Exactly one year ago my bathroom scale told me something that at first I couldn’t believe (even though it was just the culmination of a trend), and which I didn’t like. It said:
For most of my life I had been in the low 60s, then - after I switched from an active athlete to an active student - in the high 60s. Enter the lifestyle of a young married couple and I found myself in the low 70s, still not too concerned. This held on for a few years until it slowly - kg by kg - went south to the high 70s. And then, on June 6, 2010, I crossed a border. 80kg just didn’t look right, and - truth to be told, it didn’t feel right either. This also would have meant to buy new pants, and that had to be avoided by all means. I decided right there and then that the weight had to come off. I set the arbitrary goal to get back to 69kg.
A journey begins
I knew I wasn’t going on a diet or anything like that. I didn’t want to give up any of my favorite dishes, because that way I’d feel punished. I quickly realized I had to move my body more, thereby burning some calories, as well as watch my food intake.
Calories in < Calories burned = Weight loss
I found a few helpful tips online, such as
The best thing though that I found was a community that supported (passively and actively) my effort. And that is the most important thing I learned during the last year. Whatever endeavor you want to tackle, if you have a community (can be online or among friends) that shares the same interest (in my case: lose weight) and is there for support, there is a high probability for success. You get cheered on for your achievements, you get support during your mishaps, you can share your experience with others and thereby grow.
Too bad I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a picture right there in the bathroom, a year ago. Those before-after pictures make it easy to celebrate successes, which is very important. I only have a mid-way picture of myself with 75kg (which I am not going to post here, thanks for asking). Just imagine this:
being carried around by yours truly day in, day out. Yes, I can’t imagine that, either.
As of last Saturday my weight is down to 68.3kg. After reaching my goal of 69kg in November 2010, I was able to more or less (Christmas, thankyouverymuch) keep it there. Now with the outdoor season on the bicycle and with the running shoes in full swing, it’s easier to hold my weight. This also allows me to have the occasional binge day without regret. My life is good and I am pretty sure I’ll never carry around that crate of water bottles other than for shopping reasons.
What’s your success of the year?
About two months ago I asked about the most important apps for a new Android smart-phone user - and to my surprise I got a lot of suggestions, here on tumblr and elsewhere. This turned out to be very helpful, even if I didn’t follow all of your tips; it sure was a jump-start for what to look at.
Now that I’ve been using my HTC Desire for some time I thought I’d share my most important apps, in no particular order.
It’s amazing what the market offers on small utility applications, almost overwhelming. Initially, I thought I’d need weeks and weeks to settle for a good choice, but in the end the number of utility apps I actually use often is fairly small:
I am quite happy with the stock Calendar and Mail applications that came with the HTC Desire. I tried K9-Mail, but in the end didn’t see a big advantage over the normal mail client. However, I have to list two very important (to me, at least) apps here:
With the new phone came the ability (or burden?) to be social on the go. Here is what I use:
Yes, I admit it: sometimes, you just have to kill some time, and when twitter/rss/facebook doesn’t update often enough, it’s good to have a collection of games at hand. Here is my list:
I have to say I was pretty lucky with the apps that I tried. I didn’t have to uninstall too many because of bugs or missing features. The ones I have now are rock stable, no crashes whatsoever.
Did I miss any important apps?
After the AFC/NFC Championship games last weekend, Superbowl XLV will be played between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. Kickoff will be on February 7th, 2011 at 0am. Nope, that is not a typo, that is the time when Europe, or more specifically Germany, will see the opening kickoff. While I’m not going to see my favorite pick (New York Jets), it’s still going to be a great game.
This is going to be my 10th Superbowl, some kind of anniversary on its own. Here is a rundown of my past Superbowl events (winning teams in bold):
All dates courtesy of the Superbowl-History-page. Credits to Paul, who had to help me get the facts and places right.
Where are you watching this year’s Superbowl, and more importantly, who’s going to win?
After about four years of using my trusty old Palm Treo 650 I decided to upgrade to something more modern:
Yes, I am the proud owner of a HTC Desire running Android 2.2. Oh the possibilities …
What are the most important apps I need to install?
With all the posts and articles floating around about everyone’s and their neighbour’s New Year’s resolution, it seems like a good time to post mine.
As every year, I’ve resolved to not have a New Year’s resolution this year. And with that, I’ve already made the resolution a success.
