Quantified 2016: Popular with 35-44 year old Males, Hikes Often
You might know that there is this whole Quantified Self movement. It's kinda a tech nerd thing, but tracking and analyzing one's habits for the purpose of self-knowledge and self-improvement is an age old tradition. Millions of people track their spending, athletic performance, diet, weight, and more.
I don't have a single wearable (a device like a Fit Bit or Apple Watch). And I don't track anything with my smart phone. But I track my life everyday. I do the majority of this on paper. Which is bad for making and combining cool graphs at the touch of a button, but good for flipping through the pages and finding all the info I want at a glance. I can annotate my calendar with crazy arrows, make up symbols. Do stuff no app can do.
You can take a soul hacking approach to this and quantify your daily flow (level of positive and negative synchronicities). I do. Except it's just a colored pencil bar on calendar, not a number. I could easily make into it a number, but for visual purposes the bar is better and more intuitive. I keep the more detailed notes in a journal.
Some of the other things I track right now include food, supplements, chemical triggers, symptoms, poop, mood, sleep, dreams, hours spent on the computer, exercise, and menses. Does this lead to useful information? You bet it does. You don't have to be a statistical whiz to learn something from this practice. The very act of writing something down increases your awareness of the patterns. Tracking has helped me discover:
-Patterns related to food and headaches. I've been able to construct a diet that is completely headache free, whereas previously I could go weeks where I would get a headache daily.
-Patterns related to food and sleep. I uncovered that going too low carb makes it so I can't sleep through the night, particularly if I don't eat enough carbs in the evening. Not eating enough calories during the day has the same effect. Anything less than 2000 calories and I'm in the danger zone, which is a surprising amount for a skinny minnie like myself. I would have thought these effects would take a few days to set in, but nope, eating right every single day matters.
-Around my menses my vibration and my life flow (ironically) goes way down in relation the extent to which my hormones are disrupted and I get symptoms. If I take hormone balancing herbs to mitigate my symptoms my luck is much better and I can actually leave the house without all kinds of bad things happening. Moral of the story: do not go to the casino on your moon time.
-Eating sauerkraut makes for a really nice poop texture. I call it the poop adaptogen. It firms up the softs and softs up the firms for those perfect trackless wipes. The effect doesn't last however once it has passed through my system. Different brands of kraut (Bubbies, Farmhouse) seem to work the same, but no brand of probiotics I have tried has the same effect. I'm guessing the number of bacteria in the kraut is just soooo much greater since I eat 1/4 cup minimum up to about one cup max per day. Hydrocholoric acid, and oxbile supplements seem to have no effect on the BM's. Still investigating digestive enzymes.
2016: Year in Review
You can learn a lot about someone by looking at their data. It's actually pretty vulnerable to share such information. It opens you up to a lot of judgement. Here are some of my 2016 statistics:
I really shouldn't travel other than camping because it costs too much relative to my income to stay in the types of places that my sensitivity level requires and is too disruptive to my diet. The trips I took below were spur of the moment reactions to bad situations. In one case a greater than usual depression, and in another case a chemical sensitivity crisis due to some repairs being done in my home.
I hope this doesn't happen in 2017, but it is always nice to visit more places. I think my personal lesson may be if you are going to bother to stay in a hotel at all, just splurge and pick a decent one so you will only regret spending the money, whilst still enjoying the experience, rather than regretting both the money and the experience.
States Traveled to Other Than Arizona:
2 (Colorado and Utah, on the way to and from Colorado).
Highest Elevation: 12,400 feet (Almost but didn't quite summit Humphrey's Peak, Arizona's tallest mountain).
Nights in A Hotel: 6 (1 in Durango, 3 in Pagosa Springs, 2 in Tucson).
Nights in Regrettably Terrible, Horrible, Awful Hotels: 2. (Motel 6, Tucson Airport & Knights Inn, Durango.)
Nights in Amazing, Great, Very Nice Hotels: 4. (Pagosa Hot Springs Hotel and Spa, and Lodge on The Desert, Tucson.)
Trips to the Big City (Phoenix): 9 (8 for doctor's visits, 1 to look at a jeep for sale).
% of Days Tracked I Went on a Hike or Walk Outdoors: 45% (not bad for sickie!)
Best New Place I Traveled Within 90 Minutes of Home: Fossil Springs, AZ.
