Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Medifast Food Review: Orange Cream Shake

Tried another new food this morning, today an Orange Cream Shake. After having success with the Strawberry shake, I thought I'd give this one a try. While packing my meals this morning I shoved a blender bottle and an Orange Cream powder into my lunch bag. I had to take Lauren to the Orthodontist so I skipped eating at home.

I sat at the Orthodontist for 30 minutes (playing Hearthstone on my Windows Tablet grabbing internet from my phone's wireless hotspot, hooray for technology! Oh, and I won my game, too.), and then dropped Lauren off to school came to work, and mixed up my shake.

I added some ice cubes to the bottle, and 6 oz of water, and then added the packet. the packet had an odd greenish tint to it, and smelled very strong of artificial orange flavor. I shook it up like crazy for a couple minutes, then let it sit. I've learned over the years that protein shakes need to sit and soak in water for a while or they are gritty, so I let this one sit for a few minutes to let it get colder and smoother.

Five minutes later I gave it another blast of shaking, then took a sip. Immediately the flavor hit me. It was very reminiscent of orange cake batter. It was just thick enough, and very sweet, and very artificial orange flavor. That combined, and sure enough, cake batter. I liked it, but it was really too sweet for 'breakfast'.

Much like the strawberry shake, I'd only recommend this to people that like artificial fruit flavor. But if you like orange soda, orange candy, etc... then this is pretty good. I think it could also be a good basis for a chocolate/orange dessert of some type. Maybe a mix of Brownie Soft bake and orange cream shake could be frozen together into a truffle of some sort?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Medifast 'Sunrise Smoothie' and FitBit update

This morning I did an experiment with some Medifast meals... I tried to emulate the Sonic 'Sunrise Smoothie'.

I took a packet of Strawberry shake, and a packet of Banana shake, and mixed them with water in a blender bottle. Then I took ice and blended it into snow, added a 1/4 cup of light Orange Juice and half the shake mix, and blended it.

I got a very bland and inoffensive smoothie. Hints of banana, strawberry, and orange, but nothing really exciting, and I won't make it again after I finish the second half of it tomorrow.

Also, I just got my weekly FitBit results!

Everything seems to be moving along fairly well here. My daily step average is down a bit, but I'm happy with the rest of the numbers. I need to be sleeping more, but that's always going to be a challenge. Of note was that I picked up my 250 mile badge! Woo.

Monday, April 28, 2014

I failed at blogging over the weekend

It's interesting how as I begin getting into better habits in general, blogging gets harder to do every day.

This was a good weekend. We cleaned house, did lawn work, went to Columbia Missouri for Midwest Geekfest and exploring the town and campus, and had an amazing dinner at Addison's (Seared tuna, mushrooms, asparagus! I was on plan)!

Sunday, we did more tidying of the house and had friends over for board games. We played Kingdom Builder, Euphoria: Building a Better Dystopia, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, and Sushi Go!

Exploit your workers to grab territory and ancient artifacts. Keep them happy and stupid, or they'll revolt!

That said, I haven't made any new Medifast recipes recently, staying on plan hasn't been too tough, weight is coming off, and my exercise regimen is still in place.

The next couple weeks we're getting ready for Geekway ( and going to be doing yet more yard work and basement/garage cleaning as it finally is warming up.

I'll try to be better about blogging on the weekends from here out!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Week 14 complete! 1lb down for the week, 61 total.

Despite having  a bad day (2.4 lb water gain in one day, ugh!), I managed to end the week with a moderate loss. It's been a while since I've had a 'bad' week, though so I'm not terribly worried about it.

This week saw me doing some lawn work, but I cut back on my EFX cardio training a lot. I think that the extra strength training (pushing lawnmower up and down hills, cutting trees, pulling ivy, trimming and edging), combined with a criminal lack of water some days was the culprit here, and as such it should melt away pretty quickly.

Enough of that though, let's look at some charts!

Click to embiggen!

