Delimit My Life

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" ~ Hellen Keller

Archive for the category “Challenges”

A Month Without Video Challenge and Life Updates

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A Month Without Video (Started 4/13/15):
I continuously find myself watching one online videos after another in a never-ending procrastination loop. I watch Good Mythical Morning (a YouTube show) every morning with my breakfast, more YouTube series while I eat lunch at work, TV shows during dinner, and I continue to watch more videos in the times between. Even after I have finished eating, I procrastinate by continuing to watching more videos. I can easily waste hours just clicking through random videos without a thought. I finally decided this habit was detrimental to my work, my life, and my valuable time. If I wanted to make the most out of my life (which I do!) then watching videos was not going to cut it. Delimit my life! With that statement in mind, I decided on this challenge to break the habit and take back my free time.

The challenge is to go an entire month without watching any videos (or TV shows) on the internet or TV. The only exception is watching a movie at a theater since this is a defined activity. I also rarely go to the movies theaters, but I can easily waste an entire weekend watching movies on my computer.

It has been three days since I started this challenge and it has been difficult. I am starting to realize how ingrained this habit was into my life and trying to break it has been interesting. Every time I make breakfast, I get this feeling of excitement as I walk up the stairs to my room thinking about watching Good Mythical Morning. I never realized I felt this way until now because I get a sudden sadness as I realized I cannot watch it. This happens after every meal or anytime I feel like I need a break! I make food I think about watching a video; I sit at my desk I think about watching a video; I get bored I think about watching a video. I cannot stop thinking about watching something. I realize that I do this because I want to distract myself. I do not want to be thinking or doing something. I want to let go and waste time. Every time, a sadness hits me. Luckily, the feeling does not bother me since I can reason why I am feeling it. I can then quickly change my thoughts to just enjoying the food or appreciating the free time to think. This challenge has also lead me to feel FoMo (the fear of missing out), which is something I do not normally feel. It is an irrational fear but I still find myself with thoughts that I am going to miss out on something.

Life Updates:

Since my last post, I have completed a few challenges (some major and some minor):

  1. Accepted into graduate school for my PhD. This is the most significant change and challenge in my life since starting this blog. The process of applying to grad school was intense and there were days I definitely wanted to quit everything. I did not have any free time as I pushed through my undergrad research, taking the GREs (basically hell), applying to grad schools, and completing my final year of undergrad. After being accepted, I moved to a new state, met new people, and basically started a new life. It has been a challenging experience so far, and I will continue enjoy the journey.
  2. My diet now consists of only plant foods (fruits, grains, beans, etc.). I have been eating a whole foods plant-based diet for well over a year now. I started off just going without meat for a week, because at the time I was so dependent on meat that just a week seemed insane. My attitude towards food has changed immensely since then and my health and fitness has increase.
  3. I started a new years resolution for 2015 to touch my toes with straight legs as a flexibility challenge. I recently accomplished this after three months (end of march) of consistent stretching. The challenge now is to touch my toes cold (not having to warm up and stretch).

Water Fasting for 36 Hours

Plato Fasting

Since my first water fast, last week, I thought that it would even more challenging to increase the time to a full 36 hours. This would require me to go an entire day without eating and then go to sleep hungry. In particular, it was the idea of going to sleep on a starving stomach that made me a little nervous. Normally, I will just grab a snack at night, if I happen to be hungry, because I find the feeling rather uncomfortable. It’s also a strange thought to not eat anything for an entire day. However, this experience has made me realize that I have been eating food everyday for my entire life without ever stopping. Doesn’t that sound a little strange too? Read more…

Handstand challenge progress (1 week)

handstand

As part of my challenge, I have been trying to do a handstand walk. Of course, everyone has to learn how to walk before they can run, so I have been focusing on learning how to do a handstand. This involved watching numerous online videos but, in the end, nothing helps more than actually trying it. Let me say when you are used to walking around feet down it’s a strange feeling trying to do the reverse. Starting off this challenge, I thought that doing a handstand would be impossible, and yet, one week in, I am starting to think differently. I was sick the past week but I kept working at it. I couldn’t last long enough to do any harm anyways.

My progress has been slow and steady, and I keep surprising myself with little improvements. My first method was to position my back towards the wall and then slowly walk my feet up into a handstand. My arms would be screaming from the awkward position, but my wrists hurt the most from the new pressure I was placing on them. The only way I could practice, without killing my wrists, was to space out my attempts to once every few hours.

My second method, I was actually scared of trying it, was to face towards the wall and kicking up into a handstand. My roommate laughed at me for being scared so, to prove my manhood, I did it. I just felt like I was flipping my back into nowhere, but I have since learned that it is pretty easy. With practicing every day, I have been incrementally getting better and my balance has ever so slightly been improving.

