Mathematical Protein Soup

I’ve been buying Whey Protein Isolate in bulk from Bulk Nutrients since 2016 now. The quality is excellent. I get the raw flavour AKA totally unflavoured because I like to add my own flavours to my shakes, and if you get raw protein you can add it to soup without even blinking. Yes, soup. Sounds crazy? It actually isn’t, though I suspect I am one of the few people on the planet who do this.

I bought 5kg of protein in December 2017. One serving of protein is 40g though sometimes I use a little less depending on how active I have been and how long it is till my next meal. My protein shake is very filling so if I have left my shake a bit late, I will not be hungry enough for dinner unless I cut down the amount of protein to 30g.

So a quick math workout – 1000g of protein = 25 servings. Therefore each 1kg bag of protein should last me 25 days.

I should have got 125 days of protein out of this last order, right? However on weekends we often both have a shake, which muddles up the maths. There is now a new variable, which is The Other Half having protein shakes for lunch at work. It would be fine maths wise if it were X days a week. But it never works out that way.

What I usually do is wait until I open my last 1kg bag and make another order of 5kg. But this time I did a little maths first.

It costs me $7 flat rate shipping no matter how much I order. Also when you buy more, the price is slightly cheaper. Here is a quick table. OMG listen to me doing maths like I like it! ;)

.10 cents per serving does not seem like a big saving. When you consider there are 375 servings in 15kg, it works out to $37.50. But you also have to consider, if I bought 3x 5kg, I would have to pay an extra $14 in shipping. Suddenly we are up to $51.50 in savings. I’m going to buy the protein anyway, it keeps long term, and I won’t have to order it again for some time, so we bought 15kg.

We’ve worked a rough calculation for how many protein shakes The Other Half might have, and essentially we think this is enough protein for the two of us for 250 days. If that turns out to be correct, I will next need to order protein in December 2018, but I might be able to make it to January 2019, because I only just opened the final 1kg bag from the last order.

Protein Soup

If you do a quick google there are not a lot of places talking about adding protein powder to soup, so it is not Officially A Thing. But I did it all last winter and it worked out great for me. With my present thyroid issues I really feel the cold so a shake with frozen stuff in it is not the most optimal for me on very cold days.

It works best in soups you have whizzed up to a creamy consistency. You do need to stir it in well – whisking might work best but I just use a spatula and stir like a person possessed. You could also use a immersion blender, like the Thunderstick.

If you want to see other places you could squeeze in some extra protein, here are a couple of good articles – 15 Genius Ways to Add Protein Powder to Foods41 Sneaky Ways to Add Protein Powder Into Every Meal.

health, Soup

Good News Protein

proteinshakes

I do not “preach” about many things in life. Sure, I can suggest solutions on a myriad of subjects based on my personal experiences, and I do that here on my blog.. Travel. Eating out. How to avoid scammers. The importance of booking directly with a company rather than a via third party website. How to go from not running at all to running 5kms at a time without stopping – these are either already written posts or they are posts for another day.

I have struggled with my weight all my life. Guess what? It is no longer a struggle for me, and a big reason for it is my lunch time protein shake.

When I talk about protein shakes, I sometimes feel like I am trying to spread the good news and often folks just aren’t buying it. I want to be very clear about this.

Protein shakes changed my life forever

When I mention protein shakes to folks who ask me how I lost my 25kg (55 pounds), I will hear the same things over and over. They sound like this –

“I had a protein shake and it tasted terrible”

Yes, it probably did. I’m guessing you had a pre-flavoured protein shake. Those shakes contain artificial sweeteners and they all taste bad as a result. I do not know why flavoring must = sweetener, but apparently everyone involved in protein thinks it must be super sweet to make people drink it.

MY FIX – I buy raw protein without flavouring. I add my own flavour. I could serve my shake in a milkshake glass with whipped cream on top and you would have no idea that you were drinking a protein shake. You would think you are getting a frappe from Starbucks or Gloria Jean’s.

But unlike the frappe from Starbucks or Gloria Jeans which on average contains 30g of sugar, my shake has just 2 grams of sugar, which comes from the frozen banana. I do not add any sweetener to my shake because I feel the banana gives me all the sweetness I need, but if I did need to add some I would go with a touch of maple syrup.

