Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

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Weeknotes #697-698

Besides my review of Whiplash on Thumped, and a few of my quick news bits for Afloat taking off with hits in the hundreds, which is always nice, there’s little remarkable to report in terms of the work side of the work/life balance.

So let’s talk life, and more to the point, my consuming passion: since Wednesday last week (after finding out about the soft launch) I’ve been mostly spending countless hours watching WWE Network, trawling the archive of WCW pay-per-views and shows that I never saw back in the day. I’ll be writing about it in greater detail soon.

On the Friday I applied for a free upgrade on our cable/broadband plan, which was surprisingly delivered the next day — swapping our DVR and modem for a fancy all-in-one box that’s great for TV (a few channels in HD, and we can record more than one thing at the same time!) but not so good for the internet (the 2.4Ghz WiFi is the absolute shits, even in the same room as the box).

More recently, last night I witnessed Peter Br√∂tzmann blow the roof off a small room in the National Concert Hall with improv pianist Paul G Smyth, the first of a series of duo shows the latter is doing with the likes of John ‘Sissy Spacek’ Wiese, Okkyung Lee, Chris Corsano and Evan Parker. I’m still digesting that experience, and maybe I’ll write about it in longer form over this weekend. We’ll see.

The rest of the time I’ve been mulling over the last year, and what I did and didn’t do.
The more I think about it, 2014 saw me in a holding pattern. Aside from my film writing, with which I had a pretty good year (I saw loads more films than I’ve done in years, and wrote about all of them in some capacity), everything else kind of fell by the wayside, and my music writing especially.

You might think having access to countless promos would be a godsend, but the prospect overwhelmed me (as you may have gathered from my hinting here and there) and I balked at the volume of it all rather than jumping at the opportunity, which of course I should have as it’s a privilege. I’m not about to make any promises for the year to come but at least I can say I’ve been enjoying listening to music again, since December at least, and I will enjoy writing about it more in the weeks and months ahead.

Elsewhere, my health, and specifically my weight, is something I’ve returned my attention to as January unfolds.

Since my best result in mid-2013 (90.6 kg, just 15kg from my goal) my weight had gone up by 18kg as of the start of this year. To be fair, that’s nowhere near where I had been when I started to get serious about this, but looking at the numbers and seeing my weight go up at rate of a kilo a month, I had to come to terms with the fact that my ‘plan’, such as it was, wasn’t working for me.
That’s not to say Weight Watchers doesn’t work. When I was sticking to the plan — properly tracking what I was doing each day — I got the results I wanted. And I’m fairly certain that if I quit going to the weekly weigh-ins and meetings altogether I’d be heavier than I am now.

But I wasn’t getting the motivation I needed from the meetings, during 18 months of other things in my life demanding more attention. And snacking to get me through crappy days when I was feeling low (and, let’s face it, plenty of days when I was merely bored) meant I was cheating the programme, and cheating myself.

The first step was coming to terms with that. The next step is doing something about it, which is what I’ve been doing for a fortnight now. I’m already a kilo down on what I weight before Christmas, without doing much more than budgeting my daily and weekly ProPoints, using my bike whenever I can/need to, and most of all not giving in to the temptation to snack in the evenings when I’m not really hungry. That’s been the hardest dependency to break, really, but I did it before so I can do it again.

From next week on I’m also switching to a different weekly meeting, on Saturday afternoons, in part for better location and scheduling (Tuesday nights were becoming a drag) and just for the change, which might give my motivation an added boost.

It’s interesting to note that my weight gain more-or-less coincides with my joining a gym. Was I letting things slide assuming I’d burn it off even though at most I went two times a week? Or am I confusing correlation for causation?

Whatever the case, the gym turned out to be not for me. I wasn’t even bothered about the gym bunnies, as there are people there of all ages, shapes and sizes; it was simply that getting there and back took longer than the hour I’d spend on the treadmill, rowing machine and whatever. Fitting physical activity into my usual routine (such as cycling instead of getting the train or the bus) is working out much better, because I don’t have to go out of my way to do it.

That’s the thing, really. It’s not about ‘dieting’, it’s not about ‘keeping fit’ — it’s about normality, or a new kind of normal anyway. And I know I can’t train myself into that new normal. There’s only so much I can do by myself; for the rest I need all the help I can get.