My Demotivation Pal

When logging into My Fitness Pal to record my food and exercise for the day, I see this under the section for food entries:

The idea that I’ve earned one whole extra calorie to burn as I see fit amuses me. I could make a list of things to do with that single, precious extra calorie:

  • Exhale
  • Blink my eyes once or maybe twice
  • Shift slightly in my chair
  • Think hard for several seconds

(After a minute or so, MFP synced with my watch and bumped the calorie burn up to something with four digits instead of one.)

Oh yeah, the pandemic

What’s weird is the pandemic is very much an ongoing thing. I think the closest it felt to being behind us was right at the start of July 2021. Here in BC daily cases were down to the 30s, with some health regions reporting no new cases. We’d just entered the third stage of a four stage “back to business” plan that saw the mask mandate lifted and most other restrictions eased. The final step was to come September 7th, when remaining restrictions went away, life returned to normal and we could all look forward to watching terrible movies about the pandemic and chuckle together about what a weird time it was!

Of course, what actually happened is the more contagious Delta variant popped up, cases took a huge jump up, restrictions were re-introduced and by mid-August the mask mandate would be back in place and stay there until March 11, 2022.

But here it is August 2022, and we have yet another super-contagious variant running amok, this time Omicron BA.5. Most people have been vaccinated and received at least one booster shot, but the idea of herd immunity is long forgotten, replaced by the acceptance that most people are probably going to catch COVID-19, some multiple times, and hopefully long COVID won’t be as horrible as it might seem.

And yet, with all numbers going in the wrong direction, the general attitude seems to be a collective shrug. Masks remain optional, and mask usage has declined steadily since March. There are very few restrictions, and everyone has basically been told to watch out for themselves (and hopefully others). There has been talk about a possible renewal of the mask mandate in the fall if numbers keep going up, but I don’t see that happening unless hospitals start getting seriously taxed.

It feels like we’ve come to accept COVID-19 as a really persistent flu bug and we’re all just spinning the wheel and taking our chances on if and when we get sick. In a way this isn’t even a bad thing, because we have to move past the pandemic mentality at some point.

But I do wonder when we’ll be able to talk about the pandemic in the past tense. It feels like we’re a long way away right now, and even though life has mostly reverted to what passes for normal, I feel an unease about all of this not quite being over, and what it may hold for the future.

On a more positive note, kittens!

July 2022 weight loss report: Down 4.4 pounds

Interestingly, I am down the exact same amount in July as I was in June–4.4 pounds, another month of notable weight loss. Yay.

Even better, I dropped more weight in the final two days after hitting a plateau that lasted a little more than a week.

The continued weight loss can be attributed to a few things:

  • Lots of exercise. I am running three times a week (each run is a combined 18+ km of walking/running) and I do walks on my non-run days, too. Compulsion to close activity rings on Apple Watch fitness app: Ongoing!
  • Less snacking overall. Reminding myself to not eat when not hungry (it’s surprising how often we do that.). This is known as fog eating and would go better if you ate actual fog instead of food.
  • Smarter snacking. I am eating more fruit or doing things like having a serving of non-fat yogurt with blueberries or strawberries mixed in. No more cookies!
  • Better meals. Saving things like pizza as occasional indulgences rather than having them regularly. I’m sorry, pizza, our torrid affair must remain part-time.

The weight loss is now enough that I can see the downward trend over shorter periods of time. I still find it darkly amusing that the biggest loss happened when I got COVID-19. But unlike other times when illness led to weight loss, I didn’t put the weight back on. Woo.

My Fitbit one-year chart is below. It is a weird coincidence that my weight peaked on January 1 of this year:

On the first day of this chart, I was 176.2 pounds and see-sawed until I celebrated New Year’s with a barrel of donuts, apparently.

Also, looking over the chart again, I seem to have mistyped my weight from January 1, so my weight loss for the year-to-date is even better than I originally thought. I have corrected the January stats below.

