My first homebrew!

Brewing kit

I’ve been meaning to start making beer at home for several years, but always had a reason not to. I claimed it was too expensive and distracting and that I should wait. Besides, I’d never be able to go through 5 gallons of beer before I wanted to just get rid of it. I clearly gave in. What happened was I found sources to do one gallon batches, but why that mattered to me will be for a later post.

My first batch is Everyday IPA from Brooklyn Brew’s book The Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Beer Making Book: 52 Seasonal Recipes for Small Batches (link to Amazon.co.uk but not a referral one). They also sell a kit for it but I was convinced to be brave and not start with the kit. I was glad to have the recipe.

2015 non-diet starter

Soon I'll lift more

I’m starting of 2015 without being on a diet. I don’t mean in that way where I specify it’s not a diet, it’s a healthy way of eating. I also am not on a cut, a cleanse, or am fasting. I’m eating a lot and intentionally.

I’m eating to fuel my lifts and get strong. The entire goal is to get new PRs and not need to worry about feeling grumpy due to eating less than my body wants. And also to never feel limited by how I’m fuelling my body.

I’d like to say that doing this made my self esteem super high. I know I’ve put on weight from not caring so much for awhile last year and now eating so much now. I know I’ll likely want to go on a cut at some point but I really wanted to get to just go out and feel strong for now.

Maybe it’s good I stopped weighing myself awhile ago.

To becoming a badass who can meet standards of at least a as a novice (Standards here). Then I can worry about losing bodyfat to look tough.

How do people even get research funding?

This is a bit rambly and beyond where I originally wanted to go with this blog but I’ve reached a point where I need answers.

I know a lot of people end up saying this, but I don’t know how people do a lot of things that they just seem to do. People will say they have no idea how they do something but then they do it. They say they feel behind but then have things done. They say they don’t know but then have an answer.

I sometimes feel like I’m one of the few people who doesn’t actually know what’s going on and doesn’t just doubt myself. I’d like to clarify I don’t just mean this is a self-pitying way where I feel completely beyond all help… just directionless where I need some guidance.

I don’t know how people get research funding. I had a brief overview of it at some point but it seemed so sort of vaguely “These people sometimes give money to people to help with postgraduate research.” I know that means they can fund part of my research but I’m as lost as a small child being told jobs will give them money without them having a reference point for applications, CVs, interviews or references. I look at the sites on the lists and I still don’t know what they want from me or what they do or give. It makes me feel stupid to admit it but I don’t know what to do. I can’t continue on with how I’ve been doing this.

My research has been self-funded with US federal student loans. It’s not because I think my research is uninteresting, unworthy, or somehow only worth looking at for me but rather because I have no idea how to approach someone or a group with why they should pay me to find these answers without feeling like I’m doing the academic version of sitting on street corners and asking for change. I can even imagine people shaking their heads as they go by and saying to each other “Money for research into medieval brewing? She’ll just use it to get drunk.”

I’m doing unusual research and don’t mind doing unusual things to fund it but I don’t even know what people do. I even finally had the nerve to ask about funding because I hate bringing up money at my supervision meetings and I got something that amounted to “Funding is hard for everyone.” Thanks for the help there.

Once I get past this I’ll then work on how I don’t know how people get career jobs.

Politics of (my) weight

I often like to believe that my main motivation for lifting heavily is to get strong, but it’s a lie.

It’s not a malicious lie and it’s usually not an intentional one, but it would be foolish to admit that it isn’t a lie. If strength were my main concern I’d eat at maintenance or I’d eat at a surplus (or take creatine, but that’s for another article). I don’t though. I have MyFitnessPal set for me to be at a 500 calorie deficit, and I strive to have calories left for the day because the 0 feels like the bare minimal standard, the C, the passing grade. It’s get me by but why would I aim for that when I can have 50 or 100 calories left? 1 I’m not so bad as to consistently allow myself to go hundreds under the already existing deficit (or to intentionally starve), but I’m happier with a major deficit than with going over in any amount… even if I’d still be within my 500 calorie deficit range. The little red number saying I went over makes me feel bad and I end up needing to justify it to myself. It ends up a stronger motivator than my lifts.

I can’t just blame the red number though because if that were the case I could simply set my deficit goal as smaller and see my goal as being to hit between 250 and 0 calories left. I’d see higher numbers on the “If everyday were like today, you’d weigh ______ in 5 weeks” at the end of each day, but I should be ok with that. I’m not at my goal weight but I’m generally happy with how I look. I still have a goal to get more ‘athletic looking’, but that’s possible with a recomp at my current weight. Or at least so I’ve been told.

After years of consciously trying to lose weight and be on a deficit, it’s scary to eat without the goal of weight loss. Even at my level of activity, I feel almost rebellious to have at or only slightly more than the standard recommendation for women. I read food charts of some of my friends and eat significantly more than many of them. It’s to the extent where I already feel like I’m accidentally mocking my dieting friends. I don’t feel nearly thin or athletic enough to get into the mentality of eating like someone who’s training instead of someone who’s losing weight. I also don’t know (I know of, but don’t know) anyone who’s tracking what they eat and not aiming to lose weight.

I’m a self-conscious eater. Not always but it bothers me to hear “Is that all you’re having?” or “You’re eating all of that”. It makes me feel the need to justify my food quantity. At a deficit I already feel like my food amounts are judged. It would even be more so at maintenance or surplus. And if I miscomputed, I’d put on some weight. I know it’s not a truly terrible thing because I’m not at the same place I once was, but I don’t feel at the point to stop losing weight. My minor fluctuations already bother me, but I have enough of a downward trend to be ok with it. I’d feel bad discussing my plateaus or slight weight gains because it seems rude to people who are struggling with far higher weights.

And then I’d be doing this for what? To maybe add more to my lifts? I’m sure breaking PRs on my lifts will feel nice, but I’d be the only one I know training to maintain and get stronger. And that’s when I know I’m not lifting mainly for strength: reaching PRs isn’t enough to want to not keep losing weight. It’s sort of sad too… I’d really like to break my 30kg bench press plateau.

  1. What makes it even more disturbing is due to the way my calorie adjustment works with my FitBit and MyFitnessPal means that I’m not ‘given’ extra calories when I lift. If I put in that I’ve lifted, then MyFitnessPal will use the number with the lifting included to compare to my FitBit calorie burn to and will adjust that down. It would work if the FitBit saw my lifting as particularly vigorous and as calorie burning as it is, but it’s likely more seen like a very slow walk. I’ve not figured out a way to add the calories on top of my adjustment instead of being a part of it.
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