Below is my Cronometer chart for the 12 weeks or so out of the year I tracked food. These weeks were skewed toward weeks when I was trying a ketogenic diet or coming off a ketogenic diet (high fat, limited vegetables) so the minerals are not looking too hot. This is not too far off, but my actual year would look something more like 100 grams of carbs, 160 grams of protein and 120 grams of fat per day, and the nutrients would all be at least grazing 100%, except calcium. I'm convinced that Big Dairy has inflated the calcium RDA since it is nearly impossible to hit on a paleo diet, while everything else is easy. I don't input sodium, but I eat a lot of salt.
Times Eating in A Restaurant or Cafe: 15, For a total cost of $176.
Amount of that $176 I regret spending: $173.
This is because I react poorly to all the restaurant food I have ever tried. The stats are frontloaded toward the beginning of the year. The first 6 or so times I ate out were on my vacation to Pagosa Springs where I let everything go to hell briefly with my diet. The rest of the times occurred mid-year, many during one of those 9 trips to Phoenix, still trying in vain to find an acceptable restaurant.
I tried several paleo and raw food restaurants and meals to no avail. The biggest problem (besides not eating eggs, wheat, dairy, soy, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, sugar, or any of those most popular of ingredients) is the use of vegetable oils. Even classy restaurants slather their meats in vegetable oil. The second biggest problem is my intolerance to red pepper as well as any guar gums and thickeners that might be used in a dressing or sauce. So during the last 4 months of 2016 I ate out 0 times. (The only non-reactive food I ate out all year was a 100% green apple juice popsicle from Paletas Betty in Tempe, $3)
Amount Spent On Doctors, Supplements, Tests and Other Health-Related Paraphernalia: $4,248.
Do I have anything to show for it? Not really. But I'll refer you to Thomas Edison on that one:
It seems from my research, that if you go the full-on functional medicine route, recovery from a chronic illness costs about $10,000 in the first year. My GoFundMe campaign brought in $1,575. Not enough but better than nothing. It's still up and running if you feel called.
People buying stuff via my Amazon affiliate account brought in another $139. (Drag this link into your favorites bar if you haven't already!)
My poor health also costs me in poor sleep, which in turn makes it harder to make money to pay for healthcare. But I think I've figured out some things that will make 2017 a better year for hitting the hay:
% Nights of "Split Sleep" out of 149 Nights Tracked: 29% (A split sleep is awakening about 5 hours after going to bed and being awake for a few hours before being able to fall back asleep, or just never going back to sleep).
1 ticket to see Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates: $7.50 (On a hot afternoon in Phoenix, when I had some time to kill.)
I like Aubrey Plaza. She reminds me of me.
America The Beautiful Pass for National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands: $80.
That's about it. Don't do music or concerts. Stream my TV for free. Get my books from the library. I do enjoy the occasional botanical garden or museum, and I will drop dough on seeds and plants, which are very "entertaining" to me.
I hate to disillusion anyone who thinks this blog of mine is, like, a serious business. I'm not the most popular kid on the block, but like all the unpopular kids say, I'm not really trying to be, so there.
Squarespace analytics won't let me go back more than 12 months so I can't see all of 2016. Despite putting out only 9 posts in 2016 compared to a whopping 20 in the last 5 months of 2015, when I started the site, I've seen slow but steady growth.
# of New Facebook Page Likes: 32.
Most people who have liked the page are those I invited to when I first created it, so these 32 are the strangers who happened to come across it. Out of my total Facebook fans, 39% are women with the largest cohort being age 25-34, and 57% are men with the largest cohort being age 35-44. Compare that to my YouTube channel where 78% of my 2016 viewers were male and only 22% were female. The same age ranges dominate. The gender disparity has only grown thus far in 2017. 35-44 year old males happen to be of greatest interest to me as well. So we're even.
# of New Instagram Followers: 213
Top Instagram Posts:
I think there must be something subliminal going on with this cherry to get so many likes. So red, so juicy, so sensual. But then again my top post in 2015 was a cow with the hashtag #cow. So who knows. I did see Albert again, but I didn't go on a date with Albert. And speaking of dates...
# of OkCupid Dates: 6, and one conversation on Skype.
# of Those Dates Whose Names I Can't Quite Remember: 2
# of Those Dates who Traveled from another State Just To Meet Me: 2
# of Intimate Encounters: .5 (No one finished.)
And that is my 2016 in a nutshell! What about you? Which of your numbers are you most proud of for 2016? Which one is most embarrassing?
XOXO, -Emily, The Super Sensitive Human