Random Friday

Just a few random thoughts for a Friday, none of which deserve their own blog post.

Public Service Announcement

Before you put on your shoes, tie them tight, and head out for your run, a word of advice: ALWAYS CHECK THE INSIDE OF YOUR SHOES FOR DEBRIS!

Especially if you have cats who like to push things off the dresser where they land inside your shoe or you have dogs who are messy eaters and when they bite into a hard treat pieces go flying everywhere, including into your shoe.

Said foreign object becomes very painful after a mile or so and it starts to work it’s way underfoot.

Now maybe unlike me, you’ll stop running, take your shoe off, and shake it out. But if you are like me, you’ll keep running, wincing in pain each time the object that feels like a huge rock (but turned out to be just a small eighths inch piece of dog treat) slips under your big toe.

That Extra Shoelace Hole

I just found out what that extra lace hole in my running shoes is for. Yes, for lacing. Smartass. What I mean is, how to correcrly use that extra hole. Everyone else probably already knew what it’s for and I’m just late to the party, but in case you’re one of those who missed the memo as well, then read on.

My heels tend to slip in my shoes. I don’t know why, maybe because I buy one whole size larger shoe than my foot size so my toes don’t get mashed against the toe box like they do if I only get a half size larger.

Onward. Here is what that extra lace hole is for: to make your shoe fit around your ankle (and in the process, your heel) more snuggly and with minimal slippage. The technique is called the “Heel Lock” amd you start by threading the lace back through that last hole (so the lace is now inside the shoe) forming a loop between the last two hokes, then pass the right lace through the left loop and the left lace through the right loop, cinch it tight by pulling donward, and tie it like normal. Now you’re on your merry way with no heel slippage. (The only drawback is, now your shoes are harder to get off. A fair tradeoff if it prevents heel blisters or premature wearing out of your socks or the material inside the shoe’s heel itself.)

Here’s a video that demonstrates it better than I probably explained it.

That extra Shoelace Hole in action

The Fly

No, not the movie, although if I were to discuss it, I’d have to expound upon how superior the original with David Heddison was in every way: story, acting, dramatic suspense, compared  to the dreadful Jeff Goldbloom remake, which was just gross.

Warning: The following may be TMI for the more delicate flowers among you.

No, I’m talking flies in men’s underwear, or the lack of them in some men’s underwear. A month or so ago, needing new underwear, I stopped at TJ Max. I was looking for something thinner, lighter, and more breathable than cotton. Active wear, I guess it’s called, because I do a lot of mall walking during the day. Something along the lines of compression-like shorts, except as everyday underwear.

I found an inexpensive pair by RBX Active that seemed to fit the bill. Except when I took them out of the package, I realized they didn’t have a fly, which I found odd because I thought all men’s underwear had a fly.

Not having one makes them nearly useless for everyday wear. I mean, men urinate standing up. We don’t undo our belts, open our pants and pull them down. We’re not kids any more learning how to use the urinal. We only unzip our pants, reach in, and fish out our yahoo through the underwear hole. Without one, there’s all this extra yanking and tugging and painful maneuverings going on as you try to pull down these flyless wonders through the zipper opening. No one wants that, it just attracts unwanted attention. Men are all about going in, doing their bizness, and.getting out without any conversation or eye contact.

On the one hand, sure the RBX, made of lycra or other synthetics, are very comfortable, they dont bunch up, they breathe and I guess wick away sweat. They’re very good for exercising in. But not to pee in. Or through, rather. So I use them for running.

Still needing everyday underwear, I went back and picked up a pair of their flied underwear. Seemingly the same material, the same size, but when I got home and tried them on, they were too tight. They had a different cut and the wasitband didnt ride at the same height as the other pair by RBX did yet they were the same size. Yup, I double-checked the package. Same company. Same stated size. Totally different fit. For some reason these were like bikini briefs compared to the other ones.

Which begs the question: if there is such a size disparity even within a manufacturer’s own line, why can’t we try them on before we buy?

