But I now need to change the no-carb day of the week. My Paris marathon training plan has tempo runs planned on all Thursdays. I don’t want carbs not being available on the day when I have to run 10 miles at faster than marathon race pace. So, I’m moving no-carb day of the week. While at it, I am also tentatively increasing the number of days without carbs.
Wednesday and Monday* will be no-carb days hereon, at least till the marathon training gets over. Wednesday is the weekly rest day in the training plan, and Monday is one of two short, easy run days.
*Sunday is the long run day, and Tuesday is long intervals day. So, if I need more energy on Tuesdays, I may cancel no-carb days on Monday.
I would have liked Friday, the other easy run day to be the no-carb day. But Friday is pizza dinner night, and R wants to keep that going, so she vetoed it.
So far, food intake on no-carb Thursdays has been mostly baked fish (cod/haddock), with an occasional omelette, or Jyoti’s sabzi/daal—all with large sides of freshly cut cucumber and carrot batons.
I want to include more food options on no-carb days. Please do share any easy to make/get no-carb food suggestions (preferably vegetarian).
I’m not watching videos—live, recorded, or in any other form—this January. Not on TV, not on mobile, not on the laptop.
Over the last year or so, I’ve disconnected myself from twitter, then newsletters and apps, then TV news channels, and eventually from email app on the phone. It’s been lovely. Each disconnection led to a few weeks of anxiety but, once they passed, I was calmer, less distracted, and less annoyed about things that don’t matter in the long term (if at all).
One of the big distractions that has remained is TV. I watch many series and movies on Prime video, BBC iPlayer, All4 and Netflix, mindless videos on YouTube, cycling and biathlon events on Eurosport player (while cursing Eurosport out loud), Big Bang Theory reruns on Channel 4, and Match of the day on the BBC. I may also watch occasional reruns of Die Hard on Film4 :)
On 31st, I watched a movie I’d wanted to watch—A marriage story—and then deleted all apps from my phone… YouTube, Prime Video, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, All4. I even deleted the TED app. To help me out, the old Sky box also conked out, so there’s no live TV feed either.
The only TV I can and may watch is whatever R has on when I’m sitting around the TV.
Why ‘No carbs’? Because I love carbs but they also make me feel bloated and lazy. And avoiding them all, all the time, unnecessarily taxes my will power. I have reduced the usual intake, but it still spikes occasionally (actually more frequently than I admit).
Also because I’ve gained nearly 1.5Kg in last week—76.6 last Thursday, 77.9 today. And I hadn’t run in four days. And I’m not happy—about a few things in particular, but also that low-intensity background unhappiness in general.
So I decided to try a new thing.
Why ‘Thursdays’? Because today is Thursday, and I didn’t want to put this off till tomorrow.
I usually meditate at either middle or end of the day – when the head is usually frazzled or distracted, and needs a dose of calm and care.
Since everyone talks and writes about it, today I decided to meditate in the morning. At about 6 AM, after finishing coffee and before starting work, I took 15-20 minutes to meditate with Calm.
The meditation itself was good, and I may have maintained the focus better. But due to the timing, it wasn’t as useful as usual. I was already calm and focused before the meditation (early morning is my favourite, and most productive work time). So the marginal benefit provided by the meditation was small.
Later when I felt the need for meditation in late afternoon, I hesitated – ‘because I had already done the session for the day’. It was a stupid self-argument, but I listened to it and didn’t spend the 15 mins. I have paid for it with a distracted mind and subsequent low productivity all evening.
Looking forward, I could fight that argument (‘already done it today’) in my head with logic. But that’s a system 2 action, and system 2 is lazy so I’ll probably end up failing more often than not.
I could set a fixed afternoon time to create a rule/habit, but that will have a similar constraint – I will end up meditating when its scheduled, and not when I need it.
So, instead I am declaring the morning meditation a failed tweak, and will instead go back to meditating when I want/need during the day.
I don’t have money, and I need a lot. So, I need to save money.
I have strict work and personal relations targets this year. They require me to be very focused, and not squander time or attention. I need to be frugal with my time and cognitive capacity this year.
I have set myself a target for running time, and I have an entry in London Marathon to address last year’s failings. Combined with demands for attention on work and relationships, I can’t afford to waste time or energy this year. I need to be frugal with my physical and mental energy, as well as with time.
I weigh too much, having gained 10 kg in the 7 months since the ankle injury. I need to lose weight, eat frugally.
Multi-tasking was considered a desirable quality when I was in college and in my early working years. In hindsight, it was an easy escape too – when things get tough in one area, switch to the other. Smartphones, social media, TV and multi-tab browsers have added to the toll – all together in the cause of making my current easily distracted present self.
Mindfulness, focus, being in the present – all define an ability to stop becoming a multi-tasker. To get back to being fully focused on just the present act – whether its working, playing with the boy, reading, or even watching TV (‘watch the TV, put down the phone’).
The reason for why the previous two changes (1, 2) are hard is mindfulness (lack of) as well. Remembering to slow down – while talking or eating – both require active focus. It would be hard to focus on slowing down when I am too distracted to even fully notice the act of talking or eating (e.g. watching a TV show while eating, or thinking of ‘what are they thinking’ while talking).
Eventually, I hope to turn them both into habits so that I speak and eat slowly even unconsciously. But till I get there, I will need to be focused in the present – be mindful of the act to be able to slow myself down.