The Monthly Practice Report – September 2011

nathan with carrot

 

 

Welcome to The Monthly Practice Report, where I detail how my practice of healthy living is going: the commitments, goals, and other metrics!

 

 

Why I’m doing this:

  • To be completely transparent with what my practice of healthy living and full-time travel looks like
  • To share the actual numbers with you in hopes that it makes this lifestyle (or any part of it) seem a little more attainable
  • To publicly track my progress among several categories
  • To provide cool resources that I find helpful

You’ll see information below on my expenses (food, travel, etc.), how I’m doing with my practices, travel I’ve taken, and anything else (hopefully) relevant!

I’ll also share some lessons learned and plans/goals for the future.

 

Please let me know what you think! What else do you want to know?

If anything is unclear, if you’d like more information on a certain topic, if there’s something I’ve left out, or if there’s too much info, I’m open to hearing all feedback and questions. Just leave a comment below.

Thanks – and I hope you enjoy this month’s report! :-)

 

What happened in September?

After all the trips in August, last month was relatively hum-drum. I was able to really have a regular schedule as my traveling was minimal.

I spent the first three weeks staying with friends in Seattle, and then out of the blue, picked up a housesitting gig in Cottage Grove, OR that has taken me into October.

As expected, since I stayed put for most of the month, my travel and lodging expenses went WAY down.

 

Here were the two parts to my month:

  • House-guesting in Seattle, WA: September 1-18
  • House-sitting in Cottage Grove, OR: September 19-30

 

What was new to me…

  • How long I’m wearing my contacts: way back, I remember a doctor telling me not to wear them for more than 12 hours – I’d like to shoot for 8 hours or less – see results (from part of the month) below
  • My working hours: to see how long I’m working at one time (ideal is 90-120 mins max), and how many hours per day – partial month results below.
    • This is particularly important to me as I increase how much I’m doing with NA and the en*theos Academy
    • My ideal is to work no more than 7-8 hours per day, and to be done with “work” by dinner (usually around 8 pm).
  • New morning practice: drinking two glasses of water

 

I continue to see my hunger peak at about 5 different times during the day, and now that I have the data to back it up, I’m looking to keep on that schedule – all the meanwhile I’m still losing weight! :-)

 

Onto the numbers!

FYI: some of the links below are affiliate links that will earn me a commission if you purchase through them. If you do, I absolutely appreciate it; if you’d rather not, that’s cool, too. If you have any questions about any of the products or services, please let me know!

 

MEDITATION

  • Ideal/Goal: to meditate for at least 15 minutes in the morning, before other activities
    • Continued the daily practice for another month, bringing the total to 498 consecutive days!
    • How long did I meditate each day?
      • 15 minutes: 9 days
      • 30 minutes: 21 days
      • Most often amount: 30 minutes!
        • Last month: 15 minutes
    • Continue to use my Blissitations tracks; they’re really helpful for concentration, and one of the best parts is that I never have to think about how long it is – I just keep going until the track is over.

 

NUTRITION

  • Ideal/Goal: since December 2010, I have been following the Paleo diet, which is lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. No legumes, grains, starches, processed foods, or sugars. Dairy is OK, though I tend to avoid it.
  • When a guest in someone’s home, I defer to gratitude and do not refuse meals; that does not, however, give me free reign to eat whatever I want – everything in moderation.
  • There are also “non-paleo” foods I still love, most likely pizza, bread, and other baked goods. I occasionally allow myself these items – I’d rather be flexible and have a good time, than rigid and mopey. :-)
  • Animal Products (red meat, chicken, pork, fish, eggs, and dairy)
    • Ideal/Goal: 20% or less of diet
      • For the month: 14%
      • Last month: 15%
  • Not Paleo (the “no” list above)
    • Ideal/Goal: 10% or less of diet
      • For the month: 11%
      • Last month: 13%
  • Alcohol
    • Ideal/Goal: 0-1 drinks per month
      • For the month: 1
      • Last month: 2

**Above percentages calculated for 30 days with an average of 90 meals + 70 snacks

 

