Sceptically Fit


Reasons to have a smartphone

Filed under: Personal, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Sceptically Me @ 07:26

Instant recipe search!

So after an evening in the pub, SO attempted to be supportive of my healthy eating thing (Can’t you just eat around the pie crust? Lasagne is out too? Well, you have to pick something) and we headed to the late night mini-supermarket to pick up some meat to cook (my post-pub concession was we can have some oven chips to go with it).

The supermarket was out of lamb chops but had some nice looking Irish rump steaks. Which SO looked at and shrugged and revealed without peppercorn sauce what’s the point of steak. Imagine the wonder when I quickly looked up a recipe on my phone so we could a) determine it was easily made and b) grab the ingredients.

Went a little heavy on the pepper (SO thought the recipe didn’t look peppery enough) but tasty. And while I can’t consider it a truly healthy meal, and the beef stock cubes weren’t gluten-free,  it did show better options aren’t always more time consuming. In the time it took the chips to bake (ie same amount of time a pizza would take and half the time for a lasagne) I cooked the steak and made the sauce. And besides, four tequilas on an empty stomach, how healthy can you expect someone to be.

Learning points:

  • its just as easy and tastier to cook up something than to heat a pizza
  • Despite seeming to have normal or greater competence in life, SO continues to be amazed at the concept that food you buy can also be made at home
  • I can be motivated enough to stick to my healthyish diet even after a night out.

Also – more success on the resolution front. That’s two new recipes this year and I’m only in the third week!


2013 – New Years Goals

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 20:28

Ok so I’m a little behind on my new year resolutions but then, I feel like this years aren’t as momentous as I’ve felt previously. These all seem reasonably concrete – an identifiable goal to achieve but aside from studying for certification they are all developing on patterns I’ve already started to set.


  • Follow a Paleo/Primal diet strictly for approx 30 days
  • Keep a food diary to identify food intolerances – so far big suspects are wheat, apples, onions and brocolli.
  • Follow a paleo/primal diet 80/20
  • Improve my cooking – aim of a new recipe every fortnight.


  • Make a roller derby team
  • Be able to do ten full pushups, I’ve kind of dropped wanting to do pullups. I still want to but it seems the goal doesn’t match my motivation for it. I think the limiting factors pushup-wise probably parallel my limits pullup-wise. I also suspect pushups will be easier to achieve if only that I don’t need any equipment.

Lifestyle and Wellbeing:

  • Start sewing again – did a few repairs/modifications of clothes last year but would like things to work a bit better. Need to start making some of my own clothes and a better effort of making the clothes I do have fit
  • Sort my wardrobe – a big change in defrumping my wardrobe last year. Still working on it. I’d like to get rid of or integrate all ‘closet orphans’ and I’d like to purge or adjust all illfitting clothes.
  • Read more – progress was not as good as I’d like, still waste too much time on the web instead of picking up a book. As a goal – I’d like to read a book a month.
  • Get regular 8hrs plus sleep.
  • stay in contact more – sent out initial contact emails, and then didn’t follow up on the responses.


  • two exams for certification over the year (ideally by July)
  • keep cv up to date


Lots of Links

Filed under: Exercise, Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 19:32

Another study on the benefits of going gluten-free.

The likely link between overeating/obesity and fructose is hitting the mainstream media.

Over at Evolutionary Psychiatry, Emily Deans looks at the effects of fructose on the brain.

Chris at Conditioning Research looks at the role ‘floor living’ has in keeping the elderly active and able.

Do you need to reset/repair/improve your metabolism? Fitness Black Book offers a guide on repairing a ‘broken’ metabolism with a focus on eating well and exercising a plenty.

Drinking red wine may increase your testosterone. More accurately, red wine reduces the amount of testosterone that is excreted from the body. Drink up!

And while you enjoy that glass – have you organised your New Year Resolutions? One suggestions is to base your resolutions on the identity you want, not simply the action.

Changing your beliefs isn’t nearly as hard as you might think. There are two steps.

1. Decide the type of person you want to be.

2. Prove it to yourself with small wins.

Here are five examples of how you can make this work in real life.

Note: I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to start with incredibly small steps. The goal is not to achieve results at first, the goal is to become the type of person who can achieve those things. For example, a person who works out consistently is the type of person who can become strong. Develop the identity of someone who works out first, and then move on to performance and appearance later. Start small and trust that the results will come as you develop a new identity.


2012 Goal Review

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , — Sceptically Me @ 01:00

I fell very short in meeting my New Year Resolutions for 2012 but I’ve made some progress in some areas, and in many ways I’ve improved my life in areas I didn’t think I needed to prioritise.