Stats:

Weight:

January 1, 2022: 182.8 pounds
Current: 163.8 pounds

Year to date: Down 19 pounds

July 1: 168.2 pounds
July 31: 163.8 pounds (down 4.4 pounds)

Body fat:

January 1: 23% (42.1 pounds of fat)
July 31: 18% (29.5 pounds of fat--down 12.6 pounds)

Despair not!

Are you a fan of doomscrolling? Can anyone be said to be a fan of doomscrolling? When I was a kid, I had to wait for the nightly news or go read a newspaper (the kind printed on actual newsprint) to catch the latest doom and its pal, gloom.

And believe me, there was plenty of doom to be had. I grew up during the Cold War (well, the first one, anyway) and the specter of actual nuclear war was always there in the background. There were also concerns over the environment (the Careers board game, which I loved, added Ecology as a career path. It’s probably been replaced by Entrepreneur or something now) and pollution, and wars and terrorism across the world were pretty common.

But at least we didn’t have any pandemics, and climate change didn’t yet feel like an existential crisis.

However, this post isn’t about doom. It’s about not despairing, just like it says in the title. For all the horrible things in the world, remember that we still have:

  • Kittens
  • Puppies
  • Baby ducks
  • Pancakes
  • Bicycles
  • Friends
  • People who can make words and/or pictures sing
  • Modern medicine, which is pretty nifty when you think about it
  • Smart people still working hard to help make the world better
  • Sunrises and sunsets
  • And Voyager I and II, launched in 1977, are still transmitting data!

It is breathtakingly easy to fill yourself full of bad news if you have a working internet connection, and that’s just not good for the mind. I don’t think we’ve evolved (or may ever evolve) to where we can subject ourselves to near-constant negativity and remain mentally and emotionally healthy. So I’m willing to do my tiny part in making the world better. I recycle. I treat the environment with respect. I adore kittens.

And I don’t doomscroll. Despair not!

Handy sunblock tip

Apply the sunblock before it feels like your skin is burning. That way, your skin won’t actually get sunburned.

I learned this lesson today when I decided it would be “smart” to not apply sunscreen early in the morning before spending basically the entire day out in the sun. Whoopsie. I suppose it could have been worse, and I did get some nice photos while out singing my skin.

June 2022 weight loss report: Down 4.4 pounds

After a month of standing still, my weight was on the move again, and this time in the right direction–down!

I even had a nice bonus of dropping a little on the last day of the month after hitting a new low, so it looks even better. In June, I lost 4.4 pounds, my best results for the year to date, and Fitbit now regards my weight as “normal” instead of overweight. As of today, I have 18.2 pounds to go to reach my target of 150 pounds, which I think I can hit by the end of summer. The start of summer would have been my preference, but clearly I did not hit my groove until this month. What changed? Let’s make a list!

  • Less snacking overall
  • Healthier snacking. I’m eating things like bananas and grapes instead of cookies and brownies
  • More exercise. I am back to running three times a week, and usually get in some exercise in my “off” days in the form of walks and such
  • A few tweaks to what I eat during meals, though I’ve been trying to keep those on the leaner, healthier side for a while

Overall, I am pleased with the results. I make no prediction for July, other than being down again. It would be nice to hit 160, but that would mean about two pounds of weight loss per week. It’s theoretically possible, but I think it’s more likely to continue to be closer to one pound, meaning I should be around 164 or thereabouts on July 31. We’ll find out soon™.

Stats:

Weight:

January 1, 2022: 180.6 pounds
Current: 168.2 pounds

Year to date: Down 12.4 pounds

June 1: 172.6 pounds
June 30: 168.2 pounds (down 4.4 pounds)

Body fat:

January 1: 23.2% (42.1 pounds of fat)
June 30: 19.9% (33.7 pounds of fat--down 8.4 pounds)

I started a diary

Last month I decided to start keeping a diary, or journal, if you prefer. I’m using the Diarium app, mainly because it is cross-platform and can sync across OneDrive, so I can pour out my soul from any convenient device! I could have used an actual paper version, but paper is for the Amish. I’m all about the tech, baby.

I still think Diarium sounds way too close to diarrhea, but the best name, Day One, was already taken.

