site banner

Wellness Wednesday for August 30, 2023

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

I have more updates from a previous situation. Things have escalated in a direction that I feel this may be more appropriate as an /r/drama post, but I don't go to such places, so I am here to share with you again.

Here was my last update


Some of you might remember that I was playing in a recreational sport and had an annoying person to deal with.

She had reported a fellow player and board member to the national group and was generally disliked by multiple other other members.

We removed her from the email group, and didn't say why. I learned from another board member that she had a history of reporting lots of people, so they probably ignored the report.

After removing her from the email list she noticed a few weeks later. She sent me an email asking about it. I did not respond. I didn't see any way it would go well for me to be the bearer of bad news.

I am not generally a fan of ghosting people, but if someone has demonstrated a willingness to retaliate via reporting to higher authorities then I don't see any reason to stick my neck out. She has brought on the dislike that got her removed, and the ghosting that did not let her know why.

What happened this week is that she posted in a facebook group of "World [obscure sport] players"

I am only minorly editing with []s what she said for some privacy:

Content Warning - fat-shaming

There is increasing evidence that a top [obscure sport] club is retaliating against me because I called out a few people for fat-shaming the entire group.

I have been kicked out of their main communication channel and have not been allowed to rejoin.

Has anyone else been retaliated against when trying to report an injustice in [obscure sport]?

We had a flurry of messages among the board to discuss this. Eventually we got the only woman on the board (and by far the coolest head among us) to send her a message that we had removed a bunch of emails from the list of people that are not in the area, and are not dues paying members. The problem lady then took the post down from facebook a few hours after being told that.

One of the other things I learned is that she told another board member (the one she accused of fat-shaming) that our board had caused her tons of stress in the last month and led to her to the point of a failed suicide attempt. That board member has been consulting with a lawyer. I'm consulting with you all. I feel there might be a different level of quality in the advice we receive.

The board member who spoke with a lawyer is now suggesting we implement a code of conduct and probably some other sets of rules. I would rather avoid this and just fall on the grenade and kick her out. Or not explicitly ban her from practice, but just let her know that she is unwelcome, but allowed to attend.

This is probably the part where I need some advice, probably from a psychiatrist rather than a lawyer. I know I am supposed to feel guilty or bad that she might kill her self due to my words. And that even if she does not kill her self, she will certainly feel like crap and have her emotions badly hurt. But I simply do not care. I haven't been able to find a speck of caring in myself for her plight. I am only slightly worried about showing that I pretend to care, just so people don't think I'm a sociopath. (I'm also pretty sure I am not a sociopath, I can feel quite deeply for other people, I get secondary embarrassment quite easily, cry at movies, and have felt physically nauseous watching my daughters go through pain).

I am perhaps seeing this lady as an enemy. And I really have no sympathy for enemies. She hasn't done much of anything against me personally, aside from be mildly annoying (but I put up with lots of behaviors that I find annoying in others). But she has harmed and attacked people I think of as my allies or 'my people' members of the club I am responsible for, and fellow members of the board. I find that what she does to piss off the other around me infuriates me the most, and has drained any remaining sympathy I might have once had.

tagging @TheDag and @Walterodim since they commented on the last update.

Is it reasonable/possible to establish a "We Don't Negotiate With Terrorists" rule regarding suicide threats?

That would be my preferred approach.

But I simply do not care. I haven't been able to find a speck of caring in myself for her plight. I am only slightly worried about showing that I pretend to care, just so people don't think I'm a sociopath. (I'm also pretty sure I am not a sociopath

To me, this says you’re a mentally healthy person with good boundaries. A codependent would be falling all over themselves trying to rescue her or advocate for her, and would thus enable her worst behavior.

As a Christian, I am called to do more, to love my enemies and my neighbors, yet not be codependent myself. So I ask my Lord, the divine Healer, to bring grace into her life and healing from the hurts she’s received and perceived. I give my worries for her to God, trusting that He will make all things right in their time. And having given her up to Him, I also pray for all who suffer similarly, that God would gently relieve them.

Apologies this response is going to be briefer than I would like secondary to me being on vacation.

Also apologies I don't like diagnosing people second hand, but..... based off of what you said in the past and here this person almost certainly has cluster-b personality traits and very likely has borderline personality disorder.

This means a few things.

-People with this sort of personality structure have mangled coping mechanisms. They don't handle stress in a healthy way and that often includes lashing out in seemingly irrational and inappropriate ways, for instance "splitting" (people are "all good" or "all bad"). Now that the board is the adversary they are super evil and awful and therefore certain kinds of behavior is both justified and necessary. "Projection" is also very common.

