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Wednesday – Week 14 Day 3
29 Jan

Wednesday – Week 14 Day 3

This is a logging day but I am really struggling to put on together. Since getting back from work I’ve been working on a side project to put some heart rate data onto Fitbit from my Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor which has kind of distracted me from blogging the way I wanted too.

However, I’ve had a good couple of days. Both this morning and yesterday I hit the treadmill and did some weights as well as other body weight exercises all in I’ve been spending at least an hour working out both mornings. My diet however isn’t working as well. I’ve been slipping at work but I’ve traced this down to my work load. My day job is a call centre and when no one is calling I started to nibble, eventually this just builds up so I’m not ending my days as much under budget as I would like. I am however pleased with what I’ve been eating, on the whole anyway.

Unfortunately my new found exercise hasn’t found its way to the scales yet. My weight is steadily climbing which is easy to put down to muscle gain but I’m sceptical this would happen so quickly when I still have weight to lose. For now my focus is completely on my body fat % which is decreasing, but looking at the graph this morning saw a huge plum-it and I really don’t believe that is here to stay. I really wary of any of these miraculous overnight changes, I am expecting these everything to be more gradual progressions and that is what I’m looking for, but I want object too much if the miracle sticks around.

Tomorrow is my day off, so no food logging only water. I’ll decide when I wake up if this is exclude a work out but part of me hopes it want. I still haven’t come up with a reward system to use though, and really feel I need one! What do you use?

Monday – Week 14 Day 1
27 Jan

Monday – Week 14 Day 1

It has gone well past the time I started paying more attention to my weight loss journey.

As you can see from the pictures I’ve uploaded I’ve really not been doing well since Christmas. I started a Fitbit twelve week plan and for the last five weeks I’ve not been hitting my goals and the only excuse I have is simple distraction and lack of focus. So how am I going to change things and get out of the rut I’m in? By shaking things up a bit.

First step is accountability and tracking. Until yesterday I had no idea how much I’d fallen, so once again the Blog will come back into play. In a previous post I said that perhaps a nightly Blog was no longer required, and its not, but structure is required. So I will post a blog three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Since Thursday is now my day off each week this schedule will give me two days to blog about instead of trying to find content in just the one. While I might still blog thru the other days these are the days I am setting aside to always blog.

Second is harder to label. I am project driven and the problem with weight loss a fitness is they are long term at best. An even better description would be lifestyle changes. So I need to make it a project as well. I already have the Blog and I publish my Fitbit reports each week, the next step is recipes, which I am going to start added as well. I have no illusion this site will become the goto for anyone but it will become the first reference for me. A recipe will look like this Greek Style Salad demo and contains everything needed to replicate the meal.

Final step is reward. I’ve been looking for one that is free and does not include food, having a Mars bar to reward you for exercising isn’t of much use. Problem is now I am still stuck on this one. I really have no idea what reward system to use, although I know I need one.

Wednesday – Week 13 Day 3
22 Jan

Wednesday – Week 13 Day 3

Since I stated using my new scales yesterday I thought I would go the full hog and weigh anything that fit on them. This morning I started with breakfast.

Now I’ll be honest, I’ve always just scanned the barcode on food packages and left it as that. This morning proved that might be my problem. I’ve attached two cereal photos today, the first shows a suggested serving of 30 grams (how you’re expected to have 125mls of milk to that is a mastery to me) the second what I would normally eat. What surprised me most is I’m eating twice the suggested serving. Spread that over a 7 day week and it’s scary. The one up side is I don’t actually use 125mls of milk, I actually use barley 25mls.

The rest of my meals haven’t been bad for the first time in ages I avoided a pie and beans for lunch, but couldn’t skip the snacks. I’ll keep working on it although I think the only practical solution will be buying lots of grapes and carrots to eat at my desk but I keep forgetting to get supplies in. Dinner was home made macaroni cheese extremely good and all ingredients were properly weighed and measured so I’m happy.

Now pact. This was suggested to me yesterday so I thought I would give it a try. The basic premise is you set yourself a goal, mine is to log 4 meals a week in MFP. If I do that I’ll get $0.80, great, but for each of the four I don’t log it’ll cost me $5! At present I’m playing with the starter amount, so I want actually be allowed to withdraw anything unless I sign up to actually pledge my own money. I’ll probably give it a try, 2014 is my year of trying new things after all.

Today’s weigh in reported a 0.8 kg loss on yesterday, I’m not sure how excited I want to get about this yet till I see if it’s going back on tomorrow so I’ll hold back judgement.

Tuesday – Week 13 Day 2
21 Jan

Tuesday – Week 13 Day 2

It’s been far too long since my last post and in that time nothing good seems to have happened. I haven’t so much back slid as stalled altogether. Over the weekend I lost 0.8 kg’s and by the next day I’d put most of it back on.

The truth is I knew/know that weighing my self daily produces these kind of results and for the most part its only water, which is why I also use TrendWeight to give me a clear picture of my long term historical information and a forecast of what will happen next, assuming nothing changes. As you can see from the screenshot and or site my last four weeks hasn’t seen much change. So what I am taking out of this is that what I’m doing now isn’t enough to get me reaching my goals.