Their shake might have between 6-10g of protein – mine will have 37g of protein. Their shake will have around whopping 30-40g of carbs, mine has just 13g. Their shake will be 300+ calories. Mine is 220.

“I can’t just have a shake for lunch”

Actually you can. I do it all the time. I tell you, if I drink the shake and wait 20 minutes, I will no longer be hungry and I will remain not hungry for at least 2-4 hours after I drink the shake, maybe even longer.

And you don’t have to just have a shake if you don’t want to. You can add healthy snacks on the side. My go-to snacks are usually olives, hommus with carrot sticks, or nuts of some kind. However all the nutrition you need is more than likely right there in that shake, and adding snacks adds extra calories.

“How can I do a shake at work?”

Preparation is key. If you are like me and you don’t mind taking a bag or box in with you, then you can take your Nutri-Ninja with you to work. I measure out my protein ahead of time and have that in small containers and I take a small freezer pack with my 1/2 frozen banana and frozen coffee ice cube. I drink my shake right out of the cup, rinse it in the sink when I am done, take everything home with me when I go, then wash the cup and blender attachment at home that night.

You could buy two Nutri-Ninjas and keep one at home and one at work, or you could invest in some kind of cheap second blender to keep at work.

“Shakes are so boring”

Shakes certainly do not have to be boring. I can drink a different flavoured shake every day of the week if I want to and I can get a little creative about it. Because my shake is so low in calories I do not mind adding something decadent to it once in a while.

I might throw in some dark chocolate to give an extra dimension. I like to add peanut butter powder for a bit of extra savory flavour and if I don’t have any PB2 on hand I might add in a scoop of peanut butter. I sometimes treat myself on weekends by adding a few teaspoons of whipped cream. Salted caramel sauce is a good way to add extra taste.

The bottom line is, I love how my shake tastes and I don’t see any need to change it. I am a big coffee lover, I love chocolate, I love cinnamon, put these things into my shake and I am happy.

protein1

I wrote back in 2016 about my adventures with protein. My current shake recipe looks like this –

40g RAW flavour WPI protein powder
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
35g-40g frozen banana – I break them into pieces and freeze.
100mls almond milk.
100mls brewed espresso coffee
1 frozen espresso coffee icecube.
(instant or filtered coffee will also work)

food, health

Softsole Express VS Milky Foot

softsole1

In Australia, it is heading into that time of year again where you might want to get the feet out of their shoes and socks. I like to do a foot peel from time to time in spring and summer. I’ve used Milky Foot before – it is usually $25+ where I live, so when I saw Softsole Express for $8.99 in Priceline, I thought I would give it a try.

I found it to be slightly less efficient than Milky Foot but at that price you can nearly have 3 of them for the price of one Milky Foot. You have to leave it on for longer than Milky Foot. I would buy Softsole again. Weirdly it cannot be found on the Priceline website. Maybe that is a lack of talent on my part, though.

Six tips I would give you –

1. You need to get yourself organised before you put these things on your feet, because walking will be virtually impossible in fact it is downright dangerous. Use the bathroom first. Have everything you are going to need for the next 60-90 minutes handy eg water, your cup of tea, a snack, whatever. Make sure your phone is nearby.

2. If you have a spare pair of older socks which you don’t mind if they get the solution on them, you can put socks on over the booties. This will not enable you to walk safely, but it will keep your toes warm if it is a cooler day.

3. Keep your feet flat on the ground while you have the treatment socks on, otherwise you may notice some solution begin to leak out of the back.

4. After the treatment moisturize your feet twice to four times a day for the first few days as you will get a better result this way. It can take 3-4 days for the skin to begin peeling off. You will probably notice small bits coming off to begin with usually on the underskin of the toes.

5. Once your feet start peeling, if you want to speed up the process a little you can soak them in hot water with some peppermint oil added.

6. Don’t do this treatment if you have a special event coming up in the next couple of weeks where you will have your feet out on display. The peeling can happen for 2-3 weeks.

softsole2

Here is a review of the product you can read, and also the Softsole website, if you want to know more.