Belay that. The very thought that someone else’s nutsack was getting all jiggy with the underwear I just bought makes me squeemish.

So I’m still looking for new underwear. And I’m finding that a lot of them don’t have a fly. I don’t get it. In my experience, the only underwear that was flyless were those embarrassing jockstraps we had to wear in high school gym. Maybe it’s because I’m looking at the type more for athletic use instead of your traditional tighty-whiteys or your grandfather’s boxers? I don’t know.

But here’s the interesting thing. I was looking at Puma brand underwear and making sure they had a fly, when I noticed the flied ones were labeled “with keyhole.”

Keyhole? That’s great! I’m going to refer to the fly as a keyhole from now on.

/End TMI Warning

Friday Weigh-in

I weighed myself today. Friday has always been my normal weigh-in until I became enamoured with all the cool features of our new smart scale.

Well, if you remember Tuesday’s blog post, I was whining I had gained 2.6 pounds over the weekend.

Well, today? I’m back on track. I lost that 2.6 pounds I had gained.

And the.moral of that story is: Only weigh yourself once a week. Pick a day of the week, Friday in my case, and weigh yourself that day only!

You’ll save yourself a lot of grief and time spent writing angry blog posts.

Lace up. Go run.

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The lost weekend

I had a bad weekend. I gained 2.6 pounds.

Should I throw in the towel? Give up? Become angry and depressed over that?

Or should I just take the setback in stride? Refocus on what’s really important, like where I’ll be down the road instead of worrying if I’ll fit into that cute bikini for this upcoming season? Well, since I’m a guy I’d probably look silly in a bikini, so that isn’t the point.

The point is, when you suffer a setback in the short term, you should refocus on your long term goals. When you look at your overall progress, where you were and where you want to be, that 2.6 pound gain will appear to be nothing more than a tiny temporary blip on the entire weight loss graph.

I admit, there are times when it gets frustrating. For instance, when someone says they lost 50 almost overnight, you can’t help but compare. Why has it taken me over 2 years to lost 30 pounds and they did it like that? (Snap your fingers.)

You need to focus on the fact that you lost 30 pounds and not how long it took. That deserves congratulations, not chastisement.

Comparisons are self-defeating. People have different metabolisms. Some lose weight easier while others struggle. Accept that fact and move on.

I work with a guy who was overweight and now he’s not. He did it with an extremely restrictive diet, denying himself all foods that weren’t considered healthy.

If someone brought in donuts to work for their birthday, he wouldn’t eat one.

Wouldn’t. Eat. One!

That’s crazy talk. One donut won’t kill you.

Neither will one bad weekend of fast food and over snacking.

You’re not an idiot, just human

Face it, we all fail from time to time. We sneak that donut. Eat nearly a whole bag of Xtreme Cheddar Goldfish (guilty!). Go on vacation and enjoy all sorts of good foods. Overeat during the holidays.
Everyone except that guy at work, but then he’s always Grumpy and has become a judgemental asshole. “You’re not going to eat that, are you?” “Do you how many calories are in that?” 

Don’t be an asshole.

Treat yourself once in a while. There is no ice cream in Heaven, that’s why we eat it here. Just don’t overdo it.

And when you stumble, pick yourself back up and continue down your path as if nothing happened. Don’t look around to see if anyone saw, their opinion shouldn’t matter.

This is why you shouldn’t check your weight obsessively. I used to check it only once a week on our old mechanical scale so I probably wouldn’t even have known I had trended upward when I finally checked on Friday. That’s my fault for getting a cool new smart scale with a phone app that shows me all my stats. I need to focus on just the Friday readings, as I did before. 

Don’t let one misstep derail your whole program. Think of it this way, sure you might fit into that cute bikini this summer, but if that was your only goal, you’ll just yo-yo back up over the winter and be stressing again next spring.

Think about the long term and how good you’ll look next year and the year after that and about all those nice outfits you’ll be able to fit in for the rest of your life.