-Self-harm, "fake" suicide attempts, and "real" suicide attempts are all common responses to distress in this population. It is questionable whether these behaviors are ever an appropriate response, but it's very commonly super duper out of proportion with the cause of stress here. They don't generally have very serious attempts though "if you break up with me I'm going to overdose...on melatonin" but do still have higher rates of completion than population average.

-If things aren't going well with people like this, they are super fucking frustrating. Don't feel about your response not being up to your standards. These people are hard to deal with and even professionals in a professional setting need to constantly stop themselves from going "Jesus fucking christ shut your fucking mouth."

-These people are very good at hijacking social justice, the legal system, and other avenues to get revenge, make changes to something, whatever. This is often distressing for everyone else.

In sum you didn't do anything wrong and while this person deserves some pity and human decency for being both a human being and mentally ill, they are still a threat to you and doing things that absolutely should drive you bonkers (and you shouldn't feel bad about it). Borderline is essentially the female equivalent of anti-social personality disorder (gross oversimplification but still) and while both deserve kindness you should take steps to protect yourself and not feel bad about it.

Outside of social justice communities most people have experiences with a person like this and kinda get the vibe.

Outside of social justice communities most people have experiences with a person like this and kinda get the vibe.

Why are social justice communities so immune to noticing BPD?

Questioning lived experience and emotions is typically a no-go in those communities so it's really hard to challenge borderlines. Likewise it's common to not be able to challenge them when they use social justice language/concepts. This leads to a feedback loop of poor coping skills and reality testing that can lead to poor outcomes in these patients and difficulty in treatment.

This is good advice, thank you

She is almost certainly mentally ill and unstable. Her behavior at tournaments usually involves random bouts of sobbing mixed with high levels of self confidence in her own abilities.

I've certainly heard of this abuse tactic, and known a few people it has been deployed against.

It always surprises me though, because no one has ever deployed it against me. Same with psychopaths. I've run across a few in my time in life, but they always seem to abuse and take advantage of others.

I'd like to think that I don't put off good prey vibes for these people, but maybe its just been a matter of luck. I lean towards the prey vibes explanation though, because the people that tend to get abused seem to get abused repeatedly.

I am maybe the main advocate of kicking her out, but I feel that is mostly a result of how wishy washy our culture can be about handling problem people.

That is a good idea. Say that she needs to get her mental health under control.

Since I was tagged in a reply by @TheDag I will add the following (note: I am not a psychiatrist, I just, like you, dislike people such as this lady):

Western culture is heavily Christianised. Anybody growing up in it, regardless of whether they be Christian, atheist or whatever inevitably have certain aspects of it imprinted upon them. One such aspect is the idea of doing well to your enemies, regardless of how they behave towards you, indeed it appears many many times in the Bible, perhaps most famously in Luke 6:35 : "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great." and Matthew 5:39-40: "But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well." (both are sayings of Jesus).

This is all well and good when everyone in your society is living a proper Christian lifestyle and believes all the other God stuff as well. That leads to a stable system. Unfortunately God has been killed, and one of the consequences is that people have adopted certain tenets of Christianity and turned them into what "every good moral human being clearly does and if you don't do it then you are a Bad Person", and doing well to your enemies is unfortunately one of them.

"Treat your enemy in the same way as your treat your friend" may well have been adopted by baseline modern culture from Christianity, but many of the people currently benefiting from it are not Christians, they may well be actively disdainful of Christians and as such I see no reason why they should get any protection based on this maxim when they so clearly reject the whole which it comes from.

Indeed I personally far prefer the Confucian solution to this problem, namely that "Treating your enemy the same way as you treat your friend is an insult to your friend". Think about all the other people in your club that you do like and are friendly with. Treating this woman in the same compassionate way as you would treat one of them is not you doing a "good thing", it is you insulting your friends, plain and simple. They are helpful to you, pleasant to be around and in general make your life better and you decide to repay them by treating them no better than someone who quite openly wants to hurt those your care about and will go to large lengths to do it? Shame on you!

My point is that you should not feel bad in the least about not treating such a person well. Remember to cover your ass and not do something that could hurt you and yours and absolutely make sure to not give her any ammunition. If you don't feel particularly vengeful towards her then it's perfectly fine to not do anything beyond protecting the group from her attacks, this just means she is not worth your time, but you absolutely have nothing to feel guilty about from seeing her suffer and doing nothing to alleviate it. If she wanted your help, maybe she shouldn't have attacked the club you are a part of.