EXERCISE

  • Ideal/Goal: some form of movement every day; could my morning options (see below), hiking, biking, or walking – something to keep me fit, to maintain and sustain me! 
  • 20 minutes of activity before meditation
    • Includes one or more of the following: yoga, energization exercises, tai chi warms-ups, balance poses, pull-ups, and stretching
    • Days: 27
      • Last month: 24
  • While in Seattle
    • Lake 22 Hike
      • 6 miles, round-trip
      • Note: took 3 hours to drive there and back
  • Walking the Dog
    • During my time in Cottage Grove, I also watched a dog. We’d typically go for two walks each day: one 30-minute, and one 90-minute walk.
    • Not only did she love the exercise, but it was super healthy for me to get outside and take a break from work! I loved being in the fresh air, and often good thoughts (about work/life/creative projects) would come during this time.
  • Other
    • Minimal bike riding around Seattle

 

JOURNAL

  • Ideal/Goal: to express my Highest Goal, my Path, my ideal Partner, my Hell Yes’s, my Strengths, my Zones of Genius, my Gratitudes, and any Big Ideas.
    • Days: 19
      • Last month: 0
    • If I don’t get to journaling in the morning (before email/work, etc.), it usually doesn’t happen.

 

WEIGHT

  • My Stats:
    • 9/7/11: 136 lbs., 11% body fat, 19.51 BMI
    • 9/14/11: 138 lbs., 10% body fat, 19.80 BMI
    • 9/22/11: 138 lbs., 11% body fat, 19.80 BMI
    • 9/28/11: 135 lbs., 10% body fat, 19.37 BMI
    • Average: 137 lbs., 10% body fat, 19.66 BMI
      • Last month: 137 lbs., 11% body fat, 19.66 BMI
      • Difference: -1% body fat
  • Weight/BMI
    • I weigh myself (usually) on the same day of the week, first thing in the morning – before eating or drinking anything.
    • I’ve been using a scale that send electromagnetic pulses through the feet to determine body fat. With any device, I’m going to assume there’s a ± 5%.
    • According to the BMI data, I am within the healthy range (18.5-24.9 for men and women)
      • For my height, underweight would be below 127 lbs, and overweight would be above 174 lbs. (see this article from Livestrong.com for how to find the weight range.)
      • Formula to calculate your BMI: ([your weight in pounds] x 703)/ [your height in inches]2
      • Example:  (150 x 703) = 105,450/ (70 x 70) = 21.5 (within the healthy range)
    • It’s tricky because I found many charts online where according to those, I was underweight – it’s tough to know the validity of those sites, so I think BMI is a much more reliable figure.
  • Body Fat

 

TRAVEL

  • Trip costs: $79.61
    • Gasoline: $47.36
    • Seattle Public Transportation: $32.25
    • Redemptions/Points
      • Amtrak
        • Seattle-Eugene, Amtrak Business Class: 1,425 points, $0
        • Redemption reflects 5% rebate from having the Amtrak MC
  • Hacking Actions
  • Current Points (selected accounts)
    • American Airlines: 20,893 
    • Amtrak: 27,425
    • British Airways: 106,576
    • Continental: 16,131
    • Starwood: 21,487
    • TOTAL: 192,512
      • Used: 1,425
      • Last month: 191,404
      • Difference: +1,108
  • Credit Score
    • These scores are reported by two separate credit agencies. A credit union I use provides the Equifax score as an included service, and I signed up with Credit Karma (free) to obtain the TransUnion score.
    • Equifax: 772
      • Last month: 772
      • Difference: 0
    • TransUnion: 765
      • Last month: 765
      • Difference: 0
    • Context: between 700 and 850 – very good or excellent credit score

 

EXPENSES

  • Food: $328.07
    • Groceries: $272.10
    • Dining Out: $55.97
    • Average cost: $10.94/day
      • Last Month: $395.62
      • Difference: -$67.55 
  • Travel: $79.61
    • (see above)
      • Last Month: $559.43
      • Difference: -$479.82
  • Lodging: $0
    • Last Month: $207.58
    • Difference: -$207.58 
  • Nomad Life: $183.10
    • Dinner for friends (treated them for putting me up for 3 weeks!): $86.50
    • Shipping my brother’s backpack to him (I had been using it): $27.12
    • New Backpack (Timbuk2 Swig Laptop from eBags – on sale!): $64.00
      • Last Month: $80
      • Difference: +$103.10
  • Cell Phone: $77.77
    • Last Month: $77.77
    • Difference: $0
  • Entertainment: $3.00
    • Last Month: $67.47
    • Difference: -$64.47
  • Health: $175.00
    • Includes full premium for health insurance and blood test order
      • Last Month: $299.55
      • Difference: -$124.55
  •  Total Expenses: $846.55
    • Last Month: $1687.42
    • Difference: -$840.87 (50%!)
    • Financial Freedom (Ideal/Goal: income > expenses): YES.

