Understanding Ego Depletion.

Understanding Ego Depletion.

…in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s on stressful days that many of us give in to temptation and choose unhealthy options. The connection between exhaustion and the consumption of junk food is not just a figment of your imagination…

Well worth a read, if you want to understand a bit more about why you make bad choices under stress.

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Weight Loss Goal Update

So I figured as I haven’t posted about my weight loss goal for 2012 in a while it was probably time for an update…

In short, things are going very well. The rate of loss has slowed compared to before, but I expected that. I’ve dropped two – almost three – sizes, which has led to having to buy a whole new wardrobe, but at least I’m finding it easier to get clothes now!

Last time I blogged my weight I was 18st 10lb. I’m currently at 16st 3lb, only a little over 1st to my target weight. At the current rate, I’m expecting to hit my goal around the start of August.



FitBit Ultra [UK] Unboxing and Lightning Review

My FitBit finally came today! So like any good nerd, here’s a quick unboxing photoset:

So how is it to use? Couldn’t be more straightforward – I just dropped it into my pocket after setup! It really couldn’t be simpler; you move around and it tracks it. When you stop, and are within range of the dock, it syncs your data to the FitBit dashboard.

The great thing is it has a positive mental effect: you know you’re tracking your activity, so you’re naturally inclined to make yourself more active; you get badges/awards for reaching certain milestones – 10 flights of stairs, 5000 steps, etc. I did find myself thinking of more ways I could ‘level up’ as it were. I was probably helped by the fact I was working from home, which gave me more freedom to (for example) go for a walk at lunchtime, and take a few more breaks where I could just walk around the house, but in theory I might be able to manage similar behaviour at the office.

One part of the logging app (web or iPhone) which sucks is the food logging – essentially a food diary/calorie counter so you can offset your activity with what you’re consuming. The food database was pretty pathetic, and entirely US-oriented, and new foods can only be added through the website. There is hope though. The FitBit website lists integration with MyFitnessPal as “coming soon“. This is good, as the MyFitnessPal iPhone app is the best food diary app I’ve tried. Hopefully “coming soon” really is soon, because I’d like to track my intake, but the FitBit tracker is useless IMO.

I haven’t had a chance to test out the sleep tracking functionality yet, but will report back when I have.

In summary: the FitBit is amazingly simple to use, and likely to have a positive effect on my goals. The food logging sucks, but third-party integration promises to take care of that. Rating: 4 out of 5.

Starting the Year

Ah, it’s the start of a New Year. Outside the street cleaners are sweeping away the mess made celebrating the end of 2011. Inside are millions of people nursing hangovers, celebrating, and making resolutions (usually involving not drinking again!).

I already outlined a few goals I have for 2012, and I’m a firm believer in ‘start as you mean to go on’ and ‘measurable performance’, so I’m laying down markers on a couple of these goals already so progress can be measured.

Weight Loss

Screenshot of the Weightbot UI, showing my current weight of 18st 12lb

For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with my weight. I’m under no illusion I am in an unhealthy place right now. I’m currently 18st 12lb/264lb/120kg. While this is well down from the peak of 22st/308lb/140kg I was in August, I need to keep this going.

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Switching from a Chair to an Exercise Ball

Over the last few days I’ve experimented with replacing my usual home desk chair with an exercise ball.

There were 2 main reasons why I’ve given the ball a try: 1) posture – I noticed I have a terrible habit of ‘slumping’ when sitting in my usual chair; 2) health + exercise – sitting on an unstable surface engages most of your ‘core’ muscles to keep you balanced… plus, sitting still is killing you.

So far the experiment has been rather uncomfortable. Right now my mid and lower back is aching (though not really sore) due to my spine being forced to adopt the “proper” posture rather than the more relaxed one it is used to. Other than that, there are a few other niggles, such as it’s hard to adjust your sitting position due to the friction of the rubberised surface on jeans/more difficult to move your ‘chair’ closer to the desk. I’m determined to stick it out though. The biggest issue I’ve had has been getting the ball to the correct inflation. It’s been trial and error, and I’m not 100% I’m there yet, but I’m getting closer. Too little and the ball is ‘squidgy’ and more akin to a bean bag; too much and it’s more uncomfortable, and more unstable.

I may wind up buying a larger ball. Exercise balls tend to come in one of three sizes: 55cm, 65cm, and 75cm. I went with 65cm as it was the most common, and an online chart indicated it was the correct size for my height, but it’s maybe a fraction too small. Perhaps if my home desk lowered like my desk at the office it wouldn’t bee too bad, but right now my mid forearms have a tendancy to rest on the edge of the desk, running the risk of pain in the elbows and wrists.

It’s too early in my experiment to confirm any of the supposed health benefits, but for such a simple (and cheap) change it’s got to be worth a shot!

Life is a Lemon, pt 2

Sometimes, Life really does turn around and bite you on the ass. Regular readers will know that back in the summer I had a stroke. Since I was released from Hospital care things had been going a lot smoother. I got married, I went back to work, and life in general was getting back to normality. Until yesterday morning, that is.

On Monday morning, before I started getting ready for work, I had an epileptic seizure (dislocating my shoulder in the process). Just as I thought everything was getting back to normal, this comes along to throw a spanner in the works…

At the end of the week I need to get a battery of tests done. Until then, the hospital are trialling me on some medication to try and prevent any repeat episodes.

It really sucks that until the tests are done, I’m not going to know how how any of this is going to potentially effect the rest of my life.

Home from Hospital

I guess I should apologise – I was actually discharged a week ago (which was a week earlier than expected), but as I’m sure you can imagine, everyone has wanted to come by and see that I’m OK. This is the first time I’ve had a chance to sit at my iBook for longer than the time it takes to download (but not yet read!) mail.

Thank You All

I’d like to share my appreciation for all the get well soon messages and all the support. Thank you.

So how Am I Doing?

I’m doing good. Definitely not 100%, but I’m improving daily. Simple things still tire me out real quick, but apart from the small matter of my wedding in 4/5 weeks, I have roughly 8/9 weeks of nothing but recuperation to get back to full health and fitness.

I’m glad to report that I have nearly full mobility back, with only a small amount of strength and dexterity missing from my left hand and wrist. My Occupational Therapist thinks that typing is as good an exercise as any for fixing these – which I suppose is a good thing?

I have a heap of other exercises to do at home that the physios gave me. So by the end of it, I should be fitter than I’ve ever been! I’ve already dropped 2 stone (28lbs if my maths serves me right) in weight, which was a pleasant surprise :)

The War Wound

for those with a morbid fascination for such things, I present the lovely scar that now adorns the side of my head:

It gets a bit itchy and uncomfortble at times, but I guess I’m glad it’s there at the end of the day!