Overall WellBeing

  • get eight hours sleep most nights: I’ve definitely  lacked on this – my sleep patterns have been very mixed up. Yet at the same time, I think I’ve increased my awareness of my sleep needs. I’m still working on  taking the time to meet those needs but I’m definitely more aware of how I feel better about everything if I have decent sleep.
  • Complete a 30 day Paleo challenge Continue eating paleo most of the time – From a brief (mostly) paleo January the rest of the year kind of fell apart. I’ve been eating badly – especially a lot of processed food and wheat based food. I’ve been binging on chocolate (especially Cadbury wholenut) but overeating in general. The plus I can take away from this year is an increased awareness of the way various food makes me feel. I’ve been dealing with increasing IBS symptoms, and for the last month or so – GERD!.
  • Smoke less – this was actually a sucess
  • Move into my own apartment: two moves this year but I’ve ended up at a very nice share place in nice part of town
  • Keep my home clean and tidy: Getting there – I’m definitely the messy flatmate
  • Keep my houseplants alive: thanks to my moves – not even attempted
  • Email/Call/Skype more often with friends and family:  I’ve reached out, but still a work in progress.

Fitness Goals

  • be able to do a full pull up – not yet achieve, oh well, can roll over again.
  • do the Survival of the Fittest and be able to get over the 6″ wall without help: This is the best fail – I had to pull out of the race because I signed up for a rollerskating course that started that day.
  • run a half marathon in under two hours in May : The worse run I’ve ever had. But I consider it a sucess – I finished the race. It was awful, it hurt every step of the way.

Creative/Lifestyle Goals

  • improve my paleo cooking – This got worse – for a while I was doing ok in that I was at least cooking comfort food for myself. Then I stopped doing that and just started buying ready meals. Obviously, a big part of my diet fail was how easy it was not to eat well when you aren’t cooking.
  • complete the beginners swing dancing course  – another fail. Marathon running took over, new job took over, sprained ankle, then success – interest replaced by roller derby! (still want to go back again though)
  • finish a book a month: Not this prolific but I’ve definitely read a lot more this year.
  • take the time to indulge my creative side at least once a week: I go my sewing machine out at least…


Other Success!

  • I got a new job
  • started learning spanish on my commute
  • started cycling more  – to skate class, to and from the office or train station
  • Roller Derby!
  • revamped my wardrobe – had fallen into a bit of a frump
  • International travel – Budapest!


How to manage the Xmas Binge

Filed under: Health and Nutrition, Personal — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 18:48

A timely post from Charlotte: Cookie Detox on how to manage the sugar cravings and crashes that come with Christmas treats.

I’m feeling a little strange approaching the Christmas break. I’ve not had the most healthy diet by any standard over the last few months but I have been trying to pay attention to how the different foods feel. Not as aware as proper intuitive eating but getting there. Will I manage not to binge? probably not. But I do know from experience eating sugar with fat and protein helps me feel better.


Lots of Links

Filed under: Exercise, Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 19:36

The best piece of health-related news in the last month or so: The case for Drinking as much Coffee as you want.

“What I tell patients is, if you like coffee, go ahead and drink as much as you want and can,” says Dr. Peter Martin, director of the Institute for Coffee Studies at Vanderbilt University. He’s even developed a metric for monitoring your dosage: If you are having trouble sleeping, cut back on your last cup of the day. From there, he says, “If you drink that much, it’s not going to do you any harm, and it might actually help you. A lot.”

Officially, the American Medical Association recommends conservatively that “moderate tea or coffee drinking likely has no negative effect on health, as long as you live an otherwise healthy lifestyle.” That is a lackluster endorsement in light of so much recent glowing research. Not only have most of coffee’s purported ill effects been disproven — the most recent review fails to link it the development of hypertension — but we have so, so much information about its benefits. We believe they extend from preventing Alzheimer’s disease to protecting the liver. What we know goes beyond small-scale studies or limited observations. The past couple of years have seen findings, that, taken together, suggest that we should embrace coffee for reasons beyond the benefits of caffeine, and that we might go so far as to consider it a nutrient.

A look at how naturopathy attempts to ‘treat’ prostate cancer – unsurprisingly the advice is at best effective, at worst actively harmful…

The benefits of meditating – five minutes is all it takes.

More evidence that exercise is essential for protecting the mind: exercise linked to lower brain shrinkage when ageing.

Women should lift weights – here’s why and how to do it. Weak fingers holding you back? How about some ‘round the worlds‘ to help with those lifts?

A good shoulder and hip mobility workout. And the importance of planks for hip mobility.


Getting back into the Groove

Filed under: Exercise, Personal — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 23:22

Starting to get my strength back, I’m going to have to venture into the proper free weights section soon
Tracked a Workout for 1,391 pts Today