I’m still not sure what I’m going to do about this directly. The obvious answer is “move more, eat less” but that been the solution from the start, so I need to change something to get me back to this place.

I bought myself some new kitchen scales after Christmas so this will become heavily used. Logging the weights of everything I’ve eaten will not only give me a more accurate logged amount but it will force me to pay attention to ingredients, not just throw stuff at the cooking and see what sticks. I also plan to photograph my meals, I know allot of people have reported success with this so I’m going to give it a try as well.

Before the end of last year I was blogging every night and it helped allot. Such a simple thing forced me to pay attention to what was happening during the day. Logging in MFP is a great tool, but its not enough for me to pay attention to what went in the diary, this blog helped me better understand all aspects of diet, and in most cases the reason for my laps. I’m not sure a nightly blog will be required, but that’s what I will aim to start with.

Git Based License Server
12 Jan

Git Based License Server

I usually forget to include anything in LICENSE.md files and after a quick Google I found this script on GitHub by remy to host your license details online. I do not tend to use the MIT license myself so I needed to enhance the code a bit to fit my needs. This is my version of his code. Bellow is the project README file, and under that you can download the project for your self.

Now I can always include https://license.nxfifteen.rocks/ in all my projects which links stuart (the cname) against my copyright holder name Stuart McCulloch Anderson – all stored in the users directory.

The user.json file

The users directory contains a list of files, each representing a host on mit-license.org. The minimum requirement for the JSON is that is contains a copyright field – everything else is optional. Remember to ensure the user.json file is valid JSON.

Available fields:

yourname | url | company | companyurl |theme | format | email | gravatar | pgpkey | pgpid | pgpurl | boilerplate | oslicense

yourname

Add your name. This can be your full name, part of it or just the nickname you prefer

email

You can also include a link to your email which is displayed after the copyright notice using the email property (note the mailto: is automatically added):

url

If you want to make a link from the copyright text, you can include a url property:

Gravatar

And if you want to show your gravatar, just add the gravatar boolean property:

Note that the gravatar requires the email property. You also need to check the compatibility of the chosen theme. Currently, only the default theme supports Gravatar.

pgpkey

You can add a link to your PGP/GPG key if you use one here:

company

If you work in a company or other organisation which shares the copyright with you, you can include if the company field:

companyurl

You can also use a separate URL for your company than for you:

theme

Themes are CSS files. The default is in the same style as NxFifteen.me.uk but you can change the CSS or add a new file. Each user has control over the theme displayed here:

format

And if you want your license to appear as plain text or markdown, just add the format property (currently only txt, md and html are supported):

boilerplate

It is often it is advantageous to add some additional text to the licence blurb. You can do that here:

oslicense

The default license is the FreeBSD license, but a user has control over changing their default here. The license must exist in the license folder, else it will revert to FreeBSD:

License version targeting

License version targeting allows you to link your license to a specific revision in this project – therefore fixing it permanently to a specific license text.

Though I don’t expect the license text to change ever, this is just some extra assurance for you.

Targeting requires the sha from the license commit. This can be specified on the URL (in your permalink) or in the JSON file.

For example: https://license.nxfifteen.rocks/401a52e0b (make sure to view-source) shows an older version of the LICENSE.html file (compared to the latest version – the older version didn’t have the new themes).

This can also be targeted in my JSON file:

Note that if no version is supplied, the latest copy of the LICENSE.html will be displayed with your information included.

Themes

If you’ve got an eye for design you can contribute a theme by adding a CSS file to the themes directory. The default theme is simple and clean, but you can add your own as you like.

To use a theme, add the theme property to your user.json file, for example:

Current available themes:

Formats & URLs

The following types of requests can be made to this project:

You can select the license to use as well. This must be the same as the file name inside the
licenses folder

You can also select a specific commit file version to display, you just need the
sha from the license commit

The url also supports including a start year:

Now that you see the formula you can combine all these elements together to build a very specific license file:

Ways to contribute

If you can help make the software better than please let me know, or just check out the Git repository for your self then just send me a patch file – currently my Git central repository doesn’t offer user registrations, but I will do it manually if you feel you would benefit from it.

Development contributions from:

Development contributions to mit-license (at the time it was forked) from:

License

And of course:

The MIT License (MIT):
https://license.nxfifteen.rocks/8504faf/mit/2014/license.html

Book Review – Ender’s Game
10 Jan

Book Review – Ender’s Game

Today I found myself in an unusual state. I’ve got to the point of finishing one book and having no idea what I want to read next. This has only happened when I have enjoyed reading a book to the point anything else would spoil the memory. Since this is such a break from the norm I thought I would write about it. I will try not to spoil anything here, but it’s my first time writing a book review so forgive me if I do!

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is the first of his books I have read, I never seen the movie but now I want to. The book is science fiction but the more I’ve read the more I felt that wasn’t important. This book builds its characters so well and doesn’t rely on SciFi or ‘magic’ physics to tell its story that shouldn’t be a barrier to any non-scifi fans.