This week was a bouncy one, with a 2.6 loss one day, a 2.4 gain another. A couple minor gains, a flat day, and a couple minor losses. All together that adds up to sodium and lack of water playing havoc on the numbers. I need to make sure to pay better attention to that. I'm very swollen now, in fact, despite working hard to drink water yesterday.

No new numbers blasted :/
Weekly, I dropped to 271 but that wasn't enough to blast out any other numbers in my 4 pound, 3 pound, or even 2 pound columns. We'll resolve that next week though.

Blue Leader, stay on target!
It had to come eventually... my actual weight bounced up over my expected overall loss. We'll get him back in line soon, though!

So that's it for charts and graphs! Now I need to go fill up my water glass...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Medifast Food Review: Strawberry Shake Mix

My supply of Medifast ready-to-drink shakes is declining rapidly, and so this morning I decided to mix up some strawberry shake powder. A coworker recently stopped using Medifast and gave me her extra food, and she had a lot of shake mixes.

Now, the first thing I knew, from protein shakes in the past, is that to be drinkable they need to be COLD but also not full of ice chips. So, I grabbed a blender bottle, added 6 oz of water and the mix and a blender ball, but then I threw a few ice cubes into the Ninja and blended it into 'snow'.

I dropped the snow into the bottle and shook it for a minute or so. (I could have put the mix into the Ninja. However, adding liquid makes it very hard to get the ice to the snow consistency I wanted, AND by just using ice, I didn't need to wash it immediately and can use it for smoothies tonight.)

You'd think they could make stock photos look more appealing than this. The stuff looks like pale pepto. Leave it in your blender bottle and don't look at it is my advice.

After a minute of shaking, I took a sip, and was very pleasantly surprised. It was very similar to strawberry milk or a strawberry YooHoo, and there wasn't too much of that graininess I tend to associate with protein shakes. It was really good if you like that bright pink fake strawberry flavor. If you don't like that clearly artificial flavor combined with the consistency of a protein shake, then I'd avoid it, but for me it will be a nice change of pace.

Now that I've tried this and liked it, I may be more willing to try out other powdered shakes and move away from the RTD version. I ordered some of the Orange Creme ones, which I know most people don't care for, but we'll see!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In this post I talk about Hearthstone (and last night's workout!)

I went to last night's Goalbusters class despite being a little sore after doing yardwork most of the day Sunday, and I'm glad I did. Class was good and I think it helped work out some of the soreness I picked up from crawling around under the deck pulling weeds and killing ivy.

Class was a little different than normal, and we're getting into the middle of the run where the warmup is getting tougher. We opened with our normal medicine ball, jumping jacks, split squats, wall pushups and then got into 3 sets of 50 squats. Ouch. the circuit itself alternated between strength training exercises and cardio, 1 minute each as we went back and forth between the equipment and mat stacks... at the mat stacks we partnered up and did waves against each other with the heavy ropes... wow that was a workout. By the 6th time around, I was ready to set those ropes on fire.

Instead of filling up all this space talking about specific exercises and weights and reps though, I'm going to talk about Hearthstone. This is a new CCG that Blizzard has put out, and it just came out for iPad. I played in the closed Beta and wasn't a big fan off the game, to be honest.

Now, though? I really, really enjoy it. They've balanced a lot of cards, the 9 different heroes all feel very different, and with it no longer being a beta release, the player base is much larger... which means it's easier to find people around your skill level.

Thrall vs Uther, early in the match

There are four basic ways to play, first off, you should play against the computer itself. You'll start out playing Mage decks in a tutorial, and it teaches you the game really well. After you finish playing the Mage tutorial, you should play 'Practice Mode'. Here, you can beat all of the 9 heroes and unlock their decks. My suggestion is to unlock all the heroes, and then use their basic decks to play against the basic and expert AI... get every class up to level 10, playing against a variety of Expert AI heroes. As you do this you'll earn free packs, gold, and cards. Don't spend any of that though.

Once you've gotten all 10 classes up to level 10, you can then check out the Arena (card drafting, you'll get to play with awesome rares, epics, and legendaries... but it costs you gold to play, and you can't keep your deck). It costs 150 gold to play Arena, but you always get at least 100 gold back in the form of a pack. Unless you hate drafting, I would never spend gold on packs in the store, I'd always play Arena, as if you get 3 or more wins, it should pay for itself, and even with 0-2 wins, it's a good deal and gives you great experience.

