Half a Lunch

A short post about a minor victory in the battle against the Stomach.

Today, I successfully went out to lunch, asked for a carry out container as my lunch was delivered, and put half of it in the carry out container before starting to eat the remainder of my lunch. And then I brought it home and put it in the fridge to eat later.

This was a triumph. I’m making a note here: huge success.

Does it Scale?

In my journey to lose weight and get in shape, I decided that I needed a new scale on which to weigh myself.

I had a scale already, but I was concerned that it was indicating that my weight was fluctuating sometimes 5 to 10 pounds in a single day. And while I know that your weight can fluctuate, that seemed a little extreme.

I also wanted to get a scale that was wifi enabled and could send my weight data to an app or something so that I could more easily track it without having to maintain my own spreadsheet. The added bonus being that if it could write down my weight for me, I could weigh myself, save the result, and not actually see it myself. Seeing my weight every day could be discouraging, but if I look at it weekly (or monthly), while the scale records it daily, I could, perhaps, avoid depression when the number doesn’t move.

To that end, I bought a Fitbit Aria 2 scale. I’ve only used it three days at this point, but I already like it more than my old scale. My weight isn’t wildly fluctuating, and it turns out I actually weigh about 10 pounds less than I thought, 10 pounds less than the old scale averaged.

The Aria 2 also gives me body fat percentage and BMI based on my height. I know that BMI is pretty bullshit and I’m not sold on body fat percentage. But they are data points that I’ll track even if I don’t assign them much value.

Later, once I get the habit of this weighing myself thing down, I’ll probably add some measures – biceps, thighs, waist, belly, etc. But that’ll be another post down the road.

To 2018 and Beyond

This is where I would complain about writing the wrong year on my checks for the next few months, but since this is 2018 I don’t write checks for anything anymore. Well, that’s not entirely true. I write exactly one check per year, because my HOA doesn’t accept their dues any other way.

So… resolutions.

I made my first resolutions post back in 2002, where I proudly stated that I didn’t need resolutions. I then followed that by making resolutions posts every year until 2014. 2015, 2016, and 2017 I missed, because in the last three years I was more apt to post about why I wasn’t posting than to post anything of any real substance. Over the years I see that I tend to make the same resolutions over and over. I suspect a lot of people do.

I usually resolve to exercise more or eat better, or both, with a goal of not getting fat or to stop being fat, and since I am fat I clearly have failed at this for 16 years. And when I say I am fat, this isn’t an anti-body-positivity thing. I would be perfectly happy being fat if I was happy and also fat. But as I have gotten heavier and out of shape, I have become less happy. I am uncomfortable sitting sometimes. I have trouble tying my shoes because of the density of my gut. Moving around is exhausting. And as I get older, my weight is probably contributing to other health issues that are cropping up. So I will once again resolve to eat better and move more, to lose weight and be healthier.

I also often resolve to read more. Oddly, I’ve been reading more, especially since my company moved to Buckhead and I have a 90 minute commute, one way. I take the bus because I hate driving in traffic, and this lets me read. I still have a backlog of literally hundreds of books. I wish I was a speed reader, but I am not. Progress though. I am reading.

And I usually resolve to write more, which I am resolving again, because I miss it. I miss emptying my brain on to the internet where no one reads it. I’m not even going to share this stuff on social media. This is for me… and the poor unfortunates who stumble upon it.

There were also years where I declared I was done with PC games, followed by years where I declared I was back to PC games. Now, I just want to play games, on any platform – PC, console, tabletop – just more games.

So that’s where 2018 begins. Resolving the same resolutions of the past, and resolving to resolve them better this time. And this year I’ll be employing one of these in an effort to plan and document my progress.

Let’s make this year a good one.

2014, or the Year Fink Beats the Stomach


A tradition since 2002, here are my resolutions for the year…

  1. Fitness: this is the big one. I’m going to be 40 in October, and I want to be able to take one of those “this is what 40 looks like” photos that make people jealous. I’ve got a spare tire around my gut that I’m weary of carrying. To that end, I resolve to…
    • walk/jog/run the neighborhood, every street, 3 times a week
    • go to the gym at least 1 time a week, I get up at 6am every weekday but don’t go to work until at least 8, so I figure I should be able to fit a gym visit in there somewhere, especially since I’m already paying for it, and when I don’t go to the gym I will be doing the 5BX, I bought the book last year and figure it is time to do it, I’d like to make it a habit
    • do 10 pushups, 10 situps and 10 squats for every TV show I watch, either I will watch less TV or exercise more, so it’s win-win
    • do random exercises while working, I already stand for 8 hours a day, so throwing in the occasional set of squats or dropping down for a few pushups should be easy to incorporate
    • eat better … I loath nebulous goals like this, it just isn’t S.M.A.R.T. but after a bout of buying veggies from the farmer’s market, I know it is something that can be done but can also waste a lot, so I need to spend some time educating myself on diet and figure out how best to change in a way that doesn’t result in so much compost
  2. Writing: I think I resolve this every year, but I don’t actually follow my own advice and make a plan that is capable of being followed, so this year I resolve to…
    • write in the mornings, I get up at 6am every weekday but don’t go to work until at least 8, so I figure on days that I don’t go to the gym I should be able to fit some writing time in there
    • blog about the fitness stuff, this is a good excuse to write, so as I walk and hit the gym and eat better I will write here about it, something I should be doing anyway
    • start using my phone, or buy a special device, to record things I think about in terms of writing, lots of times I have ideas when I am not in a position to write it down, and I need to solve that

I think that’s a good set of things to resolve to do. I wanted to include something about publishing a piece of writing, but I really need to just get down the habit of writing first. Perhaps at the mid-year 4th of July update on my progress and course correction I will feel like adding it in.

