Friday, May 11, 2012

The Hero...

Not being an athletic sort of guy, biking the 3.7 miles to the nearest movie theatre was... interesting. It took me about an hour to get there, and I more sweat then I want to admit to, but I huffed and I puffed my way in. It was just under a week ago, and I was ready to see The Avengers!

For those who need a refresher or have no interest in the movie, there are a group (And I use the term ... loosely) of "Superheroes" banding together to fight a common enemy. The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor, Black Widow... the lot of them are heroes and main characters onto themselves, but we see them form a group that can do some very impressive feats, once they use their strengths in unison.

My favorite is Captain America, but that is mainly because he is, pure and simple, a Patriot. He may be displaced in time, but he has proven that he is willing to die for his county because he loves it. It appeals to me.
Iron Man is cool... but.... eh. The Hulk? Meh. Hawkeye I don't know much about. Black Widow is hot, and I liked the character development she had... but she isn't a patriot. Thor... is Thor. Demi-god. Meh.

Captain America is, hands down, my favorite superhero.

But he isn't my Hero.

Now, some may think "Oh, he's a christian, he's gonna say Jesus!" ... Nope. Jesus isn't a hero. He's GOD. A hero is someone who has something to lose. God can't lose anything... He's GOD.

My hero is a man who gave the majority of his adult life to a career he was not fond of to support his family. He fought his own battles in his own heart and mind over issues I won't name out of respect for his privacy. He fought for a marriage on the rocks (many times). He fought to protect his children from any unreasonable harm, including at times himself. He fights everyday to love and honor and follow God.

My hero walked over a mile in the snow to take car part the broken down vehicle he left at work. He also walked a mile or more to get a can of gas, also in the snow. He stayed up longer then he really should have packing for a hard move, has driven the largest U-Haul you can get thousands of miles across two countries and both mountain ranges. One of those ranges he did twice.

My hero has resuscitated a stillborn puppy, drained the infected ears of an old dog, cleaned up after cats who just gave birth and carried a blind old mutt out from behind a pickup for years until he finally carried the dog to its final home.

My Hero taught me all I know about honor, loving someone even when it's hard, and how to make a fried egg sandwich. I would not be the man I am today without my hero.

Dad, I love you.

Eric.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Through Thick and Thin...

I spent money this last Friday, and I didn't do it to stimulate the economy or to be greedy or even to send it to charity. I spent 119.95 to have an item smaller than my cell phone shipped to me, set to arrive on Monday. What evil, nefarious plan must I have to spend so much for so little? I aim to do what Congress has failed to do over so many terms... Trim the Fat.

That's right, I want to be less of a man, be less of what I can be, to decrease so that... I won't increase. Okay, I kinda lost some steam on that last one, but really the truth is I want to lose weight, and I think this little gizmo just might help.

This is a Fitbit Ultra Wireless Tracker. 
One day a company decided to take a pedometer, the pager like device which counts how jolts it gets as you walk, and sent the lowly pedometer to get not just its B.S. in health science, but a Masters in public relations.

Obviously, I jest, but that is what it feel like when I look at the system Fitbit has built. I already have been using the online profile system that fitbit has set up to help me track my weight, activity level, food intake, etc. Fitbit must have done a lot of research into the social interaction framework of Facebook.

For example: Once I ordered the Fitbit, I created my profile on their website so I could get an idea of what I could do with it. I poked around a bit, then found I could enter in what I ate through out the day from a list of foods, including foods from fast food places, delivery, frozen meals, boxed meals, etc. Holy Cow! That'll help me git a grasp on just what I am eating, won't it? I happily entered in my frozen Sausage and Eggs with a Hash Brown frozen breakfast from Aunt Jemima. Huzzah! I was on my way. Ok. Lunch was my frozen lunch from Hungry Man. I went to enter it in and then found, to my horror, that it did not exist in their database! What would I do? If I can't track this, how will I be able to plan well? Not to worry, I found I can enter a brand name (Hungry Man) and enter new foods under that brand, included detailed nutrition information, for convenient recall for later meals. I don't know if my entry is now available for all users or not, but knowing that I can enter info as needed and can recall that info with ease gave me a bit of hope, and no small ego boost for actually *contributing* to the database. (I choose to believe, as there is not evidence to the contrary, that everyone has access to my data entry.)

I also went to look at the Food Plan feature. The basic premise is that you give it your weight, height, and target weight. It offered me four plans, pretty much divided up by how much you aim to lose a week. It gave the end date of each plan in big bold letters, and then under it gave the weekly loss rate. I decided my best bet was to try and hit 200 pounds just before my 30th birthday, or two years and change from now. I Cold have tried to lose faster, but at that rate I would be at 2 pounds a week, and that can get a little dangerous for your heart. I think two years is a good target for now.

From that, I have a calorie counter that updates through out the day. Based on what I log for food and activity, it updates how many calories I can eat through out the day, and what my daily total should be. The later factor caught me off guard when I saw my allowed calories drop with out me doing anything. Turns out that after a period  of inactivity it takes some calories off the top line. After being active for a while, it adds some to the top line. I presume the math behind it has an assumed basic daily level activity and calories, and when I don't meet the activity level, it reduces the calories allowed, and when I exceed the level of activity, it adds calories to help offset what was burned. This way it metes out a level of food compared to your activity to keep you at the rate of loss you've asked for. Pretty cool. (side note: You can also log your water intake. It shows a glass beside the log that fills up, and I presume once the glass is full you've had your daily intake that nutritionists suggest or some such. For me, it's more a game of "fill the glass!" coupled with the honor system.)

The activity log is another vital part of this system, and that is where the Ultra Wireless Tracker really comes into play. I can manually log my activity on the website, to varying degrees of accuracy, or you can sync up a  Wireless Tracker to your account. Not having the tracker yet, I can't comment that much on it, but I look forward to editing my activity instead of entering it all myself.  So long as I am within 15 feet of the charging dock, it will wirelessly connect to the website and upload the activity it has recorded.

But it then goes a step further. Lets say at work I took the stairs to go up to the Executive Suite (3rd floor), fixed an issue there, took the elevator back down, tooled around my desk taking calls, then ran up to change some toner in training (2nd Floor), and came back down via the stairs. Then Boss tells me to back up to the second floor to help in HR for a printer jam, then go to other end of the first floor to map a network drive. I use the stairs the whole way. I would unlock a badge saying I had climbed (at least) 5 floors that day. Well hey! I'm all about ego boosting badges, I'ma gonna place that sucker on facebook! Booyah!

The positive reinforcement and enabling of constant checking in to the system works well for my personality, and I think it's really going to help me get a good handle my diet and exercise. The biggest challenge (short of my stomach) for me in losing weight is seeing the results, and this will put solid, concrete number in front of me to help me see where I need to work on, and where I am succeeding.

I'll keep updating as I go along with this, so stayed tuned!


(Fair notice, I am not being reimbursed in any way, shape or form from Fitbit for this post or any other. I am merely sharing my thoughts from my life.)


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