In which we’re still looking at how well I’ve managed to balance my Venn diagram of physical, mental and social well-being.

The Vitruvian Man Strikes Back

1292 words about health — 17:15 · 26th Feb 2022

You can read the previous well-being reviews in, The Vitruvian Man, The Vitruvian Man Returns, and Revenge of the Vitruvian Man.

The context for all the things that are here and why I’m still doing them is because they’re working—and as you’ll see, when they don’t, I’ll stop doing them.

I treat my life as an observation experiment in which I’m both the experimenter and the subject. I establish a routine, change a variable, and observe my performance, and when the novelty wears off, I tweak the variable again. If nothing else, it keeps things interesting. Ruth Ozeki

The well-being questions

Am I physically active?

TLDR: Yes but less than the year before, and less than I would like to be.

Last year I concluded that considering we’re living in a pandemic and I started self-isolating before the UK went into the first of its many lockdowns I had managed to maintain a very admirable level of walking.

I decided to focus on continuing with my rough steps-goal and rehabilitate my knee enough to slowly get back into running.

I looked at the data from last year and I walked an average of 8,900 steps (or 6.78 km) a day.

With a total of 3,248,597 steps (or 2,476 km) last year, as we can see from the next table, I walked less than the year before.

Year Steps (avg) Steps (total)
2019 12,266 4,476,992
2020 10,685 3,901,561
2021 8,900 3,248,597

However, considering that 万歩 (manpo) (the recommended 10,000 steps) originated from the invention of the Japanese pedometer Manpo-kei and has no scientific basis and I’m still taking more steps than the world average of ~4,900 steps per day, I’m quite happy with this.

I also managed to log six 5k runs towards the end of the year whilst having no issues with my knee and feeling refreshed afterwards.

Focus this year: Increase steps to match my 2020 walking. Expand my mini strength-resistance routine and continue with my Bohr Effect trials, building up to a 10k run.

Do I have mature mechanisms for coping with life’s ups and downs?

TLDR: Yes-ish.

Last year I concluded that although I felt I had developed a good range of coping mechanisms I needed to get a therapist again to highlight any omissions.

I decided to focus on building healthy coping resources and continue to nurture a peaceful and anticipatory mindset.

Let’s look at the raw data first and then think a little about what it might mean.

Having expanded my Daylio mood scale from five to ten, my normalised average score of 4.3 (up by 0.05 from last year), makes my average day, a Good-to-Great day. And as the breakdown shows, last year was pretty consistent with the year before:

  • 58 Fantastic days
  • 190 Great days
  • 68 Good days
  • 35 Okay days
  • 10 Meh days
  • 1 Little bit crap day
  • 1 Bad day
  • 1 Shit day
  • 1 The worst day (previously: Fucking awful)

In 2019, I had a normalised total of 331 Fantastic and Good days combined.

In 2020, I had a normalised total of 331 Fantastic, Great, Good, and Okay days.

In 2021, that number has increased to 351. Although it’s important to note that it’s the number of Great days that have increased (from 79 to 190) and that Fantastic days have actually decreased (from 107 to 58).

I’m not worried about this as I think it’s a natural progression of me becoming more aware of the nuances with these days and my subjective feelings about them.

I published my In Case of Emergency checklist last year.

I still need to make sense of the Mature Coping Mechanisms document I have created—it’s currently a 6000 words beast.

I need to expand the resources I have in my “What does my self-care look like?”—it’s currently only 3 bullet points.

Focus this year: Communicate my needs and wants on an immediate (moment-to-moment) and long-term (weekly, monthly, yearly, etc) basis, especially when it comes to my relationships with people who aren’t me so that that which can be given is given and that which can not, I can find elsewhere.

Carlos Eriksson illustrated as a Disney character posing as Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man.
Le proporzioni del corpo umano secondo Vitruvio.

Do I enjoy fulfilling relationships?

TDLR: Less and better, with more work to do.

Last year I concluded that I was my own biggest obstacle to healthy relationships, whether that was not being sure what a healthy one was, or how to be an active participant in them.

I decided to love myself for who I am today so that Future Carlos could stand a chance at loving himself for who he becomes. And to be unashamed in my love towards others.

I’ve made improvements towards both of these and still have such a long way to go.

I am less in conflict with the person I wish to be and the person I actually am today, at least when compared to last year. Part of that has been a lot about embracing that I’m 99% certain the car accident left me with permanent brain damage.

I’m getting a lot better at telling people how much they matter to me and worrying less about their reaction to it. I still have a long way to go here as well.

Focus this year: Love yourself enough so that the idea of no one else—unrealistic anyway—loving is no longer terrifying. Be present for the beautiful nuances of the relationships you already have and nurture them. Stand your ground for the bullshit ones.

Do I enjoy a healthy weight?

TDLR: This question doesn’t serve me anymore.

Last year I concluded that I needed to work more on shifting my internalised image than my actual weight.

I decided to reach an arbitrary 77 kg target and then chill out whilst maintaining 74±2.5 kg. At the time of publication I had already reached 77 kg (11th March 2021) and I then peaked with 78.2 kg on 31st May 2021.

Doing another weigh-in on the very last day of the year, I weighed 75.65 kg with 13.6 % body fat in December 2021—which is very stable.

Focus this year: I think it’s time to retire this question. It doesn’t serve me anymore and is on further learning, probably fatphobic to begin with. I will change my focus towards shifting the miscalibrated image of myself instead and for that, I will need a new question, so that’s my focus.

Bonus; Am I learning?

TDLR: Yes. I still haven’t figured out a system for mapping my ignorance.

Last year I concluded that I still have many areas of ignorance and continued to read and believe the lived experiences of the authors I met. I vowed to continue to be critical of my own biases and inquisitive of the biases of other people.

I decided to continue reading for quality (not quantity), making sure I alternated topics, took notes and read from minoritised authors. I also wanted to figure out a way to map my areas of ignorance.

Last year, I read 46 books and I then spent some time revealing how I wasn’t reading from as broad a perspective as I wanted to.

Focus this year: Continue reading for quality (not quantity), make sure I alternate topics, take notes and read from minoritised authors—and make sure you’re not concealing people in aggregated data. Map my areas of ignorance.

And so I continue.

You’ve just read The Vitruvian Man Strikes Back.

In which, 2 years ago, I wrote 1292 words about health and I covered topics, such as: journeys , data , quantified self , exercise , wearables , and psychology .