My TL;DR advice: If she's a believing Christian, maybe go somewhat easy on her, otherwise: Let it Rip!

"Treating your enemy the same way as you treat your friend is an insult to your friend".

I like this, and it gets at what has bothered me about how some of my fellow board members have responded to this problem lady. They have been very accommodating. Once the facebook post came out, and she started speaking with a high up and powerful person in the [obscure sport] community I felt that all bets were off. It was scorched earth time, and if it was solely my decision that is the route we would have gone.

I'm not sure if she is Christian, but I'm certainly not, so maybe I should bother with the mercy either way.

I like this, and it gets at what has bothered me about how some of my fellow board members have responded to this problem lady.

Vestigial Christianity fucks stuff up again. If modern society wants to reject Christianity it has to reject it fully, not just reject small parts of it like belief in God etc. That gets you to where we are now in the world. To quote the great Chesterton:

“The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was shattered at the Reformation), it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.”

The board member who spoke with a lawyer is now suggesting we implement a code of conduct and probably some other sets of rules. I would rather avoid this and just fall on the grenade and kick her out. Or not explicitly ban her from practice, but just let her know that she is unwelcome, but allowed to attend.

The fact that we have created a society in the West where an insane, weak and tiny (but growing) fraction of the population can bring the force of the legal system to bear on normal, healthy people for not catering to their desires is embarrassing and frankly quite scary. I'm sure @BurdensomeCount could back me up here with some more colorful language. And @self_made_human, I wonder if this trend is why cultivation novels/progression fantasy have become so popular recently? Extolling the virtues of strength in a world like ours is starting to make more and more sense.

I haven't been able to find a speck of caring in myself for her plight. I am only slightly worried about showing that I pretend to care, just so people don't think I'm a sociopath.

I wouldn't be worried that you're a sociopath man. By our natures it make sense that you would feel some sympathy and compassion for her plight, but it's clear that she is trying to weaponize her weakness and the fact that your entire group isn't catering to her. She's basically someone who's weak, trying to get someone who's strong (the state) to punish you and yours for not doing her will. It's a messed up situation.

That being said, it's still good to act with pity towards people in her situation, even and especially our enemies. Whether or not you no longer feel sympathy on an emotional level, intellectually you can still recognize that she is probably suffering terribly. She's making bad choices and being immoral etc, but at least for me it helps to remind myself that at the end of the day she will reap what she's sown. People that go down her path don't tend to find happiness.

The annoying thing here is that it is more fear than actual ability to bring the legal system against us. We are not an employer we are a private club formed for the purposes of promoting local obscure sport. She isn't local and she is actively making it harder to recruit people, she is against the strict purpose of our organization.

She hasn't ever sued anyone as far as I know. Also fat shaming is not illegal. You could maybe make a case of hostile work environment if this was work, but it's not.

She seems to mostly be using emotional manipulation and Karen energies. Which are fully outside the legal system and only gain power if you grant them power.

I am not doing well at all, I pulled my first 14-hour day a few days ago, it was not clean at all but I went from doing nothing to actually being somewhat better than what I thought I could be, from 0 hours per week to 40 plus. I have to implement this paper on Spectrograms and train some models (Deep learning stuff) and so far the pre-processing part has been kicking my ass and the deadline of the weekend has made me go nuts. I cannot sleep, all I think about is failing this assignment and never making it to the lab I want to work in. I do not want to work the lower paying jobs in the Indian market and wanted to pursue this Deep Learning thing full time, My undergrad got over a few weeks ago and I took the plunge. The research position pays peanuts and I would happily work for free or pay out of my own shallow pockets to work on the kind of stuff that I wish to work on but alas.

I am still working out, I am close to 157 lbs (I began at 145 and at maybe the same level of body fat percentage at 6 foot, totally untrained, still look the same though) and even did MMA for a while. Life just keeps getting worse, I see all my classmates from high school and uni lapping me and getting into great grad schools, partying, enjoying life whilst I am anxious, doing as much work as I can and still failing. My bad decisions have caught up to me but I had to take a day off totally as I was too stressed and too tired to work.