Milky Foot is excellent and worth a try but at the price you will likely only want to do it once over the summer. That is not a bad thing because you don’t want to do a foot peel more than once a month. Here is the Milky Foot website.

Between the two – softsole smells a lot better than milky foot does. The softsole packet is less optimal than the milky foot one is – it is more prone to splitting on the top. I could walk very carefully with the softsole packet on, I could not with the milky foot one. I think there is a lot more liquid in the milky foot packet.

My Korean friend tells me these treatments are super popular in Korea. My Chinese Aunt tells me these treatments are very popular in China. A couple of years back Milky Foot did a big advertising drive here in Australia and that is where I first heard about them.

health, reviews

Goal Met, Part 1

redtime

You might recall me telling you what my goal was for 2016 back at the start of the year. It was pretty simple –

Eat less, move more.

I had also set myself a personal weight loss goal of losing 15kg by June. I achieved my goal on the 27th of May, yay!

goalmet

Eat Less

I limit myself to 1200-1400 calories a day. Since meeting with the dietitian, the calories I am eating are better than they have ever been. I’m on a high protein diet. I’ve switched out white foods as much as possible – aka I rarely eat bread, pasta or rice, potatoes have been switched for the lower GI sweet potatoes.

I’ve begun to see food as fuel for my body and I am much less likely to eat poor fuel these days. I prefer my protein shake to a hamburger. I gotta tell you, I love that protein shake. I would say irrationally love it, but my love for it is NOT irrational, it is quite sane, because that is great fuel for my body.

What does eating less look like? Don’t worry, I still get my dark chocolate treats in there.. ;) for those wanting to know, here’s a recent day.

food1day

You’ll note breakfast is a weird amount of 32 grams – I do actually weigh it out. My stomach is not a morning stomach. It really does not like a lot of breakfast. This particular cereal is quite fluffy and my eyes say whoa, that is enough! When I eat the Weetbix Protein Bites for breakfast, I do get a full serving of 40g. I switch back and forth between these two cereals.

The protein shake is very filling. I used to eat a lunch which was 129 calories but I can no longer fit it in most days, because I have mostly moved my exercise to mornings and I have my protein shake just after exercise. It keeps me full until dinner time.

This particular dinner I like to call savoury beef, it is delicious. If I’m too full after dinner, I might skip the chocolate or the other snacks that day.

food1aday

The rice cakes mentioned above are amazing and have stopped my craving for potato chips entirely. Oranges are in season at the moment so I am eating one a day and enjoying them, sometimes I might switch that out for an apple and in summer it was mangoes all the time, with some greek yoghurt.

The only thing I don’t log is cooking oil – I don’t use much – and spices – I use plenty but the calorie amount is negligible, and I log my two coffees as one coffee in the morning, just to save some time.

Move More

As you saw here on the blog with my recent 5 week challenge posts, I’ve got move more down to a bit of an art at this time. For 5 weeks, I either walked 5km or burned at least 500 calories each day.

The Next Goal

I would like to lose a further 10kg by the start of October. If I manage it, I will reward myself with fake skydiving! ;)

I also want to add in more yoga and pilates before and after treadmill workouts. I did a pilates class which broke me for a week, so I want to build up slowly before trying another class.

2016 Goal, health

Healthy Chicken Strips

chicken6

Traditional crumbed chicken is something my grandmother taught me to cook when I was growing up. It was one of the very first dishes she taught me. It involves love, time, and a lot of effort, plus plenty of eggs and butter. I can never make it without thinking of her.

Love, time, and a lot of effort are not always something I have on hand. So when I discovered Healthy Chicken Nuggets at Skinnytaste, I thought I would give them a try. They turned out awesomely and The Other Half was a big fan.

Me personally, I wanted a strip rather than a nugget, because I was the one crumbing them. And he didn’t mind what format they arrived in, as long as they got in his belly. I now make a big batch of these on Sundays, and he takes some for lunch each weekday.

I have tweaked the original recipe somewhat. Here is how I make them, step by step with pics. This is not a recipe where I use exact amounts, myself. You will get messy making this!

