My watch is stalking me

My Garmin Forerunner 255 on my weirdly skinny wrist

One of the features of my Garmin Forerunner 255 is a daily summary that pops up just after 9 p.m. to tell me what kind of day I’ve had and to pass on a little sage advice on health/sleep/exercise before I bed down for the night. It always starts with a summary, like:

  • Active Day: This seems to be the best. It means I wasn’t a sloth and got some good exercise and generally stayed out of trouble.
  • Easy Day: As expected, this pops up when I don’t meet my step goal and am generally slothful and sitting on my butt. The blurb is never too judgy, but it will suggest I get some “light exercise” or something because it knows I’ve done nothing.
  • Demanding Day: This is likely to pop up when I do a lot of walking (20-30,000+ steps), exercise and have not gotten a good sleep from the night before, which means my body battery will be quite low (I think it bottoms out at 5/100, which has happened a few times). It basically tells me GO TO BED AND SLEEP WELL.
  • Stressful Day: Even if I otherwise have a well-balanced day, with a good mix of activity and exercise, this will still pop up if the watch feels my stress level has been too high. I suspect it is doing a simple correlation between heart rate and activity, so if my heart rate jumps up, but I’m not doing exercise, it’s probably stress. Maybe it’s more nuanced than that. I could probably look this up, but for the moment I’m pretending the rest of the internet doesn’t exist.

Stressful Day is when I most feel the watch is stalking me, because it has been uncannily accurate in this particular assessment. In fact, it’s been so accurate that at the start of a SE1Stressful Event, I will stop and think, “My watch is going to chide me for this later” and start thinking about kittens instead, to reduce the stress/anxiety/existential despair.

So even though my watch is stalking me, it’s helping me be more relaxed, fit and shinier. And that can’t be stressing me out.

April 2024 weight loss report: Up 1.5 pounds

Yes, I know. After multiple months of my weight going down and everything being lovely and on-track, how did I go up in April?

I’m not entirely sure! I had one anomalous weight gain. On April 7th my weight jumped 1.9 pounds for no obvious reason and for the rest of the month, I struggled to shake off this sudden bulk. By the end of the month, I managed to do so, but not enough to keep the weight loss trend down. So it is up, temporarily.

The good news is, I think the last week of the month I was able to get back into a steadier cadence of weight loss, so I shouldn’t go back up again in May. We’ll see.

I am still down 3.4 pounds for the year, so that’s a good thing.

I remain donut-free.

January 1, 2024: 172.3 pounds
Current: 168.9 pounds
Year to date: Down 3.4 pounds

April 1: 168.4 pounds
April 30: 168.9 pounds (up 1.5 pounds)

Body fat:
April 1: 25.6%
April 30: 25.9% (up 0.3%)

Skeletal muscle mass:
April 1: 29.8%
April 30: 30.0% (up 0.2%)

Body water:
April 1: 54.3%
April 30: 54.1% (down 0.2%)

Historical: January 1, 2022: 182.8 pounds

Knee-deep update

One of the nice things about having a blog is it remembers things that I don’t, freeing my brain up to store vast amounts of random trivia, which makes me a hit at parties.

I did remember that I hurt my knee about one year ago and was able to go back to April/May 2023 and find fun stats I’d forgotten:

  • It was the same knee, the right knee, which is now the wrong knee. For some reason, I thought I’d hurt the left knee last year. This is sort of good news, because it means the left knee has remained healthy.
  • The right knee is not hurt as much compared to last year. I know this because I did a coffee table test with my legs last year when I could not raise the right leg from the knee at all and right (ho ho) now, I can raise both equally, even though the bumpity-bump of the right knee is still there.
  • I started stretching exercises before I resumed running. I should probably start that again.
  • I didn’t run for 25 days. When I did, I ran a 5K at the lake, then walked the rest of the way.

As of today, it’s been 17 days since I ran. I think I’m ready to run again? I don’t think I’ll run today, but maybe I’ll go for a run and jog a little? So many questions. I’ll start by doing some stretching exercises and report back.

Thorn in my side: Running edition (2024)

Here it is Friday. Run day! Except I am not running, just like I didn’t on Monday and Wednesday, which are also run days.

Stupid knee.

What I have been pondering since the new and unwelcome arrival of Baker’s cyst #2 last Friday, is this: What happened?