Three Week Rolling Average

graphOnce again I am back on the weight loss kick. This time we’ve joined a local co-op for a weekly fruit & vegetable basket so that we will have better foods to eat in the house. So far, this is working. We aren’t crazy, we aren’t trying to go vegan or anything, but we have eaten a few meals with little to no meat.

We are also giving juicing a shot. I’m not sure we are ready to go full on with a juice fast or anything, but it is interesting to make up a couple of glasses of vegetable/fruit juice and have it leave me feeling full for hours. If you know me, then you know I almost never feel full – I’m always hungry, except after juice. Weird.

Anyway, being that we are doing the eat better thing, and we also joined a gym, I’ve also started weighing myself. One of the things I hate most about weighing myself is the wild fluctuations you’ll see. According to the Hacker’s Diet, which I don’t recommend as an actual diet guideline but do recommend for learning some facts about how weight and weight-loss works, a lot of your weight change has to do with water, we are 80% water after all, and the odd thing is that people often increase their water intake when dieting. Take this example, you work out one day – running, lifting, etc – but drink a couple of gallons of water; then one day you sit on your ass playing video games and drink a glass of water. Chances are, the workout day may cause you to gain weight and the lazy day will cause you to lose weight. Crazy, right? That’s why you should never let a single day weight-in get you down.

To that end, I created a spreadsheet in Google Docs that will maintain a Three Week Rolling Average. Right out of the gate, let me say that this is only a “three week” thing if you put in a weight every day. If you skip days but don’t skip rows, it’s a 21 latest values average. But, if you don’t skip days on the sheet, and every day you don’t actually weigh yourself you just copy the weight from the previous day, you’ll get a nice running average. Bonus: the second sheet is a graph. Oh, and also, those numbers aren’t real, just an example.

The great thing about the rolling average is that it helps mentally negate a spike in weight. Once you get yourself in the mental space that the number on the scale doesn’t matter and what does matter is the current average once you’ve entered that number from the scale into the spreadsheet, it reduces the anxiety of stepping on the scale. Over time, the average helps smooth out the curve and you can get a picture of the real trend your weight is taking. As humans, we tend to remember bad things more acutely than we do good things, and so we’ll weigh ourselves every day but only remember the days we were disappointed in the number, leading us to feeling like the weight-loss isn’t working. With the average, however, you can see the spikes and valleys and where your real weight actually rests, and that one bad day isn’t the end of the world.

So, copy the document to your own Drive and start tracking. Let me know if you run into any problems with it.

Less of Me

Once again, I’m attempting to lose weight. It seems like I’m always trying to do that, but I suppose that will be the case until I finally get down to the weight I would like to be.

I bought a new scale. The old one, it seems, may have been broken. I weigh myself fairly often and noticed that I appeared stuck at 210 or there about. A little up, a little down, but not much. On a whim, I decided that I wanted a digital scale instead of the old non-digital one we had, plus it was only $12. Anyway, first time I step on – 217. My other scale had been lying to me. Oddly enough, the previous couple weeks I’d been doing the light eating again, so I suspect that I was at 220 or so. I’m down to 216 and trending downwards.

Trending… that’s another key this time around. I’ve got a Google Doc spreadsheet I’m using to track my weight. I’m weighing myself 3 times a day – morning, after work, before bed – and recording the lowest weight for the day (because it makes me feel better), but that weight is less important than the moving average. The average will give me a better picture of where my weight really is by smoothing out the fluctuations that occur from retaining water, the occasional big (heavy) meal, and more. Also, by adding “Science!” to my daily routine it feels more like a real project and not just “eat less, exercise more”.

Speaking of exercise, I have a 10k to run in under a month, so, you know, I should probably get to training a bit. The past year has been fairly shitty for me in regards to exercise and diet so I expect to do worse than I have in the previous two years. I did, however, download a Couch-to-5k program for the old Zune that I plan on beginning, maybe this weekend. Also, you know, Rule #1 of the Zombie Apocalypse: Cardio.

Another common element of my “I’m going to start a diet” plan is cutting out sodas, which I’m doing again. Consistently, I’m drinking less sodas now that I used to – there was a time where I was drinking a 6-pack of can sodas a day plus whatever I got out at meals. Now I drink mainly on the weekends and sometimes after hosting a party at our house I’ll have some left over hanging around, and I have little to no willpower, and I refuse to let things go to waste. Oddly enough, as I was thinking about cutting out sodas again, I ran across this wonderful little infographic.