So far I have managed to write something every day for the past 21 days (including today), which technically means I’ve made it a habit. Go me. Most of it has been nonsense and I’m still trying to figure out what to put there vs. what to put here, on the blog.

I’m also thinking of changing the blog in some big ways. See below!

Possible Big Ideas for This Blog:

  • A new name and URL. No more creolened.com, since what does it even mean, anyway?
  • Splitting off the run/fitness stuff because, really, no one else should or would care about this. This might be more useful in the actual diary, perhaps as dedicated entries.
  • And so forth.

Anyway, I’ll follow up on the diary stuff soonish. I may even switch to a different app (Journey, Obsidian, etc.), who knows? I am unpredictable as all get out.

May 2022 weight loss report: Up 0.1 pounds

Sad trombone.

In terms of actual weight loss, the month was a wash, with a negligible increase of 0.1 pounds–basically the difference of leaning harder or more gently on the scale. More notably, Fitbit believes I have amassed a pound of fat over the last month, despite the minimal weight gain and my overall fat percentage went up, too. Not good!

I did do a bit of snacking, which was bad, but never gained traction for the entire month. Twice I dipped below 173 pounds, but never carried any momentum after doing so. I climbed over 175 a few times, so maybe I should be glad I ended up breaking even by the end. Still disappointing. But I have no one to blame but myself!

And so my quest to hit 160 pounds by the start of June–tomorrow–ends a full 13.5 pounds short. Only emergency magic liposuction can help me hit that goal now.

Instead, I will vow to swear off snacking in June and aim for a more modest loss of five pounds by the end of the month. Will I be reporting a weigh-in of 168.5 pounds in 30 days? We shall see!

Stats:

Weight:

January 1, 2022: 180.6 pounds
Current: 173.5 pounds

Year to date: Down 7.1 pounds

May 1: 173.4 pounds
May 31: 173.5 pounds (up 0.1pounds)

Body fat:

January 1: 23.2% (42.1 pounds of fat)
April 30: 21.3% (37 pounds of fat--down 5.1 pounds)

Fat is where it’s at (if it’s fat)

yellow analog meter
Not quite this hefty–yet! Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

Today the weather was sunny and almost seasonal. I decided to celebrate by going out and taking birb pictures. But before going out, I contemplated wearing shorts. I ended up wearing my comfy covid sweatpants (to be fair, I got them pre-pandemic). But while I contemplated, I pulled out a nice pair of casual shorts, the kind I wore in summers of yore, size 31 waist. I pulled them on. I zipped up the zipper. I did the button up at the top of the zipper. As you can see, I remembered perfectly how to put on shorts.

There was one small problem, though. Or rather a big problem. A big FAT problem.

My waist.

My waist is currently not size 31. I daresay it is not 32 or maybe even 33, either. I think it may be back to my pre-2008 size of 34. Technically I could wear the shorts, but in this case technically is not the best kind of correct, because I was being squeezed to death by clothing. The only way wearing those shorts would have been practical in any way would have been through spontaneous and magical liposuction.

So I wore the sweatpants.

My weight is currently at a bit of a plateau at the moment, but it should start coming down again through the remainder of the month. Will it be enough to let me revisit the bygone days of being under 170 pounds before we (jelly) roll into June? Perhaps. I’d like to think that by then I could wear those size 31 shorts without having to give up breathing, but I know that is unlikely. So that is my goal, my north star–to be able to wear my size 31 shorts before the weather becomes inhospitable to exposing my legs to the elements.

Excelsior!

