Some of you know that I am perpetually waging a battle with avoirdupois, to put it fancily. As fancy as you can get, it doesn't change the fact that I'm carrying around too much weight, and I'm getting to the age where it is beyond difficult to get it off. I have come to the point where I feel it is my last chance to proact and take control of the situation myself, and if I don't, it will end in tears. I have been working diligently at this challenge since Boxing Day, and I've been doing it the old fashioned way: physical activity and keeping my caloric intake under 1500 calories per day. I've been using two main motivational tools to help me along the way. The first is a Fitbit. It's a fancy-pants pedometer that measures steps, of course, but also distance traveled, calories and, through the use of the internal accelerometer, flights of stairs. It uploads data to a website where you can track your progress in a variety of ways. For example, here is my record for today:
It also does some neat tracking of your sleep - yes, sleep! - you can read about that on their website. I aim to reach 10,000 steps per day, and I have been largely successful. 10,000 steps is approximately five miles! It has been enlightening to see how much of an effort it takes to reach that goal on a daily basis. I wore the Fitbit for about a week at my regular pace just to take a baseline, and found that I was mainly hitting around 3500 steps on a normal day. I don't pay attention much to the calorie information on the Fitbit because I use another tool for monitoring what I eat: myfitnesspal.com. There are many, many online nutrition monitoring tools, but I like this one for three reasons. First, it has a very big existing database of food, including Canadian brands. Second, it has excellent mobile apps for the iPhone and iPad, which allow for use of the built-in cameras to scan the barcode on the nutrition labels of food items and imports the information directly into daily food record, or into the overall database. So if I have a piece of bread or a glass of milk, I just point my phone at the bar code, scan it, and the calorie and other nutritional information is instantly added to my daily record. Third, it syncs with my Fitbit, so it knows that I have walked five miles, or however far it is for the day. My calorie limit is 1500 for the day, but I get an adjustment of a few hundred calories based on my activity level. I walked over 15,000 steps today, so my adjustment is actually about 550 calories. In effect, it means that I can eat 1500 + 550 calories and still be on track. Today I did not "eat my adjustment" - but I need to watch that I don't dip too far into deficit or I will trigger "starvation mode", which is counterproductive for weight loss. (Everything I am saying here represents my best understanding, but I am not a doctor - well, not that kind of doctor - or a nutritionist, so you should listen to what I say from that perspective.)
If you are still here, you are probably wondering why on earth am I telling you all this! Partly, putting it out in public helps keep me accountable, but there is another reason, too. It is to explain why I have this in my hot little hands:
I have been working on this healthy living project since Boxing Day (December 26 for you non-Canadians or -British) and a couple of weeks ago I hit the milestone of 20 pounds lost. I was casting about for something to reward myself with, and by chance Oakshott Cottons was having a free shipping promotion. Add to this the 20% discount on the listed price for not having to pay VAT, and it was too good a deal to pass up. Plus, I felt that I completely deserved this reward - don't you agree? (If only I could say that I can stop at these 20 lb! Alas, I must keep going!) Many people have raved about this product, and let me tell you, one cannot overpraise this box of goodness. I do not yet have a project in mind, but one will come, I promise. If you are looking for a reward, for reducing or any other virtuous behaviour, you could do worse than treating yourself to an Oakshott Colour Box!