I just purchased a cool pair of running tights, something I never would have even thought about 10 years ago. And no, I’m not posting any pictures. 

Stay focused. Think long term. Don’t give up. Don’t be an asshole.
Side note: I had to completely rewrite this entire article because, as I discovered, if you don’t put in a title when you’re writing using the phone app, it forgets the entire post when you close the app. I reopened it to continue editing and it was gone! I could have given up and not posted anything today, but I didn’t. I rewrote the entire thing from scratch. You’re welcome.

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Some weighty thoughts

A long time ago, I read somewhere, can’t recall where, this was long before the Internet, so it was in a magazine, possibly “Prevention,” or “Shape,” or something along those lines.

A so-called health and fitness doctor said, “You’re ideal weight is what you weighed when you graduated high school.”

OK. There is one problem with that. What if you already had a weight problem then? Just because he seemed to have been at an ideal weight for him when he graduate high school, doesn’t translate to everyone having that same idealness.

For instance, I was just skin and bones when I graduated high school. I weighed all of 125 pounds. That translates to an underweight Body Mass Index (BMI) of 17.7. Normal BMI range for adults is 18.5 to 24.9. I was in the 9th percentile, meaning 91% of Americans weighed more than I did at my age and height.

I was able to suck in my gut so far, it would go up into my rib cage.

Skinny-Friend-That-Eats-A-Lot-Y-U-No-Get-Fat_o_101316

Yeah. I was one of those people who could eat as much as I wanted, not exercise, and never gained an ounce of weight. Those were the days.

Except it’s wasn’t my ideal weight. I was too skinny. For my height my ideal weight should be between 134 and 167 pounds. When I reach my current weight goal of 185, I’ll still be marginally overweight according to most health charts and I’ll have a BMI of 26.5.

visual.body1_1

I was a 17 as a teenager and a 33 just a few years ago

But when I reach that, I’ll still be healthier than I am now and I’ll also be healthier than I was when a I graduated high school.

So I have no idea where that so-called expert came up with the notion that your high school weight is your ideal weight, because that’s just a stinking pile of bullshit.

What is your ideal weight? Well, you could look at all the charts and graphs and measure and weight yourself until you come up with an estimate or you could just go see your health care professional, discuss your health goals and desires, and together you can come up with a healthy and reasonable weight goal. They might even be able to prepare a diet and exercise plan.

Do not put any faith into the Internet or so-called celebrity experts.

As they say, consult your doctor before you start any exercise or weight loss program.

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Once twice three times a runner

Last night’s run made it three consecutive days where I ran. I haven’t run consecutively since I was a twenty-something circa 1990 BSP (before shin splints).

I ran three days in a row! And none of them were wimpy casual runs. Tuesday was a 5k at higher than my normal moderate pace. Wednesday I did intervals, five six-minute sets consisting of three minutes walking, two minutes moderate run, then one minute at an eight mph sprint. And last night I used the treadmill’s Speed Burn which starts at a minimum pace (for me my moderate pace) then it ramps up to your maximum set pace (I set it for higher than Tuesday’s already higher than moderate pace, and then it slowly ramps down to your starting pace. It looks like a bell curve when all is said and done.
And I feel good. No pain. No aches. No nagging nags. I was worried because remember I had an IT Band injury in August that had prevented me from running a couple of weeks and set me back several weeks in my training. 

But no, nothing. I feel great. But I won’t push four in a row. I’ll take at least today off. Saturday I’ll play by ear, but if I do run, it’ll be my first 5 day running week since I started back into it last Spring.
Something else I mentioned a while back, that night running makes for a night of restless sleep and I thought about taking Advil PM to help the joint and muscle stiffness I was suffering from and to knock me out.

Turns out they have a warning for people 60 and older to not take said product and since I’m on the cusp, I figured better safe than sorry, and I only took it the one time. 