My life sounds like a broken record but the harder I try to fix these things, the more pain I feel. What if I do not get this gig and have to hear my parents and everyone I know scream at me and mock me for trying to get to grad school or trying something like research? It haunts me, I have never worked, studied or even been productive in my life and when I try my hardest I get hit with worse outcomes. My doctor diagnosed me with ulcers due to high amounts of stress and each day I hate myself more, the only reason why I do not hate myself as much as I should is that I try my hardest. Deep Learning stuff is quite fun too, I find the jupyter environment and training models way more fun than anything I ever learned in uni. Udemy and Fastai are great tools.

With no phone, no girls, no social life, no surfing as I blocked everything on my browser or any other distractions, I have been trying this for 2 weeks and can feel tired and helpless. Even really scared of posting about it here or to my friends as I am a frequent liar of sorts so it is reasonable to be skeptical Plus I am not exactly a blood relative that anyone would care beyond a point. Everyone thinks I am a fuck up who would pick garbage and see me as the village idiot. No one else will implement the paper for me and my problems are my own but I always thought that if I worked hard enough some day, I would feel proud of myself but that was fleeting as the next day I realised how much harder this thing was.

Please do not judge me, I am scared and each day I feel worse about my own life. I am sorry. I wish I were more competent but I am finally trying and I just hope that I get my break in a good lab and more importantly that I do get good at the deep learning stuff. The lab is not the main thing here, my not being good enough is and I hope I get there soon.

My life sounds like a broken record but the harder I try to fix these things, the more pain I feel.

Even God rested on the seventh day. Or whatever the Hindu equivalent is. If you truly want to achieve peak performance, you should realize that what you're doing right now is not it. Pushing yourself so hard you burn out and literally destroy your body (ulcers) will not help you improve or grow stronger.

Please do not judge me, I am scared and each day I feel worse about my own life. I am sorry. I wish I were more competent

By continuing to post here, you are inviting our judgment. It doesn't have to always be negative though. From an outsider's perspective, after reading many of your posts, you seem to be stuck in a cycle.

You feel bad about your situation, get up the gumption to do something about it, and run as fast as you can without stopping until you run smack into a brick wall of exhaustion and overload. If you want to break out of this cycle, you must realize that there are other important axes you have to develop on to become a well functioning and 'competent' adult. Sheer effort and brute strength of will can only take you so far.

In another comment you mention:

I have only had situations where I was constantly and stressed for close to a decade now, I stopped Ssris a while back actually.

I was in your situation too when I was a younger man, and I responded by continuing to push as hard as I could. Eventually I developed serious physical issues to the point where I could barely walk, talk or even function. I am not exaggerating. No matter how bad you feel now, things can and will get worse if you don't learn to manage your stress levels.

Now I don't know all the particulars of your situation, so you may have good reasons for pushing yourself into life or death flight or flight states for the better part of a decade. From your posts here, I doubt it, but context is everything.

That being said, for your own sake, I'd recommend you take some time to relax every once and a while. If it helps, you can reframe it as you're learning to grow your capacity in other ways than brute strength of will. Learning to relax your body and nervous system can be just as challenging as what you're pushing yourself through, if not more.

Thanks, I am better now, I actually work and have some proof of that. For the past decade, I did not really work at all, Now that I do work, feels a lot better, I weigh more and can understand a good amount of code, It is not much but it is a good beginning

I do meditate and doing more of that plus keeping track of my work helps, I can sense a feeling of progress and that calms me down. Meditation is a godsend and I would appreciate tips on managing stress and becoming a better programmer and things of that sort. Stress management and proper rest should help me live a better life and work better, work more.

I would appreciate tips on managing stress and becoming a better programmer and things of that sort.

There are a million ways to manage stress, at bottom that's what many of the fun activities we do help with. Sounds like you're meditating which is a good start.

Really the best way to manage stress is to have a well rounded life. Find some activities that you enjoy like dancing, yoga, BJJ, running, hell even tabletop gaming or something. Make sure to spend time for socializing, and find a few people you can really relate to and start to build deeper relationships with. Even if you plan to move on later in life, it's irreplaceable to have that experience and understanding of how to relate to others.

Stress management and proper rest should help me live a better life and work better, work more.

This framing is not going to serve you in the end my friend. If you continue to focus on managing stress as a way to work more, you'll find your ends defeat all of the means you try. I'd recommend finding a higher goal that encompasses more. There's a reason 'saving the world' is such a cliched goal, but it's effective. Serving God is another route. For some it seems that a sort of Nietzchean self-improvement due to the Will to Power works, but I haven't found it very useful.