Finally, there's Play mode. Here you play a constructed deck from your collection. You'll need to make decks from the cards and packs you've won, and you can play against other people. Hearthstone removes 99% of all player communication, so you won't have to deal with jerks calling you names when you play.

One final word of note: play Ranked, not Casual. This sounds crazy, but you'll start at Rank 25 and play against others that are newbies in Ranked, and you'll have good games. If you play Casual, you're going to face people with massive collections of rare and gold cards that have insane decks that will destroy you. Don't do it!

The game is fun, free (unless you want to spend real money), and has amazing graphics, sound, and feels very 'tactile'. I highly recommend it.

If you're playing, feel free to friend me on! I'm Arsh#1939

Monday, April 21, 2014

Yard work!

I got outside yesterday and did yard and lawn work for about 4 hours... cleaned up weeds and ivy, pruned trees, get all that bagged in lawn bags, trimmed and edged around the house, mowed the back lawn, cleaned some gutters.

It was exhausting work, and nowhere near done (still have to do a lot of cleanup and landscaping). Today, I'm sore and starving. But I feel pretty good about it.

I promise to have a better blog post tomorrow!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

No post today of note... I spent a few hours doing yard work,  then played Hearthstone,  assembled a custom insert for King of Tokyo, then watched two episodes of A Game of Thrones.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Medifast Mashed Potatoes - mini review from my phone

Medifast has recently started selling mashed potatoes and I purchased a box with our last order.

The ones I chose were the sour cream and chive flavor.  Prepared according to the instructions they do a passable simulation of instant mashed potatoes,  however they are a little grainy and very bland.

I doctored them with some diced chicken,  Worcestershire sauce,  garlic salt,  and pepper.  With that they were actually quite good.

If you are a big fan of potatoes then they are a nice approximation,  but otherwise I would stick with the mac and cheese.

Friday, April 18, 2014

At the mall...

Tonight we took Lauren and her friend to the mall for dinner at CPK, and took them to go see the new Disney Bears movie.

While the girls were in the movie,  we walked through the mall and bought some clothes and Easter gifts for Lauren.

What we didn't do while walking through the mall was buy pretzels,  or cookies,  or Dairy Queen,  or Häagen Daaz, or cheesecake,  or anything like that.

We also talked about how when we hit maintenance and start eating that stuff again,  to make sure it was worth it... Only getting the treats that we really like.

Not too much longer and then we can look into earning some of those treats... And deciding which ones are worth eating!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Three months complete! 60 pounds down!

Week 13 (91 days! Three months!) is complete, and I'm 60 pounds down from my starting weight!

Medifast is still working for me, although as time goes on I'm less shy about supplementing my Medifast meals with things like extra protein, cheese, and condiments. While this is certainly slowing my potential losses, I also believe it's helping me maintain muscle mass and keeping me on target.

I missed posting my charts and spreadsheets last week due to PAX, so it's been a while since you've seen these. Let's take a look!

Click to embiggen!
3.3 and 3.4 pound losses, right where I want to be. In addition, my BMI finally dropped below 35! I still am not a big believer in BMI, especially for my build, but even when I have no illusions about ever getting my BMI down to 18.5-25, I do think that I can get it to about 30.

My exercise numbers for PAX are pretty insane, but that's what walking all over the convention center for 8-12 hours a day will get you.

How are we doing towards goal week-by-week? Not bad.

Another column obliterated!
I'm still keeping just ahead of the 4lb/week average, although I'm still trending towards 3. The fun thing this week was that I hit the end of my 2/lb a week column! I like watching those numbers fill up. As of right now, I'm 8-10 weeks away from goal if I keep my current losses going. Probably closer to 10, and honestly I will expect to slow down even more as I keep getting closer. Hydrostatic bodyfat testing is available at my gym this May, though, and while i'd planned to wait until I hit 240 to do that, I may take advantage of it now and get a better feel for what my goal weight should be.

