Losing Weight – Weekly Check-In

It’s been almost a month since I started this blog and I am continuing losing weight.  As of yesterday I was down to 182.6 lbs.  I went out and found a couple of Geocaches is the neighborhood of my home and have been making an effort to walk more.  Every day that I wasn’t driving a patrol car at work I used my weights while sitting at the desks.  I think that part of the reason I lost less weight this week was because of the weights helping my muscles to return.

Also over last week I started looking for more Fitbit compatible apps.  So far I have yet to find any more that would be useful for motivation.  I found FitBit RPG which looked fun and helpful but once I set up an account in the app it stopped loading.  I can’t even get into the app.

Losing Weight Goal Changes

This week I made two changes to my goals for losing weight.  I feel like the extra push will pay off.  First, I raised my step goal.  My step goal is now 12,000 steps per day from the previous 10,000.  This will get me extra steps during the week and encourage the burning of more calories.

Second, I have increased my goal on Pact to 6/7 days of working out per week.  This will encourage me to meet that goal of 12,000 steps an extra day of the week or else pay the price.  I met the goal 6/7 days last week.

Losing Weight Inspiration

I recently finished a book by Cade Courtley titled SEAL Survival and while it is not directly towards losing weight inspiration, I found it quite good for that purpose.  I plan to write a review on it for tomorrow’s post.  Tune in tomorrow for the summary.

Aria Scale and Weekly Check-in Update

Due to my last scale giving me different results I walked all the way to Fred Meyer (about 3,500 steps each way) and bought an Aria scale which can be found here.  I first went to Bartell Drugs then Fred Meyer to look at non-smart scales.  However, upon looking each one up on Amazon I encountered bad reviews.  So I turned to what I know best, Fitbit and bit the bullet to get the Fitbit Aria Scale.  So far after some updating the scale was fairly consistent.  I plan that after I have been able to use it for a little while to write more about it.  The setup of the scale wasn’t too hard and can be conducted from a smartphone.  My only issue with the scale is that the home appliances are between the WiFi and the scale, making it difficult to connect the scale at times.  If it doesn’t connect right away though, I can just pick it up and walk a few feet for it to connect.

Weekly Weigh-In With Aria Scale

As I predicted my week last week wasn’t as effective as it could have been.  I only lost about .1 lbs, leaving me at 183.4.  I know this update is later in the week then it should have been but the weight actually comes from Wednesday night when I had time to work on the scale but not enough time to write a post about it.  I still am not that upset about not losing more weight but happy at the fact that I have lost some weight.  I hope to continue the weight loss process.  I have received my weights and have been bringing them to work so that I can lift them while I am sitting at desks and still be active.

Fitbit Cons – Three Things Fitbit Should Change

You probably saw my last post Fitbit Benefits – Three Things I Like About Fitbit and since you are reading this you are probably already aware that I am a big fan of Fitbit.  Fitbit isn’t perfect though and there are several things I wish to see from Fitbit or to see Fitbit improve upon, these are the Fitbit Cons.  Don’t let yourself be discouraged by these Fitbit Cons, the Fitbit is still a great device.  These just serve to let you know where Fibit could stand to improve.

Fitbit Cons #1 – Skin Irritation

The Fitbit Force, which is very similar in appearance to the Fitbit Charge HR, was pulled from shelves due to skin irritation.  Rereleasing their product under a new name didn’t fix the problem.  Big surprise.  The Fitbit Charge HR has a band that can still cause irritation to the skin.  The irritation caused by the fitness tracker can be annoying but isn’t permanent.  It is known as contact dermatitis.  The amount of irritation varies and seems to be mostly only if I sweat.

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Despite the fact that it looks like my Fitbit tracker was on too tight, it isn’t.  That redness is from irritation due to the tracker.  It doesn’t hurt though and as far as I can tell has no health impact so I put up with it.  I still can’t wait until Winter when this will stop happening.

Fitbit Cons #2 – Not Always On Display

In my opinion Fitbit would greatly benefit from an Always On Display.  This would allow users of the fitness tracker to see their progress.  I could care less with it providing me the time.  I want to see the progress bar whenever I look down at my Fitbit.  I don’t want to have to tap my Fitbit or hit the button every time I want to watch my progress.  As I have said before, I find progress bars very motivational because I feel like they are just begging to be filled in.

