Monday, December 31, 2012

Apping food, update.

So i've had a fair go at myfitnesspal now. A family member is also using it and we are "friends" so we can see each other's exercise and stuff when online. It's nice to have company.

Observations on using Myfitnesspal for about a week:

It's easy to repeat meal entries, and enter meals made from packets, but it's annoying to put in one-off meals you make yourself from lots of different things, like a stew or a slice of homemade cake. I try and pick something approximate from what is already there, so if a stew has veggies I choose "1 cup of mixed vegetables" or whatever is close.

You can track glasses of water, too! But I don't need accountability there.

The target for sugar seems super low. 27 grams seems like a lot, when I think of a pile of sugar on a spoon, but I get most of the way there at breakfast, and I'm eating mainly oats and bran and milk, with just a sprinkle of sweeter cereal like Be Natural on top for interest, not even coco pops or crunchy nuts. So I go into the red at morning tea, when I eat a peach. Which just seems ridiculous. I'm not worried about sugar anyway, and from what I know milk and fruit sugars are ok for you, it's the "added sugar" which is to be limited. It's a pity the app doesn't spot the difference there. It seems kind of useless as it is.

If you are trying to reach a weight goal, you can push a button at the end of the daily food section to "Close" the day and it tells you, if you ate and exercised like that every day, how long it'll probably take to reach your goal. Not sure if this estimate is true or not, yet. Every body is different.

I think you can't delete food once you've entered it. I brought a salad for lunch once and entered it, but then found out there was a sausage sizzle outside… but ate the salad because I had already entered it, and anyway it was healthier so that's a good result. See how my actions changed because of the app? How interesting.

It's changed the way I think about exercise a little bit, too. I'm annoyed on the days when I can't "earn" a few hundred more calories. It's extra motivation to do at least something, a fast walk if not Jillian. All activity counts, like all food counts.

Junk food and treat food has a LOT of calories. A lot. I'm constantly surprised when I add a portion of chocolate that it's the equivalent of half a meal! I'm not afraid of calories, but in terms of the economics of enjoyment I am now more aware of the cost, so I resist the resistable more easily and enjoy the irrisistable more. See what happened one particular week? One of the days I recorded properly I ate most of a bag of honey soy chips. Eye-opening, for me. This happens about once a month, so it's good to know.

I've bought kitchen scales. Useful to be able to weigh ingredients when cooking in grams or pounds, but also so much fun to weigh food for MFP. I found I was over-estimating everything, when guessing by eye. My breakfast entry was 100 calories more than I was actually eating. Being out 10 grams on cheese ads a lot of cals, too. No wonder it was so hard to stay under my allowance! It makes a lot of difference when it comes to eating chocolate or not at the end of the day!

I plan on using it for 2 months, and then see.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Service in Japan

I'm currently in Japan, enjoying a holiday with my sister who lives here.

I've done a bit of shopping here and the customer service is so much better over here. I love walking into a store and hearing all the sales assistants chime out, "Welcome!"

I love how friendly they are, how they wrap your purchase up really nicely, and how carefully they handle your money. If you visit a skin care store or the beauty counter at a department store, they throw in a free sample or two, even if you only spend $20.

I know Japanese customer service is tied to their culture, but Australians sure could step it up when it comes to customer service. Though, to be fair, I don't usually purchase skin care/cosmetics products from department stores in Australia because it's much cheaper to buy them online, so maybe Australian customer service is not as bad as I remember?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Job ad.

I was charged with spreading the word on my social media. Matthias Media have a job for someone who can make videos. It's full-time and you'd get to work where I work!

Watches are still a thing.


I remember a lot of talk a couple of years ago about how people weren't going to wear watches any more. Tech gurus were boasting about the trend. "Everyone just checks their phone now." Well that is true, but I found that a phone is actually a pocket watch, like in the olden days, when you had to fish around in your waistcoat to check the time. That's annoying. So I went back to a wrist watch. And this morning I did a survey of the people on the bus whose wrists were visible, and out of 6 of us, 5 were wearing a watch. Possibly professionals are more likely to wear a watch as part of their corporate image, and possibly people who catch the bus want to be able to check the time more easily (that is a main reason for me). But I think that's enough to refute the death of the watch.

Speaking of telling the time, my uncle had an intriguing facebook status today.
I thought I'd worked out how to measure time in meters and was very happy for two days, til I realised my mistake. Does anybody else get this kind of problem?
That's the kind of facebook I like. I can't stop wondering what he means. Did he make a sundial? Or some kind of odometer clock? Or a giant pendulum? I am proud to be related to this man.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Look, my cup has lol on it. Today I did just that.

