Fitness Update—Week 1

This is the first of my weekly fitness updates. I’ll be posting one every Monday for the foreseeable future.

This week has been eye-opening. First, I’m finding out just how out-of-shape I am. Second, hitting a step goal is really hard if it happens in one big burst of activity.

I update a shared iCloud spreadsheet every day. Follow along!

Weight & BMI

Apparently every little bit helps—I managed to lose 1.7 lbs. I didn’t do the amount of walking I set out to do this past week. But I did some. Having a loss this week was a emotional hurdle I needed to jump. Seeing the results on the scale makes it real.

Date Weight +/- BMI Fat
March 23 191.8 0 28.3 37.1%
March 30 190.1 -1.7 28.1 40.0%

Note: the fat mass reading is inconsistant. It’s just the way the scale works. I’m including for the sake of completeness.

Blood Pressure

This weeks reading: 120/89 with a pulse of 71.

It’s slighly lower, the eventual goal is my normal 110/70. More exercise is needed.

Steps

I’m using the Jawbone UP24 band as a pedometer. I stopped using it several months ago (my fault, not the band’s). If I were buying one today, I’d look the Jawbone Move. Its tracker can be moved between a wrist band and a clip holder. Costco1 is selling it in a package with two bands and clip for $50. That’s the best deal that I’ve seen. I’d get one of those if I didn’t have the UP24.

I mentioned before that I like the Jawbone app. This is a screenshot2 of my weekly report.

Week 1 step counts
Week 1 step counts

Hitting my daily step goal of 6,000 is turning out to be more difficult that I planned. I’ve been taking evening walks around sundown. You can see the one day that I didn’t walk.

One walk is not enough. I not able to cover enough distance in one shot right now. If I can start getting to 6,000 regularly, Then I might be able to increase the distance. The plan for this week is to do two walks each day and see how that goes. I also have to account for the weahter. The temperature is going to hover around 90°F (32°C) this week. I want to avoid the heat of the day.

I have access to a treadmill, but find it deadly boring to use. The weather may force me indoors. But steps are steps, and it may have to do.

I’ve also started listening to podcasts again. They’re a real lifesaver on my walks. I prefer this to music because it actively engages my mind. I can focus on what’s being said rather than the fact I’m out walking because I let myself get fat.

Tracking steps in my own spreadsheet lets me do neat things like calculate how many steps I need to “make up” each day so that I’ll average 6000 for month. Right now I know I need to add 2,500 steps each day to get there. The fitness apps and website don’t seem to have this data.

Sleep

I have poor sleep habits, and this weeks results are about average for me. One night I got involved in a project and didn’t go to bed until 7 a.m. the next morning. Since that happened on a Saturday night, it shows as Sunday’s result.

Week 1 sleep results
Week 1 sleep results

Good sleep is necessary for weight loss. I need to make it a higher priority. This is one reason I like the UP24. The sleep tracking is accurate.

Snacking

This is the one thing that I’ve been able to nail. I also thought it would be the hardest. But it turned out to be quite easy. Unlike walking and sleep, this has a easy rule: If it’s not a meal, don’t eat it.

I think this has more to do with the 1.7 lbs. that I lost than anything else I did this past week. I’m not tracking calories. But I am eating less.

Summary

With a week of data to look at I can start to see where my problem areas are. I’m going to go with the idea of improving one thing at a time. Since snacking is under control, I need to work on steps or sleep. This week will be steps. It’s the more active of the two and requires me to get up and move. I want to hit my 6,000 step goal for seven days. Then I can worry about adding in my “catch up” steps.

Wish me luck!


  1. I don’t see it on their website, so I can’t link to it. But last time I was there they were right by the door.
  2. I used the iOS app Tailor to stitch together the screenshot on the phone. Then I cropped out the phone’s status bar once I transfered it to my Mac. Then a Hazel action uses ImageMagick to added the frame and watermark.

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