Fitbit has gotten this question before it seems and they have answered by stating that the always on display would eat up the battery life.  With battery life of around a week though it wouldn’t be that bad if you cut the battery life by 3/4 or even a half.  You would still have multiple days on the same charge.  Others may not agree but this is a feature that I would like to see implemented.  Fitbit could also set it up so that users could decide whether they wanted to have it always on or not.

Fitbit Cons #3 – No Get Up Reminder

This may be the biggest one of the Fitbit cons mentioned, simply because I am a forgetful person.  I would very much like it if the Fitbit tracker included a get up reminder that tells you if you have been sitting for too long.  Several other trackers have this feature.  Sitting for too long can be detrimental to your weight loss efforts because you aren’t giving your body the power it needs to process the intake of foods.  Studies have shown that getting up regularly can help you lose weight  and is better for your body than sitting at the computer for hours straight.

Now that you have seen my Fitbit cons list you probably are a little quizzical about buying a Fitbit.  I have to say, it is the best fitness investment that I have made so far.  I look down at it and feel motivated to make more out of myself.  Still wearing it despite the fact that I get negative reactions from the band should show you that I love my Fitbit.  If anyone knows of a fitness tracker that might be better, let us know and I will consider looking further into it.

Fitbit Benefits – Three Things I Like About Fitbit

Those who have read my posts probably have already guessed that I love my Fitbit.  Before I go any further it should be noted that I do not get paid for talking about my Fitbit or the Fitbit Benefits.  I truly believe that the Fitbit was an amazing invention with a lot of work put into it with room to grow even further.

I have the Fitbit Charge HR, the one that is capable of reading your heart rate throughout the day while being worn on the wrist.  Knowing your heart rate better allows it to calculate calories burned and helps me to determine what level of exercise I am getting when I am working out.  If I am running/jogging/walking on the treadmill I will keep the Fitbit app open and leave my phone propped open so I can see it.  This allows me to monitor steps, heart rate, and calories burned in real time.

Fitbit Benefits - Fitbit Charge HR

There are many Fitbit benefits out there.  Here are three of my favorite Fitbit Benefits.

Fitbit Benefits #1 – Simple, Motivational, Phone Interface

The phone interface for Fitbit is the first benefit that I truly enjoy.  There is no scrolling to find most of your stats, which is a huge plus.  Having to open the app and navigate to stats makes it less likely for me to want to use the app.  I don’t like having to look for things that should be displayed front and center.

Throughout your day the stats will be updated and if you leave the app open with the screen on your Fitbit will constantly update the page.  As you get closer to achieving your goal the color of the progress bars changes which is extremely helpful.  This allows you to see roughly how far you are at only a glance.  I also find this extremely motivational because with my ADHD I can’t just leave progress bars unfinished.  I have a craving to make the bar reach the end.  Some would say I am easily entertained…

Screenshot of Fitbit Stats - Fitbit Benefits

Fitbit Benefits #2 – Long Battery Life

I’ll be honest, I tend to forget to charge things, even my phone sometimes.  Most often my watch or Fitbit.  The Fitbit battery will last for up to a week sometimes but at the least I will get five days out of one charge.  This means that I don’t have to worry about plugging the device in every night and allows me to actually track my sleep.  Actually, I can get enough of a charge from plugging it in while I brush my teeth and shower that it will be good for the day.

Fitbit Benefits - Long Battery Life

Besides the Fitbit I also wear a Moto 360 that I have talked about before.  The Moto 360’s battery simply sucks.  It needs to be charged every night and often needs a boost during the day.  This is unacceptable.

Fitbit Benefits # 3 – Challenges

I love the Fitbit Challenges.  They are one of the best Fitbit benefits out there.  The challenges that are currently available are Goal Day, Weekend Warrior, Daily Showdown, and Workweek Hustle.  All of these challenges involve step counting in one form or another.  These challenges allow me (and other users) to pit my step count up against other people.  I like to think of it as trying to beat the high score on a video game.  Must get the best high score.