Now, time to take a look at TDEE:

Click to embiggen!

For 5 weeks running, my expected loss has been higher than my actual loss. This is telling me that something is wrong with my numbers... TDEE itself is based on the H-B method, which is pretty solid. I'm going with Sedentary and then calculating my Net calories as intake from MyFitnessPal minus exercise by way of Fitbit and MFP. Obviously this is not terribly accurate, and that's where I expect the disconnect is coming from. I'm fairly sure it will be a combination of not tracking everything accurately plus an overestimation of some calorie burns. However, it's close enough at my current weight that I'm not concerned with adjusting things yet. 

And lastly, a look at my graph:

Click to embiggen!
The blue line is my actual weight. Red is my expected weight based on the previous week's weight minus this week's expected burn. Finally, the yellow line is my expected weight based on TDEE from Week 1 tracked all the way out. According to my numbers, at week 13 I'm basically right on schedule.

In other news, last night we had a great Goalbusters class, and I'm looking forward to it warming up enough to get into tennis. I've got a couple of lessons that I'm itching to take, and then I think I may play in a league this summer!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Post-PAX Fitbit weekly report

I got my weekly FitBit report yesterday and it's interesting! Let's take a look at it.

Woo! 60,000 steps! that's what walking all over Boston for 3 days will get you. Nearly 13,000 steps on my best day, as well, and a total of over 30 miles. I'll take it.

Not only that, but 62 flights of stairs climbed... and none of those were fake days, either. I climbed lots of stairs at PAX.

Then we get to calorie deficits. I should have had about a 4lb loss according to the numbers, but instead it was just 1.8. This is because of timing, the week ended right after I gained 4 lbs of water weight the day after PAX.

Finally, we have my sleep average... it took a nosedive and dropped down to 6.5 hours. Ouch. Well, not every week will be PAX week, so that should work itself back up.

Despite the weekend, I was still only 3rd place on my step leaderboard! I need to crank it up a notch.

I have class tonight, so I'm drinking my water religiously today. I want to try to make sure my numbers are good for tomorrow when I post my spreadsheets. I know that's silly, since holding on to water after working out is so standard, but I still want to see a nice jump tomorrow and maybe get back down to my low.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday night workout and post-PAX gain

Yesterday was my first day back from PAX. The day started auspiciously, with a weigh-in well lower than my previous low weight. However, I also knew that I was very dehydrated. I wasn't sure how being that dehydrated for three days was going to play out at the time, especially combined with flying and lack of sleep.

However, I got back into my groove. I drank my water and went to class. I'm not going to post the workout details tonight.. it was a standard Goalbusters class with a Warm-up, partner circuit, and the only real difference was that we closed out with Tabata wall squats, which is something new.

I woke up this morning and was up nearly 4 pounds! I was pretty impressed by that number. Now, I know where it came from, I am retaining water like crazy, I drank tons and barely peed at all. Combined with a short nights of sleep, plane rides, and the fact that I was drinking so little and walking so much, I am not *that* surprised. Water is the key here, drinking it, retaining it... I need to drink more and retain less and everything will work itself out.

Drink me.

But still, now I'm curious as to what my actual gains/losses were over the weekend. I guess it's enough of an anomaly that it doesn't really matter, I'm not going to PAX every weekend. But now I just need to drink  my water, do my cardio and strength training, and stick to my diet (which has been tough, of course... I ate more carbs and now I'm hungry again!). But as of now, worst case scenario is that I went to PAX and came home at an equilibrium point, which is pretty darn good. Not as good as being down a few pounds, but even so, I'll take it!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Back from PAX!

So, I really did mean to blog while I was at PAX. However, good intentions fell to the wayside once I was there. A couple of times I felt like I should blog but then I just didn't. And I'm glad I didn't because I was already running perilously low on sleep.

