years ago. She splurged a bit when purchasing it and it's a shame that it hangs unused because I cannot fasten the front button.

I'm not making weight goals. I'm telling myself that they don't matter. If I can do the things I want to do and am happy with the progress, then a number on a scale should be superficial.

Final Thoughts

I must admit I'm a bit worried about all of this. Taxes are top of mind for me at the moment and I'm kinda freaking out inside. Physically, I don't want to do much. I want to go away and take my mind off of it all.

What if I fail? ...again? Accountability would be cool but keeping connections to those I'm already close with is difficult. When they're waking up or in the middle of their workday, I'm busy or asleep. I haven't made any friends here yet, although I'm trying to make those connections.

If you're struggling with the same things and want to talk about it, feel free to reach out. There are social media links in the footer and my email is on the contact page for this site. I like listening if you just want to vent about bullshit or talk about something different from your cacophonous mundane reality.


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