Fitbit Benefits - Fitbit Challenges

 

When it comes to challenges there are only four of them and they focus on step goals.  I wish that Fitbit would come out with more challenges.  Challenges targeted towards calories burned in one day or most weight lost in a month or something similar would be exciting and helpful.  With any product there is room for improvement and Fitbit takes that to heart.  Just today I got a notice about a Fitbit update.

 

If you are interested in getting a Fitbit look at Fitbit’s Website or Amazon.com.  I purchased my Fitbit through Amazon due to the fast shipping.  You can also find Fitbit at a lot of retailers now.  It would be fun to be able to challenge visitors of my blog on Fitbit!  On Thursday look out for my post on”Fitbit Cons – Three Things Fitbit Should Change”.

 

Weekly Weigh-In (Late/Delayed)

I know I posted the schedule for the weekly weigh-in last week being on Monday.  Yesterday I had two issues though that kept me from doing a weekly weigh-in and will continue to delay the normal weigh in.  First, yesterday when I went to weigh myself I got five different weights, varying as much as 8 lbs.  I had planned to go out and look at new scales but I got a call in for work.  This week’s official weekly weigh-in should happen either tomorrow or the next day.  However, here is a summary of my weekly activities.

I currently have a scale that uses the Weight Gurus system.  I got it because it promised wireless smartphone weight tracking.  What it didn’t say was that this was via taking a picture of the screen.  The scale when it comes to weight has never worked that well.  The picture capture feature for the weigh in is difficult to capture depending on the lighting of the room.  The lighting needs to be just right to prevent glare.  I have been thinking of getting a new scale for a while now and getting a “smart” scale probably won’t happen this time.

On to Normal Weekly Weigh-In Stuff

I was down in step count a little bit due to injuring my back on Saturday the 15th, but all of my low days were higher than previous low days which was nice.  I feel like while I didn’t achieve the level that I could have I improved on my daily overall levels.  I will be pushing even harder this week.

What I am happy to notice is that my duty belt at work is now looser than it used to be.  It will yet again be time to tighten it up.  My regular belt is also one hole shorter.  This is some of the best motivation that I have been able to get during my journey to a better me.

Over the weekend I participated in another Weekend Warrior Challenge with my Fitbit.  Unfortunately, I came in second place.  I am not unhappy about it and the group of people I have found on Fitbit have been very motivational, sharing encouragement regularly.  It doesn’t hurt that I was about 10,000 steps above the closest person to me.  Groups like this are great!  I hope to continue to find more people like this on Fitbit.

weekendwarrior

 

I managed to get out on Sunday and find a couple of Geocaches too.  I will post those later in the week with a Geocaching update.

In summary for the weekly weigh-in so far, it wasn’t a bad week but it wasn’t the best week.  All that can be done is to have a better week though!

ADHD and Snacking Leading To Weight Gain

Ever since I can remember my hands have had to do something.  When watching TV I have had to write, play computer games, or browse the internet at the very least.  When I was in college I was diagnosed with what my doctor referred to as full spectrum ADHD.  This is because I present multiple different effects of ADHD.  One of these effects is the always having to be doing something active, even if it is only with my hands.

One of the ways I have found to keep my hands busy when I am doing things on the computer or on the TV is to eat.  Whether it be snacks or full meals.  I do believe my ADHD has been a major factor in the amount that I have eaten.  I have also grown to enjoy the tastes of food.  Together these have been a major factor in my weight gain.  Part of the reason that I have been able to determine that is the fact that when I was on my Adderall I started to lose weight and I felt like I was eating less.

Attention Deficit/Hyper Activity Disorder also leads to a lot of spontaneous action, that includes little to any food planning.  I can definitely attest to this being a major difficulty.  Rarely am I one to schedule my meals.  Partially it is because I don’t want be tied down to something so that I can eat the taste I want for dinner, but it is also because when it comes to planning I will forget about the plan or get distracted.  Now that I am not living alone I am trying to come up with ways to better this but I am falling short.

