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    Default The healthy habits thread

    Note: please move on if you plan to be negative or unhelpful

    So here goes. Two and a half years of Covid. Young kids stuck on zoom school for a year, and my industry getting hammered due to the pandemic and it’s after effects. Contributors to, but not excuses for, some less than healthy behaviors over the last couple years. Socially distanced driveway beers with the neighbors were a godsend during the initial lockdown but not so worthwhile as the pandemic dragged on. For me it was always, “I’ll tighten things up once xyz happens: vaccines. Kids back to school, after this vacation, etc,” and it just hasn’t happened yet.

    That ended (fingers crossed) recently and I’ve just gotten through our industry’s largest conference (late nights, long dinners, drinks after) on Pellegrino alone and feel a pretty strong amount of conviction to keep going. My kids’ soccer season starts this weekend and I’m coaching the younger ones. Plenty of 8:30am games to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for. That’s one great reason alone.

    I’m not sure where the end is, but part of me wants to target Jan 1, 2024, to challenge myself to get through and entire year of bike rides, beach vacations, Ireland (ahh..Guinness), and two holiday seasons, to reset my internal social norms surrounding drinking and then see where I am.

    This goal may evolve over time, but any and all encouragement is appreciated.
    Last edited by robin3mj; 09-17-2022 at 09:35 AM.
    my name is Matt

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    some commentary based on my life as a solitary man.

    walk as much as possible esp when riding isn't an option.
    drink more water, or severely watered down fruit juices, than you can imagine.
    find and use the off button. create one if it doesn't exist.
    don't worry. about anything. it's not constructive.

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    What eRichie said (especially the water thing) but also:

    Don't try to do it on your own. Get your wife involved. Family members. Good friends. Tell them the drinking is having a negative effect on your life and health, and let them know your goals and that you are serious. You might end up gravitating away from some people, but in the end, the good friends rise to the occasion.

    I had a drinking habit that I couldn't quit. I am not sure I buy into the whole alcoholic AA mantra though I know that helps some people (a lot of people) so whatever works, hey the goal is better health. I went to a psychiatrist, talked to my primary care physician, but my wife was the one who really helped. Partly it was because she made it an ultimatum, but she also allowed me to make mistakes, correct them and move on. I at least needed that sort of partnership on this.

    It was really hard to stop. So much of drinking is social, so you know, simple things like "If you are at a party and everyone is drinking, what do you do with your hands when you are not drinking?" I think smokers have this problem too. Can't stand there empty handed without growing anxiety and awkwardness. So I'd carry a notebook and pen (I'm a writer so it worked well actually) or get a sparkling water and lime and carry the empty glass the rest of the evening. And I had signals with my wife so she could extract me from situations or we could leave together or she'd bring me something to drink that wasn't alcoholic or something to eat, etc. Tag team approach.

    Don't keep any alcohol in your house. Just better not to have it routinely available.

    Ride your bike. Start gardening. Keep a journal.

    But back to the water thing - turns out a lot of fatigue is dehydration. I forget this all the time. Reach for coffee when I should be having another 8 oz of water. So you reach the end of the day and feel dull and worn out - ah, I'll just have a beer. No actually go have a drink of water. Boring, right? Well work on being boring. It isn't horrible. In fact it is worth it.

    Ironically, even though people become more gregarious with a bit of drink in them, I think there is something decidedly introverted about drinking. So "extroverting" your decision not to drink helps offset that introversion.
    Last edited by j44ke; 09-17-2022 at 11:42 AM.

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    +1 on the walks. They’re part of my routine now and if I miss few days I start to feel out of sorts. Very good for the body and the soul.

    I have 5 mile loop in my neighborhood and walk at a brisk pace. Not super walking but not dilly dallying either. It’s great exercise and clears the headspace.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    I was still going to work all through the pandemic since I was an engineer in an essential industry. In the fall of 2019, I started an online master's program through Norwich University. I had been divorced for about a year, and my son was off at the Naval Academy; it seemed like a good time to advance my education. Work and school were about 80 hours a week which left little time for anything else. I was riding and going to some early morning BootCamp fitness classes. Covid brought an end to the group classes. I had a Wahoo KICKR set up Zwift, but I was not doing it because I was spending so much time with work and school. Self-motivation was for shit. I met a great woman that I would marry a year later, but my fitness and weight were suffering.