The book tells the story of Ender Wiggins, a child who is moulded into the soldier the human race requires to save it from an invasion. As I read the book I really started to feel for Ender and the things he was going through, but Card’s development of Enders character and personality seemed so natural it kept me hooked. I finished this eleven hour book in less than three days. This version was a special 20th anniversary edition and used different narrators, unlike Dune which I’ll review another time, each narrator was used for a different perspective. I don’t want to say more in less it spoils it but you’ll see what I mean.

I know this was short and sweet, but I can’t recommend this book enough. The story is excellent and the reading by both Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison (The audible narrators) made it the perfect performance. I can’t wait to start reading the squeal ‘Speaker for the dead’ but feel I need some time to let this one settle in, it really was that compelling.

10 Jan

Friday – Week 11 Day 5

This has been a week of ups and downs. Yesterday I talked about my toothache, and sadly the dentist wasn’t able to sort it out today so its going to be another week before I go back. Yet I’ve decided this isn’t going to stop me any more. With enough thought it shouldn’t have too.

As for logging, well today hasn’t been any better than the others I still forget about lunch time and start to snack a little more than I’m exactly happy with. The name of this blog is ‘accountability’ I always behave better when people are watching and for that to be effective over this medium then I have to be honest with both myself and you. So honestly, I’ve been bad. Each day this week has been a bad one and I stopped logging my meals as soon as I slip with one snack or another. Before the new year I allowed myself one day free of logging anything. I always found this helpful and was able to eat properly during the week knowing I had this free day to relax, even if I didn’t use it, and I think now it’s time to go back to that routine.

My activity levels this are also nothing to boast about. I started a Fitbit twelve week plan in December, I am now at the end of week 6 and for the last three weeks I have not been doing well. Looking at the Fitbit charts I can see that Christmas week was the worst, New Years was slightly better and this week better still so I suppose I shouldn’t be too worried about it, but it is still something that could slip quite easily if not watched. Also, since I am self reflecting tonight, my own personal activity targets are being missed all week and not by much. This can ether been looked at as “I am getting close and making a good effort” or, more accurately, as “I’m not trying hard enough”. My target are really that high and yet I still haven’t been hitting them.

My ambition over the weekend is to do a six month review of my all my Fitbit information. I haven’t decided what format this will take yet but I joined Fitbit in June so June to December is a nice benchmark to look back on so I am hoping to put this together for Sunday so stay tuned.

Well that’s enough from me for one night. As always if you have been, thanks for reading

09 Jan

Thursday – Week 11 Day 4

I’ve not had a good day, or week for that matter. I stopped logging at lunch again and decided that this would just be a water day. The problem seems to be this toothache, its making it almost impossible to eat or drink. Now a healthy salad, instead of being enjoyable, is an practice in the art of eating from the wrong side of my mouth and when I forget – well I don’t need to explain the pain caused. At least I am seeing the dentist tomorrow so the problem shouldn’t be with me much longer

Toothache maybe an excuse for poor eating but its no excuse for my lack of activity this week. I am hoping to make up for some of it over the weekend.

Its not all been bad today, I have finally expanded my friends on MyFitnessPal. With the new year has come allot of new faces all trying to do the same as I am and make a better/healthier self. I am looking forward to taking my journey with them all!

07 Jan

Tuesday – Week 11 Day 2

Everyday starts off as a good one… I am yet to decide if this day become a good one or a bad one. Being one late night has made it hard to do any additional exercise, but I have tried to eat healthily where the option was available.

In my ever evolving goal to make this site as accessible as possible I’ve just finished integrating a new comment system based on Disqus, this should make it allot easier to add new comments to the site without having to jump threw additional hopes to avoid spam on the site. So as always feel free to comment bellow and let me know your thoughts.

06 Jan

Monday – Week 11 Day 1

With out noticing it I’m now at the start of week 11 and now the holiday season is over its time to get back to normality. I’ve not had a good few weeks, but that’s to be expected and in all fairness I’ve not had a bad two weeks ether.

As a friend wrote “Every day begins as a ‘good day’. Overeating makes a good day bad and exercise makes a good day better” this couldn’t be closer to the truth. Another quote I seen this morning on G+ which touched a nerve was “Diets aren’t sustainable. Make small healthy changes daily, weekly, monthly that add up over time to give you a healthy life. – Sarah Stanley”

Since this is just day one I don’t have allot to report on a diet or activity front. I logged everything today and have finished the day with 640 calories remaining so I’m happy enough.

But I have been busy. Having the extra time off work I was able to make some much needed improvements to this site. I’ve dramatically improved performance, getting initial page load times down from nine seconds to under two. I have also, finally, finished the backend requirements to add a mailing list to this site. You can see the subscribe box in the right sidebar. The mailing list will only send out once a week and details all the content I’ve posted since the last issue. Since from time to time new content can be erratic this seems like the best way to offer my content without you needing to check everyday “just encase”

I’ve also put some work into my /picks page. As always nothing appears there that I don’t specifically pick and its only there because I like and recommend it. Advertising has also found its way to the site. There are overheads with any website and this is my small attempt to contribute back to them. Just like my pics however nothing is every advertised here that I would recommend. I do not use blanket ad services like Google Adsence. All these ads are selected specifically by me.