Instead, I take a couple aspirin and a Melatonin tablet (N-acetyl-5-methoxy tryptamine, a hormone from the pineal gland that regulates sleep). That seems to be working and I’ve not been experiencing any night-time leg pain or stiffness (even when my 70-pound dalmatian lies across my legs) or any sleepless nights (not counting dogs needing to pee at 3am).

And you’d think if I was going to suffer stiffness and sleeplessness, it would be after running three days in a row. But no. It’s all good.

And I nudged ever so much closer to the magical number of 200 pounds adding more incentive to run more frequently.

I did break past another magical number and that was 29.9. My Body Mass Index (BMI) is now 29.2! I went from obese to just overweight. Although my body fat percentage still has me falling on the obese side. I’m at 32.1% and won’t fall below obese until I pass 31% body fat (and in all honestly, I do find it odd that by one stat I’m down to overweight but by another stat I’m still obese). 

But wait, you ask, how do you know that?

Well first Body Mass Index is a fun mathematical equation that looks like this:

But if math makes you squeamish, then get yourself one of the new fancy-scmancy smart scales. All the cool people have them. If you get one that operates with bioelectrical impedance, than you get all sorts of cool information. 

What bioelectrical impedance  does is when you step on the scale, you make contact with little metal strips, like on my Yunmai Color Smart Scale, completing the circuit. These strips send a tiny, and undetectable by you, electric current through your feet, traveling up one leg and down the other. Because electricity travels faster through muscle and water than it does through fat and bone, it calculates your percentages by the current’s speed. Neat, huh?

This was from this morning:

Now I’m not saying you need to obsess about all those numbers — you really shouldn’t even obsess about weighing yourself more than once a week — but C’mon! You gotta admit all those readings are fun, right? 

Or maybe I’m just too much a techno-geek from watching a lifetime of Star Trek episodes and reading science fiction. Whatever.

The future is now! We have computers in everything. We’re living the science fiction predictions of the 1940s. This is Duck Dodgers in the 24th and a half Century!

Sorry. Got carried away.

The one stat I’m curious to see change is the last one, my Fitness Age. I wonder how far below my actual age I’ll be able to get? Kind of reminds me of the fitness age from WII Fitness. I got it down into my 30s and really, I doubt that video game boxing, tennis, or golf got me into that good a shape.

Run. Run again. Run once more.

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A weigh we go!

I’m reaching what for me is a milestone in my weight. 

Me, after my thyroid went wonky

Back in 1999, I blew up like the Michelin Man when my thyroid went on the fritz. Seriously, I have one picture that if I find it shows that is no exaggeration. My skin is white and puffy and you can hardly see my eyes because they’re just slits surrounded by puffy flesh. My lower legs were the worst. They had lost all their hair and were like playdough. You could push in on the flesh and leave a one-and-a-half inch indent that would stay there for quite some time. (Anyone remember the old pulp fiction action hero, The Avenger, who had lost nerve function to his face and could mold it like putty, changing his appearance to that of anyone? It was a little like that.)

I thought I was dying. I was scared.

My doctor ran me through a whole battery of tests to figure out what was wrong — nerve testing for my carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, chiropractors for my severe back pain, blood tests to see why I was cold and tired all the time — which is amusing (now that I look back on it), because we had a ferret who had a thyroid problem and he lost all the hair on his legs, so my wife kept saying it was my thyroid; it took my doctor months to come to the same conclusion!

And my weight shot up because my thyroid wasn’t regulating body functions properly; I was retaining fluids and I was just too damned tired to exercise. This experience has also made me a little less critical of people with weight problems because as with me, it might not be their fault and might be a medical condition.

So since 1999, I’ve been well over 200 pounds. I think I might have peaked close to 250 before I started taking my thyroid medication.

Today, I weighed myself and I’m almost, but not quite, at the point where I’ll drop below 200 pounds. Honestly, I can’t remember when I was below that. Early 1990s when I was still running seriously, before I developed shin splints? 

Now I’m only a couple pounds on the wrong side of 200. Part of me wants to fast just to reach it, but my luck, my body will think it’s experiencing a famine and it will hold onto its fat reserves even more tenaciously. So, no. Fasting isn’t the answer.