    I graduated from school in June of 2021. By then, I was 30 pounds heavier and still getting fatter. In December of 2021, I had a cardiologist appointment and weighed in at 266 pounds. I'm 6'1". He had me do a stress test which was okay, no blockages, just my standard large heart. The doctor looked at me and said, "lose weight, or you'll suffer through your life before dying too soon."

    I looked at diet programs and settled on Noom since it would address the psychological aspects of unhealthy eating and required no special food. I started during the first week of January and, by May, had lost almost 40 pounds. I'm 215 at present. Losing weight with a calorie deficit diet is tough if you also try to regain fitness. The general idea was a thousand calorie deficit each day to maintain a two-pound per week weight loss. In the beginning, a 40-minute ride was an accomplishment. The program adds calories to your goal for workouts, but there is still a deficit. I've worked up to two hours, but not on consecutive days. My goal is to have a one-pound per week weight loss while regaining fitness for the events I used to enjoy such as 12-hour mountain bike races and 6-12 hour time trials.

    For me, the takeaways have been: mindful eating, lots of water, walking, getting out and exploring, and making time for myself. I'm in a much better place than I was two years ago.
    Weight Doper

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    Thanks guys.
    Responding to individual suggestions…
    - I keep a 32oz thermos full of ice water at hand all day long and try to get through three a day. It’s usually two, but working on it
    - I walk everywhere possible, and hiking is one of the pastimes I’m trying to instill in my kids. Our old dog can’t walk as far any more so that has probably reduced some of my walking for walking’s sake in recent years
    - Not averse to seeking third party supports but for now I am bringing friends and family into the loop to help support and hold myself accountable
    - Jorn it’s the social situations that have me most anxious, but to your point, I can nurse a tonic and lime easily at a work event, and since we had kids I tend not to have more than one beer if I drive the family to a bbq or whatever, so I’m not averse to bringing a six pack of Hop Water somewhere and sharing it around.
    my name is Matt

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    So much of drinking is social, so you know, simple things like "If you are at a party and everyone is drinking, what do you do with your hands when you are not drinking?"
    I spent a short (admittedly way-too-short) period in my mid-20s abstaining, and my Weapon Of Choice for ^^^that situation was a carrot.
    I'd bring a couple large fresh raw carrots to parties and wasn't shy about whipping it out and munching on it and proudly, unabashedly saying "this is so I have something to do with my hands besides holding a cocktail."
    It worked.

    I should probably revisit that strategy. Have only been to one party since the pandemic, but I've been more than making up for it drinking beers at home or at the outdoor restaurants that sprung up in my neighborhood.

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    Sign up for some bike races? Works for me.
    Also- it’s an expensive habit, but if fill your gut with enough Kombucha you won’t want anything additional fermented in there, in my experience.

    The dedication and preparation for bike racing has always been the only way to bring calm, order and rational long term thinking to the forefront of my mind, ymmmv

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    Quote Originally Posted by suspectdevice View Post
    Also- it’s an expensive habit, but if fill your gut with enough Kombucha you won’t want anything additional fermented in there, in my experience.
    Just be careful that the fermented drink is actually alcohol free: a couple of years ago I measured a friend's brew which she claimed was non alcoholic, it came out at 2.7% ABV.

    This was water kefir based rather than kombucha but several sources have confirmed that kombucha can also be alcoholic: it depends on the balance between the activities of the yeasts and bacteria present: yeasts mostly make alcohol, bacteria mostly make acids, sometimes doing so from the alcohol.

