Grab bag update and other random stuff

Ok, I haven’t written for a bit and there have been many events and what not in my life. Each of these are too small to warrant their own post (in my opinion) but I figured I would write anyway.

General Update

Over the past six months or so I have decided to get my life more organized and work on tasks to improve myself and my home. I have attempted to adopt the 43 folders method to organize my tasks and I’m using Evernote to store everything. Basically, Evernote has become my second brain and keeps everything I need to work on. This has been a slow process and I’m not exactly the best at keeping up with it as I get distracted too easily (more about that later). This has gotten me to the point of doing some stuff around my house like getting my roof replaced and other home improvement tasks. I have also been working on reducing my email and fixing my passwords. I have also been trying to scan all new documents that I might need so that I can toss the paper versions. I strive to keep using this process and getting better at it.

Diving

I’m getting back into scuba diving. I just went on a trip to Boyton Beach, FL with the Orlando Reef Divers for a weekend of diving. The weather was unpredictable and I didn’t end up going diving on Sunday but I got two dives in and had a great time. I got back into the water and I tried out some new gear. This is all in preparation for heading down to Grand Cayman for a week-long of diving which I hope to blog about as well. Here are some pictures from the Boyton Beach trip.

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Running

So I have made a couple of short posts of my previous 5K runs this year. Well here is the one I ran yesterday (5/10/2014) which was the Operation Giveback. Here are my results. But for those too lazy to hit that link I finished the 5K with a time of 39:22.293 with a pace of 12:42 minutes per mile. Yes I walked and ran it. Again I think I had more energy I could have put towards the run but I have a mental block that I need to break through. Anyway, here is the obligatory shirt, bib, and bling photo.

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Work

All is good on that front but I was working on a certification package for the last few months. And by “working” I mean that I was procrastinating and working on it ever now and then. But I used that as an excuse for not getting other personal stuff done including updating this blog. Anyway, I submitted a workaround on the certificate package that’ll give me some more time to work on my full certification package. In other words, I figured out a way to procrastinate more.

Health, Exercise, and Diet

So I have been really good at getting in my 10,000 steps a day in with only a handful of exceptions. With that said I’m going to switch to averaging 70,000 steps a week so that I will do more steps on any particular day but it will allow me to have rest days or just some lee way when I miss my numbers on a particular day. I’ll make this switch at the beginning of June. Also, at the beginning of June I’ll start tracking my food intake. I’ve gained too much weight over the past few years and I need to start dropping pounds. My exercise regime has not accomplished this so I’m going to have to start watching what I eat and tracking it all.

What’s next?

Well, I need to finally write up my trip to England from last year. I’ve been procrastinating a bunch on that front but I will knock those out. I have a couple of projects that I want to complete around the house including a couple of ones that should pay off years down the line.

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Health Kick Update

Back a month ago I posted this blog entry where I laid out my intention to start down a path of a healthier lifestyle. My goals included tracking my weight, food intake, steps taken, as well as starting to exercise more.

Food Intake

I have been able to keep up with logging all of my food intake using a combination of the FitBit.com site and the FitBit iPhone App and it has shown me that I have not been great at limiting my calorie intake. After the new year I will probably set a goal related to what I eat but for now I’m still just going to keep logging everything. Most days I consume between 2500 and 3000 calories. I know that is a lot but I have not really changed what I’m eating yet. I’m just trying to get into the habit of logging everything. I have noticed that for the most part I skip extra snacks or candies that always seem to be hanging around the office. Maybe the thought of having to catalogue them helps to deter me from eating them.

Weight Measurement

As for logging my weight, I have been doing that when I can. I only weigh myself when I am at home and I can use my Withings scale. I have only dropped a few pounds from my starting weight on October 16th but I feel like I have a good idea of where my weight currently sits which is between 225 and 228 lbs. I have also been keeping track of my waist size based on the correct way of measuring one’s waist and not based on the size of clothing I fit in. I have not seen a significant change yet.

Exercise

Although I have not been the greatest at organizing my exercise I have been making some improvements. I have been keeping track of my walking using the FitBit and I typically get in around 4000 steps per day when I’m not at home. When I am at home it’s closer to 2000 steps per day.

I have been doing well on the one hundred push-up program. In fact yesterday I finished up week three (I know I should be in the middle of week four) by doing 122 push-ups in five sets. I will probably take the rest of the week off in order to get myself back onto a schedule.

I have been back at playing kickball on Saturdays which has contributed to a few 10k or more step days.

I researched some things to get me excited about starting the C25k but I have yet to start that program up again. I also need to do more activities when I am at home to be more active and burn a few more calories.

Conclusion

I am making progress but I can still do more.

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My “New” health kick

Starting date 10/16/2011

Ever since I have returned from Nepal, where I had lost about 15lbs, I have been steadily gaining weight. I gained a few pounds back within the first couple of weeks due to getting back into eating my standard meals and I was also recovering from a chest cold/cough from the trip. Anyway, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it. I did plateau at about 5lbs above the weight I was at when I returned and I attribute this to the fact that I was exercising three times a week even though I was eating poorly. Fast forward a bunch of months and I’m traveling for work again and I’m eating large portions and desserts. I’m also working late and getting almost zero exercise in and I’m up towards the high end of my record-high weight. I’m not totally certain as I haven’t stepped on my scale for a few weeks but I can tell that my waist size has grown. This has to end as I’m getting close to my 35th birthday.