CDC: The New (Ab)Normal

It really makes me not want to eat fast food anymore. Or at the very least, order the smalls and from the value menus. It would help my ego if they stopped calling them “junior” or “kid’s” sizes, but I think I’m just going to have to get over it. I may also start ordering food from the kid’s menu at other restaurants or trying to split a meal with the wife or something. Portions are really out of control.

Also, the CDC has some really awesome stuff about diet. Which makes sense, now that over-eating and obesity are being considered diseases. You can start with the source of that infographic here.

Anyway… enough about me being fat. I return you to your regularly scheduled Friday.

The Road to Fit

I am no longer doing 100 push-ups a day. The reason I began doing them is because I recognized that the first step to getting fit is actually starting. Honestly, getting started is usually the hardest part of almost any project.  For me, anyway. I’m not an amatuercrastinator, I’m a procrastinator. So to get started on the road to fitness I needed an easy way to get into the habit.  Push-ups are simple in that practically anyone can do them, even if you have to start on your knees instead of your toes and it takes you all day to do the whole hundred. Eventually I did get myself down to being able to do the hundred, on my toes, in under ten minutes.  But the real achievement was that I was doing this (nearly) every day.

The second phase of my journey was portion control. One of the main issues many people face in getting thinner is that they overeat. And I’m not talking about sitting down with a bucket of chicken or a tub of ice cream and polishing it off. I’m talking about eating a little too much at every meal that adds up over time. Before starting this road to fitness for real, I wrote about cutting my morning cereal down to one cup. I started doing this again, and limiting my lunches, and watching out for sizes of dinners, and cutting out extra snacks. I also switched to drinking mainly water except for special occasions and sometimes for meals. And I also trained myself to order smaller when we eat out, or order with the expectation that half the meal is going home in a box for another time. Eating at restaurants is really bad for you when it comes to portion control because they often won’t let you control the portions, you just get the plate of food they serve and it is left to you to stop eating. Of course, having a spot of unemployment and being broke really helps here since eating out is one of the first things to go. Fast food is also a pain here since many places have eliminated their old “small” size and made “medium” the new small, “large” the new medium, and the bucket of soda with a barrel of fries the new large. If you are in the habit of ordering the large or medium combos, you might need to reevaluate and switch to the small, or even start ordering off the kid’s menu.

Following these two phases I was able to reach one of my big goals: 200lbs. Phase three is now in full effect.  What is phase three?  Realistic expectations.

Look, I didn’t get up to 250lbs overnight, or even in a couple months, not even a year.  It took a long time for the weight to creep up on me. With that in mind, I don’t expect to lose it all in a short period of time either. I’ve seen tons of propaganda for diets and exercise plans that claim I can shed thirty, fifty, even a hundred pounds in a matter of weeks or months, but the largest problem with losing weight fast is that you usually lack the discipline to keep the weight off. The “crash” in most crash diets isn’t the sudden loss of weight but the crash of depression when months later you find you’ve gained most or all of it back.  With that in mind, my current goal is to lose just one pound a week.  That seems very small, and it is, purposefully so. Each pound that goes away I am determined to keep gone.

I’ve stopped doing my push-ups and sit-ups routine. It served its purpose of getting me in the habit of exercising and now it is time to move on. I was a big fan of the idea of the Wii Fit, but the implementation was lacking. Since I already owned the balance board, buying Wii Fit Plus for under $20 was a no-brainer. Having used it for a month now, I can say that this sequel successfully fixed all the issues I had with the original. The main fix being that I can build a workout, not have to stop between exercises to choose another and also not have to see the scores and rankings which I really don’t care about. The best part being you can simply select an amount of time, select a type of workout (yoga, strength, or a mix of both) and hit start. I now do a random selection of yoga three days a week, and a random selection of strength exercises two days a week, each workout for thirty minutes. Of course, I continue to examine what I eat, making small changes as I see places to improve without throwing out all the foods I love just to see an improvement in my waste line.

If I can maintain my goal of one pound a week that is fifty-two pounds in a year.  148lbs is my new goal for October 2010. I’m looking forward to it…

Fitness Gaming

One of the hardest things for me about getting fit is just keeping at it.  Over the last year I forced myself into the habit of exercising every day, my push-ups and sit-ups plan has worked fairly well, but I know I need to incorporate more exercises in order to work the whole body and not leave things out.  Back when I bought a Wii, I was excited about Wii Sports and the coming Wii Fit.  Wii Fit turned out to be a disappointment because you couldn’t build a real workout, you had to do everything one exercise at a time and the constant stopping and starting was annoying.  That single feature is why I’ve pre-ordered and am eagerly awaiting Wii Fit Plus.

But as much as I like it, I do have to admit the Balance Board is kinda retarded.  I suppose that is why I saw Your Shape with its camera and was immediately intrigued.

I am tempted, but really want to see some honest reviews of the product before I buy in.  An exercise game without a board or hand held controllers would be awesome if it works.