You’ll need –

Chicken to crumb. I use breast chicken cut into strips.
If we are eating it for one meal I will use 250g of chicken for each person.
Extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat the chicken.
Baking trays lined with baking paper to place your crumbed chicken onto.

chicken1

For the crumbs –

Breadcrumbs of your choice.
Parmesan cheese.
Parsley.
Black pepper.
Any other herbs you like to add.

Mix these items together on a large plate. Don’t use too much cheese. When you’ve made it a few times, you’ll know how much is best.

Set the oven to 200C and get it warming, while you do the crumbing.

chicken3

Place the chicken into a bowl with some olive oil, and then smoosh it around until all the chicken is lightly coated. Take the chicken out of the bowl and lay it on a plate so any excess oil can drain off.

Chicken4

Add the oiled chicken to your crumbing plate. Turn the chicken over, pushing it down into the crumbs to coat it. Do this to each side of the chicken until all sides are covered.

chicken5

Lay the crumbed chicken on your baking tray. Once the tray is full of chicken, place in the oven for 15 minutes, then take the tray out and flip them over once. Return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes. If you like them crispy on the outside, do 20 minutes each side.

chicken7

These are great to have in the fridge for a snack, they can be eaten hot out of the oven or cold out of the fridge. I recommend making a double batch each time and saving the other half for lunches. ;) Or making a huge batch like I do each Sunday, for weekday work lunches for The Other Half.

lunches1

health, recipes, Snoskred Faves

Adventures With Protein

wheypb

Did you know that in Australia, you can visit your GP and ask for a “wellness plan”. This will mean you are given X number of bulk-billed visits to a dietitian, and an exercise physiologist. For non Aussies, bulk billed translates to completely cost free to the patient.

For the first two months of 2016, I was doing pretty well on my own. I lost 10kg. After my diverticulitis adventure, I was struggling a little and I got stuck at 85kg for over a month. Part of that was the enforced “none at all” and then “just a little exercise” directive I was given.

Part of that was struggling to replace some of the foods that I was using to help me lose weight – eg nuts are mostly out other than softer nuts like macadamias and pecans, anything with seeds are mostly out eg tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, cucumber. I ended up replacing these better foods with things that were around the same amount of calories but much less nutritional value, like hot cross buns! I won’t lie, I love a hot cross bun.

Lunches were the most difficult to fix, because I was mostly having the same thing every day and it involved tomatoes. I’m someone who likes to stick to something, when I love it and it works for me.

So my doctor recommended the wellness plan option, and scheduled an appointment with the dietician, and the exercise physiologist – hereafter known as trainer, because that is too long to type, lol.

The weekend before the appointment we happened to be at Shellharbour and I wanted to visit the health food store there and get some advice about protein. I usually steer clear of these places because my experiences with them have been Not Great, Bob. Usually the ones around here are staffed by muscly, burly blokes who are not the brightest bulb on the tree. And this place was no exception to the rule. I’ll now recreate the discussion for you.

Me – “I want to get some protein. Just protein. I don’t want anything else in there. No stevia, no sweeteners, no extras. Just protein.”

Him – “Ok, well generally the reason they put those things in there is because protein tastes pretty bad on its own.”

Me – “It won’t be on its own, I will be flavouring it myself. With something like this.” (holds up powdered peanut butter which I already had found and was intending to purchase) “Or with cocoa powder, maybe a little maple syrup if it needs sweetening.”

Him – “Ok, then you could try this one. But I am warning you now, you will not like how it tastes.”

Me – “Is there maybe a smaller packet I could try, to see if I like it?”

Him – “This is the smallest size.”

Ok then, armed with 1kg of Whey Protein, and the powdered peanut butter, I left victorious. Momentarily. Because I really was not sure what I should do with this stuff. However I had my dietitian appointment coming up and I figured she could clue me in.

Of course the first thing I did when I got home was open the packet and taste this stuff. I can now tell you how protein tastes to me. Like absolutely nothing. It has no flavour at all. You could add it to anything and I would say the only thing you will notice is the occasional grainy, gritty texture. Because it does have a bit of a texture to it.