So I’m going to use technology and you, my friends and family, to help me to reach a bunch of goals. I know that long term goals are extremely hard to reach so everything I do will be metered out into bite sized morsels so that I can more readily make progress and get the feedback to push me forward. With that said I do need to put down some long term goals to achieve which I’m going to put a date of my 36th birthday as the deadline which is in just over a year.

  • Reduce weight to 190lbs (I’m at 228lbs now)
  • Reduce waist size to 36 inches (currently 44 inches)
  • Ability to do 100 pushups
  • Ability to complete a 5k run

Now that I have my goals down what are my incentives to achieving those goals. This I’m still working on so I’ll need some ideas. I know that there are built in incentives of being more healthy as well as looking and feeling but that’s not typically what inspires me otherwise I wouldn’t be in the shape that I am now. I need something strong and tangible to push me.

You may be asking how I’m going to accomplish these goals. Well I plan on using a few different gadgets, some websites, and various exercise programs to get me to my goals as well as keeping track of all that I am doing.

Sharing

Everything I plan on tracking or doing I will update on the web immediately or will summarize on a regular basis. I already have a Twitter account, amartina_health, that I set up for this purpose a while back and have had some information posted there automatically. I will still be posting my updates there and I would love if you would post some encouragement on there now and then. What you can expect there are weigh ins, exercise summaries, and possibly calorie summaries. I also plan on writing updates to this blog now and then which I will post links to them in Facebook and Google+. This will motivate me to make progress and maybe inspire others.

About a year ago I purchased a scale that I had made a habit of using which is the Withings Scale which is very cool. Not only is it a digital scale that can maintain data for multiple people that it automatically determines but it is wifi enabled so it takes your weigh-ins and automatically uploads the data up to the Withings‘ site. This data can then be forwarded on to other sites such as Twitter as I have done.

I am also going to track other statistics like my waist size and blood pressure as I take those measurements.

Eating

My first tool at my disposal will be tracking everything I eat. I plan on using an application on my iPhone for tracking my consumption, probably FitBit (I’ll get into that more later). Regardless of how much or little I consume I plan on tracking it. I probably will not track my diet soda intake but I’ll make that decision as I start logging everything to see if it makes sense or not. I will probably also be taking pictures of more food and using an application like FoodSpotting but that will be more about sharing great foods instead of figuring into my goals. Anyway, tracking my food like this provides two objectives. The first is that it forces me to realize what I’m eating and how much. This may make me consider better choices when I’m eating out (which is about 99% of the time). The second is that the tracking of the calories intake will help in determining if my exercise is counteracting the food I’m eating.

I’ve already started tracking my food and I’m actually surprised how well I stay close to a good level for myself based on the calculations on the FitBit site. I’m not absolutely how they determine that calorie amount but I don’t have anything else to compare it to so I guess I’ll run with it for now.

Exercising

Walking

To get myself started on the path to better health I’ll be walking more. Whether this means that I’ll be taking the stairs more or parking the vehicle further away I’ll do whatever needs to be done to push myself a little bit closer to my goal. A while back I purchased a neat little device called a FitBit. This is basically a turbo-charged pedometer that not only tracks the steps you have taken but can also be used to monitor sleep patterns, calories burned, and activity level. I’ll be wearing this all of the time. I have been wearing it for the majority of the last few months so I’ve gotten used to it on my person. The FitBit automatically downloads the data wirelessly whenever near the base station that is connected up to my computer at home. Anyway, this device will allow me to set miniature goals based on number of steps per day or per week. This is the kind of motivation that I need.

Running

Last year I tried to condition myself to run a 5k using the “Couch to 5k” program and I was able to make it up to one of the last weeks but then I got sick and fell off the wagon. I really enjoyed the program and I will be starting it up again but I’m first going to get in some walking and try to make a pattern of walking more before I start to jog or run. Frankly, I don’t think my knees or back could handle me running right now. I will also use the Nike+ app on my iPhone to track my runs regardless of whether I’m on a treadmill or out on the streets. I’ll have multiple sources of information pertaining to my activity as I’ll have my FitBit on as well.

Push-ups

Another program that I tried but did not complete is the 100 push-up program. I got a few weeks in and was making progress but then I started to fall short. When I start increasing my walking I will also start this program in order to do something with my upper body. The program starts with a self test a few days prior to getting into the scheduled routine and in that test I was able to do 19 pushups before I had to stop. The great thing about this program is that I can do this just about anywhere so I can’t make any excuses for not sticking with it.

There are some related programs like the 200 sit-ups program and 200 squats but I’m not certain I’ll get into these at least right now.

Miscellaneous

The three above will be my structured workouts but I’m also planning on incorporating activities that I enjoy now into the mix. I play wallyball and kickball and I enjoy hiking, biking, and kayaking. When I do these activities I will log them as well but they will not be used as substitutes for the structured workouts.

Conclusion and Short-term Goals

So that is what I’m going to be up to for a while. So now it’s time to get going and here are my short-term goals to start this off.

  • Log all food that I consume over the next two weeks using FitBit’s food logging
  • Begin the 100 pushups program which is a three day a week commitment. For the next two weeks I’ll accomplish these activities on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday. This means that Sunday will be considered the beginning of the week. Log my progress.
  • Start walking more. I currently walk an average 2400 steps a day. This first week before I start jogging I want to average 2600 steps per day. The second week I will bump that up to 2800 steps per day. I hope this isn’t too ambitious.
  • Log all significant activities that aren’t automatically logged.
  • Lose 5lbs over the next two weeks. Track this by weighing myself every morning that I am at home.
  • At the end of the first two weeks set my goals for the next two weeks based on the progress made.

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