Daily activities for 2022 and beyond: Day 1 results

Let’s have a look at how I did on my first day (a recap in case you arrived at this post directly):

  • Draw one thing (when lacking a specific subject, I will grab a prompt and limit myself to 5 minutes total time to get this done) DONE
  • Record a journal entry (using Diarium, which has a somewhat unfortunate name, but is cross-platform) DONE
  • Write a blog entry DONE
  • Take a photo of something. It doesn’t have to be good or even interesting, just a photo…of something. DONE
  • Exercise: Walk outside, walk on the treadmill, run on the treadmill or run outside. Or ride my bike, skip rope or something that can actually be considered exercise and isn’t like, “I lifted the TV remote 20 times today!” DONE
  • Spend time learning more of the software I use to become a professional expert of impressive knowledge or something. This includes:
    • Unity
    • Affinity Designer
    • Affinity Photo
    • Procreate
    • DaVinci Resolve
    • Blender
    • Visual Studio/C#
    • Obsidian
    • Various other 2D animation and other art programs DONE
  • Work in some way on my snazzy newsletter DONE

Yes, I went 7 for 7 on my first day. I gave myself an imaginary medal! I did better on some of these than others, but hey, I did it.

Now let’s see if I can maintain momentum for two entire days in a row.

Things I will do every day, starting…tomorrow. Absolutely tomorrow.

I am feeling revitalized for reasons unknown and feel it’s time to exercise some discipline, make things happen and other assorted clichés.

Here’s my list of things I will be doing every day. Note: I have excluded essential things for healthy living or just living, period, like eating, sleeping, breathing and pooping.

Daily activities for 2022 and beyond™

  • Draw one thing (when lacking a specific subject, I will grab a prompt and limit myself to 5 minutes total time to get this done)
  • Record a journal entry (using Diarium, which has a somewhat unfortunate name, but is cross-platform)
  • Write a blog entry
  • Take a photo of something. It doesn’t have to be good or even interesting, just a photo…of something.
  • Exercise: Walk outside, walk on the treadmill, run on the treadmill or run outside. Or ride my bike, skip rope or something that can actually be considered exercise and isn’t like, “I lifted the TV remote 20 times today!”
  • Spend time learning more of the software I use to become a professional expert of impressive knowledge or something. This includes:
    • Unity
    • Affinity Designer
    • Affinity Photo
    • Procreate
    • DaVinci Resolve
    • Blender
    • Visual Studio/C#
    • Obsidian
    • Various other 2D animation and other art programs
  • Work in some way on my snazzy newsletter

I think that’s enough for now. Let’s see how well I do tomorrow, ho ho.

April 2022 Weight loss report: Down 4.6 pounds

That’s not a typo! Thanks to a misplaced Christmas miracle, I was not only down this month, I was down a not insignificant 4.6 pounds. Woo. It looks even better if you go back one day from April 1st to March 31st when I was 177.7 pounds. From there I’ve lost 5.3 pounds. While this leaves my rate of weight loss coming up short to reach 16 pounds by June 1st, it’s still very good and finally reverses the sluggish trend of minimal or no weight loss that has been happening for many months.

How did I do it? Let’s make a list!

  • I got COVID-19 right at the start of the month and immediately shed about two pounds
  • Those two pounds did not automatically come back when I recovered
  • After-dinner snacking was reduced to near-zero
  • Overall snacking was way down and concentrated more on lighter fare, like an occasional banana or baked crackers
  • I was way more active, working out on the treadmill, doing some runs and walking, walking, walking, to the point that I completed the April 2022 fitness challenge on my watch two days earlier. The challenge was to hit 2210 exercise minutes a month or about 73 minutes per day.
  • I was actually down on the last day of the month. I don’t know why, but often on the last day of the month I suddenly gain weight, as if my body delights in springing sudden disappointments on me

As always, I do not recommend getting sick as a method of weight loss, but the timing this month seemed to help pave the way for gradual loss over the course of the month.

For the year so far, I am now down 8.2 pounds and lopped off 6.1 pounds of body fat. Woo x2!

Here’s hoping I can at least repeat the effort for May. If I do, I’ll actually drop into the 160 pound range for the first time in about a hundred years.

Stats:

Weight:

January 1, 2022: 180.6 pounds
Current: 172.4 pounds

Year to date: Down 8.2 pounds

April 1: 177.0 pounds
April 30: 172.4 pounds (down 4.6 pounds)

Body fat:

January 1: 23.2% (42.1 pounds of fat)
April 30: 20.8% (36 pounds of fat--down 6.1 pounds)