Figure out what sort of deep motivation works out for you, and keep your eyes on that. Not on working harder just to work harder. And you may need to try out a few different worldviews, lord knows I did. But hey if you only believe in one thing your whole life and never switch it up, you've led a boring life.

I just want to be rich and help my family, that basically sums it up, I do meditate and it helps but I cannot stop a constant humming in the back of my head of seeing others doing more than me and having better life outcomes. I have friends and tell them about my life but they are all online.

I assume I will get to relax more once I get past the steep points of the learning curve and build more momentum. What helped you? I take Sundays off.

I just want to be rich and help my family, that basically sums it up,

Perhaps this goal is not meaningful enough for you, if it doesn't help you drown out the constant humming.

I assume I will get to relax more once I get past the steep points of the learning curve and build more momentum. What helped you?

I'm not saying you should give up your ambitions and stop learning by any means. And in any learning process there are going to be peaks and troughs. I'm trying to talk about a framework outside of these cycles.

What helped me was having my entire being shattered and enduring more pain and suffering than I could have even imagined existed. I went through hell, or the dark night of the soul, or whatever you want to call it, which forced me to call into question many of my fundamental assumptions and goals. At that point I could either continue suffering, or figure out a way to make the suffering meaningful.

Ultimately I decided to embrace my suffering, and view it as a way to get my aims set higher. Less towards getting money and status, more towards serving God.

On a practical level, I started learning about nervous system regulation, the dangers of over-stressing yourself, and began to take my circadian rhythm, diet, and exercise habits seriously. I got a puppy (although I'd recommend waiting until your pretty stable to do that).

Most importantly though, I sought wisdom in ancient thinkers like Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Plato, Seneca, Epictetus, etc. From there I moved on to more traditional religious teachings, and worked to understand those. Readings the classics is important, but given how different our cultures are I hesitate to give you any specific recommendations here.

Now keep in mind I'm condensing an over a decade long journey into a few paragraphs, so there's a lot of nuance and context missing. But those are the highlights, so to speak. Honestly at this point, I think you might benefit from starting off listening to some Jordan Peterson lectures, or find an equivalent thinker who specializes in Hindu myths and their symbolic meanings.

I’ve never seen a non-extremely-weird preprocessing pipeline described that GPT4 can’t decipher and start implementing, start with that.

Thanks, man. I will hopefully start, I use Bing and the free version of chatgpt so will read the paper again and start anew.

Yeah. I'm sure you've heard this before, but you're overfocusing on negatives to the point of insanity.

From the tone of your writing, you'd think you were a middle-aged castrated cripple living under a bridge in a small town where everyone knows you as a registered sex offender. The facts of your situation that bleed through your wellness posts do not agree with the level of despair, at all.

Given this, improvement in your life situation will not improve your emotions. They're unmoored from one another. Seek help and/or try new medications.

I have only had situations where I was constantly and stressed for close to a decade now, I stopped Ssris a while back actually.

I and my girlfriend have been putting on some weight lately and we've struggled with constructively helping each other lose it. We've both been wondering how to communicate : 'you're not unfit or fat, I still find you attractive, but a few pounds off wont hurt' to each other. (We've both started hovering around 25 BMI)

She's supposed to meet my parents by the end of the year. Turns out Indian parents are a great excuse. Indians are famously direct in calling fat people fat. So, that's been a good excuse to start actively pushing each other to lose weight without your self-esteem being shanked every time. 'We aren't losing weight for each other, we are doing it for the glaring eyes of society'. Both us are intelligent enough to know what's going on, but somehow the lie still functions effectively.

Tech lad that I am, I'm still learning how to balance soft-landing so your loved ones don't feel attacked vs proving direct feedback to avoid passive aggressiveness. It's getting better, but it's some verbal IQ gymnastics for sure. Also, timing. Timing is everything.

The 'You know what, we've been unhealthy lately. Let's get to the gym together' can work well without directly referencing weight. Or self-directed 'I've been putting weight on and need to do something about it. I'm going to the gym/activity, do you want to come?'

Anytime weight is raised as a subject, acknowledge it, however briefly. This builds tolerance to the idea of talking about weight without the world ending. I'm past my 20's and I don't have an issue with talking about weight gain in a non-accusatory way with partners.

25bmi for a woman is not fat...

But definitely overweight, unless she's an athlete.

I see this happen with my parents too, not saying that having a slightly higher BMI is good but in some sense I find your issue somewhat relatable. Hope you both lose weight. I do not think fasting or crash dieting would be good for either and losing weight is a slow process but I am sure you will be alright, my dad lost a ton without a lot of significant interventions.