I do think I’ll run more often now that I see I’m approaching that marker. Instead of running three times a week, I’ll try to run five. Yesterday was the first time i ran on back-to-back days and i felt good.

Even though i can see 200, I’m nowhere near finished; after 200, I’ll still have at least 15 more pounds to go to reach my goal, but 200 is a great marker indicating my goal is within reach.

Yesterday, for grins, I lugged around a 20 pound barbell. It was exhausting! And I used to carry that, and more, around all the time!

By the way, losing weight is hard. You have to do exhausting aerobic exercises, get your heart rate up, sweat, breath heavy, for at least 20 minutes at a time, every other day preferably, plus you have to watch what you eat, count calories, watch fats, increase fiber, eat more fruits and veggies, and drink a lot of water (not soda or sugary energy drinks), and even then, depending on your.motabolism, you aren’t guaranteed fast results or huge losses.

Anyone who tells you losing weight is easy or all you need is their magic pill or secret formulation or miracle diet or superfood, tell them to Fuck Off. In fact, punch them in the nose, give them a good kick in the groin, then tell them to Fuck Off. The punch and kick will be good exercise.

Eat right. Drink water. Exercise your ass off.

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Weight weight don’t tell me

In the overall scheme of things, a week is a very short time, and yet, in my life anyway, a lot has changed.

Last week I was ranting how technology was pissing me off (right now autocorrect is pissing me off because it keeps changing pissing to passing), specifically the tomtom Runner Cardio watch I had just purchased, tried, was disappointed with, and returned.

Misfit Shine 2

I picked up a Misfit Shine 2 fitness tracker in its place and I have to say, life is good again. The Misfit Shine 2 is everything I thought it would be (so no disappointments) and it is surprisingly something I didn’t expect it to be.

Sidebar: If an appointment is a planned meeting at a certain time, shouldn’t a disappointment be when you cancel said meeting?

First, it looks sharp. Dare I say, sexy? Compared to the bulky and ugly tomtom. It’s also so light and comfortable, I don’t even notice it’s there.

It’s a watch! What time is it?

Second, it does what it says it should do: tracks steps and monitors sleep, both of which are accessed via the phone app, which though it isn’t an amazing app, it suffices. One interesting thing about the app is, unlike the Garmin or Fitbit, which continuously track your steps all day long (the Misfit also keeps a running total) the Misfit breaks up your activity into segments (based on intensity?) and you can pick what that activity was, like walking, running, cycling, swimming, or yoga, to name just a few options. 
For example, throughout my day it breaks up my activity into my morning walk, my midmorning walk, my lunch walk, my midday walk, and my walk back to my car. 

My midmorning and lunch walks

My only complaint with the app is, unlike Garmin or Fitbit, it doesn’t connect with MyFitnessPal nor to S Health, Samsung’s own fitness app (which is really nice by the way). It does, however, sync up with Lose It! although not as nicely as the interface between say, the Fitbit and MyFitnessPal. So for the moment I’m using Lose It! (but only the free version. I don’t think you should have to pay a monthly subscription to any app).
Third, um, where was I? Oh! The surprise! Remember, the reason I got the tomtom was because it specifically said it could track your treadmill run. That is important to me because I’m a treadmill running fool. Street running is still rather uncomfortable for me at my present weight. 

The Misfit app, I noticed, has this feature called Activity Tagging. You can scroll through icons for running, basketball, cycling, soccer, swimming, or tennis (I’ll let you know how the tennis works later this month when I start practicing with my son for his high school team). You scroll to the activity icon, tap your Misfit three times, and say, “There’s no place like home.”