Last April, when Baker’s cyst #1 arrived, I chalked it up to overdoing it–I was running regularly, and doing 10K runs. I wasn’t stretching back then, so I figured I just pushed a bit too hard. This time, I have been running far more intermittently, for various reasons, and have only been doing 5K runs (as I wanted to get a more regular routine in place before moving back to 10K). The internet, which, as we know, never lies or contains false information, tells me that there are two main causes of Baker’s cysts in adults:

  • Arthritis
  • A tear in the knee cartilage

Last year I assumed it was the cartilage. Now I’m not so sure. Also, the actual cyst1This is one of those words that always makes my skin crawl. Maybe I’l refer to the cyst as a bumpity-bump instead. has decreased significantly in size in the past week, so it looks like healing is underway. That’s good! But when I apply pressure to the knee in some specific ways, like if I kneel on it (fine), then try to stand (not fine), the low-level pain reminds me that this is more than just a bumpity-bump2Much better. Is it arthritis? How do I tell? How long do I wait before I try running again? Would it hurt a lot if I tried running today? (I’m not going to try today, it’s already 12:02 p.m. as I type this, and I am going out, but will be walking, not jogging).

The answer to all these questions is: I don’t know. I’ll just have to wait and see. Part of me does want to get out and run RIGHT NOW, but I know it would be unwise, and I am not yet ready to commit to The Unwise Path. I have a little patience.

For now.

Meanwhile, here’s a photo of public fish art I took a few days ago:


I think I am in a funk. Why do I think this? A list, because, as always, I like lists:

  • I have been blogging a lot less lately, sometimes skipping multiple days
  • I have been playing PWS1PowerWash Simulator, my go-to de-stress game, to the point where I have worn out its pixels
  • I have the urge to draw, but do not draw
  • I have the urge to write, but do not write
  • My sleep quality has taken a dive in the last week or so
  • I had a few days with an unsourced headache just because (it’s gone now)
  • I haven’t been running in 11 days, sometimes for legit reasons, sometimes because I just didn’t want to go (note that I always feel better after running. The only time this doesn’t happen is if something goes horribly wrong on the run, like I have a close encounter with a tree root or something).

I think the cure is to just make myself do things, and I’ll naturally pull out of the funk. Why is the funk happening?

As always, it’s complicated. There are things happening. I think I am experiencing a certain sense of hopelessness in getting things–even small things2I like the word “things”–to change for the better. I don’t have much faith in people anymore. I guess that’s a big one. I don’t know that it will ever change.

But I muddle on.

Let’s see if I have a run update as my next post!

I had a Cadbury creme egg

I view the Cadbury creme egg as a decadent indulgence that is now forbidden, because each one would require two full 10K circuits around Burnaby Lake to burn off the calories they contain.

However, I spied a 3-pack in the store post-Easter at a discounted price I could not resist.

I had one.

It was…OK! Not particularly decadent. The surprising part is the calories per egg is only 150. I think this comes down mainly to the eggs being smaller than in days of yore. They are 40 grams each today. A cursory search of the internet suggests they may have shrunk by 7-11% in recent years. Part of it may also be that *I* was smaller when I used to eat these semi-regularly, so the eggs may have seemed bigger back then in comparison.

In any case, I’m sated now and still losing weight. Win-win!

March 2024 weight loss report: Down 2.4 pounds

Good news: I am down in weight again!

Weird news: If you go by stats alone, it appears I’ve lost muscle and gained a little fat.

Better news: That’s not really what happened. Or at least it’s not as bad as it looks.

Basically, I did not run as much in March for various reasons, and that’s pretty much the slight loss of muscle mass. My calves are a little less sexy. The mass will come back in a few weeks. The important thing to remember is muscle is denser than fat, so losing some muscle will show up more. It also affects the overall make-up of my body, which is why my body fat is pretty much unchanged, despite losing weight. I did lose fat, but not enough to offset the muscle contraction, so as an overall part of my weight, it remains consistent. As I run more and keep away from the snacks, this should change, and the body fat percentage will finally yield and fall below 25%.

I had one Kit Kat bar this month. It was on sale.

Here’s to getting closer to 160 pounds by the end of April (I hold no illusions that I could magically lose 7.8 pounds in one month).


January 1, 2024: 172.3 pounds  
Current: 167.8 pounds
Year to date: Down 4.5 pounds

March 1: 170.2 pounds
March 31: 167.8 pounds (down 2.4 pounds)

Body fat: 
March 1: 25.8%
March 31: 25.9% (up 0.1%)

Skeletal muscle mass:
March 1: 30.2% 
March 31: 29.9% (down 0.3%)

Body water:
March 1: 54.2% 
March 31: 54.1% (down 0.1%)

Historical: January 1, 2022: 182.8 pounds

February 2024 weight loss report: Down 3.5 pounds

Not a typo! I am down, for real, this month. And not just by a rounding error amount, a full 3.5 pounds. How did such sorcery happen?