P.S. Something like grappling or climbing on the regular alongside replacing sugar with zero-calorie alternatives might help. Wish you luck!

Can you play games that involve physical activity together? Stuff like tennis or squash where you'll run around a lot and burn calories. Plus they're a lot of fun.

Indians are famously direct in calling fat people fat.

Sometimes I wonder if it's only Anglos and some other groups who are touchy about comments on people's weight, my French Canadian snowbird neighbor somehow always tells me "you've lost weight" during the holidays.

This is a tough one. Honestly, it's probably more about her than you. My ex was very insecure about this to the point where it was impossible to discuss. But my current partner and I can discuss this freely, even our exact weight in pounds, with zero hard feelings. She's kind of a unicorn that way.

Most men, even obese ones, can discuss their own weight in a frank and open manner. Most women can't. And there isn't some secret code by which you can discuss it productively with like 12 indirections and soft eye contact and compliment sandwiches. It just can't be done. And it's not you, it's her. Women don't help their fat friends lose weight either. They just lie and tell them they look hot.

Would love to be wrong on this, but honestly I'm not sure this is fixable.

So forget about discussing weight and dieting with a person who can't handle it. The best way is to couch things in terms of health. "I'm eating this boring salad to be healthy, not to lose weight." And if you lose weight yourself, she might get the point.

haha, that's the thing. She's already doing most things right. Eats salad for all lunches, walks a lot, works out regularly.

But she has a fatal love for chocolate and eats like shit when travelling. And she has been travelling A LOT.

I actually think it will be a lot easier for both of us to stay a decent weight once we move in together. But long distance has made that especially hard.

Well, step one would be to accept that chocolate has no place in your (her atm) home. That's much more important than eating salads. A 100g bar of cholocate is 500-600 calories. I switched to protein bars, thankfully I found a local brand that is both sweet and chewy in a way that triggers my "had dessert" flag.

That one is going to be hard. On our very first date, she made it amply clear that her "things ranking" went as follows:

  1. Sleep
  2. Chocolate
  3. the idea of Antonio Banderas in the 1998 mask of Zorro.

I have finally made it to #3, toppling Banderas, but she would totally dump me before giving up sleep or chocolate.

But yeah, we've gone from a bar of chocolate to a couple of squares of dark chocolate. So there's progress.

Is it that while travelling she doesn't have easy access to low-prep, decent tasting easily eatable food?

As a financially constrained student, if I wake up in the morning and don't have stuff prepped the previous night, I am going to gorge myself on milk, cheap chocolate and cereal.

Well, she is currently living through her 'Europe' phase. I can hardly blame her for wanting to try out great food while travelling through Europe.

Yeah, losing weight is hard. There are lots of approaches, most of which seem to fail. The ones that seem to work are, in order of difficultly from most to least.

a) Permanent lifestyle change (i.e. become a park ranger, move to Vietnam, take up marathoning).

b) Tracking calories consistently and just dealing with the constant hunger (weight watchers / Jenny Craig / app-based weight loss)

c) Low carb / keto

And it goes without saying that its easier to maintain weight than to lose it, so half the battle is just never letting yourself go.

God damn, I'm grateful I've never struggled too much with excess weight. From all the people I've seen complain about it, really seems difficult.

haha, that's the thing. She's already doing most things right. Eats salad for all lunches, walks a lot, works out regularly.

But she has a fatal love for chocolate and eats like shit when travelling. And she has been travelling A LOT.

You obviously know the situation better than I do, and I'm just a rando on the internet, but by the way you describe it, it sounds like she's doing it wrong and actually following the exact script that many people follow when they try and fail to lose weight.

I thought that newborns would start out waking up all the time and then gradually get better until they sleep through the night. I now know the term "sleep regression". We had a few glorious nights when he only woke up once but and then went back up to four times. He's at least napping a little bit better during the day, but usually not more than 30 minutes and sometimes as little as 10 minutes at a time. On the other hand there are a lot more positive moments now. When he was first born it was pretty much eat-sleep-cry-repeat, but now he smiles and coos and stares at your face. He's starting to feel like a real human being. And as I'm typing this I can hear him grumbling in his crib, so it's back to the salt mine.

My wife always tried to sleep when the babies slept. I was around a lot. I was older than a lot of dads but that's more an issue now when my boys are athletic and want to test my endurance, not so much then. You'll hear this a lot but enjoy these times; they won't last. They never do, maybe in this case mercifully. Our first child my wife was making fresh applesauce after he was weaned, and using cloth diapers. By the second it was whatever and the usual disposables. A great time of life, though.