  • Cycling:
    • 0:14:27.3 || 3.4 km || 14.2 mph || flat (+86 pts)
    • 0:11:00 || 2.7 km || 14.7 km/hr || flat (+22 pts)
    • 0:29:02.5 || 6.1 km || 12.6 km/hr || flat (+44 pts)
  • Running (treadmill):
    • 0:06:00 || 1 km || 1.5 % (+47 pts)
    • 0:06:00 || 1 km || 10 mph || 1.5 % (+154 pts)
  • Barbell Hip Thrust:
    • 20 kg x 10 reps (+27 pts)
    • 20 kg x 10 reps (+27 pts)
    • 20 kg x 10 reps (+27 pts)
  • Bent Over Barbell Row:
    • 20 kg x 10 reps (+30 pts)
    • 20 kg x 10 reps (+30 pts)
    • 20 kg x 10 reps (+30 pts)
  • Hang Clean:
    • 15 kg x 5 reps (+32 pts)
    • 15 kg x 5 reps (+32 pts)
  • Romanian Deadlift:
    • 20 kg x 15 reps (+45 pts)
    • 20 kg x 15 reps (+45 pts)
    • 20 kg x 15 reps (+45 pts)
  • Standing Barbell Shoulder Press (OHP):
    • 20 kg x 8 reps (+72 pts)
    • 20 kg x 8 reps (+72 pts)
    • 20 kg x 8 reps (+72 pts)
    • 20 kg x 8 reps (+72 pts)
    • 20 kg x 8 reps (+72 pts)
  • Barbell Squat:
    • 20 kg x 8 reps (+52 pts)
    • 20 kg x 8 reps (+52 pts)
    • 20 kg x 8 reps (+52 pts)
    • 20 kg x 8 reps (+52 pts)
    • 20 kg x 8 reps (+52 pts)
  • Cuban Press:
    • 2 kg x 20 reps (+24 pts)
    • 2 kg x 20 reps (+24 pts)


I’m Back!

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 00:10

Woo! I finally joined a gym – I’m finally working out again. I haven’t been to the gym since July. I sprained my ankle quite badly at the very beginning of August. I moved house and quit my gym at the end of August. Obviously, I really did need to take it easy for a couple of months to heal up. I had signed up for roller skating lessons just before the sprain. The lessons started October and I’ve been too afraid to try my new skates until the lessons started in case I resprained by ankle.

So the closest I’ve come to any serious exercise for about three months is a gentle 10minute cycle to and from the train station (there’s enough of a hill, I’m counting it).

The roller skating lessons are hard work. Its Roller Derby style skating so lots of low ‘derby stance’ skating which is killing my thighs. And my lung capacity seems to have diminished quite  lot! It was definitely time to get back to the gym. It turns out not having a current gym membership is a bit of a demotivator. Who’d have thought? So five weeks of roller skating lessons – each week I must join a gym and work on this.

And this weekend I did. I am tired and have that somewhat comforting soreness from a good workout. I didn’t go too crazy – need to ease myself back into it. And I didn’t do enough stretching… but otherwise. I’m back!

Workout for 1,086 pts

  • Cycling:
    • 0:13:13.8 || 3.4 km || 15.6 mph (+98 pts)
    • 0:13:08 || 2.9 km || 13.2 km/hr (+21 pts)
    • 0:12:59.6 || 3 km || 13.9 km/hr (+23 pts)
  • Cuban Press:
    • 2 kg x 20 reps (+24 pts)
    • 2 kg x 8 reps (+21 pts)
    • 2 kg x 20 reps (+24 pts)
  • Barbell Squat:
    • 20 kg x 6 reps (+49 pts)
    • 20 kg x 6 reps (+49 pts)
    • 20 kg x 5 reps (+46 pts)
    • 20 kg x 6 reps (+49 pts)
    • 20 kg x 6 reps (+49 pts)
  • Romanian Deadlift:
    • 20 kg x 15 reps (+45 pts)
    • 20 kg x 15 reps (+45 pts)
    • 20 kg x 15 reps (+45 pts)
  • Standing Barbell Shoulder Press (OHP):
    • 20 kg x 8 reps (+72 pts)
    • 20 kg x 5 reps (+64 pts)
    • 20 kg x 6 reps (+68 pts)
    • 20 kg x 5 reps (+64 pts)
    • 20 kg x 5 reps (+64 pts)
  • Bent Over Barbell Row:
    • 20 kg x 8 reps (+29 pts)
    • 20 kg x 8 reps (+29 pts)
    • 20 kg x 8 reps (+29 pts)
  • Running (treadmill):
    • 0:02:00 || 10.6 km/hr || 1.5 % (+14 pts)
    • 0:03:55 || 10.6 km/hr || 1.5 % (+32 pts)
    • 0:03:55 || 10.4 km/hr || 1.5 % (+31 pts)
  • Stretching:
    • 0:10:00 (+2 pts)


A Month of Links

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 11:39

Oh look – yet more evidence that acupunture is a sham, I mean no better than a placebo.

High intensity intervals are the best warm up for exercise-induced asthma.

A look at the different kinds of headaches.

The most thorough guide to herbs and spices I’ve ever seen.

More evidence that exercise is good for your mental health – it makes you crave money less

Can carbohydrates cause mental impairment?


A study looking at the role of omega 3 in brain health in the elderly.


TMI – Typical…

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 14:24

Oh the joys of running.  The half-marathon that gave me a lovely under-the-nail blood blister was in May. The blood blister is long gone, but it lifted my nail off the bed enough that today when I clipped my big toenail – suddenly most of it is no longer attached to my toe. So now I have half a nail – vertically. And not only is painting my nails out and it looks awful, I’m now afraid it going to catch and tear off the part that is still attached.  Maybe I shouldn’t have clipped anything but too late now. Do I wear a bandaid over it?


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