One way that I have been trying to use to fight my ADHD subliminally telling me to eat is to everytime I go to the kitchen to grab something out of the fridge, ask myself: “Do I really need this?”  I will then ask myself if I am hungry.  This may sound like one of those mind over matter things that very few people have been able to get to work but so far it has been working very well.  I find it works best when I am eating a big meal such as dinner.  I will look at the second breadstick and though I do want it, when I ask myself if I am full my tummy answers yes.  ADHD also helps to disable the “it’s time to stop eating” signal from the body, making it harder to detect when you should stop eating.  Now that I am trying to diet I am noticing myself getting fuller sooner but I used to not feel full as easily.

I am also trying to replace the snacks I do manage to talk myself into eating with healthier snacks.  While at home and even sometimes at work recently I have started eating grapes or carrots instead of cookies or cake.  I may have splurged a little in the snacking department while house sitting the last week and a half but I am going to attempt to go back to the snacks that I was eating before.

Carrots are better snacks for ADHD

The other thing I have been doing to counteract this is to whenever I want to eat a really good snack that I have been craving, I add an extra workout or extra walking to my day.  This might not help the snack I am going to eat that day but it will help to burn off the previous day’s calories and possibly burn off a previous snack.  Plus the more I can be motivated to get up and get out, the better.

With all of this being said I am not writing about this to say my ADHD is all that has made me gain weight.  There have been many other factors such as previously working in grocery stores.  ADHD has just been a major contributor and one I wasn’t aware that I had until college.  Looking back at it now a lot of other things in life make sense now that I know I have ADHD.


Information on ADHD

If you want more information on ADHD the National Institute for Mental Health has a good piece on it here.  Your doctor or a counselor will also be able to provide you with information about ADHD if you don’t want to read a government source.

Posting Schedule for Regular Content

My friends and family have been asking what my posting schedule is so I figured I would let those interested know now that I have been operating the blog for a couple of weeks and have ironed out an idea of how I am going to work it.  I have several different types of posts with different schedules: Weekly Weigh Ins, Informational Content, Geocaching Adventures, and Fitbit stats.

Weekly Weigh In Posting Schedule

My weekly weigh in day is Monday.  Every Monday I will post a weigh in along with a general summary of the last week or something fitness related.  The posting schedule for weigh-ins will be fairly regular unless I am out of town or unable to use a scale.

Here is an example.

Informational Content Posting Schedule

Information content is what I use to refer to my regular posts such as app reviews, fitness reviews, activities, and articles.  The posting schedule for this content is every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:00 am, with the exception of today where I was a little late.  I will also randomly add in additional informational content to help spice up your work week.  This content is what makes up my blog.  I always welcome suggestions and ideas.

Here and here are examples.

Geocaching Adventures Posting Schedule

The posting schedule for my Geocaching Adventures isn’t set in stone because the times and dates that I go caching aren’t set in stone.  Typically I will post updates the day after I go caching.  If I find a lot of caches I may do a bulk posting on Sunday.  I usually go Geocaching at least twice a week now that I am stepping up my walking.

Here is an example.

Fitbit Stats Posting Schedule

As I am a firm believer in my Fitbit helping me lose weight, my post schedule for Fitbit stats is every day between 07:00 am and 08:00 am.  I use IFTTT (If This Than That Recipes) to post my daily stats automatically since it is not a feature that Fitbit natively supports.  Unfortunately, IFTTT does not allow me to specify a specific time.  These updates are titled Daily Activity.

Here is an example.

Other Posting Schedule Information

Updates such as this one typically are unscheduled.  If I have news for my visitors I will let you know as soon as I can.  Updates will always appear in the category Updates.  I also post Fitbit and Geocaching badges/souvenirs as I earn them.

I am currently working on more content ideas.  As with my introduction I am still testing what works and what doesn’t.  If you have any content ideas that you would like to see me write about leave a comment or email me at ian@iandscofield.com.  I have more fitness products to write about and test.  I will also be trying out apps and websites and letting you know how they work.

Geocaching Adventures from 8/17/2015

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours Geocaching in Seward Park.  Not far from where I grew up I never explored the hill portions of this park.  This is one of the best settings in Seattle for Geocaching adventures if you are looking for a true wilderness feeling.  There is a mixture of primitive trails and gravel trails that allow you to explore an environment that is natural.  Just a heads up though, on most of the trails there are no bikes allowed.  Sorry, I didn’t check my Fitbit at the start to get my starting steps but I believe I walked around 6,000 steps during my Geocaching adventure.

