Saturday, September 19, 2015

I will never know how.

Sometimes I have this strange feeling, that if I ever manage to find ways to solve some of my chronic problems, I will never know what was the way that helped me this time despite all my previous failed attempts. It seems to me that it will be vague as my psychology, and I will not want to jump into one aspect of it and make a new religion. Most of the time, it scares me that it could be something trivial, something that will remind me how stupid I was, a solution in front of my eyes and many years wasted. Or I will try to avoid this proposition and claim it was something but I can't exactly decide what it was.

As an example, before my battle for procrastination and weight loss, there was another thing in my elementary/highschool times that was more dreadful in a way. Something that reflects my chronic sensitivity. I used to cry easily. I dreaded crying because it would make me feel so ashamed and fool of myself, yet it would happen and the more I struggled the more I couldn't stop it. It would happen in the class, in the family, with friends, everywhere. Sometimes someone would say something he/she wasn't meaning and it would make my cry. It wasn't instant, it was like a dreadful feeling that something open a shower of emotions on me and I am about to start to cry, while I struggle to not let it flood. The idea of it was making me crazy. How can I avoid it in future social situations? That could be destroying my life! It just happens, I can't control it. Here is a vital thing, a vital flow in myself that somehow I can't control when it happens and I can't predict sometimes when it will occur. Something someone said that I never expected, a very emotionally stressful day, many bad emotions accumulating, it could flood at any moment. And the more you actually struggle to fight it, the more you bring it up.

I remember this flaw. And I remember that at specific moments I was deciding to try to think more about it and wonder what I can do to eliminate it. But I never found an answer. And I never even thought of some methods. But one day.... it disappeared!

I don't remember that day, I just remember that after some period, maybe after highschool, I just stopped crying. Hell, I couldn't even make myself cry in purpose! It just shut down! Only in very rare emotional moments I cried again (so it hasn't exactly gone) but it can't just pop up anymore by something someone said (anger or other emotional responses pop up, but not crying). So, here you have it. Imagine if you worry about procrastination or weight loss or whatever and you have tried everything and nothing works. Later in another period of your life you realize that you are just losing weight or you work on projects like a robot like procrastination was never a part of your life. (Ok, I have a theory about stopping crying. Maybe by the years I learned to expect the worse outcome, so no bad surprises will shatter my world. Although that makes me like a worst-prophecy automaton, but I think I prefer it)

Now the situation is different. For some reasons I almost know, I think I am solving my weight loss problem. Maybe it's too early to talk about. I know that my weight loss problem is not just a technical matter (calories in - calories out (actually I want to stretch that there is more than this simplistic view but that's a post for another day)) but also a psychological one. I would wish I was able to follow a diet without someone pointing a gun to my head and tell me what I am allowed to eat. If I was a robot, any diet would work in the long run.

So, for another time, being disappointed at myself, already telling to myself that I don't want to follow any diets anymore, somehow I view some more videos enlightening me into more I didn't know about how the body works. And I just followed a different strategic plan inspired by the new fasting fad. I am not even doing it correctly or very precisely. It was just a decision of let's try something different and see what happens. While there was an underlying stuborness telling me "I can't take this anymore. I want something that works and maybe I can follow in the long run!". Maybe it wouldn't be fasting but something else if I had the same determination? I don't know. Because it also asks from yourself to not eat for a long window of time, and there is the initial reaction "Me, not eat? No way!". And I also believed it's just another fad I'll stick for 1-2 weeks and then get bored of it.

But I don't understand why I still going on with it. I don't understand why my WiiFit board shows a steadily 0.5kg drop per week since at least 7 weeks while all my previous attempts for 2 years where yo yo dieting. You just see a random diagram around a close range for 2 years and then a steady straight line down. Of course it's too early to tell if this works in the long run, but I was never able to persuade myself before to not always eat the tasty things, restrict myself a bit or skip a meal or two. Can you say that fasting diets are easier to follow up? I am not even doing a proper fasting diets. When I fasted for 24 hours one day, it was because me and my friends ate a whole pizza each which I calculated roughly to 2400 calories, meaning my daily intake. So I said to myself "2400 cals and you are hungry next in the morning? Fuck off!". I don't even do it correctly and it works. But why? And especially how? How did I manage to persuade myself? Or is it an easier diet to follow?

I have reasons to be skeptical about my own success. Everybody is obsessed about healthy eating on the internet these days. That pisses me off. They act like their own "truth" about healthy eating and weight loss is what everyone should do. No matter if it's traditional, vegan, low carb/high fat or any other thing. People are fighting and people are so certain. So, I don't want after my ten failures to come now and say "Hey, you know what? Low carb was not the holy grail. Fasting is the holy grail!". First of all I am still not really sure what happens in my body and how different diets affect people differently. Secondly, by doing fasting, you are effectively teach yourself to eat less or don't get touchy in one evening's lack of food (it's not like food will not be for you there tomorrow). So effectively you are restricting calories, the proponent of calories in/out would say. The vegan would say that I eat less meat when I eat less. Or I eat less carb if I learn to eat less. So all three could be true (even though I kinda combined a more preference for egg/meat/cheese while doing the fasting, so more fat-centric).

