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Paaper Bites

On Friday, I had a dire, extreme craving for the Alibaba Paaper Bites of my youth. The irregularly shaped, thick bits of samoosa pastry deep fried in oil, smothered in flavour and packaged into foil packets.

I drove my husband crazy, making him drive around the Northern suburbs looking for some. I found some at N1 City yesterday afternoon, but only me second favourite flavour: Bombay Chilli. I also bought Salted and Cheese & Onion just to have a standby until I could locate my ultimate: Secret Flavour. I found it this morning in the tuckshop next to my workplace.

The problem, of course, which affects Paaper Bites and most other snack products today, is that over the years, the recipes have been tweaked and pruned until the snack bears only a passing resemblance to what it once was. Yes, many of the changes made to Paaper Bites are good – virtually no oil residue, smaller and regular shaped pieces, and just enough flavour.

I am not eating Paaper Bites because I want a healthy snack. I eat Paaper Bites because they are terrible for you, but taste so good. I could buy one packet and and get lost in it. Now, I settle for this watered-down version.

My husband has offered to make them from scratch, which he could easily do, and the results will be delicious, no doubt. Yet Alibaba Paaper Bites takes me back to primary school, to a simpler time when I had to stand on tiptoes to reach the counter of the tuck shop to point out the flavour I wanted. Now that I know I have a source literally metres away from me…

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How do I schedule my schedule?

During induction, we did the “4 personality types” exercise. I hadn’t performed this exercise in a formalised manner before, but it turned out to be very helpful. Below is an example of the grid:

Here’s another one:

I fall firmly within the Analytical square. Taken from Think2By2:

The Analytical personality falls in the quadrant formed by the boundaries of Introvert/Thinker. Individuals in this quadrant are generally described as being logical, thorough, serious, systematic, prudent, cautious, and compliant. This personality type emphasizes working conscientiously to ensure quality and accuracy. Analytical personalities tend to focus on tasks, seek details and facts, and need structure. Positive descriptors include perfectionist, questioning, idealistic, sensitive, self-disciplined, and precise. Negative descriptors or weaknesses include moody, negative, critical, rigid, legalistic, touchy, self-centered, unsociable, and impractical. Examples of the Analytical personality type include Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.

I’ve suffered a long time from what I now know is called “analysis paralysis”. It occurs when an Analytical gets caught up in gathering facts, making lists, and analysing pros and cons to the point where nothing actually gets done or the deadline passes.

It’s why I took so long to build my home server, and why my home network config is still not complete, and I actually have to redo everything because of some stuff that’s happening.

I’m currently suffering through it now with my scheduling/note-taking/tracking tools. I have no idea how to keep track of everything anymore. Before I would just do OneNote, and that was all I needed. However, my tracking needs have grown quite a bit over the last year, so I added Wunderlist to my toolset.

It doesn’t still quite do what I want to do though, so I spent a bit of time testing out all the task management tools, how they integrate with my current environment etc. Basically, I ended up wasting more time deciding on what tools I needed to use so that I wouldn’t waste time. There’s a reason why this blog is called Overthinking.

I have 3 accounts to manage: personal, school, and work. My personal account is imploding slowly into a mess of personal emails, newsletters, notifications, bills and appointments. My school account is about to get busy now that my registration was approved. My work account will descend into madness (even though it’s only been 3 weeks) because I am involved in a bunch of projects already.

I’v been sticking it out with Wunderlist, because since Microsoft acquired them, I have been looking forward to OneNote integration. That’s the dream.

In the meantime, I’ve got a disgusting combination of:

  • Wunderlist tasks, which show up in my personal calendar (regardless of whether it’s a work, personal or school task)
  • Office desktop apps for my work account (I no longer use the task tracking in Outlook to link with OneNote)
  • Outlook.com web interface for personal account
  • Mobile apps for everything

I’m feeling quite irritated with the general state of things. I even thought about coding something to help me, at which point I knew I had to just stop.

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My experience with Intermittent Fasting

A while ago when I was doing my daily trawl of Lifehacker, I came across an interesting post on Vitals. It was about intermittent fasting, a concept which I had never heard of before. Basically, what it boils down to is you set an eating window for yourself everyday, which is the allowed time frame for your daily calorie intake. @dicktalens recommends a 10 hour window for women, so that’s what I aimed for.

I was used to eating breakfast shortly after arriving at work at 06:30, with supper at 18:30. That’s a 12 hour window. Chopping two hours off that was harder than I thought it would be…for the first 2 days.

I decided that since I can’t really change when I eat supper because I exercise in the evening, I would need to shift the start of my window. I settled on 09:00 – 19:00/08:30 – 18:30, depending on how crazy the morning goes.

The first day was the worst. At 06:30 my stomach started grumbling as always, and I barely made it to 08:30 before inhaling a bowl of oats. Day 2 was a slightly better – by 07:30 when my stomach realised food was not coming, it went quiet. That was that.

I’ve stuck to my eating window for the last month, and it’s been great. I no longer get hunger pangs in the morning, or at any time anymore. The eating window has decreased the amount of time between meals, so I no longer need to “snack”, and I’m often surprised to see that it’s time for lunch or supper. My time is no longer dictated by when/what I will eat next.

Some mornings I will have a mug of rooibos tea with lemon, because it’s winter and super cold and black tea does not count. No.

Now that I’m almost 6 months into my epic revamp (should probably have made a separate blog for that, but I didn’t realise that I would get so into all of this), adjusting to new habits has become easier.

The first change was the hardest, but I know each change I make gets me closer to my overall goal of living a better, healthier life.