The second thing I did was make a shake with the peanut butter powder. OMG it tastes incredible. And I discovered you can get it at Coles, too! Which is good because I am going to be buying a lot of this. If you like peanut butter or peanuts, you will LOVE this stuff.

So I took these things along with me, plus my MyFitnessPal records for the past 3.5 months along to see the dietitian. She asked me a lot of questions and then she gave me absolute gold in return. Here are the goldest nuggets –

1. Beetroot would work well with ham and cream cheese on a rice cracker, for lunches. It is EPIC, I’m telling you. But she would like me to try and add tomatoes back in, because I had tolerated them fine for 40+ years, plus the seeds are pretty soft.

2. Protein shakes are best to have around 30 minutes after exercise. If I use 1 cup of milk that is a good place to get one of my daily serves of dairy. To begin with I should start with half a serving (15g = 13g protein) and see how that goes. If I feel like I need more, I can work my way up to 30g. The peanut butter powder has 4g protein for 1 tablespoon. So in one small shake, I get 17g protein.

She gave me some suggestions to try with the shakes, eg add greek yoghurt, freeze some bananas and add them in, strawberries and other berries should be fine if my blender is good enough.

Here is the protein shake recipe I am loving a lot.

40g RAW flavour WPI protein powder
1 tablespoon PB2 – Peanut butter powder
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
35g-40g frozen banana – I break them into pieces and freeze.
1 cup almond milk.

Updated 1 January 2018 – my current favourite recipe is –

40g RAW flavour WPI protein powder
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
35g-40g frozen banana – I break them into pieces and freeze.
100mls almond milk.
100mls brewed espresso coffee
1 frozen espresso coffee icecube.
(instant or filtered coffee will also work)

Sometimes I will leave the cocoa powder or the cinnamon out, depends how I am feeling that day. I find the banana sweetens it enough, but I have added a touch of maple sugar once to see what that was like. It wasn’t really needed.

Where Do I Get My Protein From?

I’ve tried all kinds of options for buying protein and by far the cheapest and most reasonable is Bulk Nutrients. They are based in Tasmania. I usually buy in bulk 5kg of protein at one time because I know I am going to use it. Just for an idea of how long that will last me – I use 40g in a shake and there is 1000g in a kilo. I can make 25 shakes from 1kg.

What Kind Of Protein Do I Buy?

I choose Whey Protein Isolate as it is a smaller molecule. I buy it in the raw flavour because all the flavoured versions have artificial sweetener and I don’t love the aftertaste of it. I don’t need to add sweetener and I add my own flavours. ;)

You might want to consider some of the other options available. There is a slightly larger molecule Whey Protein Concentrate available and it is a bit cheaper. I used to buy that and it was perfectly fine. They now have hemp protein in the raw flavour if you are looking for a vegan option – it is dairy and lactose free.

How Do I Blend It?

I was looking for a small cup blender specifically for these shakes because the better you blend them, the less texture of protein you notice. I ended up with the Nutri Ninja and I bought a couple of extra cups for it. The awesomeness I will be whizzing up in this thing is endless! When you go looking for a blender you want to make sure and get one that can handle ice and frozen bananas. Nutribullet is another one I looked at.

When Do I Eat It?

Usually I have my shake between 12pm-1pm and it leaves me feeling very full. I end up needing less dinner as a result, which is also an epic win.

How Am I Now?

Health wise I am back to where I was at the end of February. I am starting to feel more comfortable exercise wise and I’m ok with pushing myself a bit harder now.

The weight loss has started back on a downward trend, I’ve seen the number 84 on the scales now. My goal is 70kg by October however I am not sure how 70kg will work for me. We’ll wait and see.

My nutrition is a LOT better, and I find I do not want things I used to want. The closest I will get to a potato chip now is Vege Chips – and if you have not tried those, you should.