 

EATING TIMES

  • Ideal/Goal: to eat within 1.5 hours of waking, and to eat no more than 2-3 hours before going to sleep.
  • In September, average times for
    • Breakfast: 9:30 am
    • 1st Snack: 11:40 am
    • Lunch: 1:30 pm
    • 2nd Snack: 4:20 pm
    • Dinner: 8:00 pm
    • 3rd Snack (26 days of the month): 9:40 pm
  • Averages for the month
    • First meal within 1.88 hours of waking
      • Last month: 1.5 hours
      • Most often time: 2-2.5 hours
    • Last meal within 2.4 hours of going to sleep.
      • Last month: 2.3 hours
      • Most often time: 1.5-2.5 hours
  • Average Times between meals
    • Breakfast and 1st Snack: 2.32 hours
    • 1st Snack and Lunch: 2.33 hours
    • Lunch and 2nd Snack: 2.83 hours
    • 2nd Snack and Dinner: 3.79 hours
    • Dinner and 3rd Snack: 1.73 hours

 

SLEEP AND AWAKE

  • Ideal/Goal: to sleep for at least 8-9 hours each night and to wake up around 7 am
  • Sleep Hours
    • Average
      • Seattle: 7.61
      • Cottage Grove: 7.86
      • For the month: 7.71
        • Last month: 8.42
    • Most often amount of sleep: 7.50-8.0 hours
    • Longest sleep: 8.58 hours
    • Shortest sleep: 7.0 hours
  • Awake Hours
    • Average
      • Seattle: 16.18
      • Cottage Grove: 16.27
      • For the month: 16.22
        • Last month: 15.55
    • Most often wake hours: 16-16.5
    • Longest day: 18 hours
    • Shortest day: 14.33 hours
  • Going to Sleep
    • Average
      • Seattle: 12:15 am
      • Cottage Grove: 11:30 pm
      • For the month: 12:00 am
        • Last month: 10:30 pm
    • Most often sleep time: 11:00-11:30 pm
    • Earliest sleep time: 10:40 pm
    • Latest sleep time: 1:00 am
  • Waking Up
    • Average
      • Seattle: 7:50 am
      • Cottage Grove: 7:20 am
      • For the month: 7:40 am
        • Last month: 7:30 am
    • Most often wake time: 7:00-7:30 am
    • Earliest wake time: 7:00 am
    • Latest wake time: 9:00 am

 

CHEMICAL-FREE

  • Ideal/Goal: to use few-to-no artificial or chemical products in my life: no deodorants, sunscreen, etc. I do use toothpaste.
    • Have been experimenting with no products in the shower (no shampoo, conditioner, or soap) since January 2011
    • I have a small bottle of olive oil and Lavender essential oil that I mixed together and will start using again on my hair, after showering.
      • My scalp has been dry throughout the year, which I’m not sure if it has something to do with the climate, my skin, the water temperature, or the lack of any products (even natural ones) – lots to experiment with here!
      • For more on the “No Poo” movement, check out this article.
  • NEW this month: picked up a razor and began shaving with the olive/lavender oil combo – seems to work well; the blade just needs a little extra cleaning, :-)

 

ILLNESS/INJURY

  • Vitamins: taking a male multi-vitamin that I picked up in the co-op in Ashland and have been taking daily.

 

OTHER HEALTH

  • Contacts
    • Ideal/Goal: to wear 8 hours or less per day
    • began tracking on 9/11/11
      • Days worn: 17 (out of 20)
      • Average hours per day: 8.84
      • Most hours in one day: 13.75
      • Least hours in one day: 4.42
  • Working Hours
    • Ideal/Goal: 6-7 hours per day, with each chunk being only 90-120 mins.
    • began tracking 9/22/11
      • Days worked: 8 (out of 9)
      • Average hours: 6.43
      • Most hours: 8.0
      • Least hours: 4.5

 

APPOINTMENTS

  • Blood Donation in Seattle, WA
    • Donated during an open blood drive for the Puget Sound Blood Center
    • Blood Pressure: 106/72
      • Context: in general, desirable levels are 90-119/60-79
    • Resting Pulse: 64
      • Context: healthy range is 60-100 for adults; athletes are typically 40-60
    • HGB: 17.6 g/dL
      • Context: amount of Hemoglobin in the blood; men’s range is 13.8-18.0
    • Last donation was in April 2011 in Massachusetts; eligible to donate blood (anywhere) on 11/4/11