I never understood what the whole point of them was, anyway. Just recently though, I’ve come to understand why I don’t like them in the first place, and why the alternative is so much better.
Changing your life
Most people resolve to change something more or less drastically in their life.
Even better, some resolve to change a lot of things in their life. Usually, the way to stick to these resolutions is to change one or more habits. However, changing a habit takes up mental energy. To understand what it takes to change a habit, go over to Ian Newby-Clark at “My bad habits” and start with the “Diary of a habit changer” (coincidentally, Ian also has a post about New Year’s resolutions). In and of itself there is nothing wrong with the idea of making the start of a new year the point of change for something in your life. Just make sure that you tackle only one problem at a time and make corrections to it.
“The idea is to take the most important correction needed and just focus on that one thing. Attack it from different angles if needed, but be tenacious on correcting the biggest fault only.” (crossfitexcellence.com)
Make it a goal
I am a very goal oriented person, I like competing a lot … even or especially competing against myself. For me, having a goal is more attractive than saying “I will do X in 2011”. So instead of having one (or worse: more than one) New Year’s resolution, I’ll happily set a goal for myself. What’s the difference? Goals ought to be SMART:
Therefore, before setting your goal:
Agreed, just formulating the goal in a SMART way doesn’t get you anywhere. You have to have a plan as well. How are you going to safe up the 10.000 EUR for the dream vacation in the year after this one? Where can you cut back? Can you cut back at all or is the goal just not attainable?
Give it a name
I like how J.D. Roth of GetRichSlowly.org dubs a whole year with his goal (2010 was his “Year of Fitness”). By that, you’ll be easily reminded about what your focus should be on. You can still have minor/smaller goals that you want to accomplish, but giving your main goal a name makes it stick out.
My goal this year
If I would have given a name for last year, it would have been “Year of getting back on the bike”. I managed to accomplish that goal, logging about 1500km from May to November (yes, I was on the bike November 14), the longest being a 112km ride. While I’ll continue to get out on the bike, maybe even logging more than 2000km (time permitting), I’d dub this year “Year of getting flexible”. Yep, throughout all the years on the couch or in front of the computer the notorious bad flexibility of my joints and muscles got worse. In order to avoid getting all sorts of problems again, I need to work on my flexibility. So by October 31st, 2011 I want to be able (among other things) to reach down to the floor with the legs straight (yes, I can’t do that right now and you really don’t want to know how much is missing).
There you have it, my
New Year’s resolution goal for 2011.
What is your main goal for 2011? The one thing you really want to accomplish or change?
Yesterday the NFL wrapped the 2010/2011 regular season up. To my personal disappointment the Chargers didn’t make it to the playoffs this year. Due to last week’s loss to the Bengals they missed the AFC west title by one game.
Shoulda Woulda Coulda
It seems that the Raiders were the decisive factor in the AFC West this year. First, if the Chargers wouldn’t have lost in week 16, they would have won the AFC West (all else being equal), because the Chiefs lost to … the Raiders in their last game. Getting help from the Raiders would have been awkward, but if it means reaching the playoffs, who’s going to deny that?
Second, the Chargers lost twice to the Raiders this season. If they’d won those games as usual, they would have won the AFC West without help (all else being equal).
So despite finishing 8:8 this season, the Raiders dominated the AFC West with their 6:0 division record. Kudos for that. Still, the Chargers have the better record.
There is always next season
It’ll be very easy for me to follow the playoffs now. I don’t have strong preferences as to which team should advance. I’d like the Jets to beat the Colts in the Wildcard round, and I’d like to see the Saints go to the Superbowl.
As for next season, I’m still be rooting for the Chargers and I hope they stay undefeated in 2011:
Obviously very disappointed. Just like our fans, we expect to be in the playoffs. Look on the bright side #Chargers are undefeated in 2011! (chargers@twitter)
Today I received a text message from an unknown number:
Hello Ursel, hello Friedrich, a happy and successful year 2011 from Madgalena and Friedhelm.
(the above is a rough translation, because it was obviously sent in German).
I could have ignored the message, but instead wrote back:
Just so that Ursel and Friedrich aren’t offended: Your message went to the wrong number. Best wishes for the new year, best regards, Henrik Wist
Didn’t expect much, but five minutes later I got this:
Oh, that’s very nice of you. Many thanks. A very happy New Year to you, F. M.
I think that is a very nice exchange for the 31st of December. Have a wonderful evening wherever you are and make it a great 2011.