There have been days when I could not stick to my eating window. For example, once a week I visit a client at their office for the day. This means I have to eat breakfast at 07:00, and since I get home later, supper at 19:00. I also have to skip my exercise for that day.

That’s ok though – it shakes things up a bit, and I do a more intensive cardio/lifting the session the day before, so that day is a recovery day. I also pack in my carefully measured lunch as usual, to ensure I stay within my calorie goal for the day (the client has long since given up on offering me food, thankfully).

I need to write a post about why I feel like I have to put memes into almost every post

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Going through a musical phase

While I was studying for my exam, the SO sent me a bunch of YouTube mixes for background music. Now, I normally just throw on some Linkin Park to get into the zone, but I did things a little differently this time around (in addition to the Linkin Park of course).

So this is why I am now apparently into tropical house:

Trap music:

Complextro:

Deep house:

And of course, more dubstep thanks to Kroll Show:

And some more from those guys:

Honestly, I’m now at the level where I can appreciate this for the music, not just for the joke:

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Going standard: using built-in apps only

I’ve decided – I’m going standard. I’m tired of the app drama. I’m tired of using third-party apps in general. I should have published this before I ranted about Rooms. I barely have any apps installed on Astro, and the other day I started thinking about why that was.

I don’t need them.

I’ve started going through my phone to eliminate unwanted apps. This is the bottom half of my start screen:

wp_ss_20150602_0002

There are more folders than that in the top half, with more apps, and those aren’t even all the ones that I have on the phone. When I still had the Note, I spent a great deal of time looking for services which were cross-platform so that I could sync across all my devices.

Unfortunately, I ended up with a few which simply do not care about Windows. So I’m getting rid of them. Slowly, I’m going to see which services I actually need and which ones I don’t.

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My Epic Revamp: Health Edition (Q1 Update)

Since I’m already late with these quarterly reports, let me jump right in.

  1. Take better care of HSK: I have been more rigorous about taking my supplements, which consists of a general multivitamin 4 days, a HSK pill 3 days, and selenium complex everyday. Results: my hair is shinier, has been growing faster and is more manageable. My nails are harder and smoother, and my skin seems better (by that, I mean I seem to be getting breakouts for reasons other than physical issues).
  2. Increase water intake: While I’m not carrying a water bottle around with me like I did at university, I have been actively upping my water intake. As soon as I finish a cup, I’m walking back to the pause area to grab some more. I also just found out that MyFitnessPal will show reports on all of your data over time, except for water consumption.
  3. Increase micro- and macronutrient intake: The fruit thing is still an issue. It’s not that I don’t want to eat the fruit, I honestly just forget. Fortunately, the SO has been supplying me with smoothies on the weekend, and I’ve been randomly eating fruits where I can. I’ve also increased my veg intake.
  4. Take better care of teeth: I can proudly say that it has been 5 months since my last jelly sweet. I had a bit of a setback when I realised that I was trying to replace it with Astros, but that’s over now. The only thing left to do is find a proper dentist (and by that I mean one who is based in the Northern suburbs).

One of the best decisions I made this year was to add Lifehacker’s Vitals blog to my Feedly. Virtually every article they post has helped me over the last few months.

I’ve been following their recommendation of increasing protein while decreasing carbs. It’s been a bit rough trying to drastically increase my protein intake, especially considering I ate very little protein before.

Protein consumed

Can you guess which day I started this madness?

Also, the first week with reduced carbs was ok. The second week was a nightmare – my body realised what I was trying to do, and it responded by sending “Go buy some hot chips” signals to my brain every 30 seconds.

Overall, it has been going very well – I made it through the low-carb flu without backsliding. I’ve turned down fast food, taken extra vegetables to make up for the lack of rice/potatoes/pasta, and have outright ignored cravings. After almost a month, it’s now a habit – I don’t feel like those other foods anymore.

I think going this route has helped me progress in my missions outlined above – and I’ve already lost almost 4kg, taking me down to my lowest weight in 4 years. That’s a total of 13kg lost over the last year or so.

I still have quite a bit to go, but it feels good to be getting my health in order.

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My Epic Revamp: Fitness Edition (Q1 Update)

This is actually a month overdue, but at least I’m still doing it.

    1. Use technology to the max: The Fitbit was indeed replaced by a far superior device. My food diary has been living in MyFitnessPal for the last few months, with my only complaints being the web interface really needs an update, and the Windows Phone app randomly logs me out. The integration with Garmin Connect adjusts my calorie limits based on the exercise I’ve done with my HRM attached, but not based on steps. Hmm.
    2. 8000 steps a day (minimum): This is more like a work in progress. My daily average steps has increased as I’ve become fitter, and my Vivofit is set on automatic goal – each day my step goal is adjusted upwards if I’ve exceeded my goal the previous day. If I go down, the step goal goes down. The Vivofit also adds steps when it doesn’t need to, but as I’ve said, everything balances out so I’m not concerned about that.
    3. Increase my overall stamina: This is more of an anecdotal measurement, but yes, there has been a definite improvement. I’m surprised when my 45 minute workout playlist comes to an end, because I haven’t even noticed the time going by. Before, I would be counting the beats of the songs to get to the end.
    4. Increase my overall flexibility: My core strength has increased, and I can twist around/bend/stretch further than before, but I have yet to move onto the harder videos in the Blogilates series.
    5. Stick to my workout schedule: For the most part, I’ve stuck to it. I’ve slacked off on sticking to the Pilates schedule, but I’ve stuck to the boxing. There were times when work got in the way, or when I had a mild illness. Nevertheless, even just sort of sticking to a schedule is an accomplishment.

    Progress has been made on all of the key points, and getting fit and walking more is now a way of life for me.

    fitbit meme