What are y'all's MBTI types? I'm presuming it's mostly INTPs around here, but I might be typical-minding too much.

INTP yeah. Big ability to decouple, but able to accept multiple points of views (especially compared to intj friends, who I respect but are very abrasive). I'm moving more towards J the older I get though, which makes sense to me. Less time for bullshit really.

INTJ, but the description of that type rings hollow in certain aspects. I suppose that's because the site is trying to sell its services to people who are seeking insights for their professional career development.

There was a link that provided a much more granular evaluation of MBTI, with lowercase letters for slight inclination and x for no significant inclination for 5^4 options. I think I was something like InTx on it.

ISTP, probably.

I want there to be an analogous code system for the Big 5 system, which seems more accurate but harder to discuss.

INTJ, I would guess it’s INTJ’s that are overrepresented in here. Judgers are more systematizing than Perceivers, no? But the last letter isn’t as relevant as the first 3 anyway.

INTJ, I would guess it’s INTJ’s that are overrepresented in here. Judgers are more systematizing than Perceivers, no? But the last letter isn’t as relevant as the first 3 anyway.

I'd be surprised if this forum weren't half INTJ+INTP, if not more. A Scott poll from the good old days had us 10x overrepresented in his readership IIRC.

Last time.

Weight loss continues, and has kept mostly steady. Water weight fucks with expectations. I'll weigh myself every 2-3 days and feel like nothing is happening, then all of a sudden I'll drop the weight I had expected to. That's exactly what happened this week. It's not a big deal, but it gets in the way of the "numbers go down" good feeling that comes with watching pounds fall off.

In other news, I'm already feeling so much better that I'm happier on the daily and taking better self-care: shaving more frequently, going out and doing more social activities that I would in the past pass up due to getting general bad vibes.

This includes girls and women in my age-group being more approachable and more willing to just chat. I'm not the kind of person to care much about sex, but the passive extra attention and happy faces alone do wonders.

What's your current BMI?

About 27.5.

How do I comfort and console others? I could do with some guidance or principles because I am never sure what to say. Some example situations:

  1. A friend goes through a breakup with a long term girlfriend.
  2. A friend calls me and is stressed about his job.
  3. A friend brings up feelings of inadequacy, and that he doesn't feel very successful in his career/life.

I don't want to say "don't worry, everything will be okay", because it is not necessarily true.

look them in the eyes, ask short open ended questions, have a concerned, serious expression on your face, help them move towards a conclusion that they feel like they can move forward with, and thank them for opening up with you.

I usually try to get them to think of things from a perspective that they haven't considered. My friends aren't familiar with many rationalist-adjacent concepts so I can sometimes share a brief summary of a lesson or concept that might be applicable to their situation and is new information to them.

Generally, I try to get people to clarify their own thinking instead of giving a direct solution. I really like the Socratic Ducking Approach

  • Counter vagueness. Ask for specific examples whenever they talk about a general problem. Probe for details whenever they gloss over part of the problem, or start simplifying to fit everything into a narrative.
  • Draw out their experience. Try to get them to remember times they’ve solved a similar problem, or encourage reference class hopping (if they’re thinking of their problem as being all about social anxiety, see if they view things differently when they think about parties versus small group conversations). In general, help them gather useful data from the past, so that they can see patterns and causal relationships as clearly as possible.
  • Map out the parts of the problem. If you spot implications or assumptions, ask questions that take those implications or assumptions as true, and see if you can draw your partner toward a new insight. Try breadth-first searches before diving deep into any one part of the problem—can your partner identify their key bottleneck?

Everyone grieves differently, but everyone grieves. Start by identifying the loss. Friend 1 is grieving the future he’d been planning, friend 2 is grieving the dream of what success is like, and friend 3 is grieving his sense of adequacy. These are not the sharp, unexpected grief of someone who’s lost a child; these are the griefs of uncertainty and fears made manifest, and they all have a root in loss of self-esteem as measured by external indicators.

The Elements of Harmony are six relationship virtues which make friendships more solid, whatever else may be happening in the lives of your friends. They are:

  • Kindness
  • Loyalty
  • Generosity
  • Laughter
  • Honesty
  • Presence/Involvement

It’s hard to deal with your friends’ life struggles, especially when they lose faith in themselves; direct statements from you may come across as a pat answer or as trying to fix them. Often what it takes is just being there for them, possibly making the effort to call them regularly to give them a chance to vent or to explore the meanings of these events. Show these friends they’re meaningful to you by being meaningful to them. Use the Elements as a guide, and you’ll discover opportunities to be a friend.

