I wrote this in December, and kinda forgot about posting it. Unfortunately, none of these things came true, but a man can wish…

  1. People will stop posting photos of food.
  2. Men and women will use social media to understand one another, and no one will argue about it.
  3. People will realize that their passionate political tweets and Facebook posts will not change anyone’s mind.
  4. Your relative will fact-check that email before forwarding it.
  5. Web MD will say your search is not cancer.
  6. No one will question anyone else’s parenting style or relationship choices.
  7. No one drunk tweets.
  8. Everyone uses spell-check.
  9. Reality TV tweets are replaced with in-depth discussions about science and technology.
  10. Men are not critical of women’s appearances. Period.
  11. There will be no such thing as “A Joint Facebook account”
  12. Self-appointed Relationship experts will disappear.
  13. Someone will have a disagreement on line, and one party will admit they’re wrong. The issue is resolved.
  14. Your favorite Social Media outlet protects your privacy.
  15. Differences between people will not be mocked.
  16. Any man or woman who doesn’t fit into a preconceived role will not be the object of derision.
  17. Mean-spirited status updates are reconsidered, and are never posted.
  18. There are no photos of white people in blackface.
  19. Instead of trolling Black Women as to why they can’t keep a man, magazines will  write articles that help women. (Or they’ll write an article titled “You ain’t shit: Do better, Black man!”)
  20. “I’m sleep though” will never be used again.
  21. “Rise and Grind” will be buried.
  22. No one makes outlandish statements just to get attention. (example: “Rhianna is the new Whitney Houston. But I’m sleep tho.“)
  23. News outlets ignore the political opinions of sports stars and celebrities.

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Fitbit One review

by tssparky on March 4, 2013 · 4 comments

I made plenty of previous incarnations of trying to be more fit – eat better, work out more often and drop a few pounds. I wanted to feel more energetic and undo some of the bad habits I acquired. But I would invariably do one of two things: a) work out too much and maybe hurt myself, slowing down my progress b) my eating habits would out-pace my workouts. I needed a system that allowed me to have the food match my level of activity appropriately and allow me to safely lose weight. I don’t like drastic measures. I wanted something sensible.

So once the Fitbit came along, I was interested. I knew that I didn’t walk enough – my job is mostly sedentary, and I wanted to see how much I was walking each day. I used to work out, and feel ravenously hungry – but was never sure if I was overeating after a workout. Also, the Fitbit can help to track sleep each night. I knew I wasn’t sleeping enough, but I was also worried about the quality of sleep I was getting.  For $99, I figured it wasn’t too expensive to give it a try.

Currently, I have the Fitbit One:

Fitbit One

From left to right, the clip that the One slips into, The one, the charging USB dongle, the wireless USB sync, and a quarter for reference. (Not shown: the wrist strap to assist in tracking sleep.) I was disappointed that this version didn’t use Bluetooth to sync (I like to sync at work and at home – carrying the sync device makes me nervous as you can see how small it is). However, you can sync with the iPhone 4S, 5, iPad 5, iPod touch 5th gen, and Samsung SIII/Note II.

For a few months, I only observed my step data. Then I tried to make small changes. I had many fits and starts with trying to get it right. Then I got frustrated and decided to go all in. I challenged myself to walk more – park further away, walk a mile to the office, walk up stairs, make a visit instead of sending an email. I may have driven my family ragged trying when we were out.

I have recommended this system to many people, but always with one caveat: You may lose the Fitbit, even for a little while. I’ve had it twist and fall off of my belt clip or waistband a few times. I’ve had it fall off when I was getting undressed. So I now wear it on my collar or on my shirt. I’m constantly checking if I have it on. Over time, I’ve become quite dependent on it.

I set a weight goal, I used the Fitbit site to enter my food intake for the day and stayed within the ranges I set for myself. Well, I stayed within those ranges more often that not. To some, the counting and logging of food is too tedious. I’ll agree that it can be, but I put that in context of the bigger goal I had, and pressed on.

wristband

For tracking sleep, I slip the One in the wristband (shown at left) and let it track activity (done by holding down the button). I found out that I am getting less sleep than I thought. There are weeks where I get less than 6 hours per night.  Once I noticed it, I took measures to fix it. (And hoped that my light-sleeping family would sleep the entire night.) I stop recording by holding down the button and then sync once I turn my PC on.

Example of tracking sleep on Fitbit

I love seeing the data, telling me exactly when and how many times I woke up during the night.