As it turns out, it was simple: no snacking. That was it. I stuck to my three daily meals and had no snacks on most days. I would occasionally allow myself something small on a run day, like a banana, or a chunk of cheese. But no cookies, crackers, candy or any of that.

And here we are, 3.5 pounds later.

But it’s not enough. I need to lose a lot more. I’m still 20 pounds from my target goal of 150 and losing 3.5 pounds means it would take another 5.7 months to get there (basically, September, or the tail end of summer) and I don’t want it to take almost six months.

I have not been running as frequently, so I am going to try to be more active, which will help (and just make me healthier in general, always a good thing).

For now, I can at least savour that I am down for the month and the (short) year. And to that, I offer a hearty woot.

Fake edit: Looking at the stats over the month, there’s been very little change. My body fat is slightly higher, which makes sense in that if my total weight is down, the percentage of my body that is roly-poly fat may increase a bit overall (at least in the short term). My muscle mass has gone down, which also makes sense due to the decrease in exercise.

January 1, 2024: 172.3 pounds  
Current: 170.5 pounds
Year to date: Down 1.8 pounds

February 1: 174 pounds
February 29: 170.5 pounds (down 3.5 pounds)

Body fat: 
February 1: 26.1%
February 29: 26.0% (down 0.1%)

Skeletal muscle mass:
February 1: 30.7% 
February 29: 30.3% (down 0.4%)

Body water:
February 1: 54.0% 
February 29: 54.0% (unchanged)

Historical: January 1, 2022: 182.8 pounds

I added something new to my to-do list today

It’s set to repeat daily, endlessly:

You might be thinking, “What kind of hippie malarkey1Malarkey is officially my Word of the Week. is this?” And I would answer, it’s the best kind!

Because what “Touch a tree” really means is go outside for a walk and do it somewhere with nature and junk, not just down the sidewalk to the local Subway. Which I can do as there are areas like that no more than 10–15 minutes walking time from where I live.

And yes, today, I did touch a tree (I kind of cheated, because it was near a sidewalk, though I was not close to a Subway at the time).

How much can a person change?

I have been thinking about this. When I apply it to myself, I think of things like:

  • Weighing in at 187.5 pounds and resolving to lose weight by changing what I eat. I lost over 40 pounds over the following six months (this particular one is a war, not a battle, and it goes on forever).
  • Deciding (well, being told) I need exercise, so I started running in 2009. I have now tracked over 6,140 km of running.
  • I pretty much gave up on drawing something like 20 years ago, then started again and now have hundreds of sketches, comics, doodlings and art to show for it.
  • I didn’t want to stay single, so I started dating again. I’m now 14 years into a relationship.

I could go on, but you get the idea–these are all self-improvement type things. I did change by getting slimmer, healthier, and all that. But as an actual person, the stuff that makes me me, have I changed? Like, if I was always horribly mean to, I don’t know, boll weevils1I am not, nor have I ever been, horribly mean to boll weevils, am I still horribly mean to them today? If I was, could I change that?

It’s one thing to say, “I will no longer consider donuts a food group”, it’s another to vow to be kinder, nicer, or even just mellower. I could achieve some of this more ephemeral stuff through certain techniques–yoga and meditation come to mind–but even those would require a change first. Meditation requires you to be still, to quiet your mind. My mind doesn’t like being quiet. It blares all the time. My brain has opinions on everything that passes through it and shares all of them with me all the time. But if I really dedicated myself, could I break through the noise and find the quiet? And if I did, would there be add-on effects? Would I become more focused? Would I feel calmer? Appear more thoughtful? Stop asking so many questions?

I don’t know.

But I do know that I want to try.

Take this post from February 4th, An airplane up in the sky. It seems innocuous. It’s exactly what it says on the tin–a photo of a plane I took flying overhead. What you don’t know is that the original version of this post was completely different–a short, snarky comment about how we didn’t have enough reports on Apple’s Vision Pro headset2For those reading in the far future, the Vision Pro had just been released and was getting a lot of coverage. I included the modified Apple press image I made (which, to be honest, still amuses me). I hit the ol’ Publish button in WordPress and sent it out to the world.

Then I thought, “What does this bit of snark bring to the world? Is it especially clever or cutting? Will it make people laugh? Will it make people roll their eyes? What would someone do to a boll weevil after reading this?” And I decided it was just a piece of negativity that added nothing and had no reason to be. I could have deleted the post, but felt it would be better, or more fitting, to take a recycling approach to it, and keep it, but change the title, the content and the image. So, everything. And I felt better when the plane went up in its place.

I want to be the person who posts planes before snark. Can I be that person?

I’ll try.

Efforts on this will be documented here later as either inspirational pieces or object lessons in what not to do.