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    Agree with the above. Social situations can be the toughest. The hardest is when someone in your support group is less than supportive than one would expect. At least that has been my experience. In my case, it revolved around drinking and food group choices which were problematic for me given how my body reacted to digesting the items I wanted to avoid. I sensed that some of the people I was looping in shouldn’t have been looped in to my goals because they felt somehow that I was making a judgement on their habits which I wasn’t in any way. I noticed it particularly with the drinking (this would apply even if you are social having “only one” while everyone else is doing another or shots or something). “I want to have fun” said in a put down way to you when you say no to the second drink (or order the tonic with lime) can sting. When it turns into “You’re no fun” it hurts. But keep your head high and don’t point out that you can have fun without using. Just demur and order your tonic or club soda. And recognize why the comment is being made and just make a mental note not to let that person sway you from what you are trying to do for you. I found if I consistently just order my club soda in all situations (and at a wedding yesterday I must have had 2 gallons of them) just becomes unnoticed by those around me as “different from them” even by work colleagues. And eventually the negative feedback stops.

    Walks, (I think I remember you run), that are just to see things…soak in the view, the little things that you never noticed before were helpful to me. Sort of like when you ride the same route every Monday but one day decide to ride it in reverse. See different stuff in the world around you. I mention the walk/ run difference to try to show that looking at stuff/ exploring stuff in the world around differently than routine was helpful to me. It won’t work where you live, but I even took up snow shoeing to walk in the winter in Canada so I could see different things and learn/ appreciate them.

    Perhaps add to the stuff you do a new hobby but slowly. For instance, on the walks perhaps add learning photography. Even if it is just with a phone play with composition and light or just photo plants around you and look them up in an app and learn botany.

    I also found the the changes that I made on my intake were hard to do at first and I had to be very mindful of the reasons I was doing them. It is almost like I had to make the logical part of me overwhelm the emotional/ physical craving (think giving up sugar or alcohol and how a body reacts) for awhile. But after a couple of weeks or so, it was just second nature and required little effort.

    And if you stray make it a little stray and come back to your path. In my case, because I had physical issues when I strayed it became a big stray. One drink turned into two and I felt great but was plastered. And I had never used to get drunk no matter how many. Because my issue is sugar (alcohol acts as a sugar) digestion, the pain that resulted…and slowness of movement/ recovery probably made a normal person’s hangover look like a day at the beach. The stopping of the craving/ inhaling of very sweet fruit in copious quantities that my straying caused was tougher. But the focus on getting back into the pattern of walking/ snow shoeing/ just riding around on routes that were new and different while logically thinking and giving my self pep talks about “you can do this” brought me back over a week and a half.

    Now, three years later I don’t even have to think about it. And when someone unknowingly (I prefer to calling it that instead of when I even know that it is uncaringly) uses an ingredient in quantities that give me issues I know what caused it and remember that I am doing this for me and for those around me who I affect with my feelings/ actions/ moods. And I don’t hold it against them or even mention it to prevent it in the future. I worry about my side of the street and take care of what I can be responsible for personally.

    It is like we tell our kids…you can do it….you can be what you want to be. It won’t be easy but you can do anything you set your mind to and put in the effort.

    Oh, and while I think a goal of a date can be helpful I caution that it can be an issue also. Sometimes it can make it so that when you go off path, you can go so far off path that you never get back on. So, the far off date is good and I would suggest putting guard rails with a wide shoulder that narrows over time on the path. But you are not me so maybe in your case that wouldn’t work. And know that for some folks because when they hit the goal (a date or I am doing this until my kids leave the house for college), then it gives them a “I did it” feeling both in a good way and a release way. By release way I mean that once achieved it can be a reason to go back to the old ways.

    You can do this. Just remember sometimes the work of doing it doesn’t seem to be worth it relative to how noticeable the benefits are at first. Keep remembering that we notice the bad stuff more than the good. But one day (it will be before Jan 1 2024) you will feel the accomplishment of how you feel so good.
    « If I knew what I was doing, I’d be doing it right now »

    -Jon Mandel

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    I don't like target dates; they are a recipe for failure. Make it a lifestyle change and go about your business, those that care about you will be supportive, others, not so much.

    Those that don't, won't or try and sway you will soon find their way to different "friends", you can mourn their loss, but the important thing is to maintain your decision. Your True friends aren't there to support your bad habits, but to encourage your good choices.