I was minding my own business, drinking my after lunch cup of peppermint tea, when a colleague rebuked me for slurping. It's true, I slurp, because slurping cools down hot tea as you drink it. Hot tip from me, notice the pun haha. I don't want to burn my top lip on my tea, so I suck it in quickly, and yes, it sounds like slurping. But not because I am vulgar, it's because I am dainty and my lips are so sensitive to the heat. Like a lady.

Anyway, there was a follow-up remark from this tactless Emma, which I now forget, but which at the time was a bit amusing, just when I had self-consciously filled my mouth up with my next swallow of tea. I thought "don't laugh now, or tea will splurt everywhere, that's always funny, when tea splurts, oh no it's going to be funny" and then I laughed. I made myself laugh thinking about how funny it would be if I laughed. That's like a time-travel plot loop, isn't it. And I lost my tea via my mouth and nose onto my keyboard, lap and carpet. It was hilarious, and actually my nose tubes felt lovely afterwards. That's not a very elegant way to finish a blog post. So I will add: Like a lady.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pie charts for pies, or, apping EVERYTHING.

I'm not a micromanager in general, but I do get obsessed with things. At the moment it is record-keeping apps. I've really enjoyed recording my spending using Smart Budget on my ipad. I like to be able to SEE what I've spent, rather than feel like my money is vanishing into the ether. I like to see a breakdown for groceries, music, things like that.

I've decided to start using a food and exercise journal app for the same reason. I usually catch a bus now instead of walking every day, and after a year it has caught up with me and I'm not as fit. I want to rebalance my kj budget. And I want some more accountability with Jillian and so on. And some of my friends are dedicated users of food apps. Especially because they take difficult calorie counting out, you can just search a food product or scan a barcode and enter your portion size.

I've downloaded myfitnesspal for free. It has a 5 star rating and pie charts. You can see if you are meeting nutritional goals like iron and stuff. It seems to take a bit of effort to measure things the first time, like weigh out breakfast cereal, or figure out how many calories a Jillian workout burns, but a repetitious lifestyle is an advantage here, and other people have already done some estimations on Jillian DVDs if you google them.

I've already noticed the app is changing the way I think. Firstly, it makes my behaviour matter, because I can see the change. Picking up some M&Ms from the staff room to eat with my cup of tea actually counts now, whereas before, in my mind, it didn't. Secondly, I've heard myself thinking "I can just eat this marshmallow secretly and not app it, and it won't count".

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bobby pins.

It turns out there are two kinds of bobby pins in the world. The sort you can buy at the shops, and the sort hairdressers use. The sort you can buy in the shops are USELESS, and I did not know this until I got the hairdresser sort last year, possibly the best perk of being a bridesmaid, the headful of proper strong and grippy bobby pins. My hairdo skills doubled instantly.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Surprise eyebrows.

I have a thing going with a friend, that we tell each other trends as we spot them. It's been a back and forward list for over a year, including boys wearing bracelets, women carrying big handbags on the elbow like a shopping basket, stuff like that.

The weirdest trend I've seen, and I haven't seen it in real life yet, only on models (in magazines, emails from Myer, etc), is surprising eyebrows. At first it was shaved eyebrows or bleached eyebrows, so as to be pale or invisible. Quite freaky: naked eyes look alien. Then it has been the opposite trend, messy eyebrows. Eyebrows with straggly unplucked hairs all around them. Not just thick, but "natural". So I put both of these eyebrow trends in the same basket, "surprise eyebrows". I include the fashion dummies in the Chanel boutique downstairs with the black diamonte brows.

Different Christmas carols and songs.

I can't really understand people who say "I hate Christmas carols". Those people must hate all music. If they don't hate all music, they must mean that they hate the poorest specimens of Christmas carols—cheesy muzac carols in the shops, or singing them at church with a band that hasn't played the music since last year and hasn't thought about transposing them down for the congregation let alone simplifying the chords for themselves. And some carols are bad songs and only get played/sung because they are carols.

I think carols are grand. I hate cheesy versions in the supermarket, and I hate singing them too high — crimes against music which should be hated. The poor carols themselves are often nothing to hate. Except Jingle Bells.

I do enjoy non-Christian Christmas songs a lot too, you know, pop songs about going home for Christmas, being alone for Christmas, and so on. It's nice to have a soundtrack for a particular season to enhance the sadness or happiness. And hearing the same songs every year builds memories and associations into them.

I'll leave you with something different. 'All I ever get for Christmas is blue'. Available from Noisetrade by Over the Rhine.