A while ago, I, like many others, stumbled over Ben’s video on Youtube, that made him an internet celebrity of some kind. I subscribed to his blog and followed along, not some much for the inspiration  but more out of curiosity and interest in a great story.
Since I really like Ben’s slogan “Do Life” I ordered one of his T-Shirts. It came with the following message on a slip of paper:
[…] I really hope you like the shirt and it helps you, in some way, in doing life. I really believe in the message and thank you for doing your part in spreading it.
P.S.: Be sure to snap a picture of you in the shirt and mail it to me.
Side note: The message was personally signed by Ben, no printed signature. Considering the amount of shirts he must have sent out by now, that’s really a nice touch.
I decided to send him the requested picture, but didn’t want to sport the usual activity with it (running / working out). For me, doing life is more:
Doing life means (among others) spending time with my family. Featured above: Yours truly, wearing Ben’s “do life” shirt and having 19kg on his left arm and 15kg on his right arm. There you have it, me doing life.
As if posing for that picture wasn’t enough of a workout, I went to the Gym in the evening for a 5.5km on the treadmill.
What are you doing for doing life?
 I have never been obese in my life and I have a history of doing a lot of sports. Still, I decided to lose weight this summer as well, so I can relate to Ben’s efforts even if on a smaller scale (no pun intended).
I think the Chargers crushed the Chiefs yesterday.
You think they crushed them?
Yup, can’t tell for sure yet, because after all, I’m in Germany and that makes being a Chargers fan (or fan of any team) quite a challenge. Here is why:
Central European Time, that is what our clocks show and that means we are six hours behind Eastern Standard Time. In other words:
Given the length of an average football game, the only really enjoyable game is the early game. For the late games, depending on the importance and how much sleep I am willing to sacrifice, I get to see the first half, seldom more. If you really want to watch football (as opposed to merely reading up on the score in the morning) some recording device is indispensable. My video disk recorder is in charge of recording the late games, or - as is the case today - the replay during the day.
I started “watching” football games by logging on to nfl.com, selecting the appropriate game center and hitting “reload” as often as I thought something interesting would be happening (nowadays the game center reliable updates itself). Later I even bought the Field Pass to be able to listen to the radio broadcast of the game (while still refreshing the game center). This was (and still is) great fun, because you imagination is part of the game. But it’s still unsatisfying. Until some off-season my good friend Paul (in Germany at that time, as well) hinted that there was a channel called NASN (North American Sports Network, now called ESPN America), available through some specific cable package on Kabel Deutschland (the local cable provider). ESPN America is also available through other providers, and thanks to Sky it should also be available via satellite.
And since then I was able to watch football on the TV like most Americans could watch it, except …
This is probably a specific issue with the way ESPN America has set the contracts with the U.S. broadcast companies, but somehow I end up with an awful lot of New England Patriots games. And frankly, who wants to see those? Especially this season, where Tom Brady forgets to get a haircut week after week.
Of course, there is a certain pattern to be observed. Teams that make for interesting games and teams that are somehow successful in what they are doing (think: Superbowl) get aired a lot more than others. That way - at least for the last few seasons - I can get a certain amount of Chargers football actually live on TV (sometimes just a mere 24-48 hours later than everyone else).
A quick foreshadow on watching the Superbowl outside the U.S or more specifically, in Europe: Think timezones, think sleep. I’ll go into more detail in another post, likely due end of January/beginning of February.
And now excuse me, I have to go home and watch the Chargers crush the Chiefs in full glory. And after that, I might actually be interested in reading all the game recaps on nfl.com.
Where do you follow the NFL?
… and the weather is supposed to be that way, you know? This is for all people around here (Europe, in particular) who complain about the snow and the coldness involved all the time.
Maybe you all didn’t have a happy childhood with lots of snow and being out on your sled day in, day out. Or maybe you don’t have kids yourself, which makes it really easy to remember what’s so awesome about snow. In any case, please stop complaining about the weather, it’s just normal for the time of the year. If you don’t like it, well, why not move to Texas?
I saw this on Twitter the other day and it describes my feelings quite well.
“When I was your age ‘Winter Chaos’ was actually called ‘winter’ and people just dealt with the situation instead of mimimimi!” (@zideshowbob)
I like winter, I like the snow and I am happy to leave five minutes earlier to deal with the snow on the roads. And I’ll take the workout from shoveling snow any time. It’s way cheaper than going the Gym.