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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