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    Countries in Europe (and elsewhere) that require zero blood alcohol levels for driving have spawned some nice non-alcoholic beers. When we were in Iceland, waiters at a couple nice restaurants offered a non-alcoholic beer when everyone else ordered beer or a mixed drink. There were also herbal infusions that offered non-alcoholic alternatives to mixed drinks, and those were creative enough that some in our group switched to those. I thought it was a nice recognition of the concept of “refreshment” versus intoxication or self-medication as a way to unwind at the end of the day. I have not seen anything similar to that approach in the US.

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    Countries in Europe (and elsewhere) that require zero blood alcohol levels for driving have spawned some nice non-alcoholic beers. When we were in Iceland, waiters at a couple nice restaurants offered a non-alcoholic beer when everyone else ordered beer or a mixed drink. There were also herbal infusions that offered non-alcoholic alternatives to mixed drinks, and those were creative enough that some in our group switched to those. I thought it was a nice recognition of the concept of “refreshment” versus intoxication or self-medication as a way to unwind at the end of the day. I have not seen anything similar to that approach in the US.
    I find most restaurants with a decent bartender will make anything you like. This includes creative and tasty mocktails. When my wife was pregnant she tried them all around town. In a few places, I might have liked her faux beverage to the full octane version. A few restaurants here have them on the menu. Otherwise, a simple request and its yours.

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    Great stuff all. I appreciate it.
    Just had a great weekend of soccer, bikes, cooking/eating nice foods, good books, and three solid nights sleeps.

    Jon, love your point on hobbies and photography in particular. I have no shortage of Chicago lakefront sunrise photos from the early 2000’s. Used to be the weekend thing with my dog and eventually my first child. I recently found a photographer (Dave Z) on instagram from Yorkshire who takes amazing photos of places I have been, but at off hours. One picture of The Shambles in York at 4am stopped me in my tracks. So one goal is to get to the Lincoln Memorial at sunrise before DST ends to snap some photos of the monuments etc.

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    My new healthy habit is i decided to give up sugar. Sort of a 5783 new year's resolution. I don't even miss it. Once i decided it was not a big deal. I'm not worried about my alcohol consumption, to me this was where I thought a change in diet would make the most bang for the buck. It's been almost a week now -Mike

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    I'm also a big fan of the Sierra Nevada Hop Splash and Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher. They really do hit the spot on those nights where I'd have otherwise cracked an IPA or two and then slept like $h!t.

    Another one to look for (but harder to find) is Shorts Brewery's Thirst Mutilator. Dumb name, but the hops along with the lemon/lime essence is pretty darn delicious.

    Great thread.

    Ryan

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    I limit my alcohol to one glass of wine with dinner, contrary to Mae West too much of a good thing is NOT wonderful. I see nothing fun out of getting drunk. -Mike G

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    Another solid weekend here. It was my wife’s birthday so I cooked nice meals both days and paired it with HopLark or seltzer. Soccer and bikes largely a washout so I hopped on the Peloton yesterday for the first half of a soccer game.

    Hosting a few families of kids’ school friends and making them pizza next weekend and will put some HopLark and a few NA beers in the cooler.
    my name is Matt

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    Checking in. Still doing good. Had a few beers this weekend, but being good about Sun-Thu at minimum. I'm traveling for work pretty much every week and have operationalized no booze while on the road, despite steakhouse dinners, team events, etc. Most of my co-workers are on board but one or two still giving me a hard time which can be annoying.
    my name is Matt

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    Default Re: The healthy habits thread

    Quote Originally Posted by robin3mj View Post
    Checking in. Still doing good. Had a few beers this weekend, but being good about Sun-Thu at minimum. I'm traveling for work pretty much every week and have operationalized no booze while on the road, despite steakhouse dinners, team events, etc. Most of my co-workers are on board but one or two still giving me a hard time which can be annoying.
    Yeah, when I quit drinking not only did I get a hard time from some about it, but also lost a number of what I thought were good friends.

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