 

COOL FINDS

  • Healeo in Seattle: raw and organic foods, supplements, and teas. There hemp frozen yogurt is AMAZING!
  • Chaco Canyon: certified organic vegetarian cafe (1st in WA) – check out my article + interview w/ the owner here
  • Pulcinella Pizzeria – definitely not Paleo, but hands-down one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had! PLUS, the Mocha Decadence is soooo goood – imagine a solid brick of really dark, yummy chocolate. Then add raspberries. :-)
  • Streissguth Gardens: located just off the Blaine stairs in Capitol Hill, this is a charming and unbelievable hillside garden maintained by essentially two people – and the youngest is 78! I met both Dan and Ann – wonderful people – go check it out and say hi!

 

BOOKS

 

LEARNING

 

NOTABLES 

  • Continued my two mastermind groups:
    • Optimal Living Mastermind (formed shortly after Optimal Living 101) – our focus is moving forward into growth in all areas of our lives (in place for more than one year!)
    • BizSoul – our focus is creating businesses that are true and authentic expressions of ourselves
  • Checked out the Cottage Grove Regional Film Festival and saw the documentary Behaviors of the Backpacker, one man’s walking journey across New Zealand.
    • It was all captured by the guy doing the walking (a la holding the camera and talking, like me!) – he lives in Eugene, so was there for Q&A after – have to support the fellow travelers!

 

 

WHAT I LEARNED IN SEPTEMBER

Or, “what worked and what didn’t?”

 

I need to watch what I eat.

At the beginning of the month, I helped the friends I was staying with throw a party. Naturally, there was LOTS of food around.

I ate more than I needed to, more often than I needed to, and many foods on my “no” list. The day after the party I deemed “nutritional recovery.” :-)

While this one day doesn’t spell absolute ruin, it does remind me that I’m subject to the same cravings and patterns that many others are. This experience also makes me think that this holiday season will be a great exercise in practice as, like many of you, I go from party to party, where food (and desserts) are abundant!

It went beyond just that one day, though: as I looked back through my food journal, I saw multiple instances of eating throughout the day, and I’m left wondering “was I really hungry?” The Raw Emotions course (mentioned in LEARNING above) has been really helpful in looking at my eating patterns and behaviors.

 

Other Highlights:

Nutrition

Definitely got onto the smoothie bandwagon again – at both places I stayed, I could make them. The second house only had a food processor, so it took a few days to “master” that machine – I finally figured out a great method, plus the end result is often very foamy. :-)

Recent smoothie combinations:

  • Banana, Dates, Spinach, Blackberries, Strawberries and Raspberries (from the backyard garden!), Whey Protein Powder, Apple or Pear

I’m definitely pleased with my Animal Products and Non-Paleo numbers, though as I mentioned above, I do want to keep watch of what I’m eating. There’s something to be said about how I’m actually feeling on a day-to-day basis, not just overall, monthly numbers.

 

Expenses

I’m absolutely overjoyed that I’ve been able to really minimize my expenses this much; this has been a sticking point for me for quite some time. I’ve been lucky that by selling everything, I had a little bit of extra savings tucked away, but for most months, I’ve dipped into my nest egg.

This gives me hope that I’ll be able to keep living frugally and simply, while at the same time, looking to bring more abundance into my life!

 

Sleep

I’m definitely happy that I appeared to get enough rest this month, in that the least amount of sleep I ever got was 7 hours! I’d love to see myself getting back to my road trip days, when I was sleeping 9 or 10 hours routinely, but I don’t see that happening as easily in city livin’.

Getting up early has been fun and productive, so I definitely see the need to get to bed early, and honestly, I think I stay up out of sheer habit. So, time to look at that practice, too – if I’m tired, go to bed!

 

One last point…

This tracking is getting to be pretty fun, and very easy. Like any new habit, since I’ve been doing this daily for over two months now, it’s pretty easy to write everything down.

Plus, the way my mind works, I like looking at all these numbers and seeing what is actually going on – hope you do too! :-)

 

OK – that’s the monthly report for September!

If you have any feedback or questions about something you’re tackling, please leave a comment below and I’ll respond as soon as I can!

 

Thanks for reading, and for continuing to be awesome!