“Oh, man, that sucks.” And then listening and making the appropriate consoling noises. Maybe a little commiseration, so long as you’re careful not to make it about you. You don’t have to play therapist and get deep in his head, and you especially don’t have to solve the problem.

If you’re feeling ambitious, plan something. Depends on what y’all do. Go try a new bar. Something entertaining and low-commitment to keep him from wallowing too much.

I returned to my regular group yoga practice after being absent for 10 months. I was a regular practitioner for 7 years, and the practice came to a halt in the lead-up to the birth of my son. Aside from the expected improvements in my flexibility and relief from minor aches, the most notable effect is a greater ability to focus.

I found that I was rather scatterbrained and overwhelmed with the tasks that I faced while doing WFH and taking care of my home and an infant at the same time. However, the practice of mindfulness and the 'moving meditation' that I engage in during my yoga sessions has made it easier for me to organize my thoughts.

During the months after the birth of my son, I didn't bother to engage in solo mindfulness/fitness practices (aside from walking) because the temptation to do work/housework became overwhelming. It's nice having returned to the community that I've practiced with for so long; just a few casual daily conversations with others (who aren't coworkers) outside of the home does wonders for my mood.

Finally, I want to note that having a kid has done more to strengthen my legs than all my prior yoga practices combined; chair pose is no longer a pose I dread.

Yoga is the bomb. It turned my life around once I started taking it seriously. The combination of training focus, breathing, precise movement, and strength all at once is really compelling for me, in a way meditation never was.

I do wish that there were more high quality teachers on youtube that went into the more religious/traditional aspects though. I hate all this stripping of Eastern traditions that has happened here in the West. Feels like we've lost a lot of the core substance of these teachings.

I've talked before about some writers on the Motte have convinced me to start using Obsidian for my writing, and it's going really well.

One thing I struggle with though is keeping bookmarks/links in it since it's markdown only. I'd like to be able to somehow import my google bookmarks or keep a list of bookmarks in there - anyone have experience doing this?

More generally if you write and keep a lot of bookmarks, how do you organize them?

Bumping this again from last week.

Hi folks! At the end of October I'm running the Dublin Marathon to raise money for Focus Ireland, a charity which provides food and shelter for homeless people in Ireland. If any of you have a few shekels to spare for a great cause, please consider making a donation: (I've already met my fundraising target, but it never hurts to exceed it.)

I normally post here under a different username which has multiple AAQCs, but the fundraiser link reveals my real name and face, hence the throwaway account.

Finally YouTube did something useful. If you have an YouTube account and turn of your watch history, YouTube stops recommending you videos. The final piece of my day to day internet experience free of outrage bait that was making me depressed. If I want to be recommended videos I can always log out.

I consider video recommendations to be YouTube holding up an analytical mirror to my subscriptions and watch history. Opening it up now: movie critic, music composition analysis, writing advice, music+ambience for studying, mean tweets from Jimmy Kimmel Live, science history, pop science, movie history, math, science. Two of those were good recommendations from channels I've never seen before, and I'm not ashamed of 9 out of 10 of them; that's a solid A minus. Plus, I've also learned that I spend too much time watching dumb Jimmy Kimmel clips, so I should try to cut that out. After just one more. Probably.

Opening up YouTube in an incognito window, on the other hand, to force it to give me generic recommendations without history, is good for nothing but making me feel better about myself by comparison ... there's some Hurricane Idalia coverage, there's a Mexican guitarist duo that might be interesting, but before and between and after that is page after page of clickbait and wasted time. "SCREAMING at a SCARY Toy Factory [Poppy Playtime]". 36M views.

I used to have a good experience with subscriptions and recommendations it contributed, but somewhere along the line the algorithm decided to show me "outrage bait". Things that I deliberately avoid by not going on Twitter, Reddit(when it got worse there) and so on... for my own sanity. So it is something in my personal feed that triggered it but it became like everything else that I've identified dragging me down.

The thing is that it is personalized by the very definition not everyone is going to have the same poor experience I did. So if you are seeing things that enrich your life go for it. I'm just informing other people that might have identified something similar in their life and that it might be something worth a try.

Yeah I've done that too, but those extensions don't work on the TV. This applies to the TV and the YouTube app on your phone too.