I have actually gained a fair amount of strength in my wrist, and I can use them more easily when trying to maintain my balance. I’ve learned that my weight needs to be balanced in the middle of my hand, using the force of my fingers and palms rather than solely on the wrists. Similar, to the way I would not walk on my heels because it is much harder to stay balanced. This took me awhile to grasp since I have only recently had enough strength in my wrist to try it. Overall, this past week has been primarily focused on improve my wrist strength.

As of now, I have been able to do a handstand without the support of a wall for a little over three seconds without losing it. Yes, the improvement may be small but relative to zero, where I was, it is infinity! Plus, this is improvement over one week. One week in which I could not practice for long periods of time due to my physical limits. I can only imagine where I will be by next week. With more time and practice, I know I will be able to hold a handstand for much longer.

It always seems impossible until its done. ~ Nelson Mandela

Small talk is useless jibber jabber

By Tyler Feder

By Tyler Feder

Today, I restarted my 30 day challenge of talking to a different stranger every day. With a slight problem, I really don’t like small talk. I have little practice in this crafty art since I find it boring and useless. I want to talk about ideas, thoughts, or questions, something that fascinates and intrigues me. The weather, with its changing conditions, is just a respond, an unconscious reflect. Simply saying “I have nothing of significance to say” but in a polite way. The simple truth is that small talk is this fabricated convention that people use as filler for their nonstop moving mouths.

People have this obsession with talking like it’s the air that they breathe, dying if they ever stop. What other conclusion could I have made, through my observations, that people waste words, spewing out useless sounds that only pollute the world? I’m not saying that small talk doesn’t exist, or have its place, but I consider it pointless jibber jabber. It lives on a superficial level of worthless exchanges between people who aren’t actually saying anything or even listening to each other. Unconscious filler, for they fear silence may steal their voice.

Like the obsession with our reflection, we constantly hear ourselves. We become so accustom to our own voice that we ravish in hearing ourselves talk and talk. Save those words. Silently observe the world as it progressively moves forwards. Then find those moments when words are the only true way to fully express an experience. Sadly, I live in a reality that wants to talk, to blabber nonsense with no real implications.

Sometimes I feel like “The Little Prince” stuck in a world of domesticated adults searching for anyone who can understand my drawing. Testing everyone I meet to see if they can see the elephant in the snake. Few people pass as I realize people like their habits. They are fine with being domesticated by society, and for those people I must put the drawing away and chatter useless words with them. However, it is on those rare nights that a person shocks me. Passing my test, I skip the idle chitchat and go straight to the hard questions. I become amazed at the ability of words, to warp and alter my thoughts, as we both attempt to express ourselves in their limited, but powerful, use.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Water Fasting for 24 Hours

Plato Fasting

Living in our modern age, we are so accustom to constant consumption that we fail to realize just how much we consume. We keep on eating and snacking, unconsciously putting food into our mouth, that it’s only natural for people to be overweight. If we let our body rule our mind, then we become victim to our every urge. Urges that evolved because food was scarce, not plentiful, and thus our modern age continuously feeds our every whim.

Other than the many health reasons, water fasting can help us take control back and become conscious about our eating habits. I eat constantly and consistently with a meal almost every four hours along with snacks. Therefore, the idea of water fasting sounded rather uncomfortable and painful. I don’t enjoy feeling hungry which drives me to eat when do. It’s just seems natural for me. Also given that when I don’t eat, I get the shakes, possible headaches, feeling lethargic, and overall cranky. I’ve been known to go hulk mode when I don’t get feed. Thus, fasting was a way for me to push my mind and body and see how they react to the situation.  As idiotic as forgoing food may sound, there are plenty of reasons to do it. For one, the challenge of pushing past my comfort zone and understanding my body better.

I started my water fast the night before at 6:15 pm right after dinner with my roommate. It’s easy for him, so he gets the ego boost of not finding it challenging, superior to my ruthless craving for anything other than water. I don’t understand how he finds it so easy but it simple doesn’t bother him. Around 9 pm, I started feeling hungry for some snacks but I ignored those urges easily. The next morning, I wasn’t hungry but I missed having my routine breakfast. Even so, breakfast and lunch were pretty easy to skip with little discomfort, but around 2pm I started getting hungry. I kept drinking water to fill up my stomach, it worked for a little while, but as awhile it was only temporary.

At around 3pm, I got a headache which I knew was bound to happen since I didn’t have my black tea in the morning. It’s surprising how long the caffeine lasted in my body, but it definitely ran out. Afterwards, I started feeling completely lethargic and found it difficult to do anything. I still did my handstands throughout the day, they help suppress the hungry feeling, but, for the most part, I was useless. Time real started to slow down as I approached 6pm with every hours taking exponential longer.  Eventually, I finally got to enjoy my white rice and chicken for dinner. I was still starving afterwards so I had green grapes on peanut butter toast (may sound weird but it tastes amazing, just like jelly and it’s healthier).

In the end, water fasting was not a terrible experience and I discovered that I can survive without eating for 24 hours. I know it a huge shocker, but humans were meant to survive without constantly eating. 

A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors. ~ Mark Twain

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