The other reason I can't say what worked is that it's not just the science (but I would like to talk about fasting and beyond that in pure technical sense). But how we get there? How we persuaded ourselves to work for this? What did I do this time to persuade myself to go on with this for more than two weeks? Did the fact that I started seeing results help? Yes it seems to be so. Did some more understanding behind the problem and science behind fasting and how it helps people with insulin resistance (which is really my problem) made me believe more into this diet? It definitely did. But maybe at my n-th attempt these all synced together, reading something new about insulin resistance and this new fasting fad, deciding to stubbornly take the test and keep on, having finally more controllable and predictable results (even my blood sugar level is on average quite lower than before) which feeds positively the belief/motivation cycle brought me in today? Or maybe I could have had the same results by "believing" in vegan diet or low-carb diet or traditional calorie restriction diets, while being stubborn and have a good 2 week luck with weight loss that would still feed the positive feedback/motivation cycle? Is it a matter of chance and stronger will? And why now? Why not before, with any diet?

Although I do believe there is something on fasting that helps more on my goals and the science behind it really resonates with my diabetes type 2 condition, I will never be sure what works "miracles" (And nothing is, I still have to police myself to not overeat after a fasting period. And most of the times I do a skip-breakfast or lunch fasting, not full blown 24 hours) and if this information would ever help people with similar obesity problem, or they also have to take it and happen to sync with a grand new attempt at finally following a specific diet. I might know what may work for me, yet not knowing how I followed more religiously this time (did I? I still do some bad eating habits after my fasting, if you examined them you'd find a lot of no-no, but overall I am dropping), but don't know how I ended up here or how I would make other people who never beat their obesity follow in my steps. Hell, I don't even know if this is a false alarm, just 7 weeks and 4 steady kg lost but something I can follow and predict. I have to wait more though, the good thing is I want to keep the fuck you.

And that's where I came into another conclusion today. Finally, one other aspect of my life I never managed to control seems controllable now. This time it didn't disappeared randomly (like crying) but after reading a lot on the subjects and making yet another attempt with a new diet strategy and more belief/positive motivation and results I entered a good flow. I still need to monitor as I want to learn more about it (maybe there will be bumps). This time, both with knowledge and positive motivation I am succeeding with it. I find knowledge/wisdom very important, but I am usually missing the willpower (if that thing exists).

So, my other thought was: What if I could achieve something similar about procrastination? What if I am missing something in the knowledge domain or have to create a positive feedback loop with new strategic means never tried before so that I don't have to pressure much myself (or I can make myself believe I am not pressuring) to do things that I dream about but doesn't feel like at the particular moment? Since I always felt the same about weight loss, not being able to control it and actually stick to a particular diet that works, persuade me to skip some lovely foods or whole meals sometimes, but suddenly the "impossible" happened, succeeding in that aspect so far without much thinking about it or disliking it. Wouldn't there be a way to do the same for procrastination? What parallels could I draw between my weight loss struggles and the procrastination struggles?

This will be my next focus. I don't even know if I will ever solve it. And if I do, I won't even know how I did solve it or how I persuaded myself to change habits. And how to pass this knowledge to other people who suffer from this and whether there needs to be more than this knowledge in their psyche for this to work, whether just passing my tricks is not gonna make other people improve. Well, maybe my own improvement might be temporary and I would fall back into old habits, who knows? These problems are not as trivial as many people want to think..

p.s. And who needs fighting procrastination anyway? It used to be the case when you had to finish your projects for the university. I now have a 9-5 job where I don't need to fight procrastination because when I am there I just sit down and work, because that's what you are supposed to do on a job. But coming back at home tired, thinking about demos I could program, yet I just want to relax and I am not paid anymore for these works, neither do I seek any recognition for hobby projects anymore (or I don't feel like I need that kind of recognition so badly (but hearing someone liking your project is still nice)) so while I have ideas there is no need to. Or is it? Well,. while I also consider procrastination a natural state (more thoughts on this later), there is a recent project I have in mind since last year (it was a new year's resolution project and 2015 is finishing soon, the irony :) and I decided that if I want to make this true then I have to find the ways to not procrastinate with it, maybe divert away from my demoscene activities, and focus into this one thing.

p.p.s. Yeah too big for a ps. Last things I worked recently was a new OpenGL engine called Quinine Engine (it will help me in other projects too, even this big one), then I started for some reason working on CPC Wolfenstein engine (I was planning something for a competition in October but I doubt I can make in time) and this new project which I really have to focus on. It is programming/demoscene relevant but not about demomaking or programming a specific app but rather something else. I dream about it and it resonates with my personality. I don't even know if I can start it by the end of this year. First, let's solve the procrastination problem.

p.p.p.s. I may arrive with more posts about weight/fasting and procrastination. Also other things I realized about life recently.

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