So, how did my PAX adventure go? Well, first off, I was not able to stay on plan as well as I'd hoped, but I did much better than I feared. I had my Medifast meals and my almonds with me for the convention, and I did dinner each night in as reasonable a way as possible, but I broke plan every day. I'll go over my breaches:

Thursday: I arrived in Boston and got checked in. Brandon and I didn't get hooked up together until around 8 pm and I met him, Damien, and Ken for dinner. We walked from the hotel and hit Whiskey Priest, an Irish Pub where I chose fried cod and potatoes. The cod was very lightly dusted in flour and fried, and potatoes are totally off the reservation, but I went with it anyway.

My badge and my Pinny Arcade Pins I acquired. I failed to get Leeroy Jenkins and for that, I am very, very sad.

Friday: Full day at PAX, and I had hoped to playtest Thornwatch that night, at 7 pm, but I was not only not on the playtest list, I wasn't even on the alternate list. But, if I wanted a shot, I'd need to be there. So I ended up having lemon pepper hot wings from the convention center food court. They were baked, not fried, but still... hot wings aren't on the menu either. I didn't get a chance to playtest Thornwatch, either, as I was about the 20th person in line for the 'alternates that didn't even get onto the alternates list'.

About to playtest Hearthstone on iPad, I watched some Heroes of the Storm

Saturday: Another full day at PAX, and the night of the Frontalot concert. Brandon got a group of us together to go get Japanese Hot Pot in Chinatown, so Ken, Brandon, Lena, Henny, Brad, Chris and I all piled into a van after we got poached from the cab line. We ended up at this amazing hot pot restaurant where I had shaved chicken breast slices, 6 types of mushrooms, tofu, cabbage, and udon noodles all cooked in spicy broth. If I had skipped the udon, this meal would have been completely on plan, but I ate them anyway. We had to zip back to the hotel so Brandon and Ken could get ready for the show.

Not a great picture, but you can see Vic-20 (Ken), MC Frontalot (Damien) and Bl4k Lotus (Brandon) here. Sturgis (Sturgis) was out of frame behind them.
Sunday: Partial day at PAX. I ended up in airports and/or airplanes for 11 hours. I found a place in Newark that let me get hot and sour soup and chicken teriyaki for dinner, and that seemed like a fair choice.

After this, I was fairly certain I'd thrown myself out of ketosis, because of all the carbs. I think that's fairly accurate considering that I'm pretty hungry today. However, by sticking to one reasonable meal a day, and no desserts, combined with the fact that I was walking 5+ miles a day, I came home to a pretty happy surprise... a nearly 4 pound loss from Thursday morning, and nearly 3 lbs down from my previous low.

Now, there's some more caveats this as well. I wasn't drinking anywhere near enough water. I mean nothing close. And, I was getting about 5 hours of sleep a night. So... today I'm a little logy and I'm drinking as much water as I can stomach. We'll see what this means for my weight over the next couple of days, and if I'll rehydrate and pop back up some, or if I'll rehyrdrate and lose more.

Either way, I'm happy to have made it through PAX without a gain!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

FitBit Weekly Update, plus more PAX!

Just got my FitBit weekly update, and that's always good for a blog topic so here we go! Let's take a look at my numbers.

Well, first off, look at all those red 'down' arrows. With one exception, those all suck, don't they? Fewer total steps, less distance, less stairs less calories, less sleep... but! I also lost more, so that's a net positive.

I spent much of this week battling either atrocious allergies or the mildest cold ever. Either way, it negatively impacted me doing stuff. On the other hand, though, is that by not exercising as much I'm not holding on to as much water weight.

It will be interesting to see next week's numbers though... because I'll be walking a huge amount this weekend while I'm at PAX East!

This is my first PAX. I've been to DragonCon, GenCon, and Origins, but never a PAX. I expect there will be a ton of walking as I trawl the vendor halls and exhibits. I don't have a solid plan for what I plan to do there overall, I figure I'll take it as it comes. I only have a couple of things that are 'must see' events...

First, I want to get in on the Mike and Mike Show and hear Krahulik and Selinker talk about their games, Thornwatch and the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. I really would like to get into a Thornwatch playtest session as well.

Secondly, I want to go see MC Frontalot's concert. I've seen him once before in person, at KoLCon, and it was a great show.

