Big Milestone

Standard

Regular readers of this blog may remember that I track my food intake through an app called MyFitnessPal. It was referred to me by my therapist and it works very well. The database of foods is expansive, it lets you enter recipes or regular meals as you wish, it gives full nutritional information for everything, and it’s free. It’s been great.

This morning, as I entered my breakfast, I was met with a small notification.

“[I have] logged in for 365 days in a row!”

I’ve been doing this a solid year. My mind boggles at that.

For the past twelve months, I’ve done my best to record every single thing that I’ve consumed, food or drink, and I have a record of it to look back on.

To be fair, there are some things that I don’r record. If a soda has zero calories, I won’t record it, and certain meals – the trip to the churrascaria back in January, for instance – that just couldn’t possibly be recorded. (A churrascaria is a Brazilian steakhouse, where the waitstaff bring unlimited amounts of over a dozen types of meat to your table for you to choose from. There’s beef, there’s pork, there’s chicken, there’s lamb, there’s sausage, plus side dishes, and there’s just no way to accurately estimate how much of what you’re getting. The portions that you receive of most meats is very small, in order to allow you to try more varieties of them, and trying to log it is just too much of a headache to be worth it.) So there are cheat days. Once or twice I didn’t actually log a thing, although I logged into the app. But the vast majority of my foods are recorded and accurately so.

When I started this a year ago I thought it was a great tool to show me how much I was consuming. I didn’t try to adjust my diet any, I just wanted to see how many calories I was eating a day and then after a period of time adjust my diet to compensate, in order to lose weight. I haven’t really adjusted my diet that much – as I write this, I’m eating a bowlful of leftover chicken fried rice – but I’ve still managed to lose 14 pounds since starting this journey. Considering that I haven’t really done anything to try to lose weight, I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished.

So now the focus is going to be on watching how much I eat. I tend to overeat on a lot of occasions and that’s the main reason I go over a day’s allotment of calories. (Once again, see the churrascaria, a place that it is VERY easy to overeat.) Portion control needs to become a thing. Then we’ll worry about pulling my diet away from comfort foods and into something a little more healthy – with the occasional cheat day, of course, still being logged.

I’m really proud of sticking with this for a whole year. I never thought I’d be doing it for that long. I’m looking forward to what the next year will bring.

Advertisements

Streaks IV: A New Hope

Standard

It seems I measure my life in streaks these days, so I thought I’d give regular readers an update on how I’m doing.

Back on January 24, I gave a progress report on my streaks and explained the logic behind why these streaks are so important to me. So in lieu of a better, more thought out blog post, given that it’s 10:30 pm and I have an hour and a half to hit publish or break the streak that I’m proudest of, here are the updated stats, current as of today except where noted.

Consecutive days recording at least my morning vitals: 536.

Consecutive days recording my caloric intake to the best of my ability: 320.

Consecutive days tracking my mood and activities in my mood tracking app: 280, current as of yesterday. (As I explained back on January 24, this is one of the last things I do before turning out the lights at night, so I haven’t recorded today’s entry yet.)

Consecutive days completing my exercises in my Elevate and Duolingo learning apps: 200.

Consecutive days achieving full marks on my daily checklist: 51, current as of yesterday.

I’m especially proud of these streaks because they’re all continuing a month into my usual annual downswing, where I stop everything except the bare minimum that I need to survive – recording vitals and taking medications. I think keeping these streaks alive is part of how I’m combating that this year, so I’m clinging to the streaks. I’ve still got a month and a half to go before I’m out of that period in my annual mood cycle, so I’m almost halfway there at this point.

Streaks III: Live From the Trenches

Standard

I don’t know why personal streaks are so important to me. I think that’s because I had a reputation when I was younger as someone that would start something and then walk away from it when it got too hard (to avoid failing) or I got bored with it (which was very often) or when it became clear that I couldn’t do it perfectly (I once crumpled a test into a ball and took the zero on it rather than use an eraser to correct a mistake that I’d caught myself making), and more than anything I thrive on long-term stability, something that admittedly eludes me to this day.

I’m also a stats junkie, and it always amazes me that an organization called the Elias Sports Bureau can very quickly recall statistics like “most MLB career postseason strikeouts by a left-handed pitcher during games four played at home,” a stat that I just made up but I can guarantee you they could tell me within about five minutes of analysis. Statistics have always fascinated me and I wish I had the math skills to attempt a career in the field. I think that’s got a lot to do with it as well, this is my way of quantifying my life in a concrete form that I can easily measure.

So here’s where my streaks lie on the various things that I keep streaks on. Everything is current as of today, except where noted.

Consecutive days recording at least my morning vitals: 492.

Consecutive days recording my caloric intake to the best of my ability: 276.

Consecutive days tracking my mood and activities in my mood tracking app: 236, current as of yesterday. (This is one of the last things I do before turning out the lights at night, so I haven’t recorded today’s entry yet.)

Consecutive days completing my exercises in my Elevate and Duolingo learning apps: 156.

Consecutive days completing at least some math study on Khan Academy: 55.

Consecutive days achieving full marks on my daily checklist: 7, current as of yesterday.

I’m most proud of that last one. Doing everything on my checklist is difficult and takes a considerable amount of effort, especially on days when I’m not well mentally or physically. This is the second longest such streak since I started my checklist in October 2014, and I’m hoping to surpass my record of 12 consecutive days with this current streak.

And as George Carlin once said at the end of one of his routines, “I don’t have an ending written for this, so I just take a small bow.”

Scares and Streaks

Standard

Shortly after four this morning, my wife and I were awakened by the tell-tale sound of the smoke detector going off. It sounded three times – and then quit. We both thoroughly checked out the apartment, there was no smoke or reason for it to go off. It didn’t chirp like a detector would if it were low on battery (the detectors here are wired into the building to ensure they’re always functional, but they have battery backups for times when the power is out), and we didn’t hear it again. We’re still not even certain that it was the smoke detector, or that it was sounding from inside the apartment. Back to bed we went, but it took me a solid thirty minutes to get back to sleep.

I’m sorry I haven’t written lately, but I’ve just been too much in a meh mood to really think of anything worth writing down. (Yeah, I know, “meh” is worth recording too.) What I can say is that 80 days ago, I started using my phone as a learning and health tool again, and every day from then to today, I have logged my food intake, done my brain games (I use the Elevate app), and studied my Spanish on Duolingo. I’m proud that no matter what has happened, no matter how blah I’ve felt, I’ve managed to get those things done.