I’m still a shitty blog friend – and a shitty blogger – right now, and I am still deeply apologetic for that. On the other hand, I am a lot more fit and active than I was back when I was a good blog friend and good blogger, and that is something which is very important to me right now, especially with a general anesthetic for the colonoscopy in my near-ish future. I can’t be sorry about that – it is what I need to do for myself right now. :)

exercise, health, recipes

The Trouble With Me..

pr2

Last you heard from me, I was in hospital. They let me out on the Wednesday as planned with antibiotics, plus strict food and exercise instructions – eg soft foods, ZERO exercise. I think the doctor could see the panic in my face when he said no exercise, and he told me very *very* clearly that right now my body needed to focus on healing itself and any exercise would divert resources away from that healing.

I did what I was told, including eating at least one dark chocolate serving a day (“It is ok to eat that, even on liquids only diet because it dissolves” said my doctor, did I mention I like him?) and was finally cleared for exercise on March 10th. I came up with a plan – on the first day I would do 3km, then if that felt ok, I’d do 3.5km, then if that felt ok, I’d do 4, 4.5, then settle in on 5k for a week. It did go ok, at first.

The trouble with me is, if I am going to do something I want to push the limits. On the first day of 5km, I felt like running a little. On the 2nd day of 5km, I felt like running a little more. That was when the pain began to return, but it just felt like a little wind, so I pushed through it. On the 3rd day I promised myself, only walking. I managed two minutes before I felt like running, and that day I felt ok until I got off the treadmill, then I had a lot of tummy pain.

The next day I was concerned enough by the pain to see my (new) doctor. I told her about the 5ks I’d been doing but perhaps I was not telling the story right. She got me to lay down and felt my stomach, then she said “So you’ve been exercising for what, a half an hour a day?”. Me “No, 5km usually takes me just under 50 minutes”. You should have seen how she looked at me, like I was out of my mind crazy.

She said “No, that is way too much for your body right now. You need to cut back to 30 minutes a day of exercise at most”. So I am time limited, and to be honest, it kinda sucks for the following reason – all the shows I like to watch while I exercise are 44-59 minutes long.

On the other side of the world, while I was ill, Sephyroth was experiencing his own health issues. Maybe he’ll tell you more about that on his blog but the quick version is – gallstones. He and I were both on the clear liquids then milky liquids then soft foods diets at the same time. My diet became all about trying to *get* to my 1200 calories a day without eating Not Great foods. That was a bit of a struggle, because a couple of poached eggs over mashed potato and sweet potato really is not a lot of calories, even if you add cheese and butter.

So when all is said and done, I’m down 10kg – 22 pounds – since January 1, which is pretty awesome. I’d like to lose another 10kg by June but at this stage getting the cardio health and fitness is more important to me than the numbers, as I will have a colonoscopy sometime in June. I’m happy with the way I have been adding more running into the treadmill time – I can run for 2 minutes out of every 5 without any trouble now.

qantasyay

In amongst all this, I talked Sephyroth into booking his ticket to Sydney for October this year at the somewhat insane price of under $1,200 return. He’s visiting for three weeks, which is brilliant. He’s smashing his weight loss goals right now, and I am hugely proud of him, as I always am. And he is also doing 5km on the treadmill in about the same amount of time as me, so he will be able to keep up with me when he gets here! YAYOYAY!

I need to learn some patience. I need to learn not to push through tummy pain. I need to learn that sometimes my body is telling me no for a reason. I need to get back to Aqua Aerobics, too. And I need to learn to be ok with not getting my 10,000 steps for a bit.

Plus, I need to return here and tell you the story of what happened, and the family history surrounding this particular illness, which I am not sure I ever mentioned here. I will endeavour to do this soon!

Thanks for all your lovely comments on my hospital post, I really appreciated them. I’m getting back to reading and commenting, so you should see me soon at your places.. :)

health

A Not Good Surprise.

So I’m in hospital. Hopefully going to get out Wednesday afternoon been here since Monday. Writing this on my uncooperative tablet. It is a long story which i will type out once back at the home keyboard. The short story is diverticulitis. IV antibiotics is the reason i am not at home with a cat purring on me.

Good thing my goal was to get more healthy this year, and i will be ramping that up bigtime once back home.