Fitbit also has a Premium service that lets you see how you stack up against other users in your age range (of course, gender-specific). It costs $49.99 a year. I can dive into how I’ve been eating, how active I’ve been, and the site sets up a 12 week program where it challenges you to be a little more active than the week prior.

After setting up the trainer for this week:

Image [5]
And the plan for all 12 weeks, notice how it gradually nudges you to do a little bit more.
Image [4]
Overall, I love the system. I would prefer that they added another sync dongle, or had a program where you could insure/replace the device if you lost it. Their customer support is helpful, and the results have been great for me. My peak loss was 40 lbs, but I’ve backtracked recently (new job, less movement) but I am at 35 lbs lost. Not quite at my goal, but I’m going to continue to work at it.Even if you don’t use it to lose weight, just seeing the level of activity each day is motivation enough to get up and be a little more active.

{ 4 comments }

Things I think I think

by tssparky on February 25, 2013 · 1 comment

I’m short on time, but I need to hit and run…for reasons.

 

  1. For the first time in over a year and a half, I’m sick. A pesky sinus infection. It’s bad enough that my RA usually fatigues me, but combine that with this and I struggle big time. 
  2. There’s no good way for me to be sick. I am not supposed to complain.  I feel like I’m supposed to do everything I regularly do (it won’t get done otherwise, right?)
  3. I hate the term ‘man-cold’, it’s stupid. Are we supposed to rest a little, or drive ourselves into the ground? This is one reason why we don’t like to admit there’s something wrong when we don’t feel well.
  4. My tolerance and patience has been terribly short since Thursday. Totally out of my element.
  5. I can’t deal with award shows. It feels like too much self-congratulating for my tastes.
  6. I’m through with mean-spirited jabs that people try to pass off as humor. I’m looking at you, The Onion.
  7. What did we do before Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and the like were prevalent?
  8. Not everything is as it seems, and sometimes that’s OK. I don’t need to know everything.
  9. I would like to personally thank the Genius who invented Noise Canceling Headphones.
  10. If you say that you hate children (not one child, like all children), we are not going to get along and I won’t associate with you willingly.
  11. According to my Fitbit, I have been getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night, so I’m dragging myself to bed.

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Morning Epiphanies

by tssparky on February 18, 2013 · 1 comment

After observing some patterns in my life, one morning, I wrote this note to myself:

  1. Behavior tolerated is behavior encouraged - When I let people get away with talking slick or getting one over on me without doing a damn thing about it…I only short change myself.
  2. Ask for what exactly what you want. - I have been too content to find workarounds and deal with things on my end instead of saying “this doesn’t work” and “you need to fix this, and this is what I want.” This will undoubtedly lead to some tense and awkward moments, but it’s best in the long run. I will definitely struggle with this.
  3. Make better wishes - Be specific. Very specific. (I got this one from a friend.)
  4. Don’t let small problems become big ones.

I find myself having to come back to this note often, as I get sidetracked and go back to bad habits.

{ 1 comment }

What I love about running…

by tssparky on February 13, 2013

Inspired by theRunChat, here’s my list (albeit somewhat incomplete) of what I love about running.
  1. Let’s get this out of the way: I love the way my legs look.
  2. I love the camaraderie with my running group.
  3. I love the way the group pushes me and reminds me that I can go farther and run faster.
  4. I love the feeling of the runner’s high after a good run.
  5. I love the pain after hill repeats.
  6. I love challenging people during sprint runs.
  7. I love the sense of accomplishment after a race. A medal, sore feet, and a huge smile.
  8. I love running underneath the stars. It’s incredibly peaceful.
  9. I love solo runs – nothing but your footsteps and your thoughts.
  10. I love the looks I get from drivers first thing in the morning that seem to say: “What are you doing running in *this* weather?”
  11. I love hearing other people talk about their love of running.
  12. I love the look of new shoes. Then I love making them look old.
  13. I love when a run feels effortless…like I’m gliding, and I can go on forever.
  14. I love when a random stranger encourages me to keep going during a tough run. Those moments stick with me.
  15. I don’t love getting smoked by an older runner, but I’d love to think that one day, I can be that older runner smoking someone 20 years their junior.
  16. I’ve learned to love running in the cold. I didn’t understand the appeal of it last year.
  17. I love when I crush a personal record.
  18. I love the level of confidence I have now due to running.
  19. I love looking forward to the next run.