Outside of that, though, I expect I'll wander, explore, catch as catch can what is happening at any given time, and get in some gaming with Brandon.

I'm leaving tomorrow and I'm not sure what the content of my blog posts will be while I'm gone. I'll probably try to talk about exercise and what I'm eating, but there's a fair chance this either becomes a 4-day PAX blog, or it'll get late-night blog posts that say 'exhausted, going to bed, blog later'.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Monday Night Workout, and working out at PAX

Last night was our second week of the new session of Goalbusters, and we had a pretty awesome workout.


  • 60 seconds Passing medicine balls in a circle
  • 30 seconds Jumping Jacks
  • 30 seconds ankle mobility
  • 30 seconds split squats, left leg
  • 30 seconds split squats, right leg
  • 30 seconds wall push-ups
  • 30 seconds mountain climbers

Partner warm up (repeat 3x)

  • 30 squats
  • Wall squat while partner does 30 squats

Circuit (45 seconds each station)

  • In-and-out waves on the double heavy rope
  • Mountain climbers on glides
  • TRX Pushups
  • Bosu wall squats
  • TRX reverse lunges
  • 35 lb kettlebell goblet squats
  • Blue resistance band bicep curls
  • In-and-out waves on the double heavy rope
  • Freestyle on the heavy bag
  • Blue resistance band triceps extensions
  • Lunges with a 22lb body bar
  • 35 lb kettlebell goblet squats
  • 60 lbs standing rows on the cable machine

Mat work

  • 45 second plank (repeat 3x)
  • stretching
It was a really good workout! 


This weekend I'm going to PAX East, and I hope to be able to workout in the mornings at the hotel. I know I'll be doing a lot of walking, but I really want to keep my exercise regimen going as much as possible, and I know my lean and green meals will be iffy since I'll be reliant on convention food. Getting in a couple of good workouts makes a lot of sense. 

The hotel should have a workout room, and if nothing else I expect there will be an EFX, treadmill, and dumbbells. That will be enough to get in 30 minutes of cardio and a brief weight routine each morning. Now let's just make sure I actually have the drive and make that happen!

Monday, April 7, 2014

New non-scale victory

As silly as it may sound, one of the catalysts for this diet and exercise plan was that my waist size was increasing and my size 44 waist pants were becoming too tight.

Yesterday, I put on a pair of jeans with a waist size of 40, and they fit. Like they seriously fit, and not 'I could barely squeeze into them' fit.

In fact, I probably could squeeze into a pair of 38" waist pants at this time.

While this is great news, it does mean that big swathes of my wardrobe are about to all become deprecated in another inch or two. Which also means the possible purchase of 'interim clothing' while I am still shrinking down to my desired goal weight.

In other news this morning I hit 275.5 pounds, which means my micro-goal of being at 275 prior to PAX is well within reach. On the other hand, I've got workout class tonight, so I could end up holding on to a couple pounds of water, too.

Either way, we'll see!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Replaced a Garbage Disposal Today

Today was a Spring Cleaning day (much like yesterday's organization day). We found out our disposal was leaking, so an impromptu trip to Home Depot appeared. A couple hundred dollars later and we've got cleaning supplies, a new disposal, and some new tools. An hour later, I've removed the old one, wired the new one and installed it.

Now, it's time for a shower and then the Season 4 Premier of Game of Thrones.

I'll put together a better post tomorrow, too busy today!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Further organization!

We added another shelf to our Elfa unit and I just spent some time filling it! Here's a quick picture!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Changing my food schedule for today!

Tonight I'm going to be out at an event that isn't a place where I can eat dinner. I mean, I could eat dinner, but it's an area that has a food court with things like pizza, hot dogs, and ice cream.

So tonight I'm not going to have a good opportunity to eat my lean and green, so what do I do?

Well, the first thing I did was to cook some chicken and mushrooms this morning and packed them in my lunch. At lunch today, instead of Medifast Mac and Cheese with an ounce of chicken, I had Medifast Mac and Cheese, a cup of mushrooms, and 6 ounces of chicken.