I want to take a second to say thanks for reading my blog. I know I am a sucky blog friend this year and i apologize. Right now i need to focus on me, but i am still reading you all loud and clear. :) I will try to comment more soon.

health

Fitbit – Part One

fitbit1a

Remember earlier this year when I posted about my main goal for 2016? I said I would write about the Fitbit once I had it a little longer. Today it is exactly one month since I got this nifty device and I am loving it.

There are a lot of different aspects to the Fitbit, so I am not even going to try and cover them all in the one post. I’ll start off by telling you a little bit about what the Fitbit is, then I will talk about some of the ways that the Fitbit has inspired me to get moving again, and then tell you what I love and do not love about it.

What Is Fitbit?

Fitbit is an activity tracking device. You wear it on your wrist. Depending on which model you choose, it can track other things as well. I wanted to keep an eye on my heart rate especially when exercising, so I chose the Fitbit Charge HR. It cost $124 to purchase in the Boxing Day sales.

Fitbit reports the data it gathers back to your smartphone and/or your computer. You have a dashboard, which contains many different fields, and you can move the fields around to get it looking how you want.

The wrist device itself has a very small LED display which you can tap to switch between the time, steps so far, heart rate, KMs for the day, and calories burned. You can set it so that a flick of your wrist shows you the current time. I deeply love that feature!

Fitbit Makes Me –

Park that bit further away.

When you know you have a daily goal of 10,000 steps, you begin to find opportunities to add them in to your day. There is this local meat place which has a carpark of evilness, so now I park in a street away from the carpark and walk there instead. I discovered that I MUCH prefer this to driving in and trying to find a park and negotiating every other person in the tiny and badly designed carpark.

Get on the treadmill.

I’ve had this treadmill sitting here next to me for over a year now. There were times when I was very disciplined and would get on it every day, and there were times when I ignored it totally. Now I am on it most days, even if only for 15 minutes to get those last few missing steps.

Get out and about.

I’d much rather walk out at Huskisson and Vincentia than on the treadmill. Since the start of 2016, I have managed to get down there on average twice a week, sometimes 3-4 times.

Be Less Rigid

In 2015, I would only get on the treadmill first thing in the morning, before my shower. This meant if I did not feel like exercise then, it would get skipped. Now, with Fitbit, I have all day to get my steps in. If I do not feel like it first thing in the morning, I’ll take a shower, do what I feel like, and get on the treadmill in the afternoon, then take a second shower if I need it. I’ve even exercised as late as 9:30 or 10pm, if I needed more steps.

What I Love About Fitbit –

Convenience –

It is so simple! Wearing this one item on my wrist gives me SO much information about myself and my health, from heart rate at different times of the day right up to how well I slept.

Reminder –

Fitbit is there on my wrist 24/7 reminding me to make better choices – whether it be move more or eat less.

Tap To Know –

Three quick taps at any time of day gets me my current heart rate. This is useful mid-treadmill when I want to see if I am pushing too hard.

Great Workout Tracking

Look at all the info Fitbit collected on my walk today!

walk1

Above is heart rate and which zones you are in during your work out. The very low dips – the first one is where I stretch after doing my slow warm up 2 mins, then there are 2 drink breaks in there.

walk2

Above shows calorie burn, and the impact of his exercise on my day.

Resting Heart Rate

wresting

Fitbit tracks my resting heart rate. You can see it has dropped significantly since I started my journey to fitness on 29 December. You can also see it went back up a little – I had a cold which I was fighting at that time.

What I Don’t Love About Fitbit –

Fitbit Can’t Go Swimming

I have always loved the pool – swimming and aqua aerobics are my first two choices of exercise, even above walking and kayaking. However Fitbit is unable to join me there – which means all the information I rely on when I exercise, like heart rate and calories burned is also unavailable to me.

Fitbit Needs Regular Cleaning

Not that cleaning is a problem for this germophobe, but whenever I do it clean it – usually once a day, twice if necessary – I worry that I might accidentally murder it. Fitbit is splash proof but not water proof.

Fitbit Needs To Be Placed Correctly

In order to measure your heart rate, Fitbit has to be in the right place. Sometimes I have had trouble putting it in the right place or I have bumped it slightly and there goes my heart rate measurements, sometimes for hours because I did not know it wasn’t measuring it. I wish it would beep or flash when it wasn’t picking up my heart rate so I could adjust it.