Here is another picture of a cool tree from my Geocaching adventures.

Another cool tree found on my Geocaching adventures

Druantia’s Cache

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This Geocache was inspired by a Galic Tree Goddess and was a cool way to start my geocaching adventures for the day.  I almost didn’t notice it because it was very well hidden in a part of the tree that you had to crane to look at.  This part of the park is outside of the main wilderness trails so there were signs of the homeless that I didn’t want to put my hands near, I am also short so I am not sure I would have been able to reach it easily anyways.  I am glad I recently purchased a Tekton Pick-Up Tool from Amazon that allows you to pick up metal objects that are up to 8 lbs.  With the magnetic tool, I was able to easily pick up the cache without even bending over too far and put it back once I had signed it.

A Piece of Geocaching Video History

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This Geocache is featured in the official video about hiding Geocaches.  As such I figured this cache would be a lot harder to find.  Instead as I was walking up the trail I was able to easily spot the cache hiding area because it didn’t fit with the things around it.  The container for this cache was cool, but unfortunately it has succumbed to the rain Seattle is so famous for and on my Geocaching adventures I found that this cache was mildly wet but sealed in a plastic bag which prevented the paper from getting soggy.

Have you heard this one? lol

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For the last part of my Geocaching adventures yesterday I found this cache.  The cache owner dedicated this Geocache to his father who passed away.  The description contains the story of his father’s life and in return he asks you to post a story or a joke when logging this cache.  I have yet to decide what story or joke to post with this cache, but it was an interesting hide.  If you are going on Geocaching adventures of your own just be wary that my GPS took me to a different tree.

Overall I had a great time exploring the forest of Seward Park during my Geocaching adventures from 8/17/2015.  I took several wrong turns though due to using a cell phone instead of a regular GPS.  All of the trees degrade the signal.  I have ordered a GPS which should hopefully arrive this weekend.  Before I go I will leave you with a picture of the wood bridge that serves as an entrance to the trail systems from where I started.

Wood Bridge Found on Geocaching Adventures

Fitness App Review: Pact – Commit To You

Apple Store | Google Play | Website


 

Pact is the fitness app that creates motivation in users through the bet that you will be able to workout (or eat healthy).  You set how many days you aim to work out each week and how much you are willing to lose for each of the days you don’t workout.  For example, I currently have it set to meet my step goal or work out five days a week.  For each day that I miss I would owe $5 to Pact.  If I meet my goal of five days of working out each week I get around $1.11 total for the week.

So far this week I am at one day met because it is only the second day of the week.  If I get in some 8,200 steps I will be able to meet my second day of the week and another circle will be filled in.

Current Pact Screenshot

This may not seem like a lot but think of it this way, I get money just for getting in better shape.  At first I was worried about being able to meet my goal five days a week, now that five dollars is on the line for each day that I miss I have been out and improving my step number every day.  So far I have yet to miss a day.  I have pushed it going on late walks in order to get my count in.

In order to detect my steps I had to connect my Pact account to my Fitbit account.  Every day I get 10,000 steps counts towards a completed workout pact day.  However you can choose to do 30 minutes of biking, jogging, or time at the gym.  You can sync other apps such as MapMyRun.

As of writing this I am thinking I will up my Pact requirement to six days a week.  This will give me one day to be under my requirements if needed but both up my fitness and increase the amount of money I can make from the fitness app each week.  The one key feature I have yet to try is payments, you need to make $10 before you can apply to have your Pact balance transferred to PayPal so that will be a key test of this fitness app.  Here is what a completed week looks like on the app screen.

Pact Fitness App Completed Week

 

I think it would be great if Pact would include a couple of features.  First, when you go to update your Pact it would be great if they would include a way to see what the difference in potential payout would be based on the changes you make.  Integrating a social aspect similar to Fitbit would also make this fitness app more motivational.  If your friends could regularly see your progress it would make you more likely to want to finish it.

One thing that all users need to realize before installing this fitness app is that the company is in it to make money.  If you get an injury or for some legitimate reason there is no option to pause a weekly pact once the week has started.  Similarly, stopping your weekly pact should you decide that you do not like this fitness app is not easy.