Combined with my shake this morning, and a bar, and I'm good. I'll have my pretzels on the way to my event, and then I'll eat a second bar around 8:00 pm.

That will get me my 5+1 for the day and not impact my ability to run the event.

What event you might ask? I'm representing Geekway at the St. Louis Science Center's 'First Friday' event.

If you don't come for the games, come for the dinosaurs.

Geekway will be there with a small board game library and will teach people games and promote our convention this May. We did this back in January and it was a great time. If you're in St .Louis, you should check it out!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Week 11 - I have new stats to track!

Unable to leave a good thing alone, I made another tweak to my existing spreadsheet. I'm now tracking BMR/TDEE and expected losses. Obviously this isn't totally accurate, as I'm not 100 percent perfect in tracking my food,  but it does make my graph a little more interesting. Also, this week I'll be discussing my spreadsheet itself a little bit, as well as the data that I'm collecting.

So, let's hit the detail page first!

Yeah, you'll want to click this if you want to actually read it.

So, 2.2 pounds down for the week, and fairly heavy exercise. I'll take it. But you've seen this before, so let's talk about how this sheet works.
  • Date, day, weight: These three fields are static. I was able to copypasta the Date and Day to fill them, and weight is entered manually every day. Basic stuff.
  • BMI: this field is interesting. First, it's a formula. It grabs today's weight and divides it by my height in inches (I have that number stored on a separate stats page), and multiplies by 703. The formula itself looks like this: =(C90/(Stats!$A$2^2))*703. This generates the number, and then I have a conditional formatting on the fields that changes the color. It started as a brick red (over 40), and will be Red until it dips below 35, at which point it will change to yellow.
  • Notes: manually filled.
  • Loss Today, Total Loss, Avg Loss/Day, Avg Loss/Week, Total Loss/Week: All of these are calculated fields based on today's weight compared to historic weights. Here's what the formulas look like:
  • Loss today: =C89-C90 
  • Total Loss: =$C$2-C90
  • Avg Loss/Day: =G90/K90
  • Avg Loss/Week: =G90/11
  • Total Loss/Week: =C82-C90
  • Days on Plan: Pre-filled.
  • Exercise Calories, food Calories, Carbs, Fat, Protein, Sodium: I enter all of these manually each day
  • Net calories: Calculated with a basic formula (=N89-M89)
  • Weekly Net calories: a slightly less basic formula: =SUM(O82:O89). For this formula, I'm using Thursday as my start day and Wednesday as my ending day, because I enter weight in the AM but Calories at night. That gets me a full week of data.
This sheet does all of the heavy lifting, and from it I build my weekly tracker, my graph, and my new sheet. You'll see the new sheet soon, but first let's hit my weekly weight loss progress table.

click  me!
I got to tick off a couple of boxes this week, and I'm moving closer to goal! I won't go into as much detail on this, but I am pulling the Weight number from my first detail sheet and calculating all the averages based on starting weight and the current week. Colors/highlighting is all done manually because honestly it's easier for me.

Now... on to the new sheet!

Ooh! New sheet!
This sheet keeps track of weight loss by week (pulling the week and actual weight from my weekly tracker sheet, above). It calculates my actual loss, and then also calculates my BMR using the Harris-Benedict Principle (formula: =66+(6.23*B2) + (12.7*Stats!$A$2)-(6.8*Stats!$B$2))

I'm grabbing the weight from the sheet, and my height and age from my stats sheet. Then I calculate my TDEE by taking that and multiplying by 1.2 (for my Sedentary desk job). I multiply by 7 to get my weekly TDEE (yeah, I'm abstracting this to the week and not doing daily calculations), then I grab my Weekly net calories from my first page. I do a quick subtraction to get my deficit. I count my TDEE as sedentary since my FitBit and MFP are tracking my calorie burn. From this, I get an expected loss per week (deficit/3500), and an Expected Weight.

I'm unsure how accurate this will ever be, since my calories burned/consumed are all abstractions, and the H-B method isn't without flaws either. That said, it's a good baseline.