Activity Tagging

The Misfit then tracks that activity. Supposedly. In theory. I wasn’t sure what to expect since this is pretty much just a basic, if nice looking, step tracker. Well, let me tell you (because that’s what blogs are for), I was totally surprised when I finished my treadmill run using this feature (and you have to tell the app you’re finished by hitting Sync, by the way, or maybe tapping the device again). Not only did it give me my total steps and calories burned, like it does the rest of the time, but it told me how many miles I ran! And it was accurate to the treadmill’s readout to within 0.1 mile! Why did I waste time and money on the tomtom when this does the same thing? Oh, OK, the tomtom had GPS, but the Misfit has sex appeal. 
Yunmai Color Smart Scale

Guess what I just got? Oh, you peeked at the title! Yes, a smart scale!

Yunmai Color Smart Scale

I did a little research, not a lot, just enough to be dangerous and think I knew what I was going. I just wanted a digital scale to replace the old who-knows-how-reliable mechanical spring scale we had. I hadn’t planned on getting a smart scale (I didn’t know it was even a thing), but as I searched on Amazon and checked out reviews, I realized that for around the same price as a digital I could move up to a smart scale.

In the end I chose the Yunmai Color because it was attractive (the blue almost matches our bathroom), but mostly because of the price. It is 3 to 4 times less than the higher end smart scales by Fitbit, Withings, or Under Armour, but it’s price is right in the middle of the rest of the smart scale pack.

And it’s simple enough to use. You download the Yunmai Color app, register (We had a minor problem here. I registered a new account using my email while my wife signed in using Facebook then jumped on the scale first. For some reason her information appeared in my app under my name and it wouldn’t see me as a different user. So I uninstalled the app, reinstalled it, and this time signed in using my Facebook account and this time is gave me my results) and step on the scale, making sure your feet touch the two metal strips. The scale and app connect via Bluetooth. Easy peasy.

The scale, through the app, tracks your weight, as well as your BMI (and autocorrect thinks that should be BMW. I wish) and your percentage of body fat. The very first thing I noticed was on the Yunmai I weighed 5 pounds less than on the mechanical scale. 

I hugged it.

Since before Christmas I’ve been stuck at 210 pounds, give or take a pound due to a shaking needle pointing to barely visible measuring lines that I could never truly see while standing on it. Thus the reason for a digital scale in the first place.

Well, the Yunmai just helped me lose 5 pounds instantly ! It weighed me at 205.6 (all right, for the pedants, that’s 4.4 pounds to be precise). I admit that I know I didn’t lose that weight overnight and it is just showing me a more accurate measurement, and I know that means I’ve been stuck at 205 since before Christmas, not 210, but psychologically, seeing a 5 pound loss after being stagnant for so long, it might be enough to get over this weight plateau. 

So what did I do? Of course! I celebrated by having pizza for breakfast this morning.

Whoohoo! Technology is awesome!

Run. Weigh. Eat a pizza.

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Disclaimer: I do not get paid to endorse or write bad reviews on any product. 

Losing natural insulation

Just a quick thought. Since it’s now winter here (it’s 20°F here so please don’t say, “Well, winter doesn’t actually start until December 21st,” because I will hurt you) I’ve noticed the cold affects me more. 

I’m going to assume it’s because I’ve lost a layer of blubber, at least 20 pounds of its, and that’s the reason I’m feeling the cold more than I did before.

So cold that I’m often wearing a little winter skull cap or wrapping myself in a blanket. (And the first person who says, “You are getting older,” will join the previous pedant for a dinner of knuckle sandwiches).

To be honest, I haven’t researched if fat people are better at dealing with the cold than thin people, I can only report what I’m noticing with regard to my own body.

And I can only assume, since I’ve got at least another 20 pounds to go before I reach my goal weight, that I will only get colder and colder.

Thing is, I always made fun of those people who always are cold. I’ve always worn short sleeved shirts no matter the season. When others were putting on winter coats, I’d wear a light spring jacket.

I don’t want to be among the Always Cold.

 I don’t want to live my life in a Snuggle!

And here I had gone and tossed out all my sweaters and turtle necks because I was too hot all the time to wear them.

I really dislike clothes shopping.

Run. Lose weight. Get a Snuggie.

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