 

Until next time,

Nathan

 

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About

Former life: actor/office worker/virtual assistant; lived in Los Angeles for 11 years. Since then: sold nearly everything, took a $5 flight to Hawaii, lived there for 3 months, wrote an eGuide about all of it, and still traveling. Currently: digital nomad - looking to improve myself, have fun and serve others.

Posted in exercise, food, hacking, health, monthly report, numbers, travel
6 comments on “The Monthly Practice Report – September 2011
  1. Jacob Sokol says:

    BRO. You are a MONSTER. I have a good feeling that you’re onto (not “on”) something man!! Congratz and keep it up!

    • Nathan says:

      hey, your first comment over here – so thrilled!!! :-)

      thanks for the support jacob. i think i’m “on” geeking out with these numbers. i may just keep tracking more and more… we may need an intervention…

  2. Wow Nathan – this is the second month I’ve read your monthly wrap up. What a practice in itself! I assume you must be pretty disciplined to track all of these details…it would be nice to know how you actually do track all of these things, what are you systems?

    It puts my tracking system (a tick in a box on my weekly planner) of my exercise and meditation for the day to absolute shame!

    Great work, keep it up!

    • Nathan says:

      alicia! thanks so much for checking in! :-)

      check out this post for a pic of my pocket food journal (it’s now morphed into food/exercise/work journal). that’s about the only regular method I use, and then I transfer certain items to a spreadsheet to get all the calculations, averages, etc.

      as i mentioned above, just doing this for 2 months has made it a daily practice; now I don’t even have to think about writing things down. I’ll also go back through my calendar and expenses (even this blog!) to jog my memory to see if there’s anything I left out.

      BELIEVE ME – I started pretty simply, too. CreateNewHabits was how I first started tracking my meditation and exercise practices, almost 2 years ago – not much more than ticking off a box, albeit an electronic one.

      bottom line: if your system works for you and it’s getting results – keep at it! you’ll know if you want to add more or start to look at the numbers in a different way. Besides, this is all FUN for me – there’s no way I’d do it if it weren’t!

      congrats on your practices + thanks for your support – excited to share the journey with ya!! :-)

  3. Awesome post. As you start to get more data points, I’d be curious to see some graphs.

    Do you have any tips for staying on a budget while maintaining an active social life? For me, this often involves going out to eat, or seeing movies/plays/etc. In particular, how do you stay on budget without seeming like a miser? Do you bring up financial constraints in conversation, or do you just politely decline things that don’t fit within your budget without providing an excuse?
    Thanks,

    Donovan

    PS: If your comment system doesn’t auto-notify of replies, please email me if you have the time. Thanks!

    • Nathan says:

      thanks donovan!

      i actually had some graphs last month, though I wasn’t sure they added too much value (beyond breaking up the text :-), so I left them out this round.

      it’s a GREAT idea, though and i have most of this data in a spreadsheet, so what info would you like to see compared?

      as for the budget: i guess that depends on your definition of “social life.” ;-)

      my $3 for entertainment above was a film at the local cinema in Cottage Grove! while on paper it may not look like i’m “enjoying” myself, i think i have a lot of fun during my days – i just tend to do it with free activities: walking, reading, watching a movie. I don’t tend to eat out as much simply because I enjoy making my own food, though when I do go out, since it’s so seldom, I’m not overly concerned about what I’m spending – it all seems to work out. overall, though, i probably go out less than most – and that included when i lived in LA.

      if i’m with a group that’s going out, i’ll just keep my purchases simple: do i need to order a drink or food? it’s not about me starving myself, but really asking the question. if it’s a place that i will need to eat at and it’s outside of my comfort zone, then perhaps it is necessary to bring that up, OR (even better) have a suggestion of another place that you are comfortable with ready when the group says, “ok, where else can we go?”

      ultimately, we don’t need to defend ourselves to anyone, and at the same time, our relationship with money is so darn complicated. i love hanging out with people, so i probably would go out, and then be aware of what i’m spending if i feel i need to do that.

      i’m much better keeping track of what i spent, than i’m spending – that is, much easier for me to calculate after the fact than in the moment. i’ve tracked my own expenses in a spreadsheet for years – it just takes me remembering to update it to see what my financial picture is. i’ve thought about signing up with Mint.com for a more real-time snapshot, but then I just have to remember to login regularly. :-)

      hope this helps – let me know if you have any follow-up questions, and if you receive this via email!

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