I did all this and it made my graph more interesting!
Look! TWO lines now!
So now I am tracking not only my actual weight, but my expected weight based on Calories In vs Out. You can plainly see the extra loss in the first couple weeks, where I'm dropping weight super fast as water falls off, and then a hiccup in week 7, when I held onto a ton of extra water, and now the lines are moving nicely in step. I'm a little above my expected, but I'm not surprised, as I expect my calories burned is over estimated by MFP and my calories eaten is almost certainly a bit too low since I don't track every condiment and add-on. As long as the two lines are keeping fairly close though, then I know I'm accurate enough.

And finally, I hit level 10 in HabitRPG and became a Rogue! Woo? Woo!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

FitBit update!

So, I finally got the email telling me my FitBit Force had been recalled and I should send it in for a full refund. The only problem with this, is I do not want a different FitBit. So, for now I'm keeping mine and checking my wrist every day for sings of rash, and will ditch it if they appear.

I also just got my weekly FitBit summary, so let's take a look at it!

So, from the top!

My most active day was Sunday, March 30th... this surprises me, as that day was a D&D day so there was lots of sitting around a table. On the other hand, there was also a lot of house cleaning and some intense EFXing and Weight lifting as well, so I guess that did it. My least active day was a Tuesday, and a day with no workout at all, so that makes perfect sense.

Total steps are up to 47,000! I need to get this up a little higher. If I hit goal every day my steps would be at 52,500, so I'm about 5,000 steps short. Still, not bad for the week! Distance seems reasonable given the number of steps, as well.

My stairs climbed might be close to accurate at 20. This number is still not very useful though, as I get phantom flights of stairs added regularly.

Calories in vs Out and Calories burned are staying pretty consistent. Weight loss, however, took a dive. That said, last week's was way too high, so this balances out. Since FitBit picks when it's cutoff points are, my water weight is going to make a big difference on weekly totals. As long as it keeps going down, though, everything is good.

Finally we've got sleep duration. this went down a bit due to a couple of late nights. I really would lie to get this number creeping up, especially after this week.

Oh, and I also earned a few badges and got third place on the step ladder! Woo, go me.

I'm still really enjoying my FitBit, much more than my Nike FuelBand. Now, the folks at FitBit just need to make a new Force without the rash issues, with a larger screen that communicates with my phone for texts and caller ID and a built in HRM. Get on it, guys.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A quick update on HabitRPG

So, I've been using HabitRPG for a while now, and I have to admit that between the web site and the Android App, I'm actually using it daily. It's helping me with things I should be doing but don't want to do, and also I'm rewarding myself with things I already know I can do every day.

Let's take a look at what I'm using it for!

Ok, here we have my general tasks. This is stuff I do multiple times per day, or otherwise seems like it fits here. We have weigh-in and update (1x a day), Track on MFP (6+ times a day), Take the Stairs (2+ times a day), Brush Teeth and Floss (1-2x a day), Cook Dinner (1x a day), and Friday Donuts (1x a week). For each of these I have a positive (do the good behavior) and negative (do the bad behavior), with negatives like 'Don't weigh-in', 'Skip Tracking', 'Take the Elevator', 'Eat dinner out', or 'Eat a Donut'.

All of these are really easy, honestly, and that's ok, this is more about reminding me to brush teeth and to give me positive reinforcement.

Next up we have Dailies.

These are a bit harder, but still not bad. These I can do or not do once per day. If they are grey, I've already done them or they aren't due today (many tasks only make sense on certain days). If they are a color, then they are due today. Blues and greens are things I'm doing well, yellows and reds mean I'm missing them.

Finally we have the To-do list. This is stuff that needs to get done eventually.

For these, they're all red, which means 'I haven't done these in a long time'. Most of them are long term or waiting for the right time. When I finally tick them off, they'll get me more credit. This is the area where I'm really not keeping up with it like I should, as there are TONS of things I could add to here. I should start working on that soon, and add the things I want to remind myself to do but am just not doing for whatever reason.

Overall, HabitRPG is pretty clever and a great way to encourage you to do things. However, it's also one more thing to check every day, and I can see how that would get annoying quick.