Fitbit Took Some Getting Used To

wsleepdata

I found sleeping with it on extremely weird to begin with. However, I stuck with it and I got used to it, and I consider the data gained VERY useful – I’ll talk more about the data in another post.

Overall –

I love my Fitbit, and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to get moving. Just remember what I said about lessons learned in my Main Goal post.

exercise, Fitbit, health, Making Choices

My Main Goal For 2016

fitbithr

I have a few things I would like to achieve this year. There is one major goal, though – and it is –

Eat Less, Move More.

This is a pretty simple goal. It needs to happen. My weight has been quietly creeping up to a place I am not a fan of. At the start of January, I weighed in at 95.2kg – (209.88 pounds) – if I let things continue this way, I’d soon be over 100kgs.

The Other Half and I bought ourselves the Fitbit Charge HR for Christmas. We got them on special for $124 each. This little gadget has changed my life in a good way – I will do a post all about it later this month once I have been using it a little longer. Here is a quick look at the dashboard, which you will see in more detail in my upcoming post. :)

fbdashboard

As a part of the Fitbit thing, I’m also tracking my food intake. I was doing it with the inbuilt Fitbit food logging software, but I have now switched to MyFitnessPal. You can find me here – MyFitnessPal & Fitbit.

We bought the Fitbits on Tuesday, so I weigh in on Tuesday mornings and in the first week I lost 1.3kg (2.86 pounds).

stats1

Of course one of the very first things we did was go out for a long walk, during which I managed to pinch a nerve in my foot, making it difficult to get my 10,000 steps a day for that first week. In fact for two days I had to rest and limp about – then I injured it again and had to take another rest day. That has been quite frustrating. However even on a rest day I managed 6468 steps which is pretty decent.

I know I have a couple of readers who have set themselves the same goal and at least one thinking about buying themselves a Fitbit, so here are my lessons learned after one week.

Start Out Slow.

As soon as you get that Fitbit, you’ll want to get moving. However if you do that, you will not have a baseline to know how many steps you would usually do in a day. So my advice the first day is – do what you would do on a regular day.

Be Careful

An injury will hinder your progress and frustrate you, so rather than go all out, ramp up your exercise slowly. If you are not doing 10,000 steps to begin with, aim to add a thousand steps each day.

Work It Out

It is useful to figure out how many steps you get from things you do regularly. For example, if I need to run to the shops, it will be 2,000 steps or so. A shower is usually 200-300 steps – I keep mine on, you don’t have to, of course. Why is this important?

Step Budget

If you know that you have to do grocery shopping tomorrow, and you know that is going to be around 2,000 steps, you might want to cut back on your other activities.

stepswed

For example – I like to get on the treadmill and do a walk but I will always stop around 8,000 steps because I know the rest of my daily doings (dinner, cleaning, etc) will be around 2,000 steps. On the day you see pictured above, we discovered we did not have an essential dinner ingredient, so off to the shops we went – and I went way over on my steps for that day.

Not that going over 10,000 steps is a major problem, but at this stage with the injury I really want to try and stick to 10,000 -11,000 a day.

Sleep Is Interesting

sleepbest

Sleep stats, that is. Above you see one of my best nights of sleep since getting the Fitbit. Interestingly, I had stayed up late reading a truly great book. When I did go to sleep, I was out solidly for 4 hours. I woke up so refreshed the next morning.

sleepok

This sleep was less good but it seems like this is a more normal sleep for me.

Fitbit Thoughts

Why does it seem like this is going to work well for me? Putting this little tracking band on my wrist has inspired me to get moving and watch my food intake. Is it because, in a world where everything can be tracked, tracking the human body tells us more about ourselves? I haven’t logged food to this extent before and I am finding it to suit my Aspie, slightly OCD nature.

Saying It Out Loud

The major reason I am posting this here is to hold myself accountable. There is always the danger I could become complacent and fall off the eat less, move more wagon. I’ll update here once a month.

Over To You

Did you make any goals for 2016? Do you fitbit or myfitnesspal? :